1. Ten Commandments Monument Razed

    brian on 2003.08.27
    at 10:13 pm

    The Ten Commandments Monument in the Alabama Judicial Building was removed today, in front of large protests. What I don't understand is why people are against this. No one is saying "you can no longer believe in God." They are simply saying that the Federal Government should not endorse one religion over another.
    Around the world, there are countries where one religion is promoted above others. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and formerly Afghanistan, serve as examples. Why would these Southerners think our country should follow suit? Will they again decided to confederate and secede? Their last attempt was pretty bloody and for equally weak reasons.

    Posted in: Politics

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  2. BBC grasps the potential of the net

    brian on 2003.08.26
    at 12:55 am

    In an announcement that hopefully will influence the future of the Internet in all nations, the BBC has announced its intent to release all of its media holdings, online, free for private use. Let's hope everyone else catches on.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  3. Seattle Wireless TV

    brian on 2003.08.24
    at 11:27 pm

    This is what makes the web amazing. These guys at Seattle Wireless produce their own TV show for viewing on the web. Really well made. However, downloading the MPEG at 182mb is a little ridiculous. I watched the Real Player stream instead. Although the quality suffered because of it, it was good enough for me. The other option was WiMP. Kudos to these guys. Well done. Go watch the 15 minute episode!

    Posted in: Technology · Web

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  4. Sponge May Provide Boost To Fiber Optics

    jake on 2003.08.21
    at 12:45 pm

    Thank you SpongeBob SquarePants!

    The "Venus flower basket" is a sponge that lives in the cold deep waters of the ocean. It has fibers on it's body that can transmit light better than the man made fiber optic cables that are currently manufactured.

    "You can actually tie a knot in these natural biological fibers and they will not break it's really quite amazing," said Joanna Aizenberg, who led the research at Bell Laboratories.

    BBC News
    CNET News
    Google News Search

    Posted in: Science · Technology

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  5. Web Standards on NPR

    brian on 2003.08.21
    at 02:27 am

    Paul Ford had a commentary on NPR's All Things Considered August 7th regarding the messed up language of the web and how it really should follow web standards. Wonder how many people driving their cars at that time fell instantly asleep? (It made sense to me, at least, nor did I doze off...)

    Posted in: Web

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  6. Texas Senators in Exile

    brian on 2003.08.20
    at 10:00 pm

    Republicans in Texas have literally driven Democratic State Senators into exile across state lines, under threat of arrest.

    Here's one's story, straight from Albuquerque.

    This is the second time this year this has occurred. Have the Democrats done something wrong? Nope, but Tom Delay is looking for more Republicans from Texas in the state and national levels, so he's orchestrating an abnormal redistricting plan. Normally, redistricting only happens once a decade, but now, the Texan Republican have decided to do it now when they're in control and can use it to minimize the impact of minority and Democratic strongholds.

    Land of the free? Apparently not in Texas.

    Posted in: Politics

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  7. Virus attack

    brian on 2003.08.20
    at 01:19 am

    I got lots of virus invested emails today. Others in Boston did too. I, unsurprisingly, went unaffected, other than deleting 30some virus-laiden emails. Normally, I enjoy being in the minority, but days like these make me wish the other 95% would hop on the cluetrain.

    [note: this is basically the same as the post I made on 37SvN. After posting that, I figured it was a good thing to have here, too]

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  8. New Modded Mini-Tabs

    jake on 2003.08.19
    at 03:28 pm

    Dan has pushed mini-tabs to a new level by incorporating images. These also work in vertical.


    Posted in: Design · Standards · Web

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  9. Texas Cleaning Up its Act?

    brian on 2003.08.18
    at 01:52 pm

    It seems Texas, traditionally home to oil-barons and the country's most polluted city (Houston) may be cleaning up its act. It seems the state has snuck to #2 in the country in production of wind-generated power. Wired has the shocking details.

    Posted in: Technology

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  10. 64-bit Computing holds Great Promise

    brian on 2003.08.18
    at 01:38 pm

    The New York Times has written an article describing the benefits of Apple's deployment of the 64-bit G5 Chip.

    Thirty-two bit processors are limited to a theoretical maximum of handling 4 billion bytes of RAM per task. (A byte equals eight bits.) But by the magic of exponential math, a 64-bit processor can theoretically handle 16 quintillion (or 16 billion billion) bytes of RAM. For all current practical purposes, that is an infinite amount.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  11. Fox News Sues Franken

    brian on 2003.08.17
    at 11:30 am

    You can’t even name your own book in this country anymore. Fox News Channel is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, “Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”

    FNC uses “Fair and Balanced” as a tagline of theirs. Of course, anyone who’s ever watched FNC knows that this is the funniest tagline they could have chosen. The claim the title plus the layout of the cover (resembling one by Bill O’Reilly, one of their commentators) will some how mislead the public in to somehow thinking this trumpeter of all things conservative has suddenly endorsed the ideas of one of the most liberal minds on the national scene.

    Of course, that’s hogwash. And you know, we should really step up and protect corporations like FNC from individual citizens like Franken. (see Daily Show, 6mb QT video clip)

    Posted in: Politics · Television

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  12. Monk

    brian on 2003.08.16
    at 01:17 am

    If you're not familiar with Adrian Monk, you should really tune in. Quite enjoyable.

    Posted in: Television

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  13. Awesome Blackout Links

    brian on 2003.08.16
    at 01:10 am

    Cam Barrett has an awesome piece up on the blackout, linking to fellow NYC blogger's stories and pictures of the Great Blackout of 2003. For the record, even though Massachusetts was shown all the maps as being effected, only a very few, Western Mass. areas were affected. New England has its own grid that interfaces with the one that went down, but ours protected itself a little better from the domino effect than others, apparently. The Boston area didn't even flinch, luckily.

    How I found out about the blackout: I was speaking with a father and son who were inquiring about a 12" PowerBook. He pulled out his RIM Blackberry Phone which has a news headline "Four States and Canada Lose Power." "Sounds like that could be terrorism, hey?" He said, almost nonchalantly.

    Posted in: Recent Events

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  14. They Can't See the Big Picture

    brian on 2003.08.16
    at 12:52 am

    Large organizations make poor decisions due to layers of people who can't see the big picture. Or who look out for themselves first, the organization second. Along these lines I present an article from Robert X. Cringely (a pen name, I believe), which talks about why IT departments avoid Macintosh (job security) and why large software companies are outsourcing coding to India (short-sighted cost calculations). Beancounters are rarely visionaries.

    Posted in: Software

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  15. New Wheels

    brian on 2003.08.16
    at 12:22 am

    Today we took delivery of a (new to us) Saab 9-3 5 door sedan. It's black, turbo-charged, has five doors (for the uninitiated, that means it has four normal doors, and a hatchback) and 5-spoke alloys. We're very happy with it.

    Posted in: Auto

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  16. Diamonds are for everyone

    jake on 2003.08.13
    at 07:13 pm

    Wired Magazine has a long article this month about new man made diamonds. Two different technologies have emerged recently where machines are used to fabricate diamonds. Diamonds are currently being monopolized by De Beers. They own a high percentage of the world's natural diamonds.

    Along with creating diamonds to be used in jewelry there are many reasons to happy in the semiconductor business. Especially for Apollo Diamond, which was started with that end result in mind. A diamond can be heated well beyond current silicon chips.

    I was not planning on buying my future wife a diamond a while ago. I figured she could handle something else, considering De Beers isn't exactly the type of company I would like to put money into. Now, especially considering I don't plan on getting married any time soon, I have an alternative to that plan. If she really wants a diamond I can just get a man made one and be promoting technology instead of a monopoly.

    "It is not a symbol of eternal love if it is something that was created last week."

    Well I beg to differ, I'd say it's not a symbol of eternal love if there's a stockpile in a warehouse that's collecting dust. Or if it is a blood diamond. I don't plan on giving De Beers any of my money.

    Posted in: Hardware · Science · Technology

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  17. Politics and Science, and Lies.

    brian on 2003.08.10
    at 11:54 pm

    A website, built by a member of Congress('s staff, that is) that details specific instances where the all the Presidents men have distorted scientific fact, or in other cases flat out gone against science, all for political gain.

    Politics & Science: Investigating the Bush Administration's Promotion of Ideology Over Science.

    The Bush Administration has manipulated, distorted, or interfered with science on health, environmental, and other key issues.

    Not that this is unimaginable considering the White House's current resident, but why isn't this on the Evening News? What if the President told (a/countless) lie(s) and nobody cared?

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  18. Dean's many faces

    brian on 2003.08.10
    at 06:46 pm

    Howard Dean is an interesting candidate for the 2004 Presidency. Not only does he have a devoted grassroots following, but he's the first candidate in the history of the presidency to truly, officially harness the power of the internet. Most of his donations are under one hundred dollars, just like those to Ralph Nader in 2000, except that there are a ten thousand-fold more registered Democrats in America from which to receive them, and they've started early!

    Now, Democrats everywhere shuttered when I mentioned Ralph and Howard in the same sentence. They want to be progressive, but they want to be look attractive to people who consider themselves middle America. They want to portray his ability to win, and not just be a protest choice. The sad thing is that 2/3rds of Americans are registered Democrats, policy-free surveys often show people's sensibilities tend to be quite progressive when they aren't associated with politics. For some reasons, Americans have an undying need to be perceived as "middle of the road" in politics, even if their beliefs veer hard left. (Side note, I hate the terms "left" and "right." This would put politics on a 2-D plane, which it clearly is not. If anything it's spherical. For example, if you're for personal responsibility and believe that companies will do anything for money that laws will allow [and that that is a bad thing], where does that put you?)

    Anyhow, here's the reading for the day. A non-partisan review of comments made about Howard Dean. It's a collection of 17 comparisons of who Dean is like, from all over the political and even fictional realm (Josiah Bartlet, anyone?).

    Posted in: Politics

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  19. Blogs at Harvard

    brian on 2003.08.10
    at 05:53 pm

    Since I'm in Boston, should I make some attempt to attend BloggerCon?

    I've long been muling my Thurday night activities, and whether they should include a trip to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, at Harvard Law School. The Berkman hosts Thursday night sessions on weblogs with blogging-famous name/ fellow Dave Winer.

    Perhaps if Jake would take a Friday off, we could check it out.

    Posted in: Web

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  20. Maher rides again, uncensored.

    brian on 2003.08.10
    at 05:15 pm

    Bill Maher has a weblog. Cool.

    Posted in: Cool Info · Web

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  21. Dense fog settling in

    jake on 2003.08.08
    at 07:45 pm

    Two fog stories, completely unrelated, that are pretty cool.

    The first one is about a camera technology that removes fog from film. Dubbed Dmist, the technology "can be plugged straight into a normal video camera."

    The device works by taking out the light scattered by water particles so the picture can be recovered in colour, as if it were being shot on a clear day.

    Professor Nigel Allinson, from UMIST, said it had potential for airports - where fog can shut down operations, costing thousands of pounds in delays.

    The second reminds me of one of the shows in DisneyLand/World where they project images onto a mist of water. In this case a thin film of "dry" fog is projected onto.

    The basic components of the screen are a laminar, non-turbulent airflow, and a thin fog screen (or any particles) injected into and inside a laminar flow. Created this way, the fog screen is an internal part of the laminar airflow, and remains thin, crisp, and protected from turbulence. When the screen is formed, images can be either rear- or front-projected onto it. The screen can be translucent (as in the images below) or fully opaque. Our current fog screen prototype already proves the operating principle with excellent results. The quality, size, and other features of the screen will be enhanced in the coming weeks.

    The Walk-thru Fog Screen

    Posted in: Hardware · Science · Technology

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  22. Biostar has released a SFF PC

    jake on 2003.08.08
    at 07:22 pm

    I'm surprised this flew under my radar considering all the tech sites I go to regularly, not to mention Anandtech and Blues News didn't have any coverage that I remember. Biostar released a SFF PC line recently that leaps to the front of the pack with Shuttle. There are four configurations, two based on AMD processors, and two based on Intel processors.

    The one I'm most interested in is based on the Nforce2 chipset. It not only comes with basically everything my Shuttle has, it also provides a roomier case design, and SATA. Beautiful! This machine just jumped to the head of the pack for me, especially beause it's close in price to the Shuttle.


    Posted in: Hardware

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  23. Fuzzy Science?

    jake on 2003.08.08
    at 06:34 pm

    According to a report by the minority staff of the House Committee on Government Reform is accusing the Bush Administration of fudging scientific studies to push their agenda. While I'm sure the report (Democratic) is a biased document they do make some good points.

    On agricultural pollution, the Agriculture Department has issued tight controls on government scientists seeking to publish information that could have an adverse impact on industry, the report said. It cited the case of a microbiologist, James Zahn, who was denied permission to publish findings on the dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria near hog farms in the Midwest.

    The web site that is related has a list of the major points.

    The New York Times (free registration required)

    Posted in: Politics

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  24. Tobacco firm courting celebrities toward brand

    jake on 2003.08.08
    at 06:17 pm

    Freedom Tobacco is making an attempt to push its new cigarettes with adult celebrities. If you are to believe the study(1) recently concluded, this is a side step to advertising to a young audience.

    I can see where activists have a problem with this. If the study's results are accurate then teens watching celebrities smoke onscreen will emulate them. And what are you most likely to smoke if you learn from a celebrity. Whatever they're having.

    Posted in: Movies · Politics · Television

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  25. Giant Panda = Bizarro-Bunny

    jake on 2003.08.08
    at 06:07 pm

    After many years of being unsuccessful two giant pandas have gotten pregnant. A new male was brought in after the first proved unsuccessful. Bai Yun is actually pregnant with twins. Zoo officials are not positive when she will give birth. They also stated that they're not sure who the father is because after Gao Gao and Bai Yun mated a couple of times, they tried to artificially inseminate with Shi Shi's sperm. Looks like the topic for a future talk show.

    Posted in: Science

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  26. Recommended: Don't Buy Music

    brian on 2003.08.03
    at 02:05 am

    Enjoyed today at work (hat tip, R021 Genii),

    Don't Buy Music

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  27. Overseen

    brian on 2003.08.03
    at 01:59 am

    Book title seen on the "T" ride home today...

    Clinical MicroBiology Made Ridiculously Easy.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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