Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Fractal Growth of a Tree in Central Park.

ESA - European Space Agency - Multimedia Gallery

ESA - European Space Agency - Multimedia Gallery

Great shots of Saturn. - Technology - Cassini Probe Set To Enter Saturn's Orbit - Technology - Cassini Probe Set To Enter Saturn's Orbit
"After a seven-year journey from Earth, a probe is scheduled to settle into an orbit around the ringed planet Saturn Wednesday morning.

At about 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, the craft will fire rockets to slow down. It will pass between some of the planet's rings and allow the gravity of the solar system's second largest planet to capture it."
Can't wait for the pics.

Airlines win Wi-Fi management battle with airports

Airlines win Wi-Fi management battle with airports
"Airlines won a key battle in their fight with airports over control of the Wi-Fi spectrum when the US Federal Communications Commission ruled that it has 'exclusive jurisdiction' over the use of unlicensed spectrum.
Airports such as Logan International in Boston, which is run by the Massachusetts Port Authority, contended they had the right to manage spectrum within their boundaries to eliminate interference."
Nice, this means my gold status with American might net me some gratis wifi.

Yahoo! News - Phish Jams with Jay-Z in Brooklyn

Yahoo! News - Phish Jams with Jay-Z in Brooklyn:\
"Phish provided the backing for Jay-Z as he ran through his hits '99 Problems' and 'Big Pimpin',' much to the delight of the stunned audience. "
Terribly unhappy that I missed them, but the downloads sound all right. I got to see them play with Kid Rock, so I guess that's pretty close, right?

Wired 12.07: Copy This Article & Win Quick Cash!

Wired 12.07: Copy This Article & Win Quick Cash!
"A few months ago, I received an email that promised to make me rich. It came from an acquaintance, Kim Chernin, bearing the suspect subject line 'Fwd: quick cash?' Normally I'd send such spam straight to the trash, but Chernin - a psychotherapist and writer - is no fool; so I opened the message and began to scroll. "
Track spam back to it's home.

Kevin Sites Blog [Late June 200 Update)

Kevin Sites Blog
"Only about three city blocks east of teeming Shiite slums of Sader City, the base, nicknamed 'Dirty Bird,' has been mortared more than any other in Iraq -- 400 times in the last three months. And under that rain of steel, as the soldiers here refer to it, Herron is considered a mortar magnet.

Mortars fired by Shiite militia, mostly 60 or 82 millimeter, have narrowly missed killing him at least half a dozen times, including one particularly unlucky or lucky day, depending on your point of view, when he survived three very close calls."
Nice stories from the front. - Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship - Amanpour: CNN practiced self-censorship
"CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN 'was intimidated' by the Bush administration and Fox News, which 'put a climate of fear and self-censorship.'

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda." "
No doubt. There were some very powerful people pulling some thick strings. This is actually from a long time ago.

The Fox quote is enlightening, as they show their complete lack of a history of, or a dedication to, impartial news coverage. They never even existed during 'equal time' laws, and are biased from top to bottom. Producer to news line.

Monday, June 28, 2004 - U.S. raises figures for 2003 terrorist attacks - Jun 22, 2004 - U.S. raises figures for 2003 terrorist attacks - Jun 22, 2004
"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. government restated its 2003 accounting of terrorist attacks Tuesday, reporting a sharp increase in the number of significant attacks and more than doubling its initial count of those killed.

The State Department's annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report now counts 208 terrorist attacks as having occurred in 2003, with 625 dead. When the report was released in April, it counted 307 deaths in a total of 190 terror attacks."
Slightly revised numbers which, umm, totally contradict the back-patting that came with the first set.

Blair Contradicts Lap Master

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
"ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair says the Western rift over Iraq is not over, disputing a central message of U.S. President George W. Bush's fence-mending mission to Europe.

'There's no point in us standing here and saying, 'You know, all the previous disagreements have disappeared.' They haven't,' Blair said with Bush at his side on Monday.

Blair's comments directly contradicted Bush's after a summit with European Union leaders in Ireland last weekend."
This is a follow-up to a story that died with my main site.

Medical Pot Goes to Supreme Court

Top News Article |
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether a law outlawing marijuana applies to medical use by two seriously ill California women whose doctors recommended cannabis for their pain.

The high court said it would review a ruling that the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 cannot be applied constitutionally to the manufacture, possession and distribution without charge of marijuana for medical use.

'The cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and not for exchange or distribution is not properly characterized as commercial or economic activity,' the appeals court said. "
And if it's not an interstate economic activity, the Federal government has little say so. Like many SCOTUS cases, this is going through the words with a fine-toothed comb. I'm guessing 5-4 against on this one, but we'll see how it turns out.

Naders Stand in Cold

Battleground State Ballot Access Puts Ralph Nader Campaign At-Risk
"Wise, Va. -- Ballot access is everything to a struggling third party candidate like Ralph Nader but the former two-time Green Party candidate was suffered a serious blow to his national effort by his former party when they opted not to endorse him in the 2004 national election contest and thereby denying him ballot access in key states.

Nader is blamed in nearly every Democrat in the nation for handing the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush by taking away votes in Arizona, Florida, and New Hampshire and thereby tip the Electoral College balance away from Al Gore in the historic Supreme Court decided outcome. "
C'mon, Ralph. It was fun while it lasted. Surely there is some place you can make a better stand.

[video] A desktop replacement in your hand | CNET

[video] A desktop replacement in your hand | CNET

Nice little pc.

Busted despite the Ether

Wi-Fi hopper guilty of cyber-extortion | The Register
"A Maryland man with a grudge against a Connecticut-based patent firm used unsecured wireless networks at homes and businesses in the Washington DC area to penetrate the company's computers and deliver untraceable threats and extortion demands, until an FBI surveillance team caught him in the act.

Myron Tereshchuk, 42, pleaded guilty this month to a single charge of 'attempted extortion affecting commerce' for demanding a $17m ransom in exchange for not broadcasting proprietary information he obtained from MicroPatent, LLC, an intellectual property firm that packages patent and trademark information for law firms.

The clearest sign [he was guilty] came when he issued the $17m extortion demand, and instructed the company to "make the check payable to Myron Tereshchuk.""
Aahh, the stupid genius. Almost a cliche at this point.

How to Read a Mind

MSNBC - Mind Reading
"July 5 issue - Flat on my back, my eyes shrouded with LED goggles and my ears encased in headphones, I was trundled into the maw of an fMRI machine in a basement lab at the California Institute of Technology. The business end of an fMRI is a giant cylindrical magnet, similar to the MRI machines doctors use to diagnose tumors, but with the added ability to show changes in brain activity as they happen-hence the 'f,' which stands for 'functional.'"
This is how most of the cognitive neuroscience is done, as the rest of the article gets to. Good reading.

Friday, June 18, 2004

idea: put out 'albums' on 64 & 256 MB mp3 players. $25 a pop.

[Posted with hblogger 1.0]

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

We added a bunch of new kids to the blogging universe today. We'll see how the cross-linking shakes out on Friday.

[Posted with hblogger 1.0]

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Suadi's Say of Bin Laden, "Good Reason, Bad Action" - Poll of Saudis shows wide support for bin Laden'sviews - Jun 8, 2004
"Almost half of all Saudis said in a poll conducted last year that they have a favorable view of Osama bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric, but fewer than 5 percent thought it was a good idea for bin Laden to rule the Arabian Peninsula."
You can't have a rebellion that openly attacks security forces without some wide-spread public suppport. Or at least not in a sustained manner.

Not Even a Hedgehog - The stupidity of Ronald Reagan. By Christopher Hitchens

Not Even a Hedgehog - The stupidity of Ronald Reagan. By Christopher Hitchens
"Some of us on the left had also been very glad indeed to see the end of the Russian empire and the Cold War. But nothing could make me forget what the Reagan years had actually been like. "
More on the other side of Reagan. For the record, I liked the guy, but wasn't really old enough to offer a complete and honest opinion about his role in this nation's history.

I do not, obviously if you read these pages long enough, agree with many of his policies as a politician, but that's neither here nor there. He gave many long years of service to this country, and a great many of my countrymen love the very thought of the guy, but history has yet to write about his enduring legacy.

As well it should, as such things take much longer than the lifetime of such an individual themselves to shake out.

Boing Boing: MP3 interviews with Philip K Dick

Boing Boing: MP3 interviews with Philip K Dick
"David sez, 'A friend loaned me a bunch of tapes, and one of them turned out to be an audio interview of Philip K. Dick, interviewed in his home. You can hear the television on and his kids playing in the background. Very relaxed and chatty. I transfered it to mp3s. Everything you hear is exactly what was on the tape."
Some slightly hard to hear stuff, but there ya go. Torrents and everything.

Italian Captives Return Home
"Three Italians who were held hostage for two months in Iraq have returned home.

The three former captives arrived Wednesday in Rome, one day after U.S.-led forces in Iraq freed them and captured some of their abductors. "
Good news for the boot shaped place, and the folks that live there.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Reagan from the other side of the Iron Curtain

Ambivalence in Former 'Evil Empire' (
"But Russia under President Vladimir Putin is hardly the free society that Reagan once envisioned. Instead, it is a country deeply ambivalent about democracy, where many are nostalgic for its lost superpower status. Putin is a popular former KGB officer who has embraced Soviet symbols that Reagan sought to discredit, and Putin has all but eliminated opposition voices from the political scene. Recent surveys show that 70 percent or more of Russians regret the Soviet collapse that Reagan pursued so relentlessly -- a sentiment captured by Putin earlier this year when he called the empire's breakup 'a national tragedy on an enormous scale.' "

'Donor fatigue' on Mid-East aid (Mainly Palestinian)

BBC NEWS | Middle East | 'Donor fatigue' on Mid-East aid
"Nations have been called upon to boost funds to prevent the collapse of a UN agency working with an estimated four million Palestinian refugees.

The UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) has seen a drop in funding from $200 a year for each refugee to $70. "
It was bound to happen eventually. Poeple get tired of shelling out for new shellfish. Teach 'em to fish he said.

Monday, June 07, 2004

1hr per blog * 5 days a week * 50 weeks a year * 80 years just to keep up. blogs.

[Posted with hblogger 1.0]

This is a calculation on how long it would take to keep up with the average current number of new blogs being posted.

Roughly it means that it would take an hour a day, for 80 years, to read all 20,000 new blogs posted on a given single day in 2004.

Fahrenheit 9/11 Trailer

Fahrenheit 9/11 Trailer

Yup, it is a comedy. Funny stuff.

Good news from the Iraq Front

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq militias 'agree to disband'
"Iraq's new Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, says he has reached a deal to disband militias that opposed Saddam Hussein.
About 100,000 fighters will either join the security forces or return to civilian life, Mr Allawi said"
BTW, this is that 100,000 member part of the resistance that isn't religious nutballs or foreign fighters. This would probably be most of the old army.

A question of Legacy and Future

Informed Comment : 06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
"In the United States, where superstition reigns over reason, the religious Right that Reagan cultivated has put severe limits on such research. His best legacy may be Nancy Reagan's argument that those limitations should be removed in his memory. There are 4 million Alzheimers sufferers in the US, and 50% of persons living beyond the age of 85 develop it. There are going to be a lot of such persons among the Baby Boomers. By reversing Reaganism, we may be able to avoid his fate."
A good question to ask about what is going to happen to the rest of the Baby Boomer's, as more mind, and social safety nets, fail to the long lifespan of the modern human.

Pulling Buddha's Finger

Beijing beckons with Buddha's finger - World -
"A finger bone of the Buddha has gone on display in Hong Kong, the latest peace offering from Beijing in an unorthodox propaganda war aimed at reconciling the territory to its rule.

Saffron-robed monks escorted the finger off an aircraft that had brought it from Xianyang in Shaanxi province on Tuesday. "
Somehow I think the Buddha would find the action amusing and the motive appaling.

Just my $.02.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Nader goes Old School

Ralph Nader: Conservatively Speaking
"Ralph Nader recently accepted Pat Buchanan's invitation to sit down with us and explain why his third-party presidential bid ought to appeal to conservatives disaffected with George W. Bush. We think readers will be interested in the reflections of a man who has been a major figure in American public life for 40 years, and who now finds himself that rarest of birds, a conviction politician. "
That old quote about politics and strange bedfellows would be appropriate here.

Enron Traders Caught On Tape Jacking Up Energy Prices

CBS News | Enron Traders Caught On Tape | June 2, 2004
11:26:21: "CBS) When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports. "
Not sure if this is a double post, but there's the news. I remember hearing stuff about this while I was working there. Kinda nasty really.

Attacking the effigy

Emergency Response to Mural Hate Crime - Targeting Rachel Corrie : sf-imc
"On Thursday, February 26th, the mural �La Lucha Continua/The Struggle
Continues, on 23rd Street (between Mission and Capp) was attacked by someone/s wielding a hammer, leaving large, gaping holes in the portraits of three social justice activists obliterating their faces entirely. In the wee hours of the morning, neighbors heard the blows and immediately called the police, but no one was apprehended. In July 2003, the mural, 15 by 35 feet, was similarly destroyed.

The worst hit in both attacks was the portrait of Rachel Corrie, the young woman who, one year ago, was run over and killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Occupied Palestine. Corrie's face now has a hole approximately 36 inches by 12 inches. The portraits of Mumia Abu Jamal and Bernadette Devlin were also destroyed. "
A follow up to my 'most disgusting' post on qp.

piracy messages

piracy messages
"We - monochrom and comrade Cory Doctorow - would like to ask you to perform an act of civil disobedience. Please bring a digital camera next time you go to the movies, take a picture of the piracy-warning before the movie starts and use the flashlight. Don't go for quality taking the picture, it's secondary. "
I have a nice 'Don't Take Pictures' Picture from the U.N.
I'm liking the new templatea, although the whole thing needs a bit of work. Maybe over the next couple of weeks, things will get done, but I'm sticking with the default for now. Nice work Google/Blogger.

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Still a Looong Way to Go for Clean Air - Pollution in N. America falls 10 percent - Jun 3, 2004
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pollution in North America fell 10 percent over three years, but coal-burning power plants are lagging in improvements among industrial sources fouling the air, it was reported Wednesday.
The 10 percent drop occurred from 1998 to 2001, said the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a three-nation panel established by the United States, Canada and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement"
More work needs to be done, OR THE WHOLE WORLD WILL EXPLODE!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Revisionists vs. George W. Bush

Historians vs. George W. Bush
"Of 415 historians who expressed a view of President Bush�s administration to this point as a success or failure, 338 classified it as a failure and 77 as a success. (Moreover, it seems likely that at least eight of those who said it is a success were being sarcastic, since seven said Bush�s presidency is only the best since Clinton�s and one named Millard Fillmore.) Twelve percent of all the historians who responded rate the current presidency the worst in all of American history, not too far behind the 19 percent who see it at this point as an overall success. "
This is useless without a party affiliation metric to judge the data by. Still there ya go.

Revisionist Historians, the lot of 'em.


Working our way back into the Scientific Present / News / Nation / Senators call to ease stem cell restrictions
"A majority of the US Senate has signed a letter asking President Bush to lift the government's funding restrictions on embryonic stem cells, increasing the pressure to change a policy critics say is holding back potentially lifesaving medical research."
I'm liking this move. Larger stem cell article coming soon on qp.
testing from the treo.

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Drug Manufacturers Busted for Hiding Info

MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL FIRM CONCEALED DRUG INFORMATION: "State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced a lawsuit against one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies for concealing important information about the safety and efficacy of an anti-depressant drug.
The lawsuit, filed today in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleges that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) engaged in repeated and persistent fraud by concealing and failing to disclose to physicians information about Paxil, a drug used to treat depression. Paxil has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression in adults, but not in children. Prozac is the only antidepressant that has been approved to treat depression in children. Physicians, however, have professional discretion to prescribe Paxil for treatment in children, a so-called 'off-label' use."

I'm starting to like this spitzer guy.

Busted finally for what should have been overseen waaay back

CBS News | Enron Traders Caught On Tape | June 2, 2004 _ 11:26:21: "When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports. "

I'd heard rumors about this kind of stuff. Well more than that really.

Recursive Blog Reading

ONLINE JOURNALISTS: Foundations for Research into Their Changing Roles, by Jane B. Singer, Ph.D.

If you can make it through the first few pages it should at least be worth your while.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Debut of drug cards greeted with a shrug |

Debut of drug cards greeted with a shrug |

More about the confusion and general blah market reception of the Medicare drug cards. The market will shake out, certainly, but with such tepid demand it just die and companies with deep pockets with weather the storm and reap a windfall. This problem isn't close to solved yet.