Boing Boing 

RuPaul has a blog.LinkDiscuss

RuPaul has a blog.LinkDiscuss

Now, normally, I'm not much

Now, normally, I'm not much of a fan of digital "annoyware" postcards, but this one from our Stefan Jones deserves a clickthrough. Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan!

Breathtaking arrogance from a spokesperson

Breathtaking arrogance from a spokesperson for an Israeli software company that has provided CD copy-protection tech that incidentally screws up your ability to make copies for personal use, to play on your computer -- in short, to use your property as you see fit within the confines of the law.
Midbar's Noam Zur called copy-protection critics a fringe group that probably are pirates themselves.

"Mainly those people have a large number of compilations on their PCs," Zur said. Midbar's technology protected the Imbruglia CD. Zur dismissed customer complaints and said the CD works on most players.

Link Discuss

Red, white and blue M&Ms

Red, white and blue M&Ms coming to a store near you. Clearly, the terrorists have already won.LinkDiscuss

Photoessay detailing the dissection of

Photoessay detailing the dissection of a Nintendo GameCube.LinkDiscuss (via MeFi)

Hilarious overview of the music

Hilarious overview of the music industry, explaining how hopeful artists end up indentured servants, from Maximumrocknroll.
Nobody can see what's printed on the contract. It's too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody's eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there's only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says, "Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim it again, please. Backstroke."
LinkDiscuss (via MeFi)

One of the big challenges

One of the big challenges writers like to potter around with is naming characters. Phone books have always been handy, as have baby naming books, but the Internet has created a whole new range of dithering options. Here's the Social Securiy Administration's stats-page for name distribution by year and decade:
* Top 100 names for births in 2001.
* Top 1000 names for births in 2000.
* Top 5 names by state for male births in 2000.
* Top 5 names by state for female births in 2000.
* Top 100 names for births in 2000.
* Top 1000 names for births in 1999.
* Top 5 names by state for male births in 1999.
* Top 5 names by state for female births in 1999.
* Introduction to 1998 update including top 40 names for births in 1998.
* Top 1000 names for births in 1998.
* Top 5 names by state for male births in 1998.
* Top 5 names by state for female births in 1998.
* Large list of names for girls born in 1997.
* Large list of names for boys born in 1997.
* Large list of names for girls born in 1996.
* Large list of names for boys born in 1996.
* Top 10 names by year of birth for years 1880 through 1997.
* Top 10 given names, by year of birth (1880-1919), and sex.
* Top 10 given names, by year of birth (1920-1959), and sex.
* Top 10 given names, by year of birth (1960-1997), and sex.
* Top 1000 names by decade.
* Top 1000 names of the 1900's.
* Top 1000 names of the 1910's.
* Top 1000 names of the 1920's.
* etc
LinkDiscuss (via MeFi)

A followup to yesterday's story

A followup to yesterday's story about the arrest of two Japanese users of WinMX, a P2P file-trading app. It's a press-release from the Association of Copyright for Computer Software, crowing about it. If anyone out there speaks Japanese, I have some links to some Japanese-language reportage on the case, too, that I'd love to see translated.
Investigation section for high-tech crime of the Kyoto Prefectural Police Headquarters, Yamashina Police,Gojo Police searched the home of a man (student of a university) (aged 19) in Suginami-ku, Tokyo and a man (student of a technical collage) (aged 20) in Saitama-city on November, 28, 2001, under the suspicion of copyright infringement (violation of the right of public transmission) and arrested them on the same day. They are alleged to have made business software and the like accessible by Internet users at large without permission of copyright holders using so-called "file-exchange software" which enables Internet users to exchange data by directly transmitting and receiving them between users' computers connected to the Internet.
LinkDiscuss (Thanks, Yuichi!)

The Time Cube. This

The Time Cube. This is some kinda theory about something, but it's mostly a fairly entertaining schizoid rant about MIT, with strange dovetails (loontails?) into theology, crypto-anti-Semitism, and high weirdness.
Just as Word viruses are destructive in human made computers, there is a deadly Word virus spreading within the English Language. Unless isolated and eradicated by your knowledge of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube, the deadly Word virus will inflict total self-destruction upon all humanity.Your ignorance of Time Cube is evil.

Time Cube is above academic comprehension. Universities equate doomed Towers of Babble. Time Cube debate will expose academic scams, so academia must "ignore" debate at all costs. Students denied the right to debate Time Cube. Educators are evil to deny Time Cube debate. Academic ignoring of Time Cube equates evil. Word worship educators beget stupid students. Students are brainwashed and do not know it. Students are taught to be stupid and don't care. Word is the most effective tool of enslavement. Stupid students believe any crap they're taught. Stupid students unable to evaluate Time Cube. Students ignore Time Cube, attack messenger.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Mark !)

Crackermatic: A Shockwave app that

Crackermatic: A Shockwave app that lets you build your own virtual Christmas Cracker, amidst much v-e-r-y s-l-o-w cutesy animation. Christmas Crackers are (I think) a Commonwealth phenomenon, a special Xmastime party-favor made of a tube of tissue paper stuffed with bad jokes, paper hats and inexplicable and pointless trinkets. You know, when I put it that way, virtual Christmas Crackers don't seem so dumb after all. This'll be my second Xmas in the States, and I miss my homely holiday traditions. LinkDiscuss

Buy a bag of assorted

Buy a bag of assorted 20 GI Joe heads!
Each is about 2" tall with varied features and hairstyles, from fascist buzz cut to Village People mustache. We're sure you'll think of a million things to do with these like... well... you know.
LinkDiscuss (Thanks, Julian!)

PodMaster 1000 is a new

PodMaster 1000 is a new shareware OS X app that gives iPod more control over their devices, facilitatic copying and sharing of files among iPods and multiple computers.LinkDiscuss

A Dutch court has ordered

A Dutch court has ordered Kazaa, a provider of P2P filesharing networks, to stop copyright infingement among their users immediately. Only problem is, Kazaa not only can't control its users' behavior, it also can't shut down the network! The system uses a few centralized servers that Kazaa operates as a means of optimizing traffic, but it hums along just fine without them -- there is no off-switch.LinkDiscuss

Review of "Sonic Boom," a

Review of "Sonic Boom," a book that traces the history of the Napster suit and the music industry's heel-dragging passage into the twenty-first century.
In his book, John Alderman remembers attending one of the first online music conferences in the mid-1990s where an industry executive declared that the Net should be immediately closed down. Copyright protection had to take precedence over technological innovation. In contrast, the author of "Sonic Boom" -- then and now -- does get it. The music industry has no veto over the future. Its lobbyists and lawyers can only slow down the spread of peer-to-peer computing. Sooner or later, file sharing over broadband networks will become as unremarkable as making a phone call, watching television or using a computer today. The utopian vision of the Napster generation is technically feasible: every tune -- ever made -- for free. Quite rightly, what worries John Alderman is how anyone can earn a living from making music in such circumstances? While almost every other sector of the economy will be profiting from peer-to-peer computing, the music industry will have lost its major source of revenue: selling bits of plastic. Who then will pay the piper?

A blogger's plan to produce

A blogger's plan to produce cards protesting the Salvation Army's anti-gay insurance practice for depost (in lieu of cash) in sidewalk Santas' collection cauldrons has enraged Jerry Falwell.LinkDiscuss (via MeFi)

Scientists at UC San Diego

Scientists at UC San Diego have generated some fantastic CG pictures of neurons forming memory in the brain, based on research that generated evidence of how our brains change in response to experience.
"The long-term memories stored in our brain last our entire lives, so everybody had assumed that there must be lasting structural changes between neurons in the brain," says Michael A. Colicos, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSD and the lead author of the paper. "Although there's been a lot of suggestive evidence to indicate that this is the case, it's never before been directly observed."

The full spec for SMS

The full spec for SMS (the protocol used to send short messages to cellphones) includes the capacity for a "Ping" message, which can be used to determine if a phone is on or off/out-of-range. This is the kind of standard network utility that is perfectly sensible in the Internet universe -- chances are I can ping your computer right now and find out if it's on and where it's connected to on the Internet. Turns out that the idea of pinging phones freaks out a lot of people, though, as a German company discovered when they shipped a little Web app you could use to tell if your friends' phones were on or not, without alerting your friend or their carrier to the ping. The public outcry has caused them to abandon the project.LinkDiscuss

Run a webserver off your

Run a webserver off your keyboard! The world's tiniest TCP/IP stack and the world's tiniest webserver have been ported to the H8S/2148 chip, which is used in some keyboards. LinkDiscuss (via NTK)

Welsh 802.11 hackers are rolling

Welsh 802.11 hackers are rolling out a regional community wireless network using Pringles-can booster antennae as infrastructure. LinkDiscuss (via NTK)

Hilarious and badly-translated interview with

Hilarious and badly-translated interview with the crotchety ex-President of Italy, whose box was toasted by a bad Windows XP install, and is now intending to sue MSFT for the value of his archived data. The guy's got powerful friends, white-hot rage, and a lot of spare time...LinkDiscuss (via NTK)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden explains why

Patrick Nielsen Hayden explains why the Harry Potter movie has disappointed some fans of the novels.
I can hear the objection: you can't make a full-length novel into a feature film without leaving a lot out. (As Michael Cassutt says, a movie script is about the length of a novelette.) But it seems to me this is one of the commonest problems in translating the experience of good fantasy and science fiction into Hollywood films: not that Hollywood is actually any worse at characterization, plausibility, and imaginative brio than your average decent SF or fantasy writer, but rather, that for the average decent SF and fantasy writer, this kind of deep-background is the meat in the sandwich, whereas for Hollywood it's extra coleslaw to be thrown away.

And that's why prose SF and fantasy are sometimes subversive, whereas Hollywood translations of SF usually wind up being normative. Because if you're building a world with a history, you have to think about how worlds work, which means having and defending some opinions and outlooks which, the more you think about them, the more they become political. It Is No Accident (as we ancient leftoids say) that so much written SF and fantasy is about the relationship of the individual to the commonweal. But if you take all the backstory, history, and deep-background detail and discard it as inessential decoration, what you're left with is stories about good people who are good because they're good, in conflict with bad people who are bad because they're bad. Which is ultimately what all the "smelly little isms", the dreadful simplicities, Toryism and monarchism and fascism and Islamicism and all the rest, are all about: establishing that some kinds of people are just good (brave, generous, deserving, and unfairly maligned) and others are just bad (cowardly, exploitive, foul, and deserving of obloquy)--and to heck with all that sissy "background" frippery which Just Gets In The Way Of The Story.

Link (scroll down)Discuss

48 pages of "The Complete

48 pages of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction," which Karl Schroeder and I wrote last year, are scanned and available for your perusal on Amazon.LinkDiscuss

The Times of London

The Times of London has cooked up a bizarre infographic that purports to be a cutaway of ObL's secret cave fortress. Someone's been taking too many hits off the James Bond bong. Link Discuss

Teresa Nielsen Hayden's scathing review

Teresa Nielsen Hayden's scathing review of "Fascinating Womanhood," a hoary old marriage text that counsels Christian women on proper wifedom.
Helen Andelin preaches constant lying as a way of life. In essence she's saying that you and your husband can never love or respect each other for who you are -- not now, and not in the future. Nothing you can make of yourself will ever earn his honest, unmanipulated love and respect. Moreover, your husband will never mature into someone who can cope with the horrible realization that he's married to an adult human being of the same species as himself. That being the case, Andelin believes, your only option is to lie like a rug -- to spend your life engaging in manipulative, seductive, and servile behavior, in hopes that your husband will continue to be fond of you and treat you well.
LinkDiscuss (via Electrolite)

Headline of the week: "Kunduz

Headline of the week: "Kunduz shopkeeper narrowly avoids insight"LinkDiscuss (via Electrolite)

InPassing is a blog devoted

InPassing is a blog devoted to overheard conversation.
"Some engineer worked for years alone in a lab making circuit diagrams and signal flow graphs to make this sound card. And then some guy from Haas comes along and names it the 'Ultra Super Viper Pro 3800x."

--A guy outside Bowles Hall

Link Discuss (Thanks, Rich!)

Native Indian bands are alarmed

Native Indian bands are alarmed by the clause in the new Anti-Terrorism bill that restricts the wearing of masks and facepaint, as both are part of certain tribes' sacred rituals.LinkDiscuss (Thanks, Donovan!)

Remember Black Jacques Shellac? Slowpoke

Remember Black Jacques Shellac? Slowpoke Gonzales? Here's a gallery of forgotten Looney Tunes -- unsurpisingly, they are predominantly racial stereotypes, but there are a couple that history just forgot, like Bobo the Elephant and Rocky.LinkDiscuss (via Meerkat)

A Yahoo Op-Ed columnists reports

A Yahoo Op-Ed columnists reports that airport security guards stole her jewelry under the rubric of confiscating it because it posed a security risk, and speculates heightened security measures are giving dishonest security staff a sense of impunity.
As long as the airlines insist on going through the manifestly absurd exercise of treating all passengers the same in an obscure desire to impress The New York Times editorial page, the airlines ought to abandon the personal inspections altogether. We can't keep weapons out of prisons; we certainly can't keep them off airplanes -- not even by turning airports into the pleasant and welcoming environment of a federal penitentiary.

Indeed, after airport security confiscates any jewelry that might make a nice Christmas gift, the airlines hand out weapons on the planes. They still serve wine in glass goblets that can be smashed to create jagged glass daggers. They still serve soda in cans that can be twisted apart to create razor-sharp knives. They still have emergency exit doors that can be opened during flight, causing the plane to crash.

LinkDiscuss (Thanks, sunspot!)

Kevin Werbach discusses the possibility

Kevin Werbach discusses the possibility of unlicensed spectrum as a means of delivering subversive broadband.
Open spectrum wouldn't break the bandwidth bottleneck overnight. The necessary technology is still immature. In practice, there are still limits on how many users can communicate effectively, depending on available frequencies, power, competing uses and the design of transmitters and receivers. The benefit of open spectrum is that it's more efficient than the traditional licensing model, and that gap will widen over time.

The airwaves are a public resource. Thanks to technology, licensing them for exclusive use is no longer the best way to reap their benefits. By opening up the spectrum, we could build the foundations for a communications industry that works more like the computer industry, with rapid innovation and active competition. Instead of a tragedy of the commons, the result would be a triumph.

LinkDiscuss (via Meerkat)