When I saw this in the theatre for the first time, the theatre was crowded with teen girls. Leo was all dressed up in that borrowed tuxedo and turned toward the camera for the first time, this girl behind me sucked in her breath suddenly, literally breathless at his appearance.
.gnimit dna tolp eht tuoba desufnoc era uoy esac ni redro lacigolonorhc ni mlif eht hctaw ot noitpo na sniatnoc DVD otnemeM ehT
Eat This New York is a documentary about opening a restaurant in NYC. Starring Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Danny Meyer, Ruth Reichl, etc.
A year and a half ago, we had a big discussion as to some possible holes in Minority Report’s plot. I’m still disappointed in the “accuracy” of the future, especially since Spielberg went to the trouble of assembling a group of futurists to advise him on how to get it right. Each piece of technology made sense by itself but often did not make sense in combination with the environment or other technologies, lending an air of inauthenticity to the whole affair.
Keisha Castle-Hughes gives the best performance I’ve ever seen from a child actor. Her tearful speech near the end of the film was amazing for an actor of any age.
An alternate schedule for O’Reilly’s upcoming Etech conference. Panels include “Tim Tim Tim Tim. Look at me, I’m Tim.” and “Unpaid Interns: Tech Secrets of Overprolific Alpha Geeks”
Dean centralizing his campaign or are the wheels coming off the wagon?. Interesting to see what effect this will have on his Internet efforts.
Do you have Ikeaphobia or Starbucksitis?. Maybe you’re not “being oppressed by flat-packable pine furniture with goofy pseudo-Scandinavian names”.
Richard Dawkins is a Mac guy. Calls PCs “virus-compatible”. Heh.
Overwhelmed by the amount of work necessary to keep up with all my friendships on Friendster, Orkut, and all the other social networking sites, I’ve posted a job opening over on craigslist for a personal social coordinator:
Permanent full-time position for a personal social coordinator for a New York-based web designer.
Your primary responsibility will be managing my accounts with various online social networking sites including, but not limited to, Friendster, LinkedIn, Tribe, Orkut, Ryze, Spoke, ZeroDegrees, Ecademy, RealContacts, Ringo, MySpace, Yafro, EveryonesConnected, Friendzy, FriendSurfer, Tickle, Evite, Plaxo, Squiby, and WhizSpark.
There’s even room to grow in the position:
Future duties may include discouraging companies and individuals from starting new social networking sites so that additional staff won’t be necessary in the future. Past employment as a bouncer, “heavy”, or hired goon may be helpful in this regard.
Or maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong. Perhaps we just need a web service for managing relationships on the social networking sites. A meta Friendster; Micrsoft Passport for social networking. We could call it, oh, I don’t know, Metaster…or Sterster. Sign in to all the sites with one username and password. Invite metafriends to all the sites with a single click. Manage a single profile across all the sites.
Of course, the marketplace won’t be content with just one metaster site. Multiple sites will spring up and we’ll then require a metametaster site to manage the information in all the metaster sites. Of course, the marketplace won’t be content with just one metametaster site. Multiple sites will spring up and we’ll then require a metametametaster site to manage the information in all the metametaster sites. Of course, the marketplace won’t be content with just one metametametaster site. Multiple sites will spring up and we’ll then require a metametametametaster site to manage the information in all the metametametaster sites. Of course, the marketplace won’t be content with just one metametametametaster site…
(And yes, it’s turtles all the way down.)
The Timberwolves are tied for the lead in the Western Conference. They finally have a team that contend; Spree, Garnett, and Cassell work so well together.
Hyperdictionary is a free online dictionary that looks interesting and useful. Includes a computer dictionary, thesaurus, medical dictionary, and dream dictionary.
The Corporation, which just won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival, is a film that explores the following question:
In law, the corporation is a “person”. But what kind of person is it?
Unsurprisingly, a corporation doesn’t make for a very well-adjusted individual (emphasis mine):
Considering the odd legal fiction that deems a corporation a “person” in the eyes of the law, the feature documentary employees a checklist, based on actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and DSM IV, the standard tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. What emerges is a disturbing diagnosis.
Self-interested, amoral, callous and deceitful, a corporation’s operational principles make it anti-social. It breaches social and legal standards to get its way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. It suffers no guilt. Diagnosis: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.
I don’t think all companies are like this, but it certainly is an interesting idea to explore. In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins asserts that the larger organism exists in order to propagate the genes and not the other way around as we, the organism, had always assumed. In the same way, corporations have traditionally thought of themselves as the most important entities in the economic ecosystem, but it might be more healthy for society in general to think of them as the organisms that ultimately benefit the humans that comprise them (humans = the genes in the corporation organism).
This thought fits in nicely with one of my favorite quotes on the subject of business from Ludicorp’s about page quoting Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores & Hubert Dreyfus in Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action and the Cultivation of Solidarity:
A business develops an identity by providing a product or a service to people. To do that it needs capital, and it needs to make a profit, but no more than it needs to have competent employees or customers or any other thing that enables production to take place. None of this is the goal of the activity.
Thanks to Devin for the pointer towards The Corporation, which will also be out in book form as The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power.
AFA gay marriage poll results won’t go to Congress after all. The result of the poll was “something other than what [the AFA] wanted”.
Subject of Super Size Me documentary eats at McDonald’s for a month and almost dies. “His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged” and he “was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors … were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock’s entire body deteriorated.”
Whenever I post an entry to this site, a ping is (supposedly) sent to four different places (weblogs.com, Technorati, blo.gs, and Blog Chatter) that says, “hey, I’ve updated my site”. That way, people can use these services to stop by only when there’s something new to read.
The problem is that these services have not been working correctly lately. According to my MT activity log, weblogs.com times out more often than not (or doesn’t accept two pings within a half hour of each other, which is a problem for me because I update my remaindered links more often than that at times), blo.gs
either times out or doesn’t accept pings because my “weblog hasn’t changed” (presumably because adding a remaindered link doesn’t change the page enough for it to count), and Technorati has been getting worse as well, timing out more often than it used to. It would be nice to have an adaptive, decentralized ping service that would be reliable and flexible enough to stop ping spam while letting legitimate pings through.
Update: I got email from the folks responsible for Technorati and blo.gs. Technorati’s infrastructure is currently undergoing an upgrade and should be more responsive soon. blo.gs had the settings for one of my weblogs misconfigured, but that has been corrected and it’s now pinging fine. I took a closer look at the MT activity log and found that I had been confused about how often blo.gs was timing out…turns out it hardly ever does and I have corrected the text above accordingly.
This is odd…just before I fell asleep last night, I thought, “I wonder why no one has spammed Trackback yet. It’s just so wide open, hanging out there like a breaking ball that didn’t break.” And then, magically, I’m surfing around this morning and ran across this report of Trackback spamming as well as a TB throttling patch for MT to help minimize the damage. If I believed in Star Wars, I might say that I felt a great disturbance in the Force last night, as if millions of web servers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
New blog in the Denton stable: Wonkette. Writing and politics by former Suckster Ana Marie Cox
Highly recommended documentary by Errol Morris about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Now in his 80s, McNamara shares frankly what is hinted at as the tip of his personal iceberg, a refreshing occurance rarely seen among the rich, powerful, or famous. Many hold him responsible for the mess in Vietnam, but I ended up liking him more than not in this film; he seemed genuinely interested in personal discovery and re-evaluation and fully aware of the complications of being human. If you go see this movie (which is highly relevant to the current US political situation), I recommend keeping an open mind…you might be surprised at how you react (whether you’re pro- or anti-war…or somewhere in the middle).
- The Fog of War as a design achievement
- A late review from the New Yorker
- The Village Voice on Being Robert McNamara
When Apple announced iLife ‘04 a couple of weeks ago, a common reaction was moaning over the price, which went from free to $49. Which is ridiculous…$49 is a steal for that bundle of software. After playing around with GarageBand this morning, I can report that GB alone is worth the price. I’ve never had this much fun with a piece of software before…I got my money’s worth after 30 minutes.
(And I’d like to post the song I made — the finest techno banjo tune (w/80s synth) ever!! — but the vast extent of my musical talent is just too much for the world to experience in such a direct fashion. Alas.)
Online weight loss diary. Be sure to check the photos and movies
The legend of Groundhog Day is based on an old Scottish couplet: “If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.” (source)
Interpretive spam art. “Even the purest kitten perished on the day the massive unrelenting cock came to town!”
Subway tops the Franchise 500 list for 2004. I didn’t know UPS Stores were franchised.
Intrigued by a stat that John Battelle pulled out of a Wired News story on search, that “the number of unique visitors to Yahoo Search trailed Google by a mere 10 percent”, I checked my search referers to kottke.org for December 2003 and found a somewhat different story:
Now, inferring the market share of a search engine from the referers is tricky because you can’t account for algorithm and display differences** (that is, Google may just love my site 3X more than Yahoo! does), so, you know, grain of salt and all that.
** Yahoo!, AOL, and Earthlink search are all currently powered by Google (making their effective search market share 97%), although they may determine and display the results in different ways.
Starbucks opens its first store in Paris. In Paris, France, not in Paris Hilton.
Since I don’t often remember my dreams, you poor folks must suffer through me telling you about it when I do recall one. Last night’s dream was a riff on Junkyard Wars, except without the junkyard and the war. It was just my team and me trying to build a hay-harvesting machine out of a full-sized pickup truck. Our workshop was a garage in the basement of a large farmhouse. At the end of the dream, we spent a great deal of time painting the name of our machine on the hood of the truck. We called it “Hay Ya!”
The first mention of the sequence GATTACA in the human genome is 14109 characters in. It will be several decades before science is able to explain why I spent 20 minutes tracking that down.
John Brockman has asked his Edgy band of scientists, futurists, writers, and philosophers about “some bit of wisdom, some rule of nature, some law-like pattern, either grand or small, that you’ve noticed in the universe that might as well be named after you”, like those of Newton, Moore, or Murphy. Here are the results.
The more general of such laws are the most interesting because they can enrich our understanding of diverse subject areas and can be very instructive in how they fail. I think maybe this is what Alan Alda was getting at with his First and Second Laws of Laws:
1. All laws are local.
2. A law does not know how local it is.
Here’s a few of my other favorite laws from the list, general and not:
Pimm’s First Law: No language spoken by fewer than 100,000 people survives contact with the outside world, while no language spoken by more than one million people can be eliminated by such contact.
Gopnik’s Gender Curves: The male curve is an abrupt rise followed by an equally abrupt fall. The female curve is a slow rise to an extended asymptote. The areas under the curves are roughly equal. These curves apply to all activities at all time scales (e.g. attention to TV programs, romantic love, career scientific productivity). (see the graphs)
Morgan’s Second Law: To a first approximation all appointments are canceled.
Pöppel’s Universal: We take life 3 seconds at a time. Human experience and behaviour is characterized by temporal segmentation. Successive segments or “time windows” have a duration of approx. 3 seconds.
Brand’s Pace Law: In haste, mistakes cascade. With deliberation, mistakes instruct.
Kai’s Example Dilemma: A good analogy is like a diagonal frog.
Rushkoff’s Law: A religion will increase in social value until a majority of its members actually believe in it—at which point the social damage it causes will increase exponentially as long as it is in existence.
Humphrey’s Law of the Efficacy of Prayer: In a dangerous world there will always be more people around whose prayers for their own safety have been answered than those whose prayers have not.
Minksy’s Second Law: Don’t just do something. Stand there.
Sterling’s Corollary to Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently advanced garbage is indistinguishable from magic.
This is the only film during which I’d walked out of the theatre. But that was a long time ago, and I guess I was more in the mood this time around.
Series of drawings from man on LSD. done in the 50s as part of a US gov’t study on the effects of drugs
SocialGrid is a dating service using Google, blogs, P2P, etc.. Best part: “The patent application claims coverage of basically all complex objects, including people, in almost every country.”
Listening to NPR this morning as I struggled to regain enough of my consciousness to stumble into the shower, I heard Colson Whitehead read a selection from his new book, The Colossus of New York. In it, he described weary evening commuters vying for seats on the subway like pigeons scrapping for seed. That characterization strikes me as inaccurate. Commuters dash down stairs to catch an arm in the door before it closes and pack into already crowded cars rather than be left on the platform, but even in the busiest stations at the peak of rush hour, people don’t squabble for seats like pigeons for food.
If you want to see pigeon-like behavior, watch instead the tide of evening commuters racing to spin through the turnstiles at Times Square/42nd Street, swerving around confused tourists, colliding, dancing from turnstile to turnstile, searching for the fastest way past the fumbling metrotards and exiting passengers shooting out of the station into the chaos.
How well does the 6 year-old analysis of how we use and will use information technology contained in the pages of Interface Culture hold up? Not too bad, actually. Consider the following paragraph from the “Windows” chapter on what metaforms the Web might be capable of supporting (paragraph breaks and links mine):
Over the next decade, this stitching together of different news and opinion sources will slowly become a type of journalism in its own right, a new form of reporting that synthesizes and digests the great mass of information disseminated online everyday. (Clipping services have occupied a comparable niche for years, though their use is largely limited to corporate executives and other journalists.)
Total News gives us a glimpse of what these new information filters will look like, but the site neglects the defining element of a successful metaform, which is an actual editorial or evaluative sensibility. Total News simply repackages the major online news services indiscriminately; it may be a more convenient format, but it adds nothing to the actual content of the information. More advanced news “browsers” will include a genuine critical temperament, a perspective on the world, an editorial sensibility that governs the decisions about which stories to repackage. The possibilities are endless: a filter for left-leaning economic and political stories; a filter for sports coverage that emphasizes the psychological dimension of professional athletics; a filter that focuses exclusively on independent film news and commentary.
The beautiful thing about this new meta-journalism is that it doesn’t require a massive distribution channel or extravagant licensing fees. A single user with a Web connection and only the most rudimentary HTML skills can upload his or her overview of the day’s news. If the editorial sensibility is sharp enough, this kind of metajournalism could easily find enough of an audience to be commercially sustainable, given the limited overhead required to run such a service.
When the whole blog thing blew up huge and then people like Rafat Ali, Andrew Sullivan, and Nick Denton started making money off of them, Johnson must have danced around the apartment in his underpants (perhaps like Tom Cruise in Risky Business) shouting, “I told you so, I told you so, I called the hell out of that one! In your face!”
Everyone else is making their predictions, and I love a good bandwagon, so let’s go. Here’s what I see happening in 2004:
1. Britney Spears will marry.
2. The Spirit rover will land safely on Mars.
3. More tapes from Osama bin Laden will be found.
4. The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) will result in some controversy.
5. Michael Jackson will do/say something odd.
6. Spam will continue to be a pain in the ass.
7. Pete Rose will admit to betting on baseball.
I know I’m going out on a limb with the Britney thing, but overall I feel good about this list.
Red Sox and Curt Schilling have been circumventing traditional media channels, and the media is a bit upset. Schilling “told the reporters that it was their job to track down the news, not his job to hand it to them”
What You Can’t Say. An essay about “how to think forbidden thoughts, and what to do with them”
NASA’s Mars photojournal. Currently featuring Spirit rover pictures
Britney Spears’ marriage license. The way Britney’s living these days, this is the first of her many marriage licenses
This is a wonderfully stylish, inventive film. If you’re unaccustomed to movies lacking a strong narrative that drags the viewer through the film, you may want to skip it (the theatre was packed, but several people walked out before the end).
Part of the film deal with the Tour de France, which writer/director Sylvain Chomet talks about in this BBC interview:
I’ve always liked the movement of cycling. It’s the circular motion of the bicycle, and the shape of the cyclists themselves - especially back in the days when they’d be incredibly spindly with amazingly overdeveloped leg muscles. They’re fascinating characters: very nice, timid and shy people. But they often don’t look like they’re enjoying the race. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyclist looking happy, even when they’ve won. I’ve also always thought it was strange that the Tour De France starts and ends at the same point. It’s like they’re suffering all this hardship, but not actually getting anywhere as a result.
For more info on the film, you can watch the trailer, read an interview with Chomet in Animation World Magazine, or read AnimWatch’s interview with the film’s art director, Evgeni Tomov.
Still good, but it doesn’t hold up quite as well as some of the other films released that year.
Goalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!. “a green plastic inset for a urinal, with a football goal installed on top”
Mobile interface to RIAA Radar. Identify RIAA-free albums on the go
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