Boing Boing 

NSA Echelon Facility at Yakima, Washington


Boing Boing reader Stricky says,

Here is the Google Maps reference of the Yakima Echelon station, twin to the Sugar Grove facility mentioned in the earlier Boing Boing post, and here are aerial photos: Link one, Link two.
Previously:

Profile of NSA "listening post" for communications spying. Note: aerial photographs of the Sugar Grove NSA facility referenced in that post came from Cryptome.org, which moved the images off-site earlier this week. Then, the site to which they were relocated went offline. Cryptome.org is back online, but the Sugar Grove images are not.

Reader comment: Tony says,

Here are some more photos from the Echelon spy network, including some of the site here in New Zealand at Waihopai -- Link. Nicky Hagar also wrote a book about NZ's role in the network in 1996 -- Link.
Reader comment: Anonymous says,
There's a facility much like the one pictured, just outside Sacramento, California. Google Map's photos of the region are all super low res (Link) but TerraServer is a bit clearer (if black and white) -- Link

RIP: Joe Owades, biochemist who invented "lite" beer

The inventor of "lite" beer, Joe Owades, died in Sonoma, California, on December 16 at age 86.
Owades was an American biochemist whose chief area of interest originally had been cholesterol. In the early 1950s, however, when work was hard to come by, he took a post first with a laboratory specialising in fermentation science and later one with Rheingold, then among the largest breweries in New York.

Beer is made by the fermentation of sugars obtained from various grains, principally barley. Owades realised that it could be made to feel less heavy on the stomach if many of the excess carbohydrates produced by the brewing process were removed.

Link

Presidential porno-protest posters proliferate in Austria

Art spoof posters that depict Britain's Queen Elizabeth shagging the presidents of the U.S. and France have been (snort) erected throughout Vienna. They popped up just days before Austria is scheduled to take over the EU presidency, much to the embarassment of government officials. Coverage of this odd story in the US has so far been devoid of images -- but trust Boing Boing to stoop where real news organizations will not. Austria's equivalent of the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is said to have funded the campaign. Here are a few shots on Idealog, and the whole series is available as a torrent here.
(Thanks, Sean, and Idealog)

Reader comment: Christopher Granade says,

According to Raw Story, these posters have been removed from Vienna bilboards. From the story, "Austrian media reported that the offending images were yanked yesterday – just a day after they started flashing at motorists – on personal orders of Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel. A woman answering the telephone at the chancellor's public information department who refused to identify herself said she could not confirm the report."

Tale of the tortoise and the hippo

A year after they first met, Owen, the baby hippo that survived last December's Tsunami, and Mzee, a 130-year-old tortoise are still best pals. They live together at the Haller Park preserve in Mombasa, Kenya. From Snopes.com:
 Photos Animals Graphics HippoBereaved by the forces of nature and discovered by wildlife rangers near certain death in the Indian Ocean off Malindi, the one-year-old male hippo calf dubbed Owen was on 27 December 2004 placed in Haller Park, a wildlife sanctuary in the coastal city of Mombassa, Kenya.

As soon as he was placed in his enclosure, the orphaned youngster immediately ran to the giant tortoise also housed in that space. The tortoise, named Mzee (Swahili for "old man") and estimated to be between 100 and 130 years old, was not immediately taken with the brash newcomer – he turned and hissed, forcing the hippo to back away. Yet Owen persisted in following the tortoise around the park (and even into a pool), and within days the pair had forged a friendship, eating and sleeping together. Owen has even been seen to lick the tortoise, whom he regards as his new mother. (Wildlife workers speculated that Owen may have been attracted to Mzee as a parental figure because the tortoise's shape and color are similar to those of an adult hippopotamus.) Link (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)
This week, children's book publisher Scholastic has announced the publication of a book based on their tale. "Owen and Mzee: the True Story of a Remarkable Friendship" was co-written by Craig Hatkoff, his seven-year-old daughter Isabella, and Dr. Paula Kahumbo of Haller Park.
Link

Proud owner poses with GOATSE license plate

 Jpgs Goatse2Lucky recipient of GOATSE license plate shows it off.
Link (Goatse refers to a photo that will cause permanent brain damage if you look at it. Read about it here.)

Mr Jalopy's love/hate relationship with the Complete New Yorker

Mr Jalopy says the New Yorker is "the finest magazine ever published." So you can bet he was excited when the New Yorker published the Complete New Yorker, an 8-DVD set containing scans of every issue of the New Yorker since the first issue in 1925, including even the ads.

When Mr Jalopy installed the application on his Macintosh, however, he was disappointed to discover that he had to frequently swap the discs. It ruined his reading experience. So he decided to copy all the discs to his hard drive. But the digital rights management woven into the software prevented him from doing that.

He asked readers of his blog, Hooptyrides, for suggestions on how to fix the problem. Plenty of smart people offered ideas, but nothing quite worked. Now Mr Jalopy is disgusted with the New Yorker for producing such an unnecessarily ugly product. His commentary about the New Yorker's foolish stance on copy protection (which, by the way, does nothing to prevent people from copying and pirating the discs, but makes it damn near impossible for the owner of the discs to copy them to his hard drive for legal personal use) makes for excellent reading.

 Blogger 350 520 1600 Picture-2.0 I am so profoundly disappointed. The New Yorker is in the business of selling magazines. Certainly, they make a few dollars off the Cartoon Bank and their various editorial compilations, but I would bet, that the overwhelming money comes from ad space. Perhaps I am wrong, but I doubt it. What are they afraid of? The 8 DVD's are going to be on P2P sites? The New Yorker is concerned that people will be downloading 60 GBs to read old Talk of the Town snippets? That high school kids are going to be trading them in the parking lot? They will be sold on street corners along with Harry Potter? Wouldn't this huge black market of Complete New Yorker piracy just create more demand for the magazine and more ad space dollars? It is fitting of a New Yorker cartoon!

I would be downloading all 60GBs, I am that devoted. But I don't have to because The Complete New Yorker is cheap, beautifully packaged and comes with a great highlights book. The scans are good, the software adequate, the extracts are decent so the searching really works, but I do revoke my recommendation that it is worth buying. You buy it, but you don't own it. Conde Nast still owns it. You can't use it in a fair, legal and sensible manner and you don't know that until you own it, as it doesn't have a sticker reading 'This DVD is Fucked.' It is not unreasonable to expect that consumers would choose to archive and eliminate the onerous disc swapping that is caused by being spread over 8 DVDs.

Mister Jalopy has four entries on his blog about this: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Reader comment: Glenn Fleishman says: "The Cartoon Bank almost certainly grosses between $4 million and $10 million a year, and produces a very fine net that may be in the millions. I wrote about the brilliant Bob Mankoff back in 1998 to 2001 in several articles across a few different publications. For instance, back six years ago, he told me that 'On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog' had netted the cartoonist $100,000 for his share. And that was six years ago. They don't release a lot of numbers, but I got some out of him, which is the basis for my wide range based on their projects since.

"In fact, I've argued elsewhere that when The New Yorker has been profitable, it's profit boost must be almost entirely attributable to The Cartoon Bank, which has extremely high margins as it's scaled up: they have a staff and a database, but much of the routine work happens during production of each magazine now that they've scanned all the cartoons in the back issues."

Reader comment: OM says: "That annoying 'disk swap' issue isn’t limited to the New Yorker collection. Pretty much any scanned magazine collection is set up along similar annoyances. Probably the most annoying example I have is the massive National Geographic set from 1998. Having ample hard drive space on my servers, it should have been an option to dump the entire contents on one hard drive for ease and speed of viewing. But nope, they’re afraid you’ll dump the whole thing on your hard drive and make a Ghost image to give to your friends. Which is basically what the NatGeo Society told everyone who bought the set and bitched about it – especially those who’re actually long-standing subscribing members! To be honest, the disk swapping was so damn annoying that I took the set back to the store I got it from – believe it or not, this place would take software returns on this package because a *LOT* of old NatGeo members had been screwed, and there’s nothing more irate than a bunch of senior citizens who’re worldly educated *and* have just gotten the shaft by an organization they’ve trusted for decades.

"You’d hope that other magazines would have learned from this lesson, but nope. They’ve been seduced by the demons known as 'BSA' and 'SPA' into believing that *everyone* is a pirate"

What 250 lbs of Silly Putty looks like

Clay Bavor, a product manager at Google, bought an eighth of a ton of Silly Putty and put it into one huge pile on his desk. After taking the photo above, he attempted to break the Silly Putty into chunks to distribute it to his friends. It wasn't as easy as he had hoped.
 Uploaded Images Putty Clay-738871The problem was that once together, Silly Putty doesn't like to come apart, and none of us had any idea of how to deal with this effect. We tried everything: very strong people (didn't work), scissors (stabbing worked, slicing didn't), 28-gauge steel wire (broke), 22-gauge steel wire (broke), 16-gauge steel wire (too thick), and twisting and breaking (worked well for "smaller" pieces -- under five pounds, that is.)
Link (via Neatorama)

Mark on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today at 12pm PT

I'll be on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," for a live, call-in talk program on the "Do It Yourself" culture. It's today at 3pm ET (noon PT). Link

Syriana screenplay snippet reveals interesting edit (UPDATED)


Some Canadian guy I met in the elevator the other day sends this scan of a page from the original screenplay for Syriana, and says:

The line, as people have seen in the trailer and the movie, is "Corruption is why we win." This is a monologue about the virtues of corruption delivered by the actor Tim Blake Nelson, who plays an Oil industry lobbyist from the south named Danny Dalton, to Jeffrey Wright, an African-American corporate lawyer named Bennett Holiday.

One wonders why the writer/director Stephen Gaghan dropped the racist slur. Probably because it would further demonize a character who is already portrayed as amoral.

Link to full-size image of scanned page.

And if you haven't seen the film yet, you must. Link.

See also the related participate.net "Oil Change" website: Link, and this MP3 of a roundtable discussion with George Clooney, Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Siddig, See No Evil author Robert Baer, and writer/director Stephen Gaghan, interviewed by John Gallagher for the National Board of Review: Link.

Update: Warner Brothers has released the entire text of the Syriana screenplay online: Link.

Comedy Central downs "Bloody Mary": South Park episode yanked


Daze of dazereader.com says,

Comedy Central might or might not have deleted the South Park episode "Bloody Mary" from tonight's schedule after protests from offended conservative Catholics.
In this season finale episode, which first aired on December 7, a local statue of the Virgin Mary bleeds from its ass. Townsfolk think it's a miracle. Emperor Palpatine Pope Benedict XVI visits to inspect the statue in person, determines that it is instead bleeding from its vagina, and declares: "A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time." Link to DazeReader post with details.

Update: Confirmed -- the December 7 episode in question did not re-air last night.

Revamp of Gawker RSS reader Kinja launched

Gawker quietly released a new version of their RSS reader Kinja last week, with some handy new features -- most notably, site results returned as "cards." Link to Kinja home, and here's a sample search for BoingBoing.net.

Rural Studio's legacy: future-forward architecture in Alabama


Snip from NYT story:

Within minutes, I am standing in the Dollar General, on Tuscaloosa Street in Greensboro. Music Man has added a couple of bottles of cola and batteries for his remote control to his order. I pay the $7. It's a small price for the chance to see his house, which was designed by some of America's boldest young architects. As it turns out, Music Man gets so many visitors - architecture buffs who have seen his quirky domain in books and magazines - that he relies on them whenever he needs staples.

Music Man's house, with colorful glass embedded in concrete floors and shelves that move on skateboard wheels, is one of about 40 buildings conceived and built by the Rural Studio, an ever-changing troupe of architecture students who bring their tools, tenacity and talent to impoverished western Alabama. The 13-year-old program, under the auspices of Auburn University, is sometimes called the "redneck Taliesin."

Link. Image: The Antioch Baptist Church, constructed from new metal and old wood. Photo: Timothy Hursley, from the book Proceed and Be Bold.

Reader comment: Mark Eckenwiler says,

The truly underappreciated National Building Museum here in DC (in the kickass historic Pension Bureau building) had an exhibition about Mockbee's work last year: Link.

Also worth seeing - and open until January 29 - is the Liquid Stone exhibit that gives you reason to think that most concrete architecture is ugly because of the people who design and build it, not because of the material itself: Link.

NBM is one of those gems that most DC visitors have never heard of and thus never see. Xeni's followers should not make the same mistake.

Eyeing web tracking bugs at Whitehouse.gov

Yum, tasty gubmint cookies! On the EPIC_IDOF mailing list, Richard M. Smith says,
The Whitehouse.gov Web site is bugged! Apparently the Webmaster for the site has hired Webtrends to track visitors around the site using Web bugs and permanent cookies. Here's the Web bug that I found on the home page of the Whitehouse.gov Web site (...) Similar Web bugs can be found on other Web pages at the Whitehouse Web site.

Before 9/11, the Clinton administration said this kind of Web tracking is a no-no for U.S. government Web sites [Link]. Because of the unique laws and traditions about government access to citizens' personal information, the presumption should be that "cookies" will not be used at Federal web sites. Under this new Federal policy, "cookies" should not be used at Federal web sites, or by contractors when operating web sites on behalf of agencies, unless, in addition to clear and conspicuous notice, the following conditions are met: a compelling need to gather the data on the site.

Via Bruce Sterling.

Xeni on CNN: 2005's top tech stories, why they matter for 2006

I'll be host Kristie LuStout's guest on CNN International at 345PM PT/645PM ET today for a look back at the top tech news stories of 2005. Link

DIY self-RFID-chipping HOWTO, Wed. Jan 4 at Dorkbot in NYC

Mikey Sklar installed a $2 RFID tag in his left hand. Why the hell did he do it? How can you cram an RFID under your own skin for fun and profit? How ever does one choose the right tag to subcutaneously implant, and what other crazy hacking hijinks are others exploring with RFIDS?

Show up at the next New York City Dorkbot meeting -- next Wednesday, January 4th at Location One gallery in SoHo, 7pm -- and find out.
Link to event info, Link to "Chipped," the project website for Mikey's RFID implant project.

Reader comment: Shannon says,

This appears to be a precursor of Mikey Sklar's project.

Reader comment: Nick says,

Suprised you've had this article up without someone mentioning Captain Cyborg himself, Kevin Warwick. This is a link to the details of one of his experiments with surgically implanted transponders, from 2002 (there was an earlier 1999 experiment as well).
Reader comment: Eliot Phillips from hackaday.com says,
Mikey sent me this link the last time he had a project at Dorkbot: replacing the pockets in his pants with conductive fabric to block RFID. A nice cozy place to keep your newly insecure hands.
Reader comment: Lia says,
My grad school classmate Meghan Trainor's thesis With Hidden Numbers had her embedding a rfid tag in her arm as well as in a bunch of handmade objects to trigger samples from an audio database when scanned. ITP's site is down right now but you can read more about it on her thesis blog or We Make Money Not Art.
Reader comment: Shawn says,
Human implantable RFID tags are already in commercial use (approved by FDA and all that): Link. I stumbled across it when looking for some RFID stuff for a house I'm building.
Reader comment: Jonny Goldstein says,
In this interview, Mikey describes the process of getting getting an RFID tag implanted into his hand. Link

"DHS / Little Red Book" - why is Standard-Times protecting liar?

On Romenesko, Rogers Cadenhead asks why we've seen no apologies from the newspaper responsible for the erroneous story about a student claiming to have been interrogated by DHS agents over Mao's "Little Red Book."
At what point does a newspaper find sufficient cause to break a confidentiality agreement? The 22-year-old student knowingly lied to the newspaper and harmed its reputation across the entire planet.
Link to post, and here is previous coverage on Boing Boing.

Pentagon fails to ban slavery by defense contractors

Snip from Chicago Tribune article:
Three years ago, President Bush declared that he had "zero tolerance" for trafficking in humans by the government's overseas contractors, and two years ago Congress mandated a similar policy. But notwithstanding the president's statement and the congressional edict, the Defense Department has yet to adopt a policy to bar human trafficking.

A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.

The lobbying groups opposing the plan say they're in favor of the idea in principle, but said they believe that implementing key portions of it overseas is unrealistic. They represent thousands of firms, including some of the industry's biggest names, such as DynCorp International and Halliburton subsidiary KBR, both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns.

Link (Thanks, Greg, and Dayle)

US Islamic group files FOIA request on radiation monitoring

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a DC-based civil rights group, today announced the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for "government records relating to a secret government program that monitored the radiation levels at more than 100 Muslim homes, businesses and mosques in the capital region and in other areas nationwide." Link to related U.S. News & World Report story, "Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Warrants." Link to related NYT story, "Widespread Radioactivity Monitoring Is Confirmed."

Combat Hummer Limos enter Air Force war games

Noah of Defensetech says,
The next wave of Army fighting vehicles are still on the drawing board. So, in the meantime, Boeing is outfitting 34 commercially produced limousine-style Hummers with radios and computer networking equipment to stand in for the vehicles during some upcoming war games.
Link to Defensetech news roundup.

Saudi scholars issue fatwa on SMS voting for TV talent show

Saudi mobile service provider Mobily blocked SMS voting for the "Star Academy" competition on Monday, following an Islamic decree that the Arab talent show was immoral. Snip from Reuters report:
Saudi religious scholars last May condemned the hugely popular talent show aired by Lebanese channel LBC as a crime against Islam when a young Saudi returned to a hero's welcome after winning in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

"The decision was taken last night because of a fatwa (religious decree) issued last year, since the program is culturally inappropriate," spokesman Humoud Alghodaini said.

Link (via unwired, thanks, Ori Neidich!)

New weblog from Backyard Ballistics author

 Blogger 6106 1995 1600 John-Dyer-With-CoilWilliam Gurstelle, a frequent contributor to Make and the author of several books, including the wonderful Backyard Ballistics, has launched a new weblog in conjunction with his latest book, Adventures from the Technology Underground: Catapults, Pulsejets, Rail Guns, Flamethrowers, Tesla Coils, Air Cannons, and the Garage Warriors Who Love Them. He's already covered "art bombs" (I love that term), levitating frogs, High voltage hobbyists (such as John Dyer, shown here [thanks, Patrick!]), and colorful chemistry shows. This blog has earned an immediate addition to my RSS reader.
Link

Photographer arrested is chided for not warning pothole victim

A photographer in China was accused of lying in wait to take these pictures of a poor guy riding his bike into a pothole.
 Images Web 277699Readers of the Beijing Youth Daily, which published the shots, wrote in to express their feelings.

One wrote: "The pictures are well shot, but the person who shot this is disgusting. He knew there was a pit, but was waiting there for someone to fall over."

Liu defended himself, saying: "I just knew that the city government has paved the pit, and without my pictures, the pit would not be noticed by the government, and there would perhaps be more people falling over."

Link

Reader comment: Mike says: "In kindergarten (mid-1970s) we saw a short cartoon called 'The Rock in the Road.' The storyline was remarkably similar, but each time a character tripped over the title rock, he waited along with all the prior victims to watch the next guy. Hilarity ensues, lather, rinse, repeat. I don't remember whether this was supposed to teach us a lesson, or just amuse us before nap time. I can't find anything about the cartoon on Google; I'd love to see it again."

RIP Vincent Schiavelli, 1948-2005

One of my favorite character actors, Vincent Schiavelli, died on Monday of lung cancer. with an unforgettably unique mug, Schiavelli appeared as all manner of misfit in films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ghost, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He was also an accomplished cooking writer, which I didn't know until I read his obit. Link

Reader comment: M says: "That's so strange he was recently in LA! I spoke to Mr. Schiavelli on 10/04/2005, At around 7:12 p.m. The reason I know this precise information is that we spoke while he and a woman were shopping at California Surplus Mart on Santa Monica Blvd., here in LA (time and date stamp on my receipt). We were both trying on pants and they only have a few dressing rooms. So we had some time to talk. His voice was very hushed and quite strained. I remember that the salesman told Mr. Schiavelli that he would be happy to call him when the other jeans came in, and I heard Mr. Schiavelli reply, 'That's OK, were from out of town.' I found the response rather odd and so did the salesman, I chalked it up to a older famous person not wanting to be bothered, but I guess he really did live out of town."

Reader comment: Stefan says: "Schiavelli was an occasional caller to the public radio (American Public Media) cooking show 'The Splendid Table.' I recall the host having to explain who this animated and enthusiastic fellow was; it was quite a surprise when I realized who she was talking about.

"This morning's tribute on 'Morning Edition' includes some brief audio of Schiavelli talking about his cooking."

Cabbage-based stink bomb sickens shoppers in Russian department store

Seventy-eight people went to the hospital after being exposed to a stink bomb set off in a St. Petersburg department store. Officials think the bomb, which consisted of glass vials containing rotten-cabbage-scented methyl mercaptan, was planted by a competing department store.
Employees at the branch where people were sickened said they heard a noise like a clap or pop before people smelled a garlicky odour and began to feel ill. Police called to the scene found a mechanism with a timer attached to shattered ampoules, and patients complained of nausea and vomiting, Stepchenko said.

He said a custodian at another branch discovered a suspicious box before opening time and found ampoules attached to wires and a timer inside. The woman inadvertently broke one of the ampoules and noticed a repulsive smell but was not sickened, he said.

Link

Reader comment: Robert says: "Methyl mercaptan smells like, but does not come from, rotten cabbage.

"Calling it 'rotten-cabbage-scented' is a little more accurate, but suggests that the scent was added after the fact, while in actuality, stench is a property of the mercaptan itself.

"In case you weren't aware, methyl mercaptan is commonly used as an odorant in natural gas, the better to detect leaks at very low concentrations."

Xeni on NPR: Warner/Chappell vs. Pearlyrics

Today's edition of the NPR News program "Day to Day" includes a report I filed on the music industry's war against an iTunes helper app that searches the 'net for lyrics to songs while you play them.

Earlier this month, Warner/Chappell sent a harshly-worded lawyergram to the Austrian developer who wrote PearLyrics, threatening legal action if he didn't remove the software from distribution. Apple was cc'd, too, and they promptly yanked links to the app from apple.com. After the EFF's Fred Von Lohmann distributed an open letter taking Warner/Chappell to task, the music publisher issued an apology of sorts -- but PearLyrics remains offline, the chilling effect is still real, and music publishers are preparing a new legal assault on lyrics websites in January.

Link to segment, Link to Day to Day website, archived audio online after 12PM PT/3PM ET. Previous "Xeni Tech" segments on NPR here.

See also this related report filed for Wired News. Previous posts on Boing Boing about the PearLyrics debacle: Link.

Kill-A-Watt electrical usage meter

In Kevin Kelly's "Cool Tools" newsletter, Curt Nelson says:
My electric bills are killing me, and now I can finally figure out exactly why.

The Kill-A-Watt plugs into a wall outlet and will measure the actual electricity usage of any appliance. I've been wanting one of these things for years, to the point of seriously considering manufacturing one myself. I'm glad someone has finally done it for me. It looks like my computer costs me something like $216 a year to run. Trouble is, I have five of them. Something's gotta go.

Street price for this device is about $30. I should save that much in the first month.

An additional idea that I thought of would be combining these units with that cheesy home-network technology that communicates via your home's electrical system. (Or use WiFi) That way several wall units could communicate with a PC and give you a running total of your energy consumption. The system could automatically retrieve your electrical rates from the Internet and even give you a running total in dollars of what you're spending.

Link, manufactured by p3international.com.

Reader comment: Dom Padden says,

We have a device in Australia called the Cent-a-meter that measures your whole household electrical consumption in real time -- not weeks later when you get a bill. Mine paid for itself immediately. I just bought it and placed it on the kitchen counter. The other people in my house took interest, calculated the cost of every appliance in the house (by elimination) and changed their habits. Our computers are surprisingly inexpensive to run but the whole TV-DVD-VCR stack gets turned off at the switch every night now, and the coffee machine is not turned on 24/7.
Reader comment: Rob Henderson says,
The Watts-Up meter from Electronic Educational Devices is similar to the Kill-A-Watt, but includes data logging and a serial interface. Link
Reader comment: angrygoatface says,
That Kill-a-watt that you mentioned in the update today -- it's commonly used by techies to measure the usage of power supplies. As a general rule, the higher the wattage and the lower the useage, the better the power supply's efficiency.

2005 Foot-In-Mouth Awards

Can you remember who uttered of each of the following utterly idiotic tech-related utterances in 2005?
# "Lightweight, and crank it on, and you shuffle the shuffle."

# "I know what I don't know, and to this day I don't know technology and I don't know accounting and finance."

# "Screw the nano."

# "I'm going to fucking kill Google."

Link to Wired News story, with answers -- and more "2005 Foot-In-Mouth Awards" winners.

Building rooftop roller coaster being built in downtown Tokyo

Picture 10-3 "During our stay in Tokyo we climbed the 234m high Mori Tower on Roppongi Hills. From this spectacular view I suddenly noticed a department store ('Don Quixote') was having a rollercoaster built on their rooftop!

I did some googling and found that it might be starting to run by end of January 2006."
Link

Video of extremely flexible woman

Picture 9-4 The woman dancing in this video is as limber as a wet noodle.
Link (thanks, Swami Chindeep Sheepdip!)

Fear destroys what bin Laden could not

Robert Steinback of the Miami Herald wrote a stirring column about the Bush administration's horribly wrongheaded response to the tragedy of 9/11/
President Bush recently confirmed that he has authorized wiretaps against U.S. citizens on at least 30 occasions and said he'll continue doing it. His justification? He, as president -- or is that king? -- has a right to disregard any law, constitutional tenet or congressional mandate to protect the American people.

Is that America's highest goal -- preventing another terrorist attack? Are there no principles of law and liberty more important than this? Who would have remembered Patrick Henry had he written, "What's wrong with giving up a little liberty if it protects me from death?"

Link