Boing Boing 

Fantastic Metropolis has published my

Fantastic Metropolis has published my "(non-exhaustive, non-proscriptive) list of several noteworthy books that I read this year (including one book I'm in and a bunch of books by my pals and cronies)"
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link (Small Beer Press, 2001)

Kelly's first short story collection is wondrous, an 11-pack of fanciful gems. Link writes these understated, surreal gems that stick in your head for weeks and months after you've finished 'em. Summarizing a Link story is nearly impossible, as is figuring out how they work, so strange is their structure and style. That they are wonderful is indisputable, but it's one of those deals where you gotta read 'em to get 'em. Count yourself lucky to be alive and reading in the oughts, when Kelly Link's work is being published.

Link Discuss

Unicode is imperialism! Here's a

Unicode is imperialism! Here's a long, detailed and fascinating history of character codes, from Morse Code to Unicode. Unicode, it turns out, is a bit of a raw deal for the Chinese:
The reader might be asking him/herself how could all the world's characters be squeezed into 65,536 character points when it was mentioned above that a character set of about 65,000 characters is being developed at the University of Tokyo just for Japanese? The answer is that this was to be achieved through the "unification" of similar characters. No, all the 'A's in alphabetic scripts were not to be unified into one character point. What was to be unified were the thousands of Chinese characters that make up the scripts of East Asian languages. In fact, the Unicode Consortium has set up a Chinese/Japanese/Korean Joint Research Group (CJK-JRG) that is busily carrying out the Unicode Consortium's main goal, "Han Unification," even though the vast majority of the people living in the Han cultural sphere are probably not aware of what they are doing. To date, they have assigned approximately 20,000 Chinese characters to code points, and there are another 30,000 code points left to be filled. Although Unicode has been criticized as being little more than an exercise in
Link Discuss (Thanks, Allen)

StatsCan! The Globe and Mail's

StatsCan! The Globe and Mail's omnibus statistical roundup of Canadian survey responses in 2001:
88% of Canadians oppose human cloning while 4 per cent would want themselves to be cloned.

78% of Canadians eat peanut butter for breakfast; 54 per cent have it on toast and 9 per cent say they consume it straight from the jar.

58% of Canadians prefer sleep over sex.

48% of the population say the best remedy for depression is to spend more time with friends and family; 17 per cent say it's best to go shopping and 14 per cent advocate drinking more alcohol.

40% of men would have sex with a total stranger, compared with 12 per cent of women (16 per cent of men and 3 per cent of women also say they would make love to their best friend's partner).

Link Discuss

Cheating gift-cards. It turns out

Cheating gift-cards. It turns out to be fantastically easy to hack the magnetic in-store gift-cards sold at the point-of-sale of many chain stores.
A thief at a store buys a single gift card, but while standing in line, looks at the account numbers printed on the next 10 cards. Since the store’s cards are only glued to a piece of cardboard, rather than encased in packaging, the account numbers are easy to see.

The thief then goes home, and using a credit card encoder, reprograms the magnetic stripe to one of the account numbers lifted while in line. He then calls the 800 number provided by the store and finds out how much value was placed on the “stolen” card by a consumer who has since purchased it. The moment he is sure the card has been charged, the thief goes back into the store and spends the victim’s funds. Even though the account being drained is different from the account printed on the card the thief is using, the store is never the wiser, because clerks rarely check to see if the numbers match.

Link Discuss (via /.)

Unspeakably cool galley of

Unspeakably cool galley of Fisher Price Little People, decorated to look like characters from: The Addams Family, Alice in Wonderland, Batman's Villains, Calvin and Hobbes, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Chronicles of Narnia, Dukes of Hazzard, Deep Space Nine, Empire Strikes Back Fisher Price, Flintstones, Fraggle Rock, Futurama Fisher Price, G-Force/Battle of the Planets, Gilligan's Island, Gotham City, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones Fisher Price, Jetsons, JLA/Superfriends, Land of the Lost, Legion of Doom, Muppets Fisher Price, Muppet Babies Fisher Price, Muppets Tonight Fisher Price, Nativity Fisher Price, New Titans, The Norm, Return of the Jedi Fisher Price, Rocky Horror Picture Show Fisher Price, Scooby-Doo, Sesame Street Fisher Price, Simpsons, Sleeping Beauty Fisher Price, Space Ghost, Spider Man, Star Trek, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars:Episode Two, The Matrix, The Phantom Menace, Wedding Cake Topper Fisher Price, The Wizard of Oz, The X-Men, Universal Monsters, and the X-Files. Link Discuss (via Fark)

The old gas con. Fascinating

The old gas con. Fascinating story of a WWI-era conman who bilked Ford and others out of a fortune for a mythical substance that turned water into gasoline. Link Discuss (Thanks, Xowie!)

Heather Champ of was

Heather Champ of was the high bidder on my first iron-on, and she is holding a contest to give it away. Link Discuss

Leaked casting notes for Harry

Leaked casting notes for Harry Potter 2.
Hugh Mitchell, 12, will reportedly play Colin Creevey, Harry's biggest fan, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Bonnie Wright will reappear as Ginny Weasley, the site reported.

Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones' Diary) will play Moaning Myrtle, the ghost who haunts the girls' bathroom. Alfred Burke will appear as Hogwarts' former headmaster, Armando Dippet, and Julian Glover will provide the voice of Aragog the giant spider, the site reported.

Link Discuss

Palm Desktop Beta for OSX

Palm Desktop Beta for OSX released today. Link Discuss

Teresa's produced a spectacular, humorous

Teresa's produced a spectacular, humorous and exhaustive roundup of worthy Tolkien resources online on Making Light. Link Discuss

Stefan sez: "New Zealand postage

Stefan sez: "New Zealand postage stamps feature scenes from the Fellowship of the Ring movie! You can buy the entire set for about US$110 plus shipping. Y'know, if NZ can get advance shots from The Two Towers, they could have stamps that would bring them a windfall from Norte Americana fanboys." Link Discuss

First-hand shoebomb account. A blogger

First-hand shoebomb account. A blogger who'd been seated a few rows over from Richard Reid describes his experiences on Flight 63.
I wake up as my sister smells burning. Like a match burning, or some plastic. We look around and a flight attendant tells 29H to "put it out". 29H was a bit of a dodgy guy. Tall, with a hate and unshaven. The flight attendant panics into the aisle and cries out for people to restrain him. At this point I imagined an explosion around the guy. Scary. We later find out she had been bitten and is bleeding. General panic ensues, but some rather large guys (not the crew, they were old and weak) start twisting his arms, wrestling him, and hold him down. People throw water on him (everyone had smelt the burning). There were no restraints on board at all: we used belts, headphone wires, anything.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Joey and Nat!)

Please review Boing Boing's new

Please review Boing Boing's new official disclaimer. Thanks to KPMG for providing the template. Template? It's more than that. KPMG's disclaimer is the gold standard for stupidity. Carpetbaggers, go home! Link Discuss

Infopocalypse plans. From the FOI-list:

Infopocalypse plans. From the FOI-list: "Here is an fascinating report on telecommunications disaster planning, which includes very helpful charts on the worst tornados, the worst hurricanes, the worst floods, the worst earthquakes, chemical spills, rail disasters, etc...Something tells me that this site will become more sanitized in the near future, so you may wish to look around while it is still there." Link, Link, Link, Link Discuss (via Interesting People)

Bush's Arab guard kicked off

Bush's Arab guard kicked off plane. "An Arab-American member of President Bush's security detail was denied passage on an American Airlines flight from Baltimore to Dallas Tuesday evening." The Secret Service and pilot pulled him off the flight, questioned him for 1.5h, refused to check his story out, and kicked him off the flight. Link Discuss

TiVo had a kickass Christmas

TiVo had a kickass Christmas -- yeah!
Hodge found that TiVo-based DVRs were sold out at online retail sites,,,,,, and Sonystyle. He also checked with 25 Best Buy, Circuit City and Good Guys retail stores and found that 19 were sold out of TiVo-based DVRs.
Link Discuss

Morpheus 2.0 will search Gnutella,

Morpheus 2.0 will search Gnutella, support the Mac. Provided they don't get sued into oblivion, first, obviously. Link Discuss

Potter future. JK Rowling discusses

Potter future. JK Rowling discusses the fifth Harry Potter book. Link Discuss

Kevin "Jay and Silent Bob"

Kevin "Jay and Silent Bob" Smith directs the Council of Elrond.
Yo, check this shit. Me and Silent Gimli here, we got a plan. We stole an outline of the Dark Lord's whole scheme, and found a weakness just like the fuckin' Death Star. If somebody takes the ring to Mordor, and throws it in that fiery pit-thing, fuckin' bickety-bam, Sauron's whole kingdom comes down.
Link Discuss (via Fark)

Dumpster diving. This is one

Dumpster diving. This is one of the best accounts of the strange elation of dumpster diving I've ever read. It's Dirk Jamison's first-hand account of his father's revelation that life was too short to do shit-work for eating money, especially when you can trash an unlimited supply of free eats and treats at any supermarket you care to name. The trash lifestyle drove the final nail into Jamison's parents' marriage, tore apart the family, and makes for some very gripping reading.
Whenever things got ugly between my parents, Dad would split for a while. Mom always said "separated" on the telephone with her friends. Dad said "vacation." Once, he drove his orange Honda 350 to Baja to spearfish and lounge in his hammock. He sent a postcard claiming that trash in Mexico really was trash. Another time, he flew alone to Hawaii (knowing Mom had always been dreamy for it), bleached his hair white, and got a permanent, which he wore like a haystack with a red bandana around it. He was touring reefs on small rented catamarans while Mom was crawling under the house with that damn propane torch to thaw the pipes.
Link Discuss (via MeFi)

Hey, Blogger's back up! Great

Hey, Blogger's back up! Great work, Ev. What a shitty way to spend Boxing Day -- thanks for pulling through for us. Discuss

Craven's McGee's Carroll's Dodgson's Alice.

Craven's McGee's Carroll's Dodgson's Alice. Wes Craven is making a big-budget CGI adaptation of American McGee's Alice, a dark and creepy videogame based on Alice in Wonderland and built on the Quake engine. Link Discuss

Apes get high. Apes seek

Apes get high. Apes seek out and consume hallucinogenic plants. Link Discuss (via Fark)

IT's not a scooter. Bob

IT's not a scooter. Bob "Ethernet Inventor" Metcalfe:
"Some months ago when speculation was running high, I said that Kamen's It was more important than the Internet, but not as important as cold fusion, had cold fusion worked out. The It I was talking about, which I did not disclose, was NOT Segway. That's all I can say."
Link Discuss (Thanks, ronks!)

Tips for searching Google for

Tips for searching Google for special characters like #, +, and so on.
Even more interesting is the way Google handles the "+" character. Google will find words of any length followed by any number of + characters. This means you can find "A+", "C++", even "plus++++". Words with + in the middle of them, such as "a+++b" will treat the last + as a space and find "a++ b". +'s at the beginning of a word are ignored, so "++x" is the same as a search for "x".
Link Discuss (via Robot Wisdom)

Hi-test coffee batteries. Sony's demoed

Hi-test coffee batteries. Sony's demoed a Li-on batt that runs on old coffee-grounds.
The company said that it has currently established a mass-production process, which had been proposed, for the carbonaceous negative electrodes using waste coffee grounds. The achievement of using coffee grounds as material of negative electrode already have been disclosed in the company's environmental report. A lot of grounds from strained coffee beans are available, estimated to be 300,000 tons annually, where coffee-in-a-can is consumed in large quantities in Japan. However, there was no recycling method for those lees, so it is expected to be an efficient utilization to use in the lithium-ion secondary battery as a negative electrode.
Link Discuss (via Interesting People)

Economist's tech roundup. The Economist's

Economist's tech roundup. The Economist's tech-year in review is a half-day's worth of fascinating reading: Designer plastics, nanodrugs, P2P archiving, wireless security, and so on. Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)

Vac-rant! The VacMan site is

Vac-rant! The VacMan site is full of lengthy, crazed, paragraph-free rants about vacuum cleaners. It's full of incoherent goodness!
All canister vacuums are "bag first" collection machines, though not all are "top fill", which performs better. Canisters perform better and last longer than all uprights, except a Sebo X-1, the worlds only "VACUUM WITH A BRAIN"(TM) by design, because they sit on the ground and do not have Gravity working against them,in fact it works for them. The American/Japanese/Chinese & Korean made canisters and uprights are a long way behind the German Miele canisters & Sebo X-1 upright, worlds only vacuum that "THINKS"(TM) Vacuums in Filtration Technology, Quality of Workmanship, Design, Engineering and Safety Features that protect your investment. The German made Miele canisters & Sebo X-1 uprights are also way ahead in Cost of Ownership and only a Miele canister & Sebo X-1 upright will pay for itself in 10 years or less, due to "cost of ownership / maintainance and amp draw"
Link Discuss (via Memepool)

The Dark Matter is Hostile.

The Dark Matter is Hostile. The Internet's "Dark Matter" pops online long enough to send spam, launch attacks, then vanishes.
The specifications that govern the way routers co-ordinate to ensure the net keeps running are unfortunately susceptible to subversion by those who are determined enough.

Routers can be made to pose as particular net addresses and be used to launch barrages of data at other target sites.

"The sheer quantity of routing information, coupled with the lack of security both in routers and the routing protocol itself create an infrastructure that is increasingly unwieldy and vulnerable," said Craig Labovitz, lead researcher on the Arbor Network study.

Other parts of the internet, mainly sites used by the US military, are lost because they use old addresses that no router references anymore.

LInk Discuss (via /.)

2002's coolest tech. CNN's summary

2002's coolest tech. CNN's summary of hot tech trends for 2002 is amazingly clueful, especially given the normally lightweight reportage we've come to expect from CNN.
Scintillating screens: Organic-light-emitting diodes

What is it? A replacement for LCD screen technology.

What's cool? OLEDs rely on organic materials that emit light, so they require no backlighting. That makes them cheaper to produce and less power-hungry than LCDs. They're a natural choice for portable devices when battery life is a key concern. OLED screens are also thinner than LCDs, and the technology can be printed on flexible materials such as plastic. Imagine a computer screen that rolls up and down like a window shade.

When's it coming? Two to three years for PDAs and cell phones; five to ten for laptops and desktop displays.

What's the catch? It's early. Color fidelity can be a problem. Building active-matrix OLED displays -- in which each pixel is controlled by two transistors, or twice as many as on a standard notebook LCD -- erodes some cost and power advantages.

Impact meter: 5

Link Discuss (via /.)