Wednesday, March 28, 2007

HuffPo links to MetsBlog?

I've been very busy, thus not going through the Google Reader, and not posting.

Catching up today, I found this odd - a MetsBlog blurb mentioning they had been linked to by The Huffington Post. In my (roughly) year of being an intense feed subscriber, that may be the oddest juxtaposition ever. So what could possibly be on MetsBlog that would be newsworthy to HuffPo?
In the last few days, I have been sent several e-mails complaining about the Rudy Giuliani advertisement that frequently appears on via Pajamas Media (PJM).

For what it’s worth, I do not purchase the ads. I rent all graphical ad space to PJM, who, in turn, sell it to whomever they choose, be it Sony, Rudy, Target, or another company, candidate or interested party. Therefore, you can refrain from harassing me via e-mail, or in the comments section, since I did not recruit, sell or post the ad myself. Also, if you have a problem with Giuliani's past policies, I suggest you e-mail him, or his campaign, since there is not a whole lot I can do about what he once did, or did not do, while serving the people of New York.

The HuffPo post, which just copies the above text, used a title which is flat-out wrong. The ad was not removed by Matthew Cerrone. But he did ask Pajamas Media to remove ALL campaign ads (not just the Giuliani one).

I don't see any political ads there right now. Hopefully, Pajamas Media complied. It would be great to be get my updates on Lastings Milledge without worrying about the political ramifications.

Note: He hurt his hand! May cost him the roster spot he deserves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kakuro Love

Today brings a treat for puzzle geeks - the Times has a profile of the "Godfather of Sudoku," Maki Kaji. His company, Nikoli, is the worlds preeminent publisher of puzzles, of which Sudoku is the most popular.

A lot of the article is spent on discussions of other puzzles though, and Kakuro is mentioned a couple times. Which is cool for me to read, only because I am really into Kakuro, much to the chagrin of KS. You can try it out, the Times provided a few 'new' puzzle variants you can try. Let's just say, I DOMINATED Will Shortz's time (I didn't time myself, but I easily did it under a minute).

Do I think Kakuro is going to take off? Not even a little bit. There's a steeper learning curve, as one has to memorize unique sums, and it's just not as elegant as Sudoku. I like it because it has more constraints than Sudoku, and that makes for a few more things to juggle around in your head. Also, the Google Trends graph for the two doesn't look good for Kakuro.

Anyway, Nikoli lets users submit puzzles, and readers' comments guide the creation of further puzzles, which is cool. So more puzzles from Japan are coming, even if they're not as big as Sudoku. Awesome.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BumpTop Desktop

Updated - see below

On a rare visit from Jacky last summer, he was telling some of us about a program one of his colleagues (they're graphics PhDs at the University of Toronto) was creating, that was a physical interface for GUI desktop management. Basically, instead of having a computer desktop filled with icons, you can interact with files and icons like physical pieces of paper, and piles of paper.

Fast forward roughly a year, and David Pogue blogged about seeing BumpTop at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design, or TED, conference. Which is what Jacky was talking about (I'll probably update this with word from him). They have a video on YouTube, included below.

It seems really cool, but Pogue's (and other commenters') issue is that this may not be all that practical. But it is really novel - I can see why Jacky was into it, and would bring it up. In Pogue's post it also states that at the TED conference, BumpTop was demoed using a laptop, not the tablet interface shown in the video.

Update: Got word from Jacky, with a couple of interesting notes. I'd missed the best video, the Hip-Hop BumpTop video ("There's physics on this desktop, it's 2 1/2 D..."). He also mentioned the BumpTop website, which I forgot to link to in the first run. That's the kind of shoddy blogging you get when you blog at work.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Everything Reminds Me Of Somethinig

A couple of years ago, I went to Jake's birthday party, hosted at his "backyard" (hey, for NYC, it counts). Late in the night, we were loud, and a neighbor woman from the adjacent brownstone threw water on us, from maybe 2 floors higher.

Fast forward a couple of years, I see this. There is nothing new under the sun.

What's the best part? It's a toss up between the "I didn't do it" T-shirt, and the blatant racism.

The vid has been making blog load slow. Click over to Glumbert to see it.

Lost Writers Read Buzzfeed Too

Locke throws the dude between two poles, and he gets microwaved or something. Meanwhile, I'm' thinking, "wait, this seems familiar..."

What happened to Mikhail when he hit that fence looked like a combination of the Vomit Beam meets the Active Denial System

The Vomit Beam doesn't really need explanation. What's the Active Denial System? Also known as the Goodbye Weapon, I think the Gizmodo headline says it best -

"Nonlethal Gun Makes You Wish You Were Shot with BFG"

Buffett Hating

Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon just a hair from being the world's richest man, scoffed yesterday at Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for "playing Santa Claus" to cure poverty's ills.

Slim climbed on his meanie soapbox just days after his $49 billion fortune was ranked by Forbes as the third-richest behind that No. 1 Gates and No. 2 Buffett - only a few billion shy from eclipsing them both.

"Poverty isn't solved with donations," he said at the unveiling of his own health care initiative. Slim continued that building good businesses do [sic] more for society than "going around like Santa Claus."

It's so odd to hear anything but reverence for Warren Buffett. This guy is keeping it real - real crazy capitalist. Hating a guy after he's made billions from investing in business growth, for using those billions towards providing health care, water, hospitals and schools? From everyone's favorite paper, The New York Post. If the Post is calling you a "meanie," you must be a HUGE asshole. And doesn't Carlos Slim sound like the nickname Bush would have given him anyway? I'm guessing he loves Bush.

(h/t to DealBreaker. That means hat tip. Took me a sec to figure it out first time I saw it.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ricky Gervais, Steve Carell, George Bush

The (Oval) Office, made by SuperNews for Current TV.

BTW, I really like the American version of The Office, probably (gasp) more than the British. But the best single scene ever belongs to David Brent, when he breaks out the guitar in the middle of a training session. I cried when I first saw this.

The Paranoid Style

Quoth Richard Hofstadter, in The Paranoid Style in American Politics - 43 years ago -
The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. . . .

As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.

Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated -- if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid's sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

Glenn Greenwald does a great job of connecting this to both Cheney, and Osama bin Laden. It's been great lunchtime reading. I Just added him to my Google Reader. I hope he isn't as prolific a writer as Andrew Leonard - I only have so many hours in a day.
As always, it is the warped, delusional and paranoid rhetoric of Osama bin Laden which shapes our foreign policy and molds (and mirrors) the thinking of our highest government officials. Osama bin Laden, from the remote Pakistani cave in which we are told he is forced to hide, has proclaimed an apocalyptic theological battle, and therefore, that is how we must approach the world. After all, Bin Laden says so, and -- as always -- he's right.

Perhaps most amazingly, Cheney continues to pay lip service to this notion: "The war on terror is more than a contest of arms and more than a test of will, it is also a battle of ideas. We know now to a certainty that when people across the Middle East are denied freedom, that is a direct strategic concern of all free nations."

But no rational person can dispute that we are losing that "front" of the "war" as completely as is possible.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Terrorist Surfer!!

Run from the beaches!! Rumsfeld was right!!

The article refers to an internet surfer. BORING.

MBA for Econonic Growth

What’s missing is the sort of method that would permit economists to test the possibility with which Iain Cockburn, of Boston University, only half in jest, closed the NBER meeting last week: that superior American productivity of recent years owes to the vast numbers of MBAs and lawyers churned out annually by the nation’s professional schools.

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that the US trains far too few scientists and engineers. But you could take the view, said Cockburn, that having a lot of very talented people thinking about the issues in a serious and systematic way was a key to superior performance. It just wouldn’t be easy to find a persuasive way to test the proposition.

I'm planning on getting my MBA, so my antennae are sensitive to MBAs being mentioned. From David Warsh's online weekly Economic Principals. He's the guy who wrote my favorite book of the last few years, Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations.

Frustrated and Pragmatic? or Psycho and Enabling?

I think the former. Tina Johnson, a Marine mother, approaches Congressman David Obey (D-WI), who supports Pelosi's current bill - which Bush will veto anyway.

While the Congressman behaves like an ass, I feel for him. My take is he's frustrated, and trying to do what he can. The guy who claims he submitted the vid to the media, makes some good points, among them:

If you don't have the votes for a war bill, Congressman Obey, you should rewrite the bill. Now, there are two ways to do that. One is to please the Republicans by taking out all the constitutionally questionable benchmark / timetable nonsense that Bush will ignore anyway. The other is to please the progressive Democrats and the American public and write a serious bill that includes Congresswoman Barbara Lee's amendment requiring that all funding go to a withdrawal to be completed by the end of the year.

I hope one of my two friends who will read this will disagree with my sympathy for Obey, and will explain it to me (I'm looking at you Jake...)

Thanks to Video Dog.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Exclusive Matching Technology

These two screenshots are from emails from I get search results emailed to me daily.

In the first one, the top part is my search results. CareerBuilder has added on jobs that its "exclusive matching technology" believes are similar.

So it's matching technology thinks that "Part Time Cafeteria Clerk" and "Personal Trainer- Fitness" are similar to "Qt. Research Analyst-Alternative Investments" and "Account Executive - Fiancial Mkts - $150K+ Total Pkg."

In the second, smaller screenshot, you see a position is open for an "Analyst - Entry Level & Experienced." Talk about a tough job to get at an entry level! The listing is actually inquiring to fill analyst positions, ranging from entry level to experienced.

Job searching is much worse than online dating. MUCH worse. And I think online dating is really miserable.

"300" As...

...As Supporting the Bush Doctrine -

Western Civilization is on the verge of attack, and we must hold strong to our principles, and not let the effeminate, weakling Persians subdue us.

...As A Critique Of The Bush Doctrine -

The commander of the largest army in the world, tries to invade a foreign land, to subdue it. The idealistic, heroic, few stand strong against the tyranny, and gain the moral victory.

...As A Promotion For Animal Cruelty -

Pushing elephants off a cliff!?!

...As NRA Promotion -

The Persians are coming!! Isn't Molon labe Charlton Heston-esque?

...As Iranian Discrimination - Link

For sure we see a lot of political motivation and ignorace from Hollywood esp WB company in making movies like this. I wonder who is behind all these false made up movies which is mostly distorts the truth about Iranians. Iranian community are not really proud of their Islamic government, but they are one of the most nationalistic nation, who honors their past,esp pre-Islamic periods. We all accept the fact that Persian lost two wars to Greeks, we are completely cool with it, no problem, but the way Warner Bros shows Iranian in this very unhumanistic, savage, benladin looking and incompetent is outrageous. I ask all the Greeks or Greek-American how do you feel if they show
Your heros the same way they portray Iranians. Just imagine WB make another movie and Michal Jackson with even more fricky make ups and turkish language plays the role of Alexander? What do you really feel?

The next comment on that thread -
They had Colin Farrel play him it was almost as bad

...As Hot -

You'd think if you've seen enough movies, you've seen one where everyone is buff. Wrong.

...As The Male Cosmo Magazine-

I seriously thought I should kill myself for not being super buff. I'd never felt so flabby.

...As A Mirror -

No, seriously. I am brave in the face of near-certain death by cab driver everyday.

...As A Bit Of Joy -

Good to see McNulty.

...As A Violent Action Flick -

We all know how these work, right? Overacted cliches, but if you know this going in, maybe you can just say "Wow, it looks pretty fucking cool."

...As Memorable - Link
Go tell the Spartans that their sacrifice was not in vain; their long day's fight under the cooling shade of a million falling arrows safeguarded the West and guaranteed, all these years later, the right of idiots to make rotten movies about them.

...As Incitement To War - Link

If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war.

...As Commentary On The Post-9/11 World -


Update: Ahmadinejad took the bait. Was the graphic novel also a conspiracy between US "cultural authorities" and Frank Miller?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Dm! Dm! Dm! Dm! Dm! You Hear It Here First.

Google Reader - you provide me with so much information. Google News - you keep me up to date when I'm lazy.

But seriously, the main article you link to for news about the Dem's plan to pull out of Iraq is from MTV News? Come on...

The pic was the RSS feed from 'Google News - Popular' stories, in Google Reader.

GM Crops Scare Everyone

Buck Uranus, chief astronomer for the William H Carpenter Foundation in Nevada, believes the extraterrestrials are refusing to create crop circles in GM maize, wheat and other cereals because of fears of possible side-effects.

The scientist has conducted a major survey of crop circles created over the past five years and says he has not found a single example left in fields containing GM crops.

"In my spare time, I channel messages from alien beings," said Uranus, "and from what I've been hearing, these guys have got some serious reservations about what we're doing down here. One of them told me he's even thinking of using another planet for his artwork."

Thanks to the World Inquisitor for breaking this story. I don't know why it never occurred to me to look up sensationalist tabloid content online. The dude's name is Buck Uranus! Hat tip to Salon's HTWW. No, I didn't almost believe this. Pic by neo_der_stuntman

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Follow Up: From the Donald Rumsfeld Flickr Account

This post is following up on the update from here. Following is a quote from Rummy (Could this really be his account?):

I asked the Pentragon artisits to make me up some "mood boards" of what a possible skirmish might look like if we encountered enemy whilst deploying special forces from our proposed Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS - a combatant submersible developed for clandestine insertion and extraction of Special Operations Forces) and this is what they came up with. We are the good guys in Orange. The al-Qaeda terror network are the evil ones in black.

The evil ones in black! Good stuff. Is their underwater motorized propeller a sign that al-Qaeda has more evolved underwater technology? Or are we just vastly superior swimmers? This is very troubling. Also, I think the amorphous yellow blob on the left is a chemical weapon exploding, as it is distinctly different from the amorphous yellow blob on the right, which looks like an explosion. Have to upgrade this to VERY troubling.

This shows some interesting foresight on his part. Prepared for everything. I HIGHLY recommend poking around the account, some great pics. This might be good for several posts. Who the hell is Kiki D?

Update: Fine - so the subtlety wears off quickly on the Flickr stream, and I'm stupid for half-believing it was possible. Great for a while, then the stream degenerates into stupidity. Oh well. Of course, too good to be true. They should have kept it subtle, so the casual viewer (like myself) could buy into it for a while.

Newt Gingrich reviews Schumer's book. Positively.

Via Freakonomics - Newt Gingrich reviews many books on His review of Schumer's new book, Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time, on, is really interesting. Here's part of it:

I am surprised to be recommending Senator Chuck Schumer's Positively American and yet it is a very powerful and effective book.

Schumer is a liberal and very positive Democrat but he is also very smart and has some profound insights into contemporary American thinking.

For any Republican who would like to understand what happened in 2006, the Schumer explanation is compelling and sobering. He and Rahm Emmanuel have understood that a hard left Democratic Party will never be a majority. They were prepared to recruit candidates who were electable and to accept that those candidates would infuriate their more liberal wing. They saw a center-left majority as preferable to a happy leftwing minority. It is a formidable warning about how they will run 2008 and beyond.

Makes me want to buy it.

Update: Comments for that post on Freakonomics has a link to Donald Rumsfeld's Flickr account,

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Conservatives Make Everyone Awkward

A few years ago, one of my coworkers, when describing Ann Coulter, said "she deserves to be gang-raped." I had no idea who she was at the time - this was like 2001, and I didn't even know punditry was an industry yet (SO naive) - but it struck me as way over the top harsh.

But he was on to how crazy she is. Way before I heard other people hating her.

In this clip, she calls John Edwards a faggot. The crowd reaction is awesome though. You can hear the nervous approval while scared to publicly approve of the way she spoke crowd, mixed with the rest of the crowd, in stunned silence.

Note to people in that crowd: that moment of nervousness, where you look at the person next to you, to see if it's OK to laugh - that's not you overcoming your fear, and taking a brave stand against political correctness. In that moment, you are overriding your conscience, which knows such hate-mongering is wrong, but going along with it.

In the second clip, Glen Beck makes an ass of himself. Great silence ensues. AWKWARD!!!