Washingtonienne in Playboy AUG 31
Washingtonienne in Playboy. Still waiting for hot Wonkette on Cutler action photos. NSFW, duh.
Washingtonienne in Playboy. Still waiting for hot Wonkette on Cutler action photos. NSFW, duh.
Best of Still Journalism 2004. Great link; hours of entertainment here.
The almost-poem included with September's rent notice from the landlord:
September is here
Fall is near
Now is the time-to cheer !!!
Any leaks/repairs call us.
I didn't know whether to tear up at its simple beauty or wonder how much of my rent was going toward rent statement verse writing.
I enjoyed reading The Vice Guide to Everything, particularly these two bits:
When you move to a new city, you have to go on walking tours and rent DVDs about it and stuff like that. You have to know about it so when your parents visit you can say things like "That's the house where Ben Franklin signed the Statue of Liberty." If you move to a new country, you have to like it. That means learning the language, speaking it at home, and not minding if your daughter marries one of them. Does that mean you can't wear your turban if you become a New York City cop? 'Fraid so.
Buy a fucking newspaper. You have to read at least some of the front section every day. Otherwise, you are not allowed to have opinions about anything that is in the news. To say all media is biased is a cop-out. There are two PCs: politically correct and pro-corporate. There's a left-wing bias for things like abortion and immigration but there's a right-wing bias when it comes to anything corporate. Get over it. There's still tons of other pertinent information in there, even in the Jew York Times.
By the way, simply saying someone is "right wing" doesn't count as an apt criticism. Have you ever even listened to the other side's positions? Then shut your face. And Republicans, do you even know anyone in the sex industry? Then you shut your face, too. The terms "right wing" and "left wing" were created for baby boomers who had just given up religion and were looking for a new gang to join. Calling yourself Democrat or Republican is for pussies.
Link via the always excellent Gulfstream.
So now we're building Web browsers in Flash movies embedded in HTML displayed by Web browsers?. I think I'm getting a headache.
Florida State finalizing huge deal with Apple to provide free copies of iTunes and 99 cent songs for students. Wow! How will they keep everyone else from taking advantage of this great deal?
The economists' estimation of the Olympic medal count was off. GDP isn't the whole story.
The amateurization of type design. Odd examples in the slideshow though...where's Chank, Joe Gillespie, or Ray Larabie? They're the real amateurs.
Apple announces new iMac. Hardware is tucked behind the monitor in elegant all-in-one design.
Should have known...Communists for Kerry site is a spoof. Wait, not a spoof...a fascist plot!
Here's the video of Bikes Against Bush creator Josh Kinberg being arrested on Saturday afternoon after demonstrating the bike for MSNBC (he was being interviewed by Ron Reagan) and the NYPD:
After seeing that demonstration and being assured the chalk was easily removed from the sidewalk with water, officers consulted with their superiors, placed Josh under arrest, and confiscated his bike & equipment. He was charged with vandalism and released on Sunday morning.
Janitor throws out trash bag that was part of an artwork. I tend not to like art museums where you can't tell if the fire extinguisher is art or really just a fire extinguisher.
Not wanting to drag my current hardcover with me to the beach, I grabbed The Great Gatsby off the shelf as I left the apartment this morning. I cracked it open on the platform as I waited for the subway and continued reading on the train. Once I arrived at Rockaway Beach, I had a quick lunch and walked down the boardwalk to find a good spot for me and my blanket. Between swims and relaxing naps in the sun, I continued reading. A few hours later, I got back on the train toward Manhattan, reading all the way. As the train slowed for its stop at 14th Street, I read the final paragraph, closed the book, and stood just in time for the doors to snap open in front of me. Fitzgerald, some 80 years ago, must have written the book just for my trip today.
BarterBee is a cross between Netflix and eBay, collective swapping of CDs and DVDs. Buzz is that the site may bee a little too heavy on the bee theme.
E-mail Addresses It Would Be Really Annoying to Give Out Over the Phone. "MikeAtYahooDotCom@hotmail.com"
"Want to learn how to create and sustain psychosis on a national scale? Look carefully at the public statements made by the Department of Homeland Security.". Bruce Schneier on the Department of Homeland Terrorism.
British bookmaker is taking bets on discoveries in physics. The Higgs boson, gravitational waves, and life on Titan are among the wagers to be made.
How to score at the Republican National Convention. "Tell her that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn't the only gorgeous, white thing you'd like to see drilled immediately."
Cincinnati Mall has a dress code and other rules. No baseball caps on sideways or groups larger than three. Mom and Dad want to take their 2 kids shopping? One of the little buggers needs to stay in the car.
Panel of experts ranks the top ten sci-fi films. Any of your top ten missing from this list?
Olympic transcript of the 800 meter sideways cobblestick shuttlerun. I don't think they gave the American enough coverage...
People are anthropomorphizing their iPods, particularly in relation to the shuffle function. "...her device had a penchant for picking songs containing four minutes of dead air followed by a bonus track".
The Great Beanie Baby Bubble of the late 90s. "In many ways, in fact, the Beanie Baby mania was the dot-com stock bubble writ small."
The Google Cartography applet searches Google for street relationships and maps them. I wonder what this would look like output in the more traditional grid structure (so that, for instance, 7th Avenue is a line, not a point).
Clive Thompson on Stromotion, "software that breaks an athlete's fluid movements into stop-motion-style freeze-frames". You've seen it on the Olympics; Clive compares it to "ghost mode" in some video games.
Game Over looks like an interesting documentary of the chess battle between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue. Be sure and check out the trailer.
Bikes Against Bush is gearing up to do its thing during the RNC. Submit a message to be written by the bike; each message written will be photographed and marked on a map (using GPS).
Thanks to 24 Hour Party People, I'm discovering New Wave, albeit about 20 years late. From 1983, here's the original UK release version of New Order's Blue Monday (mp3, 10.2 MB), the best selling 12" single of all time.
Photos of the liberation of Paris in 1944. Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation.
Things Google knows about you. Google's security and privacy policies need to address these issues.
Mozilla is currently getting some good press due to Microsoft's continuing troubles with their browser and the uptick in usage compared to IE is encouraging. But it's nothing compared to what could happen if Google decides to release a Mozilla-based browser. A Google Browser would give the Mozilla platform instant credibility and would be a big hit. The peerless Google brand & reputation and their huge reach are the keys here. Mom and Dad know about Google...if Google offered a browser that was as powerful and easy to use as their search engine and didn't scum up their system, they'd download it. IT departments wanting to switch away from IE would have some formidable firepower when pitching to upper management..."Mozilla? What? Oh, it's Google? Go for it!" Get good reasons in front of enough Google users and millions would switch from IE.
A Google Browser is a no-brainer for them and they have to be thinking about it. It's been obvious for awhile now that Google isn't a search company, nor are they an advertising company, despite what the experts have to say. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I'm convinced they're building an operating system (of sorts) from which they will dispense all sorts of applications and data (as well as allow other people/companies to do the same in this fashion). What we could see is the next generation of office suite. Not Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook of Microsoft's Office or iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, iTunes, and Garageband of Apple's iLife suite, but Google search, Gmail, Google Browser, Blogger, and perhaps even GIM. It'll be interesting to watch whether this happens or not.
Update: John Rhodes floated the idea of a Google Browser back in September 2001.
A look at the upcoming Delicious Library, an iLife-like app for managing your book, DVD, and music collections. Don't miss the screenshots. Coolest feature: add books to your library by scanning the barcode with your iSight camera.
Atomflow is Atom input and output on the Unix command line. Pipe your way to almost anything.
An overvinew of the denarly departed Deneplenap project. Penoplen are just now getting aronund to doning somen of this stuff.
A listing of all the signs that appear on I-90 in New York. The web is at its best with meticulous obsession like this.
Humorous debunking of 1992 letter in Nature that extrapolated that women might soon outrun men in track events. In the year 6419, women marathon runners will reach the speed of sound. "The aerodynamics of runners exceeding the speed of sound is interesting given that their feet must repeatedly accelerate from rest, exceed the speed of sound and then stop, making for a rapid series of sonic booms."
Brief overview of Olympic timing technology. In 1932, they had "twenty five people eyeball the finish line and average their stopwatch results to find the winner" of track events.
The Graphic Design Olympics. Otl Aicher wins the gold for his pictograms for the 1972 Munich games.
The photographic works of Loretta Lux. Seems to me that I've probably linked to this before, but here it is again anyway.
James Surowiecki to guest blog on Marginal Revolution starting today. Damn, I was hoping to get him for a guest shot at some point.
Rebecca Mead on J. Crew's beach delivery service in the Hampton's. "It's always interesting when everyone wears the same color."
I'm not attending the Republican National Convention next week, but I will be in NYC reporting occasionally on the effects of the convention on the city's population, if any. If this morning's commute is any indication, security is ratcheting up around Madison Square Garden. As I boarded the 1/9 at 14th Street around 8:45 am, a NYC police officer checked every single car of the uptown subway train before departure. That is, 10 or 11 police officers each checked one of the 10 or 11 subway cars by sticking his head in and checking if people were spitting on the floor, had their feet up on the seats, were engaged in any form of gambling, or were taking unauthorized photographs. This was probably a show of force more than anything else because there were no such checks by even a single police officer at 18th, 23rd, 28th, 34th, or 42nd Streets.
Sidenote: In looking for the convention web site, I ran across the Republican National Committee site and was interested to find that much of the front page real estate is devoted to attacking John Kerry. Figuring the Democrats' approach wouldn't be much different (can you tell I'm cynical about politics?), I checked out the DNC site and was pleasantly surprised to see that it focuses mostly on Kerry & Edwards, the issues, and how people can help out. It will be interesting to see how the two approaches work for the respective candidates.
And one more thing...these "issues" that the parties are attacking their opposition on...what a bunch of bush league crap. The Republicans saying that Kerry is bad because he's wealthy? The Dems saying the same thing about Bush? What a joke! I thought the campaign folks were supposed to be at the top of their game. A few Madison Avenue ad guys could run Jeffrey Dahmer for President and outwit these knuckleheads.
Gene Weingarten goes on a terrorism field trip. Rides a Jerusalem bus, the Madrid train, and an oft-canceled Britsh Airways flight.
Child pimp and ho costumes. For all those little playas out there.
Google hacks of another sort. Find passwords, vulnerabilities, etc.
Trailer for The Life Aquatic, the new Wes Anderson movie starring Bill Murray. This is either going to be fantastic or when Wes jumps the shark.
Business lessons from Star Trek: The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. Rule #49: "Everything is worth something to somebody".
While everyone was kicking Google's IPO like it had just pissed on the rug, I was wondering why James Surowiecki hadn't weighed in yet. Well, he has now (in the Financial Times) and it's fantastic. He hit all the high points:
When the company first announced it was planning to go public, most estimated that the company would end up with a market cap of $15bn (£8.2bn) to $25bn. When trading started yesterday, it was worth $27bn.
If Google's unorthodox method of going public has had any impact on the company's stock price, it is only because it forced Wall Street into a concerted whispering campaign designed to sabotage the IPO. It is hardly a coincidence that after Google directly challenged Wall Street's stranglehold on the capital-raising process, it suddenly went from being among the most-loved companies in America to among the most criticised. Much of the bad-mouthing we heard before the IPO came from money managers looking to talk down the company's price so that they could get a better bargain. One of the more laughable aspects of the whole Google circus has been false sanctimony about "valuation" from money managers who happily bought Cisco when its market capitalisation was $400bn and from Wall Street investment banks that bid internet stocks up to billion-dollar market caps.
A big first-day pop is a sign that the opening price was wrong, not a sign that it was right. As for Google's supposed greediness, it is doing precisely what it is supposed to be doing: maximising the value it gets for selling off part of the company. Because it used the Dutch auction, it knows it is getting what people were really willing to pay, instead of what a coterie of investment bankers thought their friends and cronies should have to pay.
Wall Street can spin this however it wants. But Google went public without underwriting from a major investment bank, without handing out favours to well-connected executives and without dictating a price in the manner of Soviet central planners. Because it did, it now has hundreds of millions of dollars that it would not otherwise have had. By any standard, this was one IPO that worked.
A classic case of middlemen who are no longer needed (or at least needed less) fighting to retain control over what they think of as their domain. What cheeses me off is all the "journalists" who uncritically covered the IPO and gave the investment banks and money managers a platform from which to attempt to manipulate the market like that. Business as usual for many journalists, but irritating all the same.
Carmello Anthony and the Team USA doghouse. What? A selfish, lazy superstar? Say it ain't so.
Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush using them in campaign ads. "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign. He can find another way to advertise himself."
Making maps easy to read. This site summarizes "a research project that set out to discover some of the factors that make maps easy to read and to use".
Shizuo Kakutani's fixed point theorem. I'm confused about the 3-D example...
SQL Fairy has the best logo of any open source project. Not too politically correct perhaps.
The Flickr API. You hear that noise, kids? That's the Web OS getting ready for takeoff.
Transcripts of OnStar Service Conversations Not Selected for Commercials. "Hello, OnStar. My ice cream, it's locked in the car, and it's melting."
August has been a tough month so far...this past week has been one of the worst of my life. Everyone I know is out of town and there's not a whole lot happening online. Hopefully my loneliness hasn't permeated my writing and bummed you all out. Now, on to what little has been going on around here.
I moved kottke.org to a new Web server. If you're still not seeing this site at it's new location, please send me an email. (Wasn't funny the first time either...)
So many people, including many who should (or I wish would) know better, wrote really dumb things about the Google IPO. Me? I just want it to be over, one way or the other.
Advert-esque: kottke.org readers get $300 off their registrations to the Pop!Tech conference. If five of you sign up, I get in free...and then I'll tell you all about it. It's like we all get in free. Well, except for the five of you saps that paid. Suckers! I mean, sign up now!
Still haven't been to Shopsin's. And I may have mentioned that everyone I know is out of town?
For some stupid reason, I never opened up comments on the Gigli entry. Too late now. But I'm curious...if you've seen it, what did you think?
In case you missed them, a few gems from the remaindered links: aerial photography from Yann Bertrand (Eliot was inspired to post some of his own), Nicholas Nixon's photos of the Brown sisters, and satellite photo of thousands of planes at the Oshkosh Airshow.
Lots of activity in the RSS advertising space. We discussed RSS ads here two years ago when very few companies were serving up RSS files. The fun part's gonna be when RSS/Atom ad delivery becomes standardized, the feedreaders start offering ad blocking, and the content providers get all pissed off about it and complain to the folks that make the feedreaders. What will the newreader vendors do? Listen to the users or to the feed providers?
Last week was funny typos week. In the space of three days, I wrote about a giant Argentinian art colony threatening natural biodiversity in Australia and the Recall Toolbat.
Fair warning if you're reading along: I'm gonna post about McSweeney's #13 in a couple of weeks.
kottke.org readers are extreme sports enthusiasts.
Here I said, "a bigger house, the newest gadget, finer clothes, a shiny car...those things don't appeal to me that much" while earlier in the week, I said, "I would buy this Marc Newson-designed mobile phone in a second". Oops.
And in the Killers thread, kottke.org readers explore the age old issue of music coolness. Apparently, if you're listening to the wrong type of music, you owe it to society to start listening to better music. "They" won't tell you what the better music is because if you don't know already, you're obviously not cool. And if you're not cool, you're listening to the wrong type of music. It's a vicious little circle. Me? I listen to what I like. And if you're looking to me to provide you with the latest in musical hipness, you're barking up the wrong weblog.
Manhattan's Meox Mix Cafe serves cuisine for cats. Not to be confused with NYC's similarly named lesbian bar.
The page for David Foster Wallace on RateMyProfessors.com. "Very particular about usage. Excellent at explaining concepts. Very neurotic and tends to chew tobacco and spit in a cup while lecturing. If you are a female, do NOT fall under his spell...he's a heartbreaker."
[Dropcash is] a simple way to organize a fundraiser. Are you raising money for a charity, a trip overseas, a family gift for mom, or to pay off a surprise hosting bill? DropCash lets you set up a page so everyone can follow your progress as you near your goal.
Andre came up with the idea and did the coding and I helped with the design, HTML, and a bit of IA. It's currently in beta and we plan on making improvements as time goes on. Gomi No Sensei has some nice things to say about it.
Jim Romenesko is running a Starbucks gossip weblog. RSS feed comes in tall, grande, and vente sizes.
Technorati testing threaded "conversation" view?. Took me about 10 times as long to find new links to my site compared to the old flat layout.
An IAT, or Implicit Association Test, attempts to measure people's "conscious-unconscious divergences". Basically, an IAT puts you in a situation with no time to think and compares your reaction with your behavior when you've had time to think things over. On the Project Implicit Web site (click on "Demonstration"), you can take a number of IATs to get an idea of your own divergences, including factors such as age, gender, race, sexuality, and religion.
I took the Race IAT:
This IAT requires the ability to distinguish faces of European and African origin. It indicates that most Americans have an automatic preference for white over black.
and the Arab-Muslim IAT:
This IAT requires the ability to distinguish names that are likely to belong to Arab-Muslims versus people of other nationalities or religions. It frequently reveals an automatic preference for other people compared to Arab-Muslims.
On the Race test, my data suggested "moderate automatic preference for White American relative to African American" which isn't surprising because I spent the first 17 years of my life in northern Wisconsin where there weren't any black people and all my associations were from what I saw on the news, TV, in the movies, or from what my friends and relatives told me. Of course, I've since come to believe that people of all races, while culturally and physically different in some ways, are deserving of the same level of respect. The IAT reveals that though that's what I consciously believe, my subconscious mind still shows a preference for white people. From the Race FAQ:
Automatic White preference may be common among Americans because of the deep learning of negative associations to the group Black in this society. High levels of negative references to Black Americans in American culture and mass media may contribute to this learning. Such negative references may themselves be more the residue of the long history of racial discrimination in the United States than the result of deliberate efforts to discriminate in media treatments.
On the Arab-Muslim test, a more surprising result: "your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Arab Muslims relative to Other People". Maybe I'm one of those self-hating white American liberals the neo-cons are always talking about. Growing up, I can't really remember any positive or negative associations about Arabs or Muslims...I wasn't really aware of them as a culture. And even with 9/11 and the American military action in the Middle East...those events aren't something that I associate with any particular religious or cultural group.
Even though these tests are just demonstrations, the differences in what you believe and your mind's true feelings are important to be aware of for many reasons, even though it may be uncomfortable to know -- as I am -- that you prefer whites to blacks or thin people to obese people. For those who wish to balance your conscious and subconscious minds and lessen your divergences, the site's FAQ offers hope:
One solution is to seek experiences that could undo or reverse the patterns of experience that could have created the unwanted preference. But this is not always easy to do. A more practical alternative may be to remain alert to the existence of the undesired preference, recognizing that it may intrude in unwanted fashion into your judgments and actions. Additionally, you may decide to embark on consciously planned actions that can compensate for known unconscious preferences and beliefs.
If you're interested, you can sign up on the site to participate in the research effort.
In celebration of Alien vs. Predator's box office win this weekend, here are a few more "sequel" ideas to keep the gravy train going for Hollywood:
Teen Wolf vs. The Godfather
Terminator vs. Spiderman
Cujo vs. Annie
Gladiator vs. Amadeus
Dirty Harry vs. Mrs. Doubtfire
Popeye vs. Anchorman
Annie Hall vs. Donnie Darko
The Wizard of Oz vs. The Man who Wasn't There
Gandhi vs. Tootsie
Nixon vs. All the President's Men
Henry V vs. Lawrence of Arabia
Forrest Gump vs. Rain Man
Rambo vs. Rocky
Kramer vs. Kramer vs. The Princess Bride
Happy Gilmore vs. 12 Angry Men
Unbeknowst to me, Matthew Baldwin covered similar ground a few days ago with his Cinematic Supervillain Showdown. kottke.org: I may not get there first, but I get there eventually.
Seven out of the current top twenty most popular photos on Yahoo! News are of female Olympian asses. Current gold medalist in this particular competition is Sandra Pires, Brazilian beach volleyballer.
Warner Bros trying to use MP3 blogs to pimp their music. They also posted fake messages praising the song.
This is the first level-headed thing I've read about the Google IPO in weeks. "The success of a traditional IPO is often counted by the size of the pop but that is ridiculous. A pop means the firm left money on the table -- money which was transferred to a handful of insiders who were allocated stock at the low IPO price."
Surprise, surprise...NBC's coverage of the Olympics already sucks. I can't believe they talked over Bjork's whole performance. What's the sense of broadcasting it if they're not really gonna show it?
Haven't tried it, but Recall Toolbar looks like a neat IE helper. "Recall Toolbar is a personal search engine that helps you instantly find that needle that you're trying to find again in the haystack of pages you've already visited."
Alien vs. Predator. Alien wins in limericks, mechanical bull, and wet t-shirt contest, but Predator takes backgammon and folk music trivia.
European design trademark could reveal Apple's plans for a tablet PC. iTablet? iBook++? iCantTypeWithAPen?
The Playboy interview with Sergey and Larry that might delay the Google IPO. Full text of the interview, taken from Google's S-1.
"GDP matters most in predicting Olympic performance" for a given country. Former Soviet republics are an exception.
On a recommendation from Justin, I picked up Hot Fuss by a group called The Killers. It's their debut album, but the band already seems to have it together. Here's a favorite track of mine from the album: Mr. Brightside (mp3, 5.1Mb).
And if anyone out there in Kottkeland has an extra ticket to The Killers show on Monday in NYC, I'm so totally not doing anything that evening. (Kottkeland? WTF? (I know! Boo! I'll take it out. (On second thought, I'm leaving it in, but I should probably erase this. (Nope, I'm leaving that in too. [please erase this self-indulgent crap or I'm killing the piece -ed] (Nice try, but it's all self-indulgent, dumbass. (See!))))))
Repeat after me: inbound links do not indicate either readership or influence. Plus, Technorati's top 100 data remains dirty.
Giant Argentinian ant colony in Australia threatening natural biodiversity. Colony is 60 miles across. (My headline initially said "art colony", which is funnier than "ant colony" by the width of a large Argentinian art or ant colony. Fixed now.)
NY Times on the growing number of people who are switching from IE to browsers like Firefox. If you're still using IE, you should give some serious thought to switching.
There's some great reporting in this Atlantic Monthly article about the contents of an al-Qaeda computer taken during the US action in Afghanistan. The computer was used primarily by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, and contains emails and memos to/from bin Laden, the leader of the Taliban, and other top al-Qaeda members. You should read the whole thing, but I'm going to quote a few interesting bits:
Perhaps one of the most important insights to emerge from the computer is that 9/11 sprang not so much from al-Qaeda's strengths as from its weaknesses. The computer did not reveal any links to Iraq or any other deep-pocketed government; amid the group's penury the members fell to bitter infighting. The blow against the United States was meant to put an end to the internal rivalries, which are manifest in vitriolic memos between Kabul and cells abroad.
Like the early Russian anarchists who wrote some of the most persuasive tracts on the uses of terror, al-Qaeda understood that its attacks would not lead to a quick collapse of the great powers. Rather, its aim was to tempt the powers to strike back in a way that would create sympathy for the terrorists. Al-Qaeda has so far gained little from the ground war in Afghanistan; the conflict in Iraq, closer to the center of the Arab world, is potentially more fruitful. As Arab resentment against the United States spreads, al-Qaeda may look less like a tightly knit terror group and more like a mass movement. And as the group develops synergy in working with other groups branded by the United States as enemies (in Iraq, the Israeli-occupied territories, Kashmir, the Mindanao Peninsula, and Chechnya, to name a few places), one wonders if the United States is indeed playing the role written for it on the computer.
And except from a text found on the computer, written post-9/11:
There are benefits ... The operations have brought about the largest economic crisis that America has ever known. Material losses amount to one trillion dollars. America has lost about two thousand economic brains as a result of the operations. The stock exchange dropped drastically, and American consumer spending deteriorated. The dollar has dropped, the airlines have been crippled, the American globalization system, which was going to spoil the world, is gone ...
Reading the article, you can't help but develop a sense of dissonance between who we're up against and who we've been told we're up against (and our government's response).
The article includes two sidebars, one contains two letters from a young suicide bomber (one to bin Laden and one to his wife) and the other contains tips for al-Qaeda operatives travelling abroad:
Don't wear short pants that show socks when you're standing up. The pants should cover the socks, because intelligence authorities know that fundamentalists don't wear long pants ...
Underwear should be the normal type that people wear, not anything that shows you're a fundamentalist.
You should differentiate between men and women's perfume. If you use women's perfume, you are in trouble.
To paraphrase Jon Lovitz as Michael Dukakis playing opposite Dana Carvey as George H.W. Bush in an SNL Presidential debate skit: I can't believe we're losing to these guys.
Olympic officials are not allowing fans to carry items bearing branding from non-Olympic sponsors into event venues. The idea of the Games are nice, but the Olympics are put on by a big, stupid, greedy, monolithic, corrupt, antiquated organization.
Who knew that video game characters (from Soul Calibur) dancing to Hot in Herre by Nelly could be so funny?. This is pants-wettingly amusing.
"Security" personnel on the NY Waterway ferry from Hoboken to Manhattan hassled this guy over a book he was carrying. "Sir, I feel that I need to confiscate this book."
I'm beginning to think that feeds (and content tagging) should be the starting point, not an offshoot. Until now, our tools have produced web pages then feeds. I'm thinking we need tools that create feeds and then let us combine them into web pages.
To put this another way, a distributed data storage system would take the place of a local storage system. And not just data storage, but data processing/filtering/formatting. Taking the weblog example to the extreme, you could use TypePad to write a weblog entry; Flickr to store your photos; store some mp3s (for an mp3 blog) on your ISP-hosted shell account; your events calendar on Upcoming; use iCal to update your personal calendar (which is then stored on your .Mac account); use GMail for email; use TypeKey or Flickr's authentication system to handle identity; outsource your storage/backups to Google or Akamai; you let Feedburner "listen" for new content from all those sources, transform/aggregate/filter it all, and publish it to your Web space; and you manage all this on the Web at each individual Web site or with a Watson-ish desktop client.
Think of it like Unix...small pieces loosely joined. Each specific service handles what it's good at. Gmail for mail, iCal for calendars, TypePad for short bits of text, etc. Web client, desktop client, it doesn't much matter...whatever the user is most comfortable with. Then you just (just! ha!) pipe all these together however you want with services (or desktop apps) handling any filtering/processing that you need, and output it to the file/device/service of your choice. New services can be inserted into the process as they become available. You don't need to wait for Gmail to output RSS...just pipe your email to Feedburner and they'll hook you up.
There are, of course, plenty of hurdles to overcome:
- Currently a bit hard on wallet. When you're paying $5-20 per month for each one of these services (in addition to $50/mo for broadband and $45/mo for your cell phone), living the connected lifestyle is expensive. If a company like Google can offer bundles of these services, it might get cheaper.
- Data needs to be portable. If Flickr starts to suck, you should be able to easily move all of your photos to a better service.
- Redundancy and failing gracefully. What if Blogger is unavailable when I want to rebuild my Web site after my Flickr photostream has been updated (see my MTAmazon plug-in problem)? Does the rebuild just fail or is the data cached somewhere?
- You need to get everyone to agree on interop/formats/etc. Fortunately, it seems like companies are a lot more willing to do this than 4-5 years ago (Amazon, Google, Flickr, Upcoming, & TypePad all have APIs or allow data output via RSS/Atom).
- Security. Lots of passwords and personal information will have to be passed around for all this to work. How about some commitment from these companies to keep this data as secure as they can?
This, then, is the promise of Web services. Nothing new, but it's nice to see things continue to head in this direction.
- GooOS, the Google Operating System (kottke.org)
- Inventing the Future (Tim O'Reilly)
- The Web as a Platform (John Battelle)
- Deepleap was an early attempt at some of this stuff (Lane Becker)
1966 speech by Robert McNamara on national and international security. "The decisive factor for a powerful nation already adequately armed is the character of its relationships with the world."
Mr. Sun takes the kids to an Usher concert, hilariousness ensues. "The oldest momentarily rose above his inbred dorkitude and made body and hand movements approximating getting his freak on".
Boy, does hype work both ways. Gigli wasn't nearly as bad as the critics said it was. Mostly it was just an overreaction: with all the Bennifer buzz, this should have been a better movie, it wasn't, and it got slammed accordingly. I mean, it wasn't great, but it also wasn't Ed (or pretty much any movie with a monkey playing the title character). As usual, Roger Ebert explains things pretty well.
Physicist Paul Davies suggests looking for messages from extraterrestrials in our DNA. For those of you chuckling, "sounds like a Star Trek episode", it was an episode of Star Trek.
Bag Borrow or Steal is like Netflix for designer handbags. What a fantastic idea. I wonder what other types of goods might be rented in this fashion?
A list of self referential songs. "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you".
A telephone interview with Usher. Q: "...and I'm curious, since you've clearly had sex--excuse me, success in the past..."
The Morning News roundtables with six mp3 bloggers. There's a load of good music chat in here.
The equal rights movement marches on with the car accident rates of young women growing at a quick pace. There was "a 42 percent increase in young female driver fatalities from 1992 to 2002".
I've followed Antony Hare's adventures in illustration on his site for several years now and always liked them for their simplicity, but he's kicked it up a notch recently.
His more recent work -- particularly his illustrations of Johnny Depp, George Plimpton, and Franz Kafka -- contains more depth and presence while remaining simple and clean. The Plimpton is fantastic, the way his eyes peer out from beneath his eyebrows. If you're in Toronto in September, you should check out his inaugural show at the Brassaii Bistro & Lounge.
Choire fails to escape from Gawker empire; Gawker to get new writer. New Gawkette has "killer rack".
Photo documentation of a wacky game of Drunk Guy Jenga. If you wake him up, you lose.
NY Times compares TiVo to Apple, saying it faces a struggle in a market it helped create. One of their biggest problems is the cable companies' leveraging their monopolies.
A Flicker member created "an illustrated version of the Sherlock Holmes tale The Speckled Band" using Flickr photos as the illustrations. The text starts here and spans 58 photos total. Neat.
Two years ago, Calvin Trillin wrote an article for the New Yorker about Shopsin's, an eccentric eatery in the West Village with about 9 billion menu items:
What does happen occasionally is that Kenny gets an idea for a dish and writes on the specials board -- yes, there is a specials board -- something like Indomalekian Sunrise Stew. (Kenny and his oldest son, Charlie, invented the country of Indomalekia along with its culinary traditions.) A couple of weeks later, someone finally orders Indomalekian Sunrise Stew and Kenny can't remember what he had in mind when he thought it up. Fortunately, the customer doesn't know, either, so Kenny just invents it again on the spot.
Shopsin's has moved to another Village location since the article came out, but they've still got that big old menu. If you dare, feast your eyes on a tour de force of outsider information design, all 11 pages of the Shopsin's General Store menu (PDF, 188K).
You want chicken fried eggs with a side of pancakes? Page 6. On page 1, there's gotta be 100 soups alone, including Pistachio Red Chicken Curry. I lost count after 40 different kinds of pancakes on page 10. In amongst the kate, gregg, tamara, and sneaky pete sandwiches on page 2, you'll find the northern sandwich: peanut butter & bacon on white toast. There appears to be nothing that's not on the menu, although I looked pretty hard for foie gras and couldn't find it. If they did have it, you could probably get it chicken fried with whipped cream on top.
On page 8, page 11, and the front of their Web site, you'll find the restaurant rules:
- No cell phone use
- One meal per person minimum (everyone's got to eat)
- No smoking
- Limit four people per group
On that last point, the menu has something additional to add (page 4):
Party of Five
you could put a chair at the end
or push the tables together
but dont bother
This banged-up little restaurant
where you would expect no rules at all
has a firm policy against seating
parties of five
And you know you are a party of five
It doesn't matter if one of you
offers to leave or if
you say you could split into
a party of three and a party of two
or if the five of you come back tomorrow
in Richard Nixon masks and try to pretend
that you don't know each other
It won't work: You're a party of five
even if you're a beloved regular
Even if the place is empty
Even if you bring logic to bear
Even if you're a tackle for the Chicago Bears
it won't work
You're a party of five
You will always be a party of five
Ahundred blocks from here
a hundred years from now
you will still be a party of five
and you will never savor the soup
or compare the coffee
or hear the wisdom of the cook
and the wit of the waitress or
get to hum the old -time tunes
among which you will find
-- Robert Hershon
Love it, love it, love it, and I have to get my ass over there one of these days.
I'm currently moving kottke.org to a new server. If you're seeing this, it worked. If you're not seeing this, please send me an email.
I think I took care of most things during the transition, but if something seems weird, lemme know?
Decentralized Intelligence: What Toyota can teach the 9/11 commission about intelligence gathering. Duncan Watts on the wisdom of crowds in disaster recovery scenarios.
The Science of Word Recognition. A little light reading on how people read.
Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before. But if we use an increase in our incomes to buy more of certain inconspicuous goods -- such as freedom from a long commute or a stressful job -- then the evidence paints a very different picture. The less we spend on conspicuous consumption goods, the better we can afford to alleviate congestion; and the more time we can devote to family and friends, to exercise, sleep, travel, and other restorative activities. On the best available evidence, reallocating our time and money in these and similar ways would result in healthier, longer -- and happier -- lives.
The use of income to buy "inconspicuous goods" is a pretty apt description of how I've spent any extra income as I've gotten older and earned more. A bigger house, the newest gadget, finer clothes, a shiny car...those things don't appeal to me that much, which makes me something of an anomoly in the US I think. I've used my income to move to a new city, take some time off of work, travel, and more carefully choose what I want to do for employment. I rarely buy a "better" version of something I already have...I'm a very suspicious upgrader, even when it comes to software. I don't know that I'm any happier because of this approach, but I know I wouldn't be very pleased if I couldn't go on vacation because I'm spending all my money on a bigger apartment.
Anyway, the article is excellent if you've got time to read it. A Professor of Economics at Cornell University, Frank has written a few books related to this topic, among them Luxury Fever, The Winner-Take-All Society, and Choosing the Right Pond: Human Behavior and the Quest for Status. Related articles by Frank include When Less is Not More (NY Times), Why Living in a Rich Society Makes Us Feel Poor (NY Times Magazine), Talent and the Winner-Take-All Society (The American Prospect), and Market Failures (Boston Review).
25 years of the Brown sisters, Nicholas Nixon. Four sisters photographed once a year for 25 years.
Lobstergate: David Foster Wallace and his Gourmet article about the Maine Lobster Festival. Wallace's article is fantastic.
Now *this* is a telephone. I would buy this Marc Newson-designed mobile phone in a second.
Portmanteau words are formed from portions of two or more words. bionic = biology + electronic; squiggle = squirm + wiggle; quasar = quasistellar + radio; croissandwich = croissant + sandwich
How can someone smell so much like garlic at 8:30 in the morning? Are there garlic breakfast foods that I don't know about?
Walked past another NYPD flash mob in Times Square. Deterring terrorists these days involves standing around drinking coffee. How about a little gunfire and random beatings? Now *that's* intimidation.
Standing on his tippy toes had two benefits for the young man on Broadway: 1) he could see whichever famous person was doing Good Morning America this morning; and 2) passersby could see more clearly the red stripes on the soles of his Prada shoes, identifying him as a person of impeccable taste.
Letters from ex-Presidents. So far, Carter and Clinton have written back.
Indians are finding unusual uses for government-subsidized condoms. Lubricant for sari looms, ad hoc water flasks, and gun barrel cozies.
Ken Hirsch has uncovered a potential discrepancy in Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article, The Naked Face. Hirsch excerpts a January 2004 article from Smithsonian Magazine on the same topic in which a cop from Gladwell's article gives a different account of events that led him to shoot a man. Here's Gladwell's version:
But at the time all Harms had was a hunch, a sense from the situation and the man's behavior and what he glimpsed inside the man's coat and on the man's face -- something that was the opposite of whatever John Yarbrough saw in the face of the boy in Willowbrook. Harms pulled out his gun and shot the man through the open window. "Scott looked at me and was, like, 'What did you do?' because he didn't perceive any danger," Harms said. "But I did."
And here's an excerpt from the Smithsonian Magazine piece:
The cop in the New Yorker article, in fact, was Harms, who got out of the car afterward and held the assailant in his arms as he died. Harms says what he actually glimpsed, long enough to read the brand name, was a can of hair spray in one of the assailant's hands, and, in the other, a cigarette lighter. It was a weapon, a makeshift flamethrower capable of torching Harms and his partner. "It wasn't something I was reading in his face, or any kind of cues," Harms says. "It was the totality of the situation."
There's a certain amount of interpretation involved in explaining how Harms knew what he knew, when he knew it, when he decided to act on it, and what he remembered later, but even so, it may not be the strongest example of face reading out there. I'm keen to learn if this anecdote made it into Blink.
Getting in on the Google IPO as a small investor. Looks like it's tough to find a brokerage house to handle small accounts (try E-Trade or Ameritrade).
what happens is the news. What a newspaper would look like if you scribbled it on the front of your high school notebook (best link of the week).
Printer cartridge refilling shops/services becoming more popular. Nothing would make me happier than to see HP's price gouging come to an end.
Innovation Futures is using predictive markets to track Google's IPO price. The crowd's best guess at market cap is $35-40 billion.
The classic texts of computer programming. Not a single one authored by a woman.
"If you’re going to roll with us, you got to put some pep in your step.". Sasha Frere-Jones hangs out with Russell Simmons.
Statue of Liberty reopens today, but not completely. We can't have nice things anymore.
Cartoonist is offering his strip to newspapers for free, bypassing the syndicates. Another data point in the Internet's march to eliminate the old middlemen.
In this thread from last week, I floated the idea of a kottke.org book club and there was a small positive response from you, the readership. Since I don't have the time to coordinate a proper book club, I'm going to do this in the easiest way possible. I just started reading McSweeney's 13, "a beautifully designed anthology of contemporary art comics" edited by Chris Ware. When I finish it, I will post about it on kottke.org and ask for comments. You're welcome to read along and join the discussion when it happens.
The Pop!Tech conference is coming up in October (read about my adventures there last year and conference-goers' adventures with the nTag badges). This year's conference will feature Burt Rutan, Richard Florida, Malcolm Gladwell, Ze Frank, Bruce Mau, and Doug Rushkoff, although, as with last year's conference, I'm sure some of the most interesting speakers will be the ones you've never heard of before.
I'm not sure how many of you are conference goers, but if you're interested in attending Pop!Tech, the organizers are giving kottke.org readers $300 off the regular registration price. To register, follow this link to the Pop!Tech site and click on "Registration" in the upper left-hand corner. If 5 people register via that link, I get a free ticket. So if you want to go, I'd appreciate the referral.
The films that never got made. Kubrick's Napoleon, Welles' Don Quixote, Hitchcock's Kaleidoscope, etc.
Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker staff writer and, along with Dave Eggers, the patron saint of a certain segment of the weblog community, has a new book coming out early next year called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking:
How do we make decisions -- good and bad -- and why are some people so much better at it than others? That's the question Malcolm Gladwell asks and answers in the follow-up to his huge bestseller, The Tipping Point. Utilizing case studies as diverse as speed dating, pop music, and the shooting of Amadou Diallo, Gladwell reveals that what we think of as decisions made in the blink of an eye are much more complicated than assumed. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, he shows how the difference between good decision-making and bad has nothing to do with how much information we can process quickly, but on the few particular details on which we focus. Leaping boldly from example to example, displaying all of the brilliance that made The Tipping Point a classic, Gladwell reveals how we can become better decision makers--in our homes, our offices, and in everyday life. The result is a book that is surprising and transforming. Never again will you think about thinking the same way.
The book is based on his 2002 New Yorker article The Naked Face, which spawned a kottke.org thread in which Gladwell comments to defend his honor. No surprise that I'm really looking forward to Blink; I loved The Naked Face and enjoy pretty much anything Gladwell has written. If anyone from Little, Brown is reading...I'd be happy to receive a copy for review on this here site.
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