Archive: November 5, 2004

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Friday,  11/05/04  08:04 AM

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming...

Actually I'm so relieved that the election is over.  Now I can read about news - about anything - without immediately wondering how it will affect the election.  And I know whatever it is will be reported without [as much] bias, since the spin is not as important.  I read somewhere that the period after an election is "the most honest period in American politics", and I think that's right. 

I decided to turn my Big Day post from election day inside out.  It reads better that way.  I couldn't believe this note, taken at 8:50 in the morning: John Kerry's polster predicts a 3% Bush victory.  Did he nail it or what?  That guy is good.

What do we make of this?  A listing of states, IQs, and how they voted.  Looks like I'll have to move to Mississippi :) 

[ Later: This has been debunked by Steve Sailer.  I knew it was too cute to be true :) ]

Claudia Rosett considers Osama bin Losin'.  "If the medium is the message, let's take a broader look at what's really going on...  First, bin Laden is afraid...  Second, bin Laden's pals are also running scared."  Too bad he is merely scared, and not arrested or dead. 

Did you know those two little rovers are still tooling around on Mars?  "Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity are going strong 10 months after they began their geological study of the red planet, mission scientists said Thursday."  Spirit is currently climbing high into the Columbia Hills, which rise above Gusev crater where the spacecraft landed.  The crater floor is made of relatively new volcanic rock, formed by lava flows that would have covered any evidence of ancient bodies of water.  Opportunity is exploring in an area called Meridiani Planum on the other side of planet.  The rover hit pay dirt early, landing inside a shallow crater ringed in layered rock outcroppings.  This is awesome - more evidence, if any were needed, that robots are the best way to explore space. 

Florida Today: NASA's robotic moon mission spins its wheels.  "NASA now plans to spend $5 billion between 2005 and 2020 to launch a dozen robotic missions to the moon, or one per year, beginning in 2008.  The idea is to have robots map the moon, search for water ice, survey potential landing sites, and test prototypes for oxygen production and electrical power plants, among other things."  I sure hope Bush will continue with this vision, now that he's won a second term.  Although I am ambivalent about federal funding for space research... 

What would happen if we discovered a new species of Human?  Desmond Morris considers Eton or the Zoo?  "Suppose for a moment that a living tribe of these beings is discovered, how should they be treated?  Are they merely advanced apes, or are they miniature humans?"  He goes on to consider the religious implications, "In theory, the existence of Mini-Man should destroy religion, but I can already hear the fanatics claiming that he has been put on earth by the Devil simply to test our faith."  I love it. 

The iPod phone, as envisioned by Isamu Sanada, the great fantasy Mac designer.  [ via Cult of Mac ] 

Interesting new blog: Vision Matters.  Consider Consumer File Sharing.  Great Stuff.  [ thanks, Doc

Not a big shock, movie industry to sue file sharers.  Will this have a deterrent effect?  Maybe.  Will it prevent digital distribution from taking over?  In no way.  According to this article Bittorrent now accounts for 35% of the 'net's traffic. 

Related, iPodDownload is back, the application which allows you to take music from anyone's iPod and copy it to a hard drive.  The digital genie is not going back in the bottle

Dear Tivo, please give me permalinks for TV shows.  [ via Matt Haughey ]  I must be behind the curve on this, although I love my Tivo, I have never wanted to schedule it via a web site.  But maybe I just don't know what I'm missing. 

Are you writing a marketing plan?  Creating a website?  Posting on a blog?  Then you may find this useful: the Web Economy BS Generator.  Some quick samples: 

We must enhance world-class mindshare, extend e-business applications, unleash one-to-one bandwidth, and orchestrate revolutionary convergence.  This will iterate impactful content, empower e-business portals, and transform dynamic markets.

Pretty good, huh?  verb-adjective-noun, and away you go...

Of possible interest, and so I can find it again: S5, A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System.  "S5 is a slide show format based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With one file, you can run a complete slide show and have a printer-friendly version as well. The markup used for the slides is very simple, highly semantic, and completely accessible."  This looks really cool, and useful

Eric Meyer's cool CSS tricks only work perfectly in Firefox, not Win IE, more's the pity.  Although Firefox now has 3% of the market.  I'm sure people are switching based on security concerns, not the ability to load slideshows.  Still.

Are you a Star Wars junkie?  You know you are.  Here's a wonderful comparison between the recent DVD release of Return of the Jedi to the original release, and the Special Edition film version. 

I just ran across this again: 20 reasons why you shouldn't post your picture on the Internet.  Man is that funny, some great Photoshopmanship. 



Friday,  11/05/04  11:00 PM

Interesting that Iowa was the last state decided in the Presidential race.  Kerry lost there, too, by a narrow margin.  It was Iowa where Kerry defeated Dean, putting him on the road to the Democratic nomination.  That one small state in the heart of America chose the candidate to carry the banner for the liberals of the Northeast - and Southwest.  Perhaps the primary process needs to be fixed, eh?  Glenn Reynolds has further thoughts... 

The other day I noted a thought for 2008: Arnold vs. Obama.  Several people emailed to remind me about the Constitution's Article 2: It sets the requirements for serving as president - a minimum of 35 years of age, 14 years continuous residence in the country and being a "natural-born citizen".  Aha, but check this out:  "Amendments require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress as well as a majority in three-quarters of the state legislatures.  That said, influential Republican senator Orrin Hatch has introduced such an amendment into Congress, sparking conjecture the Republican Party is paving the way for its newest star to run for president as early as 2008."  Still there will be opposition

Another thought.  Looking at the electoral maps from this election, one is struck by the fact that California and New York barely changed from 2000 to 2004, solidly blue but turning toward red.  Indeed the two most populous states were hardly noticed by the candidates in this campaign, since they were "given".  But as Glenn Reynolds notes, "Republicans in New York and California will follow the lead of Democrats in Colorado, and propose initiatives to split the states' electoral votes."  That should have Democrats worried... 

I've stayed silent on the Theo Van Gogh murder.  It seems horrible but all too inevitable.  ParaPundit has a great analysis with which I concur.  "The [liberal press] are more worried about the safety of Muslims in the Netherlands than the safety and liberty of the Dutch."  This isn't going to get better - the idea that all cultures are equally worthy is as preposterous as the idea that all people have equal abilities

Did you see today's conjunction?  "A planetary conjunction occurs when two or more planets appear to be very close together in the night sky as seen from Earth.  Conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter are fairly common, occurring as often as three times a year.  But on the morning of November 5th, just before dawn, Venus and Jupiter will be less than one degree apart in the sky in the constellation of Virgo the Maiden."  I missed it... 

This sounds like a joke: Big bottoms crushing airlines' bottom lines.  "American's growing waistlines are hurting the bottom lines of airlines as extra pounds on passengers cause a drag on planes.  Through the 1990s, the average weight of Americans increased by 10 pounds, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The extra weight caused airlines to spend $275 million to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel.

Fascinating article in Scientific American: Music and the Brain.  "Music surrounds us–and we wouldn't have it any other way.  An exhilarating orchestral crescendo can bring tears to our eyes and send shivers down our spines...  Therein lies an intriguing biological mystery: Why is music--universally beloved and uniquely powerful in its ability to wring emotions--so pervasive and important to us?"  [ via Adam Curry ]  I think it is related to our why we perceive beauty.  But you read, you decide. 

Interesting Slashdot thread: Could nuclear power wean the U.S. from oil?  You know my answer; Yes

This is cool: Duke robot climbs to victory in Madrid.  "Our robot Walter was the only one that could start flat on the floor and climb the wall on its own, go over a barrier across the wall or stop itself after crossing the finish line."  Excellent. 

Adam Bosworth: Evolution in Action.  Regarding IE and Firefox and the 'net as a platform.  [ via Tim Bray

Remember my note the other day about Tivo permalinks for TV shows?  Guess what?  Here they are.  Now you can share shows with your friends, or at least share the concept of recording a particular show. 

The Hidden Door Company.  You know you want one of these.
I know I do :) 

Sign of the times...  Near my house there is a store called "Kiss it Goodbye".  They sell your old stuff on eBay for you.  In exchange for a percentage, they photograph the item, list it, and pack and ship it.  What a great idea! 

Pixar is amazing.  I'm sure you've seen the trailer for The Incredibles, which opens this weekend.  The reviews so far are amazingly positive.  And next year we get Cars, which looks pretty cool, too. 

Finally, do you have a cat?  Does s/he like to walk over your keyboard?  Yeah, mine does too.  So here's the answer: PawSense.  "PawSense is a software utility that helps protect your computer from cats.  It quickly detects and blocks cat typing, and also helps train your cat to stay off the computer keyboard."  I am not making this up. 


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