May 31, 2003

The Uhn Project

OK, I'm trying to develop some of my own links. This one, though, came from BoingBoing & Adventures of Accordian Guy in the 21st Century; and it's a scream. It's The Uhn! Project, a hilarious collection of comic book expressions of pain, agony, etc. Sounds boring? Hardly; the commentary alone is worth your time. My favorite is this one, which reminds me of Disneyworld. A close second is this one; never over-do your dialog. Read the whole thing, though, just to get your day going right.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2003

Idea for nanite replication shutdown

Just had a quick thought: one of the big problems with nano-technology is the unregulated replication problem: nano-bots can get killed off very easily, and so most concepts of nano-bots include self-replication. What if those nano-bots could only duplicate themselves in a specific medium -- like, say, an auger with a specific set of percentages of elements? It would mean that any duplication of said medium on a large scale could become problematic; but it might be a way to at least limit replication down to specific areas.

Also, what if self-destruction occured in easily duplicatable other medium: say, any contact with oxygen or nitrogen would kill it off?

Interesting thought.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 04:24 AM | Comments (0)

You know it's bad when Time is asking questions... What Is Your Government Not Telling You? -- Jun. 02, 2003

Interesting fluffy summary that basically says, the government isn't owning up to some things... like the fact that the US will be in Iraq for years to come.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2003

FCC Meeting in Atlanta

It doesn't take much to get me shouting. I fully intend to donate my body to science, directing them to take a special look at the cortal connections between my heart and my brain -- or lack thereof. Contrawise, they'll find a broadband connection of nerves contained between my heart and my lungs. I suspect that any medical doctor doing a study will end up naming this disease after himself -- mostly because it will be hard to identify me after I unjudiciously continue talking despite the presence of someone named "Meat Grinder" who doesn't agree with me.

But it amazes me and confounds me why this syndrome seems nearly ubiquitous in the liberal/progressive/whatever community. Even when the facts stare you in the face, stand out as a primary argument, and can be used to cudgel your opponents into stunned acceptance of reality, liberals continue to wield nothing but a broken shield of good intentions and emotional arguments as if it were the finest steel.

Wednesday I went to the FCC Public Hearing in Atlanta. It's really taken me a day to bring together my thoughts about it; mostly because I want to avoid discouraging people from taking my thoughts as a dissent from the liberal point of view. I, too, believe that relaxing the FCC's rules on media ownership will bring about a disasterous result, and in fact will create the opposite of what Michael Powell has promised, an expansion of views. I'm appalled that Powell, by all accounts educated beyond the fifth grade, cannot see that by reducing the number of voices, you reduce the number of opinions and bodies, and therefore cannot logically expand and extend either the voices of opinion or media coverage. And I cannot see in any way where the free market system should be considered so sacrosanct, so holy, that you need to apply it to everything. It's like lime green, wonderful when used in well considered places; horrid when used on entire houses and full page ads.

But dammit, you have *got* to learn how to speak, people!

In my three hours there, I heard 4 "major" speakers, a couple of people who were asked by the podium to speak, and at least 20-25 people from the audience (out of at least 50-60 in line to speak). Not one brought up relevant facts. I don't mean crowd-appealing, wonderfully told anecdotes -- many people told those. I don't mean crowd-rousing jabs at conservative companies and groups. Facts. About the FCC's proposal. About how media works. About anything relevant to the hearing.

The speakers were excellent; I especially enjoyed the speech from the director of the Atlanta Office of Community Technology, who was quite eloquent. And I also enjoyed John Sugg, a senior editor for Atlanta's weekly alternative paper, who talked about several very interesting points about media in general, as well as a lot of interesting stories about newspapers. Many people commented on how the meeting was completely ignored by every media venue in town, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, all the local news channels, even CNN.

But no one did more than brush over the facts as if they were beside the point. In this case, the facts are so thick, you need to brush them away from your face like flies.

Fact: the FCC cannot site one instance where consolidation of media ownership in an area has brought about a wider range of voices or improved media coverage.

Fact: out of 400 staff editorial cartoonist positions in the country in the last 20 years, 80 are left. That's 80 percent of all editorial cartoonist jobs. Newspapers are cutting jobs left and right; whether it's because they can't make money or because newspapers won't sell actually doesn't matter. Less people means less coverage of news, and less voices of opinion, period.

Fact: not one newspaper that's gone into a joint-operating agreement has ever come out of it. Most end up combining and making only one daily newspaper in town.

Fact: no new daily newspaper for a major city has been started and remained going since the 1970s -- and the only one to start (that I know of) was the St. Louis Sun, which closed about a year and a half later.

Fact: Clear Channel has proven the exact opposite of what Mr. Powell has claimed will be the result; and there's a raft of lawsuits to prove that Clear Channel, given a chance to purchase more radio stations since 1996, has abused the law and created multiple problems in the radio community.

Fact: TV channels were once obliged to give equal time to both sides of a given view. That law the FCC removed several years ago; and since then few channels have given time to liberal points of view, if any, on a regular basis. Networks, given a voluntary option, chose to be imbalanced instead of balanced.

These are facts; not something you can say is a matter of opinion. Not once did I hear facts stated as facts. Not from the major speakers, not from the crowd, no one. Few people even stuck to the topic; one person rambled so far, that the crowd was stunned into silence while he brought up nearly everything from John Ashcroft to the war in Iraq. Many brought up anti-Moslem and anti-Arab portrails in the media.

Rallying a crowd is great. It's pointless to rally, though, when your crowd isn't the one making the decision, and it's pointless to have a public hearing, when what's heard is nothing but opinions and emotional pleas. A public hearing is to hear relevant facts, relevant (and provable!) stories, and relevant issues with the proposal at hand.

God help us, I hope the FCC overlooks our failures, because we need this win.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2003

Philosophy of Duran Duran

Turns out, everything I ever needed to know about life, I learned from Duran Duran:

  • Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand.
  • I'm hungry like the wolf.
  • The Union of the Snake is on the climb
  • The reflex is a lonely child
  • As I try and make my way through the ordinary world, I will learn to survive.
  • Wild boys never chose this way.
Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2003

Squeeze that Streptococcus

GIANTmicrobes! via BoingBoing
Next time you're sick, cuddle up with the disease that's making you so miserable. Be friends with it, maybe that will keep you from being so miserable.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2003

Hunting politicans? - Texas House paralyzed by Democratic walkout - May. 13, 2003

OK, now they're hunting down Democrats in Texas -- because the Democrats walked out of the state house to leave the Texas senate without a quorum. They're now in Oklahoma. I couldn't make this up if I *tried*.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2003

Free As A Jaybird!

Privacy International's Stupid Security Contest via Electrolite

I had a really sick thought: in order to avoid things like the wonderful "get your shoes searched" fun at the airport, there's one solution: go naked.

Yes, folks, I think that if you want to avoid being inspected, detected, neglected, and infected by the Department of People Who Have Had Less Training Than A Beautician, you need to go buck naked into the wild blue yonder, and let others yonder on you 'till they're blue. This will eliminate any close body searches, skip over the problems of having to check shoes, and once and for all eliminate carry-ons.

Other advantages: it eliminates seat-mates. It will also mean that you'll get fast service, get on the plane first, get off last, and won't have anyone bothering you needlessly.

Downsides: Coffee and turbulance. 'nuff said.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:33 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2003

Polka dots, paisley, and plaid: the new house colors - One man's protest: A polka dot house - May. 9, 2003

My parents live in a neighborhood which actually *fines* people for leaving their garbage cans out and not mowing the lawns. My dad was scolded for putting up a short brick wall (which the committee scolding him called a wonderful addition just before scolding him.) Go, polka dots.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2003

Tiptoe 'round the Constitution

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / US quietly eases rules for faith-based groups via Metafilter

The white house has removed a restriction which now allows the use of "sacred literature" and also removed the restriction to "secular and nonideological" services for religous groups providing jobs-training that get federal funds.

Insert your Jesus is a headhunter jokes here.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

$31 million and counting...

Wired 11.05: View via Slashdot

Right now I am sitting in front of a whirring 60-gigabyte hard disk that cost less than $100. Do the math: If back then 10 megabytes cost $1,000, then 60 gigabytes would have cost x, where x = $6,000,000 and "back then" = 18 years ago. I'm sitting in front of $6,000,000 worth of mass storage, measured at mid-1980s prices. Happy me!

Definitely an interesting point. My machine has a 60 gig and 2 17 gig drives. I've got another that has 2 60s in a RAID. And a third with an 60 gig (I think, I haven't taken a look). Also, a couple of portable drives to hold MP3s, another 20 gigs each. When I was in college, I knew that I was going to see expansion like this -- it really hit home when I saw a friend with a 4 gig hard drive and marveled, having only a 540MB hard drive on my computer at the time. It's still a shocker,

Posted by Ted Stevko at 04:11 AM | Comments (0)

Bill Gates is not a *total* creep. Technology | Earth to Bill Gates: Thank you

Gates may be a ruthless businessman, but he is giving away billions of his dollars in a dedicated effort to fight AIDS, develop vaccines for scores of deadly diseases, and improve educational and healthcare opportunities for millions of impoverished women and children.

OK, it's been bugging me for the last couple of years... I have problems with anyone who, in essence, bilks people out of money, even if it's for a good cause.

But I think Salon's right, he's at least got some decent karma in my book for giving out his billions. Grudgingly, I'll admit he's not a complete creep.
Just so long as he doesn't make it Microsoft Windows for Charity(TM). Please.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2003

Connecting the dots - Purported Saddam tape urges resistance - May. 7, 2003

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says a contract awarded without competition to a subsidiary of Halliburton Co. included not only putting out oil well fires in Iraq but also "operation of facilities and distribution of products."

The war isn't about oil. Right.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2003

A few more updates...

Well, I've had my Spring Break, as it were. Things are heating up, and this blog, sadly, has suffered for it. I'll try and keep up a few more things online as we go. Daily posts should be the norm, even if it's just a few simple things.

Just to note, now also on my watch-list...

Don't say I never gave you any cartoon links. :)

Posted by Ted Stevko at 01:11 AM | Comments (0)

On Safari. No, the browser.

I've been playing around with Apple's Safari browser some. It's not bad; it's got some nice features, and it's great for doing research. I still use Explorer for my basic surfing, though; it's a little bit easier as everything's currently set up.

Minor problems still plague me; I get a crash every once in a while when I'm looking at various video feeds. And i absolutely despise the fact I don't seem to be able to get a URL while hovering over a link. It's stupid; I'm practically addicted to making sure a link is what I think it is. But without it, I'm constantly annoyed.

Also, my big thing is the left-hand toolbar on IE. I use Page Holder constantly, especially when I'm going to a site with lots of links that I browse through. It helps, really.

My big complaint is this, though: I hate the "mindless zombie drone" vibe I get when my entire computer & all it's software has been built by one company. Let's face it, Microsquish has put me off of that forever; I can't handle one company being so pervasive in my box that it has control over everything. That includes Apple. So, I doubt Safari will ever be the only browser on my box.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)