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.: 2003 --> may

may

:: Come talk to me! I'm being interviewed at the WELL. If you're a member, you can post questions; if you're not, send your questions to the moderator at < inkwell-hosts at well dot com > (make that into a real email address), and they will post the question for you. Tip your waitress! I'll be there all week!
[ 05/02/03 ]

:: Addresses.com is at it again. I removed myself--with some difficulty--from their database a little over a year ago, but an alert reader just found me there again last week. Go remove yourself from their database (click update/remove) and then do a reverse lookup for your email address to remove yourself again (they had me listed as R. Beccaria in their reverse lookup, for some reason.)

Remember that spam harvesters routinely scrape the Web for email addresses to add to their databases. If addresses.com is not itself a spam harvester, (I can't tell), they certainly are not making any effort to obscure the addresses they have collected. They are not to be trusted. Go get yourself out of there.
[ 05/02/03 ]

:: A little weekend reading: The hum of bees: a civilization made of flowers, light, and wax is a fascinating look at bees and the people who cultivate them. I remember avoiding this article when it was published because the subject matter seemed so uninteresting. Finally, having finished every other article in that month's Harpers, I started reading. I couldn't put it down.
[ 05/02/03 ]

:: Tuna Twinkie Souffle. I am not making this up, it is just what it says it is. Can't get enough? There are more where that came from. Don't miss the section on scrapple.
[ 05/02/03 ]

:: Why do some societies make disastrous decisions?, Jared Diamond (author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies).

...what did the Easter Islanders say as they were cutting down the last palm tree? Were they saying, think of our jobs as loggers, not these trees? Were they saying, respect my private property rights? Surely the Easter Islanders, of all people, must have realized the consequences to them of destroying their own forest. It wasn't a subtle mistake. One wonders whether - if there are still people left alive a hundred years from now - people in the next century will be equally astonished about our blindness today as we are today about the blindness of the Easter Islanders.

(via dangerousmeta)
[ 05/02/03 ]

:: Using common household products for cleaning and more homemade cleaning solutions.
[ 05/02/03 ]



:: The conversation continues all this week and next. Come interview me!
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Our system is out of control:

Several big companies under investigation for accounting irregularities are seeking to recoup federal taxes they overpaid based on profits they inflated, a Senate aide confirmed Friday. [...]
WorldCom, which plans to emerge from bankruptcy and change its name to MCI in the fall, has already collected $300 million in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

How is that possible?
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: In an effort to aid in the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Greenpeace has put together a global map denoting all WMDs presently known to exist. [requires flash] (thanks, gilbert!)
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: The Futures of Food, Michael Pollan. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

If the postwar food utopia was modernist and corporate, the new one is postmodern and oppositional, constructing its future from elements of the past rescued from the jaws of agribusiness. It goes by many names, including 'slow food,' 'local food' and 'organic'.... Its agriculture is not only chemical-free but also sustainable, diversified and humane to workers as well as animals. Its cuisine... is based on traditional species of plants and animals -- those that predate modern industrial hybrids and genetic modification -- traditionally prepared. Its distribution system aims to circumvent the supermarket, relying instead on farmers' markets and C.S.A.'s.... As for the consumption of this food, it too is to be overhauled, in an effort to recover the sociality of eating from the solitary fueling implied by fast food.
It's a beguiling future in many ways, full of promise for our physical and social health as well as for the health of the land. It's tasty too. So what's not to like?

'Dairy flavor systems' are slated to rock your world. Find out how.
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Researchers are working to create GM plants that can detect bioterrorism.
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: The Science of Meditation

The underlying theory - one of many theories of depression - is that, in people who are stressed, anxious or depressed, the right frontal cortex of the brain is overactive and the left frontal cortex underactive. Such people sometimes show heightened activation of the amygdala, a key center in the brain for processing fear.
By contrast, people who are habitually calm and happy typically show greater activity in the left frontal cortex relative to the right, according to the theory. These lucky folks pump out less of the stress hormone cortisol, recover faster from negative events and have higher levels of certain immune cells.
Each person has a natural 'set point,' a baseline frontal cortex activity level that is characteristically tipped left or right, and around which daily fluctuations of mood swirl. What meditation may do is nudge this balance in the favorable direction.

(via dangerousmeta)
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Mice rearrange objects in order to find their way around. (via earth-info.net)
[ 05/05/03 ]



:: We're still talking. Come ask your questions about weblogs, the intersection between the tools and the form, and the Weblog Handbook.
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Salam Pax has returned.
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: Sweet dreams of another election season. If only. (thanks, lizard!)
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: Ladies and Gentlemen: Set your TiVos. 'Mr. Rogers' of news gets edgy.

'We're trying to get the truth behind the news,' says [host Bill] Moyers, who also credits his production staff, who are half his age, for the edgy tone. 'An official person speaks, and we as journalists often act as stenographers for it ... when all too often what's actually happening behind the words is the real story. Someone once said that news is what's hidden, everything else is advertising.' [...]
Now - which has had a number of conservative guests - sees its programming not as liberal but as alternative.... 'We think it is indeed the duty of good journalists to say, "OK, let's understand this issue in a deep way."... Sometimes that will be in praise of what's going on and sometimes in criticism - we do think that just because Bush said it, doesn't make it right.'

Or wrong.
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: Pervasive computing combined with new prediction methodologies may one day combine to provide an effective early warning for earthquakes.

After decades of study dedicated to predicting earthquakes days or months ahead of time, such an achievement might seem inconsequential. After all, three seconds is hardly enough time to get out of a chair. But in a time of interconnected networks and "smart buildings" that can instantly counteract fault shifts with computer-controlled hydraulics, even a few seconds could dramatically improve public safety.

[ 05/07/03 ]

:: The WWW.C.

MSN UK is creating what Microsoft calls the world's first Internet outhouse, or iLoo, complete with flat-screen plasma display, wireless keyboard and broadband access.

Ah, it takes me back to those heady, halcyon days of 1999 when any idea that remotely involved the Web was funded to the gills in a matter of weeks.

I'll tell you what: when I'm at an outdoor event, waiting to use the porta-potty, the last thing I want, is to be waiting for some guy to finish reading Metafilter. (thanks, lizard!)
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: Tunbridge Wells, UK has its own mysterious Caped Crusader. For real. So far, his superpower seems to be surprise.
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: When Utah's Attorney General goes after the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's Mormon vs Mormon.

Shurtleff is likely to run into stiff opposition from the politically well-connected FLDS polygamists who hold powerful sway in Washington County, Utah, politics. The FLDS has a long-standing reputation for delivering block votes in local elections. [...]
Infiltrating the FLDS community is difficult because church officials monitor traffic that enters the area. The FLDS, Shurtleff says, has followed his investigators through town and sometimes beyond. The FLDS' intimidation efforts, Shurtleff says, will not deter his plans to prosecute polygamists for pedophilia. 'They have gotten away with it for so long. We want to get the message out. We want convictions in place.'

It's not so much the polygamy, I think. The law might be willing to turn a blind eye to that, in this day and age. It's the young girls. Do you ever read about these guys and their series of marriages to 27-year-olds ?
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: So, I'm always all 'things are so much better' (and honestly, they are) and then I read a story like this one and I'm all 'you've got to be kidding me.' For some reason, this seems more vicious than that (also in Georgia) golf club that won't admit women. Reinstating an exclusion is more pointed than defending a long-standing policy of discrimination, I suppose. All of it would be excruciatingly dumb if it weren't so hurtful.
[ 05/07/03 ]

:: How I < heart > le blogeur! (April 29)

An Ode on rebecca's pocket
Thou still unravish'd bride of textual quietness,
Thou foster-child of HTML and permalink Time,
Weblogging historian, who canst thus express
the internet's tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed hand-coding haunts about thy shape
Of weblog deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of The blog world?
What women or gods are these? What links loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Thanks, dear Relton!
[ 05/07/03 ]



:: We're still talking. Come talk with us about the phenomenon, the revolution, and Weblog Handbook.
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Liberty Watch Tower is a collaborative weblog focused on tracking the Patriot Act and civil liberties.
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: Rafe nails it.

I still await the long article that will go over each of Powell's claims and discuss them in depth. Was the al-Kindi company building mobile weapons labs? Where are the Iraqi officials and soldiers whose voices were featured in the recordings that Powell used in his speech? We have in custody at least one member of the 'Higher Committee for Monitoring the Inspection Teams,' what do they have to say? Where are the secret files and prohibited items that were supposedly being hidden in private homes and concealed by being driven around the country? Where are the warheads armed with biological weapons that were dispersed to western Iraq? Why weren't they used when we invaded?

Where is the media?
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: I suppose you've heard that in its first week of service, the iTunes Music Store sold sold 1 million songs, half of them in album form--and tallied up 110,000 orders for iPods, to boot.

As I've been saying for a long time, a good service with a good selection and reasonable permissions will make it easier to buy music legally than to hunt it up and download a copy of unknown quality for free. The Music Store's terms are so liberal--MP3s can be downloaded to 3 computers, 10 CDs, and unlimited iPods--that only one who would need more would be a pirate.

Steve Jobs is in a unique postion. He has control over his offering, both software and hardware, and a smallish core of users who are devoted to his products. In this case, I think his relatively small user base worked to his advantage in getting record executives to grant permission to try his experiment (that, and the entertainment industry's shared paranoia that one of their competitors will make a better deal than them). Now that it has succeeded--if the Music Store continues to make money--record companies are going to be lining up to offer something similar for the rest of us.
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: Nerds!

'We have nothing against people who like to dress up, focusing on the language is just more intellectually rigorous,' said Dr. Lawrence Schoen, founder of the KLI. 'Language is the best of both worlds because it's demanding, but you also get the warm fuzzies from being involved with Star Trek.'

(via george)
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: Astonishing. Presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman's energy plan would reduce US oil imports by 2/3 in a decade. Here is the fact sheet on the plan from the Lieberman for President website.
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: Click this link (then click to give) and the European plastics industry will donate ten cents to WaterAid, through June 22, 2003. I'm putting it in the sidebar with the Hunger Site et al. (via earth-info.net)
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: A very interesting list of books linked from ex-entropy, including titles on sustainability and ethics.
[ 05/09/03 ]

:: A new review of the Weblog Handbook.

If this subject is new to you, and if you want to find out more, let me recommend the new book that I picked up this week, Rebecca Blood's "The Weblog Handbook." It's about what a weblog is, basic courtesy and etiquette. It's also short, delightful, and should get just about everyone interested in starting a good weblog.'

[ 05/09/03 ]



:: Weblogs and emergent democracy? Come tell us what you think.
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Go check out Daypop. Dan is adding features at an astonishing rate. Now it's blogstats.
[ 05/12/03 ]

:: After the price-manipulation scandals in the California energy market, reforms were made, and problems were fixed. Right? Wrong. The California energy market is still ripe, it seems, for more manipulation. (thanks, lizard!)
[ 05/12/03 ]

:: This just in: Bloggers apparently less random than monkeys.
[ 05/12/03 ]

:: Spam is pollution. Solution? Place the cost of the transaction with the sender. (via rc3.org)
[ 05/12/03 ]

:: Understanding local economies. (thanks, ian!)

Once people understand what is going on in their economy they will be more interested in plugging some of the holes in the leaky economic bucket. This way those community representatives who are interested in regenerating their area will be better able to take an informed role in discussions and take appropriate action on the future of their area's economy.

[ 05/12/03 ]

:: I received an email last year from a man whose wife organizes Fastenwandern in Switzerland. Fastenwandern are fasting/hiking weeks: Seven days, 6 of which include hiking 3-4 hrs a day; lots of rest, massages, liver compresses; lectures, concerts, and games in the evening--without eating. Particpants ingest herbal teas, vegetable juices, and vegetable bouillon. According to my correspondent,'people love it and indeed start glowing after two or three days . And they love the "gala dinner" on the last night.' I haven't done it, but I think of it often. I'm just intrigued with the whole notion.
[ 05/12/03 ]



:: Time, weblogs, and information. Come ask a question!
[ 05/05/03 ]

:: Davezilla and Min Jung present the Top Twenty D&D Pickup Lines.
[ 05/14/03 ]

:: Another by-product of factory farming: football field-sized open cesspools of animal waste. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

Around industrial hog farms across the country, people say their sickness rolls in with the wind. It brings headaches that do not go away and trips to the emergency room for children whose lungs suddenly close up. People young and old have become familiar with inhalers, nebulizers and oxygen tanks. They complain of diarrhea, nosebleeds, earaches and lung burns.
'Based on what I see, there could be neurological effects, but we don't know at what low level of chronic exposure,' Ms. Chou said. 'That information is badly needed, because communities have experienced these effects.' [...]

It's an interesting story, complete with industry stonewalling, administration deal-making, and the unintended consequences of environmental regulation. (via nobody's doll)
[ 05/14/03 ]

:: Well, the iLoo is a hoax. No, wait! It was real, but now the project has been shelved.
[ 05/14/03 ]

:: The Attention Economy and the Net.

...Since it is hard to get new attention by repeating exactly what you or someone else has done before, this new economy is based on endless originality, or at least attempts at originality. By contrast, the old industrial economy worked on the basis of making interchangeable objects in huge numbers. One could spend a lifetime of work in a factory, for instance, repeating the same motions over and over, polishing the same small area on car after car, for instance. And it was such repetition that allowed standard prices for things and standard wages for definite jobs to make sense. The entire money system is based on the simultaneous inter-changeability of units of money, on the one hand, and of standardized goods on the other. One dollar is as good as another; one quart of non-fat milk is as good as another; both statements must be true, or non-fat milk will have no price.
With the endless originality and diversity of the attention economy, that kind of exchange is no longer possible. Even though one can loosely compare amounts of attention paid to different performances, attention does not come in precise, indistinguishable units, and neither does the illusory attention for which it is exchanged.

[ 05/14/03 ]

:: The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser argues that once we have fulfilled our basic needs, the pursuit of material objects makes us more unhappy.

But what about motivation? Surely those who strive to increase income as a means to material ends are to be distinguished from those who see money as affording opportunities to travel, be their own boss, or pursue creative dreams. Kasser's findings along these lines are perhaps the most surprising. Paradoxically, studies show that those who are most intent on financial success tend to value autonomy, self-direction, and independent thought least, placing 'relatively less value on aspirations such as "I will choose what I do, instead of being pushed along by life," "I will follow my interests and curiosity where they take me," and "I will feel free."'

[ 05/14/03 ]

:: Still funny: Lego Chef
[ 05/14/03 ]



:: Wired: How Hydrogen Can Save America.

The cost of oil dependence has never been so clear. What had long been largely an environmental issue has suddenly become a deadly serious strategic concern. Oil is an indulgence we can no longer afford, not just because it will run out or turn the planet into a sauna, but because it inexorably leads to global conflict. Enough. What we need is a massive, Apollo-scale effort to unlock the potential of hydrogen, a virtually unlimited source of power. The technology is at a tipping point. Terrorism provides political urgency. Consumers are ready for an alternative. From Detroit to Dallas, even the oil establishment is primed for change. We put a man on the moon in a decade; we can achieve energy independence just as fast. Here's how.

(via earth-info.net)
[ 05/16/03 ]

:: Relying on the expertise of two former ABC and FOX producers and a former NBC cameraman, the Bush Administration has perfected the art of Presidential stagecraft. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

'We pay particular attention to not only what the president says but what the American people see,' Mr. Bartlett said. 'Americans are leading busy lives, and sometimes they don't have the opportunity to read a story or listen to an entire broadcast. But if they can have an instant understanding of what the president is talking about by seeing 60 seconds of television, you accomplish your goals as communicators. So we take it seriously.' [...]
Media strategists noted afterward that Mr. Sforza and his aides had choreographed every aspect of the [USS Abraham Linclin] event, even down to the members of the Lincoln crew arrayed in coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush's right shoulder and the 'Mission Accomplished' banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed for what image makers call 'magic hour light,' which cast a golden glow on Mr. Bush.

I just love this stuff. I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. Rumsfeld!
[ 05/16/03 ]

:: Tired of the hype about weblogs and journalism? Well, here's the real thing, in a different format. Ohmynews is a South Korean online news service that employs more than 26,300 citizen reporters, who file over 200 stories a day.

'With Ohmynews, we wanted to say goodbye to 20th century journalism where people only saw things through the eyes of the mainstream, conservative media," said its editor and founder, Oh Yeon-ho. 'Our main concept is every citizen can be a reporter. We put everything out there and people judge the truth for themselves.' [...]
All stories are fact checked and edited by professional reporters before being posted on the Internet, he said. Only two stories have led to defamation cases.

[ 05/16/03 ]

:: DON'T STEP ON CREED!

The music industry's antipiracy efforts took an embarrassing turn Tuesday when the Recording Industry Association of America acknowledged it has erroneously sent dozens of copyright infringement notices. [...]
Speakeasy, a national broadband provider, said on Tuesday that the RIAA had apologized for sending a cease-and-desist letter alleging illegal activity on an FTP site devoted to the Commodore Amiga computer. The RIAA's form letter sent to Speakeasy last Thursday alleged the Amigascne.org site illegally 'offers approximately 0 sound files for download. Many of these files contain recordings owned by our member companies, including songs by such artists as Creed.'

What a pack of idiots.
[ 05/16/03 ]



:: Brilliant: Dunkin Donuts goes Fair Trade. I've wished for years that Starbucks would do the same thing instead of offering just one Fair Trade choice, but according to this article, Starbucks is already a top buyer of these beans. My only question is, are there enough coffee farmers using sustainable practices to supply this new demand? Or has the bottleneck been finding buyers for all the sustainably produced coffee that is currently grown?

Corporate giants who choose socially responsible practices raise the bar for everyone else, differentiate themselves from competitors, and can make a difference on a large scale. Consider McDonalds' efforts to reform slaughterhouses and the egg industry.

And of course I appreciate this:

'We are going to be fast and unpretentious. We're going to call a small a small,' Kimmel added, referring to pricey gourmet coffee leader Starbucks which instead of selling its coffee in small, medium and large cups offers such sizes as tall, grande and venti.

[ 05/18/03 ]

:: The State of Pop Vocals. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

'American Idol' offers a telling glimpse of the state of American popular singing, an art which has in the last decade been dominated not just by a single style a kind of watered-down gospel-soul but by a particular vocal mannerism: melisma.

For years we've been subjected to this incredibly annoying vocal style. Now that the NY Times is finally covering the issue, perhaps we can raise awareness and eventually stamp out this pernicious, rage-inducing tic.
[ 05/18/03 ]

:: Do Some Good: Matt posted the wishlist for the Kianh Foundation, an organization devoted to helping Vietnamese orphans with disabilities. Look at how much a just little bit of money can do:

Of course they need more expensive items as well.

Do you have a bit to spare? I feel confident recommending this organization based on Matt Prescott's endorsement (on his site and via email) of founder Jacci Garside. I'm adding the Kianh Foundation to my wishlist.
[ 05/18/03 ]

:: Low income, welfare and nutritional vulnerability.

Their study was undertaken to ask the chilling question whether, in the context of chronic poverty, lone mothers in the Atlantic provinces deprived themselves of food in order to spare their children food deprivation. They assessed the food insecurity and dietary intakes of 141 women and their 333 children over 1 month. They found a high prevalence of inadequate intakes among the women for most nutrients examined. The children's intakes, by contrast, appeared adequate for all nutrients except folate and zinc. However, the observed pattern of within-month variation in the children's energy and nutrient intakes suggests that the quality of their diets was highly sensitive to the ebb and flow of resources in the household.

(via waterloo wide web)
[ 05/18/03 ]

:: In order to promote John Malkovich's directing debut, The Dancer Upstairs, FOX is sponsoring the NY Times archive of articles related to the film and Mr Malkovich's career. It's a terrific piece of synergy.
[ 05/18/03 ]



:: Vienna was amazing, and Blogtalk was as interesting as could be. It's always the case when you get a bunch of bloggers in the room: as a rule they are the smartest, most congenial people you could hope to meet. Thanks to all the attendees for the conversation and the inspiration; and to everyone in Vienna for making me feel so welcome.

For those of you who are interested, I have placed my keynote address online. David Weinberger has posted a very thoughtful response to the piece.

One thing has already come out of the conference, the Spanish translation of the Ten Tips, done by my new friend José Luis Orihuela.

Because the few pictures I managed to take (technical difficulties) are still undeveloped, I will just point you to Ulrich's marvelous pictures of Vienna, surely one of the most beautiful cities in all the world: May 25, May 26 and May 27. If you haven't been to Vienna, you must understand that these photos are not of carefully selected slices of a few streets--turn any corner in the central part of the city to be confronted with a series of buildings from several eras, all of them beautiful.
[ 05/30/03 ]

:: Against all odds, I have been selected by Web User as one of the Web's 50 Hot Faces of the Web. And it's not about looks, dear readers. I'm listed in between Jeff Bezos and David Bowie, on a list that includes Tim Berners-Lee, Ursula LeGuin, Susan Orlean (with no mention of the author/designer), and William Shatner. Thanks to Stuart for alerting me in time to pick up a copy on the way through Heathrow.
[ 05/30/03 ]

:: Data point: 7 days offline, 792 spams waiting for me.
[ 05/30/03 ]



























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