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22 September, 2004

Flight Seating Preference

A hypothetical question:

If you were on a long overseas flight, who would you prefer to sit next to?
Cat Stevens
Dick Cheney
George W. Bush
John F. Kerry
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Hospitable Internet Sites

Let's face it. The Web is a cesspool. There are thousands of people out there who are trying to screw things up. A large proportion of the interactive sites (i.e., discussion groups or chats) are dominated by jerks or juveniles. But there are also some good places to go, right?

Here are two of my favorite Web places that are frequented by good, friendly people:

  • Whole Wheat Radio: The chat room isn't moderated, but it doesn't seem to matter. 90% of the people who hang out there are good folk. Thanks to Jim Kloss.
  • Fender Discussion Page: The FDP is the best place on the Web for guitar talk. One of the discussion groups, Moe's Tavern, is a free-for-all. It's almost like a blog where anyone can post about an interesting topic -- not necessarily guitar-related. Thanks to Chris Greene.

So... what are some other sites that meet this criterion?

Posted on 22 September, 2004

A $200,000 Cadillac

How can a Cadillac be worth $200,000? When it's made of 16 tons of marble. It's The Marbelous Cadillac.

(via Jaf Project)

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Oompa Loompa... Oops

Movie news: Chocolate-dipped Panavision.

The remake of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" experienced a delay on Wednesday when a worker dropped a $540,000 camera lens in a vat of chocolate. The technician had failed to properly secure his wire-held camera, and watched aghast as it plunged into the 3-feet-deep tank.

One source on the English set says, "When the camera fell it was like a slap-stick scene straight from the movie.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Women On The Phone

Here are 18 pages of photos of women on the phone. I think he just went through Google images and snagged everything he could find.

It's part of a site called Telephone Art.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

The New Trend In Spam?

From The Register: Click here to become infected.

Users should be wary of pressing the 'click here to remove' link on spam messages because it serves to confirm to spammers that junk mail messages are being read. Such email addresses can be sold at a premium to other spammers.

That's reason enough to simply delete spam messages, but a junk mail message doing the rounds today provides an even more compelling reason. Selecting the 'click here to remove' link on messages blocked by MessageLabs today triggers an attempt to load malicious code onto potentially vulnerable Windows PC.

The result?

So not only do you confirm your email address to the spammers, you also get to host their next spam run, and get your bank account cleaned out.

Maybe we can thank the CAN-SPAM act for this idea.

The US's CAN-SPAM Act requires junk mailers to put an opt-out link on their wares. It comes as little surprise that this feature is been taken advantage of in a social engineering exploit; but it does illustrate the security problems of the opt-out approach that were always apparent to security experts - and ignored by legislators.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

The Sine Clock

Here's an unusual auditory clock: The Sine Clock. Even more unusual is the fact that you can't actually use it to tell what time it is.

If you spend enough time in a place, you will begin to know the patterns of that place - the sun and moon, traffic, tides, smells, faces, sounds. SineClock presents an aural pattern - the interaction of three sets of sine waves - representing the time of day.

I downloaded it and let it run for about ten minutes. The sound is rather pleasant, but I think I'd rather be listening to music.

(via Collision Detection)

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Simplifying Excel

Free Tip: I figured out a great way to make Excel easier to use.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Britney Not Married?

Like most people, I was ecstatic when I learned about the recent remarriage of Britney Spears. A nice young lady like that deserves only the best. And Kevin Federline seems like a nice young man who would take care of her. I hoped and prayed for a lifetime of marital bliss for that lovely couple.

Now Matt Drudge is reporting that the marriage was a fake!

US WEEKLY uncovered 'documents' that show Britney Spears' nuptials to be a 'faux wedding.' PEOPLE mag wasted 7 figures for 'exclusive photos'... done to throw everyone off the case... Developing...

Say it ain't so, Matt!

I only want them to be happy.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Leaning Barrel Cacti

I continue to be fascinated by the plant life in Arizona. The barrel cactus is very common around here. I noticed that many of them tend to lean over as they get taller. I did some research and found the answer.

Arizona Barrel cacti, common inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert, grow slightly faster on their shady side. This causes the cells on the north side of the cacti to expand, making the cacti lean slightly in a south or southwestern direction as they grow. This is why they are sometimes called the "compass barrel." When lost in the desert, just ask a barrel. It's sure to point you in the right direction.

Here's an example of a leaning cactus, which is visible from the back of our house. Sure enough, it's leaning to the south.

In some cases, this uneven growth actually causes the death of the plant.

Unfortunately, this unique method of growth often leads to a disastrous end for the barrel. Most cacti survive the desert heat by storing large amounts of water. The barrel is no different. The fleshy interior of the cactus absorbs and stores water. Barrels grow from 3 feet to over 10 feet tall - which is a lot of water weight gain. Sometimes the barrel will lean so far to the south that the added weight gets the better of them, and they topple over.

Another (much larger) barrel cactus on our property has indeed toppled over. However, it's still very much alive -- just weird looking.

Posted on 22 September, 2004


Drawings of girls with Telecaster guitars: Tele-Girl Gallery.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

A Record Speeding Ticket

From MSNBC: Minn. motorcyclist clocked at 205.

A motorcyclist in Minnesota has been arrested for speeding - while allegedly going faster than 200 mph.

The speed limit was 65 mph on U.S. Highway 61 near Wabasha. Police say Samuel Tilley was breaking that limit by 140 mph. They say a state patrol pilot who was flying overhead clocked Tilley doing 205 mph while racing with another motorcyclist.

This article describes the bike:

Tilley was riding a Honda 1000, but there are a couple of bikes that fit under that loose description. Chances are he was riding one of the jungle-gym bikes. Some people call them "crotch rockets,'' or street bikes, but to me they look like jungle gyms, a couple of bars at odd angles with an engine in the middle.

(Thanks Pamn)

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Notes From The RNC

Someone known as Emmanuel describes what it's like to get arrested during the Republican National Convention: Notes From the RNC - The 8/31 Experience.

The shock of what happened on August 31 is still wearing off for those of us unfortunate enough to be caught up in what can only be described as a desperate act by law enforcement. It seems silly to say that these were traumatizing events when there's so much more going on in the world - and in our own backyards - that's far worse.

We were lucky, after all. We had the whole world watching and we had our friends outside who never stopped trying to get us out. We had the National Lawyers Guild working around the clock. And of course, we had lots of company since there were so many of us stuck together in one place. But despite all of this - and I think I speak for the majority here - what we went through shook us to the core and will take quite a bit of time to get out of our systems. If you were there then you probably already understand this. If you weren't, then this is an opportunity to share one perspective of what happened.

It's very long, but it held my interest the entire time.

(via The Memory Hole)

Posted on 22 September, 2004

The Calvin And Hobbes Guy

From Ask Yahoo -- I mean Ask Yahoo!:

Dear Yahoo!:

What has Bill Watterson, the creator of "Calvin and Hobbes," been doing the past 10 years?

...For a few years after ending the comic, Watterson signed Calvin and Hobbes books for the town's book shop, but even that proved to be too much attention for the shy cartoonist. Watterson now spends much of his time painting, supposedly burning each work once he finishes.

Posted on 22 September, 2004


Today's assignment. Set aside eight minutes and watch this video short story by Liz Dubelman: CRAZIEST. You'll thank me.

This is at a site called VidLit. Currently only one other item is available: How I Paid For College.

(via Metafilter)

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Bush League Baseball Cards

For sale: Bushball cards.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Barbarian Culture

David Weinberger's speech at the World Economic Forum: Barbarian Culture.

I'm a capitalist of sorts and a writer of sorts, so I am sympathetic to the idea that creators should be paid for their work. But, I'm also a citizen and a member of cultural communities. So, for one moment, I'd like you to perform an exercise in selective attention. Forget every other consideration -- even though they're fair and important considerations -- and see if you can acknowledge that a world in which everyone has free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world. Imagine your children could listen to any song ever created anywhere. What a blessing that would be!

Well worth reading.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Miles From Nowhere

AP news story: Passenger Cat Stevens Gets Plan Diverted.

A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine when it was discovered that passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as singer Cat Stevens - was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country.

Officials had no details about why the peace activist might be considered a risk to the United States. Islam had visited New York in May for a charity event and to promote a DVD of his 1976 MajiKat tour.

Looking at his bio, I see that Cat Stevens has used several different names over the years. His original name was Steven Demetre Georgiou. He also performed under the name Steve Adams. In 1977, he adopted the name Yusuf Islam.

Posted on 22 September, 2004

Lotus Improv: Cancelled

Bob Congdon writes about Lotus Improv.

I realized on my drive to work this morning that I'd let an anniversary slip by without comment. Ten years ago last month Lotus Improv was cancelled. I was a developer on the project so obviously I wasn't too happy. Improv was the reason I joined Lotus in the first place. And customers missed out on a great product. Improv 3.0 had a lot of new features and was on a 32-bit platform again.

Ten years later not much has changed in the spreadsheet world...

Posted on 22 September, 2004