1. Tuna ships inadvertantly killing dolphins

    jake on 2004.05.18
    at 10:04 pm

    Dolphin and calfThis has been collecting dust in my browser, but I finally got to write about this tab. Dolphins are still being affected by tuna fleets. Dolphins used to be killed because they were trapped in the fish nets. But the true problem is their proximity to tuna schools. Tuna gather near dolphins so the fishing ships follow them around. Then the dolphins are herded away to allow catching of the tuna. But in doing this the calves are separated from their mothers. The calf however uses its mother to draft. Similar to professional cyclists. And without the mothers help can have trouble reconnecting with the group. This is a horrible secondary effect (after the whole catching them in nets business) of human ignorance.

    "As the mother (dolphin) moves through the water, she pushes the water in front of her forwards and to the sides, to make space for her body," Weihs told Discovery News. "As she moves, the space behind her is filled with water moving forward and inward. If the baby is (positioned to the right) obliquely behind, it gets dragged along by the forward-moving water."

    Posted in: Science

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  2. Strawberry Shake Shootout

    brian on 2004.05.18
    at 07:12 pm

    Here's two reviews of recent Strawberry Milkshakes I've consumed.

    JP Licks Strawberry Frappe.

    To start, if you don't know what a Frappe is, that's OK. It's New England for "thin milkshake." That's going to skew things in my review, I'll admit. I prefer shakes that are thick. But I won't penalize JPL on grounds of style, however, being thinner, the drink loses its cool faster. A factor when walking the three or so blocks home while enjoying your treat.

    The Frappe is made with JP's own ice cream, which is of famously high quality. From what I could tell, The ingredients of my frappe were one ladel of chunky strawberry topping (ostensibly made of actual stawberries and syrup) some unknown amount of hard ice cream (assumedly vanilla) and my choice of whole or skim milk (I chose skim). Fresh, high quality ice cream base is going to give JPL the lion's share of their points. Flavor was pretty much spot on. Not too much on the sweet side, not too much on the milky side. I did get chunks of strawberry up the straw. However, a section I will penalize on is the grounds of price. There's only one size on the menu. Luckily for me, this was the quantity I wanted. But it weighs in at $4.50 before tax ($4.73 after). Ouch. The "Extra-Thick Frappe" is $4.75 on the menu.

    Things that I don't factor into the score here are ambience of the shop (I visited my local Coolidge Corner location, very nice) or quality of the server (equally good). But I thought I'd add that in.

    I give JP Licks' Strawberry Frappe a 3.5 out of 5 asterisks. JP Licks has 7 locations throughout the Boston area. But no website to link to. Here's a link to a review of their Newbury Street location.

    {Totally unrelated, on my walk back from JP Licks, my iPod treated me to one of my favorite songs, Recently, by the Dave Matthews Band - off the 1993 self-released "Remember Two Things." This is where I got the inspiration for our weblog's name (although its entirely relevant on its own). }


    McDonald's Corp Strawberry Shake

    OK, now turning to an easier to find milkshake, we'll take a look at McD's. Here, the most points are scored right off the bat with a very good thickness. Just shy of "damn-near-impossible-to-sip." Also, McD's scores big points for value for your dollar. The medium size (16oz) is plenty big, and cost just less than $2. The flavor and ingredients are where McD's predictably slips. The flavor was surprisingly passable, but simply cannot compare to an actual ice cream shop. I've also had a vanilla shake once from McD's and thought it tasted like an oil slick, and promptly got a stomach ache from its unknown ingredients.

    Speaking of ingredients, one can only assume the shake is made of some form of McD's standard ice milk, which would save you a little on the fat side, but we don't make such considerations here. Additionally, the source of that dairy is likely very corporate in nature... surely not of ice cream shop quality, and the flavorings, colorings and thickening agents are partially of artificial nature. Big minuses in our book. However, in McDonald's defense, here are the actual ingredients from the shake I consumed. Surprisingly, strawberries are actually on the list. Unsurprisingly, there are preservatives.

    Again, ambience will not be factored in, as we stopped on the MassPike at 11pm on a Saturday night, that's good for McD's score. But it also does well in another unscored catagory of convenience.

    I give McD's Strawberry Shake a score of two asterisks out of five.

    Posted in: Cool Info

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  3. Montanans Sign Up

    brian on 2004.05.18
    at 02:07 pm

    Montanans are signing up in their traditional numbers to serve their country. I really respect anyone who has the courage and patriotism to put on the uniform and put their life on the line. These Montanans agree with me. However,

    "What they hear everyday in the pick-up truck is a nationalistic point of view that isn't challenged very much,"

    I am also of the belief that part of being a patriotic American is questioning authority and making sure the country isn't being led in the wrong direction. I still respect these guy's bravery, no doubt, but let's remember that war heros aren't the only heros. Guns, while important in some contexts, are not the only method of defending your country.

    Posted in: Politics

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  4. OLED display at NextFest

    jake on 2004.05.18
    at 01:17 pm

    I've posted a bunch of times about OLEDs in the past. Coming up next is Wired's NextFest where Universal Display Corporation will be showcasing some applications of the technology. I really wish this stuff was mainstream already.

    From: Engadget

    Posted in: Technology

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  5. Ben and Mena Interview, MT pricing commentary

    brian on 2004.05.18
    at 03:54 am

    I downloaded and enjoyed this audio interview that was conducted with Ben and Mena Trott of Six Apart. It accompanied me to work on the train via the blessed iPod. The interview was recorded just prior to their Moveable Type 3.0 licensing announcement that stirred up such a storm and has ruled the web development world over the last week or so.

    For the record, these guys deserve to make a buck after giving away their excellent product for like 3 years. Forget the rest, and pay up. Even if you qualify to use it for free, pay up, in my opinion. Could their commercial pricing schemes use a little reconsideration? Yeah, I would say so. But are there plenty of alternatives on the market, many excellent and free? Yes. Will the market eventually determine the legitimacy of the price? In this market, free from unusual instances that exist in, say, the desktop operating systems market, I would say the market will lead to their adjustment, but as a nod to Six Apart's unique personality as a progressive company, one day after their price announcements, they published clarifications, realignments, etc. when the announcement met with questions. That shows that they really care about the community that's grown up around their software. I think the people crying that the Trotts are bowing to the commands of their investors who are handing down this pricing structure simply don't understand what these two are about. If you don't like it, don't upgrade, or move on. It's simple.

    By the way, thanks to Jake for not making me pay for using this weblog. If Jake hadn't hand-forged this place, I'd likely be on TypePad or something. Actually, I'd probably be hand coding in the style of Zeldman. You should be as lucky as I to have a talented coder whom you can persuade to build you software under the guise that when it was done, he might enjoy using it, too.

    Posted in: Web

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  6. Colonial House

    brian on 2004.05.18
    at 03:17 am

    Hey, so I'm late to the game, but I watched my first episode of Colonial House on PBS tonight. Basically, its a reality series done right. And by saying I'm late to the game, I mean I didn't see an episode of Frontier House, Manor House, nor 1900s House. I heard of Frontier House, and that it was well done.

    Basically, if you haven't put two and two together, Colonial House is a bunch of present day Americans and Brits who volunteer to "go back in time" and try to be a colony in the new world. The eight-episode series was filmed over a five-month period in 2003 on an isolated stretch of the Maine coast. Everything is old (except for the boom cameras and mics, I suppose), from the tools, to the rules (including mandatory religion, which is funny because some left England because they didn't agree with the mandatory religion, among other reasons), to the salt-preserved food. There are even natives, who trade maize for flour, and bring a gift of fresh killed muskrat. Surprisingly, the pilgrims really enjoyed it. Even if they had to gut and skin it themselves. Of course, that's the point: they took two weeks of 1628 school at Plimouth Plantation where they learned the ways of the pilgrims, and how to fend for themselves.

    Terribly interesting. Of course, "check your local listings" but in general its shown mini-series like: May 17, 18, 24, 25, 2004
    8-10pm on PBS. For Boston locals, our wonderful GBH is showing it also at 10pm-12am.

    Posted in: Television

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