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.: 2001 --> june

june 2001
:: How much do I love being home? Yesterday I got my first delivery from Terra Firma Farms, on a whim I decided to make yogurt cheese, and right now I'm basking in the fragrance as two loaves of Sour Corn Rye Bread bake in my oven.
[ 06/01/01 ]

It's time for the Second Annual Maquila Solidarity Network "Sweatshop Retailer of the Year Awards". You can be part of it. You have until June 17 to vote for the Sweaties.
[ 06/01/01 ]

When Spanish telecom Sintel Telecommunications filed for bankruptcy protection, workers planned carefully. And in January they erected a shanty town to protest their treatment at the hands of the company and to draw attention to their situation.

El Campamento de Esperanza (The Camp of Hope) is now a virtual village of about 1,200 inhabitants, with libraries, bars, hot showers and cafeterias serving daily meals. Workers have furnished their shacks with rebuilt televisions, video players, microwave ovens and computers recovered from garbage heaps around the city.... The residents have pirated their electricity from underground road sensors, the water is tapped from city mains.

More here in a badly translated article from Spanish newspaper El Pais.
[ 06/01/01 ]

News You Can Use: You can have a happy life even if you've made some questionable decisions during most of it. A new study says that people who take control of their lives will go on to a happy old age.

Harvard researchers...found that if the men figured out a way to be happy, fit and emotionally stable by the age of 50, they lived to be older, happy and fit seniors. The researchers called them "successful."

And you're going to need all the emotional stability you can get. The initial two years following retirement tend to be the most stressful for couples; and with many couples facing two retirements - often leaving the man at home with the wife as the breadwinner during the last years of her career - couples are finding that the terrain has changed. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]
[ 06/01/01 ]

You know googie: it looks like a cross between the Jetsons and Tomorrowland. It is our pre-Star Trek spage-age future. And of course you've seen this before, but it's always a fun surf: Googie Architecture Online, complete with googie galleries, links, and locations so that you can make the pilgrimage yourself. (And be sure to e-mail the site author for inclusion of googie architecture where you live.)
[ 06/01/01 ]

Eddie Izzard is hosting Amnesty International's 40th birthday celebration. Here's an all-over-the-place interview with him, linked strictly because I like him so much.
[ 06/01/01 ]

:: Dream interpretation
[ 06/04/01 ]

:: It's almost too much to contemplate, but it would seem that... J. Peterman is back (and selling a small selection of items.) I'm breathlessly awaiting the expansion of his list of offerings, since, as anyone can tell you, it was the stories that made receiving the Peterman catalogue a high point of the month.

Now that I think of it, that's probably why his retail outlets failed. The company never figured out how to extend the extremely strong Peterman brand into an actual location. How to tell those stories in a physical space.

The Peterman catalogue defied all retail logic, describing items with line drawings and fabulously written imaginary scenarios: a miniature travelogue, a short-form version of what the best travel writing has always been about. Those stories were the point, the brand, and the major component of the user experience. The fact that you could order things was really just an added bonus. (via a life online.)
[ 06/05/01 ]

I spent the day at the SF courthouse, waiting to see if I would be chosen to sit on a jury. It was interesting to observe the differences in the procedure between SF and Seattle. It occurred to me as I sat there that voir dire is very similar to the theatrical blocking rehearsal: both are absolutely essential to the success of the endeavor, and both are incredibly tedious.
[ 06/05/01 ]

Lawrence Lee has announced that he will be discontinuing his weblog at the end of this week. Tomalak's Realm was a pioneering weblog, the first that eschewed quirky ego-centrism to create a one stop resource for all the news of the day pertaining to one topic, often contextualizing those links with past articles. From its inception, Lawrence's work has been, quite simply, top-notch, leading the way for the likes of Xblog, Tidepool, and Waterloo Wide Web.

Ignore those who dismiss Lawrence's efforts as somehow not-a-weblog; link choice is voice, and Lawrence's voice has been one of the strongest and most reliable among us. This is the kind of weblog that will bring us into the mainstream; this is the kind of weblog you can expect to see businesses publish in order to demonstrate their expertise and build their credibility. Are any of you out there businesses focused on web strategy, and trying to find a way to distinguish yourself from the pack? You could do no better than to sponsor Lawrence to continue updating Tomalak's Realm.

In the meantime, Lawrence, thank you for your hard work these 2 1/2 years, and for all that you've given to the weblogging community. I will miss you.
[ 06/05/01 ]

:: Just shoot me. I went to the New York Times tonight and got a half.com pop-under.
[ 06/06/01 ]

For the love of the game and the thrill of the hunt, major-league baseball scouts devoted their lives to finding the unknown player, the potential star out of nowhere. Now, the old school scout a dying breed. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]

Baseball scouts do not make the Hall of Fame. When average fans talk about the greatest of all time, they do not speak the names of Tony Lucadello, who in 50 years of scouting signed 50 big leaguers to amateur contracts before putting a revolver in his mouth in 1989 on a high school ball field in his hometown, Fostoria, Ohio; Hugh Alexander, known as Uncle Hughie, who had no left hand, couldn't pitch or hit, but knew promise when he saw it; or Ralph DiLullo, who always dreamed of signing a Hall of Famer and once almost did. But the Chicago Cubs were too cheap to sign a kid named Sandy Koufax.

[ 06/06/01 ]

Engineer Rakesh Goel has completed work on his fantastic flying machine: the skycar. It's fun to watch his designs go from several flying saucers to the current flying batmobile. (via follow me here)
[ 06/06/01 ]

Sure, women want to look beautiful, but they also want to save money. Sadly, too many of them turn to back alley silicone.

The quest for beauty has turned ugly for many in South Florida. Thousands of women and men are buying into promises of fuller lips, smoother skin and made-to-order measurements by untrained, unlicensed practitioners wielding syringes of liquid silicone, state health officials report.... For fees ranging from $100 to $500, cosmetologists, travelling South American pseudo-doctors and even house cleaners illegally inject liquid silicone — an oily fluid similar to the gel used inside silicone breast implants — into customers’ wrinkles, lips, breasts, buttocks, legs and hips.

Hello: house cleaners?
[ 06/06/01 ]

What Women Want (via caught in between)
[ 06/06/01 ]

:: Did you pay a late fee to Blockbuster between April 1, 1999 and April 1, 2001? Then Blockbuster owes you some coupons. They lost their class action suit for exorbitant late charges. Here are the Litigation Settlement Notice and Claim Form. Go get 'em.
[ 06/07/01 ]

I am surprised and heartened to see that, according to a ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll, 66% of Americans would have preferred to see the tax rebate money spent on popular social programs. I can't help wondering if somehow I should be discouraged, instead.

In any case, it seems that most people will be spending their refund to pay bills instead of purchasing new things, effectively negating the 'shot in the arm' the President promised his refund would give the economy. (Personally, I think the money should be spent to pay bills, but then I think our 'strong economy' is based on fiscal irresponsibility and depends upon us spending beyond our means.)
[ 06/07/01 ]

Not just incompetence this time: Two private investigators are convinced that in order to ensure the conviction of Stella Nickell for the poisoning of her husband and another person, the FBI deliberately concealed evidence that would have supported her innocence, and tampered with two witnesses.
[ 06/07/01 ]

Olga Soffer began her working life in fashion promotion. After she got bored with that she earned a Master's and Ph.D in archaeology, where she has proceeded to wreak havoc with established ideas about prehistoric women's work and lives ever since.

By scouring the archaeological record for evidence of perishable technologies like weaving, she has uncovered clues to formerly invisible activities of Ice Age men--and women....

Impressions of netting and other perishable materials provide some of the first insight into the lives of prehistoric women, children and the elderly--or, as Soffer describes them, the silent majority. Whereas the activities of prime-age males in hunter-gatherer cultures tend to entail the manipulation of durable materials, those of women, children and the elderly involve more perishables. As a result, the archaeological record has preferentially preserved behavioral remains associated with young men.

You may recall that I linked to an article about Soffer's work a year ago. Due to the enormous effort spent on textiles for the Venus figures, which themselves lack all detail, her colleague posited that the Venus figurines may have been the prehistoric equivalent of the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. (first article found a few clicks downstream from follow me here)
[ 06/07/01 ]

I think it's funny that Contentville is offering transcripts of Dan Rather and the CBS News Election Night.

And I like their Privacy Policy. Excerpts:

With regard to sending you e-mails from qualified third parties, we don't assume that you have 'opted in' to allow us to send you e-mail offers simply because you have not 'opted out.' Unless you give us permission, we assume you haven't....
In order to accept advertising, we have entered into agreements with various advertising networks, which also place cookies on your computer, so they can display customized advertising on the screens you see. Their use of data with their cookies is covered by their privacy policies, not this one. But our contracts with these ad networks specify that their cookies will not collect any personally identifiable information. We reserve the right to cancel our contract with any ad network that mixes the cookie data they collect with any personally identifiable information from any other source.

[ 06/07/01 ]

I'm frustrated to tell you that the only online Middle English dictionary seems to be available only to University of Michigan library members (students and faculty, I presume). However, I did find some very nice links in my search, all of which will live permanently elsewhere on the site. To wit:

[ 06/07/01 ]

:: Some people believe they run up costs; some, that they invade privacy. The desire to regain customer goodwill and cut costs - for both the retailer and the consumer - has prompted some grocery chains to discard their discount-card programs altogether.

The same observation prompted one of the South's largest supermarkets to drop its card program last year. Mickey Clerc, spokesman for Win-Dixie, based in Jacksonville, Fla., says the company's card system was expensive to run, and that customers had been growing wary of the program. 'It's costly to [offer] those programs," says Mr. Clerc. "There are warehouse costs, data collection costs, administration costs.' Win-Dixie no longer excludes anyone from discounts. That has helped them hold prices in check. 'We've passed the cost reductions to customers in the form of lower prices,' says Mr. Clerc.

[ 06/08/01 ]

Scott Kirsner argues that companies aren't doing enough with the data they collect; and that by doing so both the retailer and customer would benefit.

If I were to pass a law that would eliminate information abuse, it would be this: Companies may gather and keep only the information about their customers that enables them to deliver a better or cheaper offering.

Seth Godin agrees, arguing that people are quite willing to give personal information in return for a real reward - and provided that the information is never abused.

Godin coaxed the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, to let him personally market his book on this premise. The first four chapters of Permission Marketing, that's the first 78 pages of a 255-page book, are available free over the Internet to anyone who requests it by e-mailing Godin at free@permission.com.

(both via Tomalak)
[ 06/08/01 ]

Obesity poses a higher health risk than smoking or drinking or being poor
[ 06/08/01 ]

So, why can't we do this with power?
[ 06/08/01 ]

Onion Relish
[ 06/08/01 ]

Time Warner Cable, a subsidiary of (the world's largest media company) AOL Time Warner is reportedly not allowing small to medium sized DSL companies (local vendors offering a competing service) to advertise with them.

Last fall, Time Warner refused to let Westlake High use one of its channels to rebroadcast football games if Texas.Net continued as an advertiser. Texas.net had advertised with Time Warner for several years prior to the fall of 2000 only to be told that Time Warner would not renew Westlake High School’s TV contract if Texas.net was a sponsor.
'AOL Time Warner Cable has refused to run advertising for several members of our association,' McCollough said. 'Interestingly, AOL Time Warner runs ads for AOL, Microsoft and AT&T's Internet Service on their system. The excuse we get is that those ads are sold nationwide. What concerns us is that consumers see ads for national providers, including AOL and Road Runner, but local and regional providers are banned.'

(thanks, Jim!)
[ 06/08/01 ]

:: A few words on the McVeigh execution. I am generally opposed to the death penalty; further, I fear that he will be seen as a martyr by the faithful (although apparently membership in militia groups has declined since his act of terrorism). And, since he has stated a preference for execution over life in prison, from a revenge point of view it seems to me that not executing him would be the worst punishment. From a Pollyanna point of view, one could hope that he would, over the long years, reflect on what he had done and come to regret it.

Mostly this execution makes me wish that there is reincarnation. The thought of this young man going to his death strong in the belief that his actions were necessary and just makes me very sad. I wish for him as many more lives as it will take for him to understand what he has done, and then a thousand more in which to assuage his anguish by spreading peace throughout the world in whatever way he can.
[ 06/11/01 ]

I know I'm really out of step with the left for this, but I always felt that former President Bush's tenure with the CIA made him sort of extra-qualified to be President. Most guys have no idea about half the stuff that's going on when they walk into that office. Anyway, with that in mind, I was interested to see that a memo sent by former President Bush may have helped convince George W to re-open negotiations with North Korea - a decision I heartily support.
[ 06/11/01 ]

Oh - Tomalak might stick around.
[ 06/11/01 ]

Hail Herakleion! newly risen from the deep! An international team of archeologists have been scrambling to save ancient Alexandria for years.

Amid the construction boom, antiquities officials have been granting permission for archaeologists to carry out what Empereur calls emergency salvage operations. At a depth of no more than 10 m, he says, 'you find more than 2,300 years of history. We follow the strata downwards, from modern Alexandria to the Ottoman period, the Mamluks, the Fatimids, Byzantines, Romans and finally the Greeks.'

[ 06/11/01 ]

Leave No Child Behind News: Michigan has asked 22 school districts to explain why students from 71 schools provided identical answers to one question on the state standardized test.
[ 06/11/01 ]

Music taste is so subjective that even recommendations from your closest friends can be way off the mark. Two groups, Savage Beast's Music Genome Project and MuBu, seek to create a new kind of recommendations engine: one based not on what others have purchased, but on the music itself. Amazon take note! Barnes and Noble already uses The Genome for its jazz recs.
[ 06/11/01 ]

More and more men are reporting sexual harrassment by other men, but existing laws don't quite cover many of their complaints - which are either harrassment due to sexual orientation, or general obnoxious behavior. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]

'It's very upsetting as a lawyer to know someone can't get into the courtroom doors for relief,' said Rick Ostrove, an attorney for Leeds Morelli & Brown who was involved in the case's appeal. While New York City prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, the State of New York does not, he noted....
Other cases have been lost on the grounds that the harasser did not target any one sex. An $80,000 jury verdict against Wal-Mart Stores was reversed earlier this year because the harasser 'was just an indiscriminately vulgar and offensive supervisor, obnoxious to men and women alike.'

[ 06/11/01 ]

:: Handspeak is a visual language online dictionary, featuring Baby sign! (linked permanently on my reference page.)
[ 06/12/01 ]

The Mining of the West: Profit and Pollution on Public Lands is shocking, and an absolutely worthwhile read. Mining is just hard on the environment, with abandoned mines are among the worst threats; yet the California Legislature recently considered closing that state's Office of Mine Reclamation since there is no active cleanup program. It's a complex and frightening situation, but you need to know the facts if you hope to understand current conditions and the impact of any move to regulate or deregulate of the mining industry.

Electric-blue, purple and green, the water that drips from the walls and ceilings in the Richmond Mine near Redding, Calif., is so acidic that it once dissolved a steel shovel left overnight in a puddle. If unchecked, acidic water leaching from the old mine would carry a toxic brew of heavy metals into tributaries of the Sacramento River, which provides drinking water for 80,000 people in nearby Redding. Spills in the past have killed fish and plants for miles downstream.
'It's the world's worst water,' said Charles Alpers, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist. In fact, water at the old mine has been known to catch fire. A thousand times more destructive than battery acid, it has been declared the most acidic water ever found --literally off the charts.
The environment is so skewed inside the mine that scientists discovered a previously unseen life form, a microbe that lives in acid.

thanks, Jokerrrr!
[ 06/12/01 ]

Everyone loves Guess the Dictator or Sitcom Character; now help smalltime industries break in their new game: Guess The Name Of The Movie Of TV Show
[ 06/12/01 ]

:: This Doesn't Make Me Feel a Bit Good News: In fact, it gives me a weird feeling in my stomach and sort of makes me want to cry. Since I see animated films only when prodded by others, I can feel a little bit okay about the fact that I never noticed this. Still....

USAT notes, on its "Life" front, that with the character of Dr. Joshua Sweet in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Disney has done something it's never done before: created a black human animated character. - Today's Papers

Follow up: alert reader Kevin Meehan notes that there was a black human construction worker/drummer in Fantasia 2000. (I didn't see the film.) I still think Disney comes up a dollar short. (Thanks, Kevin!)
[ 06/13/01 ]

:: Cereal! Themed! Playground!
[ 06/14/01 ]

Philip Staufen doesn't know how he got to the hospital two years ago. No one seems to know where his name and birthdate come from. Fingerprint queries yield nothing. He seems to be English. He's fluent in French and Italian. He's living in Vancouver, and his past is an utter mystery.
[ 06/14/01 ]

The White House has decided to stop bombing practice on Vieques.
[ 06/14/01 ]

That novel supposedly written by Saddam Hussein? They're making it into a television miniseries.
[ 06/14/01 ]

Jennifer Erickson has won her suit! Her insurance company is now required to pay for birth control; strangely, prior to the ruling, it covered both abortions and vascectomies.
[ 06/14/01 ]

Good News! Blorg is back!
[ 06/14/01 ]

'Fishermen who cut open a tiger shark they caught off [Australia's] east coast have found a human skull and a large bone inside the shark's belly.'
[ 06/14/01 ]

Tobacco Tactics News: Mobile phone companies claim that radiation exuded from their devices is negligible and perfectly safe, but they've been researching and patenting devices designed to shield the brain from that radiation since 1993.
[ 06/14/01 ]

:: (Via haddock.org) computer case madness! Legos, carpet-covered cases, custom wood, old radio cases....
[ 06/15/01 ]

Well, you know, it's one of those things I'd heard and just accepted as the background story of an historical event, but this article asserts that FDR was as surprised by the attack on Pearl Harbor as everyone else.

Frankly, I'm not enough of an historian to intelligently evaluate this set of evidence over another (hell, I'm not enough of an historian to have known that the idea that FDR knew ahead of time was a conspiracy theory and not a confirmed fact); and you'll find the tone of this article to be fairly annoying, substituting gratuitous Right-bashing in place of actual explication in several places. (The author states that American mishandling of diplomatic relations made the attack inevitable; I would have been interested in learning more about that.)

But the idea that losing American lives in an attack would somehow rally the country to declare war on Japan in a way that a casualty-free attack on an American naval base would not has never made much sense to me; and so I pass this along to you. (via rc3.org)
[ 06/15/01 ]

Dave and Mollie are having a baby! Congratulations!
[ 06/15/01 ]

Volkswagon's now eGeneration will be the world's first mass-produced internet-enabled car.

'With this it's possible for the first time to check e-mail, do banking, check directions or call up information about the weather, traffic and the stock market while under way,' Volkswagen said.

Oh, like that's safe. For the love of God, can't people pull over before they check their email?
[ 06/15/01 ]

:: This Thursday, 21 June, Roll Your Own Blackout. Do it to protest Bush administration environmental policies; do it to protest high energy prices; do it to protest the US's notorious 80% use of all the energy in the world; or do it to show that a small act by a concerted, committed group of people can have a large effect. We are the ones we've been waiting for....

:: I wonder if one of you is, or knows of, a professional-level cellist in the Central Ohio area?
[ 06/18/01 ]

I've been thinking about it the last few days, and I'm tired of people who have seen it all. I'd rather hang out with the naifs and unsophisticates, I think, who appreciate the new and unusual, and whose bar for those things hasn't gotten to be ridiculously high. Those who haven't realized that there are correct and incorrect responses, but who go through life simply enjoying it.

I'm sick of people who spend their time being smart about things. I've had it with those who proclaim that they are 'passionate' about anything; and I never want to hear another individual tell me that, for them, food/film/the web is 'like a religion.' Put me in the room with the uneducated enthusiasts.
[ 06/18/01 ]

I have to say, I sort of like Senator Jesse Helms after reading about his experience seeing U2, his first rock concert.

'It was filled to the gills, and people were moving back and forth like corn in the breeze,' Helms said. 'They had that crowd going wild. When Bono shook his hips, that crowd shook their hips.'

(via metafilter)
[ 06/18/01 ]

Check out the Shoes Of The Fisherman and then notice how they put their money where their mouth is with their First Mission.

Our first mission is to care for those who make the sandals. The sandals are made in Thailand in a clean, Christian-owned factory that employs adult Christian workers who are paid a living wage.

Okay, I admit they lose me with their assertion that Biblical reminders in public places mean the difference between life and death, but I don't care. This is a clever idea, and (no pun intended) these people are walking their talk. (via memepool)
[ 06/18/01 ]

Oh, here are some (mostly green beans) recipes to try.
[ 06/18/01 ]

Did you hear the one about how the downturn in the US economy was caused by the Taliban with their ban on poppy cultivation? (via metafilter)
[ 06/18/01 ]

Two former U.N. humanitarian officers have urged an end to the 'genocidal' sanctions against Iraq.
[ 06/18/01 ]

I want to produce a new version of I am Woman in a sort of Do They Know it's Christmas? arrangement, sung by Cher, Tina Turner, Annie Lennox, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann, Sade, Kate Bush, Sarah McLachlan, Pat Benatar, Enya, Sinead O'Connor, Alanis Morrisette, Courtney Love, Janet Jackson, PJ Harvey, Queen Latifah, Bjork, Destiny's Child, LeAnn Rimes, and Britney Spears.
[ 06/18/01 ]

Science And The Art Of Storytelling

As it brings new knowledge to bear about our universe, science does more than provide new product; it establishes and reestablishes the metaphor of our selves and society, the prevailing paradigms by which we live....
But we--the interpreters in art, politics, religion and the press--lag far behind....
What happens to a culture whose paradigm changes in a language it no longer understands? A culture whose art is uninformed by the perceptions of its great discoverers?

[ 06/18/01 ]

:: Scientists say they have solved a mystery that has long plagued physicists: where have all the solar neutrinos gone? I just like the way the neutrino collector looks.
[ 06/19/01 ]

A mask for you. (via riothero)
[ 06/19/01 ]

John Malkovich is living in France, gardening, and making films. Read this interview and see if you don't wish for his life. [NY Times: rebeccas_pocket, password: pocket]
[ 06/19/01 ]

The United Nations has resumed its distribution of subsidized bread in Afghanistan after coming to an agreement with the Taliban as to how to conduct a poverty survey. The list of bread recipients currently in use is 5 years old; a new list can only be compiled by women because of prohibitions on men viewing women who are unrelated to them.
[ 06/19/01 ]

Ummmm...hello?
[ 06/19/01 ]

It's brilliant, and it doesn't seem to me as if it would be too difficult, but surely we'd have it since long ago if it were that easy. One company is trying to harness the power of the ocean to produce energy.

'It's estimated (that) two-tenths of a percent of the energy contained in the ocean could power the whole world. It's this energy source that's totally untapped.'

[ 06/19/01 ]

The King who would be Prime Minister.
[ 06/19/01 ]

:: As scientists seek to quantify the spiritual experience, controversy reigns: if researchers can reproduce in their subjects a physically-induced religious experience, was it ever mystical at all?

Michael Persinger, a professor of neuroscience at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, has been conducting experiments that fit a set of magnets to a helmet-like device. Persinger runs what amounts to a weak electromagnetic signal around the skulls of volunteers.
Four in five people, he said, report a 'mystical experience, the feeling that there is a sentient being or entity standing behind or near' them. Some weep, some feel God has touched them, others become frightened and talk of demons and evil spirits....
His research, said Persinger, showed that 'religion is a property of the brain, only the brain and has little to do with what's out there.'

I think he's being a bit literal. As I understand it, smells, memories, and the like are called up during brain surgery as surgeons press on various parts of the brain. That doesn't mean anything except that the brain is our means of interpreting and retrieving this information.

Prayer and meditation are, if you think about it, ancient technologies for apprehending and communicating with God. That a brain can be manipulated in a laboratory to create a religious experience doesn't surprise me; that these age-old methods of focusing the mind can, does. Whether that brain is experiencing God, or a heightened or highly unusual way of being human is a split hair.

To my mind, the value of these heightened experiences - and of the religious life itself, comprised of a multitude of actions and emotional responses - is intrinsic, and in no way predicated on the accuracy of the individual's underlying belief system. Any experience or way of life that confers wisdom, grace, compassion, or courage upon those whom it affects is a strengthening force, a force for good, helping them as it does to shape their humanness in a more Godly form.
[ 06/20/01 ]

Will all the animal food manufacturers please stop using dead animals to feed others of the same species making our pets cannibals? Can we please just have a stop to this right now? (via unknown news)
[ 06/20/01 ]

In 1991, when Houston-based mining company promised San Luis 'the most environmentally friendly cyanide mining operation ever designed,' the oldest town in Colorado kept a wary eye on the proceedings. But when Battle Mountain Gold Co closed the mine six years later, the town was left with a pool of contaminated water the size of 3 football fields, and the prospect that it might contaminate San Luis People's Ditch, Colorado's first water system.
[ 06/20/01 ]

Back in my day, we studied real subjects, Math and English and Social Studies. We didn't have none of these new-fangled classes like disaster studies and legobots.
[ 06/20/01 ]

:: I saw one last summer. An ad that said 'Ask for the Purple Pill' and then had the clinical name of the drug in the next panel. It didn't say what the drug is for, what it is supposed to help, nothing, it just told me to ask my doctor for it.

Yesterday an ad flashed onto my browser with much the same message, and then advised me to click on the ad to receive a free sample!!!!!!!! Are these people insane?

Which leads me to our next item, which is that some US doctors want the American Medical Association to pressure the government to ban advertisments for prescription medicines.

The ads can undermine doctors' credibility, especially if a physician thinks an advertised drug isn't the best choice for a patient who demands it, said Dr. Angelo Agro of the AMA's New Jersey delegation, which drafted the proposal.
Ads by their nature are biased and compressed, and driven more by drug companies' financial concerns than by concern for the patients' best interest, said Agro.... The ads have turned into a competition 'to see who can sell more of their antihistamines or nasal sprays. The patient is at best incompletely informed and at worst ... deluded,' Agro said.

[ 06/20/01 ]

Oh, come on. What would Mulder say?
[ 06/20/01 ]

:: New research indicates that the elderly are perceived as being honest but unreliable eyewitnesses; the same study indicates that a credible witness can easily introduce misinformation even about an event the listener observed.
[ 06/21/01 ]

Fantastic! Tom Stoppard ponders the history and nature of conceptual art.

When did it stop being true that an artist is somebody who can do something more or less well which the rest of us can only do badly or not at all?
If I were a conceptual artist, or a minimalist, I might answer that it was never true, or rather, never the point; the real point was that the artist made us see things we wouldn’t otherwise see, and look at things in a new way, and that what I called a fault line was the realization that this could be achieved differently, not by being good at making something, but perhaps by relocating a familiar object in an unfamiliar context, or perhaps by removing the idea of skill from those shrines to skill known as art galleries....
From the repudiation of the traditional idea of value, sprung on us by Duchamp’s urinal 84 years ago, we have come to put a value on repudiation.

(via metafilter)
[ 06/21/01 ]

'My name is Donald R. Bell. I was involved in that Hazel incident that happened two weeks ago. I am going to serve justice on myself.'
[ 06/21/01 ]

The Minke whale talks in techno.
[ 06/21/01 ]

ANDi is the first genetically modified monkey; she demonstrates that this technique can be used to insert human genes into monkeys, thus providing accurate models for human reaction to disease.

This genetically engineered monkey named ANDi, which stands for 'inserted DNA' backwards because that was the technique they used to get the DNA in him, does not glow when you put him under ultraviolet light. Even if you put parts of his body under a microscope, he doesn't glow green.
However, they did have two monkeys in whom they inserted the jellyfish gene and who were stillborn. For them, when you put their fingernails under a microscope and put them under ultraviolet light, the fingernails glowed green and their hair also glowed green. The placenta also glowed green. For some reason, ANDi doesn't and they don't know why that is. And they don't know if the fact that the stillborns glowed green had something to do with the fact they didn't live.

[ 06/21/01 ]

Is Queen Margrethe, a 3-pack-a-day! smoker, partially responsible for the fact that 60% of women in her country smoke cigarettes?
[ 06/21/01 ]

Grrrl Power News: Join the mafia, go to jail... and watch your wife or sister take over the family business.
[ 06/21/01 ]

:: If you haven't seen it elsewhere, allow me to introduce you to the best, most lucid defense of napster and argument for micropayments that I've read yet. Scott McCloud, Coins of the Realm, Part One and Part Two.
[ 06/25/01 ]

Maureen Clemmons has lifted an Egyptian obelisk in less than five minutes using a giant kite.
[ 06/25/01 ]

Baggage pickup is fast becoming an honor system. Fast becoming? In twenty years of travelling, I think I've had my baggage tags checked once.
[ 06/25/01 ]

Two mothers weigh in on the Andrea Yates tragedy:
Anna Quindlen in Playing God On No Sleep and
Lynn Siprelle in The Yates Family
Note that both women identify isolation as a key factor to very different causes of the tragedy.
[ 06/25/01 ]

Review: Terra Firma Farms
[ 06/25/01 ]

The ultimate challenge in information design: bringing astronomy to those who can't see by translating Hubble photographs for tactile books and creating a planetarium for the blind.

Most challenging, [the book illustrator] says, was making the complex, colorful images into something simple enough to understand by touch. 'Hubble captures so much detail that if I put it all in, it would be too confusing,' she says. Grice not only tried to represent the outlines of quasars and planets and stars, she also used codes to signify color and matter.... 'Sometimes we had dilemmas because we could only choose one feature to illustrate — we couldn't show something was both red and a gas....'
It's distance, says [astronomer] Beck-Winchatz, that's hardest to convey to someone who has never seen. 'For a blind person, someone standing 3 feet away is the same as someone standing a universe away because distance is only as far as they can reach,' he says.

[ 06/25/01 ]

:: He really should just have married her in the first place.
[ 06/28/01 ]

Astronomers may have found a group of planets without a sun, travelling untrammeled through the universe.
[ 06/28/01 ]

How cool is this? gothicauctions.com, putting you in touch with the clothes you want, without all the wading through that ebay entails. )thanks, jairus!)
[ 06/28/01 ]

A man from the Arab Emirates has divorced his wife by text message; he later reneged, but if he does it two more times, that's it.
[ 06/28/01 ]

Searching for a pasta maker but I mistyped it and ran a search for a "past maker" instead.
[ 06/28/01 ]

On a related note, who knew there was a ronco.com? I love Ron Popeil.
[ 06/28/01 ]

Kinoshitalite, Gossypol (a male contraceptive!), Uranate.... It's an entire page devoted to molecules with silly or unusual names.

Crapinon (also known as Sanzen) is another molecule with an excellent name, and is apparently used therapeutically as an anticholinergic. These are drugs which dry secretions, increase heart rate, and decrease lung constriction. More importantly, they also constipate quite strongly - so 'crappy-non' is most appropriate. It would be nice to think that this molecule could find an alternative use as a toilet cleaner (as in "Who's been crapinon the seat?").
Pubescine. Also known as Reserpinine. I don't know much about pubescine, but I bet it forms short, curly crystals...

Those silly, silly, chemists. (thanks, brian!)
[ 06/28/01 ]

To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To listen to stars and birds and babes and sages with an open heart. To study hard, think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions. Hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, the unbidden and the unconscious rise up through the common. This is my symphony. - William Henry Channing
[ 06/28/01 ]

:: They seem to be starting to get it. The web is not about trapping visitors on your site. It's about giving them a reason to come back. Of course, the Guardian have been relentless experimenters, with their weblog and newslist. But to find a technology weblog on the Christian Science Monitor was a surprise. And when I see the Wall Street Journal, of all publications, sending their readers out into the WWW with their Best of the Web Today, I begin to think that old media has learned something from us, the amateurs, making something native to the web for the sheer love of it.
[ 06/29/01 ]

Scientists Develop Dry Beads of Liquid Water. Really. I want to know how they deconstitute it.
[ 06/29/01 ]

The world loves ronco! In response to yesterday's Pocket, Joshua has sent me The Pitchman, Malcolm Gladwell's profile of Ron Popeil...

...and Carolyn passed along as seen on tv your web source for all things self-explanatory.
[ 06/29/01 ]

Males, Optional Dutch researchers have discovered that an unidentified bacterium is creating an all-female species of spider mites.
[ 06/29/01 ]

Yick! As part of their series on scaring the public away from any kind of cosmetic surgery, MSNBC presents their roundup of facial fillers.

A new wave of face-smoothing shots derived from a variety of substances, including rooster combs and newborn foreskin, are expected to hit the market soon.

And we thought those placenta creams were gross.
[ 06/29/01 ]

I think you might enjoy owning this expandable bookcase (described here). In fact, just poke around Trico Contemporary Design Gallery. It has items ranging from the useful, the fun, the clever, and the sublime.
[ 06/29/01 ]