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Marmaduke Explained, a serindipitous combination of verisimilitude and absurdity in understanding a bland, unoffensive, and poorly-drawn comic. #

Which is better: keeping a backout path open, or ignoring missed opportunities to move forward? Moving forward is better, but people are more willing to lose and keep missed opportunities available. Online users, when presented with a game that provided a simple winning process that preferred users who progressed. Users, however, would choose to keep their options open than proceed, showing that they'd rather play it safe than risk loss -- despite the more likelihood of a win. #

Can you remember all eleven planets? There's a new mnemonic: My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants. Hrr-whaa? Eleven? Rather than demote Pluto, this mnemonic counts the generally-accepted minor planets, those solar system residents too small for full planethood but with enough gravity to be round: Ceres (in the asteroid belt), Pluto, and Eris (in the Kuiper belt). Bonus points: Lisa Loeb will compose the new mnemonic into a song. #

This is cuter than I thought when reading the headline. you might think someone with a refrigerator full of immobile turtles is some sort of sicko, but in this case it's a proper caretaker, maintaining hibernation in the cheapest, easiest equipment available. #

Proving that our college students are as studious and responsible as everywhere else -- LastVoice has a category just for discussing pictures of Fargo's Greatest Minds...meaning "post hot pictures of drunk gals, make fun of drunk guys, and - dear God - the Goths have no makeup skills these days." This goes to show how lame I was in my youth; every situation photographed is as foreign and unfamiliar as National Geographic photos of aboriginal tribes on some lost island. Nothing's overly NSFW, but if your boss doesn't approve of you looking at bikini babes at your desk, you might wanna come back after dinner. #

Conan O'Brien has been making his wedding ring spin on his desk, as a strangely-mesmerizing way of dealing with the writer's strike. On the 8th, he brought on a MIT scientist Peter Fisher (with help from his students) to see if he can improve his spin-time (go to chapter 2 in this video) -- air resistance was inconsequential, vaseline lubrication failed -- but teflon is da man: 51 seconds. Ah, science: is there nothing you can't do? #

While this toddler's murderous Elmo seems to be a happy accident, you can program Knows You Name Elmo to say fun combinations of his pre-recorded sounds. Just want Elmo to say your name (oh, baby, say my name!) you can try it out at the bottom of this page. Make it a looping ringtone -- "DerekDerekDerekDerekDerekDerek"! (If Elmo isn't your thing, Dora is super-excited to say your name, and creepy-synthesized-bear plans to lull you into a state of relaxation, so the robot coup can begin.) #

Candyland is a simple, reading-free, strategy-free game for young kids, and it's no wonder that the game hasn't been torn apart and analyzed in Probabilty And Game Theory 101 classes -- oh, wait -- someone has, providing all the enormously entertaining mathematical analysis for all to partake. (via) #

I caught The Mountain Fold (not sure if that's the show name, or just the URL) on KNDS this afternoon -- I may have to listen a bit more before I recommend it, but the stuff I heard was brain-unfoldingly excellent. Here's the playlist from today's show -- go play that Tagaq video of the Inuit throat singing. No, really, it's much more fun than it sounds. #

Try and show some of the more abstract parts of American culture to a person living in another country. Now, just explain it, without using any pictures. Now, try it with a reduced-sized dictionary designed for non-English speakers. Think you can do it? Voice of America's Special English programming "American Mosaic" does its best to do it right. #

Want a rocking chair? Build it yourself -- Testor's glue not included. (via) #

While I mostly ignore Cracked Magazine's lists (they're linked all over the place; you don't need my help to find them), I have to give props to their #1 Badass US President -- Teddy Roosevelt. Their articles are usually laden with humorous exaggeration and satirical hyperbole, but Teddy defeated such tomfoolery. He's no fun to do a 'Chuck Norris Facts'-style-list about, because Teddy Roosevelt actually did those things. #

Today we've got a new book released, the first in over 6 months: The hardcover edition of Cheeseburger Brown's Simon of Space. If you're anxious to get it now, we've got it for sale, but if you'd prefer a Barnes & Noble or Amazon discount, it should be available from them very soon (I'm surprised it's not up there yet). #

Probably over the heads of non-sysadmins, but the screenshots at the end are of greatest value: using Linux firewall software, you can screw with computers on the network, flipping images or blurring websites -- and, using that sort of script, you could easily do word-replaces, Dialectizing or ROT-13ing the webpages of anybody stealing your bandwidth (or changing colors, or stripping HTML to plain-text, or...). I like the 'blur' screenshot, though: just noticably subtle enough to make someone think their own computer is screwed up. #

Palimpsest: something wiped clean and reused. The term was usually reserved to describe ancient parchment that was scraped bare to be written upon multiple times. The term goes beyond general recycling: they include the romantic possibility of hidden, lost messages in the faint remainder of the previous image. It happens with paintings, storefronts of all kinds, advertisements, famous voices, and even digital media. Digital media, however, is far more permanent when erasing, so palimpsests may be going the way of a lot of classic media...although, a client I work for regularly loads her plain-paper fax machine with the back-sides of old sales reports: a palimpsest for the modern day. #

Seamless: Computational Couture is where MIT geeks put their technology education into something important -- fashion. OK, most is very theoretical and not practical...but what fashion show has not been entirely theoretical and impractical? The Media Lab's contributions, as you might guess, consist of converting feedback from the user into blinking lights and noise...but it's the Media Lab, what did you expect? Well, I'd expect someplace like the Media Lab to contribute something worthwhile, like helping me pick matching colors when I get dressed, and tell my black slacks from the navy blue ones. Now that would change the world of fashion. The sad thing is, the truly revolutionary things at Seamless would be hard to show in a promo video, like topographically indistinct fashion and mushroom-clothes that help a body decompose. [more] #

Lovecraft fans: Call of Cthulhu, a silent film faithfully adapting Lovecraft's story, will be screened at the Fargo Film Festival. While I do appreciate art-house films, I usually don't jump up and down to attend film festivals; Cthulhu might give me a reason to really try and make it this year. #

What's in a name? When you're getting a car wash, it's so important that they couldn't wait to make a new sign. A 'express' wash for $5? You're lucky if you can get a 'basic' wash for $5 these days. #

via B3ta: a poster touting the technological marvel, the Metroshuttle...which completely misses out on how the technology depicted words. Bonus points: the commenters who don't get it. #

If you've ever sold something on ebay and curse at that one, lonely, super-low bid you got? Imagine being this school -- they placed their old stadium up for sale in a closed-bid auction. The winner? A member of a local football team...a team of kindergarten flag-footballers. The lad's bid was $5, and it was the only bid received. Sadly, the bid was $1,949,995 short of the minimum-bid-price, so the school is rejecting his bid, thus avoiding the horrible positive-press aspect of giving the kid 1 day of ownership or something and going with the "too-bad-kid,-you're-not-a-grown-up" angle. #

Since today is Super Tuesday, chances are many of you get to vote in open primaries today, or are registered to vote in the other states. AIGA put forth a challenge: design posters to get people to vote, without being partisan or recommending action other than voting. Here's what they produced in 2004. #

Ariana's skin puffs up and reddens at the slightest injury. An artist at heart, she knows to use everything her body offers to produce her artwork -- including her own skin. More here. Her website. #

Caturday, over at Fark, is a place where people post either a photo of their cat, or a LolCat version of said cats. I'm rather proud of this one I made for Fark: it puts together the best of bizarre art, subtlety, and poor english:

(original) #

Despite all the crap Vista gets for being over-complicated and user-unfriendly, we here have a shining example -- Microsoft's Help page for opening the freakin' software packaging. If you can't design the box it comes in to be simple enough to operate without instructions, you're doing it wrong. #

In North Korea there is a huge building, looking like a bladed arrowhead sticking out of the back of Earth's skull. It's the Ryugyong Hotel, one of North Korea's misguided attempts to prove it's a 'real' country by putting on a show that it can have cool things like the rich countries do. The building was never completed and is uninhabitable. That is, until the internet got a hold of it, producing a virtual Ryugyong in a Sim-City/2nd-Life sort of way. #

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