I created a bookmarklet last night that I find very useful, so chances are some of you might as well. The idea is: you are reading a news article on the internet, and want to quickly and easily find other articles related to it. Generally I used to go to google news and try to come up with search terms to find the content that I want. With this bookmarklet, one click is all you need. (works on IE, MacIE, Safari, Firefox, Mozilla, and Opera probably others as well, I just haven't tried them)
To install, simply drag the link below to your Bookmarks/Links toolbar. (if you have the google toolbar installed, you probably won't be able to drag it, just bookmark it the old fashioned way - by rightclicking - and stick it where you can easily get to it)
Now, all you have to do is load up a news article, click on the 'Related Google News' bookmarklet. If that particular article is indexed by google news, then you will see all the related articles google knows about. If it isn't indexed, you won't get anything helpful. To get around this, I added another feature. If you are looking at the article you want to find more of, simply hilight the headline of the article and then push the 'Related Google News' bookmarklet. Search results for that headline will be returned rather than the specific article. This works rather well and I recommend you do that all the time.
Why is Bush selling F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, a country we imposed a weapons transfer ban on in 1989 due to a silly little matter invoving building nuclear bombs out of their uranium stockpiles?
According to an article on Slate, after the announcement was made Bush called up India to assure them that he would "take a well-disposed look at their weapons wish lists" to rectify any unfair advantage one side may have over the other. If Pakistan appears to have an advantage, we will sell more weapons to India to even the scales. Pakistan won't like being out armed, so they'll just order more.
This ought to make the executives at Lockheed Martin - who recently announced that they'd have to close their Fort Worth, Texas factory unless more orders are received before October - very, very happy.
The interesting bit is, these new F-16s are fully equipped for carrying atomic weapons. Bush has talked on and on about how this War on Terror is about halting the spread of "weapons of mass destruction" around the world. Why then are we giving Pakistan the ability to drop atomic bombs after they've already demonstrated that they have nuclear capabilites. We also know that India has nuclear-capable planes, and yet we are offering to sell them even more.
I don't ordinarily like posting things I saw on BoingBoing - their reader base is so broad that it seems like everyone would have already seen it - but this was just too great not to post.
World Beard and Moustache Championships
National Geographic reports on the annual World Beard and Moustache Championships that will take place this October in Berlin:
Another top contender is Jurgen Burkhardt (image left), a 48-year-old photographer from Leinfelden, near Stuttgart, who sports a curled mustache/muttonchop combo about the size of a boomerang.
Left unstyled, Burkhardt's mustache has a wingspan that stretches five feet (one and a half meters) from tip to tip.
The German washes his mustache three times before starting his 30-minute daily styling regime. Needless to say, hairspray factors heavily into its maintenance.
"A nice mustache, also beard, is the result of the perfect harmony of curves," Burkhardt wrote in a recent e-mail interview. "You must have good style with a good form and line."
Not one to sit idly by as Terri Schiavo hogs all the medical treatment related news coverage, The Pope has decided that he too needs a feeding tube. He must hope that he can regain the attention of the public eye without having to go through all the trouble of having the tube removed by force and the subsequent Presidential/Congressional enactment of a new law prohibiting its removal. I'm sure he's praying that it won't require Jessie Jackson's presence.
I have a suggestion for a way to help out both of these scientific studies. Teamwork. Yup, join the two projects together and you get double the stem cells by gathering nose tissue and nose hair at the same time.
Sure, a few researchers will be out of a job, but they can always find work studying other pointless crap.
Johnny Cochran has died. Now what other Great 'White' Hope does Terri Schiavo's family have looking out for the rights of America's most famous ill-treated patient? Well, with no time to spare, Rev. Jessie Jackson has decided to step in and take some action.
First off, here's a really great article on why the Conservatives are wrong regarding the case - written by a Conservative. Very well written, with some really great arguments.
Secondly, here's a link to Terri Schiavo's blog. Not as well written, but thats understandable...
Thirdly, an amusing/enlightening entry on craigslist (since removed) regarding the situation. (via Dan Gillmor)
I make the following statement in a sound state of mind and of my own volition:
If I am rendered comatose and determined to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for a period longer than one month and if no imminent cure is forthcoming, I do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means including but not limited to nourishment, hydration, etc.
If, due to the absurd political state of affairs in this country, my persistent vegetative state and impending unplugging can be parlayed into some sort of political leverage, I wholly endorse using my predicament in whatever way possible for the purposes of passing legislation favorable to my general political and ethical outlook. Here is a list of top-tier causes I support and will continue to support, both while in my PVS and after my eventual death.
* Debt Relief to Impoverished Nations: I will agree to stay in a PVS for an indeterminate amount of time if the United States aggressively pursues a policy of debt relief and debt forgiveness to developing and impoverished nations.
* Nuclear Disarmament and De-escalation: I will agree to stay in a PVS
for a open-ended period of time if the United States aggressively
pursues a policy of nuclear disarmament and de-escalation. By this I
mean desisting from developing new bellicose nuclear technologies and
providing significant non-military incentives for nations to avoid
Saturday night marked the debut of the latest of the SciFi Channel Original movies, entitled Alien Apocalypse.
One part Planet of the Apes, one part Wizard of Oz and a healthy dose of Battlefield Earth is the easiest way to describe it.
Bruce Campbell stars alongside a crew of expendable minorities who die in the first 5 minutes, about 50 different people in tattered clothes with bad facial hair and horrible overdubbing and a handfull of cheesy computer animated alien termites referred to as 'Mites. I assume the audio was completely shot because every line was overdubbed. Everyone that wasn't Bruce was seemingly dubbed by the same person - just slight variations of different "voices" and accents to throw off the viewer, Muppet style.
Read on for a full synopsis with lots of pictures.
Way back at the beginning of the popularization of P2P filesharing, I
had read a forum post saying how cool this "napster" thing is. I did a
little searching and found a command line napster client for linux that
was written in python or perl or something and fired it up.
I immediately decided that this "napster" thing was all it was cracked
up to be. The only problem was, there was aparantly a bug in the
download resuming code in my client. Every 1 out 10 downloads that
resumed from a previously disconnected user would contain chunks of a
Pearl Jam song that I can't recall the name of.
The first time it happened, I thought it was a strange random
occurance. Then it hapened again. And again. The same Pearl Jam song
each time. Whenever I saw this happen I would immediately delete the
file so no one else would download it from me. The problem was things
often downloaded when I wasn't there.
Eventually I switched to a much nicer client, but would occasionally run
into a song containing chunks of Pearl Jam that someone had downloaded
from me inadvertently and not deleted.
Not long ago, I hopped onto kazaa for the first time in years and came
across one of the Pearl Jam tainted songs. Total elapsed time had to be
about 4 years between my client Pearl Jam-ifying the song and then me
finding it on a completely different P2P network.
If you have been annoyed by these "remixes", I am very, very, sorry.
I recently heard on the radio that McDonalds is experimenting with using call centers in India to improve the efficiency of drive-through order taking. Technical logistics aside, the one burning question I had was, "How do the call center employees, who are in all likelihood Hindus, feel about selling beef?"
I imagined a typical trip through the drive through like this:
"Hello, wel-come to Mac-Donalds, may I takeyourorderplease?"
"uh, yeh, I'll have a Quarter-Pounder w/ Cheese, a Super-Size Fry and a Super-Size Coke."
"Ohhkay. That is one Fillet of Fish Sandwich, no cheese, one SuperSizefry and one SuperSizeCoke. $6.95 at the firstwindowplease."
"uh, I said Quarter-Pounder with cheese."
"Yes, one Fillet of Fish, no cheese. Nextwindowplease, comeagain."
After a tiny bit of googling I uncovered the truth. McDonalds is using a call center, but it is in North Dakota rather than India. As of now only McDonalds in Hermiston Oregon are doing this, but it may roll out to other McDonalds around the country in the future should it prove beneficial. People have been complaining that this outsourcing is hurting local jobs, but according to The Oregonian, no jobs have been lost. Ordinarily one worker takes orders and assembles them to hand off to the customer. Theoretically, the extra distraction that is taken away by having one person assemble the orders without having to talk to a different customer at the same time will cut down on the added cost/time of replacing incorrect items.
I imagine that at some point, this can be taken a step further - no people involved in the order taking at all. Maybe a simple weather-proof touch screen customers can press from their car window to place orders, or even voice recognition software. Anything's got to be better than those shitty sounding intercoms in use now.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Alarmed by reports of a rapid fall in tiger numbers, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has ordered a police investigation and created a new taskforce to save the endangered species.
Officials say tigers may have been wiped out entirely in the Sariska sanctuary in the desert state of Rajasthan -- where the Project Tiger conservation program began in 1973 and where there were as many as 16-18 big cats a year ago.
A century ago, there were an estimated 40,000 tigers in India. Now, some wildlife experts say there are barely 2,000 and the official government census about 3,700.
Exact figures are almost impossible because of the shy nature of the big cats. The government keeps no detailed records on poaching, most of which goes unreported anyway.
Neither Siegfried nor Roy were available for comment on the missing tigers.
It seems that pretty much every company out there is lying to customers in an attempt to get more business, you just cant escape it.
The latest one I've noticed is a group of companies who are traditionally known for their integrity in advertising. They tell people how wholesome the products are in a nice informative calm manner, not stooping to tactics such as putting toys in boxes and advertising during cartoons - something that would drive sales not based on the quality/healthiness of the product, but on how cool it looks to the people that pester their moms into buying things for them. Oh, who am I kidding, I am talking about the cereal companies, and thats exactly the kind of crap they've been pulling since, well, forever.
In case you haven't noticed, the latest craze is "low carb" everything. As sugar is a carb, it is inherently bad. Now, the cereal companies have started putting out "Reduced Sugar" versions of all the sweet cereals that are popular with kids in an effort to win over their carb-concious parents. What they don't tell you however, is that they've substituted the sugar for other kinds of carbs that have exactly the same amount of calories, carbs, and fat as the normal versions. What's more - they're even charging you more now.