Dr. Seuss

UCSD has published an archive of fanciful advertising graphics created by Dr. Seuss — the copy is fantastic, full of Seuss humor, and the pictures are just perfect. Take a look.

Political Compass

Political Compass thinks that left vs. right doesn’t work: it needs to be broken into both economic and authoritarian components. For instance, Stalin was an authoritarian leftist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist.

They have a quick, 5-minute quiz that determines your position on the map.

Services block each others’ emails as spam

Outrageous! MSN TV (formerly Web TV) is blocking Adelphia’s mail servers because of “spam complaints”. What if Adelphia blocked Hotmail, the cradle of spam, which is also run by Micro$oft? And Hotmail blocked Yahoo, and Yahoo blocked Earthlink…

We may as well shut down internet mail if the major services start blocking each other.

Most people never find out that they didn’t receive the intended mail unless the sender takes the trouble to send it from a different account, if they can find one that isn’t blocked.

Powers of Ten

View a photo exhibit about The Powers of Ten, which starts with the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. It moves through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach an oak tree, then continue to move from a leaf into its the cell nucleus, and finally into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons. (Requires Java)

DSEA: Act 2 of the PATRIOT Act

The PATRIOT Act turned out just to be Act 1.  the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA), is Act 2.


Among many other things, it would create a new federal felony of willfully using encryption during the commission of a felony, punishable by “no more than five years” in prison plus a hefty fine.  As this article says, as encryption becomes more and more common in electronic transmissions, it’s like making it illegal to breath air during the commission of a felony.

Another fine feature of the act is that engaging in the lawful activities of a group designated as a “terrorist organization” by the Attorney General could be presumptive grounds for expatriation. And since it’s a national security issue, you’re no longer entitled to a trial.

John Perry Barlow interview

How convenient: MotherJones.com has an interview with John Perry Barlow which summarizes all the stuff I’ve been writing about. It’s not that long, really.

TIA: “And the important thing to think about there is that they’re no longer just looking for terrorist activity, they’re looking for any kind of criminality at all — which includes what I consider to be cultural crimes, like say marijuana smoking.”

Other freedoms lost: “This is an administration that has recently reserved to itself the right to kill American citizens anywhere on the planet for the mere suspicion of membership in Al Qaeda. That’s really quite and awe-inspiring breakthrough.”

Update May 2017: The original link is no longer valid, so use http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/02/cognitive-dissident

Wireless phones surpass “land-line”

In February, 1982, a small article appeared in the Living section of The Globe and Mail. “A wireless portable telephone may soon become the hottest business status symbol,” it began, explaining that “high-frequency cellular radio” would allow users to carry around full-fledged telephones that “weigh less than two pounds” and cost only $6,000.

This month is the thirtieth anniversary of the invention of mobile telephony and the twentieth anniversary of the first commercial cellphone. There are now more than 1.3 billion subscribers around the world, which means that the wireless phone has surpassed the old-fashioned “land-line” technology. Here is more on the birthday celebration.

Is it still slang?

I’ve been finding a fair number words that seem to be slang but are often tech/geek oriented. Sometimes I just have to wonder what they are because I don’t know of a way to look them up — web searches are very hit and miss for this sort of thing. For example, what is a Wiki? But if a book has already been written about the word, can it still be slang? Or it just another area of technology that I never happened to encounter?

Sony: right hand, meet left hand

I love it when I see concrete examples of industry fighing itself.

“As a member of the Consumer Electronics Association, Sony joined the chorus of support for Napster against the legal onslaught from Sony and the other music giants seeking to shut it down. As a member of the RIAA, Sony railed against companies like Sony that manufacture CD burners. And it isn’t just through trade associations that Sony is acting out its schizophrenia. Sony shipped a Celine Dion CD with a copy-protection mechanism that kept it from being played on Sony PCs. Sony even joined the music industry’s suit against Launch Media, an Internet radio service that was part-owned by — you guessed it — Sony. Two other labels have since resolved their differences with Launch, but Sony Music continues the fight, even though Sony Electronics has been one of Launch’s biggest advertisers and Launch is now part of Yahoo!, with which Sony has formed a major online partnership. It’s as if hardware and entertainment have lashed two legs together and set off on a three-legged race, stumbling headlong into the future.”

That was a small piece of Embrace File-Sharing, Or Die, where a record executive and his son make a formal case for freely downloading music. Their gist: 50 million Americans can’t be wrong. The writer, John Snyder, is president of Artist House Records, a board member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), and a 32-time Grammy nominee.