1. Heading a soccer ball can damage your neck.

    jake on 2004.02.28
    at 03:19 am

    This hits to close to home. Though I think sitting in front of my monitor all day doesn't help either. New Scientist has an article discussing neck problems from heading a ball. I'm no professional but I hope I'm not screwing my neck up more by playing my favorite sport.

    Compared with non-players, the soccer players had less flexible necks, more movement between and damage to the cervical discs, and greater compression of the spinal cord, the researchers report. Typically, this sort of degeneration is only found in much older patients, Korkusuz says.

    Posted in: Science · Sports

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  2. EFF Suggests Legit P2P Music Sharing for $5

    brian on 2004.02.27
    at 06:39 pm

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced a brilliant white paper (admission: I only read the "executive summary") on how the music industry can finally halt their barrage of costly litigation, in exchange for a phenomenal opt-in revenue stream, and the legitimization of music downloads over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

    Their idea stems from history: when the music industry thought radio was the pirate du jour, and set up a mechanism for getting paid from that industry, and excluding any necessary legislative acts.

    Best parts:

    • US$5 per month for unlimited P2P use.
    • Opt in: if you don't download, you're not penalised: other ideas have included taxes on blank CDs... which penalize people who may not be downloading music... making everyone foot the bill for someone else's collection habits.
    • No new laws, no new lawsuits.
    • Lifting murky legal issues would allow the downloading technologies to really refine themselves.

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  3. Good News in Small Packages

    brian on 2004.02.27
    at 04:22 am

    Lest you think I only complain about how bad things are in American politics, here's a more uplifting note. Scientists, regular people, even small children around the world are creating solutions to age old issues (irrigation and water purification, for example) with smaller, low-tech inventions. Best off all they're cheaper and more efficient than those that came before, with less non desirable side effects. Check out "The Big Promise of the Small — small-scale technology for solving water shortage problems".

    Posted in: Technology

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  4. The Worst Kind of Propaganda

    brian on 2004.02.27
    at 03:45 am

    Bush Backs New Terrorism TV Series.

    ...government agencies have rallied their resources and support behind the vision of DHS--The Series, including President G. W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who both endorse and contribute sound bites to the introductions of the series."

    When asked to elaborate on Bush and Ridge's involvement, show representatives told E! Online, "They love it. They think it is fantastic,"

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  5. Office for Special Plans

    brian on 2004.02.24
    at 10:58 pm

    Reading Solider of Truth. A retired, conservative, 20 year Air Force vet who worked inside the Pentagon writes her take on the build up to war. You might be surprised by what she has to say.

    Posted in: Politics

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  6. The Media are Always Right

    brian on 2004.02.24
    at 03:29 pm

    We Have the Power (via Matthew Gross, from CQ)

    Establishment Media
    Dean Press Corps 2004
    — T-Shirt given to Dr. Dean by the Press Corp

    "You certainly do have the power" — Dean, same day, as they gave him the T-shirt.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  7. Grey Tuesday is Today

    brian on 2004.02.24
    at 02:59 am

    It's Grey Tuesday. Kottke for example, is participating. I wrote this up a few days ago.

    Today, and everyday this site is grey. I don't care whether you think that's a coincidence or not. ;-)

    Posted in: Music · Politics

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  8. TiVO To Go Feedback

    brian on 2004.02.24
    at 02:37 am

    TiVo wants to know what you want. This is a great chance to feedback on the future of the TiVo. Remember ask for extra-special Mac support! The basis of the research is the possibility of transferring video to and from your PC to your TiVo, including DVD recording. It would involve a physical key (USB dongle) to allow play back on non-TiVO devices. They also ask about if you'd like to edit your video.

    What did I want? Here's a summary of the stuff I suggested in the free-form sections...

    • First, I want to be able to edit any video with iMovie, and be able to burn through iDVD.
    • TiVOToGo must respect me, and not treat me like a criminal. I want to use my media, and have 100% control.
    • Standard formats! Steer clear of proprietary. MPEG & DV formats. (MPEG 4, specifically-- this would also address the lack off AAC support in the Home Media Option). Open source stuff would be cool, too.
    • Network enabling is important. I would want to be able to stream across a home network (802.11g should have enough bandwidth, if the video is compressed in MPEG4). I would LOVE to stream video from my TiVO across the internet. Watch something while I'm on lunch at work, you know, make the Digital Media Server, an actual server.

    Go put in your two cents.

    Posted in: Media · Technology

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  9. Pentagon to Bush: Climate Change is our #1 Threat

    brian on 2004.02.24
    at 01:23 am

    Wow. This is blockbuster. Will Bush listen to his own Pentagon? He's the defense President, right? The Pentagon is telling George Bush something that he wouldn't hear from the EPA (and their administrator left because of it), that the number one threat to United States security to is climate change.

    Now, does the Pentagon realize that its perhaps the number one polluter in the US, if not the world? That it has no environmental restrictions on its equipment and grounds?

    UPDATE: A more balanced view of the report, which isn't nearly as serious or secret as the international press has stated. The report is still valid in many respects, however.

    Futurists see world coming to awful stew.

    Also see, Life After The Oil Crash, another end-days scenario that's worth a look, if nothing else...

    Posted in: Politics

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  10. Declan McCullagh on outsourcing

    jake on 2004.02.23
    at 04:26 pm

    Cnet makes a few points about outsourcing IT jobs. Basically that it's not all bad.

    Consider what would happen if Congress restricted companies from shifting jobs overseas. Because rivals in Europe, Japan and Korea could employ cheaper workers in developing nations, they'd have a leg up on U.S. firms. Foreign investors would recognize that rising protectionism makes U.S. companies less competitive and would choose to take their yen and euros elsewhere, driving down the U.S. stock market, shrinking available capital, and eventually leading to more unemployment than if Congress had done nothing.

    I just keep thinking, there's got to be more to all of this than the paranoia. I'm pretty much sick of all the pompous thoughts surrounding this issue.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  11. Nader's In

    brian on 2004.02.23
    at 01:09 am

    Nader announced his candidacy on Meet the Press, Sunday. He now has an official website up, Notice the site is not Someone else has put a site there. Funny. Wrong, but funny.

    I think people criticizing Nader's candidacy should get off their horse. I will not be voting for Ralph this cycle, as I did in 2000. I stand by my choice in 2000, as I was promoting the growth of the Green Party, as I believe the two party system in this country is leading us straight to ruin. It's well proven that Ralph didn't tip any election to Bush. People don't want to hear that, as scapegoats make losers feel better. If the Democrats were true leaders of progressive values, then there would have been no problem. But they aren't entitled to anything from Progressive voters. They've done nothing to earn that. In fact, they've never been closer to the Republicans. They are mired in corporate politics as much as the Republicans.

    Nader's candidacy illustrates two points:

    • The Democrats don't up hold Progressive values.
    • The voting system in this country is so messed up that people plead to third party candidates to stay out of the race. People need to be able to vote their conscious, not their fears.

    The Democrats had someone who addressed the first point with an excited base and proven results. But Democrats voted their fears, not hopes, business as usual, and their best hope for change was forced aside. If we had an election system that allowed people to vote for who they believed in, not in who they think other people will tollerate, then that certain candidate would have won in a land slide. Since that was the case, someone had to enter the race to keep the candidates focused on people, not corporations. Good for you Ralph.

    Posted in: Politics

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  12. Of American Soliders in Mongolia

    brian on 2004.02.21
    at 04:33 am

    I found it a surprise that the United States has a military presence in Mongolia. A small one yes, but influential. And Americans are apparently well liked in Mongolia, in spite of our current administration's attempts to offend the world.

    This story in the Atlantic Monthly is a long, fascinating tale of Colonel Tom Wilhelm, a military envoy to Mongolia. Not only are his adventures in the ancient country intriguing, but the man has a striking mentality.

    If I had a read a story like this in high school, I might have altered my professional course in life. The US Army needs to promote this unknown, internationally savvy side of itself. To hell with this "Army of One" crap, and shooting up the world. Let's move on, and talk about embracing the world like this man has, by having joint missions with armies around the world. The more we intermingle, the less likely we are to want to blow each other up. Hopefully, that's the future of military operations: to stop conflict without conflict.

    Posted in: Politics

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  13. MacMinute's RSS in-feed ads

    brian on 2004.02.20
    at 04:42 am

    MacMinute has begun putting advertising in their RSS feed. Previously, the feed was just the first few lines from a story. Now its a few lines, plus a complete ad, with link. I think it should be one way (blurb to pull me to the site to see ads, understandable) or the other (full post, plus ad to pay for it, understandable) but not both (blurb + ad... just not fair).

    What's your thoughts? Seen ads in your RSS feeds?

    Posted in: Apple · Web

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  14. Truth, Perspective on the SUV

    brian on 2004.02.20
    at 04:01 am

    I won't sound off on the SUV. Simply read what I consider the objective truth.

    [It could do without the jab at the Macintosh, especially since the point is invalid: the iMac is not just the Mac that came before it repackaged. It was a revolutionary design setting the tone for computers for the next ten years. Not comparible to adding two more doors to a pickup.]

    Posted in: Auto

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  15. Grey Tuesday

    brian on 2004.02.20
    at 01:08 am

    If you haven't heard, the biggest thing in Hip Hop right now is "The Grey Album," a remix of Jay-Z's "The Black Album" a cappella vocals over top of DJ Danger Mouse's amazing remix of The Beatles (yes, The Beatles) "The White Album." I finally found the work last night and downloaded it. Very interesting, even if Hip Hop isn't your main genre.

    Now, you'll notice that I downloaded it, and didn't buy it. That's because I can't buy it, it's not for sale. It's a free work of art. That works like this: Jay-Z and his producers decided to release a version of his final album, with out any of the instrumentals, allowing others to remix the work. Since that, there have been a few notable releases, for example, "The Brown Album," which remixes Jay over top of jazz samples. I hear its very good (its next on my find list).

    DJ DangerMouse wanted to remix Jay-Z, using nothing but samples derived from perhaps the most famous album of all time. What you may not know is that now a days, you must pay a royalty to anyone you sample in a remix or Hip Hop tune. A far cry from the early, ground breaking work of the Beastie Boys in "Paul's Boutique." Such an album simply could not be made today, as the licensing fees would be astronomical. This is why "The Grey Album" was released on the Internet, without any direct benefit to DJ DM. He couldn't possibly afford to license those samples, so he didn't attempt to make a profit from it. It's not unlike a band playing a cover tune. An example, if the Dave Matthews Band plays "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan in concert, they don't have to pay a royalty (in my understanding) since they're not advertising that they're playing someone else's music, and are only covering one of his songs. This isn't the sole reason, or even a major fact as to why someone would buy a ticket to see them play. Hence, they don't owe a royalty. However, if they want to include that same song on their latest live album, the same song would need to have royalties since the album is selling his song as part of the advertised product.

    Now in this case, DJ DM isn't making any money (he's certainly upping his recognition, though, but he could have done that by covering Ricky Martin in an American Idol audition, too, while not paying a royalty) on the work of The Beatles. He is doing a few other things, that have positive economic benefits. First of all, I don't know of many Hip Hop fans who regularly listen to the Beatles. This promotes their work in a less penetrated market, makes them current to a younger generation. Secondly, it spreads the work of Jay-Z to people who might not have even bought (or even listened to) any Jay-Z album, who simply can't believe, and must listen for themselves to, a Hip Hop album built masterfully upon a rock 'n' roll standard.

    I find myself in the second group. I've always felt that Jay Z was a talented lyricist, although I don't necessarily care much for boastfulness, so I never invested much in him as an artist, per se. I had respect for him as a performer. Now, having listened to his words, I now know he has something to say (along side the token "bitches" and "ho's" "playas" "coca" "hustlers" etc.) , and I very well may invest in some of his work, most of all, ""The Black Album," since I now want to hear the original. I want to know what the hell HOVA stands for (yeah, I've heard the song, but I never listened closely enough to know that it serves as an AKA for him).

    Why do we still listen to the music of the 1600's, 1800's? Because the music of Beethoven, Bach, Holst lives on because its constantly replayed and reinterpreted by modern orchestras and conductors. "Borrowing from another artwork--as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s--will now land you in court." (quote from Illegal Art's site) However, most things in the 1900s will not receive the same immortality. They will perish due to the fatal repression of today's constrictive copyright. Most artists get their inspiration from other artists. A classic quote is "Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal."

    The Grey Album is great art.

    EMI is cracking down on the free distribution of this work. Grey Tuesday is a day of civil disobedience, February 24, 2004, where many websites will ban together to distribute the album in a sign of solidarity against short-sighted, artistically-asphyxiating copyrights. Join in. Get your copy at (aptly named) Illegal Art. Enjoy. Support art. Support artistic freedom.

    Posted in: Media · Music

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  16. White House Accused of Distorting Facts

    brian on 2004.02.18
    at 08:31 pm


    The New York Times reports on the Administration's latest policy-over-fact adventures...

    The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad, a group of about 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement issued today.

    Posted in: Politics · Science

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  17. A Police State Watches You

    brian on 2004.02.17
    at 08:06 pm

    Ever protest something, or join an activist group? Thought the days of the FBI or police undercover agents watching these groups went out with J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon? You're wrong. According to this two part series in Salon, it may never have been worse. Watch your back.

    Salon feature Part 1 Link, Part 2 Link.

    Posted in: Politics

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  18. Apple goes RSS

    brian on 2004.02.17
    at 04:38 pm

    Apple now has a page with all of its RSS feeds in one place. Score.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology · Web

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  19. Pulling closed captioning on various programming

    jake on 2004.02.17
    at 12:15 pm

    I came across an interesting post about a bunch of shows losing closed captioning. I'm not sure what to make of it, I found it first at Boing Boing, which led me to a post at Neil Gaiman's blog. This pointed out an article and the list of actual shows "censored."

    Of course everyone is chiming in with opinions. So far I've seen a bunch of stuff about the lack of programming containing witchcraft material. But it goes a lot further that that. And mostly it doesn't make sense.

    It's based on five people who don't know each other and didn't have any collaboration, probably they were asked to take an overly simplified survey.

    We have found the identity of one of the panelists. This individual tells us that he never knew he was on such a panel and that his views would be used for censorship. No panel was convened. The five panelists were contacted individually and separately.

    Along with the witchcraft shows, a bunch of cartoons, including The Simpsons and Scooby Doo were flagged, and a lot of sports programming. Mostly live telecasts of events. Which is going to go over well in bars where you can't hear the audio.

    The big thing I noticed was the discrepancies... some shows that were flagged while similar ones were not. The writers pointing out witchraft mentioned that Sabrina is being blocked. But only " Sabrina, The Animated Series" is mentioned. So syndicated versions of the live action (yes I know they were closed captioned in the past) are still going to be able to taint our youth. ;)

    But beyond that smaller problem I have trouble believing this one... A show that is still being cc'd is Amazing Animal Videos, a show where you watch family pets and the occasional wild animal do something stupid on camera.

    See some amazing videos of animals of every shape and size misbehaving and acting out of character. With interviews explaining the stories behind the footage.

    While two other programs, Emergency Vets and K9 to 5 are not being cc'd. This is odd when you consider the comment that was made to the The National Association of the Deaf

    The National Association of the Deaf says the government used to caption these shows but abruptly changed course, deciding that the shows don't fit the required definition of "educational, news or informational" programming.

    Am I wrong in thinking that closed captioning programs should be covered by the Disability Act? I'm not sure where all this is going, but censoring any show, regardless of content, should not happen.

    Posted in: Service Announcement · Television

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  20. Kerry v Bush Military Records

    brian on 2004.02.15
    at 11:22 pm

    Mother Jones compares Kerry and Bush's Military experience. Interesting. Humorous...

    Posted in: Politics

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  21. More on Bush Video

    brian on 2004.02.14
    at 03:07 am

    Also available in the Bush via Stewart Collection, "Bush on Meet the Press, dissected."

    Posted in: Humor · Politics · Technology

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  22. Bush v Bush

    brian on 2004.02.12
    at 06:17 pm

    Gov. GW Bush debates President GW Bush on foreign policy. Open with Real Player. If you have trouble, follow the below link.

    (Thanks, J. Stewart)

    Posted in: Humor · Politics

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  23. Related Wired article to last post

    jake on 2004.02.12
    at 12:40 pm

    I get Wired Magazine every month, and they actually did a cover story on this topic in the February issue. The article makes some good points about how while IT outsourcing isn't necessarily a good thing, we are definitely whining about it a lot.

    Isn't the emergence of a vibrant middle class in an otherwise poor country a spectacular achievement, the very confirmation of the wonders of globalization - not to mention a new market for American goods and services? And if this transition pinches a little, aren't Americans being a tad hypocritical by whining about it? After all, where is it written that IT jobs somehow belong to Americans - and that any non-American who does such work is stealing the job from its rightful owner?

    And this other point keeps me in the grey area of the whole situation. I'd probably be sitting on the fence less if I was out of a job because of outsourcing but I do believe it can have its place.

    Today, even innovative firms spend too much money maintaining products: fixing bugs and rolling out nearly identical 2.0 versions. Less than 30 percent of R&D spending at mature software firms goes to true innovation, according to the consulting firm Tech Strategy Partners. Send the maintenance to India and, even after costs, 20 percent of the budget is freed up to come up with the next breakthrough app. The result: more workers focused on real innovation. What comes after services? Creativity.

    Posted in: Technology

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  24. Cringely On Overseas Tech Outsourcing

    brian on 2004.02.11
    at 11:48 pm

    Cringely hits it on the head with this week's column.

    Posted in: Technology

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  25. Polaroid x530 - First Foveon Sensor in a Consumer Camera

    jake on 2004.02.11
    at 06:30 pm

    Image of Foveon x530I have a few links about this topic down below. I've been a big fan of Foveon's x3 chip for a while now. But the only way to get it was from a Sigma SLR which can cost a pretty penny.

    Now Polaroid is producing a camera at the mid range consumer level. I'll have to wait for some reviews before knowing if it's something I'm interested in (I'm a fan of high end cameras, but I can't afford the $1,000+ price tag & lenses just yet). But I like the trend of bringing this beautiful technology to to this level. Plus based on the numbers, this looks like it's 4.5 megapicels versus 3.4 in the Sigma, of course that could be missleading since the x3 isn't the same type of sensor usually compared by megapixels.

    NY Times (from Gizmodo)
    PhotographyBLOG 2

    Posted in: Photography · Technology

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  26. Spider-Man Covers

    jake on 2004.02.11
    at 05:16 pm

    Cover of Spider-Man ComicAnother great link from Cory at Boing Boing. The Spider-Man Cover Archive. Roughly 4000 covers have been scanned and archived. I have included one from an issue I actually own form when I was younger.

    Posted in: Art

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  27. The Call of the West

    brian on 2004.02.09
    at 12:45 pm

    I don't know what it was this morning, but hearing about the 129 mile closure of Interstate 80 on Sunday, and following a link at the bottom of the story to the Wyoming Highway Department which has web cameras of Wyoming by-ways, something just clicked. A desire that I've had for a long time to simply roam the big sky country. Yeah, it's 10° there. Yeah it's hundreds of miles of open land. Of course, none of this has ever been a bad thing to me.

    Hopefully, this summer, when we have a couple of friends getting married in Washington State, we'll be able to take a cross country road trip. Interstate 90 goes from Boston to Seattle. it would likely be our main route. Of course, we'd likely try lots of side roads, as well.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  28. Frontpage slip

    jake on 2004.02.08
    at 01:46 am

    I've never been a fan of Microsoft Frontpage, it's about one step up from designing with Word. But Microsoft is trying to "clean up" its image, too bad Dave found a flaw in one of their ads.

    Posted in: Humor · Standards · Web

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  29. OmniWeb 5 beta review

    jake on 2004.02.04
    at 01:51 pm

    John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a comprehensive review of the new version of OmniWeb. He points out some great new features. Along with the intersting take on "tabs" the best feature has to be workspaces.

    Thus, even if you never use multiple workspaces, you can still love the feature. If you’ve got multiple windows and dozens of tabs open, you can quit OmniWeb, and when you relaunch it, the windows and tabs will be restored, exactly how they were when you quit.

    Besides a couple extensions for Mozilla/Firebird the only other browser that does this is Opera. Something along these lines should have been priority one with tabbed interfaces.

    Posted in: Apple · Software

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  30. Smart Man Acts Stupid

    brian on 2004.02.04
    at 02:47 am


    How can a smart man (a Harvard Business professor) be so stupid about something (Apple) despite studying them for years? Basically in the article (which contains several inconsistances, and some down right inaccuracies) this guys says, like everyone else, that Apple is dead meat, unless it starts operating like everyone else ("like, Dell, like Microsoft, like BMW, like Gucci"). And he's been saying it for over a decade. When does history inform us our theories are wrong? The guy has the stupidity to suggest Apple adopt an Microsoft OS. That's when he conceded he really doesn't know a damn thing about technology. He also said that the iPod played proprietary files. How'd this guy sneak into Harvard, while being so ignorant of facts?

    Why does Apple have to be like other companies? Isn't it glaringly obvious by now that Apple's success is because they aren't like anyone else?

    "Apple Computer. Going Out Of Business since 1977, and Loving every minute of it!"

    Posted in: Apple

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