Sunday, September 30, 2007

God it hurts. From the marvelous hit & miss new site LOLTheist: Blasphemy is Teh Funneh

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What A Day

Friday, September 28, 2007

How about "What's your favorite Cure song?" Nicole Belle writes:
This had to be the most aggravating question during the Dartmouth debate, both in its implication and in sheer unconstitutional glory. Moderator Tim Russert asks the Democratic presidential contenders to name their favorite Bible verse.

Um, Tim, are you trying to say that Democrats need to prove their faith? Nice Republican framing there. And on whole other level, are you confirming the mindset that only practicing Christians should be eligible for the presidency? What if there was a Jew, Buddhist or a *gasp* atheist on that stage? Would that question be considered appropriate then?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Digital Television Goldrush"

Funniest headline of the day: Microsoft Wants to Take on YouTube, Apple TV

And memory lane...

WIRED News, 4/7/97
As a major broadcasting industry conference kicks off in Las Vegas, Microsoft made a typical splash by announcing its US$425 million acquisition of WebTV Networks, the Palo Alto company that delivers the Net to ordinary TVs.
"We've been planning for some time to use Windows CE across a number of appliances," Microsoft senior product manager Alan Yates said Monday. "The more we evaluated WebTV, the more we saw how well it would fit with our plans."
The move is Microsoft's nimble attempt to outmaneuver its rivals in the digital television goldrush. The software giant is aggressively moving to push — and dominate — the developing merger of PCs and televisions. The purchase of WebTV, which lets users get email and browse the Web on a TV set, will position Microsoft to penetrate the home-television market, which includes 98 percent of American homes.
Why God created in-the-ear headphones.

Verizon Decides What We Can Do With Our Phones (Updated!)

See Update Below!

Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.

The other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program, which allows people to sign up for text messages from Naral by sending a message to a five-digit number known as a short code.
This is not spam. This is a person signing up for information they wish to receive through their phone, and Verizon claiming it doesn't want to let you receive that information through their service, because it objects to the message.
But legal experts said private companies like Verizon probably have the legal right to decide which messages to carry. The laws that forbid common carriers from interfering with voice transmissions on ordinary phone lines do not apply to text messages.

The dispute over the Naral messages is a skirmish in the larger battle over the question of “net neutrality” — whether carriers or Internet service providers should have a voice in the content they provide to customers.
Sorry, Mr. Artist, we don't like your art - we're not going to provide you electricity.
Nancy Keenan, Naral’s president, said Verizon’s decision interfered with political speech and activism.

“No company should be allowed to censor the message we want to send to people who have asked us to send it to them,” Ms. Keenan said. “Regardless of people’s political views, Verizon customers should decide what action to take on their phones. Why does Verizon get to make that choice for them?”
I wish I could call up Verizon and quit again. They should get SHREDDED over this in the media.

Not. Your. Choice.
Timothy Wu, a law professor at Columbia, said it was possible to find analogies to Verizon’s decision abroad. “Another entity that controls mass text messages is the Chinese government,” Professor Wu said.
Updated 10:30am: Verizon knows a catastrophic PR event when they see it coming. Eat Crow, Mutherfuckers.
“The decision to not allow text messaging on an important, though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident,” Jeffrey Nelson, a company spokesman, said in a statement.

“It was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy,” Mr. Nelson said. “That policy, developed before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent to children.”
(my emphasis)

"We prevented people from receiving the information they requested on their phones in order to save children from receiving adult materials." Bullshit. It was opt-in, assholes.

Set Tricoder to "I'm Stunned"

Fresh of my shock that the Space Age is only 50 years old, now it's noted that the damn hand-held calculator is only FORTY years old!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Temper Blame

Baseball player gets called a profanity by an umpire, freaks out, hurts himself when his own manager pushes him to the ground, and now he blames the ump for his injury? Sure, the ump was out of line, but Milton, you sound like an idiot saying shit like this.
The Padres claimed Winters baited Bradley, who has a history of losing his temper. Bradley tore a knee ligament when his manager spun him to the ground while trying to keep him from going after the umpire during Sunday's 7-3 loss to Colorado in San Diego.


First base coach Bobby Meacham and Black said Winters used profanity. Bradley called it ''the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.''

''It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt,'' he said after the game. ''If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this because I didn't do nothing wrong.''

A Book or Something

Which brings me to the jackassiest comment of the day regarding Amazon MP3, from Jupiter Research analyst David Card to the Associated Press: “In and of itself, (Amazon MP3) isn’t enough to change any market share. They have to do a good job at building their store.”

Well, perhaps Amazon can find a book or something about how to build a successful high-volume online store.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Life in IRAF: "There's one hour allotted every day to either fudge ice-cream or volleyball."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Times Style section outdoes itself, produces the single most irritating shit I've ever read there, about women who date people who make less money than them, and find it too awkward to take.
FOR Whitney Hess, a 25-year-old software designer in Manhattan, the tension that ultimately ended her recent relationships was all right there, in the digits on her pay stub.

The awkwardness started with nights out. She would want to try the latest downtown bistro, but her boyfriends, who worked in creative jobs that paid less than hers, preferred diners.

They would say, “Wow, you’re so sophisticated,” she recalled. A first look at her apartment, a smartly appointed studio in a full-service building in TriBeCa, would only reinforce the impression. “They wouldn’t want me to see their apartments,” she said, because they lived in cramped surroundings in distant quadrants of Brooklyn or the Bronx.
Read it all, if you dare...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Turner, a graduate student at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and lead author of the study, says Velociraptor appears to have been a smaller creature than in Jurassic Park, but just as nasty.

"It's sort of as if you scaled up a chicken and then gave it really nasty teeth and big claws on its feet," he said.

Again, no chelicerates, but some fancy lil' critters in this post from BibliOdyssey. They're prints from a man named Adriaen Collaert from around 1600.

More of the endless stream of pleasure for the eyes and mind from Dark Roasted Blend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Outrage Is Bigger Than Yours

No sooner had word gotten out last week that New York City was considering the request than politicians of both parties went into spasms of outrage. There was such a piling on of outrage you’d have thought Ahmadinejad had proposed offering a human sacrifice or, worse, memorializing Muhammad Atta. As BooMan says, the piling on turned into a game of one-upmanship, with pols bragging that they were not only outraged, they were more outraged than their political opponents.

At this point in the post I have to stop and declare how much I don’t like Ahmadinejad. And I really don’t, but I resent having to say it. I am, however, obliged to make it clear that I don’t like Ahmadinejad so that righties don’t show up and accuse me of being a Mahmoud lover. What I will not do is enter into a competition to prove how much I dislike Ahmadinejad or if my dislike is sufficient dislike, because insufficient dislike is tantamount to siding with the terrorists.


Columbia U. President Bollinger makes it clear he’s not inviting the Iranian leader over for tea and cookies. Bollinger intends to challenge Ahmadinejad on matters of terrorism, nuclear weapons, Holocaust denial, women’s rights, and other thorny issues, which I would think would be educational.

See, Scott, this is a World Leaders Forum, which I assume includes world-leaders-in-training. What World Leaders normally do is deal with other World Leaders of all stripes, and it’s good to have some laboratory experience with such things before you go out and practice World Leadership for real. Among other things, real World Leaders are not cartoons and do not go about with “Good” or “Evil” stamped on their foreheads. Real World Leaders are complicated people who probably got to be World Leaders because they are very good at handling other people. Even evil World Leaders can be charming. Back in the 1930s lots of people — right wingers, mostly — thought Hitler was a reasonable fellow. I remember reading that the first time Harry Truman met Joseph Stalin, Truman thought Stalin was an OK guy. This World Leadership thing isn’t as easy as it looks.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

REAL magic

From Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, in the segment I got in the mail the other day from (the marvelous) DailyLit:
And Ozma has an enchanted picture hanging in her room that shows her the exact scene where any of her friends may be, at any time she chooses. All she has to do is to say: 'I wonder what So-and-so is doing,' and at once the picture shows where her friend is and what the friend is doing. That's REAL magic, Mr. Wizard; isn't it?

1. Play Chess, 2. Win!

Emperor Lieberman on why he voted with Republicans to reject the bill requiring that troops be given equal time at home to the time that they serve in Iraq:
“It means that Congress will not intervene in the foreseeable future,” said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Independent who has voted with the Republicans on war issues. “The fact that it didn’t get enough votes says that Congress doesn’t have the votes to stop this strategy of success from going forward."
Yes, our strategy is success, Joe.

Paul Can Resist

Paul Krugman's new blog in the new Times-Selectless NYTimes:
But here’s the thing: new polls by CBS and Gallup show that the Petraeus testimony had basically no effect on public opinion: Americans continue to hate the war, and want out. The whole story about how the hearing had changed everything was a pure figment of the inside-the-Beltway imagination.

What I found striking about the whole thing was the contempt the pundit consensus showed for the public – it was, more or less, “Oh, people just can’t resist a man in uniform.” But it turns out that they can; it’s the punditocracy that can’t.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Microsoft loved its word "squirt" so much in relation to the Zune, now it introduces squircle."

DSC02104, Limon, Costa Rica

DSC02104, Limon, Costa Rica, originally uploaded by lyng883.

Not a chelicerate, but a true winner. Thanks to my friend Armistead for noticing something I'd like...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm glad I can now die having seen a manshroom.

Holy Fucking Shit

The front-runner for the GOP nomination?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sadly, No summarizes:
Brilliantly, Bush is ‘posturing’ pro-war and anti-war people to unite behind his plan to keep having a war.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Between the twin obsessions of Norman Hsu and the "Betray Us" MoveOn ad, the right is seeming pretty desparate right now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Petraeus on the "General Betray Us" MoveOn ad:
Needless to say— and to state the obvious—I disagree with the message of those that were exercising the First Amendment right that generations of soldiers have sought to preserve for Americans.
It could be a snip at those opposing the war, suggesting that they don't realize that their very right to make some criticisms is only possible with some general "military action," but I hear it at least partially as a STFU to the irritating rightwing noise machine going apoplectic over this ad.

We Set a Giant Cell Phone Tower on Fire

Fake Steve Jobs:
Anyway, last night we got everyone out on the lawn, gave out free booze and peyote, and set a giant cell phone tower on fire to represent the way we are about to torch the entire cell industry and change the world forever. Intense symbolism. And yes, we got hit with a huge fine from the Cupertino Fire Department, but you know what? It was worth it. Everyone was blown away. Lots of freaky body painting and nudity going on. I've always believed that you don't really know someone until you've tripped together. Last night I really got to know Al Gore and I must say, he's an awesome human being with a truly elevated spirit. Much love, Al.
My government: The extra 30,000 troops are doing a good enough job that those same 30,000 troops can come home in nine more months.
Joe at AMERICAblog:
The media is gobbling up the idea that Bush is going to endorse the Petraeus plan tomorrow night in a BIG speech. Of course, he is. It's Bush's goddamn plan. And, the big plan is nothing more than "reducing" the number of troops to pre-escalation levels in 9 months. That's a plan? That's a scam.
Olbermann described it as like when a thief gives you a gift of the $100 he stole from your wallet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thank you, Gawker:
Summer Is Over, Stop Listening To Feist
I was in the DUMBO West Elm watching stroller-pushing condo-dwellers tap their toes to the beat of "Sealion Woman" while admiring antler lamps when it finally dawned on me: Feist's "The Reminder" is totally the "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" of Summer 2007. Leslie Feist's Canadian smart-rock was fun for a minute and then so ubiquitous you felt like killing someone every time you heard it. Sure, the first few hundred listens were great! And those wistful yearning songs about how "I will be the one to break my heart" were perfect complements to all our summer crushes. But it's fall now, even though it's still 85 degrees out, and everyone's job is back to being serious and all those summer crushes have decayed like so many overripe farmer's market tomatoes. Please. It's over. It's time to forget.

Satire Becomes Truth

The other day I wrote a post, snarkily (I thought) called New Wingnut Argument: The Poor Aren't Actually Poor. Well, never underestimate the adventurers of wingnuttia. Today I find Bill Steigerwald, in, actually asking, rhetorically and in all earnestness, Are Our 37 Million Poor Really Poor?
When you look at the people who John Edwards insists are poor, what you find is that the overwhelming majority of them have cable television, have air conditioning, have microwaves, have two color TVs; 45 percent of them own their own homes, which are typically three-bedroom homes with 1{1/2} baths in very good recondition. On average, poor people who live in either apartments or in houses are not crowded and actually have more living space than the average person living in European countries, such as France, Italy or England.
It's the same article as the other one, with the same points from the Heritage Foundation "report."

And the same overriding point: the poor aren't poor, but when they are, it's because they're lazy and they like being single mothers.
Q: Is there any single reason why the “official poor” are poor?

A: If you look at the official poor, particularly at children who are officially in poverty, there are two main reasons for that. One is that their parents don’t work much. Typically in a year, poor families with children will have about 16 hours of adult work per week in the household. If you raised that so that you had just one adult working full time, 75 percent of those kids would immediately be raised out of poverty.

The second major reason that children are poor is a single parenthood in the absence of marriage. Close to two-thirds of all poor children live in single-parent families. What we find is that if a never-married mother married the father of her children, again, about 70 percent of them would immediately be raised out of poverty. Most of these men who are fathers without being married in fact have jobs and have a fairly good capacity to support a family.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Glenn finds a gem:
In one sense, it is quite unhealthy in a democracy for such a large majority of Americans to so distrust the political and media establishment that they even believe in advance that war reports from our leading General will be nothing more than self-serving and misleading propaganda. But in another, more important sense, when a democracy's political establishment becomes as rotted and deceitful and corrupt as ours has become -- enabling the most unpopular President in modern American history to continue what is so blatantly a senseless war for years and years, in complete defiance of what Americans want -- the one encouraging sign is that a majority realizes how corrupt our establishment is and has stopped believing anything they say.

One of the very few governmental institutions that inspired respect among Americans has been the military, and that is still the case. But anyone who becomes a part of our political class, such as Gen. Petraeus, is inherently distrusted. This war has completely eroded the relationship between our Beltway ruling class and the rest of the country. That would normally be something to lament, but in this case, it is something to celebrate. The Beltway ruling class -- political and media figures alike -- deserves nothing but scorn and distrust. As they spend the next several weeks enabling George Bush to continue this war for as long as he wants, they will earn a lot more of both.

Friday, September 07, 2007

My emphasis makes me chuckle. From an AP story on the so-very-boring iPhone price discussions:
"If they told me at the outset the iPhone would be $200 cheaper the next day, I would have thought about it for a second - and still bought it," said Andrew Brin, a 47-year-old addiction therapist in Los Angeles. "It was $600 and that was the price I was willing to pay for it."

Reason #431 that Word on Mac Sucks

In many OSX apps, option-delete in a text field deletes the preceding word and leaves the space before it, letting you type a replacement word immediately.

In Microsoft Word on OSX, option-delete also deletes the preceding space. Therefore, option-delete will ALWAYS be followed by the need to type a space.

It's as though we are now ruled by the Supreme Commander, General David G. Petraeus. And the task is to convince him to "accept," to "agree" to, to be "willing to consider" a symbolic reduction in the number of troops at some point in the far off future provided a whole series of subjective conditions are met (to be determined at his sole discretion). And if our Leader, Gen. Petraeus, agrees to allow this, we can be grateful for his magnanimity and flexibility and thankful to our Congress for having stood so tall in such a bipartisan way.

Why not just pull out one single troop a year from now, maybe, if Gen. Petreaus thinks things are going well? The disaster of the Iraq War is a perfect expression of our rotted political class.
I was struck by seeing the transliteration "Usama" on FoxNews this morning instead of the more common Osama. After a look around the web, it appears that ONLY FoxNews spells it "Usama" - not ABC News, MSNBC, CNN, NYTimes, BBC. The wire-reports from AP that appear on FoxNews are the only hits on a search for "Osama" on that site.

Why is this?

A news search for "Usama" brings up primarily Fox alone, with a handful of other - it seems - right-wing new sources, with headlines like "The CIA Proves Clinton's Dereliction of Duty."

As the transliterated sound is neither an "O" sound nor a "U" sound exactly, neither is technically more "correct," but this Fox-only insistence is just odd. Oddly, the NYPost uses "Osama" - and then, high-lariously, quotes the SITE Instituate, the organization responsible for the "CIA" article I mentioned above!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This is rad. Go, humans!

This is why you should read Atrios and bookmark him and subscribe to him in your reader:
No one could have predicted that building a massive $600 million fortified embassy compound in Saddam Hussein's palace would maybe send the wrong signal.

I know it's so stunningly obvious that no one bothers to point it out anymore, but didn't anyone raise their hand at a meeting [meetings? -ed.] and say that maybe, just maybe, taking control and occupying Saddam's palace might not be such a good idea?

Original iPhone

Fake Steve Jobs:
No, not a $200 rebate. And no, we're not going to let you return the phone or cancel your plan with AT&T. But here's what we're going to do. It's a sticker. Bring in your receipt to any Apple store or AT&T store and show that you paid full price for your iPhone, and we'll give you a sticker that says, "Original iPhone." Very small, very classy, black on black, made of super high quality plastic with a glossy finish. Something you'll be proud to put on your iPhone so everyone will know that you're not just any iPhone user; you're one of the super smart, super cool early adopters who paid full price.
I'm sad to be late to the FSJ party, but this guy's brilliant - his many takes on yesterday's Apple event are spot-on.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Wingnut Argument: The Poor Aren't Actually Poor

Lisa Fabrizio argues that poor people aren't really that poor.
Are you like me? If you are, you're constantly amazed by and grateful for the bountiful opportunities this country affords to anyone willing to work for them. Living as I do in the New York metropolitan area, I've seen places that were formerly considered the 'wrong side of the tracks' transformed into beautiful apartment complexes. And in my own previously all-white neighborhood, we have a great assortment of families of all colors and creeds living in houses that only a generation ago would have been impossible for them to afford.

Go into almost any store or shop and you're likely to see all types of folks walking around on their expensively clad feet, swiping their credit and ATM cards with their carefully manicured hands. Drive through any neighborhood in any town — even in run-down areas — and check out the crowded restaurants while perusing the satellite dishes adorning the homes; homes filled with purchases that were once considered luxury items that now grace even the most humble of abodes.
She then cites some totally awesome stats from something called the Heritage Foundation that prove that poor people have all kinds of luxury items and aren't actually poor. Just a couple:
- Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

- Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

- Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

- Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
Never mind the truth of the stats, the main points are:

1. Suck It, John Edwards! Don't Talk About Two Americas. There's Only One!

2. Poor People, Even Though I've Just Proven They Don't Exist, Are Only Poor Because They're Lazy!

A one, and a two, and, Lisa, take us out...
But although our poor are better off than those in most of the world — so much so that millions of impoverished foreigners are willing to risk their lives and break our laws to join them — some Americans do live in unfortunate, if not dire, circumstances. Of course, the major difference is that the poor in this country have the opportunity to improve their lot.


All Americans used to know the way to prosperity for themselves and their families. It was, and is pretty basic: a two-parent family working as diligently as possible...


This, of course, is a truth that Edwards and friends cannot bear to hear or admit. To placate their diverse voting blocks — feminists, race-baiters, gays and socialists — their aim is to keep the 'lower' classes low by demeaning marriage, exalting 'single moms,' encouraging race and class envy, and subsidizing all of the above under the guise of 'helping the poor.'
This is a new angle for me: Democrats Are Making Up "The Poor" to Demean People Who Already Have Satellite Dishes!

Excuse me, I'm off to work on my application to join the cool kids at Single Mom Magazine...I exalt them!

"How The Mind Works"

Washington Post article on a study of the "persistence of myth":
The conventional response to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new psychological studies show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths... The research is painting a broad new understanding of how the mind works.
(via /.)

Um, also...

Aug 31 - We Finally Found the UN (NY Post)

Sept 5 - Chemical 'WMD' found at U.N. may be little more than cleaner (NY Daily News)

On This Apple Day, a Moment for Zune

Not only is it pathetic that a site called "" is in fact a Microsoft corporate blog, but look at the desperation in this language announcing the Zune price drop today, the same day as Apple's new announcements.
Some of you may have already heard, but tomorrow we’re dropping the suggested retail price for Zune to $199. It’s part of the normal product lifecycle, something we’ve had on the books for months. We just got some research back and customer satisfaction with the 30GB device is really high (around 94%) and we expect even more consumers will now want to discover the Zune experience at the new lower price.

Hope everybody had a great long weekend!
My emphasis.

I love the final line, too. Reminds me of the pathetic attempts at personalization in something like the Mercedes-Benz ads in NYC, where they end with "We Live Here, Too."

One other thing - after throwing up in my mouth a little over the "comments" on this "story," I was going to post a few examples, but I figure commenter "Dave" makes the point I was going to make:
Most of these comments sound like they were composed by the same person.