Heard on the Radio

If you hadn't heard, Anonymous has declared war against the Church of Scientology. You can watch the declaration of war on Youtube, here. Well, the War Against Scientology just got serious today. They discussed it on NPR's All Things Considered this afternoon. And it wasn't a joke. It's official.

[Also, if you're in or plan on being in London in early February, you might want to check this out.]

And for the second time, I heard an radio announcer say "environmental correctness."

NO. Just NO. Stop it. Stop it right now.


Never Trust a Rogue Trader

I just noticed the nomenclature phraseology used to describe the perpetrator of the French bank scandal.

It looks like the Adeptus Arbites have stepped up their investigation. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before an Inquisitor is called in.


To Clarify, Add Detail

Edward Tufte reviews how the iPhone adheres to his ideas on interface design. The review is a rather large video; even if you don't watch it, the accompanying text is worth the read.

This quote from the end of the video stands out:
To clarify, add detail. And clutter and overload are not an attribute of information, they are failures of design. If the information is in chaos, don't start throwing out information, instead fix the design.

[via kottke]


Do Not Laugh

I've been watching clips and episodes of the Do Not Laugh batsu games on YouTube all evening. I can't stop watching and I can't stop laughing. YouTube user Morizaemon has a ton subtitled clips, including playlists for the complete Yugawara and High School episodes.


Ricky's Rock Show Recommendations, Vol. 6.1

It's been a while since I've done one of these. This show will be too good to miss.

Friday January 18
Cameron Mcgill, David Moore, Everything, NOW!, and Grandpall Jookabox
Presented by My Old Kentucky Blog
Radio Radio @ 9 pm $5

Check out the artist descriptions on Radio Radio's calendar page. Brave the cold weather and head on down to Fountain Square.

[Thanks to Richard for bringing this to my attention]



A few days ago I ran across the Goblin Defense Fund, . Yep, goblins are the Jews of D&D Fascism[see here].There's a comprehensive treatise on the history of goblin discrimination throughout the D&D franchise.

That page lead me to Goblins Comic, a web comic I'm glad to have found. It has a Order of the Stick feel, completely self aware of the underlying rule system that governs the comic's universe. Although with less comedy and more drama to the story. Recommended if the genre is your thing.

[GDF, h/t Jeff Rients]


(P) Potter Project

As of yet, I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books. But that is about to change! I've decided to read them, and make a game of it. And you can help!

Last year just before the seventh book came out, I had the idea of quickly reading them all in a row in time for the release. At that time, I would have had six weeks to read the first six of the series. If I had started.

This time around I'm giving myself until the end of February. For those without a calendar, that's roughly seven weeks hence. Which, not coincidentally, is just after my birthday. I would like to finish by then, but I'm leaving myself a safety window by going until the end of the month. In the coming days, look for a counter widget in the sidebar that will keep track of my progress.

And how can you, dear reader, help with this project? Well, unlike the other 98% of the reading public, I don't actually have any of the books. And in the spirit of cheapness Web 2.o participatory art, I thought it would be interesting if I could receive the helping hand of seven different people to complete this project. Doesn't that sound wonderful!

I already have one willing participant ready to loan the first book in the series. I just need six more volunteers. I know every one out there has the books I'll need. If you have one of them, and would be willing to participate, please leave me a note in the comments or send me an email. This project, like NPR, can only happen with the help of viewers like you.

Let the (Participatory) Potter Project begins!


Scrapping Pariah

Kottke linked to this story in the L.A. Times, about the big scandal that rocked the scrapbooking world last year. Yes, you read that correctly. The gist is that the star of the recent avant-garde wave of scrappers(!), won a magazine contest which put her in the Hall of Fame. ["Really, Hall of Fame?" you say. This is an industry worth $2.6 billion. You read that correctly too.] The problem? She used a picture taken by a friend. And that violates the rules so hard.

This slip up created a shit storm, the requisite hurricane of internet drama, and even the threats of canceling magazine subscriptions! You can imagine. Eventually the decision was made to disbar her from the magazine's Hall of Fame. That's right, Pete Rose style. (Though for some reason, the scrappers metaphorize* it to baseball via performance enhancing drugs, ala Barry Bonds. *{verbed!})

I'm hesitant to admit which paragraph was my favorite. But this is just too delicious:
One person condemned Contes' lack of shame, admitting that she, too, had entered a contest once, and later realized she had broken the rules. "For about 10 minutes I kept thinking 'Don't worry about it, nobody's gonna know,' " she wrote. "But then I thought 'You and GOD are going to know.' " She withdrew from the contest so her children would still be able to look her in the eye, and then "proceeded to cry for about 3 days."

I'm sorry. This person probably put her heart and soul into her artwork, and came this close! I know it's cruel. I should be a better person.

I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard... not to laugh.


Label Confusion

I was taking a closer look at the tag on one of my bath towels(I'm weird that way). It includes the usual washing instructions and design/brand logo. And then there is a URL for the store, JCPenney. Not unusual in this day and age, except for the formating it is sewn into the label with.
Unfortunately I'm not able to post a photo at the moment, you'll have to take my word for it.

Why is it written this way? Were the pipes supposed to be slashes? Was this an error in the label sewing machine? Even if it was, I'm baffled as to why it's printed this way. Why not just put JCPenny.com on there? Maybe they just want to inform people unfamiliar with the internet that you can shop and buy items from JCPenny online? If so, it's still confusing as all get out.

Just replacing the pipes with slashes doesn't take you anywhere. If you take out the pipes and replace them with periods, the address resolves to a parked domain. If you replace the first two pipes with slashes, and remove the last pipe and the first period, then the address resolves to the JCPenny store locator page.

Weird. And mysterious?


Of Scum and Villainy

I've sent this link to friends via IM, and shared it in Google Reader, but it is just too good to not to post here too: The Star Wars Guide to the Candidates. A taste:

Obi-ron Paul-obi
Obi-ron Paul-obi
While his anti-Empire foreign policy excites the Rebel Alliance, it's pretty much a Jedi mind trick. He's still a crazy old guy living in the desert.

[via Neatorama]


I Wonder If They'll Have a Web-ministrator*?

Twice a day, as I listen to Morning Edition and All Things Considered, I have to suffer through the aural atrocity that is Inside Indiana Business Press Release Radio. It's bad enough that the "reporting" is just that, a small highlight complied from the monumental compendium of press releases that IS their content. But then all of the announcers read the copy in an exaggerated, over pronounced version of the news speech I mentioned here. The host, Gary Dick, is the worst. Each and every time he acknowledges another announcer, he somehow manages to add an extra syllable to the "you" in "thank you." WTF? It drives me insane, and most days I end up muting the sound before the segment is over.

During yesterday evening's broadcast, I heard one humdinger of an announcement:

click to learn All About the Webinar!

If you want to learn the "Top 10 Blogging Trends for 2008," you won't want to miss this! According to company co-founder Chris Baggott:

This webinar is the perfect opportunity for organizations to get expert advice, ask questions, and take a big step towards an effective blogging program.

I think I know of a couple of people that might want to register. Hurry! Only 100 spots are available.

*A word I have seen more than once in my employer's corporate IT literature.


The Sound of Silence

I normally listen to one of several podcasts on my old 3rd generation iPod during my commute to and from work. Not today however. When I drilled down to the podcast menu, there wasn't anything there. In fact it didn't list any music, artist, or playlist in any menu. Even though the about page said that the hard drive was almost full of data. Data that had mysteriously become non-audio.

So the back and forth to work today was in silence. (The radio has a blown fuse that is accessed underneath the engine compartment cover, and I'm too lazy to change it.) I tried syncing it with iTunes- the recommendation is a factory reset, as I expected. Hopefully this fixes the problem of it not working.

Unfortunately, it will not fix the problem of riding around with nothing to listen to. As anyone that has experienced it will know, a factory reset is completed by plugging the player in to the wall charger. Which I conveniently leave at work, so that if need be, I can charge it there, whilst using the USB cable to charge it at home. Brilliant planning.



Maggie brought home a One Laptop Per Child XO. I've only played around with it for a few minutes so far. Evidentally I'll have access to it for quite some time while she works on the OLPC project she's doing. After I spend some more time using it, I'll throw up a review. Until then, I can say right now that it is one damn spiffy machine.


Random Cover Art

Jason just posted a meme at his place. It looked like a fun one, here's what I came up with. First the rules, for those that want to play at home:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. Lucked out and got a photo that was licensed for remixing.

You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.

Random Band Album Cover:

[click image to enbiggen]

Band name: Ayame Ikehata. A "mature adult actress," aka Japanese porn star.

Album name: “Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” - Friedrich Nietzche. Pretty nifty name for a band.

Album image: Talent, by Ari Bakker Excellent photo that deserves to be on a real cover.

If I didn't get a band name that's the equivalent of Marilyn Chambers, I think this would be a pretty cool cover. I wish I had some Photoshop/GIMP skills to make it look better. I would have placed the name and title running along the beams, in a style that fit in with the rest of the graffiti.


New and Industrialized!

I have to echo the reaction at Cogitamus upon seeing that a British company is touting a revolutionary product for the food industry: Bread Bowls. From the article:
For those who can't stand the washing up, help is at hand with one of the strangest culinary inventions in years - the bread bowl.

What? I've been eating stews out of bread bowls for years. This isn't an invention, this is a refinement. It's like saying that Ford invented the automobile. Which is an apt analogy, seeing how the company marketing this has innovated the concept.
[...]the firm has developed an industrial oven that is able to bake the inside of the bowl at the same time as the outside, giving it a "double crust".

I will give the company props for that. Now I won't have to worry about my eateries using some sort of locally made artisan bread to contain my stew-like dishes. Monoculture FTW!


Don't Fool Yourself

David Lynch just wants the best for you:

As much as I've enjoyed the portable video (movement? revolution?), I agree.

[via kottke]


Showers, Long and Short

From the NY Time's list of 2007's buzzwords:
Navy shower n.

A very short shower in which you turn off the water while lathering up. This old term is also known as a G.I. bath, but it’s new to many in the drought-stricken Southeast. Its antonym is the Hollywood shower, a long, wasteful one.

This is something I used to do growing up, when I lived at my grandmother's house. Not because there was a drought, but because she was always paranoid that the well would run dry or the pump would burn out. Even after digging a deeper well, and installing a new pump, she maintains the practice.

When my mother and I finally moved into our own place, I took much pleasure in long showers. Lately I've been thinking of re-instating the practice.


Nope, No Geeks Here

What's the first thing you notice about this photo of Paris Hilton I found on The Superficial? [Ed: A post about Paris Hilton-with a photo no less? And Superficial? Really?] If you answered Paris's mobile, join the club.


So That's Why!

John Hockenberry has written an insightful article about his experiences working for NBC's Dateline. It is explores one of the reasons why broadcast news is so horrible these days. While everyone should read the entire article, I want highlight one passage in particular:
On the other hand, the coveted emotional center was reliable, it was predictable, and its story lines could be duplicated over and over. It reassured the audience by telling it what it already knew rather than challenging it to learn. This explains why TV news voices all use similar cadences, why all anchors seem to sound alike, why reporters in the field all use the identical tone of urgency no matter whether the story is about the devastating aftermath of an earthquake or someone's lost kitty.
If this is true, if this is an explanaition for why newspeople talk the way they do, it makes me hate it even more. I can't stand to watch most news broadcasts for the speach patterns alone.