Sophont
Sunday, September 28, 2003
 
Slashdot | MPAA Calls for Ban on Screeners: "from the oscar-judges-found-guilty dept.
neoThoth writes 'The MPAA is calling for a ban on all screeners for awards ceremonies. They state piracy as the rationale for killing of this tradition of the industry. It's interesting how this is never mentioned in their cries for tougher piracy laws. It's own members are the main source of piracy. 'The Directors, Writers and Screen Actors Guild all get screeners, as does the Golden Globe-selecting Hollywood Foreign Press Association and various critics' groups.'' Remember, movie piracy doesn't just hurt actors, but also camera operators, key grips, makeup artists, and costumers."

 
Frequent flier with same name as fugitive can't escape hassles:
Who is Jose Luis Alvarez?
Jose Luis Alvarez would love to know, because that other Jose has been making his life miserable since 1996.
If that sounds confusing, imagine what it's like to be a regular Joe - which everyone calls him - who gets hauled off to a Miami International Airport detention room after each international business trip because he and a fugitive share the same name and birthday.
......... Three weeks ago, Alvarez wrote to Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge that he has been detained "about 50 times, even after showing the enclosed (Customs) letter to the officer at the passport inspection booth. The inspector at U.S. Passport Control refuses to read the letter or even consider letting me go home. This is just not right.

 
GROVER IS BITTER: "GROVER. To millions of children throughout the world in the seventies and eighties, that name was synonymous with a funny, cuddly and ultimately loveable fuzzy blue monster from Sesame Street. For many of us, Grover was hands-down the best character on the show: bringing laughter, intelligence and a certain irreverence not seen in other 2-dimensional children's programs of the day. And he was cute, too.
But what many of us didn't see behind that brave exterior was a monster cowering in the face of his own insecurities, a monster so unsure of himself he wouldn't even watch his own performances, and a monster who ultimately allowed his own weaknesses to overcome him and nearly ruin his career. A genius, a tyrant, a womanizer or just a washed-up drunk? It's time to expose Grover- the monster behind the myth."

 
Good Vibrations | Antique Vibrator Museum: "The electric vibrator had its inception in 1869 with the invention of a steam-powered massager, patented by an American doctor. This device was designed as a medical tool for treating 'female disorders.' Within 20 years a British doctor followed up with a more portable battery-operated model; by 1900, dozens of styles of electric vibrators, just like those in our exhibit, were available to the discriminating medical professional."

 
Proloxil (acaptrazinophinomiderol)
jaynote: new drug for treatment of depression. this intro is a few minutes to download on a dialup, but well worth viewing.

 
Felonious Trebuchet: A 28-year-old man was arrested for being in possession of a catapult, going equipped to cause criminal damage. He is in custody at Walworth police station.'

 
AUTOPSY OF A PARODY GONE WILD   On Wednesday morning, July 16, 2003, media outlets across America began broadcasting the news that international rock icons Metallica were suing independant Canadian band Unfaith for — of all things — the unsanctioned use of so-called Metallica-branded® chords... E and F.
   Within minutes, the surreal story spread like a virus. First, internet community message boards ran with it. Then, respected internet news sites such as MSNBC and Ananova got in the game. DJ's across America made it a focal point of their on-air discours — several of them going so far as organizing petitions to ban Metallica from their stations over this. Other media — such as Rolling Stone and CNN — contacted me directly for comment. By the time the clock struck 12, even Jimmy Kimmel had brought it up on his late night ABC talk show.

 
Kitty Litter: "Toyya Braskey took two tranquilizers her first night dancing topless at Heartbreakers. She doesn't remember being there, she says, but she made $700. As she danced on subsequent nights, men asked her what she was thinking. They wanted to know what fantasy or porn movie was playing in her mind.

Actually, she was calculating her vet bills and how many lap dances it would take to pay them off. Toyya owns The Momma Cat, a shelter for sick or injured cats. She lives in and operates the shelter out of an old dentist's office and says without it the cats would all be dead. She keeps alive the unfixed feral cat with thick jowls and a missing eye and says another shelter wouldn't. She gives insulin to diabetic cats and buys chemotherapy for kittens."

 
France's Precursor to the Internet Lives On (TechNews.com): "PARIS -- Strange but true: The Minitel is still up and running. The clunky French data communications system, which blossomed into the world's first mass-market online network in the 1980s, has found a second life thanks to new services that connect it to the Internet."

 
Taipei Times - Do we need men?: "The decay of the Y chromosome points to the extinction of men, but that wouldn't necessarily prevent sperm-free breeding, without the Y chromosome and without males
By Bryan Sykes THE GUARDIAN Saturday, Sep 06, 2003,Page 9"
jaynote: This reminds me of some of James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Hastings Sheldon) Sci-Fi stories

 
U.S. News: For better or worse, the Internet is radically changing dating and romance in America(9/29/03): "Across the country, a record 40 percent of American adults are single, making them one of the fastest-growing segments of U.S. households today. And in the search for love, or at least a decent date, fully half of them-- 40 million Americans--visited an online site last month. It is, researchers say, nothing short of a social revolution. 'We're in a period of dramatic change in our mating practices,' says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, codirector of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University and author of Why There Are No Good Men Left. 'I think this is as important as the automobile was in the 1920s and birth control in the 1960s.'

"

 
MagazineArt.org Home Page: "Currently we have several hundred megabytes of cover images on this site, linked from the contents page. We also have some bits of information about magazines, their publishers, editors, artists, and publishing companies. "

 
Popular Science | Hijacking Your Cute Little Vacuum Bot: "The Roomba is a tempting hacker target: big payload, multiple onboard sensors. But its cleaning duties get in the way."

Saturday, September 27, 2003
 
Lost in Translation Here’s what those cool-looking Japanese tattoos really say


At the tattoo parlor, Marcus Gonzales found a list of Chinese characters and picked "strength" and "courage." His Tai-chi teacher finally confessed that they really say "dog" and "puppy."

Tim Bass used a Japanese dictionary to choose these characters to represent his first name. That’s a bad idea if you don’t know Japanese. Bass was too scared to ask what his tattoo really meant until I interviewed him. It looks like it says "unreliable delivery service."

 
I, Cringely | Taguchi Me This: "You see advertising and marketing are usually considered to be more art than science. Sure, a fair amount of statistical analysis is used to be sure the person who is reading an ad, watching a commercial or hearing a message is from the target audience, but the message itself is largely a work of art. When marketing and advertising are taught in universities, much of what is taught is anecdotal -- what has seemed to work before. But it doesn't have to be that way, at least not according to James Kowalick and Mario Fantoni, two guys who say they can show you how to use science to design ads that cost less while being 10 or more times as effective as doing it the old way."

 
Music Changes In "WKRP In Cincinnati":
"If you've watched 'WKRP In Cincinnati' on the Comedy Network in Canada, or on TNN in the United States, or on the commercial videotapes released in 1998, then you may have noticed that some of the music has been changed. You may have also noticed some dialogue changes, as in one episode that now has a nonsense line ('Hold my order, terrible dresser') replacing a quote from Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer.' This page will try to explain what's happened to the music on 'WKRP,' and why. Originally, nearly all the music played on the show was real rock music by real artists, both in 'WKRP''s CBS run and in the subsequent syndicated reruns. But in the last few years, a new package of 'WKRP' episodes has been distributed, and much of the music has been replaced by generic instrumental music from a music library, or by sound-alike 'fake' songs. Also, some of the dialogue has been redubbed by voice impersonators, usually when the actors were speaking over the music, but sometimes to remove references to songs that have been replaced."

 
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Landmark Theatres, nation's largest art-house chain, purchased
Digital media evangelist Mark Cuban -- the serial entrepreneur behind Broadcast.com (sold to Yahoo!), HDNet, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks -- just bought Landmark Theatres. Cuban and longtime business partner Todd Wagner purchased the chain for an undisclosed sum, and say digital projection systems will eventually be introduced in an effort to influence every aspect of filmmaking, from production to display.
They already have their own film production company, called 2929 Entertainment, and they own part of Lion's Gate, a film production and distribution company, as well as Magnolia Pictures, an art-house movie company. About 18 months ago they bought Rysher Entertainment, which owns a library of TV shows and movies.

Now, with their own movie theaters, "We somewhat control our own destiny," said Wagner in an interview yesterday. "The ultimate goal is to attract more and more filmmakers. If they work with us and we commit to a project, they already know that (their movie) is going to get a certain amount of distribution right out of the box."

Link to Seattle Times story, Link to press release. UPDATE: And in a post to the pho list today, Cuban says: "We are going to be vertically integrated with our other companies....and not play by the rules."this entry "borrowed" from a boingboing.net post by Xeni Jardin link to entry


 
Yahoo! News - Mystery Worm-Eating Critter Found in Cuba: HAVANA - With its long snout and tiny body covered with spiky, long brown hair, the worm-munching creature known as Solenodon Cubanus long has been a mystery to zoologists, who believed it to be extinct.

But a farmer in eastern Cuba recently found the first live specimen of the ancient and enigmatic creature seen in four years, local media said.
The find proved conclusively that Solenodon Cubanus still survives, and raised hopes that the curious animal dubbed 'Alejandrito' may have other relatives roaming the island.
The nocturnal animal burrows underground during the daytime, explaining why it is rarely seen. After the sun goes down, it emerges to root out worms, larvae and insects.
Prensa Latina said the last reported sightings of the creatures were in 1972 in Cuba's eastern province of Guantanamo and in 1999 in the eastern province of Holguin.

Thursday, September 25, 2003
 
Southtyrol-game : "The game is one of the worlds largest hand carved pinball style game machines. (Candidate for the Guinness World Records).
It weighs 2.6 tons, is 11 metres long, 2.6 metres high, has 16 user operated levers, 72 metres of pathways for ball travel, 33 moving scenes,
37 electric motors, 22 sensors and 16 audio speakers distributed over the entire game.
It took about one year to build the game.
The Southtyrol-game is located at the Touriseum, a museum dedicated to the history of tourism in the province of Southtyrol, which is located in Italy at the border with Austria."

 
Transterrestrial Musings: some of the powers-that-be in Arizona want to start regulating cryonics facilities
"The problem, of course, is that there are no laws explicitly applying to the practice of cryonics (and probably shouldn't be, given how poorly-understood a field it is, particularly by the people who would be making the laws). Fortunately, we still live in an America in which, at least in theory, that which isn't explicitly illegal is legal. But some ill-informed people in the Grand Canyon State are apparently unhappy about that.

The head of the funeral association claims that in the process of doing head-only suspensions, Alcor is 'mutilating a body,' which is in theory illegal. Of course, the same could be said of anyone facilitating organ donation, so I don't think that they really want to test this in court."

 
Part-time work 4 hrs/day, $15/hr: "Part-time work 4 hrs/day, $15/hr
Reply to: job-16786310@craigslist.org (forwards to an @aol.com address)
Date: 2003-09-25, 4:07PM

Please read the following VERY carefully before responding. We've had problems with applicants coming in for an interview not knowing exactly what the position entails.

There is a growing field in a very specific form of waste management. OFten-times, a family pet or a child will swallow a small valuable such as a diamond ring. Or in the course of a criminal investigation, a suspect will swallow a piece of contraband or evidence.

Nobody wants to sift through organic waste, and yet someone has to do it. That's where our company comes in.

We are looking for talented, motivated self-starters who are detail-oriented to work in the field of sifting through organic waste in search of small, hard-to-find objects. Available shifts are at our peak 'busy' hours - 7:30 - 11:30 am, 1 - 5 pm, or 6 - 10 pm. As you can see, we're constantly swamped in work, and are looking for resumes from people who are willing to get a start in this field. "

my reply email:

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 15:16:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jay K."
Subject: waste management
To: job-16786310@craigslist.org
Hi,
I've had over 13 years of experience with computers, dealing with Microsoft's Software.
I think that should qualify me for the job, due to the similarities between what Bill Gates and your clients produce.
l8tr,
Jay


 
Good Experience: This Is Broken: Broken: Newark Airport
   For the next several weeks, do not fly into, or out of, Newark Liberty International Airport. Instead, use either of New York's other major airports: JFK or LaGuardia.
   One of Newark Airport's runways is being resurfaced for the next month or so. As far as I can tell, every single flight going into or out of Newark is delayed.
   There's also a safety issue, as I found out last night, flying into Newark (on a delayed flight, of course). As we came in for landing, the pilot gunned the engine, aborted the landing, and flew around to get back in the long line of planes for another landing attempt.
   Why did he abort the landing? There was another plane on the runway. In the pilot's words, 'too many planes and too little runway space.'

Safety issues and across-the-board delays: do not fly Newark."

 
Lantronix Device Networking Products - Embedded Device Servers - XPort: The XPort™ embedded device server, a complete network enabling solution enclosed within a ruggedized RJ-45 package, empowers original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to quickly and easily go to market with networking capabilities built into their products. Smaller than the average person’s thumb,....

.... The XPort incorporates all essential networking features, including a 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet connection, a proven operating system, an embedded Web server, e-mail alerts, a full TCP/IP protocol stack and 128-bit AES encryption for secure communications.

 
Joelogon's Foolproof Guide to Making Any Woman Your Platonic Friend
NOTE: This guide examines so-called platonic friendships (that is, relationships of a purely non-sexual nature) between men and women. Specifically, it examines two closely related aspects of the platonic friendship:
  1. The tendency of women to develop close friendships with their male acquaintances, thereby pre-emptively eliminating any possibility of a romantic relationship, the result of which is to remove the poor schmuck's heart and shred it
  2. The process by which attractive and otherwise eligible women, when faced by proffered declarations of romantic interest by a male acquaintance, destroy the ego and spirit of said acquaintance by declaring that they only want to be "friends."


Wednesday, September 24, 2003
 
Germany Info: Government & Politics: "Military vessels routinely render honors to military ships of other countries when they pass at sea by dipping their flag, as a sign of respect. The German frigate FGS Niedersachsen went above and beyond this normal gesture of respect when it asked to come alongside the USS Doyle on September 11, 2003, the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the US.

On this day, as the two ships approached and passed, the entire crew of the German vessel stood top-side in full dress uniforms, holding their hats over their hearts. And as the ultimate gesture of respect, the FGS Niedersachsen was flying the United States flag from its main mast."

 
Norfolk & Waay: Our name says it all: "Our reputation has been spread across the Internet through usenet newsgroups and other disucussion forums. Whenever someone is looking for a firm that can do the impossible, the answer is always 'Norfolk & Waay.'"

 
Skype: "Skype is the next phenomenon from the people who brought you KaZaA. Just like KaZaA, Skype uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users – not to share files this time, but to talk for free with your friends.

The technology is extremely advanced - but super simple to use... You’ll be making perfect quality free phone calls to your friends in no time! Just tell them to get Skype as well, if they don’t already have it."

jaynote: This got good reviews on Sept 16, 2003 at Jeff Duntemann's Diary which I've looked at every few years. Visiting Lancaster's site reminded me of Duntemann.
From his site:
I'm a contrarian, but a positive thinker; an optimist—always have been. When they give you lemons, other people might make lemonade. I stick electrodes in the lemons and run a transistor radio with them. The possibilities for good are endless, and pervasive. The universe seems to like human beings—and not just because they taste like chicken. It's true, however, that you have to look for good—it doesn't just jump up and wave at you—and sometimes it hides in odd places. That's why I try to preserve my contrarian outlook: It keeps me looking where others don't, and I think I've found more good in life and the universe than your average oh-so-stylish New York cynic.
And while I don't always expect you to agree with me, I would appreciate not being flamed. Everything said here is said in good humor, with the sincere desire to make the world a better place one way or another. Fraction by fraction, and (sometimes) stumble by leap, we progress. The evidence is there—if you look in the places you don't expect to find it.

 
The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century :: Save democracy from a broken standards committee!: "Cory Doctorow, being the Outreach Coordinator for the EFF -- the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the good guys who campaign for civil liberties online -- asked to make a mention of this important issue. The issue may seem merely technical, but it affects us all, and I've put it in layperson's terms. "



 
Salon.com Technology | An open invitation to election fraud: "Harris' research into Diebold, one of the largest providers of the new touch-screen systems, ought to give elections officials pause about mandating an all-electronic vote.

Harris has found critical flaws in Diebold's voting software, and she's uncovered internal Diebold memos in which employees seem to suggest that the vulnerabilities are no big deal. The memos appear to be authentic -- Diebold even sent Harris a notice warning her that by posting the documents on the Web, she was infringing upon the company's intellectual property. Diebold did not return several calls for comment.

The problems Harris found in Diebold's system are perhaps the best proof yet that electronic voting systems aren't ready for prime time. Indeed, the vulnerabilities in the software, as well as the internal memos, raise questions about the legitimacy of the California recall election."

 
Search for books and compare prices at isbn.nu: "isbn.nu offers a quick way to compare the prices of any in-print and many out-of-print books at nine online bookstores. You can view the results with or without the shipping costs of a single book, and also find the fastest source for a book from ordering to delivery.
Search on the title, author, or subject to find books of interest, and then simply click Compare Prices to rapidly find the prices for that book."
jaynote: great, independant service. here's an intresting article on some of the issues with google that isbn.nu encountered

 
New York Post Online Edition: news: "September 21, 2003 -- THE city will soon roll out hand-held computers for issuing parking summonses, closing loopholes that have allowed motorists to get out of paying more than a million handwritten tickets each year.

The computers, which scan an illegally parked car's registration sticker and then print the summons, could be on city streets by next month.

Police Chief Michael Scagnelli told The Post traffic enforcement agents in northern Queens would be the first to be equipped.

By mid-February, all 19 parking-enforcement districts will be online, he said.

The Finance Department collected $429 million revenue in parking fines last year, according to the Mayor's Management Report, but millions more were lost because of problems with tickets, including mistakes and illegible writing.

Such errors will not occur with the scanners, officials said.

'The significant advantage is that we will go from a 13 percent error rate to a less than 1 percent error rate,' Scagnelli said.

The scanners will cost $2,100 apiece, but by some estimates the city could reap nearly $17 million a year in extra fines.

'This is about efficiency and accuracy,' said Finance Commissioner Martha Stark.

Officials have been wary of changing the system after the municipal corruption scandal of 1986, when a company called Citisource won a contract to supply computers. The firm turned out to be a scam."

 
Strange journey of a lunar rock:"After making the hazardous voyage from the moon to Earth, and then surviving black market transactions and federal law enforcement stings, a small piece of lunar rock finally returned to its intended destination Monday. ".......... "Most samples were put on display in museums or universities, where they remain. But the 1.1 gram piece sent to Honduras later disappeared. It only reappeared in 1998 when federal agents confiscated it from a man trying to sell it commercially." .....The forfeiture case had the bizarre title “United States v. One Lucite Ball Containing Lunar Material (One Moon Rock) and One Ten Inch by Fourteen Inch Wooden Plaque.”

 
HeroicStories: "Begun in 1999, HeroicStories brings diverse, international voices to the world - reminding us that people are good, that individuals and individual action matter. We've published over 400 stories"

"The "news" concentrates on "newsworthy" things, which is practically defined as the wrong, the bad, the horrific, the tragic. In life, those things are the exceptions -- that's why they're "news". But fed a steady diet of the negative, people have started to believe that news is life. The wrong, the bad, the horrific, and the tragic seem normal, but they are not. Good people are normal. Life is normal. Lending a hand to others is normal. People must be proactively reminded of the normal to regain their balance and regain a realistic view of humanity." continued...

 
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair: "Online tech support service for readers of microcomputer
pioneer, researcher, and prolific author Don Lancaster's ezine
columns that now include his Resource Bin, Blatant Opportunist,
GuruGrams, Tech Musings, Guru's Lair, and similar tutorials.

Along with Don's eclectic coverage for Acrobat and PostScript ,
his Incredible Secret Money Machine, his guidelines to Avoid
Patent Ripoffs, doing your own Book-on-Demand publishing, or
getting great surplus Live eBay Auctions and Test Equipment
bargains, exploring Hydrogen energy or Bezier Cubic Splines,
trashing Pseudoscience, going on a Tinaja Quest, exploring new
Magic Sinewave ventures, learning PIC Microcontrollers, or
exploring InfoPack research, superb Partnering opportunities,
Santa Claus Machines, Water Soluble Swimsuits, or Wavelets,
Books, Flutterwumpers, Fonts, and Webmastering.

Plus annotated links to many thousands of websites and related
resources. All based on the premise that if Don personally uses
them and is interested in them, others are also likely to."

jaynote: Don is Zeus amoung the geek gods. In the late 80's / early 90's his Computer Shopper columns showed how you could do DTP and graphics by writing raw postscript. He wrote the book on TTL circuits and neat things you can do with a 555 chip. Plus, a friend who met him a couple of times said he seemed like a really nice guy.

 
All About Romance: Cover Contest 2002 Introduction: "Generally covers land in the worst category for one of three reasons. First, they can be badly rendered - our winner is a champion in that department. These are the covers that look like the art department not only phoned them in, but also did it from a cell phone in a moving car. Then there are the covers that suffer from an overblown sexuality that seems dated to the modern reader. The final category (and my personal favorite) is comprised of those covers that make you wonder, 'What were they thinking?' These are the ones with elements or concepts so bizarre that one wonders how anyone even thought them up in the first place."

Sunday, September 21, 2003
 
DoD News: Briefing on the Investigation of Antiquity Loss from the Baghdad Museum: "Colonel Matthew Bogdanos is the person that has been leading the U.S. government's investigation into the theft and looting of the Iraqi museum in Baghdad. It is a duty that he is uniquely qualified to do. Before being called to active duty after the September 11th attacks, he was a homicide prosecutor for the New York City District Attorney's Office, and he has a graduate degree in classical studies from Columbia University. And I think you'll agree that -- we're here for his interim report, and you'll see today that he is very much expert in this area."

jaynote: This is a great followup to a widely reported story. Here's some excerpts:

As we all recall, in mid-April of this year, it was widely reported that over 170,000 artifacts had been stolen or looted from the museum in Baghdad. After fierce fighting, U.S. forces finally secured the area surrounding the museum, and on the 16th of April, a tank platoon was positioned on the museum compound to prevent any further damage.
-------------------------
Turning now to the losses. I stress, as I have for the last five months, that the loss of a single piece of our shared heritage is an absolute tragedy. But it is abundantly clear that the original number of 170,000 missing artifacts was simply wrong. But again I stress, numbers simply cannot tell the whole story, nor should they be the sole determinant used to assess the extent of the damage or of the recovery itself.
-------------------------
For example, it is simply impossible to quantify the loss of the world's first known Samarian mask of a female deity. That's one number; you cannot possibly quantify it, and it is irreplaceable. On the other hand, a single clay pot recovered at an archeological site in 25 separate pieces, depending on the circumstances under which it is recovered, counts as 25 separate pieces -- each bead, each pin, each amulet, each pendant counts as a separate piece. So numbers simply cannot tell the whole story. They do, however, offer, used appropriately, a metric with which we can assess what indeed has been done, and what so far is being recovered.
-------------------------
These keys were to 30 storage cabinets that lined that particular corner of the room. It's the brown storage cabinets that you see before you. Those cabinets contained arguably the world's finest collection of absolutely exquisite cylinder seals and the world's finest collection of Greek, Roman, Islamic and Arabic gold and silver coins.

Ironically, the thieves here appeared to have lost the keys to those cabinets by dropping them in one of the plastic boxes that lined the floor. There was no electricity at the time in the museum during this period, so the thieves lit the foam padding for light. After frantically and unsuccessfully searching for the keys in the fire-lit room, breathing in the noxious fumes from the foam and throwing those boxes in every direction, they were unable to gain access to the storage cabinets.

We ultimately found the keys under the debris after a methodically, fully lit and hours-long search. Upon inspecting those cabinets, and opening each one with absolutely bated breath, we learned that not a single cabinet had been entered and a catastrophic loss narrowly averted.
-------------------------
Indeed, I must commend the efforts of the staff of the British Museum and Professors Al-Radi; Bahrani, from New York; Henry Wright, from Michigan; and McGuire Gibson, from Chicago. They have afforded us the -- their assistance, through their expertise, and also showed the courage to go to Iraq, to go to Baghdad, to conduct assessments, to assess the museum, to assess various archaeological sites over the course of the last four and a half to five months. Very simply, we get paid to be shot at. They do not, but they went nonetheless, and they should be commended.
-------------------------
Bogdanos: Sure. First, with regard to telling you the most significant pieces, that really is like asking a parent to pick your favorite child. Having said that, the pieces you see before you, these 30 pieces, are clearly among the most significant in the world. If you had to choose among those, the Bassetki statue, an Akhadian statue from 2300 B.C., as well as the Sumerian mask, the first two items on the poster. And we have extras to hand out. The first-known Sumerian mask of a female deity. Those would be two of the more significant.
Access to the secret place. Yes. (Chuckles) After weeks of trust-building and more tea than I can count -- (chuckles) -- yes, we were granted access to the secret place, entered the secret place, saw the items, saw that they were complete, saw that they were there, and then sealed the secret place back up. And it will be opened once the museum -- once the Iraqis provide sufficient security to protect the museum. And then, it will be opened and those items will be placed back on display.
Finally, turning to the bomb shelter, same answer. Yes. (Chuckling.) More tea, more trust-building. And yes, we entered the bomb shelter, examined the contents, found that they were there -- found that the members of the community have really taken this on as a point of pride and honor to protect these items. So, seal the boxes up, seal the bomb shelter up, and that's where it remains. Again, it will be returned to the museum at the appropriate time.
-------------------------
Q: Just to clarify, when you say "items" and "pieces," you said that it could be one bead, one piece of a pot, one -- I mean, so these thousands of items could be just little things?

Bogdanos: Let me give you -- that's a great point. Yes. When I say items and pieces, I use them interchangeably. All of the items and pieces taken from the basement storage room downstairs could fit in a large backpack -- all 10,000. Does that give you a sense?
Now, the Bassetki statue is 150 kilos, and it's enormous, and that required several people to carry it out, and indeed, they damaged the floor as they were dragging it out. So, it varies, which is why these higher value pieces, I put the dimensions on the poster for that very reason.
-------------------------
Bogdanos: Certainly. Cylinder seals are small -- they vary in size, but ordinarily, the size of your thumb; some smaller, some larger. Think of them as signatures, stamps. They're round. They're small cylinders; hence the name. And they're used to -- on clay or on pottery to -- you roll that, and that, in effect, is your signature on that piece, on that pottery vessel, clay, et cetera, stamp.
They vary in quality. Some are remarkable. Some of them you look at, and you can't believe that anything that small is that exquisite. And some of them are rudimentary, very workmanlike. So it's impossible to give you an average.
However, I'm told by several of the archaeologists that we've worked with, particularly Professors Wright, Gibson, Al-Radi and Bahrani, that cylinder seals can go from anywhere from $80(,000) to $125,000 for one. And when I'm talking about that price, I'm talking about the ones in the storage cabinets themselves, not the ones in -- that were in fact taken from those plastic boxes.
That should not be confused with what the items get on the black market. We have time and again found evidence that cylinder seals were sold at -- stolen from a museum were sold at marketplaces for $30, three for 200 (dollars), $50. It's what the buyer will pay.

Saturday, September 20, 2003
 
Popular Science | Tales from the Astronaut Corps: "Partial transcript of a recent interview with ex-astronaut Sidney Gutierrez, veteran of two shuttle missions and leading advocate of a shuttle escape system (see 'Get Out Now').

Sidney Gutierrez: On an earlier flight a window was hit by a little piece of something, and they concluded afterwards it was a piece of chicken the Russians had ejected and was just floating around in space.

Popular Science: How'd they know that it was chicken?

SG: [NASA scientists] got the material and did an analysis on it.

PS: This was on the shuttle?

SG: It was the window on the shuttle. The window had a little gouge on it and they concluded it was made by the piece of chicken. "

 
jwz - if voting could change anything, it wouldn't be legal: "Does it seem like a good idea to you that the very mechanism of democracy be controlled by a 'trade secret' funded by the controlling presidential administration? Me neither."

more links
jaynote: I'm predicting that the 2004 election will make us wish for the good old days of only having to worry about checking hanging chads. While for the most part I'm really pro-technology, in this case I think the right tech is mechanical, not computer.

 
The internet is sh*t:
It is vitally important that we all realize this and move on. People (eg Bloggers) go on and on about how wonderful it is. About how much information is out there in cyberspace. About the way that everything is within reach in just a few clicks of their mice."
continued...

 
Jessy Delfino's Blog:
"Lullabuy by Jessica Delfino
This is the lullabuy my mother used to sing to me when I
was a little girl.

Slow tempo in C

You should go to sleep right now
You should go to sleep right now
Close your eyes and rest your head
I'll tuck your body into bed
Be glad that you are young right now
because It just gets worse from here

You will encounter disappointments at every stage
in your life, I promise you
And most of your dreams will not come true
though people try to say they do

I promise that life will be full of awkward confrontations
you'll get stuck in ten thousand awful conversations
you'll be late to an important meeting
someday you will get bullied and end up bleeding

someone you love will not love you back
and you'll never, never win the lottery
you will feel emotions such as anger, pain, shame and sadness
over and over, listen to me

you will get into at least one car accident
and you will make foes
you will lose close friends and relatives to cancer
and other horrible unpredictable scenarios

and then you will die, cause everybody dies
life is but a fleeting string of sorrows
but don't think about that right now
just close your eyes and think of angels and rainbows

you should go to sleep right now
you should go to sleep right now

and remember.......
Mommy loves you "

 
Rapid City Journal: "At the start of their school day Wednesday, the children watched out the window of the classroom as the moose grazed on leaves and drank from Lime Creek.
    Teachers gathered all the books about moose in the school's collection, and the visit by the moose became a learning experience.
    'They were watching and learning about the moose. They were finding out what he eats and what he does all day,' Laurie Miller, a mother of two children who attend the school, said.
    But South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department officials outside and west of the schoolyard determined that the moose posed a threat to public safety and decided to shoot the animal."

Friday, September 19, 2003
 
EFF is urging IEEE members and others to write to IEEE to express concern about their draft electronic voting machine standard.: "the IEEE sits on an advisory committee to the forthcoming Election Assistance Commission established by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This means that this standard could ultimately be adopted broadly throughout the United States. In a very real sense, the future of democratic systems in the U.S. and around the world are implicated by this standard -- the stakes couldn't be higher.

Problem: Unfortunately, instead of using this opportunity to create a performance standard, setting benchmarks for e-voting machines to meet with regards to testing the security, reliability, accessibility and accuracy of these machines, P1583 created a design standard, describing how electronic voting machines should be configured (and following the basic plans of most current electronic voting machines). Even more problematic, the standard fails to require or even recommend that voting machines be truly voter verified or verifiable, a security measure that has broad support within the computer security community."

 
Kick in the Head 3/27/03


Thursday, September 18, 2003
 
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: A Damn Fine Question...: "Have at it in the comments, my fellow Americans.
Explain just WHY you feel that this nation is the freest nation in the world and just what it is that makes it so. No need to try to say it all at once, because that would be an insurmountable task, just whatever comes to mind. You can always add to it later.
Oh, and just to make one thing sure: This is NOT a 'debate thread'. It's intended to be an opportunity to reflect upon the freedoms we enjoy and why they're unique compared with the rest of the world. It's intended as a service, not only to our foreign readers, but also to ourselves."

 
CNN.com - NASA engineer casts doubt on in flight repair order - Sep. 16, 2003: "JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Texas (AP) -- A top NASA engineer said Tuesday the next space shuttle crew may not be able to fix a hole the size of the one that brought down Columbia, despite accident investigators' insistence on a repair kit for astronauts."

jaynote: fuckng assholes, they've killed 2 crews and they still have the same mindset.

another quote:
"If we can make that work, that is what we're going to go fly. If we cannot make that work, then we have some decision points that we as an agency need to sit down and talk about and decide is that a risk that we're willing to take."

jaynote:umnn, just what part of *NO* don't they understand? the CAIB told them. The freaking original design specified what should not be done, and what risks are simply not acceptable.

 
Theme Park Insider Accident Watch: "What is it?
In the United States, no official source is keeping a complete national record of theme park accidents. And in many U.S. states, including Florida, theme parks are not legally required to report accidents involving injury to anyone.
That's why Theme Park Insider users are stepping up, to provide amusement park safety data that the public needs, and ought to be entitled to get."

 
OrlandoSentinel.com: Opinion: "This time, NASA must be made to keep its promises. How? By congressional mandate that it institute an anomaly-reporting program involving

=Total Transparency: Having established the CAIB's recommended 'independent technical engineering authority' responsible for operational safety, require that NASA list all testing and flight anomalies on shuttle-operations bulletin boards at Mission Control, integrated launch operations headquarters at Cape Canaveral, shuttle-crew quarters, and NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Automatically send press releases listing these reports to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle and the Orlando Sentinel.
= Personal and Corporate Accountability: Such reports should display three column headings: Component/System Anomaly, Manufactured By, and Name of NASA Contact Person (dependent on component or system affected). Also listed should be financial penalty to be assessed for proven quality-control lapses producing a component problem.
= Vested Personnel Interest: Following resumption of shuttle launches, mandate that at least the first 10 flights include one non-astronaut mission-specialist observer from middle or upper levels of NASA management. Observers randomly selected from different technical areas would research innovative design approaches for advanced components, procedures and related ergonomics for shuttle replacement spacecraft."

 
Word Pirates: "They're our words, dammit!
Marketers, politicians and other short-sighted, self-interested, sticky-fingered people have been stealing our words. Not only do they take them for commercial purposes, but they misuse them entirely. They're Word Pirates and we're going to take back what's rightfully ours.
For instance...
For instance, the word 'pirate' itself has been taken over by the Big Content companies. They mean 'anyone who shares files.' Real pirates murdered, raped and stole. They didn't share music, rightly or wrongly.
For instance, 'intellectual property' refers to ideas. Ideas aren't property. Not only one person can 'own' them. It's a bad metaphor leading to worse laws.
For instance, 'hotel guest' pretends that people who pay money to stay in a building are somehow guests.
What can we do about it?
We can refuse to accept these translations into inhuman language.
We can use the words to mean what they did before the pirates looted 'em.
We can list and discuss pirated words here."

 
WAMU : The Kojo Nnamdi Show: "12:00 - Tech Tuesday: Programmable Matter
Listen in RealAudio
Invisible walls and human levitation may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but it could be just around the corner. A Tech Tuesday look at programmable matter.
Wil McCarthy, Novelist, Science Columnist for the SciFi Channel, and author of “Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, and the Infinite Weirdness of Programmable Atoms”


Tuesday, September 16, 2003
 
Art Watch - September 7, 2003 - MP3s Are Not the Devil - The Ornery American: "But there's something kind of sad about the recording industry's indecent passion to punish the 'criminals' who are violating their rights.

Copyright is a temporary monopoly granted by the government -- it creates the legal fiction that a piece of writing or composing (or, as technologies were created, a recorded performance) is property and can only be sold by those who have been licensed to do so by the copyright holder.

Without copyright, once a work was performed or printed, other people who saw or heard or read it could simply do their own performance or print their own editions, and keep all the money without paying a dime to the creator of the work.

At the same time, a book or song isn't land or even corporate stock. In exchange for the private monopoly of copyright, when it expires the work is then free for anyone to perform or print or record."

 
Popular Science | The Worst Jobs in Science: "we turned to this pressing question: For the rest out there, just how bad can a science job get?

The answer: Really, really bad.

We solicited nominations from more than a thousand working scientists and culled the list for the most noxious. Then we voted. Which is to say, there is absolutely nothing scientific about the ranking of the worst jobs in science that appears on these pages; it is simply the collective opinion of a group of alternately awestruck and disturbed editors who rarely suffer anything worse on the job than keyboard- induced repetitive-motion syndrome.

As happens in science, fundamental assumptions are herein turned on their heads. If you assume, for example, that people employed to supervise fart-smelling research would dislike such work, think again. Ditto Robert Jones, who adores working with flesh-eating beetles to remove every last morsel of decay and make his skeletons truly gleam. Mosquito researcher Helge Zieler says the beauty of the Brazilian rainforest far outweighs the thousands of mosquito bites and the malaria he suffered there. Science is full of inquisitive people who take great pleasure in doing jobs that others would not touch with a 10-foot pole—and the world is indisputably a better place for their efforts. We're grateful that someone out there is doing these jobs. Even more grateful that it isn't us."

 
TidBITS#697/15-Sep-03: "Other Factors -- So if I was buying a new wireless gateway today, would I buy the Asante FR1004AL over the Linksys BEFW11S4? Even if the Asante FR1004AL's main features proved relatively moot for me, there are a few other minor points to consider.
-Signal strength. Using MacStumbler, I compared the strength of the signal received by my iBook at a number of different locations throughout the house. The Asante FR1004AL provided slightly better signal strength at all locations, which was quite welcome.
http://www.macstumbler.com/

Monday, September 15, 2003
 
Sysinternals Freeware: "The Sysinternals web site provides you with advanced utilities, technical information, and source code related to Windows 9x, Windows Me, and Windows NT/2000 internals that you won't find anywhere else. Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell alone write and update everything here.

jaynote: these guys are geek gods. They make kick ass / ass saving tools. And the winternals company has great customer support, and very reasonable EULA's.

 
Analysis of Security Vulnerabilities in the Movie Production and Distribution Process: "Our research attempts to determine the source of unauthorized copies by studying the availability and characteristics of recent popular movies in file sharing networks. We developed a data set of 312 popular movies and located one or more samples of 183 of these movies on file sharing networks, for a total of 285 movie samples. 77% of these samples appear to have been leaked by industry insiders. Most of our samples appeared on file sharing networks prior to their official consumer DVD release date. Indeed, of the movies that had been released on DVD as of the time of our study, only 5% first appeared after their DVD release date on a web site that indexes file sharing networks, indicating that consumer DVD copying currently represents a relatively minor factor compared with insider leaks."

 
Casualties Union-The only Union allowing its members to lie down and be trodden on!: "WHAT? We provide trained bodies! We are all ages, shapes and sizes skilled in realistic wound simulation, with experience of portraying the following conditions and more...
* Evacuee * Confused * Lost * Injured* Illness* Unconscious * Special needs * Bystander * Trapped * Nuisance

HOW? Contact us and find out what we can do for you. We will explain our charges for recovering expenses and of course how many necessary cups of tea will be needed to keep body and soul together! "

Saturday, September 13, 2003
 
Franklin's Closet: "But what a lot of Americans don't know is that good old Ben actually lived in London from 1757 to 1775, when he served as a representative of the American colonies to the British Parliament. While he was there, he lived with Mrs. Margaret Stevenson, a widow who rented him the upper rooms of her house. Mrs. Stevenson and her daughter, Polly, became like a second family to Franklin.

Because of the historic significance of this house they lived in, located at No. 36 Craven Street, a group of American and English Franklinophiles have purchased the house and have begun renovating it. A gristly discovery was made in 1998 when workmen began digging in the basement. Bones. Lots of bones. Lots and lots of bones, all dating from the time period of Franklin's stay in the house. Could our beloved founding father have been involved with some sort of unsavory crime, like mass murder?

Researchers suspect that the bones are actually the products of an anatomy school that met for a time in back of the house. In 1772, Polly Stevenson had married a young physician, William Hewson, and he lived with the family (and Franklin) for two years. Scientists examining the bones say they look like they came from the dissection table, due to evidence of sawing and drilling characteristic of medical tools of the day. "


Guinea Pig Zero is an occupational jobzine for people who are used as medical or pharmaceutical research subjects. Its various sections are devoted to bioethics, historical facts, current news and research, evaluations of particular research facilities by volunteers, true stories of guinea pig adventure, reviews, poetry and fiction relating to the disposability of plebeian life.

 
BROTRON LABS
sculpture, death rays and robots
neat video

 
Boohbah trippy flash fun

 
NATIONAL POST: Minor-league organist Wilbur Snapp died on Saturday. An umpire guaranteed he will be remembered for more than music

John Lott - National Post
Thursday, September 11, 2003

Wilbur Snapp's' death from leukemia last week would have attracted little notice but for a familiar ditty he played in 1985 during a minor-league baseball game.
"Wilbur Snapp, the only organist ever ejected from a professional baseball game, has been playing the Kawai at Phillies' spring training games for 18 years. For a decade, he also played at the Clearwater Phillies' minor-league games, 70 nights each summer. He is an institution in an age of canned ballpark music.

'I'm self-taught,' he says. 'I don't read music. I've never had a lesson in my life. I play about 2,000 songs.'

The one many people remember most is Three Blind Mice, which he played one evening in 1985 after 'the worst umpire's call I've ever seen in hundreds of baseball games.'

He remembers every detail. Ricky Jordan was on first base for the Clearwater Phillies when someone hit a sinking liner to right field. The outfielder made a shoestring catch and Jordan quickly retreated to first, sliding in on his stomach, grabbing the bag with both hands well before the throw arrived. At least that's how Wilbur, the home fans and the Clearwater manager saw it.

The umpire called Jordan out.

So Wilbur played Three Blind Mice and the umpire walked up to the screen, pointed straight at him and gave him the thumb.

'It hit the news wires clear around the world,' he says with a smile. 'And I had 22 interviews the next day. Marv Albert called me from New York and had me on his show, live.'

Wilbur has told the story countless times and he never tires of it. He has a scrapbook of newspaper clippings that chronicle his unique ejection and his $100 fine, later forgiven.

'There isn't a day that goes by that somebody doesn't ask me to play Three Blind Mice,' he says."

Friday, September 12, 2003
 
Will Honda's ASIMO better sex life? : HTTabloid.com: "While the Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility robot (ASIMO for short) may not look quite ready for foreplay yet, its creators are already gushing about its 'sexual' prowess. 'One of the reasons for marital break-ups today is physical inadequacy. Couples are so stressed out that there's no time for foreplay, so essential to get the juices flowing. A smart machine can bridge that gap in no time,' says Dr. CRJP Naidu of Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), Bangalore, who is currently working on an advanced version of Honda's mechanical man. "

 
Dogs in Elk: "Anne V - 01:01pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1318 of 1332) Okay - I know how to take meat away from a dog. How do I take a dog away from meat? This is not, unfortunately, a joke." ......... cont

 
from Transterrestrial Musings
Two Years On, A Weary Nation Takes Stock
Sunday, December 5, 1943

NEW YORK (Routers) Concerned about inflaming passions that might further widen the war unnecessarily and result in more hate crimes against Asians, both here and abroad, most papers and radio stations will maintain regular formats and programming this coming Tuesday, the second anniversary of that unfortunate incident at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. continued



Thursday, September 11, 2003
 
Penguin Warehouse, Inc. - Buy a Pet Penguin Today Welcome to the most respected, domesticated penguin dealer on the Internet! Relax and take a look around our site where you can find information on our company, our products, and what goes into the care of a penguin. Penguin Warehouse, Inc. sells certified purebred penguins, useful penguin books, and many other items to make you and your new pet happy.

 
SpaceShipOne
progress last week with a sucessfull drop test, more info on their site under "test info"

 
woo wooo starting a new blog


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