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18 July, 2003

Political Buttons Not Allowed

This is incredible: John Gilmore: I was ejected from a plane for wearing "Suspected Terrorist" button

My sweetheart Annie and I tried to fly to London today (Friday) on British Airways. We started at SFO, showed our passports and got through all the rigamarole, and were seated on the plane while it taxied out toward takeoff. Suddenly a flight steward, Cabin Service Director Khaleel Miyan, loomed in front of me and demanded that I remove a small 1" button pinned to my left lapel. I declined, saying that it was a political statement and that he had no right to censor passengers' political speech. The button, which was created by political activist Emi Koyama, says "Suspected Terrorist".

Gilmore was removed from the plane, and 300 passengers were delayed. Oh yeah, and Annie couldn't fly either because of her association with Gilmore.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

General Delivery University

General Delivery University is "America's only genuine diploma mill." For example, you can attend the Ponzi School of Business, and take courses like these:

BUSINESS 101: ETHICS (No Credit) Case histories of famous robber barons, con artists, swindlers, grifters and politicians are reviewed.

BUSINESS 1O2: THE SWISS BANKING SYSTEM How to open up your numbered account in Zurich. [Trip to Switzerland not included in Course Materials.]

BUSINESS 103: TAX HAVENS Numerous small countries (mostly in the Caribbean) offer opportunities to locate businesses and open up bank accounts that are not subject to U.S. taxation. [Field trips to the Netherlands Antilles and the Grand Cayman Islands can be arranged for a substantial price.]

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Diane Arbus

I haven't looked at Diane Arbus' photos in quite a while. Some of them are here.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Sending an Email To George W.

From CNN: White House e-mail system becomes less user-friendly

Under a system deployed on the White House Web site for the first time last week, those who want to send a message to President Bush must now navigate as many as nine Web pages and fill out a detailed form that starts by asking whether the message sender supports White House policy or differs with it.

The article says that the white house gets about 15,000 emails per day. And I suspect that 90% are either spam, pranks, or from raving lunatics.

I think it's actually a good idea. I wouldn't mind having all of my email come to me pre-sorted and free of spam. But navigating nine web pages is a bit over the top.

It is still possible to send a traditional e-mail message, he said, but the sender will receive the automated reply and there is no guarantee it will be read or responded to.

In other words, all traditional email will get an auto-reply, and then it will be trashed.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

The NasalPik

See the personal hygiene tool that's sweeping the nation: The NasalPik.

It works better than any finger ever could! It SCOOPS, it SHOVELS and it SCRAPES AWAY crusty nose build-up, reaching far into the nose, grabbing the deep globs which restrict air flow.

For a limited time, you can get three for the price of one. They make excellent gifts.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Fun Hot Dog Stats

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council brings you Fun Hot Dog Statistics. Here's one:

Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs this summer. Laid end-to-end, those hot dogs would stretch from earth to the moon nearly 7 times!

Now that's a fun fact.

(via B.A.'s Weblog)

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Charting, Graphing, And Annoying Your Visitors

Betty C. Jung has a site devoted to charting and graphing. It has lots of good links to related resources. But for some reason, Betty includes some Javascript code to generate scrolling text on the browser's title bar. This is, perhaps, one of the most annoying things I have ever seen on the Web. C'mon Betty! Someone who's into visual presentation should know better than to assault their visitors with something like that!

Before I started using Mozilla Firebird, I never would have seen this obnoxious display because I kept scripting turned off in IE. But now I guess I'll be seeing all sorts of annoying Javascript. Fortunately, I've added a checkbox to Firebird that lets me turn JavaScript on and off

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Kaleidoscopic Bodies

You probably haven't seen nekkid images like this before.

The idea is not new, the kaleidoscope exists for centuries, but I never saw any pictures that combined the kaleidoscope with nude photography. The kaleidoscope consists of three mirrors set up as a triangular tube.

Posted on 18 July, 2003


Matthew Hurley presents Historical Artwork and UFOs.

For a number of years I have been intrigued by old artwork that appears to depict UFOs. The artwork in my collection consists of frescos, tapestries, illustrations, oil paintings and early photographs.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Electron Microscope Gallery

MicroAngela's Electron Microscope Image Gallery. These are some great images, by Tina (Weatherby) Carvalho of the University of Hawaii.

Shown here is a very close-up view of gecko toes.

Some species of geckos can cling to vertical surfaces, like walls and windows, because of the disk-shaped toepads which are covered with tiny brushlike projections which create intermolecular friction on surfaces. This micrograph shows these projections. These microscopic hairs create one of the strongest adhesive forces in nature - a fat gecko could support its entire weight with just one toe!

(via Dublog)

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Excellence in Web Page Design

Toad pointed this one out to me. Wow, I'm speechless.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Southeast Airlines to Shoot Passengers

From Wired: Videocams Record Airline Flights.

Southeast Airlines said it plans to install digital video cameras throughout the cabins of its planes to record the faces and activities of its passengers at all times, as a precaution against terrorism and other safety threats. In addition, the charter airline, based in Largo, Florida, will store the digitized video for up to 10 years. And it may use face recognition software to match faces to names and personal records, the airline said.

And this sort of thing may become standard fare:

The Federal Aviation Administration and the newly created Homeland Security Department do not require airlines to take such security measures. But Southeast said it's just a matter of time before they do, and it will be prepared.

So what's the point?

He conceded the system would not prevent determined terrorists from sabotaging a plane, as the terrorists of the Sept. 11 attacks did. The purpose is to help law enforcement identify criminals and keep track of their whereabouts.

A by-product of this system is that it will be able to keep track of the non-criminals as well. Welcome to 1984.

Posted on 18 July, 2003

The U.S. Educational System

From The Memory Hole: The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile.

In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood Cubberly -- the future Dean of Education at Stanford -- wrote that schools should be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products...manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry."

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Motorized Marshmallow Roasting

For the kid who has everything: Spinmallow.

The most exciting way to toast marshmallows over a campfire or barbeque. No more searching for sticks. Toasts marshmallows evenly...With its unique stainless steel telescoping rod, double prongs, and battery operation, Spinmallow allows you to stand back almost 3 feet from the flames.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but part of the fun of roasting marshmallows is searching for sticks, getting in close to the fire, and seeing who can come up with the most perfectly-roasted marshmallow.

Save your $10 and use a stick.

(via Off On a Tangent)

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Telephone Exchanges

The Telephone EXchange Name Project:

Telephone numbers used to begin with two letters, which were an abbreviation for a word. For example, there was a Glenn Miller song called PEnnsylvania 6-5000, and Liz Taylor made a movie called BUtterfield-8.

So, one day I got interested in finding a list of the old exchange names. Since they were used so widely around the country, I assumed that there would be a master list somewhere, that shouldn't be too hard to find... This project is an attempt to assemble information about exchange names from a lot of widely spread original sources.

When I was a kid, my family's phone number began with PL-2. The PL was for Plateau.

(via Metafilter)

Posted on 18 July, 2003

Human Descent

A splendid gallery of Photoshopped images of animals and people.

Posted on 18 July, 2003