Here's a good debunking of the Herbalife MLM scam that is responsible for the choking of the world's streets with "WORK FROM HOME" signs on every possible surface. The author is really nonconfrontational in his language, patiently stepping through the impossibility of making money at MLMs, and talking in depth about the cost to society through the uglification of our commons with millions of shrill "ASK ME HOW" plastic signs.
They all had the SAME message. It was a woman's voice, and she started the message with a distinctive "Ya know". In the upcoming days of  phone number investigation, I heard this message dozens of times. The next one was a wrong number, the sixth number was the "ya know" message. The seventh number had a different message, but it had some aspects of the first message, "20-year industry leader" and "tap into mail-order".  This message, too, was an effort to send me a 14-page booklet.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan!)

Sterling in 300 words

Bruce Sterling's written a story using only the 300 most common words in the English language. It's a little short on eyeball kicks, but the rhythm's pretty tasty.

As many of you figured out, I had the wrong file pasted in. Below is the corrected text. Sorry. Busy day.

The of, and a to in, is you. That it? He for was on -- are as with his they. At be this: "From I have, or by one had not; but what all were." When we there can: an your which! Their said, "If do will each about, how up out them?" Then she many -- some -- so these would other into. Has more; her two, like him. See, time could no make than first.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Bruce!)

Searching for Bruttney Spears

Here's a Google page with a list of all the different spellings people have used to search for Britney Spears. (And this list doesn't even include all the variations on "spears," either!) Some are obviously typos, but plenty are just shots in the dark at getting her name right. Link Discuss

Fly a Plane, Get Cancer

If the terrorists don't get you, cosmic rays will. Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:
Though not widely known, in-flight radiation is becoming a growing concern among researchers, crew members and the fliers who have to log thousands of miles a month. On any flight, radiation from stars penetrates the airplane, and experts say repeated exposure may be a health risk, similar to getting too many X-rays. The issue has not only led to changes at some foreign airlines, but prompted the FAA to set up a new radiation Web site. And next year, the U.S. government plans to release findings on the long-term effects on crew members, covering everything from miscarriages to cancer.
Link Discuss

Mission to Mercury

NASA is planning a mission to Mecury in 2004. The unmanned orbiting satellite will take pictures of the planet and collect information on the planet's composition and atmosphere. Interestingly, Mercury is the only planet besides Earth with a magnetic field. (Makes you wonder how John Carter made his way around Barsoom.) Link Discuss

Yahoo's new "privacy" policy

Yahoo's new "privacy" policy will hand your personal data over for legal investigation (Zed asks: "any government agency that asks? domestic or foreign? non-governmental organizations?"). Even better:
by interacting with or viewing an ad you are consenting to the possibility that the advertiser will make the assumption that you meet the targeting criteria used to display the ad
Link Discuss (Thanks, Zed!)

Cellphones and the military don't mix

Chinese soldiers are barred from carrying mobile phones and pagers, to protect military secrets. The article implies that the ban extends to off-duty soldiers, too. Are landlines so unheard-of in China that you can stop long-distance communication by banning mobiles? Link Discuss

Seizure dogs

A new kind of service dog can predict epileptic seizures through subtle changes in their owners' behavior -- now, if we can only get fast-food franchisees to stop kicking them out of their restaurants. Link Discuss

The DMCA finally takes down an infringer -- well, that was worth it

The DMCA has finally been used to prosecute someone who was infringing on copyright. It's the first time.
Mohsin Mynaf, a 36-year-old from Vacaville, California, was accused of running a videocassette reproduction lab in his home to pirate movies that he rented or sold at three video stores...

``It's the first time the DMCA has been used to go after someone who is actually infringing copyright,'' Robin Gross, an EFF staff attorney, said after hearing about the Mynaf plea agreement.

Link Discuss

The Web is *not* boring

Every six or eight months, the NYT dredges up some netphobe to tell us all that The Web is Boring. Derek takes exception to the assertion, and is inviting people to suggest non-boring things online.
Now is a great time for the web! I've seen more interesting projects turn up in the last year than I can count, and I feel like we're just getting started. Weblogs, community sites, real world experiments. RSS, XML, web services. And more and more.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Derek!)

Multiethnic head-cases

Culture-specific psychosomatic illnesses from around the world:
qi-gong psychotic reaction: (China) an acute, time-limited episode characterized by dissociative, paranoid, or other psychotic or nonpsychotic symptoms that occur after participating in the Chinese folk health-enhancing practice of qi-gong.

koro: (Malaysia) an episode of sudden and intense anxiety that the penis (or in the rare female cases, the vulva and nipples) will recede into the body and possibly cause death.

spell: (southern U.S.) a trance state in which individuals "communicate" with deceased relatives or with spirits.

Link Discuss (via Schism Matrix)

Another bad day for the differently plastinated

A University lecturer smashed one of the plastinated corpse exhibits at the Atlantis Gallery in London with a hammer. Everybody's a critic.
Mr Lee, from Islington, North London, has been charged with criminal damage and will appear at Thames Magistrates' Court next month. He believes that a jury will agree with his view that you cannot commit criminal damage on a dead body. He said yesterday: "I decided I would walk into the exhibition with a hammer and smash up the most expensive exhibit to make the point that you cannot turn bodies into commercial exhibits."

He launched the attack after seeing the young girl being taken around the gallery. "I was enraged that he (Professor von Hagen) was capable of inflicting that horrific exhibition on an innocent child. I smashed up one of them to smithereens. It's not easy to hit a hammer through a dead body and it took some doing."

Link Discuss (via Link)

Run Office on Linux

Crossover lets you install and run MSFT Office on an Intel/AMD Linux box without an emulator. Office for Linux! Looks like there're still some bugs and performance issues, but with any luck they'll sort 'em out.
Installation of all Office programs under CrossOver was point-and-click easy. After installation, all of the basic functions of each Office program worked well. Only features that involved graphics, such as adding clip art to Word documents or animations to PowerPoint files, were somewhat unstable.

Office programs loaded and operated quickly under CrossOver, but slowed, sometimes to a crawl, when more than two applications or several windows in one application were open at once.

Outlook was the most difficult program to set up, and it occasionally froze during long e-mail transfers. Internet Explorer performed perfectly, as did Windows Media Player 7, although sound in the player was muffled even at the highest volume settings.

Link Discuss

Benefits: Quality time with Tom Cruise and John Travolta

"Los Angeles-based PR agency seeking journalist/writer to work exclusively on the account of a not-for-profit, somewhat controversial not-for-profit association. The client is a spiritual growth/personal development -type movement. The opposition is made of disgruntled members/apostates and is very active on hate sites on the internet." Scientology, I presume? Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)

Advertising on tombstones

Tell me this is an April Fool's gag:
Acclaim Entertainment has announced that advertisements for its game Shadow Man: 2econd Coming for the PlayStation 2 are set to appear on gravestones across the UK as part of the first advertising campaign to use memorial plaques as part of a marketing strategy. The company is inviting relatives of the recently deceased to contact them if they are interested in subsidizing the costs associated with death in return for a small advertisement promoting the game with lead character Mike LeRoi's head and the logo as seen in the photo attached to this story.

Shaun White, communications manager at Acclaim said, "The concept of what we're calling 'deadvertising' is entirely consistent with the theme of the Shadow Man: 2econd Coming game and provides us with a permanent presence for our advertising. Content and context are two important principles of marketing Shadow Man."

Link Discuss (Thanks, Zed!)