"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

Utility Fog Banner

Access
Boing Boing's Guide to Defeating Censorware

I Don't Think That Word Means What You Think It Does
One in 5 Americans consider themselves "Holy"

Go For It
Weird Meat Blog
Via MetaFilter

Liquidity
Bruce Sterling riffing on "The Futures of Money"

Doppleganger
I bet this guy doesn't fly anywhere without packing a lawyer.

Pointy
house covered in big arrows
I would so live in this house
Via Wooster Collective

Mojo Working
"I use blues lyrics to exemplify specific magical concepts in "Hoodoo in Theory and Practice" because the 1920s - 30s was a period during which mainstream folklorists, scholars, and book publishers paid scant attention to cultural contributions by African-Americans. Hoodoo, a beautifully coherent system of practical folk magic, was for the most part dismissed as "superstition" and went unrecorded by scholars or occultists. But these same two decades coincidentally marked the time of the greatest development of recorded rural acoustic blues, and hoodoo was a prominent topic addressed in the lyrics to these songs."
Blues Lyrics and Hoodoo, from Hoodoo in Theory and Practice
Via Incoming Signals

A Tim Powers-esque novel about Blues musicians who are secretly master magicians would be so cool.

Illusion

Virtual Street Reality
Via Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society

Good Times
" New infectious diseases are now emerging at an exceptional rate, scientists have told a leading conference in St Louis, US.

Humans are accumulating new pathogens at a rate of one per year, they said.

This meant that agencies and governments would have to work harder than ever before to keep on top of the threat, one expert told the BBC.

Most of these new infectious diseases, such as avian influenza and HIV/Aids, are coming from other animals.

"This accumulation of new pathogens has been going on for millennia - this is how we acquired TB, malaria, smallpox," said Professor Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist at the University Of Edinburgh, UK.

"But at the moment, this accumulation does seem to be happening very fast."
'Faster emergence' for diseases
Via Warrenellis.com

Just Peachy
Biowar for Dummies
Via Boing Boing

Brute Force to the Rescue
After a week of struggling to transfer files by network from old computer to new I gave up. I went with Plan 2: transplant old hard drive into new machine. Worked like a charm-I think it took longer to copy the files than to move the drive. Downloaded Thunderbird and on installation it found my old profile and loaded my old mail and connected to my ISP's mail server without any fuss. Life is good.

Oh Yea
MonkeyFilter Wiki provides a big, big, catergorized list of MP3 blogs.

Happy Happy Happy
This broadband thing just might catch on. I've only had the new Linux box hooked up for less than a week and already I've effortlessly collected some Sun Ra, Nino Rota, Springsteen live bootlegs, and rare 70's psychedelia to listen to, all from Mp3 blogs.

Almost Another Quail Related Death
My Science Project does some forensics in The Cheney Shotgun Experiment. In other experiments with the word "shot", they also consider How to make your own ballistics gel (useful for simulating elderly Texas lawyers), and What is the Ultimate Jello-O Shot?, because things that go boom go better with vodka.

Lost/Maternity Leave (3/01/2006)
The official ABC synopsis for the next new Lost is up. Guest cast list and commentary in the comments.
Maternity Leave Synopsis (Spoiler)

Two Heads Are Better
"Did Soviet scientists actually keep a disembodied dog head alive back in the 1940s? Did those crazed Stalinist Frankensteins then follow up that stunt by surgically creating a two headed dog in 1954? (That is, if "two-headed" is accurate - it's more like two heads, six legs and one-and-a-half torsi.)

Sorry, I just wanted to use the word "torsi."

And forget the Soviets - what about the monkey brain that a Cleveland surgeon transplanted from one primate to another? Are these all Internet hoaxes, or the only known evidence of a subject too taboo to be taken seriously - the research into head and brain transplants that's been going on for decades?

I wish I had definitive answers for you - I don't. But I'm more inclined towards believing that these experiments actually took place than when I first stumbled onto this weird medical sub-culture. After starting off as a skeptic, I've come to believe that organisms have indeed been revived. Heads have been lopped off. Brains have been perfused. Cephalic members transplanted. Glucose permeated in isolated canine craniums. The works."
A Brief History of Disembodied Dog Heads

When Cartoons Attack
satire of cartoons in real world
on BBC website
The Cartoon Riots


Don't Go There
Maude Flanders in Heaven Fan Fiction (German)
via THE TOFU HUT

Lost/Parody
Lost Rhapsody (Flash)-Wierd Al does Queen vs. Lost
via Metafilter

Pretty
high speed photo of atomic blast
Atomic Blast Photos
via Metafilter

It's Alive
Transfered my first file from the old computer to new over LAN. It's 3AM so I think I'll just bask in a nice broth of accomplishment and leave it at that.

They Have Their Own Word
Tegestology: The collecting of beer coasters or mats.
via Metafilter

Death of the Internet, pt2
"With the purchase and re-animation of AT&T's remains, the collection of former Baby Bells called SBC will become the largest communications company in the US--the new Ma Bell. Verizon, comprised of the old GTE plus MCI and the Baby Bells SBC didn't grab, is the new Pa Bell. That's one side of the battlefield, called The Regulatory Environment. Across the battlefield from Ma and Pa Bell are the cable and entertainment giants: Comcast, Cox, TimeWarner and so on. Covering the battle are the business and tech media, which love a good fight.

The problem is that all of these battling companies--plus the regulators--hate the Net.

Maybe hate is too strong of a word. The thing is, they're hostile to it, because they don't get it. Worse, they only get it in one very literal way. See, to the carriers and their regulators, the Net isn't a world, a frontier, a marketplace or a commons. To them, the Net is a collection of pipes. Their goal is to beat the other pipe-owners. To do that, they want to sell access and charge for traffic.

There's nothing wrong with being in the bandwidth business, of course. But some of these big boys want to go farther with it. They don't see themselves as a public utility selling a pure base-level service, such as water or electricity (which is what they are, by the way, in respect to the Net). They see themselves as a source of many additional value-adds, inside the pipes. They see opportunities to sell solutions to industries that rely on the Net--especially their natural partner, the content industry.

They see a problem with freeloaders. On the tall end of the power curve, those 'loaders are AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other large sources of the container cargo we call "content". Out on the long tail, the freeloaders are you and me. The big 'loaders have been getting a free ride for too long and are going to need to pay. The Information Highway isn't the freaking interstate. It's a system of private roads that needs to start charging tolls. As for the small 'loaders, it hardly matters that they're a boundless source of invention, innovation, vitality and new business. To the carriers, we're all still just "consumers". And we always will be."
Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes
Via Boing Boing

Lost Trivia
Henry Gale was the name of Dorothy's Uncle in "The Wizard of Oz". The Wizard got to Oz in a balloon, the same way Henry says he got to Craphole Island. IMHO Henry is not an ex-mine owner from Minnesota. "Non-metallic minerals"-what the hell does that mean, gypsum, calcite, what?
via The C.D.P.

The Big Leap
I've got Kanotix installed. No big problems yet. Copied bookmarks from XP/Firefox easily. Connecting to Comcast took a bit of fumbling around but really only involved clicking "configure network card". Waiting for something to bite me on the ass. I'm very stressed.

P.S. full kudos to Ted for noticing the funky entry in my Bloglines blogroll that was screwing up the blog appearance bigtime.

Progress
I've finally booted the new computer with a Linux LiveCD (Knoppix 4.0.2) that painlessly connects with Comcast Broadband. Life is good. Next up: Network the old and new machines.

I Feel Offended
"Zealots are nailing veils onto the faces of my sisters in Afghanistan and Pakistan and are busy hanging women, homosexuals, adulterers and non-believers.

But human rights, women's rights and the right to liberty are the most exalted in the history of humanity; this is the tradition in which I was raised. Values that make the world better and more peaceful.

I demand that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Indonesia and Egypt apologise to me. Otherwise I am unfortunately forced to threaten, beat up, kidnap or behead their citizens. Because I am somewhat sensitive about my cultural identity.

I feel offended.

Fanatics are blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan, marvellous cultural monuments.

But art is an expression of universal beauty and innocence to me. It is a value that makes the world better and more peaceful.; this is the tradition in which I was raised.

I demand that Hamas, the spokesman of the French Muslims and the Director of the Al-Azhar-University apologise to me. Otherwise I will never spend a holiday at the Taj Mahal, I will call for a boycott of Palestinian fruit and I will set the embassies of Tunisia, Qatar and Bangladesh on fire.

I expect understanding for this at the very least my feelings are absolute and must be expressed globally.

I feel offended.

Videos show journalists, truck drivers and NGO workers having their throats slit or their heads chopped off. Jews see themselves represented as cannibals and pigs, Western women as decadent sluts. Apolitical engineers have to fear for their lives.

All in the name of God.

I demand that all the editors in chief of newspapers and television broadcasters in the Islamic world apologise to me, because they do nothing to prevent these obscenities.

Many people are concerned that the clash of civilisation is near. Oh please, it has been going on for a while now, not only manifest in the monstrosities mentioned above but part of everyday life. How fragile, how superficial must Muslims' religious values be. How can cartoons in an unknown newspaper in a little European country cause such an upset and allow a handful of organised agitators to be able to drive many thousands onto the streets."

"What next, bearded one?"
Via Follow Me Here

Lego Computer

Difference Engine made of Lego
Via Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)

Busy Busy Busy
Sorry about the lack of recent postings. I have a spiffy new computer that is demanding a lot of attention. This is the first post from the new machine. I still have lots to do: make sure I can access my new broadband connection from Linux, install a linux distro so as to make new machine dual-boot, transfer files from old machine to new via lan. Walk in the park.

How Nice
"The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.

Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from content providers to individual users--would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing "platinum," "gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received."
The End of the Internet?
Via Boing Boing!