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1 October 2002
Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life.
Right now, when so many progressive paradigms — respect for other cultures, solidarity with the oppressed and reverence for civil liberties — seem flaccid in the face of a monumental threat, Rushdie offers a voice that’s both resolutely moral and proudly, expansively liberal. He has, in the last few years, fallen from vogue, but the events of the world have conspired to prove his enduring relevance. He offers a model of a progressivism that’s clear-eyed about the dangers of Third World tyrannies while vigilantly opposed to our own administration’s authoritarian tendencies. Furthermore, he transcends the hectoring left’s tendency to define itself by what it’s against, offering a celebration of secular freedom whose ebullience belies the current notion that conservatives have more fun.
UNITED NATIONS — In an address before the U.N. General Assembly Monday, President Bush called upon the international community to support his “U.S. Does Whatever It Wants” plan, which would permit the U.S. to take any action it wishes anywhere in the world at any time.
PHNOM PENH, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Hundreds of stiff-jointed Cambodians are flocking to see a large brown cow whose lick is believed to cure rheumatism and other ailments, officials said on Wednesday.
…Authorities are keeping a watchful eye on the cow and its owner to make sure gullible patients, who buy their offerings for the cow from its owner, are not taken advantage of — and that nobody ends up regretting their bovine faith.
Who could end up regretting their bovine faith? No one I know, that’s for sure.
3 October 2002
When a W3C member company that helped create XHTML and CSS ignores or misuses those web standards on its corporate site, you have to wonder who didn’t get the memo.
I just tried out their search function. You know what? It’s still easier to search for stuff with Google (“site:microsoft.com” + query).
The Brunching Shuttlecocks: Wedding Vows to Avoid.
4 October 2002
Mark Pilgrim: History of the Tilde.
Clearly, the tilde is underappreciated.
Michael Barrish: Home:
Barrish is my mother’s name. It’s also my grandfather’s name, the one I loved.
I’ve probably said this elsewhere, but this moment was like the moment in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy discovers that she’s been carrying her ticket home the whole time; she just hadn’t realize it. And so not realizing it, she had endured this convoluted Technicolor adventure replete with singing and dancing and almost getting herself and her companions killed.
7 October 2002
New Scientist reports on the recently-found large Kuiper Belt object:
The size of the new object, named Quaoar, was measured by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is about 1250 kilometres in diameter, making it the largest object found in the Solar System since Pluto itself in 1930.
A quick google search reveals the following:
Quaoar: Their only god whocame down from heaven; and, after reducing chaos to order, out the world on the back of seven giants. He then created the lower animals,and then mankind. Los Angeles County Indians, California.
The name makes sense, given that the astronomers are from Caltech.
She’d had enough sleepless nights to know there was no point in hoping. 1:18. Left down the hall and to the right, she heard her mother in the kitchen. The clink of wooden spoons on glass bowls, the thump of a rolling pin, squeak of the oven door. Making tomorrow’s wedding feast.
8 October 2002
If you must use Windows, the first step towards a productive system is managing your Start menu.
9 October 2002
Today, though, the group was quiet, much quieter than usual, because one of their members, PHP, was not its usual cheerful self. In fact, one could say that PHP was in a true funk, if one had a mind to say something like that aloud, or within the hearing of one’s boss. Or doctor.
Why the blues, PHP, the other languages asked. All the languages that is but C, because all C ever said was “bite me”, being a rude language and hard to live with, but still respected because it was such a good worker.
group lots of related terms
under namespace bough.
People produce these
for others to use elsewhere;
often designed well.
Lots of main concepts
already have URIs.
Search, don’t just invent.
The semantic web
is easy to understand
when you use haiku.
freedomforum.org: High court hears arguments in case of Congress, copyright and Mickey Mouse:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court debated today whether Congress was wrong to block public access to Mickey Mouse and other classics.
The Court is considering whether it was unconstitutional for Congress to give writers and other creators a 20-year copyright extension. Hanging in the balance are huge profits for companies, like the Walt Disney Co. and AOL Time Warner Inc., which benefit from copyrights.
Some justices seemed bothered by the retroactive extension, enacted in 1998, which delayed the release of many old books and movies. But they seemed equally concerned about their standing to intervene.
“I can find a lot of fault with what Congress did,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said. “This flies directly in the face of what the framers of the Constitution had in mind, but is it unconstitutional?”
The extension protected early depictions of Disney’s Mickey Mouse, along with hundreds of thousands of books, movies and songs that were about to be released into the public domain.
“If this (extension) is permitted, then there is no limit,” Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig argued on behalf of a New Hampshire Internet publisher who challenged the law.
Update #2: Slashdot’s got a story up, too.
Salon: “Woohoo! We’re making books!”
10 October 2002
The BBC has a report on a battery powered by leftover food:
Scientists in Bristol have developed a battery which generates electricity from organic waste.
The battery, or microbial fuel cell (MFC), costs just £10 to make and in the future, could allow leftovers from Sunday lunch to top up the power supply of a household.
Although MCFs have been developed in the past, they have always been inefficient and expensive.
But technologists at the University of the West of England in Bristol have come up with the cheap, organic battery.
Davezilla has some good advice:
The next time you chop habaneros and jalapeños for chili, wash your hands thoroughly before touching the naughty bits to pee. Oh man, that hurts!
11 October 2002
The Morning News answers the question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another:
Who IS that blonde girl with the perfect flip hairdo in the classmates.com banner ads? Surely to God someone on the internet really went to high school with her, and gets freaked out by her face whenever they check their Betty Boop auctions on eBay.
I will sleep better at night now.
Wired News has redesigned to use XHTML and CSS:
HTML was riddled with extra tags never intended to be there. In their individual efforts to be the popular browser of choice and own the market, Netscape and IE set back Web development several years.
Web accessibility was slow to advance with the glut of complex nested table hacks, which are still used by a majority of websites to control columns and margins around blocks of texts and images. These tags often confuse older browsers as well as screen readers that help the visually and physically impaired use the Web. Older browsers often crash under the weight of all the coding.
The shiny details of the new Wired News design are only visible in standards-compliant browsers (Netscape versions 6.0 and higher, and IE 5.0 and higher). But because CSS can be hidden from older, non-compliant browsers, our content can still be read by every available commercial browser, even the first versions of Netscape and IE.
Salon reprints Rep. Pete Stark’s statements:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution (authorizing military force against Iraq). I am deeply troubled that lives may be lost without a meaningful attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions through careful and cautious diplomacy.
The bottom line is I don’t trust this president and his advisors.
Make no mistake, we are voting on a resolution that grants total authority to the president, who wants to invade a sovereign nation without any specific act of provocation. This would authorize the United States to act as the aggressor for the first time in our history. It sets a precedent for our nation — or any nation — to exercise brute force anywhere in the world without regard to international law or international consensus.
Congress must not walk in lockstep behind a president who has been so callous to proceed without reservation, as if war was of no real consequence.
Unfortunately, it was all for naught.
In other words, the 90 minute sleep cycle is a scientific and medical fact.
For some reason I’m obsessed about proving this to everyone with whom I talk about sleep. It might be that I really love sleeping. Or, more particularly, dreaming. It’s almost as though I live a parallel life in my dreams. Themes recur, I visit the same locations over and again, I dream in Japanese, I meet up with dead friends, I sort out all kinds of problems…
14 October 2002
Washington Post: the judge in the Microsoft anti-trust case fires off a rebuttal:
About 15 months after the Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit rebuked U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson for talking to the media in the Microsoft antitrust case, Jackson has formally filed his rebuttal.
Jackson’s venue of choice to file his reply brief is, naturally, the court of public opinion, and specifically the local trade paper, Legal Times, which headlined his commentary, “Don’t Gag the Judges; It makes no sense to keep the judiciary silent.”
NYTimes (registration required) on Slashdot:
The secret to the online publication’s moderate success? “They didn’t buy a Super Bowl ad,” joked Sean Bergeron, a fan from Virginia.
It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much. The company keeps its expenses low. Its creators write about what interests them. And — here’s where the business model may not be everyone’s cup of Bawls Guarana energy drink — they don’t seem to care if the operation actually makes any money.
Via Boing Boing.
15 October 2002
Jonathan Delacour: Our volatile, dangerous neighbor.
17 October 2002
A terrific look at how copyright issues are negatively affecting libraries:
IFLA is concerned that the increased use of licensing and technological protection is distorting the balance toward commercial interests and away from information users. This trend affects information users everywhere, but it has an even greater effect on those in developing countries.