I've mentioned before that I've been experimenting with listening to many different podcasts, and want to throw out a quick little update. I have now spurned radio in favor of downloadable audio completely. I was initially worried about filling up a 10 hour day with quality content, but have found that this has not been an issue at all. There is so much quality content out there, I don't have enough hours of the day to listen to it all.
I heard a really cool story the other day while listening to ABC Australia's fine program entitled The Science Show, and figured I'd share it in case anyone is interested. The story basically concerns "The Lancelot Code", which is kind of like The DaVinci Code, except for one major difference: The Lancelot Code is actually real and not a load of dingo's kidneys, handcrafted by a thief hack to stay at the top of a best seller list. Basically, the story contains the modern discovery of heretical mathematical concepts encoded into a King Arthur manuscript during The Crusades.
I've gone ahead and chopped down the show into one 16 minute segment that I highly recommend listening to, as it is both fascinating, and an example of why non-US radio is way better than US radio.
The other day I mentioned the "Religious Right", and figured it deserved some clarification. As it is entirely possible that I am using this term differently than the rest of the planet, please allow me to explain my usage.
I don't have any problem with either the Religious or the Right, the problem lies in the 2 distinct -- yet similar -- groups of people who use one of those adjectives to further the agendas of the other.
Example one: the Republican Party falls firmly within the Right group. They play up the Religious side to get people who fall in the Religious group to vote for them. This is clearly evidenced by the huge amount of focus given to the topic of abortion -- a topic that really should have nothing to do with a presidency -- by the Republicans, thus ensuring that everyone against abortion know who they have to vote for. They have just used religion to further their political ideals.
Example two: James Dobson falls firmly within the Religious category. He routinely uses politics as the basis of his speaking out, thereby telling the Religious voters which Right candidates to vote for, thus "getting his way." He doesn't like something, so he does something about it by getting all the other people who don't like it -- in many cases because he himself said they shouldn't -- to vote for the guy who doesn't like whatever that thing is -- whether or not he has anything to do with that thing. He has now used politics to further his religious ideals.
It now occurs to me that this process is actually circular; if there were only one of these groups, very little would ever get done. Boy wouldn't that be nice.
Which one of these groups should we be working to get rid of in order to bring about the utopia I accidentally thought of?
So by now I'm sure that everyone knows that Rosa Parks passed away. She was a pretty amazing woman.
Now, I don't want to belittle all that she did to make this country a better place, but I think it would have been hilarious had she died in a bus crash -- a crash where only the people in the front were killed.
Know how the religious right are championing March of the Penguins as an example of God's plan for how we should live our lives, and everything from proof of Intelligent Design to the Right to Life? Well, the director of the film is tired of his work being used as propaganda, and has released the following statement:
"If you want an example of monogamy, penguins are not a good choice. The divorce rate in emperor penguins is 80 to 90 per cent each year," he said. "After they see [that] the chick is OK, most of them divorce. They change every year."
Also, I'd like to point out that having seen the film, I really don't think people should be using the plight of the penguin as an illustration for Intelligent Design. Walking 30 miles to nest, carrying eggs on your feet for months at a time, walking another 30 miles for food, huddling up in a stationary mass for weeks on end to not freeze to death, holding a chick on your feet for weeks at a time while the mother walks 30 miles and back for food, only being able to recognize your chick by voice. Sounds like the opposite of intelligent to me.
On Friday D and I found ourselves facing horrible traffic. We opted to jump off the freeway and go see a movie, thinking that we would undoubtedly get home at the same time, we just wouldn't have to sit looking at bumpers for 2 hours in the meantime.
Sadly, the only thing playing near the time we arrived at the theater was <i>DOOM</i>. I didn't know much about this movie other than the fact that The Rock was in it, but was pleasantly surprised to see that it was actually rated R. As one who is increasingly disgusted with the PG-13ification of horror movies, this perked up my mood a little bit.
Unfortunately, this movie isn't terribly good. It may have been a lousy movie, but I think it would make an <i>excellent</i> videogame.... I would not be surprised at all to see them whoring out and releasing a DOOM videogame in the near future....
If your viewing choices are limited to amusing bumper stickers on the freeway, or DOOM in the theater, I would suggest DOOM. Otherwise, stay away from it.
About 2 months ago, I learned about a project being worked on to add social networking support into Firefox. Things such as del.icio.us and flickr integration, built in support for blogging and such were to be added natively, not just using extensions. As a Firefox user who uses del.icio.us, flickr, <i>and</i> blogs, I found this to be extremely enticing. There was one problem though; they were only doing a closed beta. They did have an 'announce' mailing list, so I figured "what the heck" and signed up.
Thursday afternoon I got an email including a username and password to download a copy of Flock to play with before they opened the flood gates to the masses, but it is now available to everyone from http://www.flock.com/developer/. It is still buggy in places, but stable enough to play with and see what all it has going for it. There are Windows, Mac and Linux builds available for download.
My favorite feature is the <a href="http://del.icio.us/">del.icio.us</a> integration. If you are unfamiliar with del.icio.us, it is essentially a service that allows you tag and store bookmarks online, allowing you to access them from anywhere. Also, you can see what other people have tagged giving you kind of a 'related sites' type thing to find new content. Flock actually uses del.icio.us as its built-in bookmak/favorites system, and includes a really slick 'favorites manager' to edit your bookmarks from within the browser. This is is really nice because editing your del.icio.us bookmarks is a bit cumbersome otherwise. In case this isn't already obvious, this allows you to run Flock in more than one place while having identical bookmarks in each location; add a bookmark from work, it will be there at home as well. Genious.
Another really handy feature is that every site you view gets indexed by a built-in search engine. If while typing a search query in the little built-in search box (that you can set for any earch engine you want) Flock finds pages in your history that match the query, a menu will pop up returning results from Flock's built-in database of previously viewed pages. If none of those are relevant, you just hit enter like normal and your search query will be passed to the search engine of your choosing. Gone are the days of struggling in vain to find that page you once viewed.
Another neat feature is the built-in RSS support. If you bookmark a site that has an RSS feed, that feed will be automatically loaded at constant intervals. From within your 'favorites manager' you can simply click the 'Feeds' button and a page showing all the recent entries from any of the rss feeds within it will load. I don't see myself using this, as I already use the excellent Bloglines online RSS reader, but I can see it being handy for people who don't have many feeds to read.
If you use Flickr, the built in Flickr bar is pretty handy. You can specify a username and it will return the most recent bunch of photos which you can then scroll through.
The built-in blogging support is pretty slick as well. There is a button in the toolbar which you can click to post content to pretty much any blog in existence. The first time you do this, a wizard will ask you the url for your blog, and it will most likely be able to configure ittself for you. Once you specify username and password, it will pop up a window that you can compose your blog entry in, even allowing you to drag and drop things into it. If you've got your Flickr Photos bar open, just drag a picture from that right into your blog. Click submit, and your blog post is published. (I'm currently composing this entry from Flock.)
All in all, I am very impressed with this browser. I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't yet know what Firefox extensions I have installed in Firefox, or even any of the plugins, but I'm sure that will eventually work. To see more of the neat things you can do with Flock, check out http://www.flock.com/fiveways/togetstarted/13.php.
After spending 5 years of my childhood in southeast Alaska, I have a fond place in my heart for adorable and playful Killer Whales Orcas. These majestic creatures are slowly dwindling in number in the wild, while increasing in number in captivity. I find this fact very saddening. The problem I have with keeping them in captivity isn't the one you'd expect: as I happen to know that they enjoy living in shiny, blue bottomed habitats, being ogled all day by tourists, and being forced to do tricks for food, the only real problem I have is with the constant feeding of baby seal pups to them. Baby seal pups are high in both fat (blubber) and protein -- too high in fact to be part of a healthy diet for a captive Orca.
Not one to simply sit around and bitch about what's wrong with the world, I've decided to take action. It is with our captive Orca's best interests in mind that I have created a new dietary staple to help sustain the healthy body our majestic performers absolutely must have. Say hello to SvealTM (picture at right).
Sveal uses techniques long used in the beef industry to ensure that meat is both tender and lean. The basis of the process is restriction of movement; our Sveal pups are unable to move more than an inch at a time, thus negating their bodies natural tendency to build muscle. As they are unable to swim after prey, they will be forced to gain sustenance only from whatever fishes happen to swim into their net -- less calories = less blubber.
I hope that with time, SvealTM will allow our dancing wonder fish mammals to live the long healthy lives that they deserve.
I read quite a few books, most of which I purchase used, but some new. To me it is a huge hassle to sell them again once I am done reading them, so I constantly have a large pile of books sitting around gathering dust. I'm going to start a weekly "drawing" giveaway, where I will post a small review and a picture of the book, and you will leave comment with a valid email address if you want it. Next sunday I will perform a "random drawing" from all the people who said they want it, and I will mail it out to the winner (after contacting them to get their mailing address). Hopefully this will be a weekly happening.
The first book is Todd Livingston's graphic novel,The Wicked West.
This graphic novel combines two of my favorite things: the Wild West and horror movies. The story intercuts between events that happened some time ago, and a film (seemingly based on the events?) that is being played in the books "present day." The art is very good, the story is entertaining, and free is a very good price, should you win.
Here's a panel detail:
If you would like to own this copy, you have to do 2 things. Firstly leave a comment on this entry saying you want it, and secondly, agree to my Terms of Service.
My Terms of Service include (and are limited to) promising that you have not read this book, and promising that when you do read this book, you will then give it away to someone else.
Every time that I order a hamburger at a restaurant, I enjoy having a carbonated beverage made from a nut fallen from the kola tree. What I've found is that most restaurants have some sort of exclusive deal with one of 3 large corporations: Coke, Pepsi and RC. 1 Honestly, I don't give a flying offensive reproductive slang term which brand I drink, I just want a cola and to be efficient about it.
What has always happened in the past is that I would try to premptively guess which company they have a relationship with and order that. Example: "I'd also like a... Coke... please."
"Is Pepsi OK?" my helpful server asks.
So next time I try it the other way: "I'd also like a... Pepsi... please."
"Is Coke OK?"
Tired of this crap, I recently decided to just premptively cover my bases and order a non-brand-specific beverage type: "I'd like a... cola please.."
to which has been responded with, "Is Pepsi/Coke OK2?" every single time.
The only thing I can think of to rectify this situation is to order like this: "I'd also like one of whichever cola flavored carbonated beverage your soft drink partner provides you with -- and don't you dare ask me if one or the other is OK, or it's no tip for you," but that will undoubtedly make me look like the asshole, so I can't do that.
This also brings up fast food drive-throughs. I always place my order followed with "and nothing else." They always ask "Do you want a Mountain Dew or some Mexi-fries??" No, I just flipping told you I wanted nothing else. Arg. But then if I angrily hit the talking clown speaker with my car, that makes me the asshole?
1: Essentially, it is only Coke and Pepsi, I can probably count the number of restaurants that have offered me RC Cola on my offensive gesture finger.
2: I seriously wish that the failed cola company named "OK Cola" were still around so that I could hear "Is OK OK?" from a helpful server.