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The internet has been abuzz with the horror known as "Cheeseburger in a Can". I was unpressed, figuring until somebody actually gets one and eats it, I won't pass judgement. Well, I've been rewarded. While I'm not ordering them by the case to eat at home, I'd think they'd be fun to take on one of our immense monthly drives to Wisconsin. #

Royalty-free photos are all the rage, now that most anyone can photoshop themselves something and send it off to the printer. Those people that posed for the photos are now appearing everywhere -- like this gal, who's on the cover from everything from Christian to suicide books. Still, it's better than having an obsessed internet-dude after you. Computer companies will vie for your attention. In the end you may just decide to enjoy where you pop up. #

In 1998 -- a time when I had already been online for 6 years, but most people had just gotten their first PC -- futurists were consulted about the level of technology in the far-flung year of 2008. How'd they do? Aces in technology, but poorly in sociology. #

You know, when TV puts an idea in your head, and you have to act on it, the results may be entertaining. This bloke heard on TV that pineapple will remove your fingerprints, allowing for a life of unfingerprintable crime. So, using his research, he tried it...with cringe-inducing results. #

Crowdsourcing is to outsource a project on spec to a group, and pick the best of the submissions or combine the product into a useful singularity. Publishing has been doing it for years, compiling anthologies and magazines by buying only the best dozen out of hundreds of submissions. Crowdsourcing applies this to the rest of the world. Jeff Howe has written a book on it, and he's putting his book where his mouth is: he's opened the cover design to the committee of the unwashed masses. Hurry -- you've still got a few days for submissions if you're feeling creative. If not, the submissions are worth browsing. #

I'm probably installing a new switch and server this weekend, which means I'm going down to The Rack -- my cabling isn't complex, but there's plenty of examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly of rack cabling. #

Fargo is #6 in Men's Health magazine for best cities for men. Woo -- I'm one of those! Women, have hope: Fargo is #10 in Self's list of best cities for women. We're pretty good all around, you see...despite the -20 temperature today, but like I say: the cold keeps out the riff-raff, and that makes Fargo a better place. #

I actually do have Bohemian ancestors - from the region of Europe, that is. They're easy to identify by bloodlines, but moderne bohemians (small 'b') are a bit harder to identify. Thankfully, the Bohemian Manifesto gives classification guidelines to identify these wily creatures in the wild. #

They must be re-running Match Game '75 someplace -- in the past day I've got a few hits for people searching for a particular contestant...which is what I did, too, last year. #

"Got a valet of hares?" "Go fish!" Before modern standardization of playing cards, they were produced in a variety of forms, such as these square cards with round images. As characteristics were adopted, the various forms separated: poker got spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts -- and tarot cards got cups, swords, wands, and pentacles. Still, that's not all we play with these days. #

Variations on the Death of Trotsky, Variation 2, from a linguist's perspective. Funny play (I saw Trosky performed by TPAS' Dean Bellin during his college days), and as the linguist notes, benefits from those minor flaws in the english language that puns are born from. #

MinnesotaMom, whose alias tells a lot about her blog, is devoting one day a week to write Fargo Fridays. I hope to see it continue: a dilemma of writers is starting big and general, which reduces the pool of things to say at later dates. If she's creative, future Fargo Fridays should become more interesting. #

In 1966, a scientist was given the assignment of coming up with a symbol: one identifying biohazardous materials. You probably know it well, and that's in the design -- it was supposed to be uniquely representable, and pervasively memorable. Today, the etc. Group is sponsoring a contest for a similar symbol: a symbol for nanotechnology hazards. It's reasonable to believe that a day will come when nano-objects, unseen but deadly, will be present in our world. See also. #

If you want to get rich, eat out on the East Coast -- in Florida, and again in New Jersey, people have found pearls in their fried oysters. Jewelry pearls are cultured-for-profit these days because they're so rare in the wild -- but not as rare as food-oyster pearl harvesters assume, it seems. #

For as low-tech as it is, you can still buy 3D cameras. From stereopticons to Viewmasters to the Stereo Realist, 3D has been around a long time, and still looks darn fun. #

Steampunk, or a 19th century envisioning of the future, is a hoot -- here's a bunch of Star Wars re-envisioned in steampunk form. #

Phalanstery - a communal living-space, combined of the words 'phalanx' and 'monastery'. Originally coined by Fourier in his social reform movement, it would be a living space for a phalanx, a labor-organized community like an artist commune or union co-op, where living space and working space were in the same structure. The Roycrofters used phalanstery to mean a central building for use by a community in a social way, such as an inn. In modern terms, it could be the predecessor of the arcology, with similar social-changing aspirations...or, in a more social-damaging way, it's the house in Big Brother. #

It's hard to believe that, in this day and age, there's a place without telephones. Iowa Hill, California, is finally getting landlines. A remote, sparsely populated area, the town has been considered too spendy a prospect to run copper lines all they way out to. Foresthill Telephone Co, with some government help, has decided to wire the town. It's hard to imagine that just twenty years ago, before the proliferation of cellphone use, this town was without any way to communicate with the rest of the world. The national average for lack of phone service ranges around 2%, with 6% in Mississippi. That's a lot of people without access to a phone. #

What's a half-hour of CNN Headline News? Fluff and ads. It's no wonder that those two go together so well. It's rough to blame people's lack of interest in in-depth or depressing news, but that's kinda pushed on us as an excuse by advertisers; "people don't want to watch boring or sad stuff on our channel" equals "we can't get advertisers with our numbers." Fluff gets viewers, so TV news pushes it more, lest they get killed for low ratings. If advertisers would value the smaller numbers of news-seekers and pay more for it, there wouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, long-format, intelligent news takes more time to produce, something a 24-hour news network doesn't have. The internet at least lets you link together a bunch of related quick-form news into a single unit; TV news is there and gone. I'm surprised that there's less talk about the internet killing TV news. #

North Dakota is trying to drum up tourism by associating itself with zombie holocaust. Famous horror novel and movie: I Am Legend. North Dakota tourism slogan: I Am Legendary. Completely different! (via) #

What's up with Four 'I's for the Roman numeral '4' on clocks? Short answer: it's the way it's always been done. (via) #

Jan
5
2008
1 comment
Last night, at around 4:00, I woke up the wifey. She's settled in to a comfortable working schedule: she gets up around 4, before Des gets home from school, handles home duties while I'm at work from 5-9, we spend a couple hours together before I go to bed, and then she works from midnight to 8am, sleeping during Normal Business Hours. It gives her uninterrupted work time, I get uninterrupted work time during the afternoon -- plus we each get to pick out our own music, without any debates or eye-rolling -- and it fits our internal clocks well.

Anyhow, as I was saying, I woke up D around 4.

"...remember the company christmas party is tonight."

"Ghhnnnnrrrrrrrr."

"I've been reminding you of it for the last three days."

Her witty response: "Why did you not tell me this before?"

Wifey, being a freelance writer, has little need to leave the house, and she's become very comfortable in that mode. The grocery store is tolerable, because it's 3 blocks away, and the thrift shops are never a bad destination. However, anything else is a bit much for her. Continue reading…

Remember DB Cooper? The only unsolved US hijacking, the guy jumped out of a plane in the Pacific Northwest, $20,000 cash in hand, and disappeared. Some of the money turned up -- and the finder is auctioning some of it off. After some time exposed to the elements, much of the cash cache was decomposed and crumbling, but he's offering a few partials and a few completes of the $20 bills he found with matching serial numbers to the DB Cooper stash. #

*sigh* Yet again, I'm not on Time's Top 50 Websites of 2007 list. I have to say this has to be the most underwhelmed I've been at the top 50 list -- nearly all, even in the 'news & information' category, provide services, not content. Is this a change in the internet's purpose, or a geeky attraction to new and shiny technologies? I think more of the latter. #

In a few short months, analog TV will be gone -- the Department of Commerce can tell you all about it. Don't worry though -- it won't affect people who get cable TV, people who have bought a TV in the past year, or people who get their TV via satellite. Who does that leave? The rural and the poor are a big chunk, but around a third of TV viewers still use antennas, meaning there's a big chunk of the population that doesn't spend money on TV, but will have to. Oh, there's the coupon program, but that doesn't equal free unless the qualifying converter miraculously costs less than the coupon, you can only buy qualifying converters with it, and there's a bunch of catches in using the coupon. Will it be better? Some think so, other predict chaos. #



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