November 30, 2003

» The Medium is the Massage. Or is it?

There are four possible readings for the last word of the title, all of them accurate: "Message" and "Mess Age," "Massage" and "Mass Age."

Via Wordsmith

November 27, 2003

» Romance 2.0

Love in the Time of No Time

People in fledgling relationships begun online can vanish from one another's lives with the same breathtaking efficiency as a line of text deleted from a word processing document, leaving no hole, no gap in one another's daily lives to mark the fact that they were ever there. For some, an awareness of this exit strategy permeates the enterprise, allowing them to skimp on the niceties they would more or less have to extend toward a person they were likely to meet again.

» Godzilla's biology

NII-REO ś??ť?≤ Volume32 , Issue2

The new Godzilla character apparently was made different from the old version on a number of key points to make him more biologically probable. However, calculations show that his limbs and limb muscles must have been severely undersized to move his huge bulk around at even a leisurely pace, and most other biological problems with the old Godzilla, e.g., growth rates and reptilian physiology at such a massive size, have remained unaltered. The old Godzilla was actually the more plausible from a biomechanical point of view.

November 26, 2003

» Metal frost on Venus

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Venus has 'heavy metal mountains'

Because it is hot enough to melt lead at the surface, metals vaporise and condense at cooler, higher elevations.

» Rehab for elephants

Telegraph | News | Relaxation camp gives elephants a chance to forget

A month-long holiday camp for stressed elephants has opened in southern India where over-worked animals will be able to socialise over top class food under the expert attention of vets.

» The Cemetary of the Fallen Enemy

Times Online - World

In this secret site at the end of a dirt road in the Jordan Valley, its perimeter patrolled by Israeli soldiers with belt-fed machineguns, Israel buries the remains of Palestinian suicide bombers, gunmen and other enemies of the Jewish state.

» The man who explained the Hulk

The Man behind the Monster

Underkoffler helped create Minority Report‚??s futuristic world‚??parts of which are based on work he had done at the Media Lab on holography and computer interfaces. For example, in one scene, Tom Cruise‚??s character manipulates thousands of images on a vast, transparent computer display. Underkoffler invented the gestures Cruise makes and taught him how to perform them.

November 25, 2003

» Online flea-marketry Technology | From each according to his junk, to each according to her need

Picture a vast junk box floating in the ether, spilling over with an inflatable raft, a clothesline, a 12-inch radial-arm saw, an Elmo sandbox, 18 post-mastectomy bras, three squashes, two rats, a rat cage and all sorts of other battered treasures, all flanked by a giant sign: FREE STUFF.

November 24, 2003

» Blogging the freeway

Cost of cardboard, paint, duct tape and wire: Pennies.

Ten thousand commuters reading what you have to say: Priceless.

» Pvt. Lynch's story no match for historical 'captivity narratives'

The New Republic Online: Captive Audience

The search is still on for a Mary Rowlandson for our frightened times. This writer calls upon Al Qaeda to kidnap a pretty, 25-year-old blonde female--preferably one with an MFA from Iowa who also happens to speak Arabic. Take her to your caves and let her hear all your plans and witness your devilish cruelties. Then fall into a deep sleep one night, allowing her to escape through the mountains with the help of sympathetic villagers. Now that--that!--would be a story.

Via IraqNow.

» Conspiracy buff says Earhart survived

A New Take on Earhart Mystery

But conspiracy buffs begin with the premise that she was a spy captured by the Japanese. Maybe she died. And maybe she survived, living out her life anonymously. Which brings us to Rollin C. Reineck and his new book.

November 23, 2003

» Anything's less shameful than spamming - Spam rage: Man arrested for threats to company

"Mackay said such firms gave a bad name to the penis enhancement business."

Words fail me.

November 21, 2003

» Hooray for Hari!

Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Author rejects prize from 'anti-migrant' newspaper

Having won the £5,000 John Llewellyn Rhys award for his debut, The Impressionist, Kunzru rejected it because of what he called the the papers' consistent "hostility towards black and Asian British people".

He claimed the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, which sponsors the prize, both "pursue an editorial policy of vilifying and demonising refugees and asylum-seekers ... As the child of an immigrant, I am only too aware of the poisonous effect of the Mail's editorial line. The atmosphere of prejudice it fosters translates into violence, and I have no wish to profit from it."

November 20, 2003

» Opus the Penguin is coming back! Arts & Entertainment | The penguin is mightier than the sword

[Children and animals] will almost certainly also inhabit "Opus," Breathed's latest venture, a Sunday strip set to launch Nov. 23 in 160 newspapers nationwide. In an indication of the reader appeal Breathed is still believed to command, he has demanded (and received) guarantees that each newspaper running the strip will give him half a page in the comics section, something no cartoonist has received since Bill Watterson retired "Calvin and Hobbes."

» Can nobody stop these people?

Telegraph | Arts | I wanted Dad to say he loved me

"Art is an attempt to identify yourself," Bono once said to me. In which case, judging by the self-portraits that form part of the U2 singer's first exhibition of paintings, Bono appears to have identified himself as baked bean.

» Burying greenhouse gas - Oil group buries greenhouse gas under sea - Nov. 19, 2003

The oil and gas group Statoily [sic] operates the world's only commercial gas platform in the North Sea to separate carbon dioxide (CO2) from gas and reinject it beneath the seabed instead of releasing it to the air.

November 18, 2003

» Herd Morality

Herd Morality

The scene invites us to accept the unexpected; 35 Queen Anne tables - pieces of furniture to be used for display, to eat from, to read at, and meet, associated generally with the domestic homestead ‚ -- but the tables have turned.

Reminds me somewhat of the superb final issue of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, "The Empire of Chairs".

November 17, 2003

» DVD excess

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | The more principle

The set features an interactive multi-angle scene study, a "making-of" documentary, rehearsal footage of the fight between Wolverine and Deathstrike, a gallery of stills and 11 extended or deleted scenes.

Economists call this sort of stuff add-on value: the bigger the blockbuster, the more footage of ancillary blah can be unloaded on deluded obsessives at negligible cost to the studios but at a healthy return in DVDs.

» Piers Morgan (!) is worried about the national obsession with celebrities | Media | Celebrity nobodies

Even worse, we are also getting so obsessed by these people laughably called stars that we are developing quite scary levels of celebrity psychosis.

» Mystery particle discovered

PhysicsWeb - New particle turns up in Japan

The Belle collaboration at the KEK laboratory in Japan has discovered a new sub-atomic particle which it is calling the "X(3872)". The particle does not fit into any known particle scheme and theorists are speculating that it might be a hitherto unseen type of meson that contains four quarks.

November 15, 2003

» Quayle Quote Quorner

Dan Quayle - Famous Quotes and Quotations

Wit and wisdom from the man who makes George H.W. Bush sound like Demosthenes

» Human chimera discovered

Telegraph | News | Sons I gave birth to are 'unrelated' to me

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr Margot Kruskall, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, Massachusetts, showed that Jane is a chimera, a mixture of two individuals - non-identical twin sisters - whose cells intermingled in the womb and grew into a single body.

» Why we like rare things

Science news articles, Discover Magazine subscriptions, Science magazines online - Discover.ComAppeal of the Rare

Contrast enhancement may have some advantages in the realm of predatory behavior. Consider the archetypal way the hyena hunts. It provokes a bunch of zebras into running and picks out the one that‚??s different‚??the slowest. Predators have what psychologists call a search image for the outlier.

November 14, 2003

» I am Usenet, apparently

You are Usenet

You remember when alt.lemur.frink.frink.frink and alt.2eggs.sausage.beans.tomatoes.2toast.largetea.cheerslove was distributed on reel-to-reel tape strapped to a carrier pigeon.

what kind of social software are you?

» Anton Maiden, RIP Daily Log: Anton Maiden, Dead

Using MIDI files of Iron Maiden songs cribbed off the Internet and a microphone plugged into his PC, 19-year-old Anton Gustafsson created energetic and excitable versions of his favorite band from his home in Sweden ... Anton is dead at the age of 23, after being reported missing for over a week.

» Big science questions

The New York Times: Science

The first issue of Science Times appeared 25 years ago. Its guiding principle ever since has been that science is not a collection of answers, but a way of asking questions. To celebrate the anniversary, we pose 25 provocative questions facing science.

» Thundersnow - Scientists to study flashy 'thundersnow' - Nov. 12, 2003

Missouri scientist Patrick Market said for the past four years he's been looking into a phenomenon known as thundersnow, an apparently rare event that some researchers believe foreshadows an intense snowstorm with heavy accumulation.

» What The Butler Saw

Slate: What the Butler Saw - And why the English press can't talk about it.

One topic has dominated British conversations over the last 10 days, but the English papers can't say exactly what it is. As Canada's Globe and Mail put it: "The stories just keep on coming, day in and day out. And yet the public remains singularly uninformed."

November 12, 2003

» Rabbit vision

WHRS - What Do Rabbits See?

Your rabbit's view of you is likely to be "grainy," and he will recognize you by your shape and manner of movement rather than, say, the details of your face. If you enter the room carrying something large enough to alter your shape, your bunny most likely will not recognize you and will be afraid.

November 10, 2003

» McJobbing it

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | McDonald's anger over McJob entry

In its latest edition, the dictionary defines the term McJob as "low-paying and dead-end work".

November 09, 2003

» Mobile jam

Daisyphone - A Group Music Interaction Tool

Your contributions are shared with others over the internet. You can see and hear what they do. They see and hear what you do.

» Memento mori

Good Experience: This Is Broken - Playground design

Perhaps it's deliberate - so that parents can say, "If you don't place nice, now, you know what's going to happen..."
» Slate nails the Matrix

Unplugging The Matrix - Why the sci-fi franchise went south

But what it doesn't provide -- and what, until the sequels, I didn't think it pretended to provide -- was philosophical insight. It seemed fitting that, by way of signaling their philosophical influences in the original, the Wachowskis had Neo pulling from a shelf not Plato's Republic nor Descartes' Meditations, Western philosophy's signal treatments of the appearance/reality problem, but Simulacra and Simulations by Jean Baudrillard.
» What porn does to men

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Men and porn

But the roots go back further still. Research has shown that boy babies are treated more harshly than their female counterparts and, as they grow up, boys are taught that success is achieved through competition. In order to deal with this harsh masculine world, boys can learn not to trust their own feelings and not to express their emotions. They become suspicious of other men, with whom they're in competition, after all, and as a result they often feel lonely and isolated.