my apartment building

What’s that to the right? My apartment building, as seen in the database of GPS images at GlobeXplorer. (I’m slightly suspicious, though, since the picture shows a clot of taxis at the corner outside my building, yet there is never one there when I want one.) The scariest thing, though, is that there are higher-resolution versions of these photos; I wonder if that’s me lying up on the roof…

Wow. An FBI agent who was accused of killing two men while driving drunk got the court’s OK to recreate the “metabolic experience” he had the night of the incident — he drank two 60-ounce pitchers and a pint of beer, two Diet Cokes, 10 chicken wings, a hamburger, a baked potato, and some fried jalapeno poppers, and had a doctor and nurse measuring blood alcohol levels throughout the whole thing.

Thanks, Zannah, for passing on the link to Lost in Translation.

Congrats Steve and Lyn! Not knowing that the two of you were even involved, it’s sheer coincidence that the links to y’all’s weblogs are even near each other in my bookmark list; maybe sharing a line would be more appropriate. Or maybe I should wait for the wedding…

It’s official — Mattel can’t stop any of us from posing Barbie dolls in pornographic positions and taking pictures of them for art’s sake.

Last night, I stumbled upon Joe Conason’s review of the pardons that Dubya’s dad granted at the end of his Presidency, and realized just how myopic and narrowminded the press can be when it wants to. I also realized how obvious it now is that the general press doesn’t have a liberal bias, a conservative bias, or any bias other than that which makes it sensationalize for the sake of capturing eyeballs.

Luckily for all of us, Dahlia Lithwick was present and accounted for in the D.C. Court of Appeals over the past two days, while U.S. vs. Microsoft was being argued. Her dispatch from yesterday stresses the many ironies (both real and imagined) in the appeal; today’s dispatch gives a great recap of the Appeals Court’s raw disgust of Judge Jackson’s behavior in the case.

Neato — someone’s released a Windows 2000 driver for the CueCat barcode reader. It sits on top of your keyboard’s stack and captures scans made by the device, and instead of sending the data to Digital Convergence, it just acts like you typed in the barcode. Useful.

Thanks to Mike, I’ve got a new toy. Fun fun fun.

McSweeney’s is funnier every time I read it. I went to college with one of the authors, and I’ve got to say, he’s still the funniest person I’ve ever met. His series “History’s Notable Persons Reconsidered” is not to be missed.

I still love that people are getting all pissy about Google’s takeover of the Usenet archive once hosted by Deja.com. I also love that these people are now saying things like that the Usenet archives “are too important to be entrusted to a single commercial concern” — as if Deja.com wasn’t such a commercial concern. (Of note, there are people who are noting the beneficial effects of the takeover, such as faster search returns.)

The Standard takes a look at Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s behavior in the Microsoft trial, and wonders if it may be a crucial nail in the coffin of the government’s case against the company. Regardless of your views on Microsoft and its actions, is there anyone out there who can say with a straight face that Jackson acted without bias? Hell, he’s already admitted that he stuffed as much into the findings of fact in an effort to get as much past the Appeals Court as he could.

Tonight, 75,000 children will fall asleep as citizens of foreign lands; tomorrow morning, they’ll wake up as citizens of the United States. What a great piece of legislation, helping parents overcome years’ worth of bureaucratic hurdles and nightmares and get on with raising their children.

News.com wonders if it’s too little, too late for SSH Communications in its current attempts to enforce its trademark on the term “SSH”.

I honestly wonder if Dave understands what a publishing workflow is like, and what it’s real purpose is. Am I wrong in reading this piece as an accusation that “workflow” means “purposely withholding information from the public that it needs and deserves”? If so, he really is buried deep within a reality distortion field. (I particularly like Rick Winfield’s take on it — “it’s not that we don’t have a feature, it’s that we’re making a political statement!”)

Dubya finally held a press conference… and didn’t look so great. In a fairly representative example, a reporter asked the President about European plans for a rapid-response military force, and Bush babbled a completely nonsensical response. The reporter followed up, trying to get an answer, but instead, got more babble. “An informal poll of White House reporters indicated that 100 percent were confident Bush had absolutely no idea what the BBC reporter was talking about.” Priceless; this man is our President.

I want this.

Today was the busiest day I’ve had yet in internship, which is weird, since I’m spending this month at what is supposed to be a sleepy outlying community hospital. Nope, though, not today. I started the morning with nine patients on service, and then a dozen blood draws, three IV lines, two urine catheterizations, two head scans, and one spinal tap later, ended with nineteen. And I left with the full knowledge that I could have less patients when I get back in the morning, but only because a few of them are easily sick enough to be transferred to the pediatric ICU at my academic center overnight.

With that, I bid you all goodnight.

No, really, Anil, you should try to stop holding in your feelings. Pulling punches isn’t your style.

Just so everyone’s clear: “It’s important to have a home.”

It’s funny — I set up a new Linux box recently, and immediately, I started seeing people hitting it with this exploit attempt. According to the people running the honeypots, the estimated lifespan of a standard RedHat 6.2 installation that’s connected to the net is two to three weeks; doesn’t surprise me at all.

What a strange and weird (yet wonderful) picture of Kirk Douglass. I wonder what he was doing when they snapped the shot…

I’m sorry, but I find it very hard to believe that Napster will have a spare one billion dollars to hand out to the major recording labels over the next five years. This seems, to me, to be like when I wrote my friend a check for ten million dollars — cocky bravado, but nothin’ to back it up.

I’m so happy — MetaBaby’s back! (I love that Greg’s officially dubbed this one “version 2 II”.)

Anyone who falls for this Ponzi scheme deserves to lose their money. It never ceases to amaze me how blind some people can be to scams; likewise, it never ceases to amaze me how the same scam can be dressed up in so many ways, and fool people every time. (And, while surfing around for more information on this, I discovered that Brian Livingston not only did a column this week on this, but managed to get some background information that sheds light on why the scam hasn’t been shut down — like the fact that it’s based out of St. Kitts.)

Brad, you’re a genius. An evil genius, yes, but a genius nonetheless.

Damn, I knew the Chicago Bulls haven’t been so great since Michael Jordan retired, but I didn’t realize that they completely suck. They’re currently 8 and 43 — eight wins, in fifty-one games. They’re twenty-three games out of first place in the Central Divison. They’ve won less games in the last three years (38) than they lost in the previous three years (43). They’re just plain terrible.

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ISSN 1533-810X

Back in November, I requested an ISSN number for Q Daily News; last week, I finally got the acknowledgment that one had been assigned. I’m not sure that this means much, but if nothing else, the site’s now a registered serial publication. (It also means that I join the ranks of Pith & Vinegar, NUblog, Prolific, and Will Pate, to name a few.)

The Washington Post seems to be coming around to the belief that Dubya doesn’t exactly have the most solid of grasps on issues or policy. He appears to be adhering to talking points in his speeches, and when questioned further, doesn’t have the ability to elaborate; much of the time, his elaborations are just plain wrong.

Come on, join the latest craze and play Mingo Hangman. (I can’t even begin to pronounce this language.)

The Astronomy Picture of the Day site has had a string of hits this weekend. On Saturday, there was a beautiful, floodlit picture of Apollo 9 sitting on the launchpad awaiting takeoff. Sunday brought an animated lunation cycle, showing how the Moon actually wobbles a bit on its orbit. Today’s shot is of an incredible shadow cast by the launch plume of the latest Shuttle mission, seemingly beamed straight from the Moon. Awesome.

Oh, this is choice. Apparently, there’s an insurance policy out there that you can get for your handheld. Don’t think about collecting on the money, though, if your PalmPilot is destroyed while being used as a weapon of war, or as part of a rebellion, insurrection, revolution, or civil war — damage as a result of those things are specifically excluded from the policy. Glad they cleared that up.






ISSN 1533-810X

ISSN 1533-810X

Sometimes, it surprises me how nice it can be having an adult conversation with someone who you don’t really know, and only just met.

Hmmmm — a study in this week’s British Medical Journal says that kids with snotty noses have a lower incidence of asthma. The basis is thought to be repeated immune system exposures; it’s another chink in the armor of the modern movement to use tons of antibacterial products around your kids. (New Scientist has a good, short review of the study, with quotes from researchers in the field.)

I had no idea that there aren’t any five-star generals left in the U.S. military. Not that it affects me at all; I just had no idea.

Bill Clinton has what is, in my opinion, a very well-written op-ed piece in today’s New York Times explaining his pardon of Marc Rich. It’s the first piece I’ve read anywhere that puts context to the whole situation, and I’ve got to say, it’s not all that the press has made it out to be.

OK, how cool is it that the sun can just up and flip its magnetic field?

I’ve got to say that I really like Kiehl’s concept of deja vu — the notion that having a feeling like you’ve done something before means that you’re exactly where you should be with your life is very empowering, and a good way to get me to smile.

On Doc Searls’ website, he published an anonymous letter from someone upset with Google’s takeover of the DejaNews Usenet archive; the person writes that Google has “trampled the rights of thousands (millions?) of content contributors who innocently felt safe in not archiving their own contributions, believing that their content would remain publicly available without interruption.” (Emphasis added by me.) Does this person actually believe his or her rhetoric? Was the rest of the world unaware that there, apparently, existed a right to have a free service archive all of the porn, multi-level marketing schemes, and (yes) legitimate advice and problem-solving posts, and pay their employees to do so? Give me a break. Yes, a lot of people are mildly inconvenienced with this transition, but come on — Deja doesn’t seem to have that much life left in it, and all this information could have been lost. People should be thanking Google for coming to the rescue.

(Update: Glenn Fleishman noticed the sour grapes, too, and devoted a lot more column space to exerpts from unbalanced news coverage and analysis of the greater meaning of this.)

Given the fact that yesterday’s XFL ratings dropped another 25%, to a 3.8, it looks like the league isn’t going to be around for very long.

The Boy Scouts lose another supporter due to the group’s policy of banning homosexuals from its ranks.

Wow — you can contact the International Space Station via ham radio! Not ever having used a ham radio, I don’t understand most of what this page is taking about, but I’d love to figure it out.

The Brooklyn Museum is at the epicenter of a New York controversy again, with Mayor Giuliani pissed off because it is displaying a piece depicting Jesus at the Last Supper as a naked woman. Again, I ask: how many people would see this if Mayor Nimrod didn’t start foaming at the mouth? He’s such an ass.

Remember the series of Tintin kids’ books? If you come across one with Tintin in a Thai gay bar, don’t be shocked.

Another hand transplant has taken place in the U.S. — Jerry Fisher, a gutter installer, endured the 13-hour operation and will soon begin physical therapy. Cool.

On Wednesday, I noted that a trademark controversy started brewing over SSH (secure shell); the makers of OpenSSH (the group being taken to court) have put up a web page containing all the related correspondence to date.

Valentine’s Day is such a Hallmark holiday. (Of course, it’s also a cupids-flying-around-on-MetaFilter holiday.)

Dubya wants the investigation of the Marc Rich pardon to end, but it doesn’t seem to be doing that. It may just be my partisan way of thinking, but it seems to me that if the exact opposite situation were to have occurred eight years ago, and Clinton were to have come out asking for it to end, it would have. To me, this is just more proof of how little control Dubya has of his own party.

Tatu Ylonen (yes, that’s a real name) sent a cease-and-desist letter to the makers of OpenSSH today, demanding that they stop using the term “SSH” in their product. Interesting.

NBC just had their Valentine’s Day contest winner asking his girlfriend to marry him, and broadcast her reaction live. She said yes, but I can’t quite understand why — her boyfriend asked her to marry him live, on national TV, and allowed NBC cameras to be at their dinner table to record and broadcast her reply. I’ve always thought that they guys who propose via sports stadium JumboTron are asses; the NBC thing took that to a whole new level.

I tried to read the lecture given to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research by Clarence Thomas yesterday, but I couldn’t get through the pompous bullshit. He’s obliquely saying that he votes the way he does — nay, he voted the way he did in the election-related cases — because he didn’t want to take the easy way out and be wrong. Someone get the manure shovel; it’s getting deep in there.

I’ve now spent three days trying to compile a specific combination of Apache, PHP, Net-SNMP, and various and sundry image-producing tools on my Linux box, and the whole experience underscores how friggin’ difficult it is to install custom software on any Unix system. All I wanted was to install a cool tool that would let me watch my bandwidth use; it doesn’t look like it will happen in this lifetime.

Couldn’t resist pointing to the latest Dinkism:

One reason I like to highlight reading is, reading is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can’t read, it’s going to be hard to realize dreams, it’s going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read—you ought to listen to her.

I know this will shock most people, but ratings for the XFL games broadcast over this weekend were quite a dropoff from week 1. Perhaps it’s because people watched week 1, and saw what a terrible brand of football the XFL is.

Hey Jason: upgrade your TiVo, and the TiVo bomb is much less likely to hit your set. Hell, I was on call on New Year’s Eve, came back the next day to a whole Sex in the City marathon, and yet didn’t lose a byte of the stuff I had intentionally recorded.

Today’s find: a person who’s definitely well-represented by her weblog name.

Even ESPN is in on the Anna Kournikova email virus story. My favorite part of the article, though, is the photo caption: “The photogenic Anna Kournikova of Russia has yet to win a WTA tournament.”

Of course this site has a little bit of load pounding on it. Perhaps it’s because it’s the website of the satellite that NASA just managed to land on an asteroid. How cool is that shit?

I’m pretty excited about Canon’s newest film scanner. I’ve used prior CanoScan products, both film and flatbed, and love them; I can’t imagine that the FS4000US will be any different.

I’m confused — how is this frog sitting on its keeper’s bare thumb? It’s a poison dart frog, and its skin produces one of the deadliest toxins known to mankind. I don’t know if you could pay me enough to let one of these critters crawl on my skin.

Upgrading a Linux kernel is such a pain in the ass.

Why have I never tried to type in www.freecell.org? Seems that there are quite a few others out there who suffer from my addiction. I’m happy to find NetCell, which will let me keep my stats across multiple machines. Aren’t I pathetic?

Interesting: ReactOS, a project with the goal of producing an operating system which is compatible with Windows NT, on the application and driver level. I wonder if they’ll ever succeed — and if compatibility with Windows NT is even worth aiming for now that Windows 2000 has a pretty solid installed base.

Columbia Law professor Michael Dorf examines the contradiction between Bush’s ban on federal funding of organizations which perform abortions and his proposal for federally funding religious organizations which perform charity work. I really like his logic here.

On what legal basis can Congressmen punish Clinton for his pardon of Marc Rich? I love how this MSNBC article buries in the third-to-last paragraph the fact that “there is nothing Congress can do about a presidential pardon unless the Constitution is changed. The presidentís power to pardon is absolute and not subject to appeal.” Shouldn’t this be a little earlier in the article? More importantly, though, I would have hoped that the U.S. Congress had learned something from the Lewinsky impeachment debacle.

Former White House counsel John Dean wrote the best overview that I’ve read of the whole pardon scandal and impending Congressional investigation; his conclusion is that Congress has as much right to ask Clinton to testify as it does the right to ask a Supreme Court Justice to testify about a Court decision. He also points out an interesting conundrum — any attempt to file criminal charges would have to stem from the Department of Justice, yet whenever an ex-President is brought to court over actions committed when in office, he is entitled to representation by… the Department of Justice.

I know that everyone is pointing to this right now, but after reading some of the details, I can’t help sending people to read about IBM’s guilty past of assisting the Nazis with automating the drive to exterminate millions.

I think there’s a picture that rivals the now-famous Earth at NightThe Moons Of Earth. What an incredible shot.

What a bad, bad day for a Washington political newsweekly to loudly proclaim that it’s time to lessen security around the White House.

As a doctor, I feel it would be totally irresponsible not to educate the lay public about the most common drug side effects. (As seen in this week’s Onion.)

Just because my site has an RSS file available does not mean that it’s OK use software to take the posts and put them directly onto another weblog; having an RSS file is not opting into Radio Userland’s newest feature that does this. (And, in addition, there’s no way to turn off the creation of the RSS version of a Manila site without also turning off all syndication; this is something that people asked for a while ago, and as I recall, were told that it wouldn’t happen.) Perhaps the forked version of RSS needs to have an element in which people could place restrictions like this…

A cellphone with a full-color screen? It seems that every time I get a new toy, an even cooler one is announced, and jealousy ensues.

The Register has what seems to be the best overview of Microsoft’s proposed activation system, which will probably be built into the next versions of Windows and Office. As someone who does a lot of testing and building of development labs, I’m not terribly pleased with this addition, but I have a feeling that it will all shake out in the end.

Liquidifying my brain and drinking it? I guess thanks are in order, Tom… but it doesn’t mean that I’m not a wee bit spooked by it.

Yaaaay! The Shuttle is off, the Shuttle is off, and again, my addiction to space travel is further satisfied. And as a scientist (of sorts), I also think it’s damn cool that they’re attaching a science lab to the Space Station.

One thing I didn’t mention about my trip to Tampa was that I got to see the Space Station — as a bright light in the sky every night. I would have never predicted how bright it is; apparently, the addition of the new solar panels made it a hell of a lot brighter in the night sky.

Am I the only one who finds something a little hinky with lifting the words right off of someone’s weblog and throwing them onto your own? The only way to find out if Dave cribbed someone else’s thoughts is to hover over the little unlabeled widget to the right of each piece and then look in your browser’s status bar, or to click on the widget; clicking on it doesn’t bring you to the original item, though, but rather just sends you to the original author’s weblog’s main page. (Here’s a screenshot of the sites as seen tonight.)

How happy am I? For some reason, there’s a website in my referrer logs today that is the online companion to one of my favorite book series ever, Griffin and Sabine.

Between World New York and All Star Newspaper, I’ve got all my news needs covered. I really like World New York’s The Numbers feature — a good, hyperlinked verison of Harper’s Index.

Thank you, Brennan, for pointing out that Alyson Hannigan was one of FHM’s covergirls. I’ve always wondered what she would look like broken out of her Buffy role.

I love that political cartoonists are having a field day with Dubya’s faith-based charity attempts.

Joe Conason takes a good look at Ted Olson, who is a very conservative lawyer and is reported to be Bush’s soon-to-be-announced nominee for Solicitor General. Strangely, the man seems to have maken a life out of trying to get Clinton impeached, yet himself was investigated by an independent counsel and found to have played games with language in an effort to mislead Congress and the American people. And I ask again — this is Bush’s best attempt at bipartisan happiness?

Bookmark for myself: starting a command prompt in any folder with Windows 2000.

Jimmy frickin’ Buffett got ejected from today’s Knicks/Heat game? I mean, it wouldn’t be considered risky to put your money on Larry Johnson, or Latrell Sprewell, or even Anthony Mason in the ejection pool, but an outdated staple of 70s music? Who’da thunk it?

Congrats to Heather for the selection of Jezebel’s Mirror as a USA Today Hot Site. (Screenshot of the USA Today page, since it’s bound to change.)

And why is this screenshot so cool? Because it’s of my Linux box, with a HOBLink JWT Terminal Services client window showing the fully-controllable desktop of one of my Windows 2000 boxes. Snazzy.

I just spent half an hour with a colleague, trying to figure out an error we were getting while trying to define a foreign key in an Oracle database. The error message that we got didn’t make any sense, and what’s worse, the further explanation offered by the manual didn’t explain anything at all. It took another ten minutes or so of just looking at the data and the tables before the meaning became clear. What a crappy way to report your errors.

Oh, god, this is hilarious: Metric System Thriving In Nation’s Inner Cities.

Does anyone have any good recommendations for CD rippers/MP3 encoders for Linux? I’ve found grip, but what I don’t like is that the only control I have on the MP3 side of things is of the bitrate, but don’t get to control the frequency of the sampling. If you have apps that you like, please let me know!

I’m not sure, but something seems fishy about the makers of bind (one of the most used open-source pieces of software out there) discussing the creation of a members-only, strictly-controlled community (complete with non-disclosure agreements) to deal with bind-related security issues.

Have I mentioned how little I like the Republican party? In Virginia, they’ve managed to: get a bill requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance through the state Senate, kill an open-container law, get a law through the state House allowing concealed weapons in bars, and kill a ban on carrying weapons into playgrounds and recreation centers. This is why I’m terrified of the next four years.

Bruce Tognazzini has a great diatribe this month, the Top 10 Reasons the Apple Dock Sucks. The first time I saw the dock, I realized how far from its roots Apple has strayed. The company used to be the single most authoritative source for user interface research and standards; now, it is a laughingstock.

There’s geeky, and then there’s geeky. (I guess this is for that Silicon Alley crowd that gets jealous of the weekenders cruising in the Village with their neon car kits.)

My blood is literally boiling right now, because according to our President, “The days of discriminating aginst religious institutions simply because they are religious must come to an end.” In addition, the full text of what Bush said into the microphone he didn’t know was on was reported:

See, this faith-based initiative really ties into a larger cultural issue that we are working on. When you’re talking about welcoming people of faith to help people who are disadvantaged, the logical step is also those babies.

MetaFilter once again comes through, though, with an example of Dubya himself discriminating against a religion. The beauty of news archives is proven again…

I’ve got a great idea: if you see a funnel-web spider (one of the world’s deadliest), don’t run away… catch the thing. Yeah, I’m right on that.

I found a great tool yesterday, HOBLink JWT. It’s a total Java implementation of a Windows Terminal Services client; it will allow me to manage some of my machines from afar, without the need for Internet Explorer. Cool.

Check this one out: the White House has quite possibly the most idiotic transcript of a press briefing on its website that I’ve ever seen. In the first paragraph, White House spokesman Scott McClellan introduces everyone to the press corps, including someone who shouldn’t be identified by name, only “on background,” as “a White House official.” What’s the problem? Since the transcript is word-for-word, and McClellan introduced the man by name, his name is right there in the first paragraph. Even more idiotic, the rest of the transcript reverts to calling him a “White House official.” You have to see this one to fully appreciate it. (I grabbed a screenshot, in case the page gets “corrected.”)

Ooooh! How did I not know that Duke/UNC is tonight?

Since I always seem to get dinged when I point to a particular ego on the web, I’ll let others do it for me. (Of course, the comments that everyone is talking about have been deleted from the site in question, but luckily, there’s an archived XML file; just search for “we rarely got a mention”.)

MetaFilter has done its job today by pointing me to a hilarious “condemnation” of Microsoft’s Wingdings font. Being a New Yorker just makes this all the funnier.

Holy shit — Pyra is down to only Evan Williams. Wow. While I had some clue when they asked for money for new servers, I really didn’t realize the situation that Pyra faced. I’m sad for Meg, Matt, Jack, and pb — they were part of something great.

Giggle.

CNN hops onto the geocaching bandwagon; meanwhile, it appears that a slew of new caches have appeared near my apartment. Perhaps I’ve got a new task for this weekend…

From the too-much-time department comes Hasciicam, a utility that takes input from a webcam and turns it into an ASCII picture. Don’t know if this one needed to be written…

As a followup to yesterday’s bind security posting, there’s a new Linux Weekly News issue today with pointers to the fix for most major Linux distributions. If you run bind on Linux, you really need to upgrade.

Something to chew on while I’m waking up:

The WSJ reports that yesterday, without realizing that his remarks were being broadcast on a feed to some White House reporters, President Bush told the heads of some Catholic charities that his faith-based social services initiative was linked to his goal of curtailing abortions, a connection he did not make when he announced the initiative earlier this week. During the same meeting, reporters were also able to hear Bush say that his plans for federal funding for school vouchers may not succeed because a lot of Republicans don’t like them.

The Village Voice (admittedly not the most unbiased news source) has what seems to be a good rundown on what we can expect our soon-to-be-confirmed Attorney General to do to abortion laws in this country. (Update: Ashcroft’s been confirmed. Groan.)

A few weeks back, my Linux box died (or, more specifically, the power supply died), and it wasn’t until yesterday that I got around to installing its replacement. It wasn’t until today that I realized that the dead power supply took a hard disk with it, and it happened to be the hard disk that I installed in the new box. So here I am, reinstalling Linux again. Fun.