31 Aug

links for 2009-08-31

30 Aug

links for 2009-08-30

28 Aug

links for 2009-08-28

27 Aug

links for 2009-08-27

26 Aug

links for 2009-08-26

25 Aug

links for 2009-08-25

24 Aug

links for 2009-08-24

  • This is how you fix a computer.
  • "One should not exaggerate such threats. The Secret Service does not let gun-wielding protesters too near the president. And the vast majority of people who visit crazy websites will never hurt anyone. But there is no cause for complacency, either. Politicians should tone down the rhetoric. Protesters should read some history before making Hitler comparisons. Talk-show hosts should stop pretending that paranoid nitwits are asking reasonable questions. If people are continually told that their government is plotting against them, a few may decide to fight back. And as Lee Harvey Oswald showed, even one man with a violent sense of grievance can do a lot of harm."
  • "Right now, federal debt is about 50% of GDP. So even if we do run these deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II. It will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid to late 1990s. (There are some technical issues in comparing these various numbers — gross debt versus net (mainly about Social Security) and overall government debt versus federal, but they don’t change the basic picture.)"
  • "Seems that, if the U.S. Conference had its way, the national health care system would make American women second-class citizens and deny them access to benefits they currently have."
  • "The top US military officer has joined in condemning Scotland's release of Lockerbie bomber Abdulbaset al-Megrahi. On the same programme, influential Senators Joe Lieberman and Ben Cardin questioned whether the move had been made to improve British-Libyan trade. Terminally-ill cancer patient Megrahi, 57, was freed last week on compassionate grounds. He had been given a life sentence in 2001 after being found guilty of killing 270 people in the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing."
  • "Scientists have photographed "upwards lightning", a rarely-seen phenomenon where electricity from storms flows into the upper atmosphere. During last year's Tropical Storm Cristobal, lightning reached more than 60km (40 miles) up."
  • "The premise behind the National Marriage Boycott is simple: don’t get married until everyone – straight folks and LGBTQ folks – have the same rights to civil marriage. It’s a campaign that started at Stanford, but it’s growing fast. This year organizers want to take the campaign to every state, and engage college campuses and young adults across the country to work for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples."
  • "It's a good answer. And it continues. He gives such people exactly the amount of attention and respect they are due, which is none whatsoever. Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success."
  • "An Idaho Republican Party leader who helped oust the state GOP chairman in 2008 faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after an altercation escalated while he photographed a home with a delinquent mortgage."
  • "Charles McAffee, 33, was among Idaho's anti-tax tea-party activists, and is a member of the Idaho Republican Party Central Committee. He was arrested after pulling a handgun on a homeowner whose mortgage his employer sought to photograph for being delinquent. His employer is a contractor for Wells Fargo." McAffee brandished the weapon to de-escalate the conflict," he asserted. Yes, you read that right: he pulled a gun to de-escalate the conflict."
  • "COLOURlovers™ is a resource that monitors and influences color trends. COLOURlovers gives the people who use color – whether for ad campaigns, product design, or in architectural specification – a place to check out a world of color, compare color palettes, submit news and comments, and read color related articles and interviews." Neat.
  • "Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) acknowledged on Sunday that the claims he made two weeks ago — that Democratic health care legislation would allow the government to "pull the plug on grandma" — did not reflect the language of the bills."
  • "Clearly, the idea is to suggest that there's a veritable Whiskey Rebellion brewing out in the heartland, one mightily provoked by Obama's plan to extend health insurance to every citizen. It doesn't matter that the Birthers have been dismissed, derided and thoroughly disproved. In fact, much of the opposition to healthcare reform has long since moved on from that obviously hopeless argument–the real point is they've united dispirited conservatives and captured television's attention away from the beautiful Obamas in favor of angry, ill-informed and terrified white people." Bringing a weapon to a political rally is nothing more than a scare tactic not a reasonable point of debate.
  • "Most people add milk and sugar because they’ve only ever had bad coffee as a result of extremely stale beans, not enough grounds to water, and awful coffee makers. Bad coffee needs milk and sugar to be palatable to nearly anyone. And most people have no idea what they’re missing. Listening to someone rave about the great coffee from their office’s new pod-canister machine or the great new brew at Starbucks is like hearing a repressed, middle-aged woman say “I’ve had orgasms before… I think.” To them, cold-brewed coffee is probably an acceptable substitute. But if you like what coffee really is, you need the full flavor, and cold-brewing just can’t get it."
  • "This is a media rant. I'm not one of those people who are constantly berating the media (the so-called "mainstream media") for their failings. However, for quite a while I've been watching the spiraling downward of the Washington Post coverage of international affairs. But today they hit a new low. The Saturday, August 22, edition of the Post contains not a single article — count 'em, zero — on anything relating to the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, or the ongoing crisis in Iran. By way of contrast, the New York Times carried a page one piece on the aftermath of the election in Afghanistan, a lead piece in its international section on the Iranian crisis, focusing on President Ahmadinejad's problems in assembling a Cabinet for his second term, and a lengthy piece sorting out the pieces left over from the enormous bombings that devastated downtown Baghdad on Wednesday."
  • "A group accused of plotting attacks in Egypt for the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah has gone on trial in Cairo. The 26 men, arrested in April, deny spying on ships in the Suez Canal and plotting attacks on holiday resorts popular with Israelis in Sinai. At least one man said he had been tortured. Four defendants are on the run and being tried in their absence." They probably were tortured knowing Egypt.
23 Aug

links for 2009-08-23

  • "Logitech has launched a new range of laser mice that can work on glass or shiny surfaces. The new mice use two lasers rather than one to work on a variety of previously unusable surfaces." Awesome.
  • "The US army officer convicted for his part in the notorious My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War has offered his first public apology, a US report says. Calley, 66, was convicted on 22 counts of murder for the 1968 massacre of 500 men, women and children in Vietnam. But Calley insisted that he was only following orders, the paper reported. "
  • "The results of this study show that Governor Perdue’s official public prayer for rain on November 13, 2007 was followed by a 132% increase in rainfall from the 48-day period prior to his day of prayer to the 48-day period after his day of prayer. However, no evidence was found for a causal relationship between the prayer and the increase in rain. The Governor did not produce the increase, despite the claims of many that he did! This is clear from comparing the outcome of his day of prayer to the outcomes of nonprayer days. Nonprayer days were likely to be followed by rainfall increases equal to or greater than what followed the Governor’s prayer day approximately 11% of the time for all nonprayer days, 17% of the time for nonprayer days in November, and 50% of the time for nonprayer days preceded by periods of low rainfall. Any belief that the Governor produced an increase in rain by his prayer on November 13, 2007 can be considered to be wishful thinking."
  • "In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has registered it as a disinfectant — a substance that wipes out the entire population of a given micro-organism — for hard surfaces like countertops. The molecule, used in a consumer product called PureGreen 24, can kill off salmonella and listeria in 30 seconds, according to the product label; it needs 10 minutes to eliminate athlete’s foot, the rhinovirus and the Hong Kong flu. In Europe, meanwhile, where regulators have approved silver dihydrogen citrate as an antimicrobial agent for personal care products, Beiersdorf has introduced antiperspirants and deodorants called Nivea for Men Silver Protect."
    (tags: cleaning epa usa)
  • "Google has an outsize image as the deft master of information. Its superior technology seems to pitilessly grind up its rivals. But Google’s domination in search has proved hard for it to match in some information domains. When serving financial news and information, for example, Yahoo draws 17.5 times the traffic of Google, according to comScore Media Metrix." Google's Finance isn't pretty enough.
    (tags: google yahoo)
  • "Simple way to manage your personal todo list in AJAX-style. Written in PHP 5 and jQuery UI. Data stored in SQLite or MySQL database." It rocks.
  • "But atrazine often washes into water supplies and has become among the most common contaminants in American reservoirs and other sources of drinking water. Now, new research suggests that atrazine may be dangerous at lower concentrations than previously thought. Recent studies suggest that, even at concentrations meeting current federal standards, the chemical may be associated with birth defects, low birth weights and menstrual problems."
  • "Pakistan's Taliban movement has named a new leader, its deputy head Maulvi Faqir Mohammed has told the BBC. He said Hakimullah Mehsud, a close associate of ex-leader Baitullah Mehsud, had been unanimously appointed at a meeting in northern Pakistan. Pakistani and US officials believe Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike in early August. However the Taliban continue to insist that he is still alive, despite their decision to appoint a new leader."
  • "Southwest Airlines said Friday that it had finished testing Wi-Fi Internet access on four aircraft and planned to expand the service to all its planes beginning early next year. Southwest said it would continue testing prices for the service through the end of the year." I love Southwest.
  • "What's missing is that there's no category for science, or anything science-related. Which leads to absurdities like a large-ish bar corresponding to "Sports" for Richard Feynman, or "Fashion" for Niels Bohr. You can watch it processing the results, and it completely skips most scientific or science-related terms (like "electron" or "atom" or "physicist"), while assigning others to categories in an essentially random manner ("physics" gets coded as "Education" or sometimes "Medicine"; Feynman's "Sports" bar is largely due to phrases like "winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics"). If you want a graphical illustration of the Two Cultures problem, it's right here. Even though this is a technological art project, from MIT no less, it doesn't occur to the artist that science or science-related subjects ought to included in the range of subject categories for human activities. Science isn't something that normal people do, so there's no need to code for it." There is a flaw.
22 Aug

links for 2009-08-22