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, October 15, 2006
19:03 - "Thirsting for a way to name the unnameable, to express the inexpressible?" "Tell me more!"
http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20061013103151876

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I can just see these guys trying so desperately to come up with a way to respond to the South Park episode while managing to come across as "the better man", or even to score some rhetorical points in the process.

I can also see them failing. Right there. Laid out like a fudge dragon for all the world to see.

South Park's conclusion that "a bunch of pissed-off Muslims" did 9/11 ultimately says very little. The key word is "did": if Al-Qaeda was responsible, does that mean the US could not also be? Of course not, yet nowhere is this possibility seriously considered by them or by recent critics of 9/11 skepticism.

The creators of South Park, a show I like, are now two-time offenders, as they copped out in “Team America” as well. There too, the US was depicted as a bumbling, ignorant yet well-intentioned behemoth that was ruining the world through sheer incompetence and stupidity. It was Kim Jong-Il who was truly evil, you see.

Hey, guys? When insane people use sarcasm, it comes across like they're being serious. Ya might wanna keep that in mind. Especially when Kim Jong Il's testing nukes and you use words like "collective unconscious" and "information brokers", and put the word "enemies" in quotes.

But hey! Let's show those information brokers who's boss. Let's get this press release as much publicity as possible. It makes Trey and Matt's point better than they ever could have themselves.

Thursday, October 12, 2006
21:23 - The power of a good graphic
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2006/10/11/nyregion/20061011_CRASH_GRAPHIC.htm

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Judging by this great animated timeline at the NYT (courtesy Daring Fireball), it seems clear what happened to Cory Lidle's plane.

Going up the East River at less than 1,000 feet, which would put him barely above the rooftops of the buildings around him, he found himself approaching LaGuardia's Class B airspace, and probably got some calls from their tower warning him that he had to get permission to proceed further up the river. His instructor was along, which means one of them should have had the wherewithal to make the necessary calls and get clearance, but any number of things might have been going on at that point, from mechanical failure to radio congestion. With only a minute or so of flying before crossing the boundary, he probably panicked and decided to veer off.

Trouble is, he's in a corridor. He can't climb out of it straight ahead, as that would just take him closer to the Class B and further into the path of approaching jets as the cone spreads out above him. He can't make a wide turn, because there are buildings on both sides of him. He's essentially heading straight down an alleyway that has one of those chain-link fences across it that crooks always escape over, except when you're in a plane you can't stop and take stock of things. About the only option he has is to try to turn around on a dime and head back down the river.

So he did... and panicked as he was, he probably didn't think to lay on the throttle (which in an SR20 would have had plenty of steam left to work with). He pulled a too-tight turn, tighter and tighter as he realized he turned in the wrong direction (left, toward the nearer bank), lost altitude, found himself heading straight into a wall of buildings, and hit one 300 feet up.

With that in mind, that East River corridor starts to look like a death trap, huh? It's almost as though sooner or later, with walls and ceilings all around you and a restricted-airspace boundary looming up ahead, something like this was more or less bound to happen eventually...

UPDATE: CapLion, a local, says that this scenario is unlikely. Which I guess just goes to show: sometimes a graphic might only look like it's too well-done to be misleading...

Here's a photo, which has its own perspective issues, but is also useful to the discussion. The building where the crash occurred, helpfully enough, is in the lower right.

And here's another perspective, with a couple of potential approaches (I think A is more plausible, but that's just me).

UPDATE: I suppose this isn't too surprising. Yet requiring pilots to be in contact with ATC isn't the same thing as "banning" them. This is a far cry from the usual knee-jerk "My kid burned down the house, so Beavis can't say 'fire' anymore" stuff we all dread.

UPDATE: You know, if I'm so wrong about this, how come people who know seem to keep coming to the same conclusion?


09:24 - Making good use of popups
http://www.motion-wave.com/mw_4/mw_p4.htm

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Talk about making a browser sing and dance...

Via Chris.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
22:33 - Aaahh.

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That was the South Park I've been waiting to see for years now.

And probably the last South Park all my 9/11-conspiracy-believing acquaintances will ever watch.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
01:56 - Ah, the past, when people were stupid

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Courtesy of Vintage Tooncast, I just saw "Duck and Cover" for what might in fact be the first time.

I've grown up amidst constant mockery of this ten-minute film, in everything from South Park to The Powerpuff Girls. It's never been anything to me but an object of ridicule. And—well, now that I've seen it, I find myself wondering what advanced stage of human intelligence we're in now, when we've got ourselves so perfectly trained as to unfailingly miss the bigger point if there's a cheap laugh to be had.

Watch this video, and then please explain to me what facts in it are inaccurate.

I'm not talking about errors of omission. Keep in mind that this thing was aimed at kids. The goal was to present a realistic way that kids might escape death or serious injury in a nuclear explosion—not so that all lives would be saved, but so that at least some would. Shouldn't that be obvious? They're not going to tell a bunch of fourth-graders that "Well, if you're within the blast radius, sorry, you're pretty much toast." No, what they're trying to do is instill in people an instinctive defensive reaction that might save their skin if they are sufficiently far away from the blast epicenter that it might do some good, where the risks are from burns and flying glass rather than from being turned into the fine paste lining the edges of a crater. There's potentially a lot more people in the former category than the latter.

Yes, you can stave off burns to a certain degree by covering your exposed skin. You can protect yourself against flying debris by ducking against a sturdy wall. The fact that a few stitches of cloth won't deter gamma particles if there are enough of them around, or that a wall won't protect you if you duck against one that's pointing the wrong way, is not something they're going to put into the movie—not because they're trying to sugar-coat the reality of nuclear annihilation, but because if they can train people to have these reactions by reflex, then maybe—just maybe—if the conditions are right, their lives might be saved when otherwise they wouldn't have been.

The goal of the people making this thing was to save lives. They knew they'd save more lives by telling people to "duck and cover" than by throwing up their hands and saying, "Well, shoot, it's too complicated and counterproductive trying to get people to orient themselves opposite a wall from wherever they saw the blast in the sky, or to tell them not to bother doing anything if they're too close to where the bomb hits, so we might as well just not tell anybody anything." Right? Or should they have just rejected the contract, knowing that people in the future would just laugh at them from the safe distance of five decades of non-nuked history?

How would you like for your job to be making an educational film explaining to fourth-grade kids how to survive a nuclear attack? I don't envy these guys their task at all. For what it's worth, I think they did a fine job; and if such an attack had ever come, I think their efforts would have paid off.

But with some generations you just can't win.

23:44 - Pierced Arrow
http://www.pierceyourride.com/index.html

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Like, not having a heavy-gauge guiche in your car's front fender is like TOTALLY CONFORMIST, maaaaan.


23:07 - Great, now I really have to make a pilgrimage
http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD131506

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Say, remember that giant glass cube that Apple built on Fifth Avenue?

Michael Kenney sends this link to a MEMRI story that says... well:

On October 10, 2006, an Islamic website posted a message alerting Muslims to what it claims is a new insult to Islam. According to the message, the cube-shaped building which is being constructed in New York City, on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets in midtown Manhattan, is clearly meant to provoke Muslims. The fact that the building resembles the Ka'ba (see picture below), is called "Apple Mecca," is intended to be open 24 hours a day like the Ka'ba, and moreover, contains bars selling alcoholic beverages, constitutes a blatant insult to Islam. The message urges Muslims to spread this alert, in hope that "Muslims will be able to stop the project."

Boy, where to start, huh?

I guess a good candidate would be to point out that these guys are about five months too late, if they want to "stop the project".

I suppose some people probably have referred to the Fifth Avenue store as "Apple Mecca", in the same figurative sense that a plumber would advertise himself as "the Rolls-Royce of plumbers"—which is where Rolls-Royce gets all its trademark infringement lawsuit money these days. I guess maybe we'd better stop calling things "the Mecca of _______", huh? Else we might get the theological equivalent of a lawsuit slapped on us.

I like how the fact that it's open 24 hours, "like the Ka'aba", is an insult too. I guess my local Safeway's cruisin' for a fatwa, and the 24 Hour Fitness, and Denny's too.

And I'm pretty sure they don't serve alcohol at the Genius Bar. (Hint: "Genius" isn't infidel-ese for "Sleazy".)

More seriously: I wonder if anyone is ever called to account for their statements like this when they turn out to be so stunningly false? I don't know how far behind the Jasmine Curtain you have to be not to realize by this point that the thing's just a computer store; just because something sort of looks like the Ka'aba when it's under construction does not mean you get to claim that it's "clearly meant to provoke Muslims". I don't know if they have an equivalent of the Boy who Cried Wolf story, but the more often we hear that something is "a blatant insult to Islam", the less seriously we're inclined to take it, y'know?

Unless, of course, that's the point. The less seriously we take these complaints, the more obvious it is that we're evil infidels spitting in God's eye who'll get our come-uppance someday soon.

But on the plus side, if Apple releases a press statement regarding this, it ought to be entertaining reading. Jobs might be the touchy-feely multi-culti type, but he's also not known for his willingness to compromise his artistic visions, especially for what he considers stupid reasons.

It probably won't happen, because this is about a posting on "an Islamic website", which probably means some kid on a forum who found this photo from half a year ago while searching Google Images for "black cube" or something, decided it was some sort of new inscrutable Western shenanigan along the lines of the Danish cartoons, made up some kooky but all-too-believable-to-the-credulous crap like the alcoholic beverages part, posted an incoherently-worded diatribe about it, and was promptly shouted down by the other people on the forum. But hey, you never know what kind of life these things can take on.

Imagine if this somehow becomes a big story.

UPDATE: Ah. "A full-sized iPod Bar which, presumably, will serve pink iPods blended with vodka." Thanks a lot, Mark Morford. Gotta be careful with the word "presumably" in this dangerous new media. And sarcasm gets lost in translation.

Via Kevin M.

UPDATE: Aziz Poonawalla says this is part of a trend, and that MEMRI is the culpable party here.


12:53 - Exploding paper birds are always good

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So is there anything more poetic than an incomprehensible Flash-based "Coming Zune" website that crashes whatever Mac browser you're using?

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