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Thursday,  08/11/05  10:24 PM

Tuesday morning I was up early (0500), just leaving my house for my office in San Diego, and BAM.  What was that?  An earthquake?  An explosion of some sort, surely.  What the heck?  Turns out it was only the space shuttle landing at Edwards Air Force base.  Whew. 

I'm really glad they made it back.  And I'll be even gladder if the shuttle never flies again.  This is such a waste of money, compared to the cool stuff we could be doing instead.

Slate: The White Stuff.  How "vanilla" became synonymous with "bland".  Personally I love it.  (Oh, and hey, did you know most chocolate contains vanilla?) 

Panda's Thumb considers the genetics of Harry Potter.  "This suggests that wizarding ability is inherited in a mendelian fashion, with the wizard allele (W) being recessive to the muggle allele (M).  According to this hypothesis, all wizards and witches therefore have two copies of the wizard allele (WW).  Harry’s friends Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom and his arch-enemy Draco Malfoy are ‘pure-blood’ wizards: WW with WW ancestors for generations back. Harry’s friend Hermione is a powerful muggle-born witch (WW with WM parents).  Their classmate Seamus is a half-blood wizard, the son of a witch and a muggle (WW with one WW and one WM parent). Harry (WW with WW parents) is not considered a pure-blood, as his mother was muggle-born."  I love it! 

There is a serious point behind the humor; let's teach our kids this, instead of some mumbo jumbo about a deity who made everything.  Science trumps magic.

Check out "balancing point", this awesome movie made by recording people destroying rock sculptures, then playing it backwards.  Talk about surreal!  It rocks :)  [ via Mark Frauenfelder

KMaps - Google maps on your Treo.  My goodness!  [ via Gary Lang ] 

Well we knew this was coming: Engadget reports on Tivo's download service.  They have lots of pictures, click through to see 'em...  It looks very Tivo-uler. 

Apple News reports on the technology used to edit the TV coverage of the Tour de France.  I've been watching OLN's back-episodes of the 2005 tour - I was on vacation during the tour itself - and man is that cool.  Not only the event, which is awesome, but the coverage.  It's hard to imagine any sporting event which is harder to cover, but between motorcycles and helicopters they did a fantastic job.  I can imagine how hard it was to edit all those streams together, too... 

From my as-yet-unlinked archives, Cox & Forkum did their usual great job on a tribute to Lance Armstrong... 

Here's a great Slashdot thread on how to convert Word documents to HTML.  I do this all the time, and I found a great answer in seebert@seeberfamily.org's comment: 

The option you want is "Web Page (filtered)|*.html".  I saw an interview once with somebody on the Word development team, and he claimed that the original Save As HTML was built for passing Word Documents over the web- and never meant to be read by human beings as a web page at all.  Web Page (filtered) cuts out all the extra shyte that Save As HTML used to put in for managing version controled updates and changing the font every bloody character- and builds a real web page.

This really works.  Very cool!

Finally, here we have the geekiest comic strip: Everybody Loves Eric Raymond.  In which, improbably, Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and Eric Raymond share an apartment...  Unbelievable.  If you think this is funny, you might be a geek.  I think this is WAY funny :)