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The Insider's Guide to Fargo looks promising -- not only is does it intend to be a positive view on Fargo, it's composed by a history major (which should mean some interesting viewpoints), and a young person. Too many young people blog about how much Fargo sucks (of course, it's fashionable to think wherever you live sucks), so I'm looking forward to see what this site has to offer. #

"The Biscuit Blog", like oh so many blogs lately, are travelling afar and managed to pass through Fargo. Unlike most blogs, Biscuit-Blogger stopped to talk to locals, and got a surprisingly accurate picture of Fargo. #

Super-small computers of the future may not have much to do with electricity -- they will operate mechanically, like the Difference Engine (or a tinkertoy calculator), using nanotechnology to produce microscopic moving parts that complete complex computations at very high speeds. Those wacky Victorians weren't all that stupid (although they were much prettier about technology than us), so give 'em credit for something other than messing up our morals. #

National Geographic, out of all other magazines, tends to be universally hoarded and collected. I have most of the recent ones we got when Grandpa bought Destiny a subscription a few years back; we've dealt in older ones at garage sales & the antique mall, and some water-damaged ones got tossed. The other most-kept? Playboy. I'd also add that NatGeo and Playboy both have timelessness for their readers -- while some of their articles will be dated after a while, in both cases people do like to remember 'back in the day.' Newsweek, People, and Time are useless in a month or two. #

Kevin Slimp, director of the Institute of Newspaper Technology, is in Fargo, today and yesterday, showing the NDNA how it's done (too bad I'm at work...and not a "real" journalist...and I don't work for a ND newspaper; otherwise I'm a sucker for newspaper publishing babble.) And, of course, he took the time to say something nice about the area -- upper-midwest haircuts are the best? Yay, team! #

Everyone who read this XKCD comic secretly (or out-loudedly) said, "that would be so cool to actually do, dude!" Whadda ya know, a bunch did. #

Newsflash: cooties are real! a strong, primal reaction to touching, being touched by, or touching something that's been touched by something gross is a deeply-wired reaction, regardless of actual contamination, but anyone who's read the Bible subjectively knows how far back this goes. It works the other way, too, from holy relics to the example in the article where an item touched by an attractive person gains points. I went fishing last weekend; it's one hobby that definitely requires you to turn off that reaction...everything fishing -- from the food to your eyeballs -- ends up feeling fish-gooed, worm-gooed, or just lake-watered on. #

A drawback to the news is that it reports on bad things after they've happened, in retrospect without focus on the 'next time'...but what if news reporters devoted time to articles that stop those bad things from happening? "Preventive Journalism," as it's called, is the stuff that gets laws changed, people to notice, and makes a difference in the world, and it could mean $50,000 to somebody who is the best at it. #

New technology is being used to read the grooves of a record album optically, using digital imagery, rather than mechanically with a needle. Much hullabaloo is on Metafilter about it (most of which is about unrelated specious claims of sound recorded in ancient pottery), but I remember, at least since my high-school years, laser-reading record players have been on the market. They're still quite spendy, and are supposedly foiled by damaged or dirty discs. With all the history of various capacitance and electromechanical methods have been used in recording -- without analyzing what's being taken in, just converting -- I wonder why the optical method is such a big deal. I suppose there's a difference in visual noise that might be more filterable than audio. I, personally, would think a high-rotatation record player, taking multiple samples of the same spot optically, or some other way (air pressure, radar, who knows), would be real-time playable and with reduced noise, as opposed to post-processing a microscope scan. (update: more extremely nerdy info #

b3ta, fun place for all things strange and obscene, has given up on their Photoshop contest this week, opting for Cut & Paste of the scissors and glue variety. NSFW, which is a given for b3ta, but it does go to show that creativity doesn't come on a CDROM. #

Lileks: Crossing the street. More entertaining than I thought, but awfully crotchety over street light timing (the city agrees; they're going to spend megabucks to fix the problem, as opposed to getting traffic engineers to re-time the lights and provide "walk" signs appropriate duration). Don't drop the keys! #


The Pioneer Mutual Building sign came down this morning -- more pics at AreaPhotos, and coming to the Infomercantile, too.

So, you're on a time limit, the video cameras are on to you, and you've got a safe to crack. Important safecracking tool: Google. Criminals trying to get into a safe ran out of other options, eventually turning to Google for tricks on how to get in to their treasure. They got away with the safe's contents -- but those video cameras caught everything. Instead of disabling the video camera they sprayed it with a degreaser, which improved the image. Maybe they should've googled that first. #

Expert Photoshoppers might find Worth1000 satisfying, but some are being a bit more altrustic with their talents. Katrina survivors are still piecing together their property, which includes destroyed photo albums, pictures on the wall, and other printed memories. Enter Operation Photo Rescue, a volunteer organization of photoshoppers bent on restoring the water-damaged photos of New Orleans. The LA Times has an excellent article on the process. #

Back in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a small baby dressed in man-sized chain-mail struck a chord with just about everyone who saw the movie. Cadenhead did some research and found that, while the kid's movie career never took off, Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film alive and well and has a nice career of his own. #

Justin Jorgensen, author of the NSFW Obscene Interiors, is blogging from Fargo this week while visiting family here. With a name like Justin Jorgensen, you know he has some connection to the upper midwest. He apparently likes to tell off-color stories about his younger years, so no doubt the Scandihoovian Mafia is waiting for him, when he least expects it, to scold him soundly for revealing secrets to the Caliwhoovians. #

Frankie Valli on LSD is what it's called, and the title is rather appropriate...but it's quite good, actually. Too often these things get their one schtick out in the first ten seconds and the rest of the video repeats it; this remains interesting through the video. #

At the end of this year, CourtTV will be changing its identity, becoming more entertainment related; they tested the waters with Waters' Til Death... series, and apparently thought they did well enough to order a new spate of reality-based shows. Here's an ad for the new block of series -- waitasec, I kinda know that guy in the middle, the fetching lad on the bottom with the Bondish earpiece and harsh lighting, about to be devoured by Billy Zane. That there's my brother-in-law, a lad whose hacking background got him a high-priced security consultancy, working for corporations and the government alike. For an example of the level of his work -- while visiting last year, he got my parent's internet service turned off because CableOne's hacker-defeating systems saw some of his on-the-clock-vacation system-support as naughty. "Tiger Team," according to my sis' MySpace message, is just a working title -- they've been trying to sell the show for a couple years; congrats and good luck to them. (more via TimeWarner) #

On a Sunday morning walkabout, we ended up near the Civic Center -- and found a number of cute little buildings called the Marjorie Schlossman Roberts Street Chaplet Project. We've walked past the actual Chapel many times but haven't ever stopped (the kids have strangely and erroneously assumed it was an ice-cream shop, and no doubt have cursed us parents for never taking them inside) -- the project has its own website. The chaplets were locked up the morning we went by, and later that afternoon when we returned, so maybe it's a weekday thing. #

Hey -- did you know: Jack Handey, of "Deep Thoughts" SNL fame, is a real, flesh-and-blood person? In today's environment of manufactured people (and coming from a show that prides itself on creating memorable characters, then exploiting them ad infinitum) it's easy to think that the name was made up. And, come on -- Handey? That can't be real. #

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