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Wednesday,  01/14/04  11:14 PM

Muslim Wakeup on Fast-Food Islam.  Or why Wahabism is the McDonalds of religion.  Interesting stuff, I learned a lot from this article.  [ via BigWig, in a post titled "Ronald McJihad" ]

CNN: Supreme Court takes up air and water pollution cases.  "The Supreme Court was told Wednesday that Southern California's smog problem calls for rules stricter than national standards for vehicles that pollute the region."  Excellent.

Oh, and the Economist wonders if Arnold Schwarzenegger is A Green in Wolf's Clothing?  "Mr Schwarzenegger has gone far beyond the usual 'greenwash' of politicians. His platform is stuffed with specific proposals for protecting the state's forests, improving air and water quality, and dramatically expanding the use of renewable energy."

Spirit is Ready to Roll!  "Engineers cut the last cable tying Spirit to the lander that delivered it to Mars, and took the rover for a short spin -- a 25-centimeter (1 foot) roll backwards and a clockwise pivot of 45 degrees."

And I'm sure you saw this already: Bush Unveils Vision for Moon and Beyond.  "Saying 'the desire to explore and understand is part of our character,' President Bush Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to return Americans to the moon by 2020 and use the mission as a steppingstone for future manned trips to Mars and beyond."  Great stuff, although as I noted earlier I wish the emphasis was more on exploration and less on manned exploration.

Bruce Tognazzini, founder of Apple's Human Interface Group and all-around usability guru, takes a look at Panther (Mac OS 10.3).  "For a long time, people have been writing me, asking that I do an in depth review of OS X.  I held off because I really didn't think OS X was ready for prime time.  That's all changed.  OS X, in the form of the Panther release, is more than ready."  Really interesting and thoughtful article, please check it out!

I hope Apple engineers read this, too; his suggestions are right on the mark.

Gizmodo has a nice post-CES review of personal video players.  No videoPod yet, but plenty of other companies are making these things...  Question is, is there a market for them?

Matt Haughey wonders the same thing...

AlwaysOn reviews URU: Ages Beyond Myst.  "I suggest anyone who needs a break from reality pick up this $50 game and heed the advice of the game makers: 'Close the door, turn down the lights, turn up the volume, and experience URU as if you were actually there...  And remember the journey is the reward.'"  I have it (birthday present from my kids!) but haven't played it yet.  Too much blogging!

There are lots of game screenshots on the URU website...

Jess Jarvis notes "Every damned car stereo should have an input plug on the front so we could plug in our MP3 players and phones (it would make my Treo into a speaker phone) and whatever else comes down the electronic pike.  It would be so damned simple and cheap.  But no."  I totally agree.  Unfortunately my car is thirteen years old; long before MP3 players and Treos were imagined.  But even today's cars don't have this...  why?  [ via Glenn Reynolds ]

Dave Winer wonders should you always give a user what they want?  His answer is no, and he goes on to observe "The reason we have XML is so we don't have to scrape HTML.  If the XML becomes as hard to deal with as the HTML, then we might as well just scrape the HTML."  I used to scrape HTML - a lot - and it wasn't pretty.

Sam Ruby quotes Tim Bray:  "When you're explaining something to somebody and they don't get it, that’s not their problem, it’s your problem; When someone’s explaining something to you and you're not getting it, it’s not your problem, it’s their problem."  Could you explain that again, please?  :)