Today’s word of the day: mananero.

I realllllly want this Simpsons chess set. (I found it while helping a friend find a nice Alice in Wonderland chess set; this is the one that we liked the most.)

Yesterday, I’m watching my TV, and a commercial comes on that looks like a public service announcement about domestic violence. Its essential points:

  • domestic violence causes a great deal of physical harm each year;
  • domestic violence kills people;
  • exposing your kids to domestic violence hurts them in many ways;
  • children in homes of people who engage in domestic violence are more domestic violence-prone themselves when they grow up.

Then, the commercial turns out to be for Philip Morris, trying to trumpet everything they’ve done to help victims of domestic violence. The problem? Replace “domestic violence” with “smoking” in all of the above points, and they all remain true, and are just as tragic. I really hope people aren’t this gullible… no matter what other good things they do, this is still a corporation which has, as one of its core businesses, the production and marketing of cancer.

A few days ago, someone posted on the NTBugTraq list about a problem they had found with Windows 2000’s new RunAs feature (which lets one user run apps as a different user, complete with the second user’s profile and environment), but I didn’t really understand it. Yesterday, Russ Cooper (the list admin) posted a good explanation of the problem, which looks to be troubling, not because it could be used for exploits (it wouldn’t be easy), but because of what it says about the possible underlying architecture of the new feature. There’s an additional explanation that hasn’t hit the archives of the list yet; I’ll point to it once it does.

The summary page of the Senate arguments and vote on the flag burning amendment is now complete; it’s a handy place to get the official text and PDF records of the debate.

My people are so inclusive, it makes me big-time proud.

Seen today at The Bradlands: “Putting the ‘we blo’ in ‘weblogs’ since 1998.” Classic.

Yet another reason to love the fair maiden Ariana:

George W. Bush scares the hell out of me. if he’s elected president, I will consider renouncing my citizenship and emigrating to England. …or the Republic of Cuervo Gold. ooo. there’s an idea.

Today brings us yet another example of someone who very well may have been dropped on his head as a small child: Dr. David Schweitzer. His website claims to show evidence that you can rearrange energy patterns in water by projecting thoughts into it; two examples of his alleged proof are here and here. I scoured his site to try to figure out what kind of doctor he is, to no avail; the fact that he could be a medical doctor, treating patients, scares the living daylights out of me.

Just in case you were concerned that she may not be getting enough recognition these days, Sheryl Crow was honored on the floor of the House of Representatives last week. (Actually, though, she wasn’t; the above link is an Extension of Remarks, which are remarks submitted to the Congressional Record for publication in that day’s transcript even though they weren’t made on the floor, and may in fact never have been spoken aloud.)

Yay! For at least another year, the amendment that would allow the U.S. government to make laws prohibiting flag burning is history.

Government Docs & Transcripts

The following documents are the official Congressional Record transcripts from the floor arguments regarding Senate Joint Resolution 14, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow the government to make laws restricting the burning of the American flag.

  • Oral arguments on Monday, March 27, 2000: text / PDF
  • Amendments to S.J.R. 14, proposed on Monday, March 27, 2000: text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Tuesday, March 28, 2000: text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 (continued): text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Wednesday, March 29, 2000: text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 (continued): text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 (continued): text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 (continued): text / PDF
  • Oral arguments on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 (continued): text / PDF
  • Final vote on S.J.R. 14: official record

NOTE: the above links were no easy task; all of the GPO documents are stored on a WAIS server, and the links that you get off of their search page are temporary, and keyed to the state of your search. Luckily, the GPO provides a way to hack together permanent links into their database, but nothing is as easy as it seems.

Weblog Stories

Press Coverage

Yesterday, I received the following email from Alan Parker, of the SANS Institute. It is a plea for network admins to tighten up their routers; routers with lax security and network permissions are the prime candidates responsible for many of the denial-of-service attacks that we’ve all read about in the news lately.

If you’re a network admin, or have responsibility for even one single router (this includes cable and DSL “modems”, which are actually routers), please read this. If you don’t have the capability to configure your own cable or DSL modem, call your provider and talk to them about this.

Only by making these security precautions standard practice will we make these DOS attacks go away.

Received: from by with

(peer crosschecked as: [])

id QQiion24397

for <>; Wed, 29 Mar 2000 06:25:37 GMT

Received: from server1.SANS.ORG by with ESMTP

(peer crosschecked as: [])

id QQiion26517

for <>; Wed, 29 Mar 2000 06:25:36 GMT

Received: by server1.SANS.ORG (rbkq) id QDL93241

for; Tue, 28 Mar 2000 23:23:57 -0700 (MST)

Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 23:23:57 -0700 (MST)

Message-Id: <200003285226.QDL93241@server1.SANS.ORG>

From: The SANS Institute <>

Subject: SANS Flash: Urgent Request For Help In Stopping DOS Attacks

Precedence: bulk


To: Jason Levine (SD442238) <>

X-UIDL: 8f015324c05b74c7454a646292daf198

Status: U

To: Jason Levine (SD442238)

From: Alan Paller, Research Director, The SANS Institute

This is an urgent request for your cooperation to slow down the wave of denial of service attacks?

As you may know, denial of service (DOS) attacks are virulent and still very dangerous. These are the attacks responsible for the many outages reported recently in the press and others that have been kept more secret. DOS attacks are a source of opportunities for extortion and a potential vehicle for nation-states or anyone else to cause outages in the computer systems used by business, government, and academia. DOS attacks, in a nutshell, comprise a world-wide scourge that has already been unleashed and continues to grow in sophistication and intensity.

One effective defense for these attacks is widely available and is neither expensive nor difficult to implement, but requires Internet-wide action; that’s why we’re writing this note to request your cooperation.

The defense involves straightforward settings on routers that stop key aspects of these attacks and, in doing that, reduce their threat substantially. These settings will not protect you from being attacked, but rather will stop any of the computers in your site from being used anonymously in attacking others. In other words, these settings help protect your systems from being unwitting assistants in DOS attacks, by eliminating the anonymity upon which such attacks rely. If everyone disables the vehicles for anonymity in these attacks, the attacks will be mitigated or may cease entirely for large parts of the net.

The simple steps can be found at the SANS website at the URL and will keep your site from contributing to the DOS threat. Tools will soon be publicly posted to determine which organizations have and have not protected their users and which ones have systems that still can be used as a threat to the rest of the community.

More than 100 organizations in the SANS community have tested the guidelines, which were drafted by Mark Krause of UUNET with help from security experts at most of the other major ISPs and at the MITRE organization. The testing has improved them enormously. (A huge thank-you goes to the people who did the testing.)

We hope you, too, will implement these guidelines and reduce the global threat of DOS attacks.

We also urge you to ask your business partners and universities and schools with which you work to implement these defenses. And if you use a cable modem or DSL connection, please urge your service provider to protect you as well.

As in all SANS projects, this is a community-wide initiative. If you can add to the guidelines to cover additional routers and systems, we welcome your participation.


Alan Paller

Director of Research

SANS Director of Research


Yay! For at least another year, the flag burning amendment is dead. Although, in all honesty, it angers me that 63 Senators don’t understand the idea of political speech. I’ve put together a short page with the official Senate transcripts, as well as a few links to press coverage of the results, and tomorrow, it will have a link to how the Senators voted.

Now let’s really talk about patents that shouldn’t ever be granted. Talk about prior art… how about the thousands of people who have had this gene intricately woven into their chromosomes for their entire friggin’ lives. Granting patents on genes is just plain wrong.

MSNBC has an article about the silliness of business models like Kozmo.Com, but the real reason it’s worth reading is this introductory paragraph:

We went to see a movie the other night called “Mission to Mars.” It was about some kind of mean, tornado-type thing that is controlled by a Martian woman in an Oscar de la Renta evening gown, who lives inside a giant face of herself on Mars and captures an astronaut and sucks him up inside her space ship through a long straw and then keeps him in a tank of water where he learns to breathe without gills.

Makes you want to rush out and see Mission To Mars, don’t it?

Yesterday, I got an email pleading with all network admins to help stop denial-of-service attacks by implementing certain security measures on their routers. If you are in charge of even a single router, or have a cable or DSL modem (which are routers, not modems, but that’s a whole separate issue), then you really should read this and do what you need to do to help the Internet community prevent these annoying DOS attacks.

Play ball!

Via Dan comes FNWire Interviews Jeeves. Awesome — they submit interview questions to Ask Jeeves, and try to make some sense out of the answers.

Since I’m reasonably certain that those Referrer Log entries from Carpe Diem come from none other than David Theige, I hereby publicly plead: keep up your log, David! Your readers miss you!

After much searching, I found the file that you can download, uncompress, and write to CD to allow you to install the Office 2000 Service Release 1 on many computers without having to do them all over the Internet. Download O2KSR1DL.EXE (from the Microsoft Office Resource Kit Toolbox), and run it; this will extract the files to your hard disk. Write those files to a CD, and you’re in business.

I’ve added a new bookmark — Nubbin. Great writing style, clean design, and keeps my interest — all the things that scream “bookmark me!”. (It probably doesn’t hurt that Ariana’s cute, though…)

Jonesboro, Arkansas shootings

“Allowing teachers and other law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns in schools would not only make it easier to stop shootings in progress, it could also help deter shootings from ever occurring.”

“The Real Lesson of the School Shootings,” Wall Street Journal, 3/27/1998.

Airlines and Smoking

“To force airlines to ban smoking on all flights thus makes smokers worse off by a greater amount than it benefits non-smokers.”

“Regulating Indoor Air Quality: The Economist’s View,” The EPA Journal, October-December, 1993.

Police Affirmative Action and Crime

“Does a Helping Hand Put Others At Risk? Affirmative Action, Police Departments, and Crime,” study by John Lott, published 7/25/1997.

Not that it can make the hurt go away, Brig, but I miss you too. (Oh, wait, she probably wasn’t talking about me.)

Prompted by the flurry of mentions on webloglog, I buckled and took the Suave-O-Meter Test. 87 out of 100. Of course, this is entirely meaningless, seeing as it doesn’t change the fact that I’m single. (Or, as we say here in New York, that and a buck and a half will get me a ride on the subway.)

This week’s Bushism of the Week, too long to quote here but worth reading just to see how this man’s mind works, makes me wonder if the Washington Post didn’t mistakenly interview the elder Bush instead…

I agree — opening the 2000 Major League Baseball season in another country is wrong. (I also think it’s pretty audacious for MLB to do this in Japan, a country which has a pretty strong baseball tradition of their own, and don’t need ours imposed on them.)

Gawrsh, I stop paying attention to the NEAR Shoemaker asteroid spacecraft for a few weeks, and they release an amazing flyover movie. (You can get higher-quality QuickTime or MPEG versions if you want, and a second flyover, too.)

Wendell has published Prerequisites to Being a Modern Conservative Republican, a great rebuttal to Mike’s Prerequisites to Being a Modern Liberal Democrat.

Mike, at least for me, it’s about where I subjectively feel safer, not how stats tell me I should feel safer. And it’s tough for me to accept any conclusions on gun safety from John Lott, a man who: in the wake of the Jonesboro, Arkansas shootings, suggested arming teachers with concealed weapons is the answer; has said “To force airlines to ban smoking on all flights thus makes smokers worse off by a greater amount than it benefits non-smokers”; and has attacked affirmative action in the police force because of his conclusion that it increases crime rates in their precincts. (Since you want them, here are the references on those.)

For anyone who’s interested in good analyses of the John Lott study which concluded that allowing citizens to carry guns lowers crime rates, I’d recommend reading “Do Right-to-Carry Laws Deter Violent Crime?” by Dan Black and Daniel Nagin in the January 1998 issue of Journal of Legal Studies. For a quicker, and more easily accessible read, check out Tim Lambert’s “Do more guns cause less crime?”

Yet another sad example of what happens when you don’t talk to your kids about the danger of drugs.

The link to the permanent page for each day has caught on in the Manila world; now it’s available on all ETP sites, and apparently, it’ll be available in the Manila root update process soon. (As a reminder, the little page icon at the far right of each day’s header bar on this page is a link to that day’s permanent page, for archiving or linking purposes.)

It never fails to infuriate me when I hear that my elected officials are presently considering yet another Constitutional amendment to prohibit flag desecration (as the Senate is doing today, with Senate Joint Resolution 14). What bothers me most is their belief that the flag doesn’t represent the very sentiment that they are trying to ban — the ability to make a political statement, including burning one’s own property, without fear of government reprisal. Personally, the constant waste of this country’s time with efforts like this are far more offensive than someone burning a flag.

You will be able to see your Senator’s vote on the matter at the Senate website.

Tracy is such a tease — first, we could see the right side; now, we’ve got the left upper quarter filled in, too. What do we have to do to get it all?

Talk about nasty on-the-job hazards

In what can only be described as hallicinogen-induced, there’s Paint with Meat.

In all honesty, I cannot believe that Mike is suggesting that people carrying guns on the streets of New York is the answer. Honestly, I feel so much safer here in NYC than I ever did living in San Antonio, Texas (a state in which it is not only legal to carry guns, it’s legal to carry concealed guns).

The two guys who cracked the CyberPatrol encryption scheme (and thusly obtained the list of websites banned by the app) have published an analysis of the cryptographic attack, which is a very interesting read for the technical details, if not for the examples they give of websites that are filtered for no, or for highly political, reasons. (Example: Peacefire, the anti-censorware website, is blocked in every category by CyberPatrol, meaning that it is classified as each of the following: Violence/Profanity, Partial Nudity, Full Nudity, Sexual Acts/Text, Gross Depictions/Text, Intolerance, Satanic or Cult, Drugs/Drug Culture, Militant/Extremist, Sex Education, Questionable/Illegal & Gambling, Alcohol & Tobacco.) Today, a federal judge in Boston is hearing arguments about the decryption app.

Wow, it seems like a rant day here. Right now, I’m on the phone listening to the hold music of Network Solutions. Of course, I’m lucky to be holding; the first dozen (no exaggeration) times I called today, I got a message saying that they were experiencing too many calls for me to even get to be on hold, and that I would have to call back later. This is a company that wanted us all to entrust them with the entire domain name system? They suck. The reason I’m calling? Because I have now submitted a change to one of our contacts three times, and each time we got a notice that the change had been completed, and each time the change never occurred. (Have I mentioned that they suck?)

Gawd, I spent nearly an hour tonight searching for Casey Marshall’s Java applet that displays links between weblogs (or at least those weblogs listed in Brig’s huge list). After finally finding it, I decided that the world needs a huge permanent searchable index of all of the known weblogs, and the links in the index need to point to pages which only have a single day’s posting on them.

Played with Pike a little yesterday and today, and it’s neat, especially given that I’m a Frontier user. But it seems to be working against the best part of Manila, namely that I can edit my entire site in a browser. With Pike, there’s another application involved; the thing about Manila that excites me the most is that I don’t have to have another app in the workflow. But I guess another thing I like about Manila is that I don’t have to use Pike; I can choose to if I want, but generally won’t.

I also found a problem with Pike — it (or, more specifically, the Pike code in Manila) generates URLs that use an IP address that the Manila server is not bound to. Oops.

Tune into MSNBC today to watch the Seattle Kingdome implode.

The notion of healthy people getting full-body CAT scans as part of their checkups is scary to me. Articles like this tend to focus on the people who have benefited from the practice, but leave out all of the people who have had false-positives, or the people with benign conditions that never needed to be diagnosed. And the cost to the already-overwhelmed insurance system is enormous.

I mentioned the other day that there was a rumor about the Academy not wanting to give the guy who found the missing Oscars tickets to the show; I am happy to report that it was, in fact, just a rumor. (He also gets $50,000 for his troubles!)

Tim Duncan, forward of my beloved San Antonio Spurs, took another step towards stardom yesterday with his first triple-double.

I blame Neale entirely for my overwhelming tiredness this morning — via his Sims contest, I was introduced to The Sims, and last night, I stayed up way too late playing. Ugh. I knew that my problems were just beginning when I realized in the shower this morning that all of my dreams last night were about how to better the lives of my little Sims family.

(On a tangentially-related note: is anyone else scared that Neale is anthropomorphizing his toothbrush — or shall I say Toothbrush — a little too much? Of course, won’t I be the one with egg on my face when Neale is found battered and unconscious, with firm bristle marks around his head and neck region and a large plug of toothpaste obstructing his airway…)

For those who need their coffee as much as I do: I actually learned some interesting factoids from their FAQ — the old yarn about tea having more caffeine than coffee is generally false, Barq’s Root Beer adds caffeine in part for its bitterness, Mello Yello has quite a bit more caffeine in it than any drink in part named “mellow” should, and there’s no caffeine in Mountain Dew in Canada. (Roger Espinosa confirms that last part; the next question is why?)

I have never understood the mentality that drives riots after winning important games in sports tournaments. Purdue students needed to be gassed last night after beating Gonzaga; Chicago has been notorious over the past decade for riots after the Bulls won their NBA Championships. Strange way to celebrate.

In what must have been fun work, scientists have proven why double soap bubbles form the shape that they do.

Did you all know that Dubya supports an amendment to the Texan concealed weapons permit laws that would allow people to carry their weapons inside of churches?

Something that I hadn’t seen reported — the hostages in the Maryland standoff that ended late two nights ago managed to drug their captor with Xanax, escaped when he was knocked out; the police were able to storm in while he was still out. That’s pretty great.

Funny synergy — I saw Erin Brockovich last night (great movie), and in a scene in which the lawyer had to convince all of the town residents that aribtration was the best way to handle the case, he was miserably failing until he got across to them that a jury trial could take decades before they saw any money. I then get home, and read that the U.S. government settled a 23-year-old sex discrimination lawsuit yesterday for $508 million. It’s disgusting to me that the U.S. attorney on the case calls this “and equitable and fair resolution to the matter” — I’m willing to bet that, for the 1,100 women who sued, it’s somewhere around 23 years too late.

Another financial settlement that’s a little late in coming.

Part of me wants an eHolster, much much more of me knows that if I looked anything like the eDork in the lower right corner of the home page, I’d be mocked senseless.

I really hope it’s just gossip that the Academy won’t give a pair of tickets to the Oscars to the man who found the stolen awards. If it is true, then that’s just plain sad.

Remember the flap when asked for all of the financial disclosure forms from the Federal judiciary, and was denied? Well, cooler heads have (finally) prevailed; the Judicial Conference of the United States reversed the decision late last week.

Beaver College has a problem. Of course, I just did a little test, and this article is wildly misleading. It’s a no-brainer that searching for “beaver” returns a lot of porn, but searching for “beaver college” gives you exactly what you want on most search engines — here are links to that search on the biggies: Infoseek, AltaVista, Lycos, Yahoo, Netscape, Excite,, Snap.

A semi-interesting article on the progress of computer-driven muscular assisting devices for paraplegics begins with quite a (hopefully unintentional) buzzkill: “Paraplegic Marc Merger knows his dream of strolling through the countryside on a sunny day will remain just that — a dream.” Talk about rubbing salt in the wound…

OK, all you mathmaticians… time to earn the big bucks. I have no idea why, but it’s always been funny to me that things like this, Fermat’s Theorem, and the like are so tough to prove.

Well, Jess, did you get the job? Don’t leave us hangin’ here… Update: YAY! You cool union-represented slave of the man, you…

I started playing with my free Conversant website today, and it is very very very powerful stuff. In some ways, it eclipses Manila — for instance, it’s completely stylesheet-driven, something I asked for early in Manila’s life but which has never materialized. (I got great responses back from the people at Userland, but the issue then promptly died.) Conversant is also able to handle threading within a day’s weblog postings, so that people can reply to a single item, rather than the entire day. And perhaps the neatest thing is that there’s an NNTP server lurking behind it, so that people can also use any NNTP newsreader to read your site. As I play more, expect longer items about what I like and don’t like about it; for now, feel free to watch the development process unfold.

I was just asked for some Linux help by a coworker, and I quickly was forced into the reality of why, while popular, Linux won’t overtake Windows anytime soon — every distribution has its own locations, formats, and syntaxes of the configuration files. Changing your network settings on RedHat is completely different than doing so on SuSE; libraries are located in different places, too. Honestly, this is a management nightmare.

From Medley comes a link to a scary notion of where California’s Prop 22 could lead this country. It really is true — if California is allowed to ban gay marriages, then there really wouldn’t be anything stopping another state from banning interracial marriages, marriages between dissociate economic classes, or anything else you could think of.

This reminds me of a discussion I had with my mom, a practicing clinical hematologist, about the fact that New York state used to have the legal authority to prevent marriages between two people if they both tested positive for sickle cell trait. This is no longer the case; I’m not sure if it was given up, or if it was challenged in court.

A short article on the true-life Erin Brockovitch. It’s funny — usually, when a movie purporting to be founded in a true story comes out, we are barraged with media reports of inaccuracies or outright lies. Re: Erin Brockovitch, I haven’t seen any of these; in fact, I’ve seen mostly articles saying that the movie nailed the story right on the head. (Salon has a glowing review today.)

Not that he’s bitter or anything…

MSNBC has a cool article about the strange little things about the universe. Currently wreaking havoc on my brain: the explanation for why the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down. According to this article, one big reason is that the moon exerts a gravitational pull on the water in the ocean (which accounts for the tides), but less of a pull on the bottom of the ocean. This creates a frictional force between the surface and the bottom of the ocean, slowing Earth’s rotation down. Wow.

The Oscars were found, the Oscars were found.

If you’ve ever wanted to see pictures of all your favorite webheads, here’s your chance!

I just installed and played with Windows 2000 Terminal Services for the first time, and take it from me, you must try it out if you have a Win2K machine. There’s something overwhelming about logging into your Win2K machine remotely, and getting your own separate login, with your own separate profile, not just a mirror of the currently-displayed screen on the machine itself. VERY cool. is reporting that Netscape will be releasing a beta of Mozilla within the next month or so. Of course, by definition, a beta should be feature-complete and need only debugging work, and from personal experience with the current state of Mozilla, there’s no way that the version that they release will be anywhere near that benchmark. I reported CSS table rendering problems eons ago (including plain lack of implemented functionality, not just incorrectly-implemented functionality), and have dutifully received notices every few weeks that someone has moved the target fix milestone release back. The bugs/missing functionalities were originally supposed to be fixed in M11; as of the latest update, they won’t be addresses until M16. Disheartening.

Byte Magazine has a thorough review of 802.11b wireless networking offerings, for those of you who have been caught by the same jones I have for slapping one of these little beauties in your laptop and being able to wander around without wires. I’m just biding my time, waiting for the price on the ethernet bridges to come down a little (or for some benevolent soul to ship one off to me as a little gift!).

Yesterday, between TBS and A&E, it was a good movie day. Now that I have a TV in my office, I just left it running all day while I worked, and in rapid succession, I got Footloose, Honeymoon in Vegas, Grease, Cool Hand Luke, and A League of Their Own. Very nice.

It’s a pretty rare day when you are treated to the phrase “The one-year-old bitch” in a news story.

The notion of a table condiment that helps battle obesity seems pretty neat, but I’d imagine that this should be a pharmaceutical thing, not a food-service industry thing.

Sound likes sour grapes to me…

OK, what kind of stupid do you have to be to keep a 400 pound Bengal tiger as a pet? And now, after biting off the arm of his four-year-old nephew, the guy is going to fight to be able to keep the animal.

I need a little down time in order to get all the way through Dear Dave: Oh, Nothing; the letters I never sent to David Letterman.

I clicked on a download link on one of the Microsoft Technet Windows 2000 web pages, and ended up at the Windows Update Corporate Preview. It’s a one-stop place to download the installers that appear (in automatic form) on the Windows Update website, so that you can mass-install them. (I had heard rumors of its existence, but never had proven it!)

last updated:

NOTE: I had to update the script at 3:40 PM on 3/18/2000; there was a problem with creating correct links for all of the news days on a home page with multiple days. It’s fixed now; you have to grab the script again, and look at #6 in the instructions below to use the new fix.

Lately, there’s been a move in the weblog world to be able to provide a link on each day’s page to that day’s permanent URL; that way, if someone wants to link to some wise (or not so wise) thing that you shared that day, they can do so explicitly.

Manila has always had permanent URLs for each day’s page, but unless you were a Manila user, you would have had to know this and know the format of the URLs. (Not that they’re hard…) I decided to write a small macro that you can include in your news template to do all this for you and your users. The macro is attached to this message (if you can’t see it, you may be in story view mode; switch to discussion group mode and you’ll see it in the header of the message).

What does it do?

It generates the proper link to a given day’s permanent page for your Manila site. By including it in your News Day Template (on the Advanced Prefs page), it will generate the proper link for every day, as it will appear in every day’s template.

What does it look like?

You can see it on this site. Go back out to the home page, and look in the bar that contains the date over every day’s entries. There’s a little P with a square around it at the right edge; hover over it, or click on it. That’s the link. You will see it on the news page for any day on this site.

How do I use it?

You either have to have your own Manila server, or your site has to be on a server that has implemented this macro and made it legal.

Here’s how to set it up on your own server:

  1. First, download the script from this message. The easiest way is to click on the fat page link in the message header above, and then save that page to your hard disk.
  2. Import the script into Frontier, by opening the fat page with the File/Open menu. You can save the script in one of two places: the #tools table of your Manila site, or the user.html.macros table of Frontier.root. If you save it in the former, then it will be available only to your specific Manila site. If you choose the latter, then it will be available to all Manila sites running on your server.
  3. Tell Frontier that the script is safe to run as a macro. You do this at config.mainResponder.prefs.legalMacros; inside this table, create another table named linkToDay. Within this new table, create two entries, both booleans — flLegal (set to true), and flParams (also set to true). (Userland has a page on safe macros here.)
  4. Go into your Manila site Preferences, and choose the Advanced pane. Scroll down to the News Day Template; this is where you should add the macro into your site, as it will then appear on every day’s page.
  5. Edit the template, adding in a call to the linkToDay macro. The syntax for calling the macro is {linkToDay(visible content of link, day to link to)}. (See below for examples.)
  6. You have to use a bit of trickery in the call to the macro; the second parameter should be “{newsPostTime}”. Manila will replace this with the actual date of the news page that’s being processed before it hands off the macro to Frontier to process; this way, each day on a multi-day home page will get the right link generated.
  7. Return to your Manila site home page, and see if it worked!


The one aspect of this macro that you can control is the visible text (or picture, or whatever) that represents the link to the user.

If I wanted my link to read “link to permanent address of this page”, then I would call the macro like this:

{linkToDay(“link to permanent address of this page”, “{newsPostTime}”)}

If I wanted it to have an image of a smiley face (that I had previously uploaded to the URL “”), then I would call it like this:

{linkToDay(“<img src="">”, “{newsPostTime}”)}

(Note the backslashes in that last example, escaping out the quotation marks so that the macro doesn’t think that I’ve ended the content that I want in my link.)

What if I find problems?

Then please, by all means mail me or post a reply to this discussion group message.


Dave Winer added similar support to all Manila sites with the newsArchiveLink macro.

no such thing, phil

New feature today: there’s now a little page icon (  ) in the header bar of each day’s entry that contains the permanent link to that day’s page. Each day’s page has always had its own URL (as that’s just part of Manila), but if you didn’t use Manila, you would have had to know this and know the format of the URLs. Now you don’t; you can just copy the link in the header bar. I also wrote a quick little how-to for those Manila users interested. NOTE: thanks to Jim Roepke’s notice, a problem has been fixed. You may want to look at the how-to again.


Good morning to Tracy, who found me yesterday and made me smile. (Actually, made me smile twice — she likes this site, and she also turned me onto RealAudio broadcasts of big-city police scanners. Cooooool.)

If you’ve got a fast connection and half an hour on your hands, My Mother’s Dreams The Satan’s Disciples In New York is a great watch. (It’s one of the short films nominated for an Oscar.)

This past week, I started writing Perl apps for the first time, and I have to say I’m impressed with it. I have come into the object-oriented programming world through all of the backdoors, it seems (Frontier, VB, and now Perl, to name a few); however I got to these languages, though, I like them because they allow me to rapidly prototype things, and more often than not, run the apps permanently in them.

I’m currently reading Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, and the first chapter has an unsettling observation (culled from Myra McPherson’s Long Time Passing): 234 sons of senators came of age during the Vietnam conflict. Out of that 234, only 28 went to Vietnam, and only one was wounded. Now, I don’t support what we were doing in Vietnam, but for the class lines to be so distinctly drawn is very offensive to me. (Mind you, I also find it interesting that Gore is one of the 28 who did go.)

How did I miss the fact that Sears has pulled all Benetton clothes out of its stores in response to the death row inmate ads? I got the entire ad campaign in a supplement to Talk magazine when I was on a train last month, and I actually found it very disturbing. Apparently, people on both sides of the issue are reacting similarly. (And, of course, there’s blatant overreaction, but when isn’t there…)

Freebie of the day, for the old-school techie in your life: ShellYeah, which provides free shell accounts on a dual 300 MHz Sun UltraSPARC Enterprise 2. Email, IRC, Usenet, ICQ, and shell scripting; no outbound telnet, compilers, customer-supplied binaries, or servers. Actually, pretty neat, and you can upgrade to any of the banned things.

Patrick Naughton, former exec at Infoseek, has plead guilty to crossing state lines for the purpose of having sex with a minor; he did so to avoid being charged with possession of actual child pornography and using the Internet to entice a minor into sex. This was an interesting case; he was originally found guilty of only the possession charge, but when the law that was used to convict him (but not the portion that applied to the case) was struck down, he was released and a new trial was scheduled. Now, they got him on the most serious charge.

Do you think his lawyers anticipated this when they ardently pushed for his release after the law was struck down? In retrospect, he would have been better off had he just accepted the initial conviction and sentence of up to 10 years; now, he faces 15 years.

Thank you, Brent.

I would say that the Wired News redesign looks good, except for the fact that there are now two banners, one at the top that’s movable and for navigation, and one at the bottom that is permanent and for advertisements. Blecccch.

It seems like a remarkably idiotic decision to bar Internet reporters from the NCAA Final Four. Although this USA Today article uses and as examples, but even these two organizations are tied to old media companies, so they can get credentialed. Did things like this happen when television was invented?

How nice would it be to have laws like this in the United States? Trips to the post office, the department of motor vehicles, and city hall would take on a whole new character.

Holy smokes — it appears that all of the Oscar statuettes have been stolen while en route from Chicago to California. That sucks… now what will they give the South Park people when they win Best Song?

Cool — hip pager codes from Motorola. I only knew a fraction of these; time to start doing my homework, I guess.

Recently, a new Frontier-based web application framework came online — Conversant. Made by the terrific programmers at MacroByte, it looks to be an alternative to Manila, and looks very powerful. I still need to play around with it, but I’ve set up a free site, QuesoConverse, to do just that.

From Something Awful comes an excellent ICQ prank between a hardcore Nine Inch Nails fan and an ostensibly-hyperreligious prosletyzer.

Match Day is here, and the answer is… Columbia! It was my top choice, and I could not be happier.

Now, you will have to excuse me while I return to my hangover-induced coma already in progress.

By this time tomorrow, I’ll know where I’m doing my residency. Wow.

Sorry about the downtime today; I guess that my copy of Frontier shares my anxiety, and is also prone to random breakdown at any moment. :) (I’m running an alpha version of the latest and greatest Frontier app, so this kind of thing is actually expected, I guess.) I just crashed again, though, so it’s time to go back to the prior alpha I had been running.

I just want to point to the recap of Sean Elliott’s first game back after a kidney transplant. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again — I could not admire him, or his brother, any more.

I really like the one-line witticism that Greg Knauss posted to the other Jason’s site in Jason’s absence: “Note to self: Everything’s an adventure when you’re stupid.”

Virginia has become the first state to sign the evil UCITA into law. Basically, it’s a terrible attempt by the software industry to legitimize shrinkwrap licenses, even when you can’t see them until after you purchase a product; it also allows companies to remotely disable software installation at their whim. There are a slew more scary aspects to this law; you can read more about it at 4CITE’s website, and view all of the people who are against it as well.

I really like implosions. The ability to control the explosives (implosives?) so precisely is an artform, and watching a building just slide into the ground is pretty amazing. (Oh, wowDan points to a implode-the-Kingdome-yourself applet today, made by people across the street from the Dome. Cooooool.)

If anyone wants to buy me a small spindle of these (I dunno, perhaps as a celebration of my impending residency acceptance?), feel free to. :)

Fiona Maazel has a hilarious recount of her failed attempts as a pornographer on Salon today. Fave quote:

On a Web site featuring nipple clips and metal gourds, what I’d written was unpublishable. Hard to believe, but I’d sunk lower than the lowest of the low. I was a woman whose sexual dementia rivaled Anne Rice’s.

Today, I got an email from Jon asking what the hell the Match is; I guess I never explained myself. The Match is the yearly ritual whereby fourth-year medical students (such as myself) come into their residencies. In October, we all submit our applications to the programs that interest us. They decide who to interview (and correspondingly, who not to interview). We go on all the interviews, and think long and hard about what we want out of our training. Then, come February, both the candidates (us) and the programs all turn in a Rank List, which for the candidates, is a list of the programs at which they would be satisfied, in order of preference; for the schools, it’s similar, but ranking the candidates. At that point, the National Resident Matching Program’s computers take over, matching the candidates to programs. March 16th (We’re here! away) is when we all find out the programs to which we’ve matched.

Stephen King’s new book is now (only) available online; it’s described as “a ghost story in the grand manner.” I haven’t read it yet. (I found out that it was released from a BBC news story, but apparently, the BBC has not figured out that they can put actual URLs in their stories instead of launching users onto a hunt across the Internet.)

This morning, NPR reported that U.S. Representative Bob Franks is trumpeting a bill requiring all New Jersey public libraries to install Internet blocking software. They interviewed Franks, who said, “For those who think that this software will block access to breast cancer sites as well as pornography, you don’t understand that this software is now mature enough that it just doesn’t do that.” He clearly hasn’t visited PeaceFire lately; it’s shameful how much legitimate content blocking software still blocks. (Of course, most of the software also blocks access to PeaceFire itself.)

Piglets, piglets everywhere! I love that one of the piglets is named Dotcom.

There’s no gettin’ around it, I’m in the crappiest mood I’ve been in in years. A combination of stress, boredom, hurt, and fear… that’ll get ya’ every time. Time to get back to reading.

Match Day is We’re here! away, and the butterflies won’t go away. (Although today is the day that you find out if you have matched — but not where — and when I logged into the site, I saw Congratulations, you have been matched!.)

I mean, I think that the NRA has gone mad.

Salon has a good essay on the issues surrounding the first-grade shooting in Michigan. I agree with its premise — where were all the outraged people when this little boy was being neglected and ignored over the past six years?

British Aerospace and Airbus are working on a new generation of planes that will seat over 500 people. This is pretty cool, but given my flying experiences over the past few months, I dread how long it will take to load and unload passengers from planes like these. Amd once you add shops and other services to the mix, flying is going to be very different.

From Stephen C. De Beste comes Rotten Tomatoes, a website that gathers movie reviews of all kinds and points of view. The official view on Mission to Mars: rotten.

I think that the Sea Launch platform is one of the cooler things to come out of the aerospace industry lately, so it makes me sad that they had a launch failure overnight.

There’s an entire web site dedicated to collecting links to movie reviews about all the current releases.

More to the point, they tally positive versus negative reviews so you can get an idea of the way the overall wind is blowing.

VERY rarely are all the reviews unanimous. The only movie I can think of to achieve that rare honor was “Toy Story 2”, for which they located 67 reviews all of which were positive. Quite an accomplishment.

I visit the site regularly. By the way, the consensus about “Mission to Mars” is very strongly negative. They’re running 3:1 against on 60 reviews so far.

It’s a nice mix of pro-views and fan-views, too.

Yep, now all those non-Catholics can stop rolling in their graves.

Well, well, well…. Bob Jones University hasn’t really ended its policy against interracial dating; under their new policy, if you want to date someone of another race, you need a note from your parents. This is a no-brainer way to “solve” the problem, since I’d bet that Bob Jones is banking on the fact that parents who would let their children go to this citadel of intolerance and hatred probably wouldn’t permit their kids to date kids of another race. (Meanwhile, if you’re the administrator who’s in charge of these letters, do you start a new file in your cabinet named Blaspheming Racemixers?)

Dear Dr. Bob:
Please excuse Sally from class this morning; she had a touch of the stomach flu. Oh, and please let her date black people.
Mrs. Smith

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the press publish a compendium of all the bad reviews of a movie before. (Apparently, Mission to Mars is not the movie to see this spring.)

Sorry about the no-update-day… I spent the day at my parents, waiting for Time Warner cable to show up to install their cable modem. This was the fourth scheduled installation, after they missed the first three, and yep, you got it, they missed this one too. If I can hold any sway over anyone’s future purchase plans in the way of cable modems, stay clear of Time Warner. They suck.

From Jess comes a website that hits my pet peeve squarely on the head: the Gallery of Misused Quotation Marks. (In NYC, where a lot of store owners don’t speak the King’s English per se, quotes turn up in all the wrong places — menus saying things like Kung Pao “Chicken”, street vendors with signs like “Coffee” and “Donut” $1.50, and that kind of thing.)

Something making its way around the web these days is the URL for FECinfo, a website which maintains an online, searchable-by-zip-code database of campaign contributions. Something that I noticed tonight is that many of the contributions are linked to images of the actual FEC reporting forms filed by the candidates, which means that you can look up 90210 and see the actual home addresses of a couple celebs (and who they have given money to). You can also type in 20500 (the zip code of the White House) and see that there are no registered contributions from that location… of course.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s We’re here! until I match for residency.)

In We’re here!, I will find out where I’ve been drafted for residency…

I could not admire Sean Elliott any more — he aims to return to playing games for the San Antonio Spurs this coming Tuesday. He will be the first professional athlete to ever return to their sport after a kidney transplant; I can’t think of any players that have returned after any major solid organ transplants.

OK, so I just had my palm read online, and sort of in line with not having some of the lines that the pages talked about (and asked me to choose representative versions of), the conclusion wasn’t all that insightful or applicable. Serves me right for having my palm read online, really. (Thanks, Z, for the pointer.)

Does anyone know of a utility that can tell you whether or not a specific GIF image uses LZW compression? I don’t care what platform it runs on, although Linux/Unix or Win32 is easiest for me. If you do, I’d appreciate it if you could drop me a line or post in the discussion group. (I’ve tried the identify utility that comes with ImageMagick, but it says that LZW is used in images that I’m pretty sure aren’t using it.)

I hadn’t read about the prank Rick Mercer played on Dubya. Classic.

Ah, the complexities of nominating a semi-obscene song for an Oscar — the Academy doesn’t know how they will perform Blame Canada. And to add to the problem list, Mary Kay Bergman, who committed suicide late last year, sang a few of the voices in the song; producers are unsure who they’ll get to replace her. I usually don’t tune in to the Oscars, but clearly I’ll have to this year.

I think it’s righteously cool that you can read then entirety of the O’Reilly Book Using Samba online.

You know, the world just feels better when your ass is firmly planted in an Aeron chair.

Interesting theory, having someone else maintain your ‘log while you’re out of town.

We’re here! until Match Day, and my blood pressure knows it.

Today brings us an incredibly well-written and well-thought out open letter from Jeff Bezos on the Amazon patent issue. I need a little time to think about it more, but my quick read is that he has a very strong argument, and I like that he is also willing to work to improve the system to make distinctions for business systems and to give public comment prior to the granting of patents some real value. Instead of being reactionary (like most of the blather on the web right now on this issue), Bezos put some real thought into the matter, and his answer is eloquent and on-point.

Peacefire has again entered the censorware fray with an app that decrypts the list of banned sites used by IGear, a Symantec product. And again, the list is amazingly broad, banning many, many sites that have absolutely nothing on them that could be considered offensive. My favorite examples of blocked sites: a milk pasteurization system diagram written in Portugese, Volume 4 of This History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a computer science PowerPoint presentation, and an 18th-century opera transcript.

I try so hard to be original, but Brig pointed to something yesterday that made my sides hurt I was laughing so much: Furniture Porn. (They even got their own domain name for it…. awesome.)

And from the other Jason comes the weirdest ass website I’ve seen in a while. This guy’s highly paranoid musings are going to be trumpeted all over the news when he sprays an assault rifle all over a playground, mark my words. A select quote:

You are a personified pyramid corner. Educated people are the evil empowerment of the self - the lowest form of humanity. Humans are brainwashed stupid and indoctrinated evil. A human will rotate around 4-corner lifetime stages within a family metamorphosis - baby, child, parent and grandparent. Name your 4/16 greatgrandparents.

Ummmm… my gawd, I wish that the New York Attorney General’s office had something better to do than spend my tax money to investigate Nintendo because its games are ostensibly responsible for blisters on people’s hands. I mean, this state has terrible problems with rent reform, landlord and tenant rights, police abuse of power, monopoly public utilities… and Spitzer’s investigating a video game company because people overuse their product? I am incredulous.

Another good mediator has popped up: The T’nator (inflicts Mr. T on any web page!). Here’s Q after Mr. T exerts his influence. Also, from Jordan (who I met last night) comes The Dialectizer.

Great Law & Order last night, but I’m unsure how happy I am with the animosity that they’re creating between Briscoe and Green. There’s no context to it at all, so it just flew up out of the blue last night. Harumph.

Last night’s IRC chat was a blast from the past — I haven’t been on IRC since college. Wow.

There’s something about a weblog with a corporate ad banner that makes me feel a little uneasy. Posting is such a personal thing for me; I wouldn’t want the implication that my personal musings were sponsored.

“The Go Network seems to have removed all forms of the Infoseek name from the Infoseek search engine. Why?”

Well I’m just guessing but I’d say it’s because Disney/GO have decided to make their portal much more entertainment (Disney entertainment, that is) centric and they don’t want the name “Infoseek” confusing anyone.

My friend works for Infoseek and says it’s a pretty empty shell right now. After the six months of “stay here this much longer after we take you over and we’ll give you some extra options” was up, most Infoseek employees went elsewhere. Lots and lots of empty cubicles. According to my friend (who is still there), this didn’t cause Disney any tremendous pain or concern.

But that’s gossip. I really think Disney (probably wisely) decided that it can’t be an all-things-to-all-people portal like Yahoo and is working to reshape into a narrower kind of thing.


People who visited the ‘blog chat (on IRC, server, port 6667, channel #blogirc): Anita, Dan, Jordan, Jon, Schlyer, Jason, Matt, Jess, Brad, Mike, Nikolai, Brennan, Dan, Zannah, Adam, Roosh, Neale.

Last night, I was sitting in my apartment and heard thunder outside, and it hit me how few thunderstorms we get in New York City. When I was a kid in Texas, we’d get one or two a month, and I used to love sitting still, listening to the thunder and to the rain pound on the roof. I miss that.

Yesterday, I talked about the scary provision in the FAQ of Quality Web Enterprises’ free webhosting service saying that they have the right to publish anything that you put onto your QWE-hosted website; today, I noticed that the same FAQ says (said) the following:

Userland claims copyright ownership of all user interface elements presented on the websites originating from this service, as well as for the look and feel of the user interface. members retain the rights to any copyrighted material which they post on their website.

From Dave, this statement in the user agreement has now been modified, as has the wording on the QWE FAQ page — cool. I wondered if I was reading meaning that wasn’t intended; I guess so! I also had no idea that this statement originated in the user agreement; instead, I assumed (wrongly) that it was a QWE thing.

I am glad that I put UCSF relatively low on my rank list, seeing as Californians are intolerant blowhards that made my skin crawl when I heard that Proposition 22 passed last night. (Okay, not all Californians, just the 62% that voted for the measure, and especially not Meg.)

Cool — the Microsoft Developer Network Online Bug Center.

Am I the only one that thinks that the reverse of the Connecticut quarter, if turned 90 degrees in either direction, looks like the vasculature of the human kidney? Apparently not… thanks to Brendan O’Keefe for pointing out that Brunching Shuttlecocks thinks the same thing. (I’m looking for a good image to link to; if anyone knows of one, please mail me!)

Canadian authorities are pressing assault charges against Marty McSorley for his fairly horrendous stick attack against Donald Brashear. At heart, though, I’m pretty ambivalent as to whether hockey players who are normally allowed to pummel the crap out of each other without even referee intervention should all of a sudden have to answer for it in court. After all, I’ve seen fights nearly as bad since the McSorley incident. is a neat new web-based office suite, with its own mail, calendar, notes, and applications. It appears to be Internet Explorer-only, but I’m not positive of that.

The Go Network seems to have removed all forms of the Infoseek name from the Infoseek search engine. Why?

Every time I see the Staples “God” commercial I laugh. Great concept.

My chair is here! Well, sort of — the delivery left a message to work out when to drop it off. Let’s see how long this takes to get delivered; I’ve already had two problems with the delivery company’s ability to tell time.


The American Medical Association is behaving like morons.

Quality Web Enterprises is a free Manila hosting service in the UK, but they have a scary provision in their FAQ:

You agree to allow Do-i-d Ltd. to publish on the internet any of the stuff you put in your website at

On reading this, there are two meanings: first, that anything you put on your site will be displayed on your site (which seems obvious), or second, that they have the right to repurpose any of your content for their own use. If it’s the first, then it seems that someone who doesn’t already understand this doesn’t belong on the web; if it’s the second, then it’s the same provision that has backfired on many a free webpage provider (GeoCities and Tripod, to name two from recent memory).

Ick, VeriSign is buying Network Solutions. I have a terrible history with VeriSign — they continue to spam me, no matter how many people I talk to and try to get off of their lists. They claim that, since I own an SSL certificate of theirs, they have the right to email me. And Network Solutions has always felt this way… you have to give them your email address to register a domain name, and they just send crap to that address willy-nilly, even if you explicitly tell them not to do so.

One byproduct of my trip to San Antonio is that I now have to order HBO; my friends got me hooked on The Sopranos. I was getting sick of the hype (it’s impossible to turn your head in NYC without seeing an ad for it or hearing someone talk about it), but it lived up to that hype.

I need to start using Dan’s Subhonker Filter, an alternative interface to the weblogs that are listed on Weblogs.Com. Especially because he’s provided a bookmarklet that throws the filter window into your Internet Explorer search pane (notice: clicking on that last link opens your search pane).

I was trying to find a good sound to notify my dad that he has new mail, and stumbled across the Bell Labs Text-to-Speech Synthesizer… now I can truly customize the sound!

Great seeing you. Looking great and impressive as ever. Take care and let’s keep in touch. Too long between visits.

Take care


Great seeing you. Looking great and impressive as ever. Take care and let’s keep in touch. Too long between visits.

Take care


I’m in Dallas/Fort Worth, and think that it’s so cool that I can just plop into a phone booth, plug my laptop into the superphone, and get onto the web. Technology rocks.

I don’t care what you say, easy relative paths is a coooool feature.

Echoing the sentiments of my roommate, I found on the flight down here last week that my battery life is significantly shortened in Windows 2000 (versus Windows 98) — from around 4 hours to around 2 1/2. Perhaps if Dell ever gets around to supporting my laptop, under 6 months old, with an ACPI-compliant BIOS, I could see that battery life extend a little.

Good Bushism of the Week from last week:

“I don’t have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university.”

Did anyone else know that Bob Jones University has announced an end to the ban on interracial dating? Wow, the new millenium did bring peace on Earth.

Anyone know why the latest Bloat doesn’t have a number 9 entry? I’m confused; I originally thought that it was because there’s a tie for first, but typically that means that there wouldn’t be a number 3. My brain hurts.

A few quick pointers today…

Salon has a great review of the GOP candidates’ talk show appearances today, and laments the loss of all humor in the current race to secure the nomination. My favorite was the description of Dubya’s “appearance” on Letterman:

He tried to keep a good sense of humor, but doing an interview via satellite was a disaster, giving Bush the appearance of a slow-moving, dimwitted cousin, muttering one-word answers and laughing excessively to mask a weak grasp of irony.

Salon also has a deeper look at the way young criminals are treated in this country. It also goes into some detail about California’s odius Proposition 21, and centers on the observation that measures like Prop 21 are a rarity these days.

And just because I love you all, here’s The Tongue Page, with pictures of the strangest, longest, most pierced tongues you’ve ever seen.

I’m down in San Antonio for a wedding, so expect spotty updates for the next few days; the one time that it’s hard to post to a Manila site is when you’re gorged with Tex-Mex food and margaritas.

It is very likely that some adult will be charged with manslaughter in this case. There’s legal precedent for this kind of thing.

For a while there were a bunch of men who liked having pit bulls for pets, because they’re macho, or something like that. Different kinds of dogs are bred for different things; poodles and goldens are retrievers, so they think that chasing a tennis ball is fun. Terriers are bred to hunt and kill rats, which is why they think that “shake the rag” is a fun game. (That’s the motion they use to kill a rat once it’s in their jaws, because it breaks the rat’s spine and neck.)

Pit bulls are trained to fight and kill other dogs. They were used in betting contests; it’s a thoroughly barbaric practice which is now outlawed most everywhere (though it still goes on in secret). Pit bulls can be good pets, but they are bred to fight and kill and that makes them dangerous. One man’s dog attacked and killed a child.

The dog owner was convicted of manslaughter even though he wasn’t even present when it happened. “Manslaughter” means that because you did something stupid or negligent, someone else died. For instance, if you dig a deep pit and don’t surround it with a fence, and if on a dark night someone falls in the pit and dies, then you’re guilty of manslaughter. This dog owner is in prison now.

It seems to me that a similar situation applies here: some adult was negligent in keeping his pistols (no matter where he acquired them) and as a result a six year old kid got one and shot another kid with it. The adult is responsible, because he wasn’t careful with how he stored the gun. I hope they throw the book at him; I’m sure they’re going to be working hard on figuring out where that kid found that damned pistol.

The obvious suspects are the kids parents, needless to say.

Well, this is a first for me… flipping the home page before going to bed.

Today, Neale impresses with SIMS: American Beauty in ASCII. Wicked.

And nobody at UserLand wants to answer my support question from yesterday, so I now spread it out to the world: does anyone know how, or if it’s possible, to have an option on a Manila site member sign-up form that has to be answered in a specific way before the membership can be created? A consent, if you will — COPA states that commercial websites can’t collect any information about children under 13 without parental consent, so I want to know how to make someone assure me that they’re 13 years old or over before I create the membership. If you’ve got an answer, I’d love a posting.

It’s strange to say, but when thinking about the six-year-old who shot and killed Kayla Rolland today, I pretty strongly agree with the notion that there’s most likely someone other than the boy that should be held responsible. If you’re an adult, and you have guns (much less stolen guns) in your home that are easily accessible to your children, then to me, you’re completely and inarguably responsible for anything that happens if the children do get their hands on those guns. This is just tragic; this child is as much a victim as he is a participant in today’s sad events. Stephen started a discussion about kids and weapons this morning; I’d love to hear how other people feel about this.

Oh, and I have a new hero on this here planet: Dahlia Lithwick. She’s the Supreme Court reporter for Slate, and she manages to combine a terrific legal analysis with a side-splitting sense of humor to create virtual works of art every day of Court argument. Today’s column discusses the Court arguments in Bond v. United States, a right to privacy/illegal search case in which Bond was arrested for posession and transportation of a large quantity of methamphetamine after a border patrol agent touched and squeezed his luggage. After recounting the various points made by both sides and most of the Justices, Lithwick concludes:

Wherever the court draws the line between “good touch” and “bad touch” today, one pragmatic point is clear: If you ever have to pick which justice to sit beside on a plane, go with Ginsburg. Breyer is a self-confessed luggage-mover, and Scalia may well be a closet luggage-sniffer.

Excellent — Andy Dehnart figures out that, given that the millionth video was played this past weekend, MTV has played only four videos an hour for the last nine years. Anyone else sick of Music Television not playing any damn music?