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7 April, 2003

Random Photo Generator

See random photos snagged from Alta Vista's image cache, 100 at a time. Refresh the page and see 100 more.

Note: Some of these may not be suitable for family viewing.

(via Love and the Happy Cynic)

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Liberties Lost?

A thoughtful article from Dan Gillmor: Why we may never regain the liberties that we've lost.

The Bush administration's attitude, assisted by a Congress that long since abandoned any commitment to liberty, is that government has the right to know absolutely everything about you and that government can violate your fundamental rights with impunity as long as the cause is deemed worthy.

You, on the other hand, have absolutely no right to know what the government is doing in your name and with your money, unless the information is deemed harmless by people who have every motive to cover up misdeeds. Bush and his people have turned secrecy into a mantra, and too few people recognize the danger that poses to our freedoms, much less our pocketbooks.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

U.S. Big Brother Awards

From Privacy International. The 2003 winners are...

  • Most Invasive Proposal: Total Information Awareness
  • Greatest Corporate Invader: Delta Airlines
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: John M. Poindexter

Posted on 7 April, 2003

The Johnny Appleseed of LSD

I've never heard of Al Hubbard, but The Memory Hole has lots of information.

He is the unsung man who almost single-handedly introduced the world to LSD, as well as (to a lesser degree) mescaline and psilocybin. Albert Hoffman may have invented LSD, but Hubbard is the one who, in the very early years, gave it away like candy to some of the most influential people on the planet.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Attention Writers: Need a Plot?

Would-be fiction writers who can't think of a plot idea should check out Hatch's Plot Bank. You'll find more than 2,000 plot ideas, free for the taking. Here are a few random examples:

  • Dad builds wall on wrong side of property line
  • Evacuation of island spoils planned vacation
  • Recurring dream: house is falling apart
  • Claims to see escaped tiger in the nearby woods
  • She's pregnant again!
  • Forms a small youth militia with basement as barracks
  • Her toy bear company is outgrowing the home

Now those should get the creative juices flowing! If not, try CALLIHOO, an alternate source for plot ideas.

(via Muxway)

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Dave Cole Loves Spam

Yes he does. Dave Cole is an internet marketing guy. He says:

I'm always on the lookout for new ideas on what works in ad writing, new tactics ad writers employ, and seeing what is working and not working for them. Successful online marketers are constantly studying not only their own ads, but what others are doing. So instead of getting upset the next time you receive your daily dose of spam, why not look at it as an opportunity to help you become a better marketer?

What an idiot. Dave is a perfect example of the type of person who is ruining the Internet.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Office 2003: Which to choose?

With at least six packaged versions of Office 2003 coming this summer, ZNET's David Coursey asks the question, which one should you choose?

I have been playing with Microsoft Office 2003 Beta 2 for several weeks now and my basic conclusions are still the same as they were when I first wrote about it. Which is to say that I have yet to run into any "must-have" features that should make you run out and buy a copy when it ships.

I tend to agree. My estimate is that less than 10% of all Office users will find any compelling reason to upgrade. If we limit that to Excel users, the percentage declines to about 5% or less.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Popeye, Uncensored

You won't see this on TV. View a complete Popeye cartoon (from 1943) that was banned due to its political incorrectness.

When his overtures of peace to the forces of Nippon are spurned, Popeye takes on the Imperial Japanese Navy is this jingoistic wartime-propaganda cartoon. Now banned, not surprisingly, since it's not exactly politically correct. Funny though!

One reviewer wrote:

Nothing captures the lost feeling and attitude of past times like humor cartoons- whether in print or film. This is a wonderful example of the psychological struggle our great nation was going thru at the time. Is this film racist? Sure. Is it funny? Absolutely, when kept in the correct context. Should it be banned? Of course not. It's material worthy of a period museum. In just 5 short minutes, you learn more about the attitude of the U.S. during the early 1940's than any textbook. 

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Hokey Spokes

Bikers may be interested in a product called Hokey Spokes.

Hokey Spokes are transparent "blades" that attach to your bicycle spokes. As these blades spin during riding, a computer inside the blades modulates the internal LED lights so that design images and custom text appear.

Each Hokey Spoke contains a number of designs and messages. The blades can cycle through all the designs or can be set to play a custom text message all the time. Play mode is selected by using one of the waterproof keys located on any blade.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

A Taxonomy of Frozen Burritos

Classifying and describing frozen burritos is a tough job, but the USDA is up for the task. This document has all the info you'll need: Commercial Item Description: Burritos, Prepared, Frozen.

They break it down into 11 varieties of breakfast burritos, and an astounding 32 varieties of lunch/dinner burritos. They also describe nine types of cheeses, and have specifications for odor and flavor:

The prepared burrito shall have an odor and flavor characteristic for the flavor of prepared burrito. There shall be no foreign odors or flavors such as, but not limited to, burnt, scorched, stale, rancid, or moldy.

What about foreign materials? They are very strict:

All ingredients shall be clean, sound, wholesome, and free from foreign material, and free from evidence of rodent or insect infestation.

You may be wondering what led me to seek out such information about burritos. Blame it on Christopher Bahn, at Incoming Signals. He linked to a similar (and equally fascinating) PDF document that describes cookies.

You may also be interested in learning about frozen corn dogs. For example, you might have some questions about mechanically separated poultry:

Mechanically separated poultry (MSP) without skin and without kidneys and sex glands used in accordance with 9 CFR � 381.174, not in excess of 15 percent of the total ingredients, excluding water, may be used to formulate frankfurters as specified in 9 CFR � 319.180. For example, frankfurters descriptively labeled "Frank" or "Hot Dog" would be limited to 15 percent MSP.) There is no limit on the use of mechanically separated poultry without kidneys and sex glands for the production of poultry frankfurters. (For example, frankfurters descriptively labeled "Frank Made With Chicken, Pork and Beef", or "Turkey Frank" have no limitation on the amount of MSP). Mechanically separated poultry must be designated in the ingredients statement per 9 CFR � 317.2(f) and � 381.118.

Man, prose don't get no better than that!

Posted on 7 April, 2003

The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld

Great stuff at Slate.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is an accomplished man. Not only is he guiding the war in Iraq, he has been a pilot, a congressman, an ambassador, a businessman, and a civil servant. But few Americans know that he is also a poet.

Here's an example, from a Department of Defense news briefing:

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

Thanks to Ed Kaltenbaugh for turning me on to this fascinating poet.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Flag-o-Rama

Patriotic items for fanatical flag wavers. The items for sale here are not for real. The author writes:

I am proud of my country and the freedoms I enjoy. However, ever since the terrorist acts of 9/11, I'm seeing the American Flag being marketed to consumers in every possible way, on every possible item. Bumper stickers, decals, commemorative plates, t-shirts, car antennas, screensavers, e-mails, billboards, grocery bags, toys...the list is endless, and they bear the flag for no other reason than to make money and prey on our patriotic spirit.

(via Geisha asobi blog)

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Be a DJ

Click here, and pretend that you're a DJ.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Twisting His Brain

Finally, a guy who recognizes a good blog when he sees one. Matthew Melnick says:

I got this link from the archived pages of John Walkenbach's blog. This blog kicks ass, seriously. So many cool links my brain was twisting.

From what I can gather, Matthew lives in Brooklyn, and is a tech support consultant. He also plays in a band called Disassociate, which is described as "NYC grindpunk fast hard and in your face."  He owns a couple of pitbull dogs and a fairly ugly cat. He also likes eight-track tapes and African orchids

Thanks for the kind words, Matthew.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Giant Guitars

Not just giant guitars, but giant guitars that really play.

These two guitars are the largest of their kind (Fender Stratocaster* and Telecaster*) that really play! They are also the only Giant Playable guitars used in performance, the only ones that are available to the music public to play and they're the only ones you don't have to plan your vacation to see, we bring them to you! They are the only ones that are a traveling show and since there is more than one guitar, that makes it the "The World's Largest Playable Guitar Collection!"

Too bad the web site is so tacky-looking.

Posted on 7 April, 2003

The Cost of War

What could you do with all of the money spent on the Iraq war? This site has some suggestions. A few examples:

  • Free health care for 50,000,000 people in the developed nations
  • Adequate basic health care for 5,122,950,820 people in developing nations
  • All undergraduate tuition (four years) for 18,377,849 students
  • 112,570,356,500 cans of Budweiser beer

Posted on 7 April, 2003

Religious Sports Figures

You probably didn't know that Jesus was a sports fan. Here's proof, direct from the Catholic Supply of St. Louis.

Getting help from the son of God just doesn't seem quite fair.

Posted on 7 April, 2003