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29 April, 2003

Gorilla Art

If you're bored with human artists, try moving down slightly in the evolutionary scale. Go here, and you can buy paintings by Koko and Michael (who happen to be gorillas).

Thank you for shopping at KokoMart, where all proceeds support our efforts to save gorillas, through the care of Koko and Ndume, our interspecies communication studies and completion of the new Maui Ape Preserve

I wouldn't mind having some of these pieces adorn my walls.

(via Memepool)

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Biblical Brainwashing

Food for thought: Ending Biblical Brainwash.

Imagine that you're a psychiatrist. A new patient comes to see you and says that he regularly talks to an invisible being who never responds, that he reads excerpts from one ancient book and that he believes wholeheartedly that its contents must be accepted implicitly, if not taken literally.

The patient goes on to say that that the world is only 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs never existed. He brazenly rejects modern science's observations and conclusions, and subscribes to the notion that after death he will live in eternal bliss in some alternate dimension. And throughout your meeting, he keeps handing you his book and urging you to join him, lest you end up after death in a far less desirable alternate dimension than him.

Is this a mentally healthy person?

(via gordon.coale weblog)

Posted on 29 April, 2003

The Open Music Project

What is MusicMoz? A great concept...

Music information is one of the most searched topics online and a very important application of the internet. Commercial and fan websites offer an abundance of information on thousands of bands, artists, orchestras, composers and just about every other aspect of music. One of the biggest drawbacks to this wealth of information is that it can be very disorganized and can often disappear as websites continually shut their doors.

Based around the Open Directory editing model, MusicMoz aims to be a comprehensive directory of music, built by volunteers around the world, with contributions from the web public.

(via Muxway)

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Music Swappers Get IM Spam

From Wired News:

On Tuesday, the RIAA began sending thousands of instant messages to file traders using IM services on Kazaa and Grokster, warning them that trading copyrighted songs is illegal... The barrage of messages began Tuesday morning. The group is using a third-party vendor to send the automated notes and they plan to send a million by the end of this week.

Yep, that should work. These millions of users will stop their download activities, and rush out and buy CDs instead. You just gotta be impressed with the customer relations skills at the RIAA.

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Search Engine Ratings

At CNET: New rating confirms Google's crown.

The service, qSearch, was unveiled Monday by ComScore Media Metrix, a consulting unit of ComScore Networks that specializes in consumer behavior. The service examines search queries entered into 25 portals and search engines by members of a pool of 1.5 million international Web surfers recruited through random phone-digit dialing and direct marketing techniques.

The initial results are not surprising:

Google leads the pack among search sites, with Yahoo--which uses Google's engine to produce search results for Yahoo sites--close behind

I wonder when MSN Search is going to change their banner? It currently reads:

More people use MSN Search than any other search service

Maybe they can just add a footnote: "Includes people who were re-directed here by accident."

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Inventions For Sale

Step right up and buy an invention.

The following inventions have all been patented by clients of Michael Kroll, Patent Attorney. The web pages below represent only a small portion of the 1300+ patents obtained by inventors using his services.

This, by the way, is not a joke site. These are real inventions, and they are all for sale.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Posted on 29 April, 2003

A Simple XML Solution

Curious about the new XML features in Office 2003?

Check out this MSDN article: Creating an End-to-End XML Solution with Word 2003 and Excel 2003.

Frank Rice and Paul Cornell walk you through a simple end-to-end solution that demonstrates how XML has made it simple to move data from one Microsoft Office application to another.

Notice that they use the word "simple" twice in one sentence. After skimming this 19-page article, I can only conclude that Microsoft has re-defined the word simple.

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Reverse Speech

This site focuses on reverse speech, and reverse speech technologies. What is reverse speech?

Reverse Speech is the phenomenon of hidden backward messages in speech. It initially gained worldwide fame in the early 80s as those strange backward messages in rock and roll. Since that time, research has progressed significantly and it is now known to exist in all forms of human speech.

Whether or not you believe these wild claims (I sure don't), the site is still interesting and it has lots of audio examples -- including musical reversals. And yes, daed si luap.

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Freak Watcher's Textbook

Human freaks, photographed, defined, and described. It's kind of like bird watching, but much funnier.

(via The Ultimate Insult)

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Rip, Burn, Mix

If you've ever wondered about the meaning of the phase "Rip, Burn, Mix," you can find out at this handy Knowledge Base article at Apple's web site.

And speaking of Apple... they've gotten lots of press lately regarding their new iTunes music download service. Steve Jobs described it as "revolutionary."

Frankly, I don't see what's so revolutionary about iTunes. It's similar to the other pay-per-download sites, and it suffers from the same flaw: The downloads use DRM, so there is no real guarantee that you will be able to listen to the music you purchase in the future. Or is there?

Although the details are sketchy, the iTunes site claims:

In a nutshell, you can play your music on up to three computers, enjoy unlimited synching with your iPods, burn unlimited CDs of individual songs, and burn unchanged playlists up to 10 times each.

If you can burn the downloads to a CD, what prevents you from ripping these CDs and making unprotected MP3 files? The only clue that I could find is from a Fortune article:

Even if you burn the AAC songs onto a CD that a conventional CD player can read and then re-rip them back into standard MP3 files, the sound quality is awful.

How can that be? So these are not "real" CDs?

In any case, make sure you read Apple's very useful warning:

iTunes software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you are uncertain about your right to copy any material you should contact your legal advisor.

Yes, every user should consult their legal advisor.

Update: John Kheit reports that it is indeed possible to re-rip songs from a CD and convert your DRM files to standard MP3 files -- and the sound quality is not awful.

I'm happy to report that the sound quality is not awful. It's fine. Kudos to Apple for not trying to incorporate a sonic distortion scheme into their AAC-to-CD encoding mechanism that would render subsequent re-rips unusable. Currently, re-ripping legitimate AMS purchases is the only way to move your tunes onto non-iPod MP3 players.

To summarize, Apple's DRM scheme is easily defeated. You can purchase music for 99 cents per song, burn the songs to a CD, and then rip the CD to create freely distributable MP3 files. It kinda makes you wonder why they even bothered with the DRM crap.

Posted on 29 April, 2003

The Museum of Neon Art

The Museum of Neon Art is located in Los Angeles. It's a...

...non-profit, cultural and educational organization which exhibits, documents and preserves contemporary fine art in electric media and outstanding examples of neon signs. Founded in 1981, MONA is the only permanent institution of its kind in the world.

If you can't make it, check out the online gallery.

Or, go to Neon City and download some animated GIF files. Like this:

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Hypnosis

A site about hypnosis. It includes advertising, cartoon,s comics, fiction, movies, people, and so on. Lots of interesting stuff.

Don't overlook Pat Collins, the "hip" hypnotist. She's a dead-ringer for Tammy Faye Baker.

And for the high-tech types, check out HypnoSoft software.

...the world's first custom, talking computer hypnosis. Now, you can easily create the perfect hypnosis to fit your exact needs and preferences - any topic, any imagery! Then, have it sent to any email address, your own or some else's (for a fabulous gift).

Yeah, I'll bet that really works.

Posted on 29 April, 2003

Brain Surgery

This New York Times article discusses a new method of brain surgery. A patient...

...went under the Gamma Knife, no-knife surgery that blasts its target with hundreds of high-intensity radiation beams in a single session. There was none of the cutting, bleeding, general anesthesia, ear-to-ear scar or long recovery associated with traditional craniotomy. She went home that evening.

In other news, Man dies after drilling head.

He had a wound to his right temple and a power tool was found next to him.

Posted on 29 April, 2003