Kelly Link wins a Neb!

Hey! Kelly Link won the Nebula yesterday for her fantastic story, "Louise's Ghost," from her even-more-fantastic collection, "Stranger Things Happen" (run, don't walk!) Link   Discuss (Thanks, Pat!)

Report from the futur[e|ists]

All the big thinkers are hanging out at the Foresight Institute's retreat this weekend, and Dan Gillmor's taking notes:
Ray Kurzweil is doing his usual amazing job of explaining the mind-boggling nature of exponential change -- the acceleration of progress. He's the ultimate optimist.

His future is one where biology and machines become seamless, where machines and intelligence help humanity become (in my mind) somewhat disturbingly "God-like," for lack of a better expression. I also crave that future, because it is where we need to go.

You have to take a lot of this on faith. Kurzweil says these changes, which will lead to advances that we truly cannot grasp at this stage, are inexorable and vastly more powerful than human civilization's greatest dreams today.

"We will become these machines and merge with them," he says.

Another line: "The universe will ultimately wake up and command its own destiny." Hmmm.

Dan's been really good about going to all these hyper-leet events and taking realtime notes as they unfold. It's journalism 3.0! Link Discuss

My brother's getting married!

My kid brother, Neil, got down on one knee today and proposed to his girlfriend, Tera. They were on the rugby pitch, with both families in attendance. She said yes. I'm gonna have a sister-in-law! Mazeltov, kids. Discuss

Golden age Apple ad

Charles sez: "Vintage 1985 video from Apple. See a nostalgic demonstration of Pagemaker 1.0 with a Mac 128 and a Laserwriter. See Apple blow it with their infamous 1988 "HeloCar" advertising campaign." Link Discuss (Thanks, Charles!)

Corpse discovered in WDW's Seven Seas Lagoon

The body of a tourist was discovered in Walt Disney World's Seven Seas Lagoon. The man had been staying at the Grand Floridian Hotel, and had been seen earlier arguing with his wife. Link Discuss (via New World Disorder)

Send Blagg feeds by email

Rael's created a new plugin for Blagg, his RSS aggregator, that emails the contents of you aggregated feed to the address of your choice. Link Discuss

What would Jesus rent?

The Distributed Republic of Biblestan, all those fundie communities scattered around the US, have their own video-stores. The Cleanflicks Co-Op is a by-fundies/for-fundies video-rental chain that rents sanitized versions of Hollywood blockbusters -- think Beverley Hills Cop without any swearing.
The store defines itself as a co-op so that when customers sign up for memberships, they can be said to technically "own" the videos they rent from the store. The chain, which has yet to be challenged by Hollywood, now has stores in Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho, and aims to have a shop in every state by the end of 2002.
Call it the dark side of the Doctrine of First Sale. Link Discuss

The Hollings Bill isn't dead

More evidence that the Hollings Bill (CBDTPA: Consume, But Don't Try Programming Anything) isn't going to pass this year, if at all. As I suspected, this bill is a smokescreen for the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group in Hollywood. Check this out:
In a speech last week, [Commerce Department undersecretary for intellectual property] Rogan said that "negotiations are presently underway among hardware manufacturers and content owners to develop improved means for protecting online content," and legislators should wait for results before voting on a proposal such as the Hollings bill.

"Before Congress rushes into the imposition of a legislative solution," Rogan said, "I hope its members will grant more time for the free market to find its own middle ground."

Those negotiations are the BPDG, a consipiracy of 15-some tech and entertainment companies. They're writing a "standard" that they've asked Hollings to give the FCC the power to give the force of law to. It will be illegal to manufacture or distribute any device or software that can access digital broadcast TV if it doesn't meet the "standard."

And what will the "standard" require? Well, for starters, all tech will have to be "tamper-resistant," which means that you won't be able to tinker with the hardware and software you own. Open source will be illegal.

Those devices that are allowed will only be permitted to incorporate cables and media that limit copying. And new technologies will only be added to the list of permitted tech if Hollywood says so (the standard that the studios have proposed for evaluating new tech is "We'll know it when we see it").

Imagine it: HDTV devices and computers that interface with them will only be allowed to incorporate broken technologies that Hollywood permits. If your computer monitor doesn't include the "approved" inputs, it will be against the law for your computer to output a digital video stream to it. The manufacturer will have two choices:

  1. Add a second input that uses a "protected" method (you'll need two wires to connect your computer to your monitor)
  2. Take away the "unprotected" input and just use one, "protected" wire, which means that you won't be able to buy a computer that allows you to do anything you want with the video that you make on your own
We all got upset about the Hollings Bill because it would use the force of law to control how a computer could be made. The BPDG will do exactly that -- it's not a "free market middle-ground," it's Hollywood's absolute dominion over your machine.

Don't let 'em fool you -- CBDTPA is just another way of spelling BPDG, and it's a-comin' soon. The BPDG says it'll have its standard finalized by May 17, and no one's even noticing. The BPDG meetings are public (though they cost $100 to attend). There's one coming up in LA on Monday, and wouldn't it be sweet if a couple hundred of us showed up to tell 'em what we think? Link Discuss

The market punishes Verisign

Verisign's stock fell 46% yesterday. Only 54% to go before it is planted in its grave, and we can buy its managers' laptops at bankruptcy auctions and blog their private email. Soon, soon... Let's put Verisign to death! Link Discuss

Sorry, leg amputees are not considered vertically challenged

Craig's List rocks:
Distinguished adult film company in search of midgets, dwarfs, and other vertically challenged men and women for an ultra sexy oompa loompa gang bang. The lucky few who will be selected must fit into our stylish crotch less oompa loompa costumes. If you are allergic to latex based makeup, body paint, do not wish to become a rich/famous adult film star, and or do not like rough wild oompa sex please do not apply. Sorry, leg amputees are not considered vertically challenged and will not be considered for this film.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Jef!)

Dog-juice at the World Cup

The World Cup games in Seoul will feature dog-meat-juice as a means of showing foreigners the innocence of canine comestibles. This reads like an Onion article, but the Hindustan Times seems a little sober-sided for hoaxing.
"We plan to develop canned dog meat tonic juice, which football fans can enjoy in their stadium seats while watching games," said Choi Han-Gwon, a leader of a national association of dog meat restaurants.

"They will enjoy it instead of Coke," he said.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Michael!)

ICANN reform, an alternative view

Elliot "Tucows" Noss and some pals have penned an alternate ICANN reform proposal: The Heathrow Declaration.
1.      The governance of the DNS should be appropriate and proportionate to the nature and needs of the DNS. Accordingly, the governance of the DNS should not outlast the useful life of the DNS. This result is more likely to be achieved if governance of the DNS is more responsive to popular demand for domain names and a coherent working DNS than to formal arrangements among states.

  2.      Owing to the role of states in the management of country codes, the role of a central manager of the DNS, such as ICANN, is naturally larger in relation to generic TLDs than it is in relation to country codes.

3.      Those who wish to participate in the management of the DNS should contribute to the funding of it, possibly with some exception for non-profit entities.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Elliot!)

Skippy's been a bad GI

213 Things Skippy Schwarz is No Longer Allowed to Do in the US Army:
16. Must get a haircut even if it tampers with my 'Sampson like powers'.

17. God may not contradict any of my orders.

18. May no longer perform my now (in)famous 'Barbie Girl Dance' while on duty.

19. May not call any officers immoral, untrustworthy, lying, slime, even if I'm right.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Jet!)

Nuclear license plates

Nevada is shipping mushroom-cloud license plates. I'm on a dirt-slow, massivley unreliable network connection; maximum gratitude to anyone who posts the URL for a < 300 pixel wide jpeg in the discussion area. (Thanks, Casey!)
"Nevada being Nevada, this is a unique subject," said Rick Bibbero, 55, a real estate agent in Minden who won $500 with his design for the license tag. "You wouldn't find California trying to memorialize something like this, but this is our past," said Bibbero, who said he's neither for nor against the federal government's plan to entomb 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste beneath a volcanic ridge 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Tom!)

Send this art-car to Burning Man

My pal Jet's selling funny stickers and t-shirt to underwrite the expense of building a killer art-car to take to Burning Man. Link Discuss