.: 2005 --> december
@ Today is World AIDS Day. If your partner isn't willing to use a condom until you're in a long-term monogamous relationship, they're actually not smart enough for you to have sex with. And of course you're smart enough not to share needles. We know how to prevent AIDS. Prevent it. [ 12/01/05 ]
@ CSM: Best Fiction 2005. Two have the same name, two are about an elderly Sherlock Holmes, two are based on briefly mentioned characters in well-known novels — and one is in two of these categories! [ 12/01/05 ]
@ Breastfeeding for more than 6 months appears to reduce Type 2 diabetes risk. "Among women who had given birth in the previous 15 years, the risk of diabetes fell about 15% with every additional year of breastfeeding, the authors write. Breastfeeding one child for a year was associated with a greater risk reduction than breastfeeding two children for a total of a year." [ 12/01/05 ]
@ "Sustainability presents an opportunity to profit. Even better, it's an opportunity that hasn't been very well tapped. Sounds like a recipe for success. But how do we make sustainability sexy?" I've been saying for a long time that we need a green Martha Stewart: someone who can make sustainable living aspirational and status-conferring. [ 12/01/05 ]
@ Adland is Metafilter for advertising geeks, with a focus on news and gossip from the advertising world. It features the Badland, a catalogue of magazine cover twins, logo twins, and strangely similar television ads put side by side for everyone to compare. Badlands
has documented recently linked a series of amazingly coincidentially identical- or similar-to-existing logos produced by design company Logoworks. The whole site is a treasure-trove of advertising fun. [ 12/02/05 ]
@ A free knitted Teddy Bear pattern and a set of links to charity knitting sites that donate gifts to children. If you have time this year, why not knit a gift for a needy child? [ 12/02/05 ]
@ Bruce Schneier on why airport security put in place since 9/11 is mostly wasted money — and how we should be spending that money instead. [ 12/05/05 ]
@ The world's tallest building, the Taipei 101, is thought to have triggered two recent earthquakes because of the stress that it exerts on the ground beneath it. (via rw) [ 12/05/05 ]
@ CSM: A Culture of Bribery in Congress. "Why should large amounts of money, either as bribes or as big campaign funds from businesses and unions, be permitted at all, since in too many cases such hefty chunks of change can easily distort a lawmaker's ability to represent the highest interests of the most people?" [ 12/05/05 ]
@ Don't miss these two galleries of Yuko Nishimura's incredible Folded Paper Art. Click on the thumbnails to see larger versions of her work. The server seems to be intermittently down. If you can't get through, it's worth trying again later. (via cn) [ 12/05/05 ]
@ Centripetal Notion is a new-to-me weblog you might enjoy. "Centripetal = center seeking; unifying; transmitting sensory impulses to the central nervous system. Centripetal Notion is a daily-ish node for the synaesthetic at heart, inasmuch as it being a fusion of art, design, music, science, and technology, in the interest of encouraging a unified appreciation of such as an extension of nature. In other words — a collection of miscellaneous badassery — where form meets function, but later decides they're too much alike and breaks it off before things get boring." [ 12/05/05 ]
@ The Bush administration seems to be trying to redirect the debate on secret prisons by focusing on the benefits Europeans gain from this practice. "The real issue here is that no one trusts the United States anymore." — Hurst Hannum, professor of international law, the Fletcher School, Tufts University. [ 12/06/05 ]
@ Body Hacks 18 Tricks to Teach Your Body. "Relieve sinus pressure...by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger." (via gordon mcclean) [ 12/06/05 ]
@ If you are an old-timer, yesterday's link to Yuko Nishimura's paper art may have reminded you of one of my very first links: UCSC former Professor Dr. David Huffman's Geometric Paper Folding. (Yes, that Dr. David Huffman.) Here is Paul Haebrili's step-by-step picture tutorial on creating your own Paper Folding Project. [more...]
@ You may have heard something about Sony CDs installing malicious software on your computer. Business Week has written a clear article explaining the spyware they may have installed on your computer, the public relations debacle they are currently embroiled in, and why many computer repair shops are advising their customers to avoid Sony products altogether. [ 12/06/05 ]
@ The Achiever, the Explorer, the Socializer and the Killer. "In the last few years a small but growing cadre of well-known universities, from the University of Southern California to the University of Central Florida, have started formal programs in game design and the academic study of video games as a slice of contemporary culture." [ 12/06/05 ]
@ "Before Saddam's trial, people knew our suits, our quality, our price. But now they are looking at us differently, like we're a big brand, big quality. They think that's why Saddam is wearing our suit." Clothier Recep Cesur's sales have skyrocketed since the beginning of Saddam's trial. [ 12/07/05 ]
@ Truce (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment) 2005-2006 Toy Action Guide [pdf] is explains how to choose gifts for your children, with examples of good and bad toys, and a guide to making "Shoebox Toys". Strong anti-violence / anti-media / anti-electronics bias. The shoebox gifts are terrific. I agree with the general principles advocated here, but I am not opposed to computer games in toto. On the other hand, I do think electronic games for the very young (0-5) are unnecessary. Let them develop an independent and self-sufficient imagination first. Cooperative play should be encouraged, certainly, but children will act out violent fantasies whether or not you buy them toy guns. Children know they are just pretending. Use your judgement. [ 12/07/05 ]
@ The 10 Best and Worst Cookbooks for 2005 holiday giving. (via rw) [ 12/07/05 ]
@ Here's the list I would shop from: The 2005 James Beard Cookbook Award Winners. I usually ask for only one cookbook every Christmas — it will take me a year to give it a good trial. This year I'm asking for Gil Marks' Olive Trees and Honey, which mixes recipes with a history of Jewish cooking. (Though I am sorely tempted by Frank Stitt's Southern Table and John Ash: Cooking One on One.) I also have my eye on two reference titles: the new edition of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, and David Joachim's The Food Substitutions Bible. [ 12/07/05 ]
@ IRS warns about an email "refund" scam. It's known as phishing. If you ever get a note claiming that you need to visit a site to do update your information, don't click that link! Go to the site (type the address in by hand, or do a Google search for it) and log in, and see if there is a message waiting for you there. [ 12/08/05 ]
@ Presenting the McDownload. "Patents filed by Disney reveal plans to drip-feed entertainment into a portable player while the owner eats in a restaurant. You only get the full programme by coming back to the restaurant a number of times to collect all the instalments." (via rw) [ 12/08/05 ]
@ Defective Yeti, who put together the 2005 Good Board Games list I linked earlier this week, has posted a list of the good board games that didn't make the cut. He also links to alist of the Top 100 Board Games of All Time. (click on the number of the game to see a review, and the "recap" links in the sidebar to see another part of the list). (via rw) [ 12/08/05 ]
@ An American classic: Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Includes several recipes at the end.) More cookies: The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie and 125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes. Yum! [ 12/08/05 ]
@ Mighty Foods is a new blog about natural foods produced by Heidi Swansen of 101 Cookbooks and "a small group of contributors". It's off to a terrific start, but I wish that clicking on the Mighty Staff link would take you to a page that was actually about the staff. I guess wouldn't be so curious if each entry wasn't "signed". As it is, it's just a tease. (via saute wednesday) [ 12/09/05 ]
@ Not only has on-demand publishing allowed university presses to survive reduced demand, it has allowed them to profit from books for which there is sudden reinterest. "Doug Wilcoxen, inventory manager at the University of California Press, says the press has been using digital technology for years to reprint books that would otherwise go out of print. He reports that the press earns an additional $250,000 per year by digitally reprinting 600 titles that it could not make available without the technology." (via dm) [ 12/09/05 ]
@ Three years ago, author John Berendt ordered some rubber stamps and began making his own notepad/agenda/address book. "This year...he ventured into Smythson, the venerable London stationer, to see if it might have something similar. 'They did have things that were close, the Duke's Diary, the King's Diary,' Mr. Berendt said, listing model names. He asked if the store could make one like his. 'They said, "Of course we can." It would cost about $5,000.'" [more...]
I did this for a few years, only I used a computer to make the template and then filled in the days and months by hand. Then I made some extras, and gave them as Christmas presents. (via apartment therapy) [ 12/12/05 ]
@ The Ledge is an independent platform for literature. At the heart of the site is a series of interviews with authors, translators and critics from around the world. New interviews are added regularly. There is also a built-in, ever-expanding reading guide and a listing of international literary events. The Ledge invites readers to contribute ideas for new 'before' and 'after' books — which books have influenced this particular book/ writer and what should the reader read next? I've added it to my list of book recommenders. [ 12/12/05 ]
@ Allen Wolf spent the last year designing 4 award-winning games — just to finance his film. [ 12/12/05 ]
@ Bruce Schneier: "Two years ago, if someone asked me about protecting against identity theft, I would tell them to shred their trash and be careful giving information over the Internet. Today, that advice is obsolete. Criminals are not stealing identity information in ones and twos; they're stealing identity information in blocks of hundreds of thousands and even millions." [ 12/13/05 ]
@ Newly Bankrupt Raking In Piles of Credit Offers. "'In the eight years since the credit industry first came to Congress seeking relief from the rising rate of personal bankruptcy filings, the extent of credit has not been curtailed, nor have the industry profits been diminished due to bankruptcy filings,' Congressional opponents wrote in their report while the [new bankruptcy] bill was under consideration." [ 12/13/05 ]
@ The unintended consequences of global food relief. US government requires that its aid dollars be spent on US food, relief agencies trade the food for dollars instead of delivering it straight to hunger victims.... What a complicated mess. [ 12/13/05 ]
@ It seems that the Spanish translation of my book is now available: Universo del weblog. Consejos prácticos para crear y mantener su blog. [ 12/13/05 ]
@ There's a link making the rounds that seems to have been lifted from University of Maryland Professor Robert Fradkin's Evolution of Alphabets page. The original page includes a series of animated gifs illustrating the evolution of Cuniform character set; the evolution of the Phoenician character set from Proto-Sinaitic glyphs; the evolution of Greek. Arabic, and Square Aramaic/Hebrew letterforms as they evolved from their Phoenician roots; the rotation of Phoenician characters to make Greek letters; the evolution of Modern Cyrillic from the Greek character set; and, of course, the awesome evolution of the Latin character set. I recognized the source, because I linked to it way back in 2001. [ 12/14/05 ]
@ Bruce Schneier points to an item from the Black Box Voting forums. "On Tuesday, the most serious 'hack' demonstration to date took place in Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes..... Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election." I agree with Bruce: any system must have voter-verifiable paper audit trails and all software must be open to public scrutiny in order to be even be considered for use. [ 12/14/05 ]
@ "Consumers need more choices to protect their children, and the best way is to allow them to buy only the cable channels they want and not be forced to purchase the prepackaged channel bundles picked by a handful of media conglomerates." [ 12/14/05 ]
@ Noted without comment: Religious protests against proposed cuts to the US food stamps program come mainly from liberal groups. "Conservative Christians Say Fighting Cuts in Poverty Programs Is Not a Priority". (via usfp) [ 12/15/05 ]
@ Search Engine Watch explains why Harper-Collins' plan to digitize their own books before allowing them to be indexed seems to based on a fundamental lack of understanding of online search. [ 12/15/05 ]
@ They are Japanese geeks, obsessed with manga and anime: Meet the Otaku. "Nomura identified 12 subdivisions within the otaku society, but their ranks are constantly evolving, with model train fans and mobile phone otaku now emerging." [Wikipedia: Otaku] [ 12/15/05 ]
@ George Washington's Christmas Eggnog
Christmas Egg Nog, Jennie June's American Cookery Book, 1870
Egg Nogg. The White House Cook Book, 1887.
Egg Nogg, Dishes and Beverages of the Old South, 1913. "This is the only simon-pure Egg nogg. Those who put into it milk, cream, what not, especially rum, defile one of the finest of Christmas delights."
Eggnog, The Ideal Bartender, 1917
Cyril K. Collins' Eggnog Recipe [Update: this is just a vehicle for whiskey. I don't know why the rum is even included.]
Eggnog Recipe, New York Times, 1989
Eggnog, Cocktail Times
rec.food.recipes search: Eggnog, Egg Nog
SOAR search: Eggnog, Egg Nog
Aaron's Egg Nog World
[ 12/16/05 ]
@ This month's Bloggers on Blogging interview is with information architect, author, and blogger Adam Greenfield. Pocket readers will be particularly interested in our discussion about pervasive computing, continuous partial attention, and the need for encalming interfaces. [ 12/19/05 ]
@ Archaeologists hope that the remains of Tell Hamoukar, the oldest-known excavated site of large-scale organized warfare, may provide a "frozen context" to help them understand cultures in ancient Mesopotamia. (via dm) [ 12/19/05 ]
@ "Hamlet in the Hood" is 18-year-old Alan McDuffy's non-violent re-vision of the classic tragedy. "Shakespeare is timeless. He set the path for me, I just made it modern. It was already there, so I didn't have to do much." [ 12/19/05 ]
@ What the Web was made for: The Museum of Burnt Food. "The museum was founded in the late 1980's one night when Deborah put on a small pot of Hot Apple Cider to heat, then received an unexpected . . . fascinating . . . and very long phone call. By the time Deborah returned to the kitchen, the Cider had become a 'Cinder' and thus the first, and perhaps still the most impressive, exhibit: 'Free Standing Hot Apple Cider' was born." [ 12/19/05 ]
@ Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, has a new blog. "No need for more general 'thank you' comments!" he says. In spite of that: Thank-you, sir. Your invention has changed every aspect of my life, and 95% of that for the good. [ 12/20/05 ]
@ The other 5%: In the last few years, a new pyschological disorder has arisen: Internet addiction disorder. I agree that constant connectivity and the powerful partial reinforcement of (eventual) incoming email and interesting websites can create an unhealthy tendency to check again and again to see what is new on the Internet. It has certainly created a powerful distraction/procrastination apparatus. And I think the Web is habituating in me (and apparently in others) a mode of thinking that is never fully focused on one thing. But the avoidance behavior described in some of these cases has existed long before and beyond the Web. What about all those people in front of the television, forever on the phone, in their basements with woodworking tools, and constantly socializing instead of spending time with their families? [ 12/20/05 ]
@ Two Singaporean design students won top honors at the recent International Electrolux Design Lab awards in Stockholm for their "Airwash" washing machine prototype, which uses negative ions, compressed air and anti-bacterial deodorants to clean clothes. "We are using nature's weapons, nature's cleansing agents, to solve a problem." [ 12/20/05 ]
@ Journal of Magazine and New Media Research, 2002: Magazine Covers and Cover Lines: An Illustrated History is an article on the history of magazine covers, tracking trends in both cover illustration and the use and placement of headlines. More than 100 illustrations, including an annotated portfolio of poster covers from the 1920s to the 1990s. [ 12/20/05 ]
@ A new study comparing comparing [update: the citation patterns of] news stories to [the citation patterns of] congressional speeches has found that American media has a pronounced liberal bias — ranking the Wall Street Journal as the most liberal publication of all. "Only Fox News' 'Special Report With Brit Hume' and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter. The most centrist outlet proved to be the 'NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.' CNN's 'NewsNight With Aaron Brown' and ABC's 'Good Morning America' were a close second and third. [...] NPR...is slightly more conservative than The Washington Post." (via NB) [ 12/21/05 ]
@ Cognitive Daily reviews the available literature on Internet addiction (which I wrote about yesterday). "Finally, and perhaps most critically, there was no difference in experience using the internet between addicts and non-addicts: addicted users averaged 2.64 years online, compared to 2.75 years for non-addicts. It seems that the critical dimension of addicted versus non-addicted behavior is the ability to control one's use of the internet." I'm still interested on how these studies compare to those done on television viewing, shopping, telephoning, and the like. [more...]
I expect you'll also be interested in reading Video games: Are the myths true? and this post, which asks the question Is self-discipline more important for academic success than IQ?. [ 12/21/05 ]
@ CNN: We're all tech junkies now. "The Internet connection is my lifeline. It's the connection to friends, e-mail — especially for stay-at-home moms. I'm hungry for adult conversation and any news that isn't 'Dora the Explorer' or 'Blue's Clues.'" [ 12/21/05 ]
@ Recommended Reading for Information Retrieval Research Students [pdf]. Most of these recommendations are way too technical/deep for anyone I know, but there are a few cites for work on interface design that Web designers might find of interest. [ 12/21/05 ]
@ Waiting for the Rapture in Iran. "This presidential obsession with the Mahdaviat [belief in the second coming] yields a certitude that leaves little room for compromise. From redressing the gulf between rich and poor in Iran, to challenging the United States and Israel and enhancing Iran's power with nuclear programs, every issue is designed to lay the foundation for the Mahdi's return." [ 12/22/05 ]
@ Bruce Schneier: The Security Threat of Unchecked Presidential Power. It's not partisan — Clinton made these noises, too — it's practical. A must-read. [ 12/22/05 ]
@ One World Living: A Solar Powered Home located in northern Ohio. "Using proper building orientation, carefully chosen building materials, energy conscious bulding techniques, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting, a homeowner can readily achieve, in northern Ohio and with largely Ohio-made products, zero net usage of grid electricity averaged over the year, while effectively utilizing the electrical grid in a way that contributes to load leveling. Owners installed a 4.3 kW grid-connected thin-film photovoltaic system that was incorporated into a new house to create a zero-energy home that also delivers enough electricity to power normal commuting with a battery operated electric truck." (via gw) [ 12/22/05 ]
@ A list of organic coffee producers. Fair Trade is more important to me, if it came down to choosing, but I find that most Fair Trade coffee is organic, so I can have it all. I buy my coffee in bulk at the co-op, and at $8.50/lb it's less expensive than Peets or Starbucks non-Fair Trade blends. [ 12/22/05 ]
- The Power Of Many, Christian Crumlish. This isn't a book about how technology works: it's a book about how the internet is changing how we do the things we do. Accessible, non-hyped, well-written. One of the very few books on the Internet that I think is worth reading. Highly recommended, especially for "non-technical" people who are interested in the Web.
- Local Flavors: Cooking And Eating From America's Farmers' Markets, Deborah Madison. I loved this book. Madison succeeds in inducing a sort of madness for farmer's markets. Between the recipes, which span the seasons and look absolutely luscious, and the loving descriptions of regional farmer's markets, you will want to find one in your own city and spend every weekend there. If you value sustainability, if you want to cook seasonally, or if you just want to eat good food, I recommend this book.
- Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey. I've been cooking out of this book at least once a week. Of the recipes I've tried so far, two were underwhelming and the rest were really good. Very wide variety. Watch the salt — I like a little less. Highly recommended.
- Eat, Drink, And Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide To Healthy Eating, Walter C. Willett. This book changed the way I think about food. Eating healthy isn't hard, in fact it's easier than popular media would lead you to believe. Some fats are good for you! Straightforward, science-based, simple-to-understand advice. Highly, highly recommended.
- Smart Couples Finish Rich, David Bach. A smart, straightforward, easy-to-implement program for creating wealth. Especially in conjuction with...
- 9 Steps To Financial Freedom, Suze Orman. I didn't expect to like this book, but I really, really did. I especially like her initial chapters dealing with the emotional aspects of money — her examples are apt and very respectful. I learned some things about myself here. The last three chapters on the spiritual aspects of money are much less successful. In spite of her approach, the middle section of this book contains more hard numbers and detailed explanations than any of the others I've read so far. If you don't like the touchy-feely approach, ignore it: this book will teach you how to think about money.
- The Knitter's Handbook, Montse Stanley. Probably the most comprehensive reference available. Highly recommended.
- The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver. A wonderful story, well-told. Important themes without being a downer. Just terrific. Highly recommended.
- Will In The World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt. I haven't quite finished it, but this is an enjoyable imagining of Shakespeare's life. I don't agree with all the conclusions Greenblatt draws — part of the fun is fitting together the evidence he presents and creating your own scenario. His scholarship is impressive and enlightening, but this is, entirely, almost pure speculation.
[ 12/22/05 ]
@ Merry Christmas! I'll be spending the next week celebrating the holidays with my family, so updates here will be light. [ 12/23/05 ]
@ In Indonesia, Muslims have joined police in guarding Christian churches from a repeat of the 2000 Christmas terrorist attacks. "We want to show we respect Christianity. Besides, we don't want to get blamed for any explosions." [ 12/23/05 ]
@ I was very moved by the Time Persons of the Year article on the history-changing philanthropic activity of Bill and Melinda Gates. "'When the history of global health is written,' says Dr. William Foege, a former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who now advises the foundation, 'the tipping point will be two people: Bill and Melinda Gates.'" Jesse recently linked to an article about the outrageous science research Gates is funding in his quest to save the world. [ 12/23/05 ]
@ New York painter Steve Mumford has been documenting the Iraqi War in pen and ink. His new book is called Baghdad Journal: An Artist in Occupied Iraq. "He showed a constructive effort running alongside the destructive element. [Mumford's art] embarrassed other politically oriented contemporary art.... The risk involved [in doing the drawings] was real. You don't see that very often." [ 12/23/05 ]
@ Chemical reactions from typical sewage treatment turns Tylenol, the most widely used pain reliever in the United States, into ll different products, two of them toxic. "The issue is what you should be looking for in the environment. When you are looking for the effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment, you need to ask what they're going to turn into." (via rw) [ 12/23/05 ]
@ Direct Democracy in California, intended to wrest control of state government from the railroads, has resulted in an unwieldy Constitution, and unaccountable ruling body, and a nearly unrevokable set of laws. [ 12/23/05 ]