Entries for May 2005 (June 2005 »    July 2005 »    August 2005 »    Archives)

 

The Washington Post confirms that Mark Felt is Deep ThroatMAY 31

The Washington Post confirms that Mark Felt is Deep Throat. Woodward, Bernstein, and Ben Bradlee confirmed the story as well. Woodward is writing an article about the experience to be run on Thursday.

Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock hasMAY 31

Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock has a book out about fast food.

1992 Atlantic Monthly article that made a caseMAY 31

1992 Atlantic Monthly article that made a case for Mark Felt as Deep Throat.

"A sampling of what prominent film criticsMAY 31

"A sampling of what prominent film critics wrote in their reviews of the earlier 'Star Wars' films".

Improv Everywhere played a fake U2 concertMAY 31

Improv Everywhere played a fake U2 concert near Madison Square Garden last week. The Edge was played by an Asian guy and the "band" got arrested during their final song.

Identity of Deep Throat finally revealedMAY 31

Identity of Deep Throat finally revealed. Mark Felt, who was second in command at the FBI at the time, helped Woodward and Bernstein with their research into Watergate.

20 things gamers want from the next generation of game consolesMAY 31

20 things gamers want from the next generation of game consoles. "Seriously, get rid of the crates" and "don't bullshit me about your graphics".

A first look at Google Earth, theMAY 31

A first look at Google Earth, the replacement for the Keyhole mapping software. "View Railroads, Subway lines and Bus routes along with all their stops. Or select multiple locations and have Google give you directions."

Race car driver Robby Gordon says heMAY 31

Race car driver Robby Gordon says he won't compete against Danica Patrick because her small stature gives her an unfair advantage. "I guess driving around in circles must have made Gordon a bit dizzy because his reasoning sucks."

New episodes of Futurama to be made for DVD?MAY 31

New episodes of Futurama to be made for DVD?.

rating: 5.0 stars

PrimerMAY 31

You think you know what's going on in this (very**) indie film, you've caught yourself up, and then Primer just throws another curve ball at you. Even without the time twisting stuff, the complete lack of flashing arrows (Steven Johnson's term for the plot clues embedded in movies and TV shows that scream "pay attention, this will be important later!") left me scratching my head at exactly what happened. Luckily, the Internet to the rescue: a Primer timeline, another timeline, and an extensive visual timeline. Oy, I still don't get it.

But that's ok because the science fictiony stuff was actually not as interesting for me as what happened to the characters in the film. I've been thinking a lot about choice lately...too much of it, not enough of it, the sudden increase in the ability to determine one's destiny by controlling choice, and the "normal" state of things where people have very little choice about anything. In Primer, the main characters find themselves in a situation where they can (almost) literally do anything they want with their lives. But instead of opening their lives up to an infinite range of possibilities, they find themselves constrained by their circumstances.

There's a fractal aspect to human existance in this way...the particular details of any one person's life may differ from those of another (older, smarter, richer, more powerful, etc. etc.), but the experience from the perspective of each individual is largely the same. Robert Frank touches on this in his essay on How Not to Buy Happiness. Having more power/money/control/experience/etc just may limit your choices as sure as being broke, stupid, powerless, or naive would.

Anyway, if you're even a little bit of a geek, I'd urge you to check Primer out (it was recently released on DVD). It's challenging in the way that Memento and Donnie Darko are, pays off in a human way like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind does, and it gets my highest recommendation.

** Ebert correctly notes that although the film cost ~$7000 to make and that most of the principle photography took place in a garage, "the movie never looks cheap, because every shot looks as it must look." One of my favorite aspects of the film was the cinematography...reminded me of what a Kubrick film might have looked like on a similarly tight budget.

Profile of the fortune writer for Wonton Food, Inc.MAY 31

Profile of the fortune writer for Wonton Food, Inc..

Pickup Lines Used by Mario [of Mario Bros. fame]MAY 31

Pickup Lines Used by Mario [of Mario Bros. fame]. "Are you a magic flower? Because you are burning me up."

And here is that New Yorker articleMAY 31

And here is that New Yorker article about the Golden Gate Bridge suicides.

One of the songs on Sleater-Kinney's newMAY 31

One of the songs on Sleater-Kinney's new album was inspired by a New Yorker article about Golden Gate Bridge suicides.

The blog for Me and You andMAY 31

The blog for Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July's acclaimed new movie. The most recent entries are about the film's win at Cannes.

Sparklines of landscapes of a few American statesMAY 31

Sparklines of landscapes of a few American states. The one for Missouri has a little arch while the Iowa sparkline is almost flat.

New collection of nonfiction by David FosterMAY 31

New collection of nonfiction by David Foster Wallace due out in December.

Welcome back, KottkeMAY 30

I'm back from a week and a half of vacationing in Ireland. Aside from the frequent rain, Ireland is a beautiful country...and even the rain isn't that bad. I'll have some photos up soon (three quick photos on Flickr for now). I didn't take my computer along or check email while I was there, only thought about the web once or twice**, and didn't miss it at all. But it wasn't exactly the revelatory recharging experience that I've heard about from other people who are tethered to the web all day long and then take an extended break from it. Not exactly sure why...maybe I've honed my gear switching ability to a fine point so that whatever situation I'm in, I'm in the appropriate mental state. Or perhaps I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Anyway, I'm back and ready to get back to work (or whatever it is that I do here).

black mondayThanks to David and Anil for posting remaindered links while I was gone. It's fun (if a little strange) coming back to a bunch of unfamiliar content on my own site...looking forward to rolling through all their links. However if you're considering hiring either of these two fellows to help you with your blog business, I would direct your attention to the graph of my traffic over the past week at right. When those guys took over -- which day will henceforth be known here at kottke.org as "Black Monday" -- well, you can see what their reign of terror did to the number of daily visitors around here. On the other hand, they were probably too busy with their proper (i.e. paying) jobs to worry too much about posting, so they are to be commended for their attention to their duties. In either case, it's been a pleasure...come back anytime.

** Apart from an extended conversation about RSS while hiking through some of the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen. You can take the boy out of the web and put him in a sheep pasture, but you can't take the web out of the boy. Or something.

Daily Type is a great typography sketchbookMAY 30

Daily Type is a great typography sketchbook.

Cory Arcangel has a web logDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 28

Cory Arcangel has a web log.

Firefox featured in Jeopardy! questionDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 28

Firefox featured in Jeopardy! question.

The Shifted Librarian addresses the role ofDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 28

The Shifted Librarian addresses the role of video games in libraries. "You haven't lived until you've seen a roomful of librarians competing against each other in Mario Kart and DDR!" (I've seen this, and it's good)

Cut your own vinyl with the VRX-2000DAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 28

Cut your own vinyl with the VRX-2000. There was a time when I would have given up a toe for this machine.

The Times picks up on Art Mobs' mp3 MoMa toursDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 28

The Times picks up on Art Mobs' mp3 MoMa tours.

Subway Cinema has announced the lineup forDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Subway Cinema has announced the lineup for the 2005 New York Asian Film Festival.

"My Brother... Nikhil" is one of theDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

"My Brother... Nikhil" is one of the first major Bollywood films to address HIV.

Profile of competitive eating champion Sonya "The Black Widow" ThomasDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Profile of competitive eating champion Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas.

Steven B. Johnson is still reviewing the reviewersDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Steven B. Johnson is still reviewing the reviewers. When authors and filmmakers ask for web site advice, I always say "early and often," don't play whack-a-mole with your audience by only blogging when you have something you want to sell. Johnson's consistent conversation is an example of how it should be done.

Why smart people defend bad ideasDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Why smart people defend bad ideas.

Evan Martin's mustache bestness sorterANIL DASH  ·  MAY 27

Evan Martin's mustache bestness sorter. Besides featuring awesome mustaches, it's a slick bit of javascript wizardry.

Jib Jab's Founder comments on the internet and viral marketingDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Jib Jab's Founder comments on the internet and viral marketing. "Everyday people are more comfortable with technology. I can’t tell you how many times we heard 'my grandmother sent it to me'. Grandmas were not emailing in 2000."

You can get a neighbornode kit fromDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

You can get a neighbornode kit from NYCwireless for $60 a pop.

The citywide Wi-Fi reality checkDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

The citywide Wi-Fi reality check. The free wifi effort in Philly is beginning to hit some speed bumps.

Students blog after high school shuts downDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Students blog after high school shuts down school paper for being "negative". School of Blog (featuring Jack Black) will be out next year.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. A close reading of the non-linear Prince of Persia storyline "enables an exploration of how the game's story relates to the interactive elements of its gameplay."

Block by BlogDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 27

Block by Blog. A Guardian UK reporter walks through Manhattan with only a BlackBerry, a Nokia 6681, and RSS as his guide.

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding SubcultureMAY 27

Some friends and I recently went and checked out the Little Boy exhibit at the Japan Society.

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture explores the culture of postwar Japan through its arts and popular visual media, from the perspective of one of Japan's most celebrated artists. Focusing on the phenomenally influential subcultures of otaku (roughly translated as "pop cult fanaticism") and its relationships to Japan's artistic vanguard, Takashi Murakami explores the historical influences that shape Japanese contemporary art and its distinct graphic idioms.

Fire by Hideaki KawashimaIt's a good exhibit, but I'm not sure it's worth the $12 entry fee. My favorite pieces were the paintings of Hideaki Kawashima, particularly Fire (depicted at left) and Smile.

The exhibition is open through July 24 at the Japan Society at 333 East 47th Street in Manhattan.

The guy who made the Mac startup soundANIL DASH  ·  MAY 26

The guy who made the Mac startup sound. "I wanted to avoid a sound that would be associated with the crash. I wanted it to sound more like a 'palette cleanser'."

11 steps to a better brainANIL DASH  ·  MAY 26

11 steps to a better brain.

First Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop FestivalANIL DASH  ·  MAY 26

First Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. An all-day outdoor event on Saturday, June 18th

Jeffrey Veen on The Usability of Subscribing to FeedsDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 26

Jeffrey Veen on The Usability of Subscribing to Feeds.

David Pogue: Ground Rules for the Windows-Macintosh WarDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 26

David Pogue: Ground Rules for the Windows-Macintosh War.

8 years ago: Top 10 secrets of a successful web siteANIL DASH  ·  MAY 26

8 years ago: Top 10 secrets of a successful web site. Before there was kottke.org, there was 0sil8.

Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate CluelessDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 26

Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless. Interpact's group blog documenting their switch to Apple in followup to Winn Schwartau's now infamous "Mad as Hell" article. (I bet they're all running Linux in a three months, most of Winn's beef with Sony is true for Apple as well)

Heather Champ is now "Community Manager" for FlickrDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 26

Heather Champ is now "Community Manager" for Flickr. It's a role she filled on or off the payroll. Congratulations all around.

The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault.DAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

The Crazy Frog sound? That's my fault.. The BBC says "The frog is irritating to the point of distraction and back again. And yet at the same time, it's strangely compelling." The dance remix of the Crazy Frog ringtone also happens to be the #1 single in the UK. #1 single, not #1 ringtone.

Phishing Archive records forged email attemptsANIL DASH  ·  MAY 25

Phishing Archive records forged email attempts. Update your account info now!

How to abuse Amazon's image processing systemANIL DASH  ·  MAY 25

How to abuse Amazon's image processing system. Many wacky things can be done by customizing the URLs of images loaded from Amazon.

Explosion Causes Massive Power Outage in MoscowDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

Explosion Causes Massive Power Outage in Moscow. No word yet on what caused the explosion, or when power could come back up. At least 43 trains and 40,000 metro passengers are stuck underground and there was city-wide gridlock as a result.

Lies I Have Told Verizon DSL Support TodayDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

Lies I Have Told Verizon DSL Support Today.

Lies Verizon DSL Support Has Told Me TodayDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

Lies Verizon DSL Support Has Told Me Today.

Ribbon Dancer robotMAY 25

At Gel, Bruce Shapiro, artist in residence at the Science Museum of Minnesota, talked about his notion of "motion control" as an "emerging medium for artistic expression". As his website explains, motion control is a "term used to describe a variety of techniques for orchestrating the movement of machinery and objects".

One of the machines he brought to demonstrate its artistic expression was Ribbon Dancer. The willowy one-armed robot performed a routine for us for a couple minutes to a classical piece of music. Near the end of the piece, the ribbon got hung up on the lower part of the apparatus while the arm kept going with the routine, tugging obliviously on the caught fabric. The crowd gasped. For a second there, we thought the arm was going to pull the whole thing over -- not unlike the robot-like AT-AT that got tripped up by a Rebel harpoon on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back -- but Bruce stepped in to stop the machine and free the ribbon. Despite the mistake, the crowd's emotional reaction to the dancer's potentially hazardous misstep demonstrated the potential for the acceptance of artistic expression by machines.

(And in a somewhat more disturbing demonstration of the dancer's representation of life, when Bruce stopped it at the end of the routine and began to walk off the stage, it began to twitch awkwardly from some stray electrical signals, a death rattle of sorts. Bruce leapt back on stage and pulled the plug; the twitching abruptly stopped and the arm fell slack atop the metal shaft, like he'd killed it.)

Jennifer Steinhauer on Modern PreschoolingDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

Jennifer Steinhauer on Modern Preschooling. "The notion of standards are coming down almost to the embryo. We are not allowing normal, creative, interactive play. We are wanting kids to sit down and write their names at 3 and do rote tasks that are extremely boring at a young age."

vi reference mugDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

vi reference mug.

Contagious Media ShowdownDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

Contagious Media Showdown. I've browsed through most of the sites by now. The brainfreeze video left the strongest impression, my head hurts just thinking about it. And don't forget there's only 10 days left to see Contagious Media at the New Museum in Chelsea.

Hands-On Review of Mario Kart DSDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 25

Hands-On Review of Mario Kart DS.

"Can't Stop Won't Stop" as the bestANIL DASH  ·  MAY 25

"Can't Stop Won't Stop" as the best book of the year. And Jason Toney can judge; This is part of his 52 books in 52 weeks project.

Doctor WhoMAY 24

Since giving up cable TV three months ago, I've gotten into the habit of watching old episodes of Doctor Who on my computer. They're cheesy as all hell, but I still love them, especially the Tom Baker-era ones. When my sister and I were growing up, we'd watch them on the local PBS station on the weekends with my dad. They were usually shown on Saturday nights or at noon on Sundays. We'd have popcorn with the late-night viewings and lunch (usually hotdish or tuna hotdish**) with the Sunday afternoon ones. Occasionally they'd have Doctor Who marathons with several episodes back-to-back over the course of the day...loved those. We also had several dozen complete episodes on videotape to watch when PBS pre-empted them with something else.

It's hard to tell how much of my current affection for Doctor Who I owe to those weekends with my dad & sister and how much is due to the show itself. Not that it matters much...I just watch and enjoy and think about those good childhood memories with the Doctor.

** Hotdish, the food of my people, was also our shorthand for my dad's hamburger hotdish (hamburger + tomato sauce + macaroni + spices + (optional) onions & mushrooms). Tuna hotdish was basically canned tuna + Campbell's cream of something (mushroom?) soup + macaroni shells + S&P + a bit of grated cheese on top. Hotdish purists might argue that these dishes were not hotdishes at all because they were prepared on the stovetop and not baked in the oven, but who are they to mess with my fond childhood memories?

Wall Street Journal infographic on history of game consolesANIL DASH  ·  MAY 24

Wall Street Journal infographic on history of game consoles.

How the brain comprehends sarcasmANIL DASH  ·  MAY 24

How the brain comprehends sarcasm. Because we all need a diagram to understand the concept.

KITTENWARANIL DASH  ·  MAY 24

KITTENWAR. This is what the internet was made for.

Robin's best of E3DAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 24

Robin's best of E3. The most interesting games are for the only next generation console that's actually shipping - the DS.

Ken Jennings returns in to JeopardyANIL DASH  ·  MAY 24

Ken Jennings returns in to Jeopardy. During sweeps, they have the Ultimate Tournament of Champions.

Homebrew Nintendo DS DevelopmentDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 24

Homebrew Nintendo DS Development. "I'm brand new to developing on this, never having developed on the Game Boy Advance before, so hopefully this will provide information useful to other 'brand new' people." I often find the best documentation is written by new developers.

Nike iD asks 20 bloggers to make sneaker designsANIL DASH  ·  MAY 23

Nike iD asks 20 bloggers to make sneaker designs. And they're asking bloggers to vote for their favorites.

From 2001, Nike iD disallows "sweatshop" on sneakersANIL DASH  ·  MAY 23

From 2001, Nike iD disallows "sweatshop" on sneakers. Jonah Peretti, who sent the emails, runs The Contagious Media Project now

The Institute for Interactive JournalismANIL DASH  ·  MAY 23

The Institute for Interactive Journalism. The University of Maryland's J-Lab highlights and awards creative communication of news online.

Get your @budweiser.com email addressANIL DASH  ·  MAY 23

Get your @budweiser.com email address. Now Gmail needs to start a brewery just to keep up.

Treemapper for ExcelANIL DASH  ·  MAY 23

Treemapper for Excel. very cool, but only works on Excel for Windows

New York City Abandons Plan To Ban Photography In SubwaysDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 23

New York City Abandons Plan To Ban Photography In Subways. The NYPD says that officers will continue to investigate any suspicious activity.

Theo Jansen and his beach animalsMAY 23

Two people got standing ovations for their presentations at GEL. The first was Barry Schwartz for his talk on The Paradox of Choice. The second person, who gave the most fascinating presentation I've seen at a conference in a long time, was inventor/artist/mad scientist Theo Jansen. For the past fifteen years, Jansen has been creating (growing?) "beach animals" made from commonly available tools like plastic tubing, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, hose, tape, and all sorts of other stuff. Wired News did a pretty good article on Jansen earlier this year:

Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. Over the years, successive generations of his creatures have evolved into increasingly complex animals that walk by flapping wings in response to the wind, discerning obstacles in their path through feelers and even hammering themselves into the sand on sensing an approaching storm.

It's hard to know where to begin in talking about what's so cool about Jansen's beach animals. They're evolved for one thing; he worked out the optimal 11-piece leg using evolutionary algorithms on a computer but now prefers to race his animals on the beach and "breed" the most successful ones together, taking the best bits from each to make their offspring better. His animals have legs, muscles (pneumatic pistons within the plastic tubing), stomachs (plastic bottles for storing air), and nerves (collections of on/off values that work pretty much like logic gates).

And watching the videos that Jansen showed...his animals were so organic and lifelike as they moved under their own power across the beach. He's got a few of the videos on his site, but for some reason, the best ones he showed at GEL are not among them. To see evolution happening like this, a clumsy, imprecise process of trial and error that nonetheless produces beautiful and organic results, it was a real treat.

iTunes 4.9 to support PodcastingDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 23

iTunes 4.9 to support Podcasting.

Lawrence Lessig takes on his childhood abusersANIL DASH  ·  MAY 23

Lawrence Lessig takes on his childhood abusers. The story is harrowing, but Lessig and Hardwicke's bravery is inspiring.

Zak Smith's Illustrations for Each Page of Gravity's RainbowDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 22

Zak Smith's Illustrations for Each Page of Gravity's Rainbow.

Richard Linklater has signed on to directDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 22

Richard Linklater has signed on to direct the film adaptation of Fast Food Nation.

The Participatory Culture Foundation: TiVo on your desktopDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 22

The Participatory Culture Foundation: TiVo on your desktop. The latest from Downhill Battle. Broadcast Machine is the best interface to BitTorrent I've ever seen. They're looking for open source coders to help finish the DTV viewer.

Unofficial Google Maps Embedding How ToDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 22

Unofficial Google Maps Embedding How To.

Manhattan's Chinatown Pressured to Sell OutDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

Manhattan's Chinatown Pressured to Sell Out. "In a strange way our problem is the people of China," said Wong, who was born in Hong Kong and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. "They can make it cheaper. Their factories don't demand payment until the textiles are delivered -- we can't compete with this."

Opportunity is working it's way out ofDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

Opportunity is working it's way out of Mars' "fine sand" one centimeter at a time.

hello, nintendo: Nintendo's Long TailDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

hello, nintendo: Nintendo's Long Tail. "There's a long tail of consumers and a long tail of producers, and I think that next year Nintendo is going to introduce the two to each other in an entirely new way."

Repeat after me: giving your music awayDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

Repeat after me: giving your music away is good for your career. DJs Minus Kelvin and Pat Chilla the Beat Gorilla got a deal producing the music for America's Next Top Model by posting Creative Commons licensed remixes on ccmixter.org.

Hands-On Review of Voice over IP client for the DSDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

Hands-On Review of Voice over IP client for the DS.

Nintendo builds free Wi-Fi network in JapanDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

Nintendo builds free Wi-Fi network in Japan. The pessimist in me thinks that Nintendo won't be able to pull off free wifi and a free Voice over IP client, but DS owners can dream.

The U.S. Puzzle Championship will beDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

The U.S. Puzzle Championship will be held on Saturday June 18, 2005 at 1pm ET..

Elves and Hobbits in Russian WoodsDAVID JACOBS  ·  MAY 21

Elves and Hobbits in Russian Woods. "Carrying a realistic-looking wooden elven saber might get you in trouble with the law if you can’t explain yourself."

Jeff Jarvis quits his job to consult about blogsANIL DASH  ·  MAY 20

Jeff Jarvis quits his job to consult about blogs. Which is basically the same thing as getting paid to blog full-time.

Gone fishin'MAY 20

I'm off on vacation -- a real vacation without my computer and everything -- for a few days, so the pace around here will be a little slower for next week or so. I've got a few entries set up to post while I'm gone so you'll have something to read. I've also enlisted the help of David Jacobs and Anil Dash to post remaindered links while I'm away. Thanks guys! See the rest of you in a few days; I'll have photos and hopefully be well-rested and re-energized and all that jazz.

I'm off on vacation for a fewMAY 20

I'm off on vacation for a few days, but Anil Dash and David Jacobs will be posting remaindered links while I'm gone.

GUI: a re-presentation of the Adobe PhotoshopMAY 20

GUI: a re-presentation of the Adobe Photoshop interface within a 3-dimensional space.

Some great tips on grillingMAY 20

Some great tips on grilling. "And if you think this takes a lot of time and concentration, you're right. There's time enough for socializing later. Do you want to grill an excellent steak or not? Okay, then. Concentrate."

Twelve ways to think differentlyMAY 20

Twelve ways to think differently. "Twelve methods that will exercise parts of your brain that rarely get it, and make you more creative and better able to understand the world."

Mr. Sun goes to Revenge of theMAY 20

Mr. Sun goes to Revenge of the Sith with his youngling. "Why didn't Obi-Wan finish off Anakin? That weakness of the mind cost millions of lives. Put down the coffee, Master Kenobi -- coffee is for closers."

The PowerPoint slides from the Google Factory TourMAY 20

The PowerPoint slides from the Google Factory Tour.

Concise roundup of yesterday's Google Factory TourMAY 20

Concise roundup of yesterday's Google Factory Tour. "Google is readying a software package called Google Earth, which is a Google-ized version of Keyhole, an astounding 3D mapping program from a company that Google acquired. It includes some built-in searching features that let you do things like see driving directions rendered as photographic flyover animations of actual the route you'll take."

Apple's obsession with simplicity has gotten aMAY 20

Apple's obsession with simplicity has gotten a bit out of control with the latest release of OS X.

Some good thoughts from Paul Ford onMAY 20

Some good thoughts from Paul Ford on the recent announcement from the NY Times about their TimesSelect offering. "The web should serve the needs of its users, not the needs of a few hundred advertisers. If that ends up costing money, so be it; this medium is not inherently free."

The public choice economics of Star Wars: A Straussian readingMAY 20

The public choice economics of Star Wars: A Straussian reading. "The core point is that the Jedi are not to be trusted".

rating: 4.5 stars

Star Wars: The Revenge of the SithMAY 20

Warning: there are some major spoilers in here if you haven't seen it yet.

As a life-long Star Wars fan (but not fanatic), I flat out loved Revenge of the Sith. Before the 20th Century Fox theme song started, the only expectation I had was to finally find out the details behind Anakin's transition to the Dark Side, Padme's death, Luke and Leia's birth, and the near-extinction of the Jedi...everything that tied the somewhat lame prequels to the beloved trilogy of my youth. But as the movie began, I was surprised at how into it I got...I haven't been that absorbed in watching a movie in a long time. Sure there were some rough spots (mostly dialogue related, unsurprisingly), but since the feelings I have about Star Wars are in alignment with how Alan feels, they were largely irrelevant. It's much closer in feel to the original movies than the more recently filmed ones.

In some spots, even though I knew how things eventually turned out, I was still hoping that things would go another way. When the Emperor was trying to turn Anakin to the Dark Side, I held out hope that he wouldn't make that choice. I didn't want to see the Jedi slaughtered. When Yoda went to face the Emperor, I wanted that little guy to kill him. When Anakin and Obi-Wan faced each other at the end, I was hoping that somehow Obi-Wan would convince Anakin to step back from the Dark Side. But none of that happened and I was sad when it didn't...which was the biggest surprise for me, that sadness. Somehow, Lucas made a real old-fashioned tragedy here; he actually made the evil Darth Vader into a sympathetic character. At the end, when the Emperor tells Vader -- newly clothed in his now-familiar black suit -- that it was his own anger that killed his wife and Vader broke free from his bonds and screamed at the universe, suddenly he didn't seem so evil and imposing. Instead, you saw a small boy, manipulated, confused, and destined to spend the rest of his life inside himself, knowing that he destroyed everything and everyone he loved and having made his uncomfortable bed, that he would now need to lie in it.

Google now offering customized home page, withMAY 20

Google now offering customized home page, with weather, stocks, movies, etc..

Banksy relicsMAY 19

Banksy strikes again, placing a stone relic with a cave drawing of a shopping cart on it into the British Museum.

Ben Saunders and his partner are trainingMAY 19

Ben Saunders and his partner are training in Greenland and blogging about it (with photos) via satphone.

Newspaper coverage of the Mount St Helens eruption, 25 years laterMAY 19

Newspaper coverage of the Mount St Helens eruption, 25 years later.

Someone made an unsolicited mix tape forMAY 19

Someone made an unsolicited mix tape for me: "Songs to Hyperlink To: Kottke Mix #1".

Learn how to dance like Napoleon DynamiteMAY 19

Learn how to dance like Napoleon Dynamite.

Revenge of the Sith available online alreadyMAY 19

Revenge of the Sith available online already.

The launch party for Eyebeam's Contagious MediaMAY 19

The launch party for Eyebeam's Contagious Media Showdown is tonight, 6:30pm.

The top 100 movie voicesMAY 19

The top 100 movie voices. Peter Sellers should really be higher on the list.

David McCullough's 1776 and the tension between academic historians and popularizersMAY 19

David McCullough's 1776 and the tension between academic historians and popularizers. Also apropos to the scientists vs. pop science writers argument I've been hearing lately re: Blink and Everything Bad is Good for You.

As one gets smarter, how you use your memory changesMAY 19

As one gets smarter, how you use your memory changes. "Verbatim memory is often a property of being a novice. As people become smarter, they start to put things into categories, and one of the costs they pay is lower memory accuracy for individual differences."

Locket is the best Dashboard widget yetMAY 18

Locket is the best Dashboard widget yet. "Locket is a Dashboard widget that provides an ambient monitor for a single iChat user on your buddy list. When the person is available, the locket opens. Otherwise, it is closed."

58 days worth of drawing exercises in MicrosoftMAY 18

58 days worth of drawing exercises in Microsoft Excel by Danielle Aubert.

How to order food in a restaurantMAY 18

When you're out to eat with friends and family, it can be challenging to decide what to order off the menu. There are often too many choices on the menu, everything sounds good, nothing sounds good, you're unfamiliar with a particular type of cuisine, you'd like have what that woman over there is having but you don't know what that is, etc. etc.

Luckily, a group of authors has recently released a series of pop science books focused on solving this particular problem. Here are some lessons on ordering food from those books:

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Glance quickly at the menu and order whatever catches your eye first. Spend no more than 2-3 seconds deciding or the quality of your choice (and your meal) will decline.

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
The key to ordering a good meal in a restaurant is understanding the economic incentives involved. Ask the server what they recommend and order something else...they are probably trying to get you to order something with a high profit margin or a dish that the restaurant needs to get rid of before the chicken goes bad or something. Never order the second least expensive bottle of wine; it's typically the one with the highest mark-up on the list (i.e. the worst deal).

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
Take the menu and rip it into 4 or 5 pieces. Order from only one of the pieces, ignoring the choices on the rest of the menu. You will be happier with your meal.

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Poll the other patrons at the restaurant about what they're having and order the most popular choices for yourself.

Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson
Order anything made with lots of butter, sugar, etc. Avoid salad or anything organic. A meal of all desserts may be appropriate. Or see if you can get the chef to make you a special dish like foie gras and bacon covered with butterscotch and hot fudge. Ideally, you will have brought a Super Sized McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal into the restaurant with you. Smoke and drink liberally.

The world's fastest knifeMAY 18

Clive fills us in on Greg Gillespie's belt buckle knife. Don't miss the video...it's pretty damn funny.

Update: Here's Gillespie's web site and the video in question:

A condensed history of the world, fromMAY 18

A condensed history of the world, from the Big Bang to the present (and a little of the future).

Cringely on the future plans of Microsoft, Apple, and GoogleMAY 18

Cringely on the future plans of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. MS is shipping their own PC, Apple is pushing into video on demand, and Google is building a massive supercomputer with the help of their customers.

A guide on how to speak gangstaMAY 18

A guide on how to speak gangsta. "I give yous props for dat phat ride man" means "I give you thanks for the good ride my friend". And don't miss the step-by-step instructions for high fiving someone.

Merriam-Webster has compiled a list of wordsMAY 18

Merriam-Webster has compiled a list of words that aren't yet in the dictionary, but are in widespread use anyway. "cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway".

Google's famous chef is leaving the companyMAY 18

Google's famous chef is leaving the company. It must be hard to cook free lunches when you're so filthy, stinking rich.

How to fake a fingerprintMAY 18

How to fake a fingerprint.

In an *amazing* coincidence, David finds the $100MAY 17

In an *amazing* coincidence, David finds the $100 bill I lost earlier today!.

John Battelle has some interesting thoughts onMAY 17

John Battelle has some interesting thoughts on the NYTimes' move to charge for some of its content. "The Times stated reason for doing this is to diversify its revenue mix, and I buy that logic. It's scary to be totally leveraged over advertising."

Interview with the guy who came up with "flash mobs"MAY 17

Interview with the guy who came up with "flash mobs". Flash mobs "turned into a sprawling, global fad practically overnight--and then largely faded away almost as quickly as it appeared".

If you get the right bottle, agedMAY 17

If you get the right bottle, aged champagne can be quite tasty.

Movies that have been considered the greatest everMAY 17

Movies that have been considered the greatest ever.

Why we shouldn't pay that much attentionMAY 17

Why we shouldn't pay that much attention to the box office gross. "Ticket sales from theaters provided 100 percent of the studios' revenues in 1948; in 2003, they accounted for less than 20 percent." And he doesn't even mention inflation...Gone With the Wind is still the highest grossing film in history when you adjust for inflation.

Remembering boo.com, five years after it diedMAY 17

Remembering boo.com, five years after it died.

Whatever happened to the subjects of Diane Arbus's photographs?MAY 17

Whatever happened to the subjects of Diane Arbus's photographs?. CNN's Anderson Cooper was that weird looking baby?

How to turn a block of AntarcticMAY 17

How to turn a block of Antarctic ice into a giant neutrino detector. "To turn the ice into a telescope, all you have to do is drill an array of 80 holes half a meter across by 2.5km deep using a very powerfull jet of hot water. Then lower a string of 60 optical detectors into each hole before they refreeze, conect them up to some powerful computer analysers and you are good to go."

50 Things to Do with Your iPodMAY 17

50 Things to Do with Your iPod. Besides listen to music with those white earbuds.

Whatever happened to that baby from theMAY 17

Whatever happened to that baby from the cover of Nivana's Nevermind?.

Secret Wall TattoosMAY 17

Secret Wall Tattoos. People are removing art from hotel room walls, creating their own art on the wall beneath, and then replacing the art of top of it for others to discover at a later time.

Final season (boo!) of Six Feet UnderMAY 17

Final season (boo!) of Six Feet Under starts June 6th (yay!!!).

50 Fun Things to Do with Your iPodMAY 16

In the four years since its introduction, the iPod has proven to be a versatile little device. Despite a relatively closed architecture, hackers have found their way in. Content creators and software makers put information at your fingertips when you're on the go. Would-be designers have added to the fashionable stylings of the now-ubiquitous white ear buds. Hardware makers and enthusiasts have augmented the iPod with new add-on gadgets.

For fun, I've compiled a bunch of hacks, add-ons, accessories, and such. Here are 50 Things to Do with Your iPod (besides listen to music with those white earbuds).

A weblog about hamburgersMAY 16

A weblog about hamburgers.

Anthony Lane slams Revenge of the SithMAY 16

Anthony Lane slams Revenge of the Sith in the New Yorker this week. "The general opinion of 'Revenge of the Sith' seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, 'The Phantom Menace' and 'Attack of the Clones'. True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion." Ouch.

If you haven't yet, the Diane ArbusMAY 16

If you haven't yet, the Diane Arbus exhibition at the Met is worth checking out. Open through May 30.

The next version of Internet Explorer will have tabbed browsingMAY 16

The next version of Internet Explorer will have tabbed browsing.

50 things every foodie should do at someMAY 16

50 things every foodie should do at some point in their life.

Long discussion about different after-marriage name change strategiesMAY 16

Long discussion about different after-marriage name change strategies.

McSweeney's list: "Tools or Actions in PhotoshopMAY 16

McSweeney's list: "Tools or Actions in Photoshop That, Were They Applicable to Real Life, Would Prove Useful at Various Stages of a Relationship". Difference Clouds, heh.

A letter from Jane Jacobs to MayorMAY 16

A letter from Jane Jacobs to Mayor Bloomberg concerning the rezoning of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront.

Steve Leveen suggests that people stop finishingMAY 16

Steve Leveen suggests that people stop finishing books they aren't enjoying. Compares books to wine, says that we should "taste" a variety of books and only "drink" the ones we really like.

The NY Times is keeping a Cannes Film Festival weblogMAY 16

The NY Times is keeping a Cannes Film Festival weblog.

Trailer for Rize, David LaChapelle's film about krump dancingMAY 16

Trailer for Rize, David LaChapelle's film about krump dancing.

FAQ: How Real ID will affect youMAY 16

FAQ: How Real ID will affect you. So nice that they snuck it in on a completely unrelated bill like that...I don't remember that aspect of gov't being explained in that Schoolhouse Rock song about the bill.

New iPod ad features some poppin' and lockin'MAY 15

New iPod ad features some poppin' and lockin'. And I'm pretty sure David "Elsewhere" Bernal is in there somewhere as well. Finally!

Summer movies 2005MAY 14

Reader peter vanDerbeek has gone above and beyond the call of duty, producing a 2005 summer movie calendar (in iCal format) from the entire NY Times listing with details about each film, and links to the full NY Times review and movie trailer on apple.com (if available). If you're a movie fan and have calendaring software that supports the iCal format, this is a great resource. If your calendar can't import iCal files, you can still view this calendar on the web in HTML format. Thanks, peter!

Man supposedly caught cheating with Cameron DiazMAY 13

Man supposedly caught cheating with Cameron Diaz responds to the press coverage on his weblog. "I told my wife, 'One of the reasons this is so stupid is because you know that if I was hooking up with [Cameron Diaz] you'd have been the first one I high-fived.'"

Video for a kids version of Since U Been GoneMAY 13

Video for a kids version of Since U Been Gone. There's nothing awesomer than this. The slow-mo crowd reaction shots, a tiger doing a David Lee Roth jump split, kids shouting during the chorus....are you kidding me? None more awesome!

Victoria Reynolds paints meatMAY 13

Victoria Reynolds paints meat. Meat as subject, not meat as canvas. Very strange and cool.

Fairness in journalismMAY 13

There's an interview with author Michael Pollan (he wrote the highly regarded The Botany of Desire, which I have yet to read) on AlterNet. The teaser indicates the piece is all about food and the environment, but most of it ends up being about journalism, including this good bit:

I think perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not. Fairness forces you -- even when you're writing a piece highly critical of, say, genetically modified food, as I have done -- to make sure you represent the other side as extensively and as accurately as you possibly can.

Many blog evangelists point to the success of blogs, many of which are about as far from objective as you can get, as evidence that objectivity isn't required in telling a story, sharing a viewpoint, or in the search for truth. But it's important to keep Pollan's thoughts about fairness in mind before we throw the fairness baby out with the objectivity bath-water. So be subjective, but be fair also...you'll find you may get more mileage out of your arguments that way.

Flickr switches from Flash to DHTML/AjaxMAY 13

Flickr switches from Flash to DHTML/Ajax for displaying photos and notes. You can now also put links in notes, which, damn, my mind just blew.

The box jellyfish provides evidence of howMAY 13

The box jellyfish provides evidence of how complex "image-forming" eyes could have evolved from simpler structures.

Characterizing NBA players by their counterparts downMAY 13

Characterizing NBA players by their counterparts down at the local gym or park. Damon Jones of the Miami Heat is "The Guy Who Has a Friend Who's Really Good".

The Neiman Marcus Paradox: How dumb richMAY 13

The Neiman Marcus Paradox: How dumb rich people end up in debt. "14 percent of people with more than $5 million in assets have credit-card balances [which is] mystifying since credit-card cash is perhaps the most expensive form of money legally available."

Look, nobody cares that you're a DJMAY 13

Look, nobody cares that you're a DJ.

There's a rumor that Blockbuster may stop offering online rentalsMAY 13

There's a rumor that Blockbuster may stop offering online rentals. The folks at Netflix must be beside themselves with glee.

Strange attractors and fashion photography meet atMAY 13

Strange attractors and fashion photography meet at last in this collaboration between Clayton Jame Cubitt and Tom Carden.

The Hacker's Diet: how to lose weightMAY 13

The Hacker's Diet: how to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition.

A selection of personal letters written by Richard FeynmanMAY 12

A selection of personal letters written by Richard Feynman.

Biologically odd people are pushing the limitsMAY 12

Biologically odd people are pushing the limits of what the human body is capable of. "In 2002, Lynne Cox swam to Antarctica, withstanding 32-degree water in only a swimsuit."

FontLab buys Fontographer from Macromedia and plans for future upgradesMAY 12

FontLab buys Fontographer from Macromedia and plans for future upgrades.

HP contributor David Rees: "The Huffington PostMAY 12

HP contributor David Rees: "The Huffington Post has been live for two days and I still haven’t met Gwyneth Paltrow". He also complains that Larry David hasn't read his screenplay.

Debate on the science of gender andMAY 12

Debate on the science of gender and science between Elizabeth Spelke and Steven Pinker. "On sex differences between men and women and how they may relate to the careers of women in science".

The Swiss are putting a blanket onMAY 12

The Swiss are putting a blanket on one of their glaciers to keep it from melting.

Microsoft is sponsoring a short film contestMAY 12

Microsoft is sponsoring a short film contest called Thought Thieves about intellectual property theft. And the entry form states: "I will formally license on terms acceptable to Microsoft, all intellectual property rights in my film and agree to waive all moral rights in relation to my film if requested to do so". Heh.

A group called Art Mobs is producingMAY 12

A group called Art Mobs is producing their own audio guides for the MoMA.

How to clean up maple syrupMAY 12

Since my post about the maple syrup spill, my inbox has been buzzing with a number of different techniques that people have sent in for cleaning up maple syrup. As a service to future Google searchers or those of you that may have just spilled maple syrup all over the place, here are several of those techniques:

  • if you spill syrup, or drop a raw egg, the trick is to pour a bunch of salt all over the spill (kosher or table, whatever you have), then leave it for a minute or so. the salt will soak up most of spill, keep it from spreading and make it much more manageable for cleanup.
  • pour a bag of flour onto it and walk away for a while. come back with the dustpan and a spatula, scoop up the non-liquid mixture, and all you have left is a small sticky patch. buff to a shine
  • Freeze it, and then you can break it off. Alternately (and easier, heh), you can take a wet dish cloth, put it on the syrup and use an iron on the dish towel (the maple effectively gets "sucked" right up).
  • before you grab the broom (uh, you didn't really sweep syrup into a dustpan, did you?) find two hard, flat items (i.e. a dough scraper and a spatula) and put them at opposite 45 degree angles to your catastrophe, sweeping together until they are flush. voila, syrup squeegee. also works as a party trick with two cardboard coasters when someone spills honey mustard dressing on the table.
  • Place a large piece of wax paper directly on top of the puddle of syrup so you get a good stick. With a spatula or paint scraper or whatever you've got handy, begin to flip the wax paper over by spooning the syrup onto it. Pretty soon you will have transfered all the syrup onto the wax paper and you can dispose of it quickly *and* easily. (You might even be able to use a paper grocery bag or newspaper for this.)
  • Liquid nitrogen, and a chisel. Quickness depends on wether you keep liquid nitrogen around. Easy depends on how brittle the floor is. Fun however is pretty much assured. Or at least as much fun as cleaning ever gets.
  • For future reference, pour some diet coke on it - the carbonation cuts right through and is a great cleaning aid (make sure you're getting the liquid carbed part and not the fizzy, useless head). In all seriousness, a pour from a can yields less fizz than from a bottle.
  • the easiest way to clean up syrup (or anything sticky, for that matter) is to freeze it. take out some ice cube trays, or drop a bunch of cubes into a metal container along the lines of an 8x8 cake pan, then cover the pan with a dish towel to insulate. come back in an hour, and the syrup, while not frozen, should be much more manageable.
  • Your mention of the sticky maple syrup kind of taking over reminded me of "Curious George gets a Medal" which I've been reading to kids here lately. Trying to pen a letter, George spills ink on the floor and in the process of trying to clean it up ends up with a room full of suds. Next time you find yourself in the situation be sure to borrow the pump from the farmer down the street (and of course you'll need a cow to help you pull it home).

Thanks to Sarah, Tim, Jeremy, Eric, Josh, Yi, Rachel, Samuel, and Jack for sending in their tips. Who knew that my readers knew so much about cleaning up spilled maple syrup?

Early aircraft designs from US Patent applicationsMAY 12

Early aircraft designs from US Patent applications.

Photos of the 28-course tasting menu atMAY 12

Photos of the 28-course tasting menu at chef Grant Achatz's Alinea.

Wow, Dodgeball acquired by GoogleMAY 12

Wow, Dodgeball acquired by Google. Congrats to Dens and Alex.

Summer movies calendarMAY 11

After seeing this calendar of summer movie openings in the NY Times this weekend, I put all the movies that I was interested in seeing into a calendar in iCal. If someone wants to go through the rest of the list and add them to the calendar, I would be happy to host and/or link to the finished file.

Update: I corrected the link to the iCal file. Typos again! Argh!!!

Update #2: Relatedly, Apple has a movie releases calendar that you can subscribe to that goes about a month out. Bit weird that each movie isn't a separate item, but still useful. Thx, Tim.

Frank Bruni on avant guard cuisine (also called molecular gastronomy)MAY 11

Frank Bruni on avant guard cuisine (also called molecular gastronomy).

Robert McNamara: "the United States must noMAY 11

Robert McNamara: "the United States must no longer rely on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. To do so is immoral, illegal, and dreadfully dangerous".

Kansas man is renting out his prairieMAY 11

Kansas man is renting out his prairie land for people to burn; $100 a pop. Having lived in a rural area and burned grass like this, I can tell you that it's great fun.

Staff at The Spotted Pig restaurant inMAY 11

Staff at The Spotted Pig restaurant in NYC wear shoes custom-designed for the restaurant. Can Air Batali's be far behind?

Where do mob nicknames come from?MAY 11

Where do mob nicknames come from?.

Pour some sugar on me (or rather, my floor)MAY 11

There's no quick or easy way to clean up a broken bottle of maple syrup. The full glass bottle slipped out of its perch in the fridge and shattered on the hard kitchen floor, almost in slow motion. My first reaction upon seeing the sticky pointy superhero of a mess was to abandon all my possessions and move immediately to a new apartment. After seriously considering that for a few seconds, I then decided to leave it for the ants. I currently have no ants in my apartment, but I'm sure a big puddle of liquid sugar in the middle of the kitchen floor is just the thing to attract some.

Another couple of minutes passed before I decided the ants perhaps weren't the best solution. So out came the dustpan, hand-broom, bucket, and mop. Fifteen minutes later, instead of a small area on the floor being sticky, pretty much everything in the apartment was. Clothes went into the hamper and my person into the shower. And this was all in the middle of making dinner, for which I had been hungry for an hour and a half previous to the breakage. Thank God it wasn't pancakes on the menu.

Free movies in NYC's Bryant Park allMAY 10

Free movies in NYC's Bryant Park all summer; here's the schedule. Ooh, Touch of Evil.

Apple employee and Slashdot poster "As SeenMAY 10

Apple employee and Slashdot poster "As Seen On TV" with some great posts about video on iTunes and other stuff. I posted about him a few weeks ago and now Gizmodo has outed him...how long before Apple cans this guy/gal?

Crazy story about an out-of-control BMW on an LA freewayMAY 10

Crazy story about an out-of-control BMW on an LA freeway.

iTunes 4.8 does videoMAY 10

iTunes 4.8 does video. An interesting development. Why is video in iTunes and not iPhoto? (Update: iPhoto 5 does video. Hard to breathe with my head in the sand here...)

Teams are successful when they're made upMAY 10

Teams are successful when they're made up of a mixture of old and new members. "You need someone new to get the creative juices going so you don't get trapped in the same ideas over and over again."

A History of the GUIMAY 10

A History of the GUI. From Vannevar Bush to OS X and XP.

Last 100 posts, part 4MAY 10

(Every once in awhile, I summarize what's been going on around these parts. This is that.)

The huge! enormous!! gigantic!!! news is that after many problems, I finally got Tiger installed, thanks to a number of extremely persistent kottke.org readers. Super doubleplusgood thanks goes to Stefan Seiz for not giving up on me and documenting how to fix the problem. I'm still a little concerned that my drive is teetering on the brink of failure, so as many have urged, I'm investing in a Firewire drive soon so that drive failure won't be such a huge pain in the ass. (I'm already backing up the essentials, but it would be nice to have a complete local snapshot.)

Update: Spotlight is already rocking, but Mail.app's permanent placement of the mailboxes pane on the left side is not cool. Anyone know a way around this that doesn't involve modifying .nib files? I've already taken care of the ridiculous icons with Cage Fighter.

Feedback continues to roll in about the new dropdown menu on the front page. Complaints include that it's flickering on Firefox (have a JavaScript solution to the problem but would prefer just fixing the CSS somehow); that it's not a real select menu (I have more control over styling this way...plus some future features won't work with a plain old select menu); a bug in Safari 2.0 where if you try and switch to a previously displayed option, it won't switch (no idea what that's about); and that it just plain sucks (I have no response for that).

Want to get up to speed on the whole global warming thing? Try The Climate of Man, the three part series by Elizabeth Kolbert for the New Yorker: How the earth is changing, The curse of Akkad, What can be done? There's also an online-only interview with her on climate change.

Since I went full-time in late February, the incidence of typos on the site has skyrocketed. This makes me think I'm trying to do too much too fast. Trying to slow down a little bit. Quality, not quantity.

I recently reviewed Steven Johnson's new book, Everything Bad is Good for You. The book is currently sitting at #212 on the Amazon best sellers list and my review is currently sitting on the Amazon page for the book under someone else's name. Which wouldn't be so bad had they actually given me credit for it like he was supposed to.

Many people asked why I didn't include purple numbers in my discussion of fundamental units of the web. It's a fair point, but I guess I excluded them because I was looking specifically for units that stand on their own in the larger web somehow...and paragraphs tend not to have meaning (nor are they assigned meaning) outside of the context of the page/post containing them. That and purple numbers aren't really in widespread use. Grant Barrett wrote in support of words being the fundamental unit of the web, having written this when he launched Double-Tongued Word Wrester last year:

So a few years ago I began searching for smaller elements to extract and found that by picking out an unusual word or a significant number, I could offer yet another entry point to the larger article. It didn't have to be a quote.

Last week I pointed to a WSJ article on the booming online sales of tshirts which mentioned my pals at Connected Ventures. They recently started a new tshirt company called Defunker, for which I did some modeling (you may have seen me in some ads on Boing Boing). This is probably a good time to reveal that this whole blogging full-time thing is really just an elaborate smokescreen for my burgeoning modeling career. Sadly, I haven't gotten any calls since the Defunker photos went live...I guess there's not a lot of demand for sleepy/confused-looking dorks.

I did a segment on Future Tense about my collection of Tiger headlines. A Real Audio recording of the piece is available. Also, thanks to Brad DeLong for satisfing my desire for a really sensational Tiger vs. Longhorn headline.

And that's the last 100 posts.

Part three of three of Elizabeth Kolbert'sMAY 10

Part three of three of Elizabeth Kolbert's series on global warming for the New Yorker. This one's all about what we can and are/aren't doing about the situation.

Long interview with Edward Tufte from Technical Communication QuarterlyMAY 10

Long interview with Edward Tufte from Technical Communication Quarterly.

Gladwell reviews Everything Bad is Good forMAY 10

Gladwell reviews Everything Bad is Good for You for the New Yorker.

Internal NY Times report recommends the creationMAY 10

Internal NY Times report recommends the creation of a NY Times blog.

Astronomers may have detected the formation of a black holeMAY 10

Astronomers may have detected the formation of a black hole. "A faint visible-light flash moments after a high-energy gamma-ray burst likely heralds the merger of two dense neutron stars to create a relatively low-mass black hole."

Mad Physics is a neat science educationMAY 10

Mad Physics is a neat science education site run by a couple of high school students.

Design and the art of bullshittingMAY 10

Design and the art of bullshitting. In my experience, a designer's job entails coming up with a solution that works (which takes 20% of the time and energy) and then selling it to the client (which takes the remaining 80% of the time/energy, sometimes more).

Ajax and weblogsMAY 09

Update: The menu is gone for now, so the rest of this probably isn't going to make much sense.

If you take a look at the front page of kottke.org, you'll notice a pulldown at the top of the content column (on the left). When you mouse over the menu, you're presented with a list of choices of what to display in that column and when you click one of those choices, the content is requested from the server and displayed using Ajax. More on the Ajax stuff in a bit.

Back to the menu (go try it out...this will all make a lot more sense if you do), this is a baby step in my desire to get rid of (or at least drastically de-emphasize) the fairly useless archive page**. From the front page, you can now see not only all the latest posts but also only the movie posts, the latest remaindered links, the latest book reviews, etc. You can also request 50 random posts (which is my favorite feature of this whole thing; it's a great way to surf the archives...and find some really horrible writing), a compilation of my favorite posts, some recent photos of mine from Flickr, and my del.icio.us inbox. It's a really fast way to get at a large chunk of the recent archives (dare I say the Long Tail of kottke.org?) and does so in a better way than the archives page.

Oh, and just for the hell of it, I whipped up a little RSS reader that pulls in posts from Boing Boing, waxy.org, Gawker, and the NY Times (cached so that feeds aren't requested every time someone looks at the page) and presents them in the familiar kottke.org format. So that's fun too.

Using Ajax for this was a no-brainer (it's better than loading all that content ahead of time and having it in hidden layers or something), but I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Ajax is a ridiculously easy technology to implement***, especially if you're using something like Movable Type which quickly and easily outputs chunks of XHTML. The XMLHttpRequest part of this took all of 10 minutes to implement, just put the following in the header of your XHTML file (code adpated from Guide to Using XMLHttpRequest (with Baby Steps)):

<script type="text/javascript">
<!--
var xmlhttp=false;
/*@cc_on @*/
/*@if (@_jscript_version >= 5)
try {
xmlhttp = new ActiveXObject("Msxml2.XMLHTTP");
} catch (e) {
try {
xmlhttp = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
} catch (E) {
xmlhttp = false;
}
}
@end @*/

if (!xmlhttp && typeof XMLHttpRequest != 'undefined') {
xmlhttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
}

function getMyHTML(serverPage, objID) {
var obj = document.getElementById(objID);
xmlhttp.open("GET", serverPage);
xmlhttp.onreadystatechange = function() {
if (xmlhttp.readyState == 4 && xmlhttp.status == 200) {
obj.innerHTML = xmlhttp.responseText;
}
}
xmlhttp.send(null);
}
//-->
</script>

and then you can get an XHTML chunk called "chunk2.html" from the server and put it into the "goeshere" div when you click on the "Change it!" link like so:

<p><a href="javascript://" onclick="getMyHTML('chunk2.html','goeshere')">Change it!</a></p>
<div id="goeshere">Hey, this text will be replaced.</div>

That's it...you don't need to write a whole bunch of JavaScript to parse XML data files and use the DOM to stick each bit of information into the right spot or anything like that. Even the RSS feeds I'm pulling in are processed on the server and pulled into the browser as a whole XHTML chunk. And like I said before, Movable Type, Wordpress, TextPattern, or any other CMS that can output XHTML can be used to generate files that you can then swap in. It's pretty easy to get MT to publish XHTML files containing the last 30 Trackbacks to your site, the 50 most recent comments, a list of the most commented on entries, or dozens of other options.

So that's the easy part. The interesting aspect of Ajax is not the technology but how to apply it sensibly (i.e. using it to solve design problems). One of the problems with Ajax is that the data you're bringing in dynamically often cannot be bookmarked and it breaks the back button. Something like the front page of kottke.org is a perfect place for it though. All the posts on the front page are permalinked and no one links to a specific post that's shown on the front page because that information will scroll off the page in two weeks or so; people link to the post's permanent location instead. When you select different types of content with the pulldown, all the posts returned are permalinked and there's a link to the permanent location for each type of content as well (if you're viewing the latest movies, there's a permanent link to the movies page). Plus, the page still works just fine if the JavaScript doesn't work on your browser or mobile device and you can still get to everything via the archives page.

It's all a bit rough and needs more refinement than most of the stuff I usually launch on kottke.org (there's several things I don't quite like about it), but I wanted to get it out there and get some feedback. Bug reports are especially welcome, but please note that if you're not on IE 5.5+, Firefox, or Safari, it might not work at all. (The line-height on the pulldown is a little bit screwy on IE on the PC and there's an odd flicker on Firefox on the PC...any ideas?) And apologies in advance if any of the above code is wrong or confusing...like I said, this is all a bit more slapdash than usual and I'll correct as necessary.

** I've touched on this before, but most weblogs' archive pages are pretty useless, mine included. They should help people discover and find the non-current posts on a site and a list of links to each month's worth of posts isn't that helpful. The categories are more helpful, but it's still a lot of clicking around. The jury is still out on tag clouds. Two current archive page favorites are Binary Bonsai's (Live Archives section, lists of latest entries, most commented on, personal favorites) and Subtraction's (category descriptions, # of posts in each archive, list of post titles for each of the last few months). Like I said above, my goal is to get rid of the archive page altogether.

*** Obviously there's a lot more you can do with Ajax that is more complicated, but for a lot of applications, the "assemble the data on the server and then just shove it into an id'd div" approach works pretty well, even if it does require a little more bandwidth.

The stupid and ridiculous Broadcast Flag wasMAY 09

The stupid and ridiculous Broadcast Flag was struck down in US Appeals Court on Friday. Congratulations to the EFF and Cory on this victory.

"Queens" sign on a women's bathroom inMAY 09

"Queens" sign on a women's bathroom in Chelsea might cause some confusion.

Lego version of Han Solo frozen in carboniteMAY 09

Lego version of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

Fun story about the small world we sometimes live inMAY 09

Fun story about the small world we sometimes live in.

Pixar's profits tripled since last yearMAY 09

Pixar's profits tripled since last year. And it sounds like a Disney reconciliation might happen as well.

The Economist on the Long Tail, theMAY 09

The Economist on the Long Tail, the current buzzphrase du jour. It'll be interesting to see if the Long Tail idea will be "over" by the time the book comes out or if it's got legs. Either way, it's still an interesting way to think about your business.

From behind the scenesMAY 08

As I mentioned the other day, I've been doing a little work on the backend of kottke.org. I just refreshed the front page, which should look and act the same as it did in all respects save one but will make it easier for me to make future changes to it. (If things are acting weird, let me know.) The one difference is that I'm displaying the last few movies I've seen (with ratings) on the front page in the main column. So every time I add a movie without a review into MT, it will show up on the front page. More good stuff on Monday or Tuesday.

ps. I never did get Tiger installed the other day. It's going to have to wait until I have a free day to backup my drive, erase it, copy everything back, and then install Tiger, which may be never.

Hire different...diversity is important in your workforceMAY 08

Hire different...diversity is important in your workforce. She mentions Google as an example...I've always thought that their Ph.D hiring fetish is a little worrying.

Great rant about George Lucas and Star WarsMAY 08

Great rant about George Lucas and Star Wars. Warning, some spoilers for Revenge of the Sith in the last few paragraphs.

Yikes, looks like there's some problems withMAY 08

Yikes, looks like there's some problems with the Google Web Accelerator. It "clicks" every link, including those that might delete documents and such in web apps.

"Nobody crawls under my deck for lessMAY 08

"Nobody crawls under my deck for less than seventy-five bucks, I don't care how much they like it.".

UpgradingMAY 06

Things may be a little slow around these parts today...I'm upgrading my laptop to Tiger. The actual install will probably only take around 30 minutes, but the messing about with all the new features might take the rest of the day.

I've also been switching a few things around on the site and will be doing a bit more of that in the next few days hopefully. If you find something that isn't working or looks a little weird (the font sizes were all messed up on the PC the other day), drop me a note.

Update: Still trying to upgrade. Looks like my hard drive has some issues that cannot be repaired. I may have to erase it. :( I'm cold and frightened and I need a hug. More later (hopefully).

Update #2: Yesterday I descended into hell, my friends. From what I can gather, there seems to be something physically wrong with my hard drive, yet not enough for it to actually stop working (yet). Disk Utilities couldn't do anything with it and neither could Disk Warrior. My struggles yesterday involved trying to create a disk image of my drive on another machine (via Firewire), erasing my drive in such a way that it cordons off the bad bits of the drive from future use, dumping that disk image back onto my machine, and then finally upgrading to Tiger. Unfortunately, some mysterious failure occurred and I didn't even make it through step 1. So who knows if Tiger will ever pounce its way onto my hard drive. It ain't looking good.

Profile of Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely PlanetMAY 06

Profile of Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet. The Lonely Planet guides are changing to cater to richer folks while their original "shoestring" series makes up a tiny portion of their current sales.

Pitching slow to a young child isMAY 06

Pitching slow to a young child is actually worse than pitching a little faster. "When you throw something slowly to a child, you think you're doing them a favour by trying to be helpful. Slow balls actually appear stationary to a child."

"A campaign for the Portuguese political magazineMAY 06

"A campaign for the Portuguese political magazine Grande Reportagem ... turns flags of various countries into infographics by adding a legend". For the US flag: "Red: In favor of the war in Iraq, White: Against the war in Iraq, Blue: Don't know where Iraq is."

Everything Bad is Good for YouMAY 05

Everything Bad is Good for You

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to read Steven Johnson's new book, Everything Bad is Good for You:

Drawing from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and literary theory, Johnson argues that the junk culture we're so eager to dismiss is in fact making us more intelligent. A video game will never be a book, Johnson acknowledges, nor should it aspire to be -- and, in fact, video games, from Tetris to The Sims to Grand Theft Auto, have been shown to raise IQ scores and develop cognitive abilities that can't be learned from books. Likewise, successful television, when examined closely and taken seriously, reveals surprising narrative sophistication and intellectual demands.

To me, the most interesting question about the whole issue is whether the kind of learning that Johnson focuses on in the book outweighs the potentially negative aspects of what is generally thought of as our dumbed down and getting dumber culture...in some ways, it's a question of the importance of how we learn versus what we learn. Unfortunately, that question lies largely outside the scope of the book and is probably an entire book of its own, but I still asked Steven about it in an email I sent him shortly after finishing the book. Here's a gently edited excerpt:

It was hard for me to read about pop culture making us smarter because I'm so conditioned to think otherwise, but in the specific way you describe, I absolutely agree with your arguments. There's obviously a lot more effort and learning involved watching The Apprentice than in watching The Joker's Wild. The gaming bit of the book even influenced my thinking on this post about Katamari Damacy.

I guess I'm still kind of wondering if the positive effect you talk about balances out the negative effects (if any). If TV these days is conditioning us to be more socially agile (as far as keeping track of social connections), what else is it conditioning us to think and feel? Maybe that's outside the question of whether it's making us smarter or not. I ran across this interview of David Foster Wallace from 1993 a couple of weeks ago, and Wallace is a notorious TV critic, although I think he would pretty much agree with most of EBIGFY:

"But what's seldom acknowledged is how complex and ingenious TV's seductions are. It's seldom acknowledged that viewers' relationship with TV is, albeit debased, intricate and profound."

But I don't think he'd agree that TV is good for you:

"I think TV promulgates the idea that good art is just art which makes people like and depend on the vehicle that brings them the art."

Is media whose primary purpose (through, as you argue, the addition of complexity) is to spend more time in the lives of the people who consume it (through repeat viewings, game replayings, etc.) really good for people? I have doubts.

Near the end of the book, you offhandedly introduce the familiar metaphor of the media diet (I think it's only mentioned once on p194). Dunno why exactly, but it really grabbed me. On the one hand, it's taken for granted among people I know who tend to consume lots of media that media is something that needs be approached in a dietary sense. I need to read more or watch less TV or watch better TV or balance out my online reading with some books...that's just how we think now. I don't think that concept existed 20-30 years ago but now there's so much media that we need to balance it all. Tying that back into food, the hunter gatherers wouldn't have known what a balanced diet was because they were eating an all meat and wild fruit/veg diet, basically whatever they could get their hands on. When agriculture rolled around and was greatly enhanced by industrialization, we were overwhelmed by choice and the idea of a balanced diet became a possibility and necessity.

At the same time, we have a situation in the US now where food is engineered to maximize the amount purchased by an individual. That means larger portions of high-sugar, high-fat foods....lots and lots of stuff that tastes good and makes you want to eat more of it as soon as possible. And it's making us fat and unhealthy. Media is engineered to work much the same way and I'm wondering if that's a good thing.

For those that want to read more about it, the book and the ideas contained therein have been excerpted in a couple of places already:

- Watching TV Makes You Smarter (NY Times Magazine)
- Everything Bad Goes Public (stevenberlinjohnson.com)
- Dome Improvement (Wired magazine)

and is being discussed in various corners of the blogosphere and in the media:

-Comments on Watching TV Makes You Smarter (kottke.org)
- Comments on Everything Bad Goes Public (kottke.org)
- Sparklines (Almost) in the Times, and Complexity Is Good For You (Anil Dash)
- Get Smart (Reason Online)
- Thinking Outside the Idiot Box (Slate)
- sleeper curve economics (Michael Sippey)
- Are Video Games Good for You? (Michael J. Madison)
- Don't kill your television (Salon)
- Children, Eat Your Trash! (Time)
- Does watching TV make you stupid? (Stay Free!)
- Brain candy (Boston Globe)
- Bad is Good (The Sunday Times)

And Steven is trying to keep up with it all on his web site.

Never having been to NYC before 2002, it'sMAY 05

Never having been to NYC before 2002, it's a bit jarring to see such a huge graffiti tag on a subway train.

A list of US-based spyware companies andMAY 05

A list of US-based spyware companies and the investment firms supporting them.

Freakonomists Levitt and Dubner on how yourMAY 05

Freakonomists Levitt and Dubner on how your real estate agent may not have your best interests at heart when selling your house.

The Oh-My-God particle is a proton withMAY 05

The Oh-My-God particle is a proton with the energy of a slow-pitched baseball. And it's moving so fast that after travelling for a year, it would only be a few nanometers behind a photon travelling at the speed of light.

The fundamental unit of the webMAY 05

Much like the shift from molecules to atoms to subatomic particles (protons, neutrons, etc.) to quarks to (potentially) tiny vibrating strings as the most fundamental unit of physical matter that we can find, the fundamental unit for content on the web has been getting smaller as well:

1. The site. You'd see references on sites or in emails like "check out this cool hotwired.com site" or "go to Bobaworld, scroll down, and click on the 'cool links' link". This quickly gave way to:

2. Individual pages. People learned that the web was all about the page. The X-Files Episode Guide page, your Geocities home page, the product page for that new Thinkpad with the fold-out keyboard.

3. But eventually content producers started gathering several chunks of content on the same page and came up with the post/permalink combination. The idea is that several bits of content might be on this page right now, but may be gone when you come back, so here's a permanent link to it so you can find it at some later time. Weblogs are the best example of this, but there are others...Google Maps gives you a way to permalink the particular map you're on for later reference.

4. And now it seems that there are several efforts underway to cut the fundamental unit down to the phrase or word. Online bookmark managers like del.icio.us and Furl and scores of bloggers doing remaindered links blogs link to things with just a few words to describe them. Sites supporting tagging (del.icio.us, Flickr) are creating vast collections of stuff for single words and short phrases. Wikipedia is working on making any word or phrase linkable to an array of information about that word. Linking words or phrases to a Google search result is always an option as well. The result is something like: the Sun is a large ball of gas that gives off energy to Mother Earth.

Note: the fundamental unit of matter metaphor works ok, but is obviously still a metaphor. In particular, the shift in the fundamental unit for content on the web is not one of discovery (linking a single word to a search result was obviously possible many years ago) but of a very rough consensus of perception. Still, something fun to think about.

The Flynn Effect: IQs are rising in the USMAY 05

The Flynn Effect: IQs are rising in the US. "US test takers gained 17 IQ points between 1947 and 2001."

Clever Infiniti newspaper ad looks like a blank weather reportMAY 05

Clever Infiniti newspaper ad looks like a blank weather report. Punchline is "With intelligent all-wheel drive, the weather doesn't matter".

Apple says the iPod shuffle has captured 58%MAY 05

Apple says the iPod shuffle has captured 58% of the flash memory mp3 player market already. That's kind of astounding.

"Fads, fashions and dramatic shifts in publicMAY 05

"Fads, fashions and dramatic shifts in public opinion all appear to follow a physical law: one of the laws of magnetism". "Michard and Bouchaud checked this prediction against their model and found that the trends in birth rates and cellphone usage in European nations conformed quite accurately to this pattern. The same was true of the rate at which clapping died away in concerts."

Interview with Erna Flegel, a German nurseMAY 04

Interview with Erna Flegel, a German nurse who worked in Hitler's bunker during the final days of the war.

How do you make money on the web? Sell t-shirts.MAY 04

How do you make money on the web? Sell t-shirts..

Photo essay of the Hubble Telescope's top ten discoveriesMAY 04

Photo essay of the Hubble Telescope's top ten discoveries.

Mercury Text typeface comes in four differentMAY 04

Mercury Text typeface comes in four different grades so you can pick the right one for the medium you're publishing in. Hoefler and Frere-Jones are the best kind of crazy.

The Modern, the fancy restaurant at theMAY 04

The Modern, the fancy restaurant at the MoMA, gets two stars from the NY Times.

We're still finding lots of new moonsMAY 04

We're still finding lots of new moons around the planets in our solar systems. Twelve new ones were just discovered around Saturn and Jupiter now has 63.

Slideshow of iPod shuffles made out of foodMAY 04

Slideshow of iPod shuffles made out of food. The winner of the contest is made out of banana, apple, and spaghetti. And there's one made of Spam!

James Beard Award winners for 2005MAY 03

James Beard Award winners for 2005. Batali is best chef, Per Se is best new restaurant, Danny Meyer is "outstanding restauranteur".

Advertising 24/7MAY 03

At GEL the other day, Rick Smolan, creator of the Day in the Life photography books, told the crowd about his newest project, a pair of books called Cats 24/7 and Dogs 24/7. Both books are composed of pet photos submitted by professional and amateur photographers. One of the ways that people will be able to purchase the book will be direct from a company who will offer the book at a discount in exchange for printing that company's logo somewhere on the book (sorry for the lack of details...I think the company was either Kodak or Proctor and Gamble, the discount is $5, and the somewhere on the book is the cover but don't quote me on any of that). Anyway, a bit of evidence that advertising in books may be a viable business option in the future.

OutNotes is a place to share "comingMAY 03

OutNotes is a place to share "coming out" letters with the world. "The hope is that these letters will help other people who are struggling with their sexuality; and struggling to come out to their loved ones."

Big fan of the Airwolf TV showMAY 03

Big fan of the Airwolf TV show digitally edits himself into an episode, replacing Jan-Michael Vincent in the lead role.

rating: 2.0 stars

Inside Deep ThroatMAY 03

I don't know a whole lot about the history of pornography, but I'm guessing Inside Deep Throat overstates the importance of Deep Throat in the eventual acceptance of pornography into mainstream American culture. This is the Michael Moore school of documentary filmmaking: take a position and defend it with facts that support that position, conveniently ignoring those which do not. Which is fine I guess, as long as the audience is aware of the bias. And while I realize it can be difficult to explore all the factors of a given situation in a 90 minute period, the lack of perspective is eventually just annoying.

Even so, after the film was over I was curious about Deep Throat, which I'd never seen before. So I located a copy and watched it. Ho boy, was it ever bad...the worst acting you've ever seen (even taking into account that it's a porno) and the sex wasn't much better. Mostly it was just really boring and it took all my willpower to watch until the end. The things I endure for you folks.

For a similar (but better written) take on Inside Deep Throat, read Anthony Lane's review in The New Yorker.

Michael Moore made himself and Disney lotsMAY 03

Michael Moore made himself and Disney lots of money by stirring up controversy for Fahrenheit 9/11. I'm confused though...where's the link between Disney and Fellowship Adventure Group? Surely the Weinstein's didn't purchase the film from Disney for the $78 million? How did Disney get that money back?

If you look at just one photoMAY 03

If you look at just one photo of a man in a tuxedo holding a small sewing machine in front of some cops looking at a crashed UPS truck this year, make it this one.

A quick take on Apple's control freakishnessMAY 03

A quick take on Apple's control freakishness. "Running a tightly controlled company has worked well for Jobs. But being a little out of control can pay dividends, too - by fostering creative freedom, not to mention goodwill. Jobs need only look at his own slogans. Life Is Random. Enjoy Uncertainty. At Apple, this is marketing, not a way of life."

Forget chimeras, let's outfit animals with gadgetsMAY 03

Forget chimeras, let's outfit animals with gadgets. Ideas include odor respirators for dogs, mice with night-vision goggles, and metal detectors for fish (to steel clear of fishermen's hooks).

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple IntelligencesMAY 03

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. You can be smarter than your friends in nine different ways.

How Sprint PCS loses customersMAY 03

How Sprint PCS loses customers. Sprint wanted Cam to sign a 2-year contract just to switch plans, even though he had been a customer of theirs for 7 years. He switched to T-Mobile and got a new phone in the process.

Advancing scientific research means that chimeric animalsMAY 03

Advancing scientific research means that chimeric animals are on the way. "In the case of human cells' invading the germ line, the chimeric animals might then carry human eggs and sperm, and in mating could therefore generate a fertilized human egg. Hardly anyone would desire to be conceived by a pair of mice."

100 people who are qualified to carry the "MAY 02

100 people who are qualified to carry the "Bad Mothafucka" wallet besides Pulp Fiction's Jules Winfield. The list includes Cartman, Hemingway, Bruce Lee, Lt. Uhura, Mercutio, and Emma Peel.

Wow, how to make moss graffitiMAY 02

Wow, how to make moss graffiti. "Soon the bits of blended moss should begin to re-couperate into a whole rooted plant - maintaining your chosen design before eventually colonising the whole area." Again, wow!

Short series of photos from an Iraqi sandstormMAY 02

Short series of photos from an Iraqi sandstorm.

Titles of Sermons to Which Congregants Might Actually Pay AttentionMAY 02

Titles of Sermons to Which Congregants Might Actually Pay Attention. A sample: "The Ten Commandments--Loopholes And Safe Harbors: The Technicalities You've Never Thought Of"

Scientists at Princeton have made a crudeMAY 02

Scientists at Princeton have made a crude computer out of bacteria. Earlier work showed "they could insert DNA into cells to make them behave like digital circuits [and] perform basic mathematical logic. The latest work expands this concept to vast numbers of bacteria responding in concert."

Matt's moblogging the birth of his daughterMAY 02

Matt's moblogging the birth of his daughter. We'll soon see the heir to the MetaFilter empire.

Keeping tabs on Martha Stewart on paroleMAY 02

Keeping tabs on Martha Stewart on parole. Is attending a dinner party "essential employment"?

NYC2012 is using the Union Square clockMAY 02

NYC2012 is using the Union Square clock art work to promote NY's 2012 Olympic bid. One of the artists who did the piece is not thrilled about it being used for advertising.

The second of Elizabeth Kolbert's three-part seriesMAY 02

The second of Elizabeth Kolbert's three-part series on global warming for the New Yorker. This one's about how relatively short-term climate change can affect entire civilizations.

Kdunk with cherry blossomsMAY 02

Kdunk with cherry blossoms. Love this photo.

Extra! Extra! Tiger Headlines Roar!MAY 02

Apple's codename for the new version of OS X clearly inspired headline writers to dust off a few of their favorite cat expressions. Here's a sampling of actual headlines (thanks, Google News) about Tiger's release:

Apple Sets Tiger Free on Public
New Mac System 'Tiger' Roars
Apple's new Tiger springs into action
Apple lets Tiger OS out of cage
Apple unleashes Tiger in Taiwan
Apple's Tiger unleashed in San Francisco
Apple's Tiger earns its stripes
Longhorn on Tiger's tail
Apple unleashes Tiger
Apple users are likely to be on the prowl for Tiger
Apple takes Tiger by tail with free installation
'Tiger' roars into stores
Apple to let loose its sleek Tiger system, good at hunting down files
Apple Lets Tiger OS Out of Cage
Apple unleashes Tiger operating system
Apple's Core Supporters Roar Approval At Tiger
Apple aficionados grab Tiger X by the tail
Apple Unleashes Highly Anticipated 'Tiger'
Tiger roars onto the Mac mini
Apple's Mac OS 'Tiger' Ready to Pounce
Tiger is out of its cage.
Apple's powerful Tiger leaps to the forefront
Apple's Tiger stalks Windows market
Mac users will be happy to have a Tiger by the tail
Apple's "Tiger" aims to take a bite out of Microsoft
Apple's Tiger Leaps Out To Operating-system Fore
Apple's Tiger Begins To Prowl, Set for Release Friday

I'm somewhat disappointed I couldn't find a headline that depicted a battle between Tiger and Microsoft's Longhorn, something like "Apple's Tiger Slays Microsoft's Grazing Longhorn, Leaving Bloody Entrails Strewn All Over OS Marketplace". I mean, why even bother if you're not going to go completely over the top? Amateurs.

A near perfect Einstein Ring foundMAY 02

A near perfect Einstein Ring found. Close galaxies can act as a lens for farther galaxies, focusing the distant light with an "Einstein Ring".

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