Tuesday, October 31

NFL week 8 wrap-up

I've got good news and bad news. Let me give you the bad news first:

The Vikings got their clock cleaned by New England. I searched the internet and found a radio station out of Kansas City that was broadcasting the game live on the web and listened to the first half. The Patriots owned them. It was never close one time. They knew the Vikings might could defend the run, so they turned Brady loose and he went berserk. Went to sleep after the first half. Ugh.

The good news is that I have Brady on my fantasy team and his 4 TDs + yardage equaled 29 points. Add to that 6 for C Jackson, 2 for C Taylor, and 6 for the Vikings defense and I came back from a huge deficit and beat my brother, Cory! Woo hoo! Takes the sting out of the Vikings getting obliterated.

Interesting side note: The twins are kind of interested in my fantasy football league. They like the Yahoo interface, especially when someone customizes an 'avatar'. They want to know who that's supposed to be. Kyle and Cory, especially, have interesting ones. They're interested in the team names and who those represent. They're interested in the voting system (who do you think will win?). They're interested in the 'smack' speech bubble feature.

For example, during the second half of the Indy game I kept chanting 'Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!' and I put it in my 'smack' speech bubble. They thought that was funny.

I exclaimed this morning at breakfast about my victory and said I could put 'Brady! Brady! Brady!' in my 'smack' bubble (which I have since done ;-). Bethy was kind of hovering around and I told her she needed to go get dressed. She actually got dressed and came back and said 'We can talk more about fantasy football now.'! Shortly thereafter she said 'What if you could send a speech bubble just to Uncle Cory and say 'Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!'.

When they're not exasperating, second graders are fun! :-)

Monday, October 30

NFL thoughts

+ Phil Simms said Indy has bigger second halves because they figure out what the other team is doing. Indy figured out that they couldn't beat Champ Bailey to get to Marvin Harrison, so they threw the whole second half to Reggie Wayne and he delivered.

The Colts gouged the vaunted Denver D. The Colts' D wasn't so hot either (though they've had some injuries on that side of the ball, unlike the offense).

Dude says there was no D in that game. Not exactly true. Champ had some.

So, once again, we have a season where Manning looks unstoppable. But that hasn't proved true in the playoffs, and the onus is on him to perform differently.

Kudos to the Colts for plugging in a rookie and a backup RB and making the ground game go just fine. What a terrible, stupid move by Edgerrin James. If Vinatieti elects to go to Indy for more money, at least they're a contender. But Arizona?!

+ Shawne Merriman (probably) did something very stupid.

+ I thought that the Panthers would come back at home and beat the lame Cowboys. I stayed up too late watching the third quarter, anyway, so I went to bed. I was surprised when I woke up and read that the Cowboys has pulled it out, in Charlotte, with a new QB. Bad sign for Carolina.

Romo looked pretty good. His delivery is funny-looking, sound and fury, short-arm even. But he can move a little, and he got the job done last night. He kinda' reminds me in looks and demeanor and situation of Marc Bulger a couple of years ago.

+ I want to reiterate that, though I didn't have a top 3 pick, LaDainian Tomlinson was ranked number 1 for my draft and anyone who picked LJ, or, worse, SA, is hatin' it. No, I fell to picking Rudy Johnson, but he's sputtering. Note to self: pay more attention to O lines in draft next year...

+Michael Vick looked awesome against Cinci. I'm no expert but, though the Bengals aren't the Bears, I didn't think they were slouches on defense.

You have to wonder, though, if he can keep it up. The headlong style has landed him on the IR every years so far by about this time.

+ That crying sound you hear is poor Eric V, after the Steelers lost to the lowly Raiders. Ben's hot and cold this year. Too many distractions/injuries?

+ Chicago shellacked SF and Philly lost again. The Bills didn't lose. ;-) Big game tonight between the Patriots and my Vikings, and me without cable. :-( Wonder if the Vikes can pull it out...

+ Best teams in the NFL?
  • Indy, but they have to prove themselves in the playoffs. They're guilty until proven innocent.
  • Baltimore, on a good day, might have enough offense to make a run, if McNair stays healthy.
  • New England, provisionally. They get the benefit of the doubt, but let's see if they can handle the Vikes tonight. If they're championship material, they should be able to.
  • Denver, but unreliable offense (unless playing Indy cured them), and a defense that was shown to be beatable.
  • San Diego, but has a green QB and their main man on defense facing suspension. And can Marty S take a team all the way?
  • Chicago's the only team that looks good and consistent in the NFC (minus one (anomalous?) outing at Arizona).
What do you think? (You know, aside from 'Dude has too much time on his hands!' ;-)

Saturday, October 28

JK Rowling should have been a...

DM - Dungeon Master,

It dawned on me with our recent immersion in Harry Potter. I say this because she consistently chooses to include new ideas about her wizarding world over editing down to what would be best for the narrative.

Don't get me wrong. I like her stuff fine. I'm not offended. And Christine loves it. So I tread lightly. I'm just sayin'...

If she was a DM, she could roll out all of the new stuff her characters could handle without much concern about narrative.

Or either she should have had a bolder editor.

Wednesday, October 25

Ok Go on treadmills

I've seen these guys before, and they're pretty funny, but this is pure genius.

I mean, they had to get the speed of the treadmills to go with the beat, right?

Those pants could be a little looser, thought ;-)

Wil's creative brain has been working overtime.

Wil's creative brain has been working overtime.

Bethy picked Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone for our family movie night saturday. They really got into it and have been playing HP a lot.

Plus, Wil has been talking about Wizard's Chess (I've almost got him cured of saying 'chest') a lot. He recently got a new Lego catalog that has a Lego Vikings chess set that he has enjoyed looking at. A couple days ago he said to me

'Daddy, I have an idea for chess. We could make a Star Wars chess set.'

Then he really likes to think about who would be each piece.

Last night we were talking about who we thought should be the pieces for a Lord of the Rings chess set. I said I thought the rooks were easy: Orthanc and Barad Dur, Minas Tirith and the Hornburg. I wanted Shelob to be the black queen, but he didn't like that idea. He picked the Witch King of Angmar (the Morgul Lord, Chief of the Black Riders), based on the premise that the queen doesn't have to be a girl and can be the king's strongest servant.

(Ooh! I just had a good idea! The ring could be the black king (slow, more vulnerable, you capture it and win) and Sauron could be the black queen! Hmm...)

He picked a Harry Potter robe for his Halloween costume, though he doesn't (didn't - maybe it will change) want to pretend to be HP. We're going to watch Chamber of Secrets sometime this weekend to continue to get ready.

Tuesday, October 24

Flame on! Sudan

ANY talk of Sudanese sovereignty makes me crazy. What we have there is a politically bankrupt state. Can we all (especially the VERY influential Chinese) please get together on this and stop the killing?!

(Sources: listening to NPR report this morning on Sudan's protestations of sovereignty, similar post over at ERMB.)

As I read on, I see that the ERMB post proposes alternatives to UN/AU 'peacekeeping'-as-usual.

Google custom search

It was bound to happen. I've tried custom search at Rollyo and Live (ach! Micro$oft! ;-). Now Google has their own. Looks good so far. Chances are, this is the one I'll be patronizing.

Try my lifehackery search. Maybe I'll even put the code up here on my weblog...


Geography forward

Maybe you just have to be in the right mood. I got interested in some geography that came to me this morning. Launched me to Wikipedia. First the assertion, then my comment:

Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.

I wonder about Damascus: Jericho has been inhabited for millenia, but maybe not continuously...

The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one-mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

Everything I've read about that Eisenhower interstate air strip assertion has said that it's a myth.

Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits.'

More on the etymology of Spain.

Enjoy it, baby! ;-)

Go Vikes

Past time to crow about the Vikings' win over Seattle. We'll take any win we can get. Beating the NFC champions in their house is pretty good.

Admittedly, they didn't have Alexander. And we knocked Hasselbeck out. But we'll take it.

Our defense is looking really good. Credit new DC Mike Tomlin who says they look to get the ball back and to score. That's what they did on Sunday, causing the backup to fumble and recovering for a touchdown.

Also worth mentioning that the offense gets mislabeled as boring. But what they do is establish the run game and make the high percentage passes. Wouldn't you with the highest paid Left Tackle in football?

But then they take chances. They've won games on a fake field goal and a halfback option.

They rank fifth in the NFL with 25 plays that went for 20 yards more, with four of those going for touchdowns.

They have had some red zone problems with penalties and having to settle for field goals, but it's not too bad for a rebuilding year with a brand new staff and many new players.

It's good to have Brad Johnson back. He's won a Super Bowl, but basically got cast off. He's playing really well for us.

Monday, October 23

The computer-on-a-planet

George Gilder's The Information Factories in the latest issue of Wired was, for me, a tour-de-force.

Have you heard of Moore's Law? It has some pretty interesting corollaries. As processor speed improvements decrease, memory increases have been surging. Power consumption has been surging.

(Makes me wonder about all of these pseudo Greens who whine about the Inconvenient Truth, or promote it (like MySpace), but consume massive amounts of power. Are MySpace Tom and Sergey and Larry fighting to reduce tech power consumption? I don't think so. But I digress...)

Page and Brin – with Microsoft, Yahoo, and Barry "QVC" Diller's Ask.com hot on their heels – are frantically taking the computer-on-a-chip and multiplying it, in massively parallel arrays, into a computer-on-a-planet.

Google appears to have attained one of the holy grails of computer science: a scalable massively parallel architecture that can readily accommodate diverse software.

Google's core activity remains Web search. Having built a petascale search machine, though, the question naturally arose: What else could it do? Google's answer: just about anything.

In every era, the winning companies are those that waste what is abundant – as signalled by precipitously declining prices – in order to save what is scarce. Google has been profligate with the surfeits of data storage and backbone bandwidth. Conversely, it has been parsimonious with that most precious of resources, users' patience.

As energy analysts Peter Huber and Mark Mills projected in 1999, the planetary machine is on track to be consuming half of all the world's output of electricity by the end of this decade.

Not that I think it's going to go down that way. Things change. But those numbers evoke Sky-Net.

"A power company could give away PCs and make a substantial profit selling power."

Hydropower is a limited and localized resource, while nuclear power promises centuries of nearly limitless energy that can be produced almost anywhere. China is moving forward with plans to build as many as 30 new nuclear plants; perhaps the next wave of data centers will be sited in Shenzhen.

Have you heard Thomas Watson's famous quote about the world demand for computers being five mainframes. I never knew it might come from this thinking:

This triumph of centralization is a strange, belated vindication of Grosch's law, the claim by IBM's Herbert Grosch in 1953 that computer power rises by the square of the price. That is, the more costly the computer, the better its price-performance ratio. Low-cost computers could not compete. In the end, a few huge machines would serve all the world's computing needs.

What if personal computers were a brief detour, a tangent on the way to the planetary computer? What is they made it possible by creating systems that could build it's massively parallel components?

Kottke's Pop!Tech wrap-up today touches on this topic:

Chris Anderson talked about, ba ba baba!, not the long tail. Well, not explicitly. Chris charted how the availability of a surplus in transistors (processors are cheap), storage (hard drives are cheap), and surplus in bandwidth (DSL is cheap) has resulted in so much opportunity for innovation and new technology.
Where will all of this stuff lead? Not sure. But it might be a fun ride...

Sunday, October 22

Names I like from Hype Machine

Let's clean out some of the names I like that I've saved up from Hype Machine:

+ Amon Duul (derived from Tolkien)
+ Horse Feathers (in honor of my dad, who sometimes uses that expression)
+ Thor (always a good name, evocative of my Laser Tag nickname, Mjolnir)
+ TRS-80 (loved playing that Star Trek game on a borrowed machine)
+ Weblog name: Veritas lux mea (Latin for 'The truth enlightens me')
+ Jedi Mind Tricks (but they don't work on me, only money ;-)
+ Gorgoroth (more Tolkien)
+ Menomena (not least of all, a melifluous word ;-)
+ The Magic Numbers (Schoolhouse Rock: 'Three, it's a magic number, yes it is...'
+ The Specific Heats (i like those science names)
+ The Lloyd Dobler Effect (should be obvious ;-)

Saturday, October 21

This is why we have the internet

A continuing series. Wish I'd kept track of the other ones. If I was Dan tdaxp, I'd go back and link the posts in my archives. But I'm too lazy.

(Heck, if I was Dan Abbott I'd have exhaustive categories to help me and I'd code my posts by hand! ;-)

Anyhow, since I don't have cable and, thus, ESPN, I need to get my video highlights on the web. And, more and more, Sports Illustrated is helping me with this.

To wit, they argue this week that Calvin Johnson is the most athletically talented college football player in America. Go to RamblinWreck.com and judge for yourself. He's got some pretty sweet catches...

Meet the new boss...

You know I despise politics as usual.

So when my closest rabid Democrat friend (no, it's not Jim! ;-) sent me the following email, I found it very distasteful. I only reprint it here for context to my response below.


1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary
Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry.

2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's
daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and
a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade
with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our
highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but
multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind
without regulation.

6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in
speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay, and refusing
to buy working Israeli defense systems for our armored vehicles because
we have a $70 million contract with Raytheon to make them by 2011.

7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies,
then demand their cooperation and money.

9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing
health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies
have the best interests of the public at heart.

10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but
creationism should be taught in schools.

11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable
offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which
thousands die is solid defense policy.

12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the
constitution, which include banning gay marriages, censoring the
internet, torturing captives and listening to anyone's' phone

13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but
George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a
conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers
for your recovery.

15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born,
who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)

16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest,
but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

17. Support hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing
orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

18.  Despite the Speaker of House knowing Mark Foley was a pedophile
since 2001, Foley was an upstanding Republican until the liberal media
exposed him.

19.  As Mark Foley showed us, it's OK to be a pedophile as long as you
blame it on alcohol.

20.  Supporting a balanced budget amendment to the constitution in the
1990's was a fiscally responsible act compared with those tax-n-spend
Democrats, but balancing the budget in the 2000's is just too hard
because we need tax cuts for the rich.

21.  Despite completely controlling all three branches of the federal
government since January 2001, the bad economy, the Iraq War, the
failure to capture Osama bin Laden, the $260 billion annual budget
deficit, and Terry Schiavo's death are all Clinton's fault.

Here is my second response to this friend. (The first basically said this list is crap.)

no, the stuff you sent me in that email is not true, not remotely. it's rhetoric, which i don't think we need any more of. do you really think we need less meeting in the middle and talking?

i know there are valid points in that list. it's just hard to find them through my disgust at the stilted representation.

if our political process is Al Franken and Howard Stern screaming at Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, then we're screwed.

what do some people need to believe to vote Republican?

1. that human life begins at conception and that abortion is not simply 'a woman's choice about her own body'

2. adolescents should not be having sex. it's bad for them emotionally, spiritually and maybe physically, developmentally and financially

3. the selfish roots of the profit motive in capitalism are a better check on human behavior than more governmental bureaucracy. yes, capitalism has many downsides. but the corruption and pork and distantiated accountability of bureaucracy is not better (and may be far worse).

4. God created the universe and Darwinism is not the last and only word on history (especially given the Darwinists' utter disdain for those who so believe).

5. though the abuses are many, there's something to be said for authority and tradition. your Eastern Establishment smarts do not necessarily trump my Middle American values.

i'm actually with you, Andrew, in harshly criticizing the Repubs. throw the crooks out. but not with more partisan fighting and stupid rhetoric. and let's not just put more political crooks back in. the list you gave me in the second email is much 'truer'. y'all Democrats put that list out there to reasonable people, without the demonizing, polarizing rhetoric and you'l make much more progress. you'll get a hearing. the only thing this type of list might possibly do is excite those who are already committed to vote Dem.

Thursday, October 19

Duh, d-d-d-duh, duh duh duh, duh d-d-d-duh, duh duh duh

(That's the James Bond Theme, in case you couldn't make it out ;-)

When I first came across the post of James Bond movies and themes, I emailed it to Jaq. He posted on it, and I commented on his post , so I guess it's time for me to post, now.

Whew! ;-)

Anyway, my comment:

i like the Madonna song, but not best. i also like the 80s songs: The Living Daylights (shades of Take on Me!) and A View to a Kill. also Nobody Does It Better.

of course, it's hard to beat the James Bond Theme itself.

but, the theme aside, my favorite is undoubtedly Live and Let Die.

that man [who sings the newest theme] is Chris Cornell, former lead singer of Soundgarden (eg, Black Hole Sun and Hunger Strike). unsubstantiated hearsay: he studied opera.

Tuesday, October 17

Like water for chocolate

+ Study: Chocolate cravers love even looking at it

Hey, Christine: What about just reading about looking at it? ;-)

+ Steve/Bradd report today on a water 'making' technology that sounds an awful lot like a Tatooinian vaporator.

Sunday, October 15

Two quick and out

+ Mark picked up on my Dark Knight love and posted a nice picture.

+ I love to hate Micro$oft, but their custom search fit the bill. Here's one I rolled.

Saturday, October 14

Must. close. these. tabs

Got a bunch of tabs open that I mean to log. Get R done! ;-)

+ Bethy was singing Video Killed the Radio Star this morning. I said 'Let's listen to it!' Through the twin miracles of the Hype Machine and wireless internet, it came streaming from my laptop in less than a minute.

Furthermore, from the search, we also found three different covers that we like: Handsome Hank and His Lonesome Boys (which we're calling the Country Version and Wil just asked for again), Hi-Posi (which Wil called the Alien Version) (find these first two covers at Copy, Right?), and Presidents of the United States of America (which I described as the Rock Version). Plus I found the video of YouTube which (Are you sitting down?) I had never seen before. I actually think it holds up pretty well until the end.

Wil just asked for the Alien Version again. I love that my children like and know music.

+ Last night I wanted to hear Rock the Casbah. Watched the video, too.

+ Jason Hare says that my current Favorite Song of All Time, Such Great Heights, is musically similar in the verses to... Hard to Say I'm Sorry. I could see that. I liked Chicago 16 in jrhi, before I got good taste... ;-)

+ Then I wanted to hear Float On, my Current Favorite Song (not yet of all time). Went to the Modest Mouse page and watched the video, along with some others.

+ John 'Laputan Logic' Hardy is back with a cool post on Hakka culture, gypsies of Southern China, with 1 meter thick earthen outer wall 'communal round houses cum fortresses'.

+ Google has an in-house Store 100% client called Platypus. Google Blogoscoped got a leaked copy (that he can install, but not sync with Google's computers).

I need it. Please release it to us, Google. I know there are many legal issues. But, please. Please. PLEASE.


Friday, October 13


I love Frank Miller and I love the idea of bringing his work to the screen faithfully. I was very intrigued by Sin City and Rodriguez' work (though not intrigued enough to see it; the subject matter was not to my liking).

I spent a good chunk of last friday night watching 300 videos on Google, the trailer and the video production journals.

See also the official movie website.

Gates of Fire is a great book about this same historical event.

Younghusband started a thread on this at Coming Anarchy  where I commented, along with some of the content of this post, 'give me the true-to-Frank-Miller Dark Knight movie and i will be ecstatic').

There is some concern out there on the internets that the movie will not be faithful enough to the history. But such concerns generally seem to come from those who have not read the graphic novel. Though some artistic license is taken, especially visually, I am very hopeful about the product.

And in that Coming Anarchy thread today Gollios linked to Victor David Hanson's 'introduction to the forthcoming book trailer' to the movie .

Thursday, October 12

Cleaning out, catching up, etc...

+ kottke loves Michael Lewis and has had a lot of posts lately about his new book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game about left tackles. Here's one (that talks about Ogden being such a specimen, maybe he should be playing QB). I liked Lewis' Moneyball and look forward to reading Blind Side. Caught Lewis on NPR the other day and it was really interesting.

+ REALLY old news: the Bills beat the Vikes a couple of weeks ago, which sucked, but it was nice of Jaq to say the Vikes are his favorite NFC team.

In light of Jaq's good taste, I won't say who my favortie AFC team is. If you can't say anything nice... ;-)

To tell the truth, my interest in that team (initials NEP) has been waning for some reason...

Jaq had a followup post where he talked about liking the whole NFC North, which is ok for a transplant, but for natives, if you like, say the Vikings, you have to hate Chicago and Green Bay.

(You don't have to hate Detroit, because they suck anyway ;-)

I didn't grow up hating the Packers or the Bears. I learned to dislike Packer-fan-behavior, and then the Packers, when I was at Wartburg, because they are so totally annoying. I hate their fan-ness, but I can separate that from the rest of their personality. I even really like some people who are otherwise Packer fans ;-)

+ I glance up and the number of Spams in that folder catches my eye: 6666. Now that's a REALLY evil number! ;-)

+ Curzon of Coming Anarchy has a critique of An Inconvenient Truth that I pretty much agree with across the board: effective presentation, fearmongering, earth getting warmer, no action, why the US rejected Kyoto, propaganda.

Bonus comment content: Gore's carbon footprint hypocrisy.

+ Did you see the amazing perspective Batman and Robin sidewalk chalk drawing?
 Unanimously amazed at my house.

+ Ken Jennings had a crazily coincidental Back to the Future encounter that had me laughing out loud.

+ Macon sings the praises of lower taxes and higher tax revenue .

Wednesday, October 4

Testing, testing

Saw this new dealy called WriteToMyBlog on Lifehacker. You can use it to post to all of the major services. It has a lot more functionality in the WYSIWYG department, including strikethrough, Paste as plain text, Insert/edit anchor, Clean up messy html, subscript, superscript, €ð¡ (insert special character), tags, trackbacks and major table editing.

It's sparkly! It's new! I like it!

Future communications

ERMB has a piece today on new communications tools that are coming out these days.

+ Email-like voice messaging through your cell phone - Pinger. I have a rudimentary service that sends me an email with a wave file attachment of voice messages.
+ One phone number that rings/messages to whichever/all devices you want - Grand Central, which I've already checked out via Lifehacker, and don't really think I need, though it's cool.
+ Photo to digital image: take a picture of a business card, whiteboard, or any document, get a digital scan of it
+ Listen to podcasts on your cellphone - F?npods. I've been waiting for this one, too, and might actually use it, especially on my next trip.
+ Voice to text is a killer app that I've been calling for for a long time (and, of course, there's some speech recognition out there).

The goal, as far as I'm concerned is my data, anywhere, anytime, anyway. Speaking is faster than typing (and easier on my tendonitis). So, when I want to compose - anything, I can speak it, but output it anywhich way. Reading is faster than listening. So if I want to process faster, I'll read it.

Tuesday, October 3

I also like to post about HP Lovecraft

Dan has a glowing review of the new Call of Cthulhu silent movie. Wonder if you can download it through Amazon's Unbox...

Monday, October 2

The baby: gone

Want to see some pictures of coochie baby Uncle Cory's wedding from last weekend? (That's what we like to call him around the house ;-)


Whitebox wedding photographers (Minor quibble: 'cute kids' and no pictures of our twins (Though my niece and nephew are very cute).)

I like to post about Mister Rogers

Nice post over on mp3 weblog The Record Robot: Mister Rogers goes to Washington. Includes an mp3, a whole Mister Rogers album as a .zip file, and a link to a YouTube video of Mister Rogers testifying before Congress in 1969.

In search of...

+ Ken Jennings has succeeded in getting himself to the top of Google's rankings for celebrinerd . Congratulations, Ken! ;-)

+ Dan turns his college classes into democracies with weekly elections, Assemblies, Presidents, and Governments. And it works. Wish I'd had him for a teacher!

I wonder if such a practice could work for places of employment...

+ I've been thinking for awhile that I would like a custom search for lifehacker-type stuff. I get most of those-type tips from Lifehacker and del.ici.ous/popular. I save some to del.icio.us/seanmeade. I post some to seanmeade.blogspot.com. And, if I were going to expand a little, the next source would be ask.metafilter.com.

If I had my way, I 'd get 3 or 4 columns with results in descending order.

Rollyo has some potential. I've created a search over there called 'My lifehackery'. But the results, especially those from del.icio.us, don't end up being very useful. You can only use the Top Level Domain (del.icio.us), and not subdomains ( del.icio.us/popular, del.icio.us/seanmeade). If I were going to click through to this search, I would probably search something, then click on each individual search in the lefthand sidebar.

Know of anywhere I can get the solution I'm looking for? Am I looking for the wrong thing?

Sunday, October 1

History's largest empires

Two posts ago I said it would be interesting to list history's largest empires. Chirol of Coming Anarchy was kind enough to come over and comment on it. So I thought I'd do a little looking at least.

The first applicable Google result, To Rule the Earth... applies the term 'empire' too extensively for my taste.

Then I come to the one I like the best, which is, not surprisingly, the Wikipedia entry List of largest empires.

Landmass isn't very impressive if you mostly rule a bunch of yak-populated steppes. ;-) OTOH, the Mongol's beat pretty much every force they came in contact with, so that raises them on the military power scale.

For population, military power, landmass, and longevity you pretty much have to bow before the British Empire. Of course, they were the major beneficiaries of guns, germs, and steel and the last of that era. Like Chirol said in his comment, you can't enslave millions of natives with a few guns anymore.

Chirol wrote:
As for the greatest in no order, we can safely assume the biggest and best were the Romans, Ottomans, Mongols and British.
I'm inclined to favor percentage of world population as one of the most important factors. Based thereon, should the Qing, Song, and Mughal empires be in the running?

So, as I continue to think through my criteria, let me throw up a ranked proposal:
  1. Percentage of world population
  2. Military power
  3. Multicultural domination
  4. Longevity
  5. Landmass
Of course, even as we ponder this list, it's worth noting (maybe before the end ;-) that empire is not a desirable situation. As Tom says, usually in arguing against claims of American Empire, Empires are about forcing maximal rule-sets - what you have to do. American-style globalization (which is transitioning, with 3 billion new capitalists, to just, plain 'globalization') encourages the adoption of minimal rule-sets that allow good markets which eventually lead to good governments.

One of those tests...

I can't resist 'em, but haven't taken one in a long time.

I don't think this one is particularly well-designed, ie not very accurate. Ammusingly, on the famous people graphic over on their website, I come down smack in the middle of Robert Redford.

What am I, really? I think I'm actually a little more economically permissive, probably above the 50% mark, and a little less socially permissive. Of course, that puts me awfully close to the cliche: everyone thinks their in the middle... ;-)

You are a

Social Liberal
(65% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(38% permissive)

You are best described as a:


The Politics Test

How about you? Care to take it and post your results in my comments or on your weblog?