Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Help: Save the Internet

The large telcos didn't invent the Internet -- they simply bought up the backbones upon which the traffic flows, and are now demanding total control for their own economic gain. Please do not allow these latecomers to the open, democratic information superhighway set up checkpoints, roadblocks, or toll booths on a public utility to block innovation, business development, and the "little guy" from setting up shop online.

Please send a message to stop the greedy telcos to the White House and your members of Congress. If you don't act today, you will be sorry.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

18 Days of Reckless Computing

What kind of idiot buys a computer and willingly – even eagerly – exposes it to all the malware and viruses he can? Me. I bought a Dell Dimension B110 ($468! Cheap!) and tried to kill it for more than two weeks. I clicked on every pop-up and downloaded the gnarliest porn, gambling, and hacker files I could find. It seems our Internet overlords are sterilizing spam. If I were to treat my body the way I treated this computer, I’d have yellow fever, bird flu, and Alzheimer’s. But the Dell? Eh. Somewhat the worse for wear.
Computer Viruses: Dynamic Worldmap

Click here and prepare to enjoy a real-time worldmap of our planet, overlayed with outbreaks of virus/Internet computer attacks. Nifty... and scary.
New Superbug is Stalking the World

If you're are unfortunate enough to catch it, you will suffer from intractable diarrhoea with gut-searing pain and fever. If you are frail, you may die. Should you survive, you may be stricken by repeated bouts of sickness. Rates of the disease among patients in, or recently discharged from, American short-stay hospitals seem to have doubled between 2000 and 2003 and risen another 25% in 2004, the most recent year for which estimates are available. That translates into at least 225,000 new cases a year, according to the Centres for Disease Control.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Domino Books in Online RPG +
Unlimited Free Time =
Time Wasting Made Semi-Cool

Things You Didn't Know About Your Body

So that's why we like sushi. By simultaneously eating "bad" high-glycemic foods (pasta, rice, etc.) and protein (fish, meat, etc.), you greatly lower the former's absorption rate -- and reduce their tendency to be stored in the body as fat. More facts here!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Way To Find Popular Websites

First, we had Awesome site -- if you haven't heard of it, check it out. Now there's Swarm. The site presents a graphical representation of hundreds of websites, and swaps in new thumbnails of sites as people surf from link to link. It's a real-time way to see what sites people are looking at, and where they're going. Come with an open mind, mouse over the small screens, and prepare to find websites you never knew existed.
Flying Car Beats Wright Brothers

Autoblog has finally found video of the 009 Aston Martin ALMS racecar that "flew" 142 feet off the track at Mid-Ohio Raceway last weekend. The racecar traveled in the air 22 feet farther than the Wright brothers' first powered flight on December 17th, 1903.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ice Tea + Plane + Barrel Roll = No Spill

Google: Insiders R' Sellin'

If you take a look at Google's insider trading sheet you will note that company insiders have sold off $6.5 Bn worth of stock while not buying a single share (some insiders have sold every last share). With rumors of click fraud running rampant one has to wonder if these people know something the rest of us don't.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Empire Strikes Back Parody

Palpatine Chats Up Vader
Post-Death Star 1.0 Explosion
Semi-Not For Kiddies

Nepolion Dinamyte

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nintendo Wii: Next Generation Controllers

Chernobyl Legacy

On April 26th, 1986, Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4 unleashed a thoroughly modern plague that emptied cities, condemned entire regions, and seeped invisibly into the bodies of those exposed to its destructive presence. Photographer Paul Fusco faces the dark legacy of Chernobyl, focusing on the horrifying human consequences of the event that is now 20 years in the past.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stephen Colbert: New American Hero

"Virtually overnight, Stephen Colbert became a hero to countless Americans, following his April 30 performance at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner."

"Since then, millions of people have either watched the video or read the transcript of his skewering of both the president and the press corps, and have discussed it avidly. Tens of thousands of people have gone to the website and written letters of appreciation. Talk about water-cooler chatter; the event crashed internet servers across the land. It truly was one of those moments of media shock and delight."

"And then, an odd but revealing thing happened. Some of the chattering class commentators, mainstream media writers and columnists, and Democratic officials didn't get it: Not very funny, rude, not respectful of the president, and so on. Are they kidding? How could they not understand they were witnessing one of the bravest, most subversive performances in memory, which thrilled and gave hope to untold viewers and readers, and will be a huge marker when people look back on the Bush era?"
GEICO Roxxors: My Story

I couldn't believe it. There I was, my 2003 Honda Odyssey backing out of my driveway on a rainy Friday night (5/5), when suddenly it happened -- CRASH went the window, DENT went the center of my van's liftgate, and SCRAPE went the bumper. I sighed -- then chuckled despite myself.

I'd done it -- surely as the rain was falling. I'd hit my mailbox with my van, and now, it was time to file my first-ever claim with GEICO. I headed into the house, took off my coat, grabbed a notebook, and placed the call to the toll-free claims line.

A few second later, Jack Ripley took my call. He was polite, cheerful, and laughed right along with me when I explained what I'd done. "We'll take care of it Mr. McLain," he said patiently. "Don't you worry."

After taking all of my information, he hesitated a second, then asked: "Mr. McLain, would it be OK to tell you about a new pilot program we're offering that could go a long way in helping you with this claim?"

"Fill me in," I said. The basics: Take my van to a nearby body shop that GEICO has chosen specifically for its excellent record of service. A GEICO representative would be on-site to take my information, then he would work on my behalf with the staff of the shop to ensure a great repair, at the lowest possible price, and on a quick turnaround. Plus, when I'd arrive, a car would be waiting for me, rented from Enterprise -- and the company would bill GEICO directly for the rental car. No fuss, no muss.

How could I say no? "Sounds like a no-brainer, let's do it!" I replied.

Jack seemed happy that I was willing to go along with the program, and set me up for an early appointment Monday morning (5/8) at Coats Auto Body and Paint, Inc., near my home outside Raleigh, NC. I carefully taped some clear plastic to the back end of the van, and parked it out of the rain for the weekend.

On Monday I made my way across town to Coats, and headed in the door. Leah Solano was there to greet me from the shop, and put me in touch with Peter Matsushige, GEICO's in-house adjustor. Peter took a few minutes to fill out some information, examined my Honda, and we headed back inside. A rep from Enterprise was waiting in the lobby, and quickly gave me the keys to my Ford Taurus rental.

I was in and out in under 15 minutes. I was overjoyed by every aspect of my experience thus far -- I felt sure that the van was being repaired at a top-notch facility, GEICO was on the ground to make sure everything was happening the right way, and Enterprise made the rental car drop off a breeze.

My four-year-old son, William, loved the rental and loved driving in it over the course of the week. He could sit in the back seat safe in his car seat and play with the window -- something he couldn't do in our van! Up and down went the window, and he loved being in control!

So he was a little sad when, four days later, we got the call to head back over to Coats and pick up the van. I arrived, and within 10 minutes paid my deductible, then went out to inspect the van. The bumper looks even better now than when I bought it, and the lift gate is shiny and new, fitting perfectly in its place -- again, even more firmly I believe than when I'd bought it.

Plus… I couldn't believe it… The Coats people had cleaned the interior from top to bottom, polished the tires, and even had the exterior washed. The van was gleaming -- and in every way BETTER off than when I'd dropped it off on Monday.

My first auto claim experience with GEICO was nothing but a positive one -- so I present it to you as a math formula: (GEICO's Pilot Program + Enterprise) + Coats Auto Body and Paint, Inc., Raleigh, NC = Excellent Service

Thank you for this pilot program, and thank you GEICO, Enterprise, and Coats for going the extra mile to make my week! I don't mind writing this up as a bit of an ad for these folks. They roxxor!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In 2021, You'll Grow A New Heart

With my dad ready to head in for bypass surgery next week (I'll be there to help big guy), it was literally "heartening" to read this new article from Popular Science: "Although doctors may someday heal weakened body parts by infusing them with stem cells that develop into specialized tissues, coaxing the body’s own cells to become self-repairing would be an even bigger biological coup. What if we could simply prompt damaged organs to repair themselves?"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chef Dies: South Park (For Paul)

Twister + Soccer = Funny

Spore Trailer V3

Come see what all the fuss is about -- this amazing "game" is on its way to going gold:

Wiki: "Spore is, at first glance, a 'teleological evolution' game: The player molds and guides a species across many generations, growing it from a single-celled organism into a more complex animal, until the species becomes intelligent. At this point the player begins molding and guiding this species' society, progressing towards a spacefaring civilization. Spore's main innovation portends to be Wright's use of procedural generation for many of the components of the game, providing vast scope and open-endedness."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Why We Fight
BBC Documentary:
The Modern Military Industrial Complex

No-Mow Grass May Be Coming to Your Yard Soon

For anyone tethered to a lawnmower, the Holy Grail of horticultural accomplishment would be grass that never grows but is always green.

Now, that vision of suburban bliss seems plausible as scientists have mapped a critical hormone signaling pathway that regulates the stature of plants. In addition to lawns that rarely require mowing, the finding could also enable the development of sturdier, more fruitful crop plants such as rice, wheat, soybeans, and corn.
Gadgets: Then & Now

As a teen in the 80's, it was incredible to see so many new technologys come along -- from cassette tapes w/programs to huge thin diskettes, huge "portable" phones to cell phones, etc. Here's a cool look back at today's tech vs. the old.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Work Well With Others--Online?

Test yourself... see if you can help make a live mosaic via your Web browser with others in real time and NOT mess up others attempts at swearing/making rude things.
Incredible Video: Landing on Titan

Curious what it would be like to mount a camera on the belly of a spacecraft hurtling through the atmosphere of a distant moon, then crash landing -- all in real time? Get the 11MB video of Huygens smacking into Titan right here -- then view this... and prepare to be amazed.

All the juicy details are here.

"This movie, built with data collected during the European Space Agency's Huygens probe on Jan. 14, 2005, shows the operation of the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera during its descent and after touchdown. The camera was funded by NASA. The almost four-hour-long operation of the camera is shown in less than five minutes. That's 40 times the actual speed up to landing and 100 times the actual speed thereafter. The Huygens probe was delivered to Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, which is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA supplied two instruments on the probe, the descent imager/spectral radiometer and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer."
Eyewitnesses: Nukes Incoming

The title says it all. This is one-in-a-million eye-witness testimony of two of the most powerful events of the previous century. With any luck this type of thing will never have to be witnessed again: Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Report: W gets Colbert-ed

Steven Colbert -- a man who needs no introduction. He's sooo... Lincolnish. Worth watching his show on Comedy Central -- The Colbert Report. Here he gives the prez a little roast, and of course, the truth makes W and his pals a little nervous. Some of his best:

Gun Engine: 220MPG + Big Oil = No Chance

Here we go again. An inventor has come up with a way to vastly increase the fuel efficiency of cars using something called a "gun engine." How long do you think it'll take for Big Oil to buy and bury this interesting technology?

"...this engine is cheaper to produce due to elimination of some production processes and complexities. As the gun-engine can accept any fuel, including hydrogen, the owner of the vehicle could select the most economic fuel on the market. With the greatly-improved mileage of a transmission-free vehicle exceeding 220 mpg would naturally eliminate traditional engines from the market altogether."
JB Franchise: Shaken AND Stirred

James Bond is about to return... again. The series that will never die (my Dad was a huge fan back in the 60s, kinda like how huge Star Wars is/was with my generation) will be reincarnated with Casino Royale and an all-new Bond. Watch the trailer -- I might actually want to see this one.

In a movie mood? Here's the new trailer for the Jack Sparrow/Pirates of the Caribbean summer release. Looking better and better. James, you may have met your match...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Where's Tim?"

No... not me. I'm at home of course, just like always. I'm talking about another guy named Tim -- a guy with a GPS-enabled cell phone whom you can track using real-time Google Maps. Woah. This guy has gone totally Big Brother on himself. Fun stuff!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Google Videos: Chernobyl

A little over a month ago I found a set of amazing Chernobyl videos online. They were super-hidden in a very weird place, so I decided to use the new beta Google Video service to post them to the world. The views have been pretty amazing -- here's the stats for April.

To find the videos (be sure to check out the fly over video below -- super creepy), connect to and in the search box type: Filatova Elena.