Wednesday, January 31

Russia sending wealthy US tourist to space (via jammer on MetaFilter).
articles by Arthur C Clarke on the next 1000 years and William Gibson (via Higgy).
The X-Files Timeline: good but long plot summaries. I used to watch religiously, but just can't get interested anymore. Oh well.

This came from Edgar Governo, Historian of things that never were (via Hobbsblog), which has many links like this.
management shakeup at Gateway.
rather long, somewhat pessimistic update on Marc Andreesen's Loudcloud. (Robot Wisdom-style link.)

Tuesday, January 30

We'd like to see liberal social policies, with accountability, with less bureaucracy and red tape, without giving these responsibilities over to soulless corporations. Possible? (Here's the discussion over at MetaFilter). The idea also includes forced redistribution of wealth, at least to some degree. What do you think?

The first step is to turn government upside down. Do as much as you can locally where there's better accountability and involvement. Do as little as possible at the national level, where the inverse is true. Got it?
Where were you when Reagan was shot?

I was home from school for some reason, third grade or early fourth (because we hadn't moved yet). But I don't remember much past that.

I don't remember where I was when Lennon was shot. Do you?

I seem to remember hearing Elvis had died when I was in Kindergarten art class, but maybe that's some other Elvis memory. Anyone know when he died (obviously I don't feel like running the search myself)?

I was in the cafeteria line for supper, sophomore year of college, when the news that we had gone to war against Iraq came out. Where were you?
MetaFilter members remember where they were when Challenger blew up, just over 15 years ago.

I was in 8th grade. We were on a ski trip. People started saying 'Did you hear the space shuttle blew up.'. I said 'That's not funny.'. Then it was confirmed. I remember so vividly watching the replay on the big screen tv in the bar area of the lodge.

Where were you?
The kids saw Michael Stipe on Sesame Street today singing 'Shiny, Happy Monsters' and started to cry. Then they wanted more. Then Wil started talking about Daddy. Christine concluded that they were reminded of me by him and put on one of our family videos that I'm in, which they seemed placated by. When she called to tell me, the video was on in the background and Wil was saying 'Daddy'.

Now that's cool.
Friday a woman came in to the church office. She said she was here in town to look at TU law school and had lost her wallet in an airport en route. She had this wild-eyed look and smelled like cigarette smoke. She was asking for a room for a couple of nights and some money for food. We don't give money out. Too many people try to take advantage of the church. Not only do we want to be good stewards of God's money that our people give, but we also don't want to empower people who often use that money in hurtful ways. When I tried to suggest some other options (Salvation Army, the Day Center) she said 'Oh no. I need to talk to the pastor.' and walked out of my office. I said 'Alex, come back in here.', at which she was indignant, being talked to like that. I said 'You don't have to talk to the pastor because I'm the one who's going to make this decision and you're not going to bother him on his day off.'. I said we could get her a cab if she wanted to go somewhere else, but she refused, left, and went out to the street and stopped a car and rode off.

I hate this kind of situation. But in my line of work, I have a lot of experience with it. And, unfortunately, I've been taken in a number of times. I don't mind the money lost, so much as I don't like to be deceived.
Followup to the 'Christian States of America' link below. Later on someone said it better than I did: the idea behind the separation of church and state is to keep the state out of religion. It is not to keep religion out of the state. Governance always happens within the context of some values - religious, secular, or other. Thinking we can have religion-less government (ie value-less goverment) is not only undesirable, but also impossible.

Monday, January 29

Wired's cover story this month is about cloning. In the article, many researchers say they believe someone has already cloned a human secretly because it would be so easy to do. The cover says someone will clone a human in the next year (the implication being if they haven't already). Animal cloning has become common place and many InVitro Fertilization techniques are very similar to cloning.

There are a lot of ethical implications. I'll be called crazy by people with a more 'scientistic' (sic) world-view, but there's are some pretty good reasons to believe that life happens at fertilization, at conception. Even attempting cloning takes a vary nonchalant stance toward zygotes and embryos.

Some people argue that the right to have a child for otherwise infertile couples is more important than caution about fertility techniques. Here's an example:

'For his part, Sauer would like to clone, too. Not adults, necessarily, but embryos. If Sauer could clone embryos from an IVF cycle and store them in case a pregnancy fails, or in case a woman wants a second child later on, much of the pain and expense of another round of IVF could be avoided. "It would be easy to clone identical embryos. That could be done right now in almost any IVF lab, to make three or four copies."'

Many of us believe those 'three or four copies' are alive, and we don't want people to take that life casually.

Now would be a good time, as I scan through the article again, to quote its best line:

'This is why Steen Willadsen says that if you want to create people who are identical, cloning might actually be a bad way to do it. "It is retrograde to clone," he says, a little tongue-in-cheek. "There are other ways of making people identical. We can put them through the same schools and subject them to eight hours of TV every day. That works a lot better. Why do you think Americans are buying SUVs?"'

Here's a quote from the end:

'Artificial human chromosomes were created four years ago, and "artificial sperm and eggs are pretty close now," Trounson says. Human beings may someday be designed from scratch, and microarray technology will end the guesswork. Ultimately, we may not even need mothers. Work on an artificial womb is progressing nicely.'

This is the kind of nonchalance I'm afraid of. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Not because clones might not have souls or will rise up and destroy us or other science fictions. Be afraid of the erosion of the value of human life, and the hubris so many of us seem to have, willing to take life into our own hands and redesign it in our own image.
'Christian States of America according to President Dubya. Government should not fund international family-planning groups, but should fund faith-based programs.' This tag line and ensuing discussion on MetaFilter makes me crazy. Independent of one's beliefs, I think the principles in here are wrong, wrong, wrong. My comment is toward the end.
Nick pointed out (in his comment below) this interesting article, Hou tu pranownse Inglish, also from zompist. Now be advised, this bad boy get's pretty long. If you got tired of skimming the rules, skip down to the recommendation for spelling reform, including a rewrite of Shelley's 'Ozymandias'.
Many of the players yesterday are arrestees (via Obscure Store). Sure, maybe some of them were wrongly accused or have changed, like Collins. Maybe not. Why do I keep watching them?

Well, because I'm fascinated by the strategy and the personalities and what the human body can do at its peak. But the money they get comes from viewers (among other things). Maybe I should stop watching.
I'd like a pair of display glasses, maybe like inViso's eshades.

Of course, I'd settle for a Panoram Desktop Display.
Linguistic pet-peeve: improper use of the conditional tense. It has become 'cool' to say in response to a question like 'Who wants to massacre the English language?' 'That would be me.'. No, honey, it _is_ you. 'Would' is conditional. We don't have to wait to see if any conditions apply.

Sunday, January 28

There needs to be a sniglet for that thing I do with the mouse and the cursor when I'm waiting on an application. Any ideas?
I preached today. My text was Zephaniah 3.9-20.
Man, I wasn't that bummed about the Vikings losing to the Giants until the Ravens showed up. How could Trent Dilfer pass on the Giants and the Vikes couldn't?
This week's sign that the apocalypse is upon us: the Survivor module for My Yahoo.

Saturday, January 27

'We have 70% of the population's last names in .com, .net, and .org.' That aint right.
Special teams could be the key to the Super Bowl tomorrow. For kicks, I'll say 13-9, Ravens.

Friday, January 26

Yippee! Blogvoices is going to come back online, hosted by Pyra (the makers of Blogger) (via will on MetaFilter).
This graph of government spending is too beautiful to pass up (via Matt Haughey on MetaFilter). Hmm. The whole site looks interesting. Read it!
What if English was represented pictorially like Chinese? One man's vision... (again, via null device). Okay, it gets kind of long. But once you get bored, scroll to the end to learn more about Chinese.

(Incidentally, all of the stuff under zompist's 'language' heading is cool, if you like semi-hard-core linguistics (for people like me, who enjoy and think about this kind of stuff).)
Discussion of the visional differences between 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' and 'Blade Runner' (via null device).
If you're into MetaFilter, there's an interesting discussion going on about etiquette and how to police the community (via Hobbsblog).

Thursday, January 25

First came Episodes 4-6. Now, Lucas is going and back and doing 1-3. Allegedly he had plot lines for 7-9, but won't do them. Therefore, he's farmed out the Star Wars future and the rest of its past. There are a lot of licensed stories, in novels and comics and games. Want to know where they fit in? If so, you actually have to look at two outlines. I'm not going to read all of this stuff, though I want to read some (for example, I'm not reading any more about weapons that can destroy a planet or more (3 Death Stars, a Sun-Crusher, the World Devastators, and a Dark Saber later) or about the twins getting kidnapped). But I browsed 'Star Wars : The Essential Chronology' at Borders and it looked like it was worth getting. I'm interested enough in the plot that's it's worth it to me to read a page or two per novel. It's got original art, too, which is a bonus. It's nice to see something new.
Jason's got an interesting timeline of Net-related events.
The American Film Intitute has been promoting USAmerican movies for the last couple of years with lists like best movies, best comedies, best actors/actresses, and best thrillers (due in january). They also put out a best 10 movies of 2000 list. Christine and I have been watching through the top 100 and have been enjoying it a lot. We skip some. The next one we'll probably watch is #29: 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington'.

Wednesday, January 24

Richard Tomlinson says he worked for MI6 (British intelligence) but got unfairly sacked and harassed around the globe. Interesting read (via Robot Wisdom).
I really like the idea of The Shadow Government of the USA - post major Bush actions and then post a preferred alternative like it's all a parallel universe. I'm not saying I always agree with those preferred alternatives, but it makes for fun reading. The bizarro-cabinet is especially interesting (via Hobbsblog).

Tuesday, January 23

I've got a couple of front page posts on Metafilter this morning. Blogvoices, which provides our interaction, is closing and I'm concerned about Colin Powell's plan to drop most sanctions. Read the stuff over there if you're interested.
It looks to me like they have pretty conclusive evidence that the Kursk blew itself up.
Humorous or poignant statistics for january from Harper's (via Robot Wisdom). I particularly enjoyed:

Number of last year's top ten soft-money donors that contributed to both major parties : 6
Ratio of public housing units built in Jewish communities in Israel since 1975 to those built in Arab communities : 337:1
Number of land mines per square mile left behind in southern Lebanon by Israeli forces when they withdrew last May : 376
Number of studies showing that the death penalty is a deterrent, according to Attorney General Janet Reno : 0
Percentage of the U.S. budget devoted to foreign developmental aid in 1962 and 2000, respectively : 3, 0.5
Ratio of Zambia's foreign-debt payments in 1999 to what it is projected to pay this year under proposed debt relief : 2:3
Percentage of the G-8 countries' combined military budgets it would take to halve the world's TB cases by 2010 : 0.4
I changed the number of posts on my front page so this page will load faster. I hope it's helpful. See more in the archives.
I had an all-time high of 18 pageviews yesterday. Yippee!
Jason's doing some interesting history of the web things.
Those fights I mentioned got a lot of comments, and the dialogue got saner over time.

Monday, January 22

: big fights on Metafilter re: the prayer at Bush's inauguration (by Franklin Graham) and US aid tied to abortion counseling.
This article rules: The 15 Sexiest Mustaches of All Time (via

Also from plastic: the technical term for "fear of beards" is "pogonophobia".
Regarding the California energy crisis, The Washington Post says (via Robot Wisdom, found on

'Full deregulation would eliminate the current shortage by allowing the price to rise enough so that some consumers could no longer afford to pay it. When these consumers cut back their demand, the supply would be then be sufficient.'

That's right. We talk about having a free market, but so many things get underwritten by taxes, like energy and gas. It'd be better to cut that part of taxes, make consumers pay the real price, and watch them decide to indulge less.

Sunday, January 21


Robot Wisdom's design has been 'evolving' for some time now. I would like to see it 'evolve' faster if it's going to be posted 'evolving'.
(Joke: Is this evidence against the validity of the theory of evolution?)

OSIL8 has been Blogger's blog of the week for less time, but still around 6 weeks or so. It's way past time for something different. Does it help that Meg is Jason's girlfriend?
We finished watching 'North by Northwest' a few nights ago. It's hard for us to get through a whole movie these days between the time the kids go to bed and the time we want to go to bed. Anyway, it was a good movie. Cary Grant looked cool. Recommended.
Want to read an interview with the lead editor of the Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition? I did.

Saturday, January 20

Anybody got a good Spanish sangria recipe? I started looking around a little. The site has many different recipes and links to more.
altculture did prompt me to think this, though: Shannon Doherty was dreamy in 'Heathers', before she got know.
I'm looking through, not finding much interesting.

But it makes me think of something I saw in an editorial one time, maybe in True Tunes.

What's so alternative about wearing Doc Martens? They're 100$+ shoes. If you want to be alternative, different from the coopting fashioncorps, wear something cheap.

Of course, I wear 100$+ shoes everyday (currently Naot), but it's not to be alternative. That's okay, right?
Have you noticed how I almost invariably use (non)descriptors like 'this' or 'here' for my links? I'm trying to think up some different syntax. Of course, I haven't really looked much at what other people are doing.

Those darn relative pronouns.
More science: Been wondering how you're going to sort out elementary particles? The graph toward the bottom of this article can help. Quarks, leptons, and force carriers. Clear?

Friday, January 19

Scientists Bring Beam of Light to a Stop. Cool theoretical physics link for science friday (via tiaka on Metafilter).
Oh my gosh, John. What makes someone daydream about this (via 13 Labs)?

'I went to the Chicagoans of the Year banquet today, and I ate a Halibut. I do not like fish, and this is the first fish I have eaten in a very long time. The ceremony was interesting, and normal humans got quite a bit out of it. At some point my mind wandered, and I began to wonder how heavy a box would be, if it were filled with the hearts of everyone in the room. I decided it would weight just a bit more than 200lbs., but would certainly not be more than I could lift over my head. So I am sitting there, wearing my Girlie suit, imagining my self running around with a gore dripping box above my head, when they served the fruit tart with vanilla sauce. The thing was held at the 4 seasons, it is very swank.'
Are you a pyromaniac? Here's a test. (i scored a 97% pure (not pyro)). via Steven Den Beste on Metafilter (and a somewhat humorous discussion).
Okay, here's part of the evidence: Christian conservatives have gotten into bed with the Repubs in hopes that it will affect abortion. But it hasn't. Laura Bush says key abortion ruling should stand.

Wednesday, January 17

We just passed the 10th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War (sorta via Robot Wisdom).
Have you checked the Death Clock lately? My personal date of death is Friday, October 13, 2045. Now that's pretty cool (via Hobbsblog).

Tuesday, January 16

The secular orthodoxy today is that anyone can have sex and it's okay and that everyone should have access to condoms. Want proof? Now read this discussion on MeFi. And we're not talking just about adult consensual sex here. We're talking 13 and 15.
Here's another staple of the Open Source philosophy: The Cathedral and the Bazaar. I'm going to put up a digest of it on my website soon. Watch this space for the link.
Feed's take on their creation of It's a corporately supported weblog with editors and professional writers that takes input from users. Metafilter is the best participatory weblog in my mind - purely self-policing and a simple layout that I have found to be the easiest to read and navigate and participate in by far. Slashdot has a big following. To me, the design and readability of plastic can't hold a candle to Metafilter.

While I'm on the subject, raving about Metafilter, it is also, to my mind, the best online community. It's accessible. The barriers to join and the click-throughs don't seem prohibitive. Interesting that this kind of structure promotes or prohibits interaction.

Anyway, back to the thread:

'For millions of people worldwide, the Web has become their primary information conduit: not just a research tool or a source of cheap airline tickets, but something far more immersive and habitual.'

Yes, I resemble this comment. When expressing incredulity to my wife that more of my friends don't read this site regularly I asked 'Doesn't everyone have some websites they read everyday?'. I know the answer is no, but it's hard for me to believe, relative to the way I interact with the world now.

'Reader discussion forums clearly improve on a letters-to-the-editor page, but they are usually cordoned off in a special area...It's a perfectly good model, but it's not a radical break from print magazine publishing.'

But the structure of Metafilter allows for free discussion in a much less cordoned off area such that, to me, the results are revolutionary.

Wow, I guess I'm passionate about Metafilter.

The author of this Feed article is talking about what I call 'network dynamics'. Kevin Kelly called it something else originally, something like the rules of the new economy, but it's bigger than that, the power of networks. You get the issues of scale like Yahoo vs. Google. Open Source harnesses these powerful dynamics.

'Linus Torvald's development strategy -- "release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity".' Linus was the chief architect of Linux - an open source, Unix-based operating system that many of us hope will one day supplant Windows.

See, I'm never going to participate in an inelegant discussion interface. I won't take the time.

Here's a related Feed article on Open Source. The interviewee says open source is subversive - it subverts the conventional notions of quality control and management.

"At first blush, the Open Source movement looks libertarian, with its emphasis on personal involvement and its core faith in the idea of meritocracy," says Hunter College professor and technology activist Clay Shirky. "It also looks capitalist, since Open Source works for the same reason that transparent markets work." But as Shirky explains, that superficial behavior shouldn't distract us from the effects of OSS development, which "have all the hallmarks of the economic category called a 'Public Good.' Like lighthouses or national defense, a public good is something that is best built for everyone all at once. Likewise, Open Source has the quality of solving a problem once and for all and then putting it out in the public domain, and once you even admit the idea of a public domain into the argument, you're a few steps away from libertarianism."

Open Source is a public good. That sounds right to me. It's probably one of the reasons I'm so crazy about it.

And what if we could apply these dynamics to thorny problems like politics? Or how can we? Can a meritocracy be advantageous and produce public good without becoming thoroughly self-serving, leaving the techno-peasants and less meritorious as indentured servants?

One political result of Open Source may be more citizen actions, like the Seattle WTO demonstrations (some of the valuable parts anyway). One of the great things about network dynamics/Open Source is it provides a cheap, quality alternative to the reigning hegemony. That's critical, because you need a replacement, not just a critique of the status quo. You need something constructive.

Okay, I don't have time to go on and on about this. There's some good stuff, especially in this second article, even though it's old. Read it! And then interact.
If anything, the fact that Ann Taylor, Structure, and Sunglass Hut (Sunglass Hut!) did poorly over the holidays is an encouraging sign of shoppers' good taste. Now that's funny.
Interesting update on Marc Andreesen's LoudCloud (via Robot Wisdom). And if it's not an update for you, here's a much more comprehensive picture of the start.
Transparent reflection: What would I do if i got linked on one of the big weblogs? I'd be pretty darn thrilled. Then I'd be anxious about whether or not my posts were good enough.
Vikings face another challenging offseason.

Monday, January 15

Here's another well-written post from Higgy:

SEEKING EQUAL TIME: In the New York Times magazine, science writer Natalie Angier goes on at length (intelligent, passionate, occasionally witty length, though) to discuss how hard it is to be an atheist in America. She does raise several points believers and non-believers can agree on: 1. the famous high level of belief in God among Americans is pretty shallow. 2. people don't like having other people's brand of religion shoved down their throat.

I'm happy to grant those critiques and I'll never transgress them again (I rarely do anyway). But, on the reciprocal side, I'm tired of intelligent atheists insisting that religious faith, and particularly Christianity in my case, is intellectually untenable.

And while we're at it, why don't we throw in the assumed untouchable dogma of thoroughgoing, materialistic, atheistic Darwinian evolution (it wouldn't be enreasonable to call it 'evolutionism').
Here's the first nominee that really caught my eye: Does money buy happiness? The data shows clearly that it does not. We have more money and more unhappiness. So why do we all keep pursuing it? Here's Myers' take on it from last year.
Well, the Edge World Question Center for 2001 is in. The Question is: What Questions Have Disappeared? There are some interesting responses here that evoke some deep issues in a brief (and, thus, necessarily shallow way). As usual, the Edge is
self-referential and self-congratulatory. I wish there were Reality Clubs on some of these bad boys. But check them out.

Sunday, January 14

Losses and Damages in Palestine between 29/9/2000 – 29/12/00:
383 dead, 2,576 arrested, 3 ambulance drivers killed. (via the web today)

This thing is breaking my heart. It's tragic.
Jason's sounding off about usability gurus. Give people fish or teach people to fish? He's got a point.
More Blogger problems. Frustrating. I'm trying to change my design back to default discussion for every post. Christine suggested I should, and I know from annecdotal evidence that I've missed some comments because I didn't have it and I WANT COMMENTS! Therefore...
Okay, I will confess: We watched the 'Battlestar Galactica' pilot. It was horrible, though there were some interesting ideas.

Favorite Cylon quotes (these will only maybe be funny to you if you know how Cylons speak):

'I really think you should look at that other Battlestar.'

'Apparently they were not as surprised as we thought.'

I just finished reading 'JRR Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator' and it was absolutely beautiful. There were plenty of places where Tolkien's visions made me thank God. How can I put it more strongly than that? I want to move on to the Carpenter biography.
Wow. The Vikings discovered whole new ways to stink.

Saturday, January 13

Holy space singers! Rick Springfield was in Battlestar Galactica! (I'll never confess how I found this out.)
Do you have statistics for your webpage or weblog? I'm pretty happy so far with Nedstat (it's at the very bottom of the page).
Nathan's got a nice list: Republican Hypocrisy 101. In short, it lists Republican legislators who say they're tough on crime, but then try to get a relative who's a perpetrator off easy. Read it!

Friday, January 12

You've got to start somewhere. Multinational Monitor lists The 10 Worst Corporations of 2000

Wednesday, January 10

Xmas list (What if you could add non-Amazon items to your Amazon wishlist for an uber-list? That would be a cool service for Amazon to offer.) I would like a contoured keyboard and 2 foot switch (and maybe a progammable keypad) from Kinesis.

Tuesday, January 9

Christine and I watched 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' last night. Fun. I especially like the starship combat throughout. Here's the best part:

Spock: He is very intelligent. He is also inexperienced. His pattern shows two-dimensional thinking.
Kirk: Z minus 10,000 meters.


I'm thinking of changing the title of this weblog again to 'Read it!'. What do you think? If you don't know about Space Ghost and his voice and how he would say this, go here.
Here's a new weblog that I'm reading. Read it (Space Ghost voice)!
All of the stuff about depleted uranium is scary (this time it's about Kosovo, via The Web Today).

Monday, January 8

I can't write this link any better (via jhiggy on Metafilter), so I'll just quote it:

'A Minor Threat to business as usual: A fine Q&A with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) about the ethical, fan-friendly approach to music business at Dischord Records.' Here's his take on Napster:

'Is the Napster phenomenon any more troubling to you as a musician and co-owner of a record label than home taping of music was in the '80s?'

'Not to me. We never had any problem with home taping. Again, this is not our commerce. I don't know much about Napster -- my computer doesn't go fast enough to fool with all that stuff. Certainly I love the idea of the application. I understand the issues a band would have if somebody were to take an unfinished tape from the studio and put it up on the Internet. That's a drag, because it's not something they're ready to have released. But I don't believe that it undermines the industry. Most people I know who use Napster listen to stuff they've never heard before. And then they get psyched and go out and buy the...records. It's more like a sampler.'
Have you seen the eBookMan? I don't think it's out yet. But it looks promising, especially the combined PDA/MP3 player capability in the entry model for 130$. The Visor's 170$ and you have to buy the Springboard MP3 player separately. There's also the Samsung cell phone/PDA/MP3 player, which is a nice setup. I'm not ready to buy the eBookMan, but I'm going to keep my eye on them.
Back to 'The Hobbit'. There are truly some masterful touches in there. Gandalf's account of their troubles to Beorn is amazing, especially the way he gradually changes the count and brings the dwarves in.

Additionally, the greed subplot at the end is very profound. Those who should be allies are ready to fight one another. But the common foe unites them, and brings them to mutual goodwill in the end.

All in all, a lovely story.
Feminist intellectuals can at last feel good about feeding their fashion mania. Shopping is "research" and a massive wardrobe is an "archive".
TJ's right. Currently, the Raiders look like the best team in football - good offense, good defense. The Vikings have a great offense and an erratic defense. We can beat NY (though I'm not saying we will), then we'll see...
You know you've got some OCD going on when you edit the emails other people send you before you file them or delete them.
It's late. Can't sleep. I'm so sensitive to caffeine, I guess that half-cup of coffee at 5 did me in. Silly

i was signing up for a Blockbuster account on tuesday. the clerk said 'where do you work?'. i said 'Redeemer Covenant Church.'. he said 'i've never heard
that word 'covenant' used in relation to a church before. it makes me think of 'coven'.' (which is a gathering of witches).

What does that say to you about our culture?

Sunday, January 7

Have you noticed that the 'rant' meme is also tired?
(Not only will that 'meme' link tell you what a 'meme' is, but it's an interesting article by the guy who coined the term. Read it! (again, Space Ghost voice))

The Blogger upgrade is great. I feel like my whole web connection is faster.

Saturday, January 6

Appalachian Area 51: This is a cool article (via Robot Wisdom) about an abandoned NSA listening post near where we used to live. Read it (said in Space Ghost voice)!
I was wrong. I guess the Vikings can play defense. There is hope! Now the Saints aren't the greatest offense in the league, but the highest flying offenses are gone, except for the Vikes. They looked amazing today. I'm hoping for an Eagles win tomorrow, so they will have to come play the Vikes at home. Wooo!
Yippee! Blogger got a new server and things are much faster now.

My friend, John Harris (PhD, Professor Emeritus - University of Tulsa), has an article in Barron's about predicting the stock market. It's an interesting theory. Here's the Tulsa World article.

In the CD player: an Underworld compilation my brother made for me. If I were checking out other music new to me (which I'm not because I'm not taking the time) they would be: Massive Attack, Beck, Moby, and Outkast.

In the past couple of days we've watched 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'The Postman'. 'TMF' was wonderful. I highly recommend it. 'The Postman' was good and interesting, but too long for what it was. I'm sure David Brin's book was very good, but this is not it. Keep it shorter, Kevin.

Remember that mention I made below of Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church. I listened to his sermon 'the elder brother' (under info/tape ministry) and took some notes. So check out these notes, and if they look good, listen to the message. Keller dissects the difference between immoral nonChristians (tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, ‘the prodigal younger brother’), moral nonChristians (scribes and Pharisees, ‘the elder brother’, and Christians (Jesus, the Father) better than anyone I know.

Friday, January 5

Wow, Blogger has been posting so slowly lately. I don't know what their problem is, but that's the main reason I haven't posted in the last couple of days.

Here's an interesting article about Stephen Wolfram, some sort of bona fide genius. It's science, but it's Forbes, so you can understand it (via PWA BadBoy on MeFi). It's about a theory of the organization of life called cellular automata. The basic idea seems to be that you can begin with simple structures and simple rules that can grow into great, complex structures. Wolfram claims to reinvent everything, including reducing the role of natural selection in evolution.

Wednesday, January 3

Want to know what people think of blogger? Actually, it's more complex. Blogger (the free service i run this site through) asked for donations to speed up their service. So, people discussed it on Metafilter. There's a lot of discussion about asking for money, if that's okay business, and whether or not people were donating. Then there's a lot of commentary about how people like Metafilter. For my part, I gave them 10$. Blogger rocks.

Tuesday, January 2

Have you heard about the guy who spent a year in his apartment and only ordered stuff over the web? It was a stunt, but you might find it interesting.
I posted the notes to my sermon from sunday.

Christine and I are rereading 'The Hobbit'. It's been a long time.

First of all, it amazes me how much faster it moves. They're already over the Misty Mountains, which takes a long time in 'The Fellowship...', almost the whole book.

Secondly, the tone is so very different. For one thing, the evil is less malicious in 'The Hobbit', more bumbling (eg, the trolls and goblins). It's much more appropriate for children. Gandalf doesn't have that same invincible feel in 'The Hobbit'.

Remember when I was talking about Tolkien's art? I forgot that the One Ring has almost everything that's ever been done publically. Go to this page and search for Tolkien as the author. You'll get 107 results, many of which are Tolkien's art that can be enlarged. Beautiful!
Happy birthday to me! I'm 29 today.

It's Kyle's birthday, too. He's 28. Why not wish him a happy one?

Monday, January 1

'Kilimanjaro in 5 Days' is a fun article I saw in 'The Charlotte Observer' when I was back east for Christmas. Mainly, it's fun for me because I climbed it myself, back in november 92, along the same route. The climbing costs are here. (Once again, the discussion (including more of my comments) is happening on Metafilter.)
Here's an interesting, short, letter to president-elect Bush from Mikhail Gorbachev on foreign policy (via lia on metafilter - discussion).

We weren't far into 'Notorious' before we realized the plot had been lifted for 'Mission:Impossible 2'! It makes us think even less of the latter movie. What's more, we couldn't find anything in their publicity about stealing the plot. It had to be left to the critics. Anyway, 'Notorious' was a good movie. It was kind of a nice change to see Ingrid Bergman playing a drunk tramp instead of a princess (of course they took that out of the M:I2 plot).

Can you name any reworkings of original plots that actually turned out good or better? (additional discussion on Metafilter)