Flash opinion at 8:12 PM ET — Survivor is an overproduced, more contrived version of Real World, if that’s even possible. My favorite part so far: that there’s a fake freshwater supply — it looks like a big water cooler that’s planted in the ground some distance away from each camp, and that is probably refilled by CBS frequently.

Holy crap, is Netscape screwed up. After yesterday’s addition of native CSS support to Manila’s calendar, I redid my cascading stylesheet to support it. Now, Netscape’s rendering of the calendar is horrendous. (If you’re running Netscape, see the line of weekday names? See how Friday and Saturday are rendered differently? Look at the source of the page; there’s nothing different about those two days when compared to the other five. Netscape just wants to make it look terrible.)

Rumor has it that Matt has himself an Iron Giant robot. Speaking for the community of addicted folks, we demand pictures.

It’s nice to see a relatively positive article about the things that the Internet brings to medicine, both for patients and doctors. (Of course, since it’s the New York Times, that link will only work until they decide to make you pay for the article.)

Round four of the Blog-Off is on, with the topic “Sport”. Contestants: Jon and Dan. If it holds to prior form, one will win, the other will unleash a vindictive torrent upon the web; nonetheless, the links that both have come up with are pretty damn amazing.

Why have I never heard of this recalled Dr. Seuss book? It’s pretty morbid, so I see why it was taken out of print, but I thought I knew a lot about Seuss until I read this. (Bill Stillwell discovered Seuss political cartoons, as well.)

Last night, Matt mentioned that Yahoo has gotten into the weblog catalog business. I wonder who maintains this list? There are some solid logs on the list, but it’s missing some biggies, too (and I don’t mean Q, although it would be nice if it were there).

Salon takes a look at the life of Charles Barkley, one of the most interesting men in sports today. (OK, so he’s retired, you get my point.)

Rebecca pointed yesterday to a column by Bishop John Shelby Spong about the Anglican divide over the issue of homosexuality, a column with the following terrific statement:

Let me say this carefully, but clearly. Anyone who elevates their prejudices to the position where they are defended as the will of God is evil. Anybody who justifies their denigration of another person’s being based upon a quotation from an ancient sacred text called the Word of God is simply out of touch with contemporary scholarship. Anybody who will not open themselves to the new knowledge readily available in medical and scientific circles because it calls into question their uninformed attitudes is profoundly ignorant.

Sorry about the downtime today — Frontier crashed early this morning, leaving behind only an entry in the Event Log and a crash dump file. Ugh.

I watched the live ESPN interview with Bobby Knight, and all I can say is weak. Roy Firestone did the first half of the interview, and he was terrible — he admitted that he’s never seen the videotape of Knight choking Neil Reed (why, if he knew he was interviewing Knight, would he not have watched the tape?), he didn’t pursue any question past a tacit packaged answer by Knight, and he tried way too hard to be friendly. Example: he asked Knight about the Reed incident, and Knight said “I’ve never choked anyone in my life!” This would have been the perfect opportunity for Firestone to bring up the time Knight choked Christopher Foster, a man who made derogatory comments to Knight in a restaurant parking lot, but Firestone just sat there and nodded.

Unfortunately for Knight, though, Indiana reversed itself today and finally decided to investigate whether or not Knight punched a player in the side of the head during halftime of a game in 1990.

Sun: “Waaaah! Waah waaah waaaaaah!” Judge: “Shut up!”

Two interesting anorexia findings: young women with anorexia lack normal circadian rhythms and have a higher rate of abnormal electrocardiograms. The circadian rhythm abnormalities are most likely based to the large weight loss (i.e., being an effect, not a cause); the EKG findings, though, showed lower cardiac contractility, which is pretty scary. (You have to create a free sign-in with Medscape to read these two articles; I wish it weren’t so.)

Let me tell you, I feel terrible that a movie star was turned away from the Millennium Dome, whereas any ordinary person would have been… turned away, as well, being that there were no tickets available. Why is this news?

Oh. My. GOD. No amount of showering would convince me that I’m clean after this.

There are probably few on-the-job humiliations worse than being a cop, getting beaten by a nude man with your own nightstick.

Tip: if you don’t find what you’re looking for, try another search engine. A few days ago, after searching as best I could, I asked for help finding a specific Flash animation on the web. Yesterday, I gave the search another try, starting with MetaCrawler. I didn’t find it there, so I went directly to FindWhat (after seeing their ad on a phonebooth here). It led me to slave, who had pointed to the animation I wanted! (Warning: adult content.)

Happy Memorial Day!

To me, the concept of uprooting HTML rendering capability from the operating system is bullshit. Saying that Microsoft should have to do this is like saying they should have to separate file system browsing, or printing, or even display rendering from the operating system — sure, it’s theoretically possible, but it’s complete crap. If Microsoft has chosen HTML as the format for their help and other support files, they shouldn’t have to rely on someone else to build the renderer.

You would figure that someone aspiring to be President of the United States would jump at the chance to be briefed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on military issues… but you’d be wrong. Yet another entry on the list of why Dubya is an ass.

The first .GOD zone file is available; I wonder how they plan to integrate this into the mainstream DNS system (if at all). (After a little more reading, though, I see that .GOD is primarily meant to be an affront to ICANN — an unrecognized TLD that is being used to try to expose ICANN as a political body with little logic or reason to its policies and decisions.)

Good try: a group of people tried to buy $50 million worth of Russian arms and various military uniforms for the nation of “Sealand,” in reality an aircraft platform 11 miles off the coast of Spain. A British businessman is claiming independence for the hunk of concrete.

Last night’s pitching duel between Boston’s Pedro Martinez and the Yankees’ Roger Clemens may well have been the best game I’ve ever seen. The two came to play — through the end of the eighth inning, Pedro had eight strikeouts, and Clemens had 13. Every pitch had me on the edge of my seat. But with two out in the top of the ninth, Clemens threw a high fastball to Trot Nixon and he hit it out of the park, scoring two runs. The Yanks managed to then load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but Pedro got out of it, and the Sox won 2-0. Amazing game.

And in other New York sports news, Latrell Sprewell has an fractured metatarsal in his left foot, and will probably have to sit out of game four. The Knicks are hurting badly…

Once again, proof of the biggest inherent flaw with net blocking sofware — such software must be maintained by humans and companies, and those humans and companies have their own ideological slants, business relationships, and financial fears. All of these things lead to highly inconsistent (and even highly biased) filters. (Peacefire’s own page about their project is here.)

Derek Jeter returns to the Yanks, goes 3 for 4, steals a base, and has an RBI, and the Yanks beat the Red Sox 8-3 yesterday. Life is good.

Microsoft is delaying the Outlook security patch in order to integrate some of the most frequent customer requests from the past two weeks into the update.

I went to see The Real Thing on Broadway last evening with the folks, and it was terrific. I was first introduced to Tom Stoppard with Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, and the most recent work of his that I saw before this was Shakespeare In Love; each time, I realize just how much I love his writing. The words are so intricate, so precise, and so brilliant that it’s hard not to get totally wrapped up in the dialogue.

After the play, my parents and I walked down to Grand Central Station, and passed a set of glass doors with the coolest thing inside — a storage room full of lifesized, painted plaster cows. (And when I say full, I mean over 300 of them.) After a little research and a few bits of memory, my mom figured it out — they’re all the cows for The New York Cow Parade.

REQUEST: Last week, a friend played a Flash movie for me that was of a little group of cartoon girls, all with enormous hats shaped like various muffins, rapping a song with the chorus “I’ve got my mind on my muffins and my muffins on my mind”. They all had voices like Alvin and the Chipmunks, and the song was hilarious. Now, I’m looking for it, and can’t find it anywhere. Can anyone help?

Bertrand Meyer’s “The Ethics of Free Software” is an incredible read. It’s long, though; if you have a car or train trip over this long holiday weekend, I recommend that you print it and take it along.

Last night, I downloaded and installed the latest Mozilla nightly build, and ran it; it took exactly seven page views until it crashed. Fair enough; the nightly builds are billed as less stable, so I downloaded M15, the latest milestone release. Six page views, and crash — this candle ain’t ready to be lit.

Holy crap: a contracting company, hired by the owners of the Philadelphia nightclub located on the pier that collapsed, warned the owners that collapse of the pier was “imminent.” I see criminal charges in those owners’ futures…

can I have phil.isthy.god?

It’s funny — this site is supposed to be my vent, of sorts, but whenever I am about to vent something of a more personal nature, I always think twice. Tech industry, OK; politics, OK; work, OK; personal, hesitation. I don’t know why, though… it’s strange. (This also means that I have a newfound awe for the people who put their innermost feelings, or even their entire journals, on the web.)

Of course, I registered QUESO.GOD, but I also grabbed ISTHY.GOD, envisioning such URLs as “television.isthy.god” and “beer.isthy.god” for fun little projects.

That wacked-out Jish is up to no good again, with the Weblogger’s Voicemail Directory.

Damn, Joel Spolsky is rolling right along. His latest column, “Strategy Letter II: Chicken and Egg Problems”, is about the inherent problem when nobody will buy a platform because there’s no software, but there’s no software because there aren’t enough people who use the platform. My favorite quote, though:

Good for you, darling. You wrote a nice microEmacs clone for the Timex Sinclair 1000. Bravo. Here’s a quarter, buy yourself a treat.

Disney has agreed to pay GoTo.com $21.5 million to settle their conniving, underhanded attempt to steal GoTo.com’s logo. (I wrote something about this when the appeals court ruled that Disney had done exactly that.)

My fam and I were supposed to be going up to Rockland County for the long weekend, but our plans were foiled at the last minute. Given the talk about what traffic and travel is going to be like this weekend, though, maybe that’s a blessing… (Besides, New York City is empty over the Memorial Day weekend, which makes it easier to get around!)

ACK! The Knicks were so friggin’ close to taking a game in Indiana last night, and they couldn’t convert when it counted. And with Ewing potentially out for more games, this doesn’t look good…

Remember when I said that baseball was exciting this year? Well, that specifically doesn’t include the Dodgers players going into the stands on May 15th fighting the Chicago Cubs fans. Yesterday, baseball announced the suspension of 16 Dodgers players and 3 Dodgers coaches in the wake of the fight; the other shoe dropped late yesterday, though, when one of the fans involved filed a lawsuit against Dodger Chad Kreuter and both teams. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

The National Infrastructure Protection Center (a division of the FBI) has released a tool to check your Solaris or Linux system for many of the known DDOS exploits.

I don’t know why this makes me laugh, but from Slate comes an anagram for “House Passes China Trade Pact”: Accurse not happiest ass-head.

OK, I know it’s picky, but the entire Supreme Court sequence in last night’s Law & Order season finale was hokey as all get-out. Nevermind McCoy not arguing a single legal point in his time before the Court, or the Chilean general being present in the Court; the biggest problem was them waiting for the decision afterwards, which just isn’t how things work.

Finally, the Republicans have decided to actually do their jobs and allow the dozens of Federal judge nominations to come to the floor of the Senate. Yesterday, 16 nominees were approved (all that came before the Senate); today, four are slated to appear. All in all, there were 65 vacancies on Federal courts before this, and I’ve felt that the Republican’s singlehanded block of the nomination approval process is one of the most underreported abuses of theirs in the last decade.

In the coolest find I’ve ever had, you can browse the Macy’s wedding registry of Newt Gingrich and Callista Bisek, and maybe buy them something nice. There’s still a lot that hasn’t been snapped up…

Everyone’s been talking about how bad the new Salon redesign is; what nobody’s mentioned is the column from David Talbot, editor of Salon, saying that they’re not wedded to the new design, recognize that users pretty much hate it, and are looking for ideas on how to fix it. A rare admission, by any account (just look at how CNN handled their redesign a few months back, and the universal hatred of it).

For some reason, I’ve been unable to put into exact words the reasons that the “We Card” Philip Morris commercial bothers me to no end. Luckily, though, Greg Knauss has come along and done so perfectly.

Holy shit.

I don’t know enough about the music industry to know the true significance of this, but a new study shows that CD sales within 5 miles of college campuses declined 4% over the last two years, possibly an argument that Napster and its clones have had an effect on music sales, at least in the population with the greatest access to Napster’s benefits. (A discussion has started on this.)

Interesting findings in a study on traditional CPR (breathing plus chest compressions) versus chest compressions alone. If you read the study (or even the first few paragraphs of this MSNBC article), though, you’ll see that the benefit seen with chest compressions alone is probably based on the fact that the people in the study were untrained; if someone with Basic Lifesaving skills is available, then there is a benefit to full, traditional CPR.

How cool would it be to witness the formation of a new island? The explosion pictures look very impressive.

meg's robot

Meg got the robot, and already has put it to work! Lucky it’s a friendly robot, or it could open fire on her… (And now Matt wants in on the action, which rules.)

Yep, I’m here today — I had to go over to my parents to try to resurrect an old computer, but a serial mouse was my foil, so I slinked home defeated. Time to shower and surf the web.

There’s part of me that’s saddened that someone who kills another person by driving drunk may only spend four years of their life in prison. This guys was ripped — 0.19 was his BAC — and he was driving the wrong way on a divided highway.

For some reason, I find it really funny how Dubya had to try to cobble together a bullshit story when he was caught in a blatant lie about Gore and the stock market.

Oh, wow: a pill-sized camera, designed to be swallowed by patients. It takes pictures on its way down and while it’s in the stomach, and transmits them back to a receiver worn on the patient’s belt. This is friggin’ coooool.

The third round of Neale’s Blog-Off is underway, with Tracy pitted against James over hootch.

The New York Police Department is trying to cut down on the number of X-rated movies watched in precinct houses, and the time spend reading nudie mags in squad cars. Hmmmm…. seems like a good call, no?

If you’re here looking for the pictures from Michelle’s graduation party, here you go.

Another only-in-New-York moment yesterday: I got off the subway in the Times Square station, and walked onto the escalator (a pretty wide one) at the same time as a woman. I was reading my book, paying little attention to the world around me, but I did realize that this woman kept fiercely looking at me. She finally asked, “Have you ever thought to yourself that standing on the same step as someone on an escalator endangers everyone else on that escalator?” The only thing I could say back was “Well, no.” She continued: “If there were an accident or emergency, and I had to move over, you would be in my way, and cause a major obstruction, and probably injure everyone here.” I was stunned — luckily, we were at the top of the escalator at this point, so I muttered something about wondering if she had ever driven in a highway lane next to someone else and walked away.

A new allegation of violent behavior in the past by Bobby Knight will go uninvestigated by Indiana, since they don’t believe that it’s any worse than any of the other things that they investigated. The allegation is that Knight punched one of his players in the side of the head; Indiana is quickly exposing themselves as a mockery of a sham of a travesty…

Ummm… a potato-powered webserver. These guys were paying attention in fourth grade, when we learned about alternative energy sources…

Today, the Boston Globe is reporting that there is a one-year gap in Bush’s National Guard service, a period during which he is completely unaccounted for. There’s relatively good evidence that Bush nabbed the National Guard spot in order to avoid being drafted into Vietnam; now it looks like he didn’t even show up to his training assigments. What an ass.

In a desperate attempt to further prolong his fifteen minutes, Donato Dalyrmple has filed a $100 million civil suit against Janet Reno and INS Commissioner Doris Meissner. (For those of you who have successfully shoved his name out of your head, he’s the guy who was in the closet, hiding Elian from the INS SWAT team.) I’ll be shocked if this suit ever gets out of the discovery phase, given the facts that (a) the family actively tried to prevent the INS agents from entering the home, and (b) the agents had a valid search and seizure warrant.

For those of you in the web biz, there’s a good resource for pricing and what to charge customers: the Web Price Index. (Thanks to brig for pointing to it…)

[Macro error: Can’t evaluate the expression because the name “discussionGroup” hasn’t been defined.]


Okie dokie — the pictures from Michelle’s party are up. They’re all captioned, so if there are any misspellings or screwups, mail me about ‘em. (Sorry it took so long — I lost my cellphone on the train back into the city last night, so I had to deal with that.)

No matter what you think about Gore, you’ve gotta admit he’s a stallion — he had a 16-year-old girlfriend when he was 13. (You have to scroll down to the middle of the article, in the “A Tennessee Work Ethic” section.)

Remind me never to rob a bus with an icepick in Mexico

Today, a friend and I were watching The A Team (guilty pleasure), and an actor came on that we both recognized. After a little research, it turned out to be James Hong, and astounding to us both, he’s been in 84 movies, had a starring role in a couple dozen TV series, and made guest appearances on 85 episodes of various TV series. That’s a long friggin’ career.

Congratulations to Matt and Kay!!!

You know, another medical pet-peeve of mine: patients have a few simple rights, one of which is to the truth about their disease and the situation surrounding it, and that’s why this article on doctors lying to terminally-ill patients is very unsettling to me. You know that whole do-unto-others thing? If I’m gonna die, I want to know that, so that I can do all those things I have to do to be at peace with that fact.

I figured that after this, people would learn not to stick their hands in the cages of deadly animals… but nope, not true.

Math + IP addresses + capable IP stack = loads of geekfun. Click on these (don’t worry, they’re all valid sites, and none are porn):

The Shuttle successfully docked with the International Space Station yesterday. Now comes a 6 1/2 hour spacewalk, lots of maintenance, and a lot of bitching that the Russian module wasn’t ready to install yet.

Supercool. After finally getting a digital camera to play with, I decided to set up a suite here to display picture shows. The first show documents the fearless rescue of a trapped toy mouse by the intrepid monkey-cat, Sammie. (Yes, I know — I’ve given into the universal weblogger need to take pictures of one’s pet…) I’ve also redone the pictures of our trip to the Super Bowl into a show.


Last night, I brought home by far the coolest damn digital camera on Earth, and started playing with it a bit; I’m trapped indoors today by the rain, though, so the pictures aren’t as exciting as they could be.

I have no idea how the Knicks came back last night — and I watched every minute of the game. Pretty great.

Who knew that women are just as disgusting as men when it comes to the state in which they leave public toilets?

In response to the coming addition of gasoline to the service, Slate has a pretty damn good look at Priceline and the way that price discrimination works. It’s definitely an eye-opener — there’s a very strong argument that Priceline is both a response to and an assistant of the price discrimination that takes place in every single market.

“Hey Mom! I just set new high scores in both High-School Massacre and Armor-Piercing Assault! Now I’m starving — can I get another Howitzer burger????”

Wren’s Five Stages of Blogging are worth reading. I think that I’m somewhere between stage 3 (“bargaining”) and stage 5 (“acceptance”), although I have to think about it a little more.

Was there any doubt that Pepsi makes you crazy?

Oh, yer killin’ me, yer killin’ me. (Thanks!)

It’s one of those windy, rainy days here in New York, and no matter how big your umbrella, you get soaked. Fun fun fun.

Oh, this is precious.

Doctors in Canada are reporting success in transplanting pancreas cells in humans, reversing type I diabetes. This is a pretty huge step in the treatment of diabetes; the article doesn’t say, though, if the eight patients require oral antihyperglycemic medications, or immunosuppressants to stave off rejection of the transplants.

Congress is facing a class-action lawsuit by a group of custodians, all women, who make over a dollar less per hour than men on the same custodial staff. Interestingly, the lawsuit is only possible due to the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, an act which finally required Congress to comply with the same civil rights and labor laws that apply to the rest of the country.

Oh, the geek in me thinks that this rocks. Amazon sells the book The Story About Ping, a 1933 children’s story about a duck named Ping who learns a few life lessons. On the review page, though, someone has written the following, in by far the most popular review of the book:

Using deft allegory, the authors have provided an insightful and intuitive explanation of one of Unix’s most venerable networking utilities. Even more stunning is that they were clearly working with a very early beta of the program, as their book first appeared in 1933, years (decades!) before the operating system and network infrastructure were finalized.
The book describes networking in terms even a child could understand, choosing to anthropomorphize the underlying packet structure. The ping packet is described as a duck, who, with other packets (more ducks), spends a certain period of time on the host machine (the wise-eyed boat). At the same time each day (I suspect this is scheduled under cron), the little packets (ducks) exit the host (boat) by way of a bridge (a bridge). From the bridge, the packets travel onto the internet (here embodied by the Yangtze River).

Was anyone else aware of the fact that, during the height of the Cold War, the U.S. developed plans to set off an enormous nuclear blast on the moon to demonstrate our superiority in the arms race? Darwin was right, and it’s only a matter of time before our potential idiocy kills us all.

I love my referrer logs. I found Considered Harmful in them yesterday, and from there, found VisiBone’s websafe color pages, which are the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve already ordered a few copies of the laminated card and mousepads.

The Shuttle is spaceborne! The Shuttle is spaceborne! (Why am I such a space geek???)

Major thank you to everyone who sent their congratulations (or posted them on their site — and mad props back at you, Jess!); I appreciate the well-wishes more than you can know.

Oh my god, this is almost sorta funny — blast from an engine of the New York Knicks charter plane blew over and demolished head coach Jeff Van Gundy’s car yesterday. It also damaged the cars of Allan Houston, assistant coach Brendan Malone, the team media relations director. That sucks.

Now, Slashdot it trying to shift the focus from “we are explicitly allowing a copyright violation, and in so doing, are becoming copyright violators” to “Microsoft is a big fat meany!” I said it before and I’ll say it again — the base claim of Microsoft’s, that they have copyright on their statements, is the same thing that provides the strength of the GNU Public License. To defy the protections afforded by copyright is to weaken the GPL, and these morons seem to be jumping full-force into it.

Awesome: There are only five domain names left, from the Motley Fool.

Microsoft has released a fix for the cookie bug in Internet Explorer (as well as for a few other bugs). You can get it from the IE website or from Windows Update.

First, we had eToys vs. etoy; etoy won that one. Last week, we got Mattel vs. Matt Lavalee (get that C&D letter up, Matt!). Now, we have Chiquita vs. Jessica Paff (MetaFilter thread here) and a bunch of idiots vs. The Dialectizer. Feh — I wish that corporate America would buy a clue with the money it’s spending on lawyers and C&D letters.

I know that this is being logged elsewhere, but I had to weigh in: Boo.com is dead. What I don’t understand is why they ever got press — it was always a nightmare of a site, and that was the only thing that distinguished it. (Why is the site still up, though?)

Wow — this is my hometown. I just remember when a kid in my high-school class stabbed a pregnant teacher (she and her baby were O.K.); inner city San Antonio is getting rougher and rougher.

It’s sort of sad to see Clint Eastwood getting into a fight with a disabled woman over something that he could easily fix.

David Anderson weighs in to debunk the oft-stated belief that larger screen size will mean more usable PDAs, cellphones, and whatnot. I don’t completely agree with his argument, though. He uses the notion that usability hasn’t generally increased with screen size to say that it won’t or can’t do so; that’s a logical fallacy. After spending three days trying to figure out how to delete an entry from my cellphone phonebook, there’s no arguing his point that handheld designers have a very long way to go to reach even moderate usability, but if there ever comes a phone with a big screen and great ergonomic/anthropologic usability, then I’m all over it.

congratulations, doc!

Checking in early today — it’s graduation day, and the way that Columbia does things, it means that I’m out of commission all day. But I get to wear a kickin’ robe — the doctoral robe is very, very cool.

Can I tell you how weird it is that, in the span of one day, I go from being a student who doesn’t know shit to a doctor who is expected to be able to care for patients? Now, my signature is expected to be unreadable (and have a little “M.D.” at the end of it), every relative is supposed to have my number in case their rash gets worse, and I can get out of any boring dinner by pretending that I’m getting an urgent page from the emergency room.

I wish I wish I wish that I had a digital camera to capture the events today. (Although what I do have is an incredibly talented friend who is coming to graduation with her camera and some very long glass, so there should be some amazing pictures for my albums.)

What a freakshow.

It’s graduation time here; there will probably be sporadic updates today and tomorrow.

It’s pretty cool, though — Columbia is webcasting all of the outdoor graduation events. Today is the Columbia College graduation, as well as the Engineering School; tomorrow is the University Commencement.

meg's iron giant

Meg finally saw The Iron Giant and loved it; her camera currently features a Giant that her brother gave to her. (Note for the populace: Iron Giant toys make very welcome gifts.) If you still haven’t seen the movie, get thee off your ass and do it!

Slashdot is becoming a community of children, if the questions posed to Jeff Zeldman are representative.

I find Indiana University’s decision to let Bobby Knight stay on as head coach to be complete crap. First of all, the only reason the allegations against Knight came out was because the people who suffered his abuse couldn’t hold back any longer; it’s not like the school came upon the problem themselves and caught it in the bud, and for them to treat it like that is terrible. Second, the fact that the school president announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy towards Knight implies that in the past, abuse was tolerated at some level greater than zero, a notion that is offensive in so many ways I can’t even begin to talk about it. I feel secure in my belief that if you choke a student, physically threaten a secretary, attack one of your assistants, and choke the director of sports information, you should be shown the door, and not even given time to pack up your shit.

Of course, given the sanctions, Knight’s time is inherently limited; if you’ve ever seen a Bobby Knight press conference, you know that his intrinsic nature will prevent him from adhering to the strict conduct code announced today as part of the punishment.

I don’t know who this is worse for, the sumo wrestler or the people watching (live and on TV).

It seems that even though the request was made eight months ago, and was upheld by a judicial committee ruling over two months ago, APB News has still not received a single financial disclosure form from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. (Thanks to Andrew for noticing this!)

When I first installed Terminal Services on my Windows 2000 box, I had a problem when I rebooted — I got an error, saying that I didn’t have interactive logon privileges, preventing me from logging on locally. Microsoft has tracked down the problem, and if you’re installing Terminal Services after having installed the base operating system, I recommend grabbing the fix.

In another Win2K issue, it turns out that IIS assigns consecutive port numbers when using passive (PASV) FTP; it’s a behavior that makes potential FTP malfeasance a little more possible. If this concerns you, there is a fix available, and it appears it will be rolled into the first Win2K service pack.

At “Rotten Tomatoes”, the score is running 65:4 against on this movie:


Happy Mother’s Day!

Awesome New York moment tonight. I was on a subway headed back uptown, and a mother got onto the train with her two kids, a boy who was about six years old and a girl who was around three. The girl sits down, and making sure that her brother noticed, she yanked out a small pamphlet from her back pocket and started to read it. Her brother said (loudly) “The only problem is that you don’t know how to read, dummy.” The little girl replied “But I’m only reading to myself!” She then started to “read” out loud, making up a fanciful story about unicorns and dragons… and punctuated every ten words or so with “dot com.” Her mom was laughing hysterically, in tears, and the little boy was just confused as he could be.

The author of this headline missed the last couple minutes of the game…

In the ultimate wishful thinking, 17.3% of men reported that, given their choice of 200 women, they’d most like to do a love scene with Julia Roberts. You women want Mel Gibson most. Survey questions like this are no different than the “which vegetable would you most like to be?” questions that were sprung on you during college interviews.

The Washington Post had a good look at Battlefield Earth, and the motivations behind the movie, in November of last year. (Of course, the biggest thing I learned from the article is that Jenna Elfman is a Scientologist; nothing like that to kill a crush.) Slate has a mini-compendium of the terrible reviews of the movie, as well.

Tom and Dori (of Backup Brain) have come up with an “I Like Blogger” graphic based on the same “I Like Ike” button that’s been all over the place lately.

Ugh, went out late, came home late late, slept late late late. Just now regaining equilibrium and visual acuity.

john coltrane the classic quartet

A friend brought John Coltrane, The Classic Quartet into work the other day, and within about 10 minutes, I had bought it from Amazon. It’s an eight-disc box set that contains all of Impulse Records’ studio recordings of Coltrane quartets, and it’s just that damn good. I am slowly working my way through the discs; disc five is in my CD player right now. If you like jazz, go buy this.

From Obscure Store, a six-year-old boy who jumped out of his bath and ran to the window to try to flag down his school bus before it left has been suspended from school for sexual harassment. As part of it, the school made the boy sign a paper admitting that he understands the charges against him. Of course, you can’t blame the school district — they are probably looking to Miami, saying that if a court is currently debating whether or not Elian can sign and understand the nature of an asylum statement, then who the hell are they to say that this particular six-year-old can’t.

A good story for an episode of Law & Order: an Ohio jury found a man guilty of involuntary manslaughter after he broke into a woman’s house and literally scared her to death.

Interesting — Japanese commuter train officials think that putting mirrors across the tracks from the platforms will help deter suicides. I never knew that suicides in Japanese train stations were so high.

More about Dubya: in light of the current focus on Dubya’s death penalty obsession, Nat Hentoff takes a look at how defendants charged with non-capital crimes fare in Texas. The results are frightening; indigent defendants can wait up to six months for the appointment of a lawyer, judges admit that they take political contributions into account when appointing these lawyers, a judge has ruled that “the Constitution doesn’t say the lawyers [have] to be awake,” and Bush has vetoed every bill to try to change this offensive reality.

Sharon Underwood, the mother of a gay son in Vermont, wrote an incredibly good column in the Concord Monitor a few weeks ago responding to the Vermonters who are upset about their state’s recognition of gay civil unions.

This guy is claiming that since he missed the $32,000 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, he has been out of work and hasn’t been able to get a job, and he’s suing for $2 million.

Michael Moore’s latest Elian column is back online, and as I said before, it’s well worth the read.

Nice redesign over at Digital Swirlee.

After thinking about the Microsoft/Slashdot ruckus that started yesterday, I realized that potentially, liability for copyright infringement extends to any website which provides some mechanism whereby people can post to the site. This includes any Manila site which has a public discussion group (like this one, many of the EditThisPage and Weblogs.com sites, and all of the Userland discussion groups), any site that has a Greenspun discussion group, and so on. The DMCA does provide a way to ameliorate that liability — you have to designate someone who will deal with any contentions of copyright infringement, and both register that person with the Copyright Office and post the information on the website. (The registration process is painless; my information is now located here.) The Copyright Office has more information, and the entire text of the DMCA is also available.

Rogers Cadenhead emailed me today to let me know that the story I pointed to a few days ago about the child killed in order to smuggle codeine into the UAE is an urban legend. Wow — it doesn’t seem to me that urban legends penetrate actual media channels all that often.

What a great deal: get insulted by John Rocker, get into a baseball game free. Bold move on the part of the Butte Copper Kings; I imagine that the only people who aren’t eligible for the free tickets are white men.

Out of Rebecca’s Pocket comes the fact that people with aphasias are significantly better than the norm at detecting when people are lying. (Aphasias are a category of language disorders, where there is a disconnect somewhere along the pathways between hearing speech, processing and comprehending it, and producing speech which corresponds to that comprehension. They are fascinating disorders in that they point out the intricate mechanisms of language that exist in the human brain.)

Yet another Bushism of the Week:

GOV. BUSH: Because the picture on the newspaper. It just seems so un-American to me, the picture of the guy storming the house with a scared little boy there. I talked to my little brother, Jeb—I haven’t told this to many people. But he’s the governor of—I shouldn’t call him my little brother—my brother, Jeb, the great governor of Texas.
JIM LEHRER: Florida.
GOV. BUSH: Florida. The state of the Florida.

Also about Dubya, there seem to be a spate of articles popping up right now about his obsession with the death penalty, apparently even when there are real questions about the guilt of the people or the method by which they were convicted. Slate looks at the specific cases of two men, one who was already put to death despite pretty good evidence that there were major problems with his conviction. The Washington Post looks at Calvin Jerrold Burdine, a man whose court-appointed lawyer slept through parts of the trial. Having lived in Texas for almost two decades, I can say that this is exactly what you’d expect when you get a right-wing governor combined with judges who are elected to their seats, all the way up to the state Supreme Court.

Due to the fact that this website allows the posting of content by members of the Internet community, the law requires that I follow certain procedures in dealing with any claims of copyright infringement that might arise from postings in comment threads. This page sets out the policies followed here for dealing with such claims.

The Policy

Stated clearly, it is my policy to respond to claims of intellectual property infringement by others on this site according to the terms of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Title 17 U.S.C. 512(c), and all other applicable copyright and intellectual property laws. Pursuant to the DMCA, notifications of claimed infringement of copyright should be sent to the Designated Agent for this site, myself, at the following contact locations:

Jason Levine
2647 Broadway #7S
New York, NY 10025
email: (click here to send)
phone: (212) 678-1980
fax: none

A copy of the Designated Agent form, submitted to the Copyright Office on May 11, 2000, is also available (in Portable Document Format); the copy scanned in by the Copyright Office is available as well (also in PDF format).

How to Claim an Infringement

Now, how do you report an infringement of copyright? According to the DMCA, a notice of claimed infringement must contain the following in order to be legally effective:

  1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
  5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
  6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

More Information

The Copyright Office has a set of pages that explain more about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and what website operators must do in order to limit their liability in cases of other individuals’ copyright infringement.

I just stumbled across a kickin’ new (to me) log — GirlText. Elizabeth don’t brook shit from nobody; to me, the whole point of weblogs is to express yourself, and it’s great when I find a five-star site in that respect.

What a cool MetaBaby page. (Of course, since every MetaBaby page is world-editable, it may not be the same when you see it as when I did!)

Wow, is this cookie bug in Internet Explorer a biggie. Interestingly, the cookie isn’t available to IE in the HTTP header, only in Javascript on the page; nonetheless, no site would be looking to authenticate against the cookie, it would be looking to read sensitive information out of it, which would logically take place at the page level.

Slashdot is in the middle of proving that the anti-Microsoft bias of some members exerts quite a strong force on their actions, possibly to their great detriment. Someone went and posted the entire text of a copyrighted Microsoft document on Slashdot recently, and Microsoft responded with a very tactfully-worded letter demanding (under both standard copyright laws and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act) that the posting be removed. Slashdot is refusing to do so, apparently in major violation of the Act, and a controversy is ensuing. (Warning: Slashdot appears to be crushed under their own weight today; of course, there’s a MetaFilter thread about it, and there’s also a CNet News story with an amazingly slanted headline if you can’t get through to Slashdot.)

As I ask in the MetaFilter thread: why is it OK for Slashdot to violate someone’s copyright, but not OK for me to violate the GNU Public License? Also interesting, though, there’s another thread on Slashdot today about copyright and HTML, and strangely, nobody there has any problem with the rightful enforcement of copyright! Yet another case of situational ethics; it serves Slashdot’s purpose to hack another chink in Microsoft’s armor, even if it is illegal.

I really like the design of the fray. This week’s question (“What was your last flight like?”) is preceded with a short essay that’s illustrated with nice inside-the-plane-looking-out pictures; very calming.

Every week, Splorp has the available domain name of the week. Hurry up and grab ratcrap.com!

In honor of Elian’s hearing today, a few questions:

  • Would all the people who hold Elian’s mother up as the paragon of heroism (for getting Elian to the shores of America) still feel that way if she had survived, and he had drowned to death? (Oh, of course, that’s where divine intervention and the holy dolphins come into play.)
  • If people really feel that it would be unconscionable to send Elian back to Cuba, do they also feel that we should prevent Elian’s stepbrother (the infant in all the pictures) from returning to Cuba? How about all the kids that came over to play with Elian? Should we kidnap them all?
  • If a tree fell in the forest and nobody was there to hear it, would Marisleysis still be the craziest woman this side of the Mississippi?

Roger Cossack, one of CNN’s law correspondents, has a pretty good column today, Who says a 6-year-old can make decisions for himself?. He raises a point I’ve been wondering about: the most the Eleventh Circuit can rule is that Elian does have the right to apply for asylum. That’s it. Then, the INS still has to establish that he is a candidate for asylum, which means an interview with him about his reasons for asylum. And, since it would have been established that Elian has the right to apply on his own, he would also have to justify the asylum application on his own — the two go together.

I wish that the link to Michael Moore’s latest column wasn’t coming up blank right now; among all the great observations, he has one that rings particularly true to me:

I looked at that now-famous photograph of the INS agent with the 9mm automatic in his hand as he demanded that Elian Gonzales be turned over, and I thought, “This guy is in a bunker full of crazed kidnappers who believe that Flipper is a member of the Holy Trinity, and all he has to defend himself and the boy is that dinky little gun?”

According to Stephen, the drug smugglers that I talked about yesterday are prime candidates for public beheadings in the United Arab Emirates.

Now ordinarily I think that the Islamic states are pretty harsh places, and I think that some of the things they do are pretty barbaric.

But I have to say that the “smugglers from hell” you described today chose exactly the right place to do their dirty deed and get caught, because the UAE uses public decapitation with a sword as its form of capital punishment, and these guys are all going to get it.

And may they burn in hell.

ACK — we had network problems here today, so if you tried to get to Q and couldn’t, I apologize. It turned out to be the CSU/DSU at this end; all I had to do was cycle the power, and everything reset to normal. Strange-o-rama.

Matt Lavalee has received the cease-and-desist letter from Mattel, and will be posting it this weekend. (For those just tuning in, Mattel has sent Matt a C&D letter telling him that he has to surrender his domain name, MATTL.COM.)

The Great Blog-Off is well on its way, with the topic of WAR. After a quick start by Wendell (and apparently a good night’s rest by Mike), things are evening up. Remember, if you’re one of those people who are voting based solely on column length, Wendell cheated with a long posting before the actual Blog-Off started…

Just when you though you’d heard of the sickest thing possible, a child was kidnapped and killed so that her body could be stuffed full of codeine and smuggled into the United Arab Emirates.

Wowzers. Wisconsin Electric Power Company was ordered to pay $104.5 million in damages earlier this year by a jury in a case where they polluted land with cyanide, and then sold the land without disclosing this small fact. During the trial, WEPCO stipulated that they had no insurance coverage for verdicts like this, and the jury took this into account in their decision. Now, WEPCO is claiming that they do have insurance, and the judge is pissed; she has issued a bench order that if WEPCO gets the verdict overturned on appeal, there will be an automatic $104.5 million sanction against them, so no matter what, they’ve got to pay. (After reading things like this, I think that being a judge would be supercool.)

Hey, this is cool — according to Brad, it turns out that there’s prior art to Zaphod’s “Dyke” button that predates the Pike button (but obviously not the original “Ike” button). Now, if we could only get him to go into that storage locker, grab the button, and scan it in…

In response to Verizon’s lawsuit against 2600 for registering the domain verizonreallysucks.com, the folks at 2600 have registered a new domain name. I love fights like this; corporate america (and apparently telecom companies, who should know better) still has a long way to come. 2600 has a position paper on the whole imbroglio.

Our fine mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is seeking a divorce from his wife. I was wondering if this would do anything to his campaign (if he stays in the race), but then I realized that he’s competing against Hillary, who has a whole separate set of fidelity and family issues.

An interesting twist — the I Love You trojan/worm may have had its origins in a thesis project.

In response to my complaints, Network Magazine and Extelligent have added a privacy policy to their survey on network providers and telecom carriers. So now, go fill out the survey; it stands to actually give good numbers on what consumers and tech professionals demand from their Internet and data carriers, and whether or not those carriers currently live up to the demands.

But I noticed a link to you at Jim Romenesko’s Obscure Store and Reading Room: http://www.obscurestore.com/

(I got a feeling this is a duh!! post considering you have that site linked already…. duh!!)

The Great Blog Off begins tonight, 12:00 AM EST, with Wendell vs. Mike.

Mental note: keep cellphone in pocket, not in bag.

This is pretty exciting — my fair alma mater, home of the Pulitzer Prizes, has established the Online Journalism Awards. There are awards in six categories: general excellence, online commentary, breaking news, enterprise journalism, service journalism and most creative use of the medium. There is a website for the awards, and they start to accept entries on July 3rd. I wonder if the “most creative use of the medium” award will go to a traditional news organization, or if specialty news sites (like ESPN, or some of the finance ones) will have a chance.

Every time I stumble across MetaBaby, I remember just how damn cool it is. And of course, since synergy seems to be flying around me these days, I just went to the about page and saw that Greg Knauss coded it; Greg has popped up a few times in the past few days.

For baseball fans, this is something you don’t see often: John Rocker balked home the winning run in the Braves-Marlins game yesterday night. His statement after the game: “The only quote I’m giving is I’m a horrible player. I’m just a bad player. That’s the bottom line.” Strangely, this is the second time this year that this has happened (Jeff Zimmerman balked home a winning run on April 28th in Texas’ loss to Baltimore), but prior to that, it hadn’t happened since 1993.

Leos Kral weighs in with important terms of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Apparently, ever since his giddy-as-a-schoolgirl posting of a picture of me with “Dyke” buttons all over it, Dave Winer’s be-all, end-all gauge of whether someone’s opinion is worth listening to is whether that person has a picture of him or herself available on the web. Seems like a great tactic, if your aim is to divert people’s attention from the real issues that started the conversation, but of course that may just be me.

Representative Bob Smith, proving both his ignorance of history and flair for generating innuendo where there should be none, proclaimed that Elian is currently in “a concentration camp on American soil” Sunday. Of course, we’re talking about a man who quit the Republican party because it’s too liberal for him.

Once again, time to rally the troops — Matt Lavallee, owner of MATTL.COM, has been served with a cease and desist letter by the Mattel, Inc., the toy company — apparently, they don’t like his domain name. From what I can tell from their website, the proper email address to send your concerns to about this is service@mattel.com. (As with almost everything worth talking about these days, there’s a MetaFilter thread just starting about this.)

Now, for a bit of metacontent. First: sadly, Alice is drifting away. It’s been fun reading Strange Brew; it’s a log I’ll miss. Second: Dan has spiffed up the backend of BrainLog with a full database and comment system; it looks great, so go there, now.

And in quasi-metacontent, array is gone as well, apparently in response to the entire WinerLog brouhaha. A thread on MetaFilter has begun about it.

Good for you, Jim. And thank you for the compliment — I am humbled. And lastly, very nice Conversant site. I keep meaning to play with my free site more; maybe this whole blowup is a big message that I should start now.

Napster has lost its ISP safe harbor defense in the RIAA’s lawsuit against the service, apparently because they don’t enforce any policy of copyright protection, and possibly because they allow known pirates and they stand to benefit financially from copyright infringement.

Of all places, CNet News has a decent article about the fact that in many states, your medical records don’t legally belong to you. This is somewhat scary — if you are dissatisfied and leave your doctor, in some states, that doctor can refuse to turn over your records to your new healthcare provider. Thankfully, New York is a state where patients do have the right of access.

Apparently, some parents still believe that tanning is good for their kids. 24% of parents who were surveyed have never applied sunscreen to their kids. Come on, people — the current thinking is that all it takes is a few major sunburns to plant the seeds of skin cancer!

In celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 10th birthday, the Washington Post has a beautiful slideshow and movie of some of its best images. Amazingly, the Hubble has returned nearly 300,000 observations, and has resulted in over 2,500 scientific papers — it’s definitely a science project gone right.

Network Magazine emailed me about their current survey of network, data, and Internet providers. The survey asks for a lot of personal information, including your email address, and they have absolutely no privacy statement of any kind anywhere that I can find. Sort of shocking for a company that is integrally involved with security in the information age.

Hee hee — Number of Linux Distributions Surpasses Number of Users. (I don’t know why I have never come across BBspot before.) Other gems from their recent archives: Microsoft Purchases Evil From Satan, Oracle Experiencing Major Growth In Larry Ellison’s Ego.

I figured out a way to do what I wanted in my CGI.

The following is the code fragment that I use for my traceroute:

        open(TRACE, "/usr/sbin/traceroute $hostIP 2> /dev/null |");
        while (<TRACE>) {
            print "$_";

With this, I open the pipe to a traceroute, and then as each line is returned from the system, it’s printed to STDOUT (which, in the case of a CGI, is the webserver pipe to the browser client).


Both images reproduced here with the permission of Zaphod, their creator.

I’ve been playing around with perl programming for a little while now (mainly because of a two-month research project at the hospital that was perl-centric), and yesterday, I started delving into CGI.pm. Tres cool — it is to perl what mainResponder is to Frontier, namely a very powerful way to quickly put together server-side scripts that do all those things that you have always needed web pages to do.

Perl-related CGI question, though: is there a way to make a system call from a CGI and have the output of that call buffered back to perl in a way that it can be incrementally displayed? Specifically, I want to do a traceroute, and have the lines from the traceroute come back one at a time, instead of perl having to wait for the entire trace to finish before any of it is returned to perl. UPDATE: I figured out how to do what I want to do.

Ahhhh, how beautiful situational ethics can be… (Yes, most people understand that this has become about the use of “defaced” graphics, but how do you think Alan Diaz feels about his photos, defaced, appearing on Scripting News? Oh, that’s doing one’s part “for free speech on the Internet.” Gotcha. However do I keep all this straight?) It will be interesting seeing how they deal with the “defaced” graphics once they’re on a non-Userland site.

Just doing my part for free speech on the Internet.

How fast would this guy have to have been driving in order to launch his multi-ton SUV into the second floor of a house? Jeez.

OK, question: say you’re the guy who wrote the “I Love You” worm/trojan. Now say you read this news story about how authorities have you under surveillance, and are ready to arrest you and search your computers as soon as they get a warrant. Don’t you start wiping those discs clean? Put big pacemaker magnets on top of the disc platters? It seems that if they are really serious about this suspect, then all this information wouldn’t be in the news.

The judge who issued the ruling against MP3.com says that the legal reasoning wasn’t even a close call. The big quote: “Stripped to its essence, defendant’s ‘consumer protection’ argument amounts to nothing more than a bald claim that defendants should be able to misappropriate plaintiffs’ property simply because there is a consumer demand for it. This hardly appeals to the conscience of equity.”

new york yankees

I’m going to the Yankees game today; hopefully, they can extend their 5-game winning streak. Last night’s game was incredible; they were down 2 runs to the Orioles going into the bottom of the ninth, and scored four runs to win the game. (With two men on, the Os expected Jorge Posada to bunt to advance a runner; instead, he swung for the fence, homering and winning the game.) Jeff Nelson remains unbeaten at 5-0; the Yanks bullpen is now 9-0.

Yanks win, 3-1. Clemens gets the win (his 250th), Rivera gets the save (his 11th this season). And Boston loses to Tampa Bay (with Pedro on the mound, holy crap), widening the Yanks lead in the AL East to four games (as if it matters this early in the year).

Why is QuesoCam2 so much clearer than normal right now? Because it’s 81 degrees out, and my windows are all wide open — so the camera isn’t shooting through a New York, on-Broadway window, with all its accumulated grit and grime. (Update: it’s back to the grimy view, since it’s just hot enough here that I’m wimping out and cranking up the AC.)

To the people who gloat about using Eudora and thus being immune to the worm/trojan attacks of the past few days: consider yourself warned. (A slightly better account of the vulnerability is here.) Since it took all of about 14 femtoseconds for new and “improved” versions of “I Love You” to surface, it’s probably only a matter of time before someone adds the ability to bypass Eudora’s security…

Jeff Howe of the Village Voice has a good piece on Eric Corley and Martin Garbus, the publisher of 2600 and his lawyer, and their fight with the MPAA over links to DeCSS, the application that defeats DVD’s scrambling system. (Fascinating to me is that Garbus has a 20-0 record in front of the U.S. Supreme Court; unfortunately, there is a pending motion to disqualify him from this case, due to a minor representation of a subsidiary of one of the movie studios years ago.)

Imagine being a cop watching this guy commit suicide. Hopefully, the “you were there, so you have to clean it up” rule doesn’t apply…

Hey, cool — I’m a political weblog!

Ummmm…. Alex Chiu scares me. Apparently, his magnetic rings are on par with Thomas Edison’s lamp, or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Yeah, you go, buddy.

Could you imagine if the news reported every time that a company shut down their mail server? This news story seems a bit silly, and pretty indicative of how reactionary and misinformed the press can be about computer stuff.

I implement ingress filtering on my routers, and they compile a tally of the number of packets that fail against the filters. Interestingly, my router is seeing packets that claim to be from the three private IP blocks that are designated as not to be routed outside of private space; the only way that my router can be seeing these packets is if my ISP is routing them to me, which isn’t good. Time to do some work…

In February, a 16-year-old boy was drafted by D.C. United (one of the pro U.S. soccer teams); he’s got himself a Nike endorsement contract, and has dropped out of high school, pursuing his GED with tutors and homeschooling. I’m not sure how I feel about this; I wonder if the school district would let a kid do the same thing to pursue a dotcom business, or something similar.

“With God, all things are possible” — except using that phrase as the Ohio state motto, since the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that it is unconstitutional. I wonder how many things that motto is printed, engraved, and chiseled into permanently; this has to be an enormous pain in the ass for Ohio.

More state-related business: a week or so ago, I asked why the Mississippi state flag (with its Confederate flag contribution) hasn’t generated more controversy. Today, it’s reported that that’s not actually the official Mississippi state flag, and in fact, there is no official Mississippi state flag, due to an oversight by the legislature back in 1906. (This was all discovered by the Mississippi Supreme Court, in a challenge to the flag’s constitutionality.) State lawmakers are now saying that they have a unique opportunity to actually designate a flag (and perhaps one that isn’t so damn racist).

Due entirely to configuration mistakes (laziness?) on the part of the Apache folks, the www.apache.org server was hacked recently; the folks that did it have explained how.

Also on the security front, David Dittrich of University of Washington has published a reasonably good analysis of mstream, the latest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack tool to surface. From this comes a basic plea, from me in my role as a network admin: if you run a network, implement network ingress and egress filtering! It’s a big step towards preventing someone from using your network as a launching point for these attacks.

In Boston a few years ago there was a service which you could dial into and find out about traffic conditions. A second service started up offering the same things, and the first one was suspicious that they were merely being copied.

So they did the same thing: they invented some spurious events and put them onto their own line, then carefully documented that they appeared on the second line — and then sued their tails off.

medpics -- brain and skull

What a super, super, supercool medical imaging website, and from a law portal, of all places. I need to remember this one for presentations and whatnot.

I can’t tell you how disgusting this is to me. Of course, this is much more disgusting.

I know that this shocks everyone, but Netscape’s CSS support in their 4.7X browsers still sucks. Netscape 4.73 came out today, ostensibly with bug fixes; despite me having used their special 4.7X CSS crash report site to report that one of my websites crashes Netscape without fail every time the home page is loaded (multiple times, with every version from 4.7 on), the bug still exists.

Microsoft is going to integrate biometric authentication into Windows. A great idea, but I can hardly wait to hear the complaints that Microsoft is going to put 3rd party companies out of business, Microsoft is unfairly bundling things into the operating system, Microsoft is killing the children of righteous Christians, blah blah blah…

This is pretty damn funny — concert listing service Pollstar is suing GigMania, since it appears that GigMania has been crawling the event listings at Pollstar and automatically inserting them into their own database. How’d Pollstar catch ‘em at it? They invented fake bands and cities into their own database, and watched them appear, nearly instantly, in GigMania’s own listings. (Unfortunately, the ones that Wired mentions all appear to have been removed overnight; if anyone finds some that GigMania hasn’t caught yet, drop me a line and I’ll point to them.)

Macworld has an op-ed piece about the slow but sure downfall of the Apple interface. It’s sad that this was a company that was impeccable when it came to user interface design and usability; their research labs and standards were unquestionable. Now, they seem to be abandoning it all; as the subtitle to the op-ed piece reads, “The road to usability hell is paved with brushed aluminum.”

Imagine that you’re being held in some foreign country, against your will, and then some crazy folks who think they know what’s best for you ask that the American embassy officials not be allowed to visit with you. Sound offensive? The same thing is happening here, painted with the brush of anti-Communism. (I do love the government’s response, though: “We’re not controlling who’s going into the Wye River Plantation, just as we did not control who was going in and out of Elian’s house in Florida.” This can be read as: you had no problem sheltering and indoctrinating Elian yourself, so shut the fuck up.)

To much less press fanfare and blowhard political posturing, a Greek child has been reunited with his parents in Greece. The boy was being held by his grandparents in Egypt, who were upset that their daughter married a Christian man; they refused to return the child to Greece, and the Egyptian police raided the home and took the boy back.

The Linux 2.4 kernel is even further delayed. Originally set for a release last October, it now looks like it won’t go final until this October. Funny enough, though, this article attributes the reasons to the same things for which people typically rail against Microsoft — the addition of new features not originally scheduled for this release, and the testing of all these features.

It turns out that the consumer marketing stats that have come back from the dotcom Super Bowl ad spending spree are horrendous. Out of the 17 dotcoms that ran ads, not a single surveyed person remembered seeing ads from 11 of them without prompting; the highest unprompted remembrance rate was 6%, for E-Trade. Media Metrix website visit counts show steeply declining numbers for most of the companies — they got one-day bumps due to the ads, and then died off to almost nothing.

What would happen if an astronaut had a major medical emergency while in space? A New Scientist article thinks it would be disastrous; even if the astronaut could be rushed back to Earth, it turns out that space screws up one’s homeostatic abilities enough that, for at least a day after returning, surgery or anesthesia would be incredibly risky. In addition, controlling an airway in zero gravity would be very difficult, and the Shuttle probably doesn’t have sufficient equipment for it.

Wow, I’m sort of shocked — it turns out that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson does have the ability (at least in some cases) to determine when he has overwhelming biases that prevent him from being able to preside over a case fairly. (I wonder what it would take for him to be able to see this in U.S. v. Microsoft…)

John Taschek has a ZDNet editorial on why open source is “a road to nowhere.” I don’t know that it’s fair to hold Mozilla up as representative of open source’s faults, but nonetheless, I think I agree with his conclusions — Linux does have a future, but not necessarily because it’s open source. Meanwhile, Bob Young, CEO of RedHat, has responded to Taschek’s editorial.

The FCC has ruled against Time Warner in the dispute over ABC that took the station off of cable networks for the past few days. Apparently, there’s a specific clause in the rules that applies to sweeps periods; the fact that we’re in the middle of May sweeps means that Time Warner has to use kid gloves no matter what ABC does. This is interesting, since apparently there was no signed agreement or contract that would have legally allowed Time Warner to carry ABC past April 30th; if they had chosen to, could ABC have sued Time Warner if they kept ABC on the air past that date, even though now the FCC says that another rule should have prevented them from taking ABC off the air? I wonder which set of laws trumps which — Federal contract law or Federal communications law.

George W. Bush, on the Elian raid:

“I hope we get to the bottom of the answer. It’s what I’m interested to know.”

I have really gotten to like Slate’s Chatterbox. In the past week, it’s lambasted Tom DeLay for his ridiculous statements about the ostensible lack of a warrant to retrieve Elian, engaged in a similar conversation with Lawrence Tribe regarding his false assertion in the New York Times as the one he and I had, and then solicited the opinion of Akhil Reed Amar, another noted Fourth Amendment scholar, on Tribe’s point.

Last night, I had dinner with a friend who lived in Germany before the Wall came down, and she said that there was an almost-absolute policy in West Germany for what to do when a parent tried to bring his or her kids across the Wall and were killed in the process — if the children had a surviving parent in East Germany, they were returned to that parent. In the reasoning of the West German government, the differences in freedom between East and West did not justify separating children from their parents.

I don’t get all the people who are mocking Metallica in their attempts to get their music off of Napster. It seems like Metallica has worked hard to create their music, and they’re not spinning at windmills trying to enforce the fact that it’s their music, and they should be able to control how it’s distributed, and what kind of compensation they get for that. For the webloggers who decry their efforts — would it make you upset if someone took your weblog, design and all, and put it up on their own webserver?

The Supreme Court has let stand a New York ruling that concluded that online services are not publishers, and as such, are not responsible for defamatory or obscene messages that travel through their systems. (The New York case was Lunney v. Prodigy Services Company.)

ABC is back now on New York cable. Interestingly, when I checked, I caught about five minutes of Oprah, when she had Janet Reno on. I was thinking that Reno’s Parkinson’s is getting more and more noticeable (she had a clear tremor), and just then, Oprah recommended that Reno take a little time off, and “maybe not shake so much.” I was floored — has anyone ever told Oprah to stop eating so damn much in an interview? What an insensitive boob.

Also in New York, a woman has been convicted here of fraud and forgery after getting $15,000 from her insurance company for her husband’s penile implant… except her “husband” was really her boyfriend. Her actual husband was shocked to open mail from the urologist and the hospital and see that he had ostensibly gotten, ummm, augmented, and called the authorities and her union (which carried the health insurance). Most funny, though, is that the boyfriend “has fled to Haiti with the implanted evidence.”

Technocool: as of 8 PM EST last night, Global Position System signals are no longer intentionally made less precise, which means a much more accurate reading is displayed on any GPS receiver out there.

An eyebrow-raising discussion has started over on the flounder regarding Dave Winer’s question on yesterday’s Scripting News (now gone, but archived in the hourly XML file from My.Userland) asking if he should terminate the WinerLog site hosted on EditThisPage.

South Carolina, fresh on the heels of being targeted by a potential NCAA boycott, has become the last state to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a holiday.

Bryonn Bain, the author of “Walking While Black”, was my class president at Columbia. I don’t remember much about him, except that he was very involved in civil rights issues on campus, and that he was friends with one of my girlfriend’s roommates, so I saw him around the suite a lot. Of course, my roomate and classmate at Columbia remembers things differently… but just in the hypothetical.

Today, I decided to install RedHat Linux 6.2 on the spare hard disk for my laptop (a Dell Inspiron 7500), mainly because I wanted to see their new graphical installation app. Then, I discovered that the graphical installer doesn’t support my video card (an ATI Mobility-P), which relegated me to the old text-based installer. Why doesn’t Linux support the basic VGA capabilities of my card? Windows doesn’t have this problem; even without drivers, the graphical installer runs in VGA mode, and you can use Windows in VGA mode (and usually SuperVGA, as well).

time warner and disney

ABC decided to pull their network from all Time Warner cable subscribers overnight, meaning that at the start of this May sweeps period, they have nearly no viewers in New York City, Los Angeles,and Houston. Total, it’s 3.5 million viewers (or 3.5 Nielsen rating points) that ABC is sacrificing. (The AP ran a screen shot of what Time Warner cable subscribers are seeing.)

Yesterday, I mentioned that someone was probing our network who didn’t belong. Today, it got sorted out — we’ve got the bottom quarter of a class C address block, and they have the top quarter; they scanned the entire class C block, something prohibited by both his ISPs. Key net admin point: don’t scan other people’s networks.

Joel is on a roll: Top Five (Wrong) Reasons You Don’t Have Testers. Among many other things, he talks about his experience with Userland Frontier (the software upon which this website, as well as his site, is based); my own experience is that it is one of the most powerful programs I’ve used, trapped behind one of the toughest interfaces I’ve used.

I have been trying to figure out where to go for my post-school, pre-residency vacation; now that Spain is setting aside an hour a night for beach sex, it should probably be scribbled onto the short list.

Salon weighs in on the best five moments from the James Bond books. (Actually, the five are the most frightening, poetic, and surreal, the best gadgets, and the best villain.)

It appears that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are backing down on the notion of holding hearings on the use of force in the Elian seizure. Of course, though, Tom DeLay continues to spout nonsense; given that he’s still clearly trying to back out of last week’s hole wherein he claimed the lack of a warrant at all, though, it’s hard to take anything he says seriously. If ever an elected official displayed less of an ability to understand the law…