Part of it is a lot of these are just really great stories; they're horrifying, they're titillating, they're funny.Link Discuss
But legends that we tell are an expression of what's going on in society's heart at any given moment. They're not just random bits of lore that get dropped in here and there. It's amazing because the stories we tell, although they generate spontaneously, end up through the process of natural selection becoming a very finely honed body of lore that reflects current society's concerns, fears, apprehensions, morals.
Hoaxbusters from snopes.com interviewed on Salon this morning:
In addition to having a cool domain, nevertrustanyonewodoesntlikegarlic.com has a cool concept: Writing to "celebrities" (Jimmy Walker, The Professor from Gilligan's Island and the guy from Frankie Goes to Hollywood) and getting testimonials to the bulb that stinks and refreshes from 'em. Link Discuss (Thanks, Hutch!)
"In the wee morning hours of Sunday, November 18, the Leonid meteor shower might intensify into a dazzling meteor storm, with 'shooting stars' continuously blazing trails across the night sky. Viewers across the United States are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the storm, which could be among the most spectacular sky events of the 21st century according to the latest scientific predictions. Use this nifty online app to calculate the Leonid shower activity from your your location. Link Discuss
Here's a poignant note from the proprietor of Adventures in Crime and Space, a wonderful science fiction bookstore in Austin, TX. ACS is on the verge of bankruptcy -- two weeks away! -- and they're desperate for their many customers to come on in and spend, spend, spend.
That's the basics of the situation. We have, as best as I can tell, TWO WEEKS to turn this around. If we don't find $6,000 by October 31 then the store may have to close. That's our time frame. If you like the store, we need you in there NOW buying something! I don't really care what you buy, but we need the funds NOW! If everyone on our email list buys just 2 paperbacks, we can cover past dues and order books for Christmas. I don't like to beg for your business but you guys are our extended family, the ones we chose rather than the one we were born into. We need your help, so we are asking for it.Link Discuss (Thanks, Steve!)
Some publishers have instituted new, fear-of-terrorism policies that will make for even greater delays in the handling of unsolicited manuscripts. I woulda said that the life of a hopeful, unpublished novelist couldn't get any more pathetic, but I was wrong. Send an ms to an editor at HarperCollins, and you've no guarantee that it (or any of your query letters) will ever be opened.
HarperCollins, owned by the News Corporation, has been asked by management to modify its submission policy as a result of an anthrax scare experienced by the New York Post in the same corporate group. As before, unsolicited submissions sent to the general HarperCollins Children's Book department will not be considered, but effective October 15 they are being discarded instead of returned. Also any mail received without a return address will be discarded by the mailroom immediately. Mail, including unsolicited submissions, addressed to a specific editor will be delivered to him or her. Whether editors open it if they do not know the sender, however, will be left to their individual judgment. That policy is to be reevaluated every month or so, and any changes will be reported as soon as possible.(From a listserv) Discuss
The new Mindjack has a great editorial on the theory and practice of the DMCA, one that exhaustively convers the history and consequences of one of the worst, oscially damaging American laws since Jim Crow.
For those of us teaching cybercultural issues, an area of content is also blocked: the realm of problematic digital copying itself. Although the DMCA insists on several occasions that its enforcement shall not abridge freedom of speech (such as 1201(c)(4)), at other points its language prohibits not only unauthorized copying but any discussions of how such copying works. This provision exceeds analog equivalents, since one may buy, sell, read, and own texts describing in vivid detail many means of illegal activities, from illicit xeroxing to homicide. In practice, would not teaching the history and culture of software piracy not fall foul of the DMCA? Assigning the current issue of 2600, the leading hacking journal, would also include students reading how to violate eBook protocols, for example. Lecturing about the popular disregard for freeware timelimits would also fall under the ban. Webbing notes on encryption techniques, a staple of computer science, should be a DMCA violation; merely linking to Web sites that contain such information can be a DMCA infraction. Section 1201(g) makes provisions for "Encryption Research" - so long as such work is "necessary to identify and analyze flaws and vulnerabilities… [and] if these activities are conducted to advance the state of knowledge in the field of encryption technology". Given this year's legal challenge to Professor Felten, it's clear that that section has ample room for interpretation. As Siva Vaidhyanathan points out, the entire discipline of new media studies - an evolving, growing field - might lose the bulk of its subject matter.13 Could Keith Winstein's January 2001 MIT seminar, "Decrypting DVD", be prosecuted, or outlawed?14 In short, the Act might criminalize and restrict what can be researched and taught in American classrooms, a plain violation of academic freedom.Link Discuss (Thanks, Lisa!)
2308 items for sale at a giant upcoming dotcom bankruptcy auction in Sunnyvale. Dozens of Sun servers, Aeron chairs, and gobs o' pagers.
HP OMNIBOOK 4150 P-III 450MHZ; 128MB; 12GBHD W/AC & DVD & FLOPPYLink Discuss
IBM THINKPAD CELERON 500MHZ; 64MB; 5GBHD W/AC
BACKUP TAPE LIBRARY ARRAY
DELL POWERVAULT 705M
DELL POWEREDGE 2450 P-III 2 X 733MHZ; 512MB; 4 X 17GBHD
CISCO CATALYST 4006
VIEWSONIC 21" MONITOR