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.: 2002 --> january

january 2002
:: Happy Ought-Two!
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: Dinah is an inspiration. I may just let her become my fiscal do-some-good strategist. I can't argue with any of the choices on this list.
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: Next year, auto manufacturers will begin outfitting passenger cars with 42-volt batteries in order to meet the demands of all the extraneous gadgets drivers now use as they drive; as an unintentional side effect, engine efficiency will improve at least 10%....
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: If you used to run or participate in a Bulletin Board System back in the day, you may want to get in touch with Jason Scott, who has begun doing interviews for a BBS Documentary. I started out on BBSes, I can't wait until it comes out. (via meryl)
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: Dissent Must Be Tolerated--Or We've Lost The War
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: :: I think you may be interested in viviculture: it is weblog as an exercise in mindfulness. Kurt's statement of principles especially resonates with me.
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: The Changes Wrought by 2001
[ 01/07/02 ]

:: Five Bedfordshire, UK students, angered by the government's "School of the Future" video, have made a video of their own to demonstrate the run-down conditions of their own school.

The head teacher, Keith Atkins, told BBC News Online the idea had come entirely from the 12 and 13 year olds. 'They wanted to produce a video of our school to compare it to what the government had produced,' he said.

[ 01/10/02 ]

:: I know I won't have time to finish it until this weekend, but I'm linking it today. Claire Berlinski is a writer and journalist living in Paris who has written a novel called Loose Lips, a 'roman ŗ clef about CIA training at the Farm'. Chapter One is online, and so far I think it's pretty good. She hopes that if enough people read it and like it, they will pass the URL to their friends and post it on their websites. If she can demonstrate that there is a market for her work, why wouldn't a publisher give her a contract?

I really like her approach. The Web is the medium that brought Mahir and All Your Base into your cube. It should be possible for artists of all sorts to get the attention of the media gatekeepers by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth. On that principle alone, I present to you this link so that you can decide whether you believe it's worth passing on. If you like it, pass the URL to your friends who love to read and add it to your website.

It's a crazy plan, but it just might work.
[ 01/10/02 ]

:: While women wait for word that they may show their bare faces, a western reporter tries the burka and writes about the experience.

'You see this,' she says, stretching out the accordion pleats that make up the back of a burqa. 'These will come out when you wash it,' she says, warning me not to be fooled into buying a cheaper burqa - prices start at $15 - because it won't wear well.
It proves tough to explain that durability is not a burqa quality I am particularly concerned about. But for Marzia, who has been wearing the same burqa for the past five years, sturdiness is king. Regardless of how worn hers gets, Marzia is, on principle, not buying a new burqa.

[ 01/10/02 ]

:: A new study investigates the connection between altruism and anger...and altruistic punishment.

...the Fehr study and others show that the presence of altruists in a group increases the overall fitness of the group ó no matter the consequence to the individual - so altruistic acts can make evolutionary sense.
And, unlike most altruism, altruistic punishment is inspired less by good will than by a factor that biologists have so far rarely considered: anger.

[ 01/10/02 ]

:: Altruism? 'Microsoftís .NET services might be a year away, but thereís already a computer virus designed to attack them.'
[ 01/10/02 ]

:: Only one amazing, heartbreaking, beautiful link today. Four and a half years ago a Miami reporter coaxed homeless children to reveal to her their vast vivid mythology, passed from child to child, fervently believed in and kept secret from older siblings and parents. It accounts for the circumstances of their lives, places them as players in a huge cosmic battle, and -- with one staggering twist -- explains the absence in their lives of any Great and Good power. It is a riveting story, and, like so many human mythologies, it places its central value on the power of the individual children to choose, each day, to do good instead of evil.

I simply can't stop thinking about this story. (via metafilter via snarkout)
[ 01/11/02 ]

:: Public Service Alert! This morning I received a piece of spam claiming to be from EBay, informing me that my 'order had been completed' and my credit card would be charged if I did not cancel the order by going to a website and filling in some information. This is a fraudulent attempt to gather personal information (and maybe even your credit card number).

If you receive this Ebay Spam, do not follow these directions and do not respond to it. Note that the URL the spam directs you to is not an EBay address. Note that EBay auctions do not work this way. Remember that you may dispute any charge on your credit card. Report it to SpamCop or report it to Ebay Fraud, if you are a member. (Unfortunately, there is no way to file a complaint if you are not.) Or just delete it. And inform your friends about it.
[ 01/11/02 ]

:: I suppose that everyone but me has already seen the Combinatorial Engine.
[ 01/14/02 ]

:: 'Exactly four months after the tragedies in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York, twenty Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery will come to the Sackler Gallery to construct one of the largest sand mandalas (sacred paintings) ever created in the West, for the healing and protection of America.' (Thanks, Will!)
[ 01/14/02 ]

:: Mark Jones has sent me a stunningly good article on the world energy situation. In it, Amory and L. Hunter Lovins explicate, in simple language, past US energy policy and current and future US energy needs, and they make a strong case for America's best and cheapest source of power: conservation. (This is a .pdf file: you'll need Adobe Acrobat to read it.)

It's a long article, but each paragraph is better than the next; its argument is well-thought out, free of political invective, and, I think, very sensible.
[ 01/14/02 ]

:: Mark also proposed that I query my readers to see if any of you know of an online (or offline, for that matter) source that can answer the following list of questions:

  • What's the total output of fossil fuels, world wide? (Tons, Barrels, Dollars, BTU's/Calories)
  • What's the output of non fossil fuels: (Sun, Water, Nuclear, Earth-thermal, wood/brush/manure/vegetable waste/etc.) (same units as above)
  • What's the total consumption all energy worldwide?
  • What have the trends been for the last 10 and 100 years?

  • What's the US consumption of them? (percent Fraction... and BTUs, Calories, Tons, Barrels, dollars)
  • for the US:
    • What fraction is due to cars and light trucks?
    • What fraction due to semi-trucks?
    • What fraction to manufacturing?
    • What fraction to heating/cooling?

Surely someone has put this all together somewhere; if you know of one, please let me know. It would be useful to have a global context in which to place this debate.
[ 01/14/02 ]

:: I think it's time to point you to Oliver's terrific (and ongoing) rundown of the Enron scandal. It doesn't look like this is going to go away, so we might as well get up to speed now in order to save ourselves time later.
[ 01/16/02 ]

:: Volume 3 of Birchlane is up.
[ 01/16/02 ]

:: Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the disturbing effects of television viewing.

As one might expect, people who were watching TV when we beeped them reported feeling relaxed and passive. The EEG studies similarly show less mental stimulation, as measured by alpha brain-wave production, during viewing than during reading.
What is more surprising is that the sense of relaxation ends when the set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue. Survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading. After playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements in mood. After watching TV, people's moods are about the same or worse than before.

[ 01/16/02 ]

:: Funniest News Ever: Enron has fired Arthur Andersen

'We're very troubled about the destruction of the documents, and we're very concerned about the accounting advice we got,' said Washington attorney Robert Bennett, who is representing Enron.

I'm sorry, I simply can't stop laughing. (via booknotes)
[ 01/18/02 ]

:: Best Idea Ever News: Fair Test.

A group of Washington State educators has filed an initiative that requires any candidate running for any local or statewide office in Washington to take the same high stakes test required of all tenth grade students, and to post their scores in the Voter's Pamphlet and on the Secretary of State's web site.

:: Scholastic Magazine(!) has an excellent article on Propaganda and Spinning the News.

Beware of getting only half the story. Propaganda experts say the subtlest forms of propaganda succeed not by lying outright but by giving only a partial truth. Images, which may be the most powerful form of communication, are particularly vulnerable to this type of manipulation. Photographs of dead and wounded people, for example, can be shocking, but by their nature they give only one side of the story.

[ 01/18/02 ]

:: Christopher Sullivan responded to my query about global and US energy consumption with a very thoughtful note on the ways in which architecture can create energy conservation and a list of resources.

Kenny writes that The US Department of Energy has International Energy Fact Sheets, and also recommends the Energy Information Administration.

Amos Newcombe points me to the EIA International Total Primary Energy Information, available in Excel file, or in html or pdf, and Rebecca Harper to the EIA International Energy Outlook 2001

Jerry Mandina suggests the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and Steve Gunter tells me that The WorldWatch State of the World reports are the very best source.

Thanks to everyone who responded.
[ 01/18/02 ]

:: Dream. Thank you, Dr King.
[ 01/21/02 ]

:: In my ongoing quest to introduce you to Other Fine Weblogs, allow me to introduce you to the Obvious? and Riley Dog. Thanks to their combined efforts, this weekend I found this heartwrenching poem and this lovely one, which I sent to my husband.
[ 01/21/02 ]

:: In regard to my query on world energy consumption, stercam recommends The Economist Pocket World in Figures. It received outstanding reviews for the 1999 version; carl suggests the Statistical Abstract of the United States 2001.
[ 01/21/02 ]

:: In this excerpt from his new book The Future of Life, Edward O. Wilson contrasts the economist's and environmentalist's views about the state of the world, and seeks to strike a middle ground between them.

Environmentalism is still widely viewed, especially in the U.S., as a special-interest lobby. Its proponents, in this blinkered view, flutter their hands over pollution and threatened species, exaggerate their case, and press for industrial restraint and the protection of wild places, even at the cost of economic development and jobs.
Environmentalism is something more central and vastly more important. Its essence has been defined by science in the following way. Earth, unlike the other solar planets, is not in physical equilibrium. It depends on its living shell to create the special conditions on which life is sustainable....
When we alter the biosphere in any direction, we move the environment away from the delicate dance of biology. When we destroy ecosystems and extinguish species, we degrade the greatest heritage this planet has to offer and thereby threaten our own existence.
Humanity did not descend as angelic beings into this world. Nor are we aliens who colonized Earth. We evolved here, one among many species, across millions of years, and exist as one organic miracle linked to others....

(thanks, Kurt!)
[ 01/21/02 ]

:: My time will soon be more my own. The book I've been writing is nearly complete. It is scheduled to be published in June; if you're very excited, you can pre-order a copy today.

A further note: Amazon inaccurately lists me as the author of We've Got Blog, an anthology of pieces written by the online community about weblogs. It's not true; I wrote the introduction and contributed one chapter.
[ 01/23/02 ]

:: Rich in Things, Poor in Time

Indeed, it is often the inability to exercise a certain degree of frugality that is at the core of the problem of time. The art of living requires a sense for the right measure. Less can definitely be more. The modern consumer society continually squanders the wealth of time.
In an age of exploding options the ability to focus, which implies the sovereignty of saying no, becomes an important ingredient in creating a richer life. Without that ability, the lament of dramatist Ödon von Horvarth may become the universal apology: 'I am really an entirely different person; itís just that I never get around to showing it.'

(via waterloo wide web)
[ 01/23/02 ]

:: Love public radio? Want to listen to it on the Web? Here's the most complete listing I've ever seen. (via more like this)
[ 01/23/02 ]

:: The Spring edition of MISC magazine is going to be 'science vs.science fiction.' Possible topics may or may not include:

  • a comparison of dumb cliches in written vs. filmed sci-fi;
  • whatever happenned to the World of Century 21?;
  • an account of life at a sci-fi convention;
  • pieces of great kickass writing from favorite genre stories (short enough to qualify under the "fair use" laws);
  • "miracle invention" fads and hoaxes of modern history;
  • a search for people who still believe in science as a way to make a better world;
  • some of the bizzarer sidelines of fandom (filk, slash fiction, etc.);

MISC is read by an intelligent, literate audience that might not necessarily know a damn thing about the F/SF subculture. Think you have what it takes? Contact Clark Humphrey with your story proposal. It is (I think) an unpaid gig, but it's a chance to appear in one of the sharpest local journals in the country.

Pretty sure you don't have what it takes, but intrigued anyway? Subscribe to MISC magazine and read Miscmedia every day.
[ 01/23/02 ]

:: Why on earth won't Adobe donate their software to Habitat to Humanity? Oh, wait, because they have a religious affiliation?
[ 01/23/02 ]

:: Sky Toilet Horror
[ 01/25/02 ]

:: British filmmaker Barney Snow has made a documentary about a 51-year-old Fargo woman who claims that through her, John Lennon is still writing songs.

(both via wannawrite?)
[ 01/25/02 ]

:: Home Power looks to be a good resource; apart from monthly articles, they have a fantastic resource page with links to a solar radiation map, links to wind resource maps, an explanation of net metering, and their lead article this month, 'Investing in Energy Efficiency' in which Andy Kerr does the math.

Every woman I've ever lived with wanted to leave the porch light on at night. It didn't make sense to me, since I am asleep then. I finally learned that it makes sense to her, because she is asleep then.
Assuming eleven hours of on-time per night, my US$8.99 CF saves me US$10.84 (181 KWH at US$0.06 per KWH) of electricity annually, compared to a typical US$0.40 incandescent bulb.

(thanks, Ed!)
[ 01/25/02 ]

:: Oliver Willis: 'CNN is spending all this money on big news names while I could be delivering FRESH YOUNG RATINGS for waaaay less. Tell the man.'

He's got a point.
[ 01/25/02 ]

:: Alternative author's versions of the Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings, by Ian Fleming
Aragorn placed his hand on the cool, ivory hilt of his 6.38 Anduril sword, half-holding it in as casual manner as possible. His eyes swept the room of the Prancing Pony, eyeing up the potential threats. He took out his pipe, made from the warmed heartwood of a mature oak. In the palm of his left hand, he unwrapped his leather tobacco pouch filled, as he preferred, with Gondorian Silk Cut. Aragorn preferred it to the harsher, stronger Numenorian blend...

(via doc searles)
[ 01/25/02 ]

:: Celebrity email addresses. Some of them (jeffr48196@aol.com) look like they could actually be their personal accounts. If they are, the celebrities in question are out of luck: there's no way to opt out of the listing. And though the company claims to have obtained its database of names by legitimate means, I can't help but notice that my address is listed as 'viewmemberprofilerebecca@rebeccablood.net.'

Here's the best part: when you click the link to 'update the information,' they send you to a page which will allow you to add information but not to delete your email address.
[ 01/28/02 ]

:: There are sure a lot of food weblogs now:
joy of soup
eating journal
the red kitchen
saute wednesday

Plus, the best name for a weblog ever:
blog and toad are friends
[ 01/30/02 ]

:: Sure enough, today I got my first spam that began, 'Dear viewmemberprofilerebecca@rebeccablood.net'. An alert reader points out that any address beginning with viewmemberprofile was likely scraped from the old weblogs.com member listings. If you created a member profile in weblogs.com, this special variation on your email address may be there, too.

I wonder if addresses.com may be responsible for the uptick in spam I've been receiving lately? Though I demanded that they remove my information, so far they haven't responded. I would encourage you to do the same, except that at this point, I'm pretty certain that this is a spam harvester and nothing else. I've never before received a spam addressed to 'viewmemberprofile,' but it's one of the addresses I tried to delete on Sunday. Having received a response from me, they now know the address works.

Don't be fooled by their claims that you can delete your information by choosing to update your profile. The page they send you to allows you to add infomation, but not to delete your email address. I finally used their feedback form to demand that they remove my address from their database; curiously, my IP is now blocked, preventing me from checking to see if the address is still there.

Beware of these people. This is not a legitimate business; if it were, they would allow you to delete your information. They have obtained these email addresses by questionable means, and they appear to have no intention of removing any of them from their database.
[ 01/30/02 ]

:: I'd like to thank all those who voted for Weblogs: A History and Perspective as the best article or essay about weblogs in this year's Bloggies, announced this evening. Take a minute to read the other entries, though: they're all top notch.
[ 01/30/02 ]