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Archives: July 2003

Wed Jul 30, 2003

Irrational News Publishing for the Little Folks BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 30, 03 | 11:40 am

Backed by software giant Adobe Systems, the RedPaper is an experimental market for information, allowing anyone to publish and sell their writing, be it recipes for muffins or hard-to-get court documents.

The site has about 600 registered users, who have published several hundred articles on the site, including favorite drink recipes, car maintenance instructions, poetry and short fiction.

The RedPaper has set up a micropayment system to pay contributors. The authors set the price for their work, anywhere from $0.02 on up. The author receives 94.75 percent of monies; the RedPaper takes a 5.25 percent cut. When registering with the site, new users deposit $3 in an account, which is used to buy articles...



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Irrational Obscurity Pentagon Folds Hand in Online Terrorism Futures Scheme BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 30, 03 | 9:49 am

The Pentagon has agreed to stop a new program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to predict terrorist events through the online selling of "futures" in terrorist attacks.

Sen. John Warner (R.-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said during a Tuesday morning hearing he had contacted the program's director and the Pentagon had agreed to scuttle the program that had ignited a firestorm of criticism...



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Irrational News How to Create an RSS Feed With Notepad, a Web Server, and a Beer BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 30, 03 | 9:05 am

An RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed is an XML file used to describe the contents of your website. As your website content changes, your RSS feed changes. Other computer systems, known as 'aggregators' or 'harvesters', read your RSS feed everyt once in a while. If you have provided new information, the aggregator takes that information and sends it to readers around the world. Thus information about your site's contents is 'syndicated', that is, rebroadcast to a much larger audience.

Step One: Getting Ready...

By Stephen Downes



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Tue Jul 29, 2003

Irrational Satire Top Ten Reasons David Letterman Shouldn't Take an Extended Vacation BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 29, 03 | 12:48 am

The workaholic host of CBS's Late Show with David Letterman has been taking the occasional day off this summer. But plans for a longer break to "stop and smell the roses" are still a possibility.

Could America tolerate an indeterminate number of repeats and temporary replacements? Here are the Top Ten reasons why an extended leave-of-absence would be totally unacceptable:



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Irrational Obscurity Diagnosis and Medicine in a Pill BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 29, 03 | 12:36 am

Engineers at the University of Calgary have developed a pill that, once swallowed, will determine how healthy or ill the patient is, and will release just the right amount of medicine accordingly.

Dubbed the Intelligent Pill or iPill, the new drug-delivery system packs a micropump and sensors that monitor the body's temperature and pH balance into one pill. If the body's temperature and pH reach certain levels, the iPill responds by pumping out more or less of its drug payload. It could be used to treat many ailments like AIDS or diabetes.



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Mon Jul 28, 2003

Irrational News Napster, But in Name Only BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 28, 03 | 11:45 pm

Napster may be dead, but the name and the "kitty" logo of the pioneer online music-swapping program could return to cyberspace before the year is out.

Roxio Inc., which owns the rights to the Napster name, plans to shelve its current online music service, pressplay, and roll out Napster 2.0 by Christmas, said Chris Gorog, CEO of the Santa Clara, California software maker...



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Sun Jul 27, 2003

Irrational News In with Snapster, Out with RIAA BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 27, 03 | 8:55 pm

Introducing Snapster.

In a recent article on pbs.org, Robert Cringely, introduces Snapster, an idea that has the potential to revolutionize music distribution as we know it. A must read...



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Irrational Satire Buttered-Toast.Com Handbook: PC Repair BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 27, 03 | 8:06 pm

For anyone who’s ever managed to successfully destroy their computer, but can’t afford to have it fixed professionally, and doesn’t want the humiliation of getting a PC-savvy friend round to fix it, here is the definitive manual on DIY PC Repair! Or not.



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Sat Jul 26, 2003

Irrational Obscurity No Signup, No Passwords or Nonsense, Just Email BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 26, 03 | 11:10 pm

Mailinator is a new service which allows anyone to create throwaway email addresses when they don't want to give a real address, yet need the given address to work. Type in any address, like [email protected] and you can check any mail sent there by simply entering "foobar" and clicking "Go". No signup, passwords or other nonsense required. Their FAQ is fun to read and the tagline is "It's like flicking a booger at spam."



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Irrational News Web Cliques Too Cool for School BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 26, 03 | 11:06 pm

Angela Valaine had a problem. The 25-year-old Atlantan was spending so much time building websites that she had nearly forgotten what sunlight was like. But in a classic lemons-into-lemonade move, she decided that rather than get lost in her computer, she would get creative, and find new friends in the process. So she started a clique.

A clique is traditionally defined as a group of mostly teens who spend a lot of time together, control who hangs out with them and talk about a few specific subjects. But these days, another definition of a clique is a website that serves as a virtual gathering place, where the site's owner picks the topic of discussion, sets rules for joining and vets whose on-topic sites can be linked.



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Irrational News Want to See if you are Being Sued by RIAA?! BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 26, 03 | 9:08 am

Mosey on over and search the U.S. District Court's Web site ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov if you are curious about who the RIAA might be planning to sue next month. (Registration Required)

If you're worried this may draw to much attention (you never know...), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) plans to release the same information as a service on its web site www.eff.org.

Find your name? Need Advice? Visit www.subpoenadefense.org . Tell them an irrational noise made you do it...



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Irrational Satire Introducing Hypocrisy & Hypotheses BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 26, 03 | 4:27 am

Time for a shameless plug along with an earnest request for you, the IN insurgent, to support the new and improved official personal blog of the insufferable admin here @ Irrational Noise. Running this site was not enough, noooo....So, I have re-vamped my Hypocrisy & Hypotheses blog, much to the shagrin of bloggers everywhere. I mostly plan to use it as an online sounding board with a little entertaining prose thrown in for good measure.

Go ahead...Check it out...I won't tell...But you can if you want...



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Thu Jul 24, 2003

Irrational News File Sharing = Bad...Fraud + Identity Theft = Not So Bad? BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 24, 03 | 10:35 pm

The debate over P2P apps is being played out on websites and courtrooms all over the world. Lawmakers are lining up to bring felony penalties to file sharers, while dissenting opinions are coming from surprising places. Unfortunately, the lawmakers are looking to protect profits for the entertainment cartel when internet fraud runs rampant. A recent Gartner report estimates that 7 million U.S. consumers have been victims of identity theft, and arrests have been exceedingly rare.

Many recent scams have ranged from installation of keystroke logging programs used in capturing user names and passwords to scam e-mail and websites looking to accomplish the same. The scammers can then obtain personal data, credit numbers and other information to create a financial and credit nightmare for victims.

"There is a serious disconnect between the magnitude of identity theft that innocent consumers experience and the industry's proper recognition of the crime," Litan stated in the report. "Without external pressure from legislators and industry associations, financial services providers may not have sufficient incentive to stem the flow of identity theft crimes."






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Irrational Obscurity Got Game? Might Need a New PC BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 24, 03 | 10:33 pm

Minutes after the doors to the Electronic Entertainment Expo video-game tradeshow opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday, spectators were four- and five-deep in front of screens playing the trailer for the upcoming ultraviolent action game Doom III.

They were lining up to see game graphics verging on Pixar Animation Studios' animation quality, if not yet cinematically realistic.

Phantom skulls emerge from a Satanic shrine and travel around a Martian base, taking possession of soldiers' bodies. Creepy alien crawlers skitter about on the floor, walls and ceilings. A lone Marine who hasn't been possessed moves down a hall and is mottled with alternating light and shadow, reminiscent of a famous scene with Sigourney Weaver from the end of Alien.

"I think it's going to be awesome," said Chris Campbell, a tester for the Japanese game developer Square Enix, as he watched the Doom III trailer.



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Irrational News The RIAA's Hit List Named BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 24, 03 | 12:56 am

TechTV is the first I've seen to name names in the fight between the RIAA and music downloaders. Using an online court records search service, they've found a number of the subpoenas served by the RIAA to ISPs, which will ultimately end in lawsuits for the people named on this list. Right now, they've published a number of the P2P user names filed with the US District Court in Washington, DC, mainly Kazaa users. Are you on the list?"



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Wed Jul 23, 2003

Irrational Satire Ozzy Osbourne To Run For Governor of California BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 23, 03 | 2:07 pm

LOS ANGELES -- Ozzy Osbourne has declared his intent to be put on the ballot as a candidate for the Governor of California. Osbourne, who will run as an independent, is the latest high-profile figure to line up against the beleaguered Governor Gray Davis.

Coming on the heels of speculation that Arnold Schwarzenegger might run for the governorship, Osbourne's declaration will inevitably stir protests from the state's conservative elements. Supporters cited pro wrestler Jesse Ventura's successful run for the governorship of Minnesota.





"If I can bite the head off a live bat, then I can take a bite out of this f*ing state deficit."



Ozzy Osbourne,

gubernotorious candidate






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Tue Jul 22, 2003

Irrational News The Impending IP Crisis BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 22, 03 | 9:46 pm

With the supply of IP addresses expected to run out by 2005 due to the popularity explosion of the Internet and the expectation that everything from your phone to your washing machine will soon have its own IP address, Alex Lightman, CEO of Charmed Technology and chairman of last month's North American IPv6 Global Summit tells the New York Times "we're going to need something like 100 IP addresses for each human being." IPv6 will increase the supply of addresses from 4 billion today to a number in excess of 35 trillion that is "so big that there's not a word for the number," says Cody Christman, director of product engineering for Verio, which offers IPv6 in San Francisco, Washington and elsewhere. The article is a good layman's backgrounder on the looming IP crisis.



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Irrational News Company Plans Data Storage Dump on the Moon BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 22, 03 | 9:45 pm

Dr. Strangelove would love this one. Companies like Iron Mountain now store your backup data in old mine shafts, but now a California company will take that one giant step further. That's right, soon you'll be able to store backups on the moon. Talk about a mine-shaft gap! By early next year, it plans to have a working network on the moon. Which begs the question: If the earth explodes, do you really need your data? Read all about this out of this world idea, and find out if it's right for you...



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Irrational Obscurity Buy.Com Debuts Music Download Site BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 22, 03 | 9:44 pm

Buy.com on Tuesday launched a new digital music download service -- the site, BuyMusic.com, offers a catalog of more than 300,000 songs. The site only loads in Internet Explorer and all the files are Windows Media 9 formatted with DRM. No word yet on whether the public announcement of a supposed gaping hole in Windows Media DRM caused any concern before the launch. Compatible players include the Nomad IIc 9 and Creative's Jukebox Zen."



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Irrational Obscurity Dismayed Americans Contemplate Canada BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 22, 03 | 11:27 am

For all they share economically and culturally, Canada and the United States are increasingly at odds on basic social policies -- to the point that at least a few discontented Americans are planning to move north and try their neighbors' way of life.

A husband and wife in Minnesota, a college student in Georgia, a young executive in New York. Though each has distinct motives for packing up, they agree the United States is growing too conservative and believe Canada offers a more inclusive, less selfish society.

"For me, it's a no-brainer," said Mollie Ingebrand, a puppeteer from Minneapolis who plans to go to Vancouver with her lawyer husband and 2-year-old son.



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Irrational News Coloring the Comic Books BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 22, 03 | 12:17 am

Open a mainstream comic book today, and you'll find a virtual rainbow of diversity. Many of the most vivid characters come in just about every shape and color. And it's no wonder: They're aliens.

People are a different matter. With some notable exceptions, superheroes still tend to be lily white -- and male -- under those tights and capes. "We can tolerate inhuman diversity but not human diversity," said Kim De Vries, a writing lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies the small number of Asian main characters in comic books.



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Fri Jul 18, 2003

Irrational News Kazaa Derivatives Offer RIAA-Blocking Features BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 18, 03 | 9:26 am

Two derivatives of the popular Kazaa peer-to-peer filesharing service now actively attempt to block scans by the RIAA and other agencies, escalating the P2P war to a new level.

Both Kazaa K++ and Kazaa Lite, two very similar modifications to the Kazaa file-sharing system by Sharman Networks, now contain hooks to the PeerGuardian database of IP addresses. Both updates were published to the Web at the end of last week.

The two versions available for download are Kazaa Lite 2.4.0, and Kazaa K++ 2.4.0. Although the version numbers are the same, the Kazaa Lite download is 2.67 Mbytes, while the K++ version is 3.11 Mbytes; both are bundled with different features and apparently contain slightly different code bases.



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Irrational Obscurity Homestar Runner Figures Are Here! BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 18, 03 | 9:24 am

Just in case you're a big fan of Homestar Runner, the long awaited action figures are here! Blast some techno and boogie down with The Cheat and Strong Bad!

Warning! Choking Hazard - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
"That's silly. Those things will never last three years." Homestar.



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Thu Jul 17, 2003

Irrational Satire A better Superman BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 17, 03 | 5:47 am

For years America has long had a love affair with one blue spandexed hero named Superman. His tales of rescuing damsels in distress, most notably Lois Lane, and thwarting criminal masterminds like Lex Luther have become the thing of legends. This formula has had little change since it's inception nearly four thousand years ago. Many people have begun to find the typical Superman adventures to be bland and predictable. That is why I have taken the liberty of making a few suggestions in order to revive the Superman franchise and propel it into a realm of popularity that I could only imagine to someday reach myself...



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Irrational Obscurity Random Numbers Key to Encryption BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 17, 03 | 5:46 am

How two math geeks with a lava lamp and a webcam are about to unleash chaos on the Internet...



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Irrational News Mozilla Wants to Rumble With IE BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 17, 03 | 5:44 am

Think the browser wars are over? The newly formed Mozilla Foundation claims open-source innovation will allow it to challenge Microsoft's near-total domination of the market. It's a mighty tall order.



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Tue Jul 15, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Mobile Phone Chunkin' to Become Olympic Sport? BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 15, 03 | 12:03 pm

If you've ever been tempted to sling your old mobile, the Eastern Europeans are more than several steps ahead of you.

To be precise, they're 57 metres ahead of you. This is the current record in the phone throwing competitions that litter the sporting calendar in Eastern Europe and the Nordics.

Handset chucking will form a key part of celebrations of mobile telephony take placing place in four Ukrainian cities.



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Irrational News MP3 Creator Speaks Out BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 15, 03 | 12:02 am

The term MP3 is well-known to millions of the world's teenagers but its mere mention sends shivers down the spines of record industry executives.

The format responsible for a musical revolution allows you to compress sound into a file which is a fraction of the size of the original.

But a name which will be unfamiliar to many is that of Karlheinz Brandenburg - the German researcher who was one of the inventors of MP3.



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Irrational Satire Underclocking Becomes Latest Computer Craze BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 15, 03 | 12:00 am

Overclocking, where a computer user increases the clock cycles on their CPUs past the manufacturer's recommendations to squeeze out even more performance, has been popular for many years. Now, a new technique has taken intrepid computer extremists in another direction - underclocking.

Underclockers purposely slow down their machines by various means, even to the point of making the machine unusable. Their professed motto is "How slow can you go?"

Alex Rakoczy explained what he did to slow down his computer system, "Yeah, I turn down the FSB [front side bus] as low as it will allow me, and then crank down the clock multiplier. I set the memory settings really slow too. It's insane. Anybody can make a 486 go slow, but it takes real skill to make a 2.4 GHz machine with 1 GB of RAM unbearable to use."



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Thu Jul 10, 2003

Irrational Satire Psychic John Edward Channels Barry White, Seduces Audience BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 10, 03 | 12:03 am

Orlando - In a recent taping of the psychic communication show "Crossing Over", medium John Edward has reportedly channeled the spirit of soulful crooner Barry White.

Edward has achieved fame and fortune by what's known as "cold reading". Touring constantly to sold-out venues, the psychic walks among audience members and communicates with departed loved ones, often comforting bereaved family members and friends...



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Irrational News P2P Fans Unite, the RIAA Fight Is On BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 10, 03 | 12:02 am

The thunderous grunt let out two weeks ago by the RIAA has served as a call to arms. P2P advocates are ready to prove the technology has merits that outweigh the music labels' self-serving concerns.

As the pigopolists' lobby group, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) prepares to sue thousands of individuals, organizations such as Boycott-RIAA.com, the EFF and P2P company Grokster have mapped out a course of action to try and convince the U.S. government that P2P is here to stay. Starting August 1, music lovers and technology fans alike are to begin bombarding Congress by phone and fax, expressing their P2P love. The following day consumers are encouraged to hold CD burning parties, hand out flyers and generally educate Joe public about P2P technology.



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Irrational News Web Quiet as Hacking Contest Plucks Small Scalps BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 10, 03 | 12:01 am

Computer hackers vying in a global contest on Sunday defaced a slew of Web sites, but the damage was confined to the Internet's backwater of small, unsecured sites, security officials said.

The "Defacer's Challenge" got off to a quick start on Sunday with 300 attacks reported minutes after the 2 a.m. EDT official start, said Roberto Preatoni, founder of Estonia-based Zone-H.org, a site that tracks hack attacks.



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Irrational Obscurity Mainstream Marketing Takes `Cool' out of Mini Cooper BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 10, 03 | 12:00 am

In the beginning, if you knew anyone who had a Mini, you knew no more than one, and even if that person had never struck you as cutting edge, he or she was now the coolest thing since Popsicles. The Minis were the anti-Hummers, a tiny fraction of the bulk but as stunningly unusual. Here was a car that defied cliche, a set of wheels for the freewheeling free thinker



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Tue Jul 08, 2003

Irrational News How To Not Get Caught Downloading From Kazaa BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 08, 03 | 1:00 am

Download Kazaa Lite 2.1.0 . Delete your old kazaa through add/remove. After installing, go to Options-More Options and check prevent other users from getting a list of all your files. You will still be able to share your files, but people cant see an entire list of the files you are sharing! Brought to you by the same people who made Quicktime Alternative, the alternative quicktime codec that doesn't require bloatware.



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Irrational Satire EVERYBODY RETARDED BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 08, 03 | 12:02 am

The mental health community was stunned yesterday to learn that previous estimates of the rate of cognitive disability among the U.S. population came up drastically short, according to Highland High School Junior Kara Whitmere.

"Everyone is so retarded," declared Whitmere, while describing her being forced to run a mile in gym class. "Sheesh."...



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Irrational Obscurity Lightning Strikes Woman's Tongue Stud BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 08, 03 | 12:01 am

A holidaymaker narrowly escaped death when lightning struck her tongue stud in an electrical storm.

Becky Nyang, 26, was temporarily blinded, unable to talk and badly blistered by the bolt of electricity that surged through her body via the piercing.



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Thu Jul 03, 2003

Irrational Satire Ten Steps to Being Cool BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 03, 03 | 7:34 am

In today's society, being cool is all the rage. Some people naturally have it going on, but most do not. Fortunately now there is finally hope for those hipply challenged. Learn and practice these ten steps and soon you too will be on your way to total coolness...



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Irrational News Magic Online Gathering Fans BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 03, 03 | 7:30 am

They said that it couldn't and shouldn't be done: re-create online the insanely popular card game Magic: The Gathering, and charge the same price for digital cards that players now pay for the cardboard ones.

Fans pouted, and critics howled. After spending untold sums of cash to assemble customized decks of Magic cards, they said, players aren't going to bother building Internet collections from scratch, especially at $3.29 for a pack of 15 cards....




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Irrational Satire Giant Spider Wants More Roles BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 03, 03 | 7:25 am

New Zealand - "Kiki" the spider, already known for her role as Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is currently in New Zealand filming additional scenes as the giant spider, Shelob, in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

"Director Peter Jackson felt a scene was needed to show more depth, more motivation behind my character," Kiki said at a press conference in New Zealand on Tuesday. "Sure, I'm evil, but aren't all giant spiders? Jackson wanted to set Shelob apart from the other evil, giant spiders."

Kiki wouldn't reveal much about the new scenes, except that Frodo, Sam, and Gollum were involved in the shoot, and that, "this time, Elijah Wood had better keep that damn bright light he got from Galadriel outta my eyes."



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Irrational News How To Legally Find And Download Music Online BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 03, 03 | 7:21 am

The Recording Industry Association of America says it plans to take legal action against computer users who illegally share and download music online through file sharing web sites.

Critics accused the RIAA of resorting to heavy-handed tactics likely to alienate millions of music fans.
RIAA counters that downloading music without paying for it is no different than shoplifting, and that taking legal action against illegal downloaders is no different than stores who prosecute shoplifters.



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Tue Jul 01, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Portugal's Nappers Urge "Don't Lose the Snooze" BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 01, 03 | 6:21 pm

Portugal's tradition of the after-lunch siesta is under threat and needs to be upheld, according to an association of nap defenders.

The new Portuguese Association of Friends of the Siesta aims to wake up Portuguese to naps as a defence against the rapid pace of modern life and as a way to stay healthy, said Prates Miguel, a lawyer and one of the group's founders.

The association wants "to make Portuguese citizens conscious that the siesta is not a vice of deadbeats," he told the Lusa news agency...



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Irrational Satire American Association of Friends of the Siesta BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 01, 03 | 6:20 pm

Taking a page from the Portuguese Association of Friends of the Siesta, we here at Irrational Noise.com have decided to establish our own association in hopes of justifying ummm...defending legalizing...oops, wrong cause popularizing the after-lunch siesta we have always enjoyed. To help support our cause, simply e-mail us at for details on how to make your generous pledge...After your own siesta , of course.



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Irrational Obscurity This Is Truly the Summer of LiveWire BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 01, 03 | 6:15 pm

Every year, the end of school signals the beginning of the summer season: a time of taking advantage of the warm weather, relaxing by the pool , softball games, and the enjoyment of your favorite cold beverage.

While some people prefer lemonade or iced tea or maybe even a nice cold beer (my Dad's preference), I have always been partial to carbonated beverages. For crisp refreshment, nothing seems to beat the crisp, refreshing taste of a crisp, refreshing Pepsi or Mountain Dew.



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Irrational Satire Fans Outraged at New Character in The Return of the King BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Jul 01, 03 | 6:12 pm

A recently leaked trailer for The Return of the King has Tolkien fans outraged over the apparent addition of a new character - Jar-Jaromir. The scene depicted in the trailer shows Jar-Jaromir shouting, "Gondora gonna fallsa";
he then trips over a corpse and knocks down a couple of Uruk-hai.

Producers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy confirmed the addition of the half-brother of Boromir and Faramir...



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