July 31, 2004

They are a lie

Over at Esquire, Ron Reagan Jr. has an ... unfriendly characterization of Bush and his administration.

A quick summary with some quotes:

Continue reading "They are a lie"
posted by sstrader at 2:49 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (1)

July 30, 2004

What was said, Part 1

I missed all of the first-hand experiences of the DNC--busy working, being depressed, and drinking (in random order). But that's why media-on-demand exists: I can review them at my leisure. So, let's look at the transcripts of Obama, Clinton, Gore, and Kerry. Thanks to The Centrifuge for helping dig up the sources in real time.

Continue reading "What was said, Part 1"
posted by sstrader at 11:45 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

July 29, 2004

<noun> <verb> <adj>

Ftrain (Paul Ford) has written a fictional article on Google. It explains, in 2009, how Google became King of the World by promoting and harnessing the semantic Web--a universal medium for information exchange by giving meaning, in a manner understandable by machines, to the content of documents on the Web. A concept near and dear to any linguist's or amateur linguist's heart.

Continue reading "<noun> <verb> <adj>"
posted by sstrader at 8:54 PM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

ČIE

Some daring bastard discovered how to get rid of IE completely. I say "daring" because it's one of those back-up-your-registry things. I'm a 95% Opera user, but don't know if I'm ready (or fanatical enough) to go cold turkey. Hats off to this guy though.

posted by sstrader at 8:43 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

July 28, 2004

Reasons for using CSS

I tend to trust the pundits who say that CSS is the correct technology to use when designing Web pages. Specifically, their approach is to push all style and layout information into the CSS file(s) and leave only structural information in the HTML. Even fancy menuing systems can be created using CSS + UL elements. The results give you light-weight, configurable, searchable, and simple Web pages.

Here is a review of some sites of interest.

Continue reading "Reasons for using CSS"
posted by sstrader at 8:45 AM in Programming | permalink | comments (1)

Box turtles. Yes, box turtles.

This is a little old (old for blogs: over two days), but the last minute of the clip is sooo worth it.

Girlfriend.

Jon Stewart on the Senate debate over the gay marriage ban.

Continue reading "Box turtles. Yes, box turtles."
posted by sstrader at 12:43 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (1)

July 27, 2004

Review: Gojira (3/5)

This was the original Japanese version with no Americans spliced in (those Americans being Raymond Burr) and with English subtitles. Even considering the added distraction during action scenes, or with dodging tall people in front of me, I prefer subtitles over dubbing for the added naturalism. It's like hearing Haydn on authentic instruments: you may not as readily connect with what's going on without the benefit of sounds you're used to, but the authenticity adds to the experience. And although I know I'd seen the American version of Godzilla at some point in my life, the time that had passed and the notable differences with the original made this a new experience.

Continue reading "Review: Gojira (3/5)"
posted by sstrader at 11:23 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

Stewart in da hiz-ouse

Thanks to bump for pointing me to a short article in USA Today about Jon Stewart's recent rant at the media. It's low on content and definitely makes you want more:

Does it bother Stewart that so many potential voters are relying on a joke show for information?

''I'm concerned about the incredible number of people who say they get the news from you guys,'' Stewart shot back. Sensitive scribes scowled.

The tightly wrapped comic's harangue included a blast at the media's ''absolute acceptance of being stage-managed'' and an attack on Washington as a city of ''absolute self-delusion and arrogance.''

The article was prompted by the results of a poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which showed that 21% of viewers ages 18 to 29 named The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live as places where they get news about the presidential campaign. A related article over at The Boston Globe points out the Pew study merely shows that more people watch "The Daily Show" than before. It goes on to quote Stewart from a Harvard appearance in 2002:

A student asked if he realized that most younger people got their news from him. "That's retarded," Stewart said.

With the more recent comments, he's taking networks to task for pushing viewers to choose comedy news over "real" news. So, we complain about the news outlets becoming entertainment, and in rebellion we go to entertainment for news. Maybe we are retarded.

Continue reading "Stewart in da hiz-ouse"
posted by sstrader at 1:40 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (1)

Hysterical

The usually uninteresting Salon series about airlines etc. has an hiLARious critique (no reg mirror here) on the woman who thought she spotted some Syrian hijackers. Here she is, quoted in the Salon piece:

So the question is ... Do I think these men were musicians? I'll let you decide. But I wonder, if 19 terrorists can learn to fly airplanes into buildings, couldn't 14 terrorists learn to play instruments?

Ahh, the intelligent electorate. Read and enjoy. Never have I seen such self-important, alarmist melodrama.

Almost never.

Now Snopes has made a statement about this.
Continue reading "Hysterical"
posted by sstrader at 12:55 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (2)

Are they discriminating against men?

I almost don't know what to make of the "I had an abortion" t-shirts. At first, I loved the subversiveness of it all. It's daring on so many levels--none subtle. After that, I began to cringe at the potential (certain) conservative backlash. If there's any reason conservatives will hold up American liberalism as degenerate, it will be for this. At least it'll take the heat off the arts.

Finally, I think of all of the callous comments made by conservatives in rebellion against the straw man they built called "political correctness." And their Whoopi bad, Dennis Miller good duplicity is amazing.

Just as Death Cigarettes were a Goth fad (too narrow a market to be sustained), these shirts will probably spark some interest in the snarky Garafalo crowd.

Two thumbs up.

posted by sstrader at 12:23 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

July 26, 2004

Review: Fight Club (4/5)

Ah, nothing like a two-hour-and-20-minute midnight movie. But, I have to admit that Fight Club holds up. Don't trust those people snoring (at Fight Club?!?) in the back row--the movie has very few flaws.

In fact my biggest complaint when it came out was with its passionate supporters and their oddly misdirected interpretation of Palahniuk's story. I've often heard the many biting quotes in the movie used as support of the fight club ethos: we're a generation of men raised by women ... self improvement is masturbation ... without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.

However, the absurd rebellion that culminated throughout the movie was not a doctrine to cure male society's ills: it was an absurd response to fringe aspects of male society. Palahniuk took the weak individuals from support groups (weak from illness or mental exhaustion) and held them up as ridiculous counterparts to short-lived "encounter" groups such as the Promise-keepers. What would be the opposite manifestation? What would be the extreme opposite? Fight Club, with its slack-jawed members, answered civilized male guilt in a way that makes Ted Nugent seem quaint. In fact, the subtlety of Fight Club becomes a satire of Ted Nugent's brand of back-to-nature-manliness. It's ultimate goal devolves into nihilism, where no amount of civilization can be trusted.

All of that chaos can be traced back to Edward Norton's psychotic break as he tries to find blame for his chaotic life. He's cured himself in the end, but the struggle has left its mark. This extreme movie becomes an argument against extremism.

-> IMDB

-> Rotten Tomatoes

posted by sstrader at 10:47 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (3)

Birds die every day

Driving to the movies, we saw a bird on the dotted line in the middle of the street at the Peachtree Place Marta station. It was flopping around weakly, and I stopped to get it out of the road. The little bluejay was very calm as I scooped it up and set it into the nearby grass. One of its spindly legs was dangling to the side. What's a better death: getting run over by a car or getting attacked by some street cats?

I know I'm a sap, but that bird is going to stay with me.

(Seinfeld references not needed.)

posted by sstrader at 12:55 AM in Misc | permalink | comments (1)

July 25, 2004

I know you are, but what am I?

The introduction to the essay How NOT to Talk! inadvertently contains two examples of the type of language it recommends you avoid.

It is hoped that exposing these tactics will help muzzle the growing abuse in our conversational landscape.
See the sections "Bombast" and "Lunatic Fringe." And maybe even "Word Salad."
Use your imagination to think of how you (perish the thought) and others have used these techniques in the past.
See the sections "I'm Not Saying This" and "Cheap Shot."
posted by sstrader at 8:34 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

The fox and the crane

Lawrence Lessig posted an analysis of a debate, broadcast on Fox News, on whether the documentary OutFOXed (IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes) presented valid arguments against them. Their conclusion was predictable. Lucky for us, Lessig's around to set the record straight--but then "us" is a miniscule sub-section of the population.

Continue reading "The fox and the crane"
posted by sstrader at 6:22 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

July 24, 2004

And above all, LaHaye

Going through some Neal Pollack archives and found this entry on the Left Behind series. He then points to a Rolling Stone profile of the author, Timothy LaHaye, by Robert Dreyfuss. (Pollack's link was dead, but mine will hopefully stay valid.)

I previously blogged another of Pollack's alarmingly satirical entries on Bush + religion.

Continue reading "And above all, LaHaye"
posted by sstrader at 1:35 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (3)

Robotic nation

Earlier this year, Marshall Brain (yes, Brain) of the wonderful How Stuff Works put out a longish essay titled "Robotic Nation." In it, he predicted 50% unemployment in 20 years as automation takes over the workplace. As it stands, the world's economy would collapse.

He's been busy since then bolstering his argument:

Continue reading "Robotic nation"
posted by sstrader at 12:28 PM in Science & Technology | tagged fukuyama, robots | permalink | comments (0)

July 23, 2004

Donnie Darko

A director's cut of the engaging Donnie Darko is making the rounds and Dan Kois has an extended discussion in Salon on what it all meant. I had the general concept correct (brag), but the analysis threads in many off-line facts provided by the movie's writer-director, Richard Kelly.

Previously, Salon had an equally informative analysis of Mulholland Dr. Both follow similar formats: the first third is a detailed description of the whole movie, emphasizing the relevant points. The second third ties them together, and the final third answers more concrete questions using a fake Q&A.

The Donnie Darko analysis is subscriber-only, so I'll be a bastard and mirror it here until told otherwise.

posted by sstrader at 9:21 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

That's it for me

I gave up. As of Tuesday night it became too much effort and no reward.

We'll see how long it lasts.

posted by sstrader at 8:20 PM in Misc | permalink | comments (3)

The oil we eat

Harper's Magazine periodically publishes older content on their Web site. They just put up a good article from a few issues back called "The Oil We Eat." In it, Richard Manning discusses the conversion of energy into different forms of matter: sunlight and oil in fertilizers into carbohydrates in plants, oil in farm equipment into harvested plants, harvested plants into protien in animals ...

There are quite a few assertions, all of them interesting, some of them possibly unreliable. Here are a few excerpts:

Continue reading "The oil we eat"
posted by sstrader at 7:07 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

Tea time

Skimming Atrios, he recently made a quick reference to an older Neal Pollack piece. Rated R, but it thoroughly cracked my shit up.

posted by sstrader at 6:10 PM in Misc | permalink | comments (0)

July 22, 2004

Cerebus

Got a call at 12:30 today from 678-904-1418 ... ? Aha! They left a message ... it was Oxford Comics and the final book of Cerebus was in! Got it, read it, and here we go.

Cerebus was a comic begun in 1977 and by 1979 the creator, Dave Sim, announced that it would be a single story ending at issue 300. That brought him to May of this year. Although Sim became quite un-loved, the accomplishment was noted in the comic community, and he was a strong influence on me in my art school college days.

Continue reading "Cerebus"
posted by sstrader at 11:27 PM in Art | tagged comic books | permalink | comments (1)

Hawking speaks

Yesderday, Stephen Hawking presented his theory [NYT] that black holes return information to the universe. I spoke about it earlier and glossed some notes from Brian Greene's first book.

From the article, one physicist in the audience is quoted complaining that Part of the problem is he's providing so few details, so it's impossible to know whether we can believe these calculations. Stephen Hawking's not stupid, so we're going to take what he says seriously ... but the whole theory we're hearing seems extremely speculative.

I guess we wouldn't understand the details even if he provided them. It would've been nice to be asked though.

/. has a discussion on the news.

Continue reading "Hawking speaks"
posted by sstrader at 1:17 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

Review: I, Robot (3/5)

Contrary to what was feared by /.ers everywhere, this is not Men In Black 3. Yes, Will Smith offers up his share of wisecracking, but it's all secondary to the movie as a whole. The real complaint about Will Smith movies is that they're more Will Smith than movie. Wherever the deficiency has been in those films (in the writers, directors, etc.), I, Robot is solid enough to hold its own.

Continue reading "Review: I, Robot (3/5)"
posted by sstrader at 12:42 AM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

July 21, 2004

Review: Tierra (restaurant) (4/5)

Tuesday night we went to Tierra to celebrate the sister-in-law's birthday. It had the magic of a convergence of events consisting of the birthday, a one-day-a-week Chihuly exhibit at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and 1/2-price off all bottles of wine $40-and-under. The gods smiled on us that night.

Continue reading "Review: Tierra (restaurant) (4/5)"
posted by sstrader at 11:47 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Voting

I used Georgia's handy-dandy electronic voting machines yesterday. Although a friend had complained about the software usability, saying that the screens were too busy, I was happy with them. The layout was inconsistent and had an uncomfortable color palette, but beyond aesthetics (and suspicion about Diebold in general) the software flow was simple.

However, I was unhappy with two other aspects of the voting process.

Continue reading "Voting"
posted by sstrader at 1:18 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Phone

The phone has been found. Once more, peace is restored to the simple village folk.

posted by sstrader at 12:27 PM in Misc | permalink | comments (0)

July 20, 2004

Fun error of the day

Always fun debugging CE:

'Test.exe' has exited with code -1159943394 (0xBADCAB1E)

I've had 0xBADDF00D before, but never 0xBADCAB1E.

posted by sstrader at 3:05 PM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

July 19, 2004

G

New Details Surface in the infamous Senate language war of Cheney v. Leahy.

Despite the fact that both participants brought their A-game and succeeded in dropping mad scientifics, the bout seemed to end in a draw.

...

(In a related story, an AM talk-radio host in Billings, Montana, who expressed his disappointment with the behavior of Mr. Cheney and Mr. Leahy—on the air, he asked his listeners, “Do we taxpayers really have time for this kind of crap?”—was fined five hundred thousand dollars for violating the F.C.C.’s recent, Senate-approved guidelines prohibiting explicit references to human excrement.)

Word.

Continue reading "G"
posted by sstrader at 8:46 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (1)

Seed magazine

Thanks to BoingBoing for pointing me to Seed magazine and its loooong article about Brian Greene.

Yet another thing to distract me from getting through his damn book!

Continue reading "Seed magazine"
posted by sstrader at 7:40 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

HTML integration in CE applications

In two previous entries, I had discussed tips on developing on Windows CE and trapping events from the Web Browser control. I had been researching integration of an HTML UI in a CE application for a hypothetical company I work for. Here are some details on what I've found.

Continue reading "HTML integration in CE applications"
posted by sstrader at 7:10 PM in Programming | tagged mobile development | permalink | comments (0)

Mornings

Got up early (really early) 'cause of the night's cocktail encounters and joined the Sex and the City DVD marathon that had been going on in the living room. Not sure what season it was, but Charlotte's marriage was falling apart (sexually) and Samantha was in a lesbian relationship with Sonia Braga. A couple of episodes later the sun started coming up.

Sunrise is the most depressing time of the day. The night lets you feel that you have all the time in the world and then the sun comes up and you realize that you can't put off whatever it is you'd hoped to put off. I think I got this feeling from the all night, coffee-filled studio art sessions during college. Or maybe from the all night, sci-fi/monster movie marathons with my brother growing up. Either way, mornings can be pretty depressing. When the sun comes up, the fun has ended.

And I lost my PDA phone last night. It's either at Pura Vida (where there was a multi-national Microsoft contingent) or Apres Diem.

Continue reading "Mornings"
posted by sstrader at 8:56 AM in Misc | permalink | comments (0)

"Two queers walk into a bush..."

This should be a non-issue, but it's not.

Whoopi Goldberg (who is, face it, not funny at all) cracked wise about Bush's name in a sexual manner and was held up by the media as a model of liberal bad taste. In contrast, some outlets pointed out that Dennis Miller (who is really not funny) cracked equally wise about the two John's affections, in an equally sexual manner, and got a media pass. This is the type of story that's more distracting than informative and should be ignored.

But when I hear the double-standard in conversation (that is: my friends aren't ignoring it), I'm pulled back into the non-issue melee. You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.

Paul Begala's comments:

I think it's an interesting example of the double standard in the media. Whoopi Goldberg apparently told some jokes people didn't like. I didn't hear them, don't even know what they are and everybody got their panties in a wad and here's this big corporation fires her. Meanwhile yesterday, Dennis Miller at a Bush rally basically implies that John Edwards and John Kerry are gay, then attacks my pal James Carville for the way that he looks and nobody says anything. I doubt CNN has even covered that story today at all. So why is it that a liberal comedian can make fun of President Bush, but she gets fired from her job? A conservative comedian makes really nasty sexual innuendoes about Kerry and Edwards and nobody says anything. So it's a double standard.

Continue reading ""Two queers walk into a bush...""
posted by sstrader at 7:09 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (2)

July 17, 2004

Penderecki

My parents recently Wish Listed me four Penderecki CDs from Naxos containing his Symphonies 1 through 5, Violin Concertos 1 & 2, and his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. The last being his, sort of, "Stairway to Heaven" in terms of popularity. I'm digging into the Violin Concertos now--great music, and his style became much more romantic than I expected. The liner notes aren't that fun though. They give a very short historical and stylistic description and then a long blow-by-blow of the pieces (each a single movement concerto). Those descriptions, especially in some modern music, are hard to follow when being followed in a continuous 40-minute piece. Some time-stamped signposts would be nice.

Anyway, I then found a Brit blogger who (despite an embarrassingly irritating use of the word "milady") has some good background on Penderecki and modern composition. He'll certainly be a source to find other opinions on modern music. Aaaand, he's a Messiaen ('rents also got me his Turangalila Symphony) and Sonic Youth fan.

But, geez, "milady"?!?

He also linked to the recent and recently interesting Shape of Song MIDI applet. It displays MIDI files graphically by linking their repeated sections. The result is layers of interconnected loops of different sizes depending on the length of the section that's repeated. Another possibly cool-but-what-do-I-do-with-it tool.

Continue reading "Penderecki"
posted by sstrader at 12:49 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Black, like my ... well, you know

Next Wednesday, Stephen Hawking will present a talk at the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin. At the last minute for applications, he sent a note to the group chairing the scientific committee for the conference that I have solved the black hole information paradox and I want to talk about it. This was originally reported in a New Scientist article. The information paradox states that the quantum information of particles lost in a black hole is never returned to the universe because the information contained in the particles returned is different (and, in a way, empty). That loss of information screws up quantum determinism: we would have to admit a greater randomness into the universe. It's a philosophical admission, but science has always defined our philosophical understanding of the universe.

If Hawking's hour-long presentation convinces the attendees, He and Kip Thorne of Caltech will lose the bet they made with John Preskill of Caltech. In it, the loser(s) will reward the winner(s) with an encyclopedia of the winner's choice, from which information can be recovered at will.

Geeks.

Anyway, the math is beyond me, but Brian Greene touches on the issue in his book The Elegant Universe.

Continue reading "Black, like my ... well, you know"
posted by sstrader at 9:59 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

July 16, 2004

Crappy name

Codermonkey just ... hypothetically ... got me a copy of 9/11 from some BitTorrent source. He pointed out that BitTorrent is different from Kazaa and its ilk because BitTorrent files don't have a fancy search feature.

Point out no more!

(But "bitoogle"?!? Crappy name.)

posted by sstrader at 8:37 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Asserts, error codes, and exceptions

Herb Sutter has a poorly written, but well-intentioned and informative, article on error reporting in the August 2004 C/C++ Users Journal. In it, he summarizes the difference between asserts, error codes, and exceptions. He also defines the three (and only three) types of errors that occur.

Continue reading "Asserts, error codes, and exceptions"
posted by sstrader at 11:29 AM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

July 14, 2004

Polls

The wonderful electoral college map has Kerry at 322 and Bush at 205. Wow. Well, "wow" in the context of the information at hand. I wish they had a way to link the results so that I could have live updates on my page.

posted by sstrader at 11:27 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

July 13, 2004

NEA funding

This page from the NEA site has some nifty JavaScript that outlines the grant process.

Here are the steps it describes:

Continue reading "NEA funding"
posted by sstrader at 9:04 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Falwell on slavery

I'm sure many extremist conversations occur that I don't hear. I generally don't tune in to fundamentalist shows (although some are very entertaining) or read white supremacist writing (less entertaining). But every so often those conversations are injected into what I normally do listen to. This morning, Tavis Smiley had a discussion of the political dialog that surrounds values. The same-sex marriage amendment was his starting-off point, but he wanted to include all areas where values are at issue and he opened with a quote from Bush and a quote from Kerry stumping about values in their respective campaigns.

I don't know if I'm better or worse off because I didn't change the station when Tavis introduced Jerry Falwell as one of his guests to discuss the issue.

Continue reading "Falwell on slavery"
posted by sstrader at 9:26 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (2)

July 12, 2004

Lake Vostok

Scientists recently discovered that Lake Vostok is divided into two basins. Two separate evolutionary paths, related or unrelated, could be found in the different sections. Cool.

Continue reading "Lake Vostok"
posted by sstrader at 12:43 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

July 11, 2004

Trial lawyers

I've been reading commentary on how Republicans in general and right wing radio in particular will be running with a trial-lawyers-are-evil message. Last nite my dad, out of nowhere, went on a rampage against those damn crooked trial lawyers.

I can guess what station he's listening to.

posted by sstrader at 4:42 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (3)

July 10, 2004

It's easier than reaching...

Fascinating and terrifying research being done to use conscious brain activity to control machines. From the Forbes article:

Then, the monkeys learned to get rewards by mentally controlling a cursor on the computer screen instead of physically reaching. The cursor moved in response to the brain patterns indicating a desire. "They like it because it's easier than reaching," Andersen said.

Gah. Is this the first step to some dystopia of atrophied bodies? On the other hand, I'm reminded of the patients in Oliver Sacks's book Awakenings. In it, Sacks writes of the patients who have succumbed to a sleeping-sickness that left them completely paralyzed. I have fond memories of the movie and remember a very moving quote. Two doctors discuss whether the paralyzed individuals are conscious of their environment. The older doctor is positive they aren't and when the younger one asks why he replies that the alternative is unthinkable. He couldn't imagine the horror of having no way to communicate and affect the world and yet still be alive.

Continue reading "It's easier than reaching..."
posted by sstrader at 2:37 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

Windows CE development

This entry is a repository for tips and resources on writing C++ code for Windows CE. I'll be continually updating it and reorganizing it as I find new information.

Continue reading "Windows CE development"
posted by sstrader at 1:23 PM in Programming | tagged mobile development | permalink | comments (3)

July 7, 2004

Spidey-o's

Here's a comical retelling of Spiderman 2 created entirely with Legos (54meg MOV file). Some of the action scenes are better than the movie. Where can I get the little Lego web-maker?

Thanks to BoingBoing.

posted by sstrader at 6:45 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

Coffee klatch

Here's a 2001 article from The Washington Monthly with some detailed praise of John Edwards (article via Atrios over at Eschaton). The anecdote that Atrios quotes is a wonderful story of lawyer-as-hero, battling The (Corporate) Man. I found another quote from the article equally interesting, though on a complete tangent.

Continue reading "Coffee klatch"
posted by sstrader at 1:55 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

We are less alone

This BBC article, et al., is reporting that astronomer Kailash Sahu has used the Hubble over a seven-day period to find up to 100 new extra-solar planetary systems.

The astronomers expect it should be possible to study the atmospheres of between 10% and 20% of the planets discovered.

When are we going to suck it up and just schedule people to maintain the damn thing?

Continue reading "We are less alone"
posted by sstrader at 8:17 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (1)

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban (4/5)

I've now seen all three Harry Potter films--just in the past few days--and I enjoyed the ride quite a bit. I'm in fact looking forward to the next adaptation. The characters are growing up, as are the actors, but as they grow and grow older a shared history keeps them familiar--having seen Azkaban before The Chamber of Secrets, I now finally understand Ron's fear of spiders. Although Harry and Hermione and Ron hold our attention and provide a strong focus, all of the recurring secondary characters and in-jokes (who'll be the next Dark Arts professor?!?) provide a rich backdrop.

Continue reading "Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban (4/5)"
posted by sstrader at 12:05 AM in Cinema | tagged harry potter | permalink | comments (1)

July 6, 2004

Review: Spiderman 2 (4/5)

Spiderman 2 was a strong entry as far as superhero movies goes. It was equal parts humor, action, and pathos. The range was required for the movie's length--without it, a lesser attempt would have lost our interest. And although it did wander some, its characters kept our attention. Many movies of this genre try to tell you how you should feel about the characters, a flaw inherited from comic books themselves. The Saturday after I saw the movie, I channel-surfed past the cartoon and was reminded how dismally obvious comic melodrama can be. The Spiderman movie successfully allows the primary characters to define themselves without resorting to paint-by-numbers development.

Continue reading "Review: Spiderman 2 (4/5)"
posted by sstrader at 11:35 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (1)

Cassini and Titan

Cassini's been taking some keen pictures of Titan. Although it won't drop the Huygens probe into Titan's atmosphere until X-mas of this year, it's been gathering a lot of information. Last time I checked, it was taking pictures of Phoebe and only getting distant, blurry images of Titan.

Continue reading "Cassini and Titan"
posted by sstrader at 11:50 AM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

July 4, 2004

Transcription: "Ritual" (coda) by Yes

In a previous entry, I transcribed the 1st bridge of Yes's song "Ritual" from Tales from Topographic Oceans. This entry contains a transcription for the coda lasting from 19:50 to 21:33, the end of the piece. I was interested in this section because of its freeform melodic development and harmonic structure similar in style to the bridge.

The full MP3 is here and an excerpt with only the coda is here.

Continue reading "Transcription: "Ritual" (coda) by Yes"
posted by sstrader at 12:10 PM in Music | tagged yes | permalink | comments (3)

July 1, 2004

Rhapsodic lies

Now, I still love Rhapsody, don't get me wrong, but I've been noticing that the "Just Added: Albums" section on its client's home page lies like a dog. Apparently, to make it appear that new albums are constantly being added!! they just cycle through already-added albums.

That kinda irritates me.

Continue reading "Rhapsodic lies"
posted by sstrader at 1:39 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Fahrenheit 9/11 transcript

Red Lind Rants has a transcript of the movie. Just in case it gets knocked off for copyright or what-have-you, I've mirrored it here:

Part 1 (0:00 - 43:43)
Part 2 (43:44 - 1:19:43)

Sites that criticize the movie (taken from comments at Red Line Rants):

And someone posted this link to a site full of movie scripts, but Fahrenheit 9/11 isn't there (yet).

posted by sstrader at 8:55 AM in Cinema | permalink | comments (2)