g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Sunday, August 8, 2004
20:00 - Busy little bee
http://www.drunkenblog.com/drunkenblog-archives/000313.html

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I haven't even read this article all the way through yet, but I can already tell that it's a corker. Sent by Evariste, it's a long and thoughtful look at where Apple's going with the iPod, iTunes, and their associated DRM—all gleaned from clues such as Apple's reaction to RealNetworks reverse-engineering FairPlay for their own music store, and product launches like AirPort Express and the upcoming H.264 codec in Tiger. Some have speculated about in-home cross-device video streaming akin to what AirTunes does now with music (to me it sounds far-fetched until the day that a Hollywood movie can be stored and transmitted with as little impact on the storage medium and the transport infrastructure as an MP3 does today—which will be some years from now to say the least); but this article takes the speculation quite a bit farther.

Apple is playing towards that exact same endgame, but with a twist: they're creating a new light-DRM platform that is riding on top of everyone else's platform. iMacs, Windows, mobile phones, everything. Google is also creating a platform riding on the backs of other platforms... except its based around becoming the access point for all things internet. Apple wants that, but for DRM content.

They weren't kidding around with their vision of the computer as a hub for your digital life, they just forgot to mention that the hub will come with a lock. And guess who owns the keys?

In other words, just as Apple seems to have been quietly bringing features to market that Microsoft has at the same time only dispensed rhetoric about (.NET/.Mac, Longhorn/Spotlight), likewise it would appear that they've got their own version of Palladium in mind, or something like it. Something, with any luck, that is more geared toward the discriminating technophile consumer than stapled unwilling onto the devices bought by the technological have-nots. Apple's strategy is still all about the "creators" rather than the "consumers"—or at least about those who view multimedia content as a creation to be reproduced with the greatest respect for its integrity, rather than those who passively absorb content from the comfort of the couch.

It's an interesting attitude to take, and thoroughly founded in Apple's unique, quirky vision of what kind of gear sells and to whom. Who knows whether it'll work? But they've certainly been hitting lately like Barry Bonds in a homerun derby, and Apple does have a demonstrated ability to capitalize on momentum.


15:03 - A lost art, revived
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/South/08/08/bodies.found/index.html

(top)
Now that is an awesome headline.



Still doesn't hold a candle, though, to "Howard Stern's Private Parts Surprisingly Sensitive"...

Saturday, August 7, 2004
00:39 - Oh, tell me more

(top)
So I'm sitting here minding my own business, when up pops an e-mail (seemingly sent as spam—the sender is "root@concentric.net") with the following contents:

People in the armed forces are lazy! Read this article:

http://toobis.com/rant-armedforces.html

And then forward this to all of your friends so that the world can learn
the truth about our military!! I'm trying to get the word out so people
stop treating these people like royalty when they've hardly done
anything for us. Thank you for your time.

Uhhh... huh.

Boy, I tell you what: you know how they say a picture's worth a thousand words? Well, I guess that makes this guy's picture and the article that goes with it pretty much redundant.

There's a whole site full of this stuff, too. I can't quite figure out what this guy's story is; I'm torn between "twitching crackbaby" and "ingenious master of satire".

Either way, it's fun, in a poking-roadkill-with-a-stick kind of way.

Friday, August 6, 2004
20:15 - The fourth branch of government, the fifty-first state
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12032_Journalism_Isnt_Dead_It_Just_Sme

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Something's happening in journalism. Something big.

I can imagine what it must be like to be one of these journalists present at this conference, can't you? You've got your laptop and your notepad, you're sitting in what's become the position of power in the press room, where you get to ask whatever questions you choose, no matter how irrelevant or loaded. You've got this specter called "Journalistic Integrity" hovering around at the edge of your consciousness like an unwelcome chaperone—but as you ask your questions, and as Bush does his best to fend them off, first you clear your throat pointedly, and nobdy elbows you in the ribs... so the next time, you try a little snort, and you hear someone else giggle at the other side of the room. Then you chortle. No pangs of remorse, no glowering stare from the spectral Murrow-shaped schoolmarm... so now you laugh out loud! And you boo! And you cackle! And the whole room joins in!

What's running through your head now? That journalists are the rightful holders of real political power in this country. You've even got a rationale for it: the market selects media organs that suit its demands for news coverage and appropriate slant toward an agenda. Viewpoints that are unpopular don't get the ratings, and eventually a consensus is reached. Why, it's democracy! And you sit excitedly in your chair, tapping away gleefully on your laptop, and you envision the day when the Press Corps will rise as one, march toward the front of the room, drag the President out of his chair, and throw da bum out! All on live national TV! This is politics, Information Age style!

At least, that's what it's got to look like from within the heads of those who consign their mascots of integrity and impartiality and respect to the sidelines as they become seemingly less and less relevant, as there are fewer and fewer repercussions for straying into outright partisanship. The draw of power is all too real, and all that stands in the way of someone grabbing for it is that person's value system; when that value system evaporates, escalation becomes exponential. It's the same mechanism by which starry-eyed college kids, hoping to impress the cute blonde at the study session, end up waving BUSH=HITLER signs and torching Jewish cemeteries. It all seems so innocent, it all seems to be the right "progressive" thing to do... surely someone would have cried "Halt!" if we'd taken a wrong turn anywhere, right?

But from outside the bubble, it looks more like a train wreck... and to see a roomful of journalists boo and laugh mockingly at the President as he stumbles over meaningless questions from left field like "what tribal sovereignty means for Native American tribes in the 21st century" isn't just bizarre, it's profoundly insulting to our sense of what politics should be.

Journalism thinks it's on the verge of becoming our nation's designated kingmaking body. But it might just find that it's become our nation's pariah, marginalized and scorned and afforded as much deference and respect as fortune-tellers.

Meanwhile, while googling for Bush quotes, I found this. I'd thought it would be a derisive collection of malapropisms... but damn, these are funny.

I needed that.


13:27 - Congressman, legislate thyself
http://www.celluloid-wisdom.com/pw/index.php/weblog/entry/ladies_and_gentlemen_this_

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Via Cold Fury...

I've made some noise lately about people dimly aware that something called "The First Amendment" exists, deciding that it means they should be allowed to say anything they please in any venue, and provided with protection against people who might dare to disagree with them. I've been trying patiently (and not-so-patiently) to explain what precisely the First Amendment does and does not guarantee.

Let's review:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In other words, unless Congress is involved, the First Amendment doesn't frickin' apply. "Free speech" between private parties is regulated by the market of ideas, and one side is free to shout down or stifle the other and stop buying tickets to its concerts.

No Congressmen around? Then no First Amendment breach. Congress doesn't get involved in private discourse, because to do so—on either side—would be censorship. Got it? Good.

Several members of Congress sent a letter Tuesday to Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, to express their opposition to what they say is the network’s “unfair and unbalanced” bias towards the Republican Party.

The group, composed of 38 Democrats and Independents from the U.S. House of Representatives, has requested that Murdoch meet with them to discuss their concerns.

“The responsibility of the media is to report the news in an unbiased, impartial and objective manner,” the letter reads.

“It seems clear that Fox News network has a deliberate bias in favor of, and often serves as an extension of, the Republican Party’s policies and ideology.”

. . .

A spokesman for Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said there were legislative avenues that the group could pursue as a secondary measure but declined to speculate on what those might be. 

Uh...

Wait.

You wanna run that by me again?

No, that can't be what you're saying. You're saying that members of the House of Representatives—you know, Congressmen ...

... and Fox News ... the only network that even vaguely demonstrates a lack of liberal slant ...

... and unspecified legislative avenues ...

Tell me, Congressman—how much more flagrantly do you think it's possible to breach the explicit verbatim commandment of the First Amendment?!

Oh, and just watch: these guys will be hailed as "brave" and "conscientious" for standing up to the heinous threat to free speech that Fox represents. When Murdoch is hounded from the dial and we have ideological purity once again, this group of Congressmen will be called American heroes, and anyone who opposes them will be branded "enemies of free speech and the First Amendment".

How has this happened? How can there not be anyone on the Left who sees something like this and takes a step back and says, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's not get carried away here—promoting liberal ideas is all well and good, but let's not turn the very premise of the First Amendment on its ass! Let's at least practice what we preach, and observe a little self-restraint before we end up rewriting the whole Constitution out of pure spite!"

If these Congressmen don't find themselves impeached by their own party for flagrant disregard of the Constitution that they'd sworn to uphold, then the Democrats have forfeited any claim even to understand this country's founding principles, let alone to be trusted to defend them.

My God, I have seldom been so angry.


10:37 - Things that need coverage
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,128193,00.html

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Via LGF—on Fox News, of course (like anyone else would report on this):

ALBANY, N.Y. —Information found in Iraq led federal investigators to become suspicious of an Albany, N.Y., mosque leader, FOX News has learned.

Last summer, U.S. troops discovered Yassin Muhhiddin Aref’s name, telephone number and address in a book left behind in a vacated terrorist training camp, a U.S. official told FOX News. The book also revealed that Ansar al-Islam, the group running the camp, had given Aref a title: “the commander.”

The next time someone tells me that terror alerts are politically motivated, that there is no terrorist threat that isn't made up by Bush, or that Iraq had nothing to do with the War on Terror, I'm going to kick him square in the nuts.

UPDATE: Mike presents the quoted material rather more effectively.


09:55 - Now that's mildly creepy

(top)
A couple of days ago, I linked to the day's Sinfest strip, and because of the episode's determinedly Bizarro-World premise, sneeringly titled the post "We make our own reality".

Now look at the following day's strip:



Um...


09:48 - Be a good little company, now

(top)
In their periodic QuickTime News mailing, wedged between plugs for Doom 3 and Alien vs. Predator, Apple said today:

Last week in Boston, the Democratic National Convention radiated energy and new ideas. Grasp the feeling of attending the convention in person with five dramatic audio QuickTime VRs.

For the New York Times, photojournalist Chris Ramirez captured major highlights from the convention: the candlelight 9/11 vigil, greeting Hillary Clinton, John Kerry arriving in Boston, Ohio casts the deciding vote and John Kerry accepting the Presidential nomination.

Amazingly, Ramirez used 10 Canon S60 digital cameras to simultaneously photograph a panoramic image. Learn more about the EventCam technology that made this project possible.

If you’d like to hear the 2004 Democratic National Convention speeches from Bill Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and others, visit the iTunes Music Store to download them for free.

Apple, you get a hundred points if you do this for the RNC too.

You get minus two hundred if you don't.

Thursday, August 5, 2004
22:58 - Subway's on thin ice—but it's holding
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12004_Subway_Mocks_9-11_in_Germany

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I saw this earlier today, and almost linked it, but something stopped me.

(CNSNews.com) - Picture this: a gigantic cheeseburger (with tomatoes and lettuce) slamming into two high-rise buildings, as cartoon characters run from the flaming ruins.

It’s clearly a takeoff on the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, and according to the Virginia-based Center for Individual Freedom, the illustration appears on page 18 of a 30-page “food diary” distributed by Subway sandwich shops in Germany.

. . .

The new image shows that Subway’s advertising is “far more disturbing and anti-American than previously thought,” the Center for Individual Freedom said in a press release.

Outrageous! Making fun of 9/11 in order to sideswipe burger joints? Intolerable! I'm boycotting Subway and writing to their management!

...But hold on a minute here. I stopped short of this reaction; and what stopped me was the actual image in question:



"Clearly" a takeoff on 9/11? I don't think so. Yeah, I was outraged when I read the citation. And it's clear that Subway's German advertising does routinely seem to use condescension toward Americans as its stock in trade (Don't eat burgers! What, do you wanna end up like the Americans?). But this image stops well short of being a 9/11 parody. If anything, it's a "Godzilla"-meme iteration, and not a very skillful one at that. But if the artist had intended to evoke 9/11, he did a staggeringly incompetent job.

So I'm not going to be doing any boycotting of Subway. Particularly, as commenter Doctor Bean says:

Subway is a franchise. Each store is owned by some poor shmuck trying to make a living who pays Subway for the use of the name and the Subway stuff (like McDonald's). Subway does not own the individual stores. A boycott would just hurt the guy in your neighborhood who never heard of what's happening in Germany. Subway would still get his monthly franchise fee; they would lose nothing. Any action should be directed to the national company.

Subway's management should certainly hear about how we "Amis" feel about being characterized with an obese Statue of Liberty holding a burger and fries (I'm sure a giant statue of Michael Moore holding a lawsuit would be more appropriate anyway). But let's not go nuts and assume the Germans would flock to a restaurant that trades on 9/11-mocking imagery.

The French, though, are another story.

Anyway, I had a comment, myself:

Everybody, please pledge to look at the image in question before firing off the flame or enacting your boycott before lunchtime today. :)

I think this may be symptomatic of a larger tendency-- of people, even intelligent LGFers, to trust the quoting skills of the blogger so much that they think it's unnecessary to follow the link and see the whole story for themselves. While the bloggers in question may be in fact great at selecting what to quote, sometimes that's the problem: they become too good, and people assume that what's quoted is the entirety of what's interesting and actionable about the linked item.

I'm not saying Charles should change his linking-mostly-without-comment style. It's part of what makes LGF so demonstrably factual. But I'm saying, as a longtime LGF mostly-lurker and blogger, that it would behoove us all to add "read the original item before becoming outraged" to the list of things we do when a news story breaks, right along with "the 48-hour rule".

Yeah, I agree.

...Wait...


17:26 - My eyes are streaming
http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2004/08/celebrate-racism.html#comments

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Whether primarily from inconsolable sadness at the human condition or raucous goatlike laughter I'm not prepared to say. Suffice to say, it's a mixture of both.

My God. I used to know people like this... hell, I used to be people like this.

UPDATE: The comments on this post are hysterical. "I... I.... I think I just laughed up my liver...."


14:43 - Let's all play again!
http://www.misterbg.org/AppleProductCycle/

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Steven found this superb little bit of self-effacing snark: the Apple Product Cycle.

Now it ought to be obvious why us Mac geeks do what we do: it's like acting on-stage. We're just following a well-worn and much-beloved script, role-playing our favorite scenario...

UPDATE: It's especially prescient in that there's a new 4.0.3 update for iPhoto, not three days after 4.0.2 was released—not a word about what makes it different...


13:17 - What's going on here?
http://humaneventsonline.com.edgesuite.net/unfit_pdf.html

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So InstaPundit just discovered that the Kerry campaign has faxed legal threats to stations airing the "Swift Vets" ad—the fax is strongly worded, as one might imagine, but claims adamantly that not a single one of the people portrayed in the ad actually served with Kerry, and that as such it's just slander.

And if you go to the Swift Vets site, the main page with the movie still comes up—but the "index.php" page with all the background material times-out and/or throws an SQL error. Overload? Misconfiguration? Emergency "maintenance" and rewriting of content?

Boy. I don't know what to think about this; one way or the other, this is going to be a bloodbath. If the Swift Vets are lying, then it'll be Kerry's biggest coup to date and a fiasco for his opponents. But if the Swift Vets are telling the truth and the Kerry campaign is issuing threats which are themselves based on false claims, then he's just amplified the ad's effect tenfold.

Either way, this ain't gonna be pretty.

UPDATE: SwiftVets.com now says "We are moving to much faster servers. We'll be right back."

I'm on pins and needles here. This isn't some subjective argument, where both sides have a reasonable case and losing is no big deal. This is a binary disagreement over objective facts. One side's claiming it's sunny and the other is claiming it's cloudy; in a minute we're going to open the curtains, and one side will be proven absolutely, incontrovertibly, dead wrong.

How can either side, knowing the truth would come out, give the other side ammunition of this magnitude? Conceptually, this development absolutely staggers me.

UPDATE: The best point I've seen from this LGF thread is from Fenway_Nation:

Wonder if this form letter being faxed by the DNC is just a formality that would give the 'Mainstream' media outlets the opportunity to weasel out of airing the swiftobat vet's ad.

"Gee, we'd LIKE to air this, but we got this scary fax from the DNC counsel...."

That would explain the hysterical language, and why the Kerry campaign is faxing the C&D orders to the TV stations airing the ad, rather than to the Swift Vets themselves—which is what you'd expect them to do if the vets were lying, wouldn't you? And the SwiftVets.com site has been online and saying the same things for months before the ad came out; Kerry had forever to C&D them if what they were doing was provably libelous.

Still no official response from the vets, but I'm seeing more reasons to be suspicious of Kerry than of them.

UPDATE: So John McCain demands that Bush disavow the Swift Vets' ad, and Bush does not do so; meanwhile, the Vets respond to McCain via Drudge, in a more or less content-free way. Any response yet to the fax from Kerry's legal team?

UPDATE: Unless I'm reading this incorrectly, the vets have been giving affidavits to the stations that air the ad, affirming the authenticity of their claims. Someone who's listening to Hewitt ought to be able to confirm this...

Oh, and evidently Fox News is about to present the ad (with rebuttals from both sides) shortly.

UPDATE: The original InstaPundit post has lots more details that have been coming out, such as this expansion on Fenway_Nation's theory (above), by Kevin Greene:

This will backfire, and is surely why the Internet is the medium of our time. More people, I suspect, will see this ad because of the controversy over the attempt by the Kerry camp to keep it under wraps.

Yup. Remember how many Google searches there were on "Daniel Pearl" and "Nick Berg"? Let's be tallying the "Kerry Swift Vets Video" searches in the near future. And this one's got an official site, too.

Glenn's also got this rather inconclusive interview between two of the Vietnam vets in Kerry's Swift Boat squadron, conducted on CNN. Summary: lots of bullets flying around, and nobody's sure what the hell happened.

But that's neither here nor there, compared to the histrionics of the Kerry lawyers' fax. Are they splitting hairs, trying to get stations to ditch the ad because certain claims that the video never even made are incorrect (like whether the one guy was "a doctor" or "Kerry's doctor" or whatever)? Or are they just playing the left-leaning media like a well-tempered klavier, giving them a soothing "there, there" so they won't feel obligated to give those nasty right-wingers a platform?

UPDATE: One last thought. It occurs to me that this (and this) are illustrations of what Kerry and Michael Moore et al. meant when they said they'd be hiring teams of "fact-checker" lawyers to make sure that they'd be ready for any attacks that might come.

They meant it in the sense of "check your facts at the door".

This is a private party, and facts aren't welcome here. Just leave them with the fact-checker over there. Complain, and we sue yo' ass. We got lawyers!

"Bring it on" indeed.

UPDATE: The Swift Vets' response is now available.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004
23:42 - Crossover hell

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I know this makes me a bad comics-type-person, but am I the only guy on Earth who looks at Alien vs. Predator and thinks, "what a frickin' joke"?

Next summer: Batman vs. the Terminator! Followed by Speed Buggy vs. Richie Rich!


21:45 - I'm sure Berlin was considered "progressive" at a certain time
http://www.examiner.com/article/index.cfm/i/080404n_heller

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I guess it's possible for a city to become so liberal and tolerant and progressive that its people become Nazis.

Ugh. My earlier feeling about today seems to be bearing itself out... but that boulder's doing a lot of damage on the way down.

Via Mike Silverman.


17:49 - Maybe John Kerry should stop talking about Vietnam
http://www.swiftvets.com/

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Just a thought.


17:33 - OoooOOOOoooo
http://www.thinksecret.com/news/deliciouslibrary.html

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Axis of Steevil members, take note:



Delicious Library 3.0 is coming. And it has iSight barcode scanning.

And that's just the beginning...


17:20 - Listening to music upside-down

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Sounds like Australia may need to revise its copyright laws to better match the way the rest of the world does it:

More than 100,000 Australians listen to music on such digital music players. Retailers cannot stock them fast enough. There is just one problem.

Most people know it is illegal to download songs from the internet without paying. But far fewer people know it is illegal to copy music from a CD you have legally bought.

Anyone who has copied songs from a CD onto an iPod or computer hard drive has fallen foul of Australian copyright laws, which critics argue are failing to keep pace with technological change. Copying music for personal use is generally OK in the US and Europe. But not in Australia.

"It's unlikely that the Australian Federal Police would investigate individuals for offences such as illegally copying a CD," a police spokeswoman said. "However all cases referred to the AFP are categorised and investigated as necessary."

Unlike its rivals, Apple does not allow legitimate music websites such as Telstra and Ninemsn to sell digital songs for the iPod. Because Apple does not allow Australian customers to buy songs from its US iTunes website - and there is no local site - there is not much you can do legally with an Apple iPod in Australia.

"You could possibly use it to listen to music that you've recorded yourself or even to a recording made by your friend's band," says a copyright expert, Kim Weatherall, of Melbourne University's law school. "But that's about it."

Copying music from CD to iPod under the "fair use" clauses of applicable law is the keystone of the entire iTunes philosophy, at least the part that involves playing well with CDs as we gradually transition to digital downloads as our primary means of buying music. I hadn't known that Australia didn't have this kind of language in its copyright rules, or that they're evidently still so adamant about keeping things the way they are. (Or perhaps it's just the Australian record industry that's so reluctant to change.) But regardless, it certainly seems like a great way to alienate consumers and stifle adoption of new technologies; and I'm not just talking about music, either. What about making backup copies of software? What about copying DVDs to VHS for personal use? Are those illegal too?

And let's not even get into the inevitable wrangle over how many computers will be allowed to be authorized for a given AAC signature once the iTunes store does open there...

UPDATE: James A. points me at the blog of Anthony Towns, former release manager for Debian, who has been following developments in Australian fair-use and IP law recently. Good stuff if you're into that sort of thing.


16:50 - I think I need a cigarette
http://coldfury.com/index.php?p=4713

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Mike at Cold Fury refreshes his claim to his site's title. Big time.

It's been a zillion "little things" for the past couple of years, but I think Howard Dean's moronic remarks about the "suspicious timing" of the terror alerts have touched off something of a that's-the-last-damn-straw vibe. Honestly, it's nothing we haven't heard a thousand times before, but... well, somehow, something about it this time—maybe just the idea that bald barking insanity has so visibly gripped the world around us, reaching up to such heights as pretenders to the White House—has sent more than one of us just a little bit round the bend.

Why do I get the urge to describe the general sentiment I'm picking up today as like a giant boulder dislodged from a mountainside, slowly starting to roll downhill?


15:35 - Supercomputers by accident
http://yahoo.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2004/tc2004083_7126_tc153.htm

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Nice. BusinessWeek has noticed that Apple has broken into the supercomputing biz in a big way.

Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, admits he was stunned by the audacity of Virginia Tech's concept. Until then, Apple hadn't been a serious player in big-time supercomputing, even though so-called cluster supercomputers -- clumps of wired-together personal computers built with chips from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD ), Intel (INTC ), IBM, and Sun Microsystems (SUNW ) -- had been the hottest breed of "super" for more than a decade.

TOP500 ENTHUSIASM.  Up to that point, Apple's cluster entries had been mainly low-end systems, such as the 56-computer PowerMac G4 cluster assembled in 2002 by University of California at Los Angles physicists, and UCLA's earlier, smaller Macintosh G3 clusters. What impressed the UCLA researchers was how easy a bunch of Macs could be roped together. They developed software to do the setup in hours, not the days or even weeks typically needed to create a Linux cluster of PCs.

. . .

The tight-knit supercomputing community was surprised by what Virginia Tech and Apple pulled out of their hat -- and impressed. It didn't take long for others to jump on the Big Mac wagon. The newest system aims to one-up Virginia Tech by linking 1,566 G5 Xserve units. Dubbed Mach 5 and being built by Colsa Corp. in Huntsville, Ala., this cluster will have a theoretical peak speed of more than 25 teraflops.

That would earn the No. 2 spot on the Top500 list that was issued in June. Only Japan's Earth Simulator, built by NEC (NIPNY ) and rated at 41 peak teraflops, is faster -- although it and Mach 5 may soon be overtaken by clusters now a-building by longtime super suppliers IBM and Cray (CRAY ).

COOL ADVANTAGE.  Mach 5 is slated to go into service this fall at the Army Research & Development Command's Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center in Huntsville. It will do nothing but run one job: simulating hypersonic flight. Currently, the center uses an aging IBM supercomputer with 284 processors, and each simulation chews up a solid month of computing time. With Mach 5, says Anthony C. DiRienzo, executive vice-president at Colsa, "they'll be able to do a new run every day, overnight."

DiRienzo figures Apple can count on lots more supercomputer business. None of the other vendors that bid on the Army job, he explains, came close to matching Apple's price/performance ratio. The hardware was only $5.8 million -- 60% of the speed of Earth Simulator for 1.5% of its $400 million cost. "But what's really nice about the G5 pizza-box-size servers," he says, "is how well they dissipate heat." Apple's engineering stood head and shoulders above the competition on this score.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is already building bigger and bigger versions—aiming to best even the Earth Simulator before too long. After all, all you have to do is buy more racks and Xserves...

Ain't it great when you have a runaway success you didn't even plan?

Tuesday, August 3, 2004
21:46 - The logo of the white stallion
http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/040802fa_fact

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Via LGF... the most in-depth and gripping piece of real journalism on the Jihadist movement I've seen in months, possibly ever.

I hesitate to say something like "refuse to read it at your peril", because however I feel about this whole mess, fearful isn't how I'd describe my sentiments. (Perhaps epically pissed-off.) I don't think people would be well served by instilling themselves with fear. But we'd better instill ourselves with something.

Think about this article the next time someone tells you that the announcement of some new terror threat, particularly one against specific targets and sourced from a specific apprehended suspect, is a suspiciously-timed political maneuver.


14:26 - We make our own reality
http://www.sinfest.net/d/20040803.html

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Today's Sinfest:



Today's Dean Esmay:

Dani Emery actually thought we were joking when John Eddy and I said we expect there to be a few deaths at the Republican convention in New York. The Democrats managed to avoid that by forcing all protestors into a cage, but the Republicans have no such plans.

But that's not important. What's important is that it makes you think, or something.

Why doesn't anyone ever make artists think?

UPDATE: Oh, and I understand this will soon be made into an animated series and shown with great fanfare on Adult Swim.

Is it November yet?


13:02 - That rock ain't doin' a whole lot for me
http://www.homestarrunner.com/disk4of12.html

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I hope everybody has wastedspent a good hour or two of their lives on this by now:



There's something profoundly meaningful about the whole experience, but I'm not sure what it is. All I know is... no one can defeat Trogdor the Burninator.

No one.

Monday, August 2, 2004
21:58 - From the mouths of babes does often come cereal
http://corsair.blogspot.com/2004/07/dumb-ass-know-nothing-teens-group-of.html

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Corsair found this most excellent Washington Post article on yet another clash of cultures: between American kids who think Iraqis hate us because of the war, and Iraqi kids who are fans of Bush.

And, in fact, American students said they found their Iraqi counterparts to be a highlight of the week.

"It's so cool," declared Carrie Shoultz, 16, of Eagan, Minn., as she lingered around the Iraqis' dinner table. "I oppose the war, but I thought it would be good to get it from the horse's mouth."

And what had she found? Majid asked wryly.

"That [the Iraqis] were pretty split," Shoultz said. "I thought they didn't like us [Americans] -- I wanted to hear that they didn't like us. But then you got Ali here . . . who supports Bush!"

The ignorant wog!

These American kids probably have "Think For Yourself" slogans scrawled all over their schoolbooks. One day they'll learn that thinking for oneself doesn't mean simply listening to people your own age instead of to people who are older and wiser.


17:22 - Darling Oem-Software Customer!

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Courtesy of Chris—this has got to be in the running for Best Spam Evar:

Return-Path: <Leander@mostlysunny.com>
Received: from mostlysunny.com (mostlysunny.com [65.198.177.200])
by p83.129.229.6.tisdip.tiscali.de (Postfix) with ESMTP id 69D33F81BB
for <xxx@xxxxx.org>; Tue, 03 Aug 2004 03:25:32 -2000
Message-ID: <6.0.0.22.1.20040803032532.5cf3fa51@mostlysunny.com>
X-Sender: patio@mostlysunny.com
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 6.0.0.22
Reply-To: Fabrice@earthdome.com
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 03:25:32 -2000
To: Chris <xxx@xxxxx.org>
From: "Vassalage M. Tunguska" <Leander@mostlysunny.com>
Subject: From TopRated-ProgramTools Buyers support department.
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-AntiVirus: skaner antywirusowy poczty Wirtualnej Polski S. A.
Status: O
X-Status:
X-Keywords: Junk

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They say it only takes one bite in a million to make spam worthwhile... but if you ask me, those are pretty optimistic odds in this case.


12:50 - Argh!

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First goes the pronunciation; then, when no consequences are forthcoming, goes the spelling.

I've fumed before about Nestlé Crunch ads starring people who think that "caramel" is pronounced with one A and two syllables; one such ad even featured two guys (one of them, inexplicably, Shaq) arguing over the pronunciation. Eventually sanity seemed to win out.

But now you can go to Taco Bell and order what appears on the menu, verbatim, as a "Carmel Apple Empanada".

What is that—apples from Carmel? I never realized the region was known for its apple orchards.

Yaagh! Didn't even the marketing people go to high school? Do we need to call up the Hooked on Phonics people and have them talk to Tricon's people? Let's have some standards in professional signage, for crying-out-loud!


09:50 - The honeymoon's over
http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1091277100.shtml

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Dean Esmay noted a couple of days ago that several big left-leaning papers, including Der Spiegel, have started coming out, as it were—clearing their throats, shuffling their feet, and then saying in no uncertain terms that Fahrenheit 9/11 is a bunch of crap, and that the Left is doing itself no favors by treating it as though it's a piece of honest journalism that retains any credibility for itself or its maker.

And the Poles? The Poles know propaganda when they see it.

I do believe Mr. Moore has heaved himself breathlessly over a very apprehensive shark with this one. F9/11 was his big chance, the biggest one he'd ever get—and boy did it pay off; he's been paraded around the DNC like an appointee to a new Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Denigration, and he's everybody's favorite celebrity at the box office and around the water cooler. But... well, now that there's been time for people to really absorb what his pack of sound and fury says (or, really, doesn't say)—it's starting to sink in just how little it signifies. He's never going to get a bigger opportunity than this one—never such a subject so dear to his heart to cover, with never so much at stake. He's done.

And having released F9/11 in the summer, Moore gave us a whole five months to let it turn into a cliché and a joke. And for people like Trey Parker to release rebuttals, much better timed so as to be October Surprises.

If anyone got gamed here, it's their own dang fault.

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© Brian Tiemann