Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

New Atheism aside, today is still my favorite holiday.

Happy Ash Wednesday everyb... that's not right.

Doomy Ash Wednesday?

Contemplative Ash Wednesday?

Better suggestions for holiday modifiers in the comments...

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Yahoo Pipes let you take RSS feeds (which 99% of people know nothing about), manipulate them with drag-n-drop pseudo-code (which the other 1% finds insulting), and create a new RSS feed slightly different from the original. The limited options available do an excellent job of suggesting interesting things you could do with Yahoo Pipes, and then promptly denying you the ability.

All the same, in a year or so, this tool will be awesome. The next revolution in the Internet is getting more elements on more pages machine readable. That's what RSS does. It lets the computer tell where things are on a page, so you can write nifty programs to have it give you just the headlines, or just the fourth word of the fifth sentence of every article mentioning "Bush" and "dogs".

In the RSS'ifying of the web, we only need a few tools: the ability to generate threads from periodic content without the original author's involvement is key (scraping, already somewhat available). The other tool is the ability to use basic programming structures to reconfigure and combine the data on the fly. That's exactly what Pipes does, and it tries to do it in a way that is accessible to nonprogrammers, so we can all start mixing up the web however we want, as if we were at the great Mongolian Barbecue of All Human Knowledge.

This project from Yahoo gets 4 out of 5 Googles for being forward thinking, and 1 out of 5 Googles for releasing it as a beta project when it's not actually finished at all. I would also like to praise Google for letting Yahoo do this one, we know they were really behind it, but it's nice to let somebody else enter the spotlight for a bit.

Here's my contribution to the world of Pipes, a mashup of threads from some comics I read.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Everybody Look Busy! (the Dole Institute of Politics is watching)

Get posting on that last topic, the Dole Institute here at the University of Kansas is having an event all about the effect of bloggers on the 2008 election!

More info, but only in pdf. :(


A friend drew my attention to this prophetic headline, and made me realize we're woefully deficient in our coverage of the next Presidential election, I mean, it's already 2007 folks, we might as well wait to discuss candidates until after the election.

I've been anxiously hoping for the Hillary v. Jeb Political Dynastydown 2008. But who makes your 2008 dream team? What's your fantasy showdown?

(Speaking of fantasies... can we set up a fantasy league for the Primaries? How would that work? However it works, it's the next big thing. EP, you're on it.)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl fun facts

In homage to the Super Bowl today, I present you with some interesting facts from Joe Posnanski's February 4th article in the Kansas City Star. The following is the fact with Posnanski's source in parentheticals:

-There are more parties thrown today than New Year's Eve (Hallmark).

-There is more food eaten today than any day except Thanksgiving (American Institute of Food Distribution).

-There are fewer weddings this weekend than any other (Wall Street Journal).

-Also with source unknown (but heard from another source other than the KC Star), there is a "Super Bowl Indicator". If an NFC or original NFL team wins the Super Bowl, the stock market will be bullish that year. If an expansion or AFC team wins, the upcoming market will be bearish. The two teams playing this year are both original NFL teams (Chicago Bears and Baltimore Colts) meaning this will be a good year for investment (the indicator has been correct 33 of 40 Super Bowls for an 83% accuracy rate).

Enjoy your chips and dip.

Conspiracy theory

I was talking recently with a contributor to the blog, and we were talking about the "Barack Obama is an Indonesian trained terrorist" story run by the Fox News Channel. It brought up the old rehashing from my contributor friend of how biased the FNC is, but a more interesting point (and the focus of this entry) is the source the FNC reporter "gave up". I read that FNC attempted to justify the airing of the atrocious Obama terrorist story by citing the source of the information as a member of the Hillary Rodham-Clinton camp. The contributor immediately propositioned that this would be a brilliant idea, thereby shining a negative light on both the FNC and Obama in a single blow. If someone were to bring up the possible conspiracy theory, it could be dismissed out of hand as "absurd". I like a good story, but I likewise dismissed the idea from the contributor out of hand as--absurd.

News came down recently this past week that the airing of the story has earned Fox News the fine of... no more Obama. He apparently is going to try to cut FNC out of the loop. I currently believe that Barack Obama is intellectually and psychologically strong enough to take on the misinformation of any news sources. This is, therefore, a bad idea. FNC may not be universally respected for journalistic integrity, but it serves in providing a key portion of America with their information/misinformation. To cut yourself off from potential voters is never a good idea. There does exist swing voters who watch FNC for their information, and the missed face time could cost him. Granted, the amount of time spent abstaining from FNC has not been quantified (at least to me, at the time of posting) by the Obama camp.

This all leads me back to the introduction: Hillary and her now certain attempt to discredit both Obama and the FNC with one master stroke. It seems like a beautiful piece of work crafted only through years of practice playing Diplomacy (best game ever invented). No, I don't believe Hillary Rodham-Clinton was the second shooter from the grassy knoll, but conspiracy theories are supposed to be just a little but nutty.