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Archives: August 2003

Fri Aug 29, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Jackets Drop Opener But Find Their Quarterback BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 29, 03 | 11:29 pm

As freshman orientations go, Reggie Ball's was enlightening if ultimately unrewarding.

Early Thursday night, the freshman from Stephenson High quickly showed why coach Chan Gailey named him Georgia Tech's starting quarterback. But up 13-7 at halftime, Tech was eventually undone by Brigham Young's controlled passing game and its own mistakes and offensive shortcomings in a 24-13 season-opening loss.

For Ball and the Jackets, the continuing education process only gets tougher. Now comes a three-game gauntlet of SEC favorite Auburn in the home opener at Bobby Dodd Stadium, then a trip to FSU and finally Clemson.

"I think we have a lot to build on," Gailey said. "As time goes on, I think we'll get better. You've got to work out the kinks." There were many...



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Irrational News Teenager Charged with Spreading Computer Virus BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 29, 03 | 11:27 pm

A Minnesota teenager known online as "teekid" was arrested and placed on electronic monitoring Friday for allegedly unleashing a version of the "Blaster" computer worm that infected thousands of computers.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Richard Nelson told Jeffrey Lee Parson not to access the Internet or any other network connection as a condition of his release. He did not enter a plea during his initial court appearance.

Parson, a physically imposing 18-year-old, admitted during an interview with the FBI and Secret Service agents that he had modified the original "Blaster" infection and created a version known by a variety of different names, including "Blaster.B.," court papers said. At least 7,000 computers were affected by Parson's worm, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Luehr said Friday...



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Irrational Obscurity Parrot's Parody Causes Commotion BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 29, 03 | 2:03 pm

parrot's parody of a damsel in distress caused quite a commotion.

Tucson police and firefighters broke down a door after being called to a house and hearing a woman's screams coming from inside.

But police soon realized that the sounds weren't coming from a woman in woe.

"The parrot's screams sounded identical to those of a distressed adult female," Officer Andrew Davies said in his report.

The ruckus was the work of Oscar, a 2-year-old yellow-naped Amazon parrot.



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Thu Aug 28, 2003

Irrational Satire Alabama Judge Erects Statue of Jesus Mooning Supreme Court BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 28, 03 | 10:10 am

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (DPI) - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore erected a statue of Jesus showing his naked rear end to a replica of the U.S. Supreme Court building after a federal court ordered him to remove a monument depicting the Ten Commandments from the courthouse. "I may not be able to declare Alabama's allegiance to God's law, but I can sure declare Jesus' rectal opinion of federal law," said Moore. His critics argue that displaying only Jesus' naked buttocks unconstitutionally promotes Christian mooning and suggest that Moore either remove the statue or add statues of other pantsless historical figures.



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Irrational News Commandments Monument Removed From Court BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 28, 03 | 10:07 am

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A 2 1/2-ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments that became a lightning rod in a legal storm over church and state was wheeled from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building Wednesday as protesters knelt, prayed and chanted, "Put it back!"

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who installed the engraved set of tablets two years ago and risked his career to keep it there after a federal judge ordered it removed, said he would take his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court ...



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Irrational News Fastest US Supercomputer Runs Linux BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 28, 03 | 10:04 am

The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has brought online a 11.8 teraflops supercomputer based on the Linux operating system, comprised of ~2,000 Itanium processors, and assembled by HP. Touted to be the fastest unclassified computer in the US, its main duties will be atmospheric chemistry, systems biology, catalysis and materials science.



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Irrational News FeedDemon Beta 5a Release BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 28, 03 | 12:46 am

FeedDemon 1.0 Beta 5a is now available. The build, among other things, allows reading of AOL Journal RSS feeds. Fifth Beta you ask? Nick's response...

"Now, the fact that there's a fifth beta will make some wonder just how betas there will be. The answer, of course, is "as many as it takes!" It's important to me that FeedDemon - like TopStyle - is considered very reliable, so I won't release the final version until testers (ie: you!) tell me it's ready."

As always, read the release notes before installing...



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Wed Aug 27, 2003

Irrational News IM Beats Email in Smackdown BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 27, 03 | 11:13 am

Right now there's a poll on the Yahooligans site that asks what do you use more often? Results since August 26:


instant messaging = 51%, email = 48%


Now, which type of reference service do you think is going to continue gaining in popularity with students, email or chat-based? Hmmmm....



Courtesy of The Shifted Librarian



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Irrational Satire About the Slashdot Story Generator BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 27, 03 | 10:23 am

for those of you who think that Slashdot doesn't update often enough, try the Slashdot Story Generator (SSG).  Developed in PHP and utilizing the powerful and flexible Kozzmo Generation Engine (including random typos for Added Realism(tm)), the SSG removes the annoying wait between Slashdot story postings.  Just press the convenient "Next Story" button and you'll get the rush you desire when you see your chance to make the "First Post!"  Oh, and remember BBspot is your source for tech humor so not all the stories generated will be true to life.



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Mon Aug 25, 2003

Irrational News More FeedDemon News BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 25, 03 | 11:24 pm

FeedDemon Beta 1.0b4 is out. By turning on the new "single key reading with spacebar" feature and remapping the keyboard shortcuts, you can read all your news channels using the spacebar, N, and G keys.



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Irrational Obscurity on privacy.. BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 25, 03 | 11:17 pm

Dae at Dae's Demesne "Given all the flap lately about online privacy issues and such, here's a statement of the obvious. There isn't any. There never was. There isn't going to be any. So, get over it already."



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Irrational Satire Judge Orders Alabama Motels And Hotels To Remove All Reference To The Ten Commandments From Bibles BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 25, 03 | 10:56 pm

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson today ordered all cheap motels and hotels operating in the State of Alabama to physically remove any and all pages of the Bible containing, or referring to, the "Ten Commandments".

At issue, commandment number Seven, "Thou shalt not commit adultery". Thompson ruled Commandment number seven violated the right to "Freedom of Choice", guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

Last month, an Alabama swingers group calling itself, "Adulterers of America", launched a class action law suit against Alabama motel and hotel operators for providing cheap and dirty rooms for purposes other than overnight accommodations, while at the same time condemning their actions. In their suit, "Adulterers of America" contended, "The inclusion of the Ten Commandments in bibles provided by the operators are in direct breach of their God given right to cheat on their spouse(s)"...



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Irrational Obscurity Burning Man Never Gets Old BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 25, 03 | 10:42 pm

About 30,000 revelers are expected to descend on a remote lakebed in the Nevada desert this week for the 17th annual geek-culture phenomenon known as Burning Man.

The event -- part fire ceremony, part party, part indescribable surreality -- began in 1986 when co-founders Larry Harvey and Jerry James constructed an improvised wooden figure in honor of summer solstice, then burned it on San Francisco's Baker Beach. The yearly happening grew over time, migrating to Black Rock City, Nevada, in 1990, where it will return from Aug. 25 through Sept. 1...



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Sat Aug 23, 2003

Irrational News This Worm Ain't Gonna Hunt BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 23, 03 | 12:59 pm

An expected Internet attack spurred by the Sobig worm fizzled out on Friday, apparently due to the coordinated efforts of security experts, the FBI and Microsoft.

Researchers at two security firms warned that a potentially massive attack was scheduled to be launched Friday when computers infected with the Sobig.F worm would be forced to download and run a mysterious program at 19:00 UTC (3 p.m. EDT).

At 3 p.m., the virus directed a few infected computers to a pornography website but that site shortly collapsed under a flood of network traffic.

"Of the 20 servers identified to be used for the attack, 16 are down, three are not responding and one is responding and directing traffic to a porn site,'' the antivirus firm Symantec said in a statement...



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Irrational Satire TO TRICK INBOX FILTERS, SPAMMERS INTENTIONALLY MISSPELL PENUS BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 23, 03 | 12:57 pm

Inbox filters, largely successful in protecting email inboxes from incoming mail with inappropriate content, are now facing a new challenge: cleverly worded emails that intentionally misspell such words as penus, brest, and hornni.

Tom Ridge, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, first noticed this breach in the nation’s system of inbox protectors earlier this week when he received an email bearing the subject line, TOMRIDGE, MAKE YOUR PENUS AS LONG AS A GARDEN HOSE!!!

“My first reaction was, what the heck is a penus?” Mr. Ridge said at a press briefing today. “Then when I realized, I said, Holy Toledo, we’ve got a problem here.”...



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Irrational Satire NEW: Management Speak BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 23, 03 | 12:55 pm

Did you ever notice how when management tells you something they don't always tell you everything? Sometimes it seems like they have their own special language for everything. If you're in the know, it all makes sense, but if not, use this handy guide to translate management speak into what you really need to know...



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Fri Aug 22, 2003

Irrational News If Quasars Could Talk: a telescope to help tell their stories BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 22, 03 | 10:08 am

Infrared observatory, set to launch this weekend, may yield insights into universe

After a four-month delay, the US is set to loft the last in a set of orbiting observatories that are revolutionizing humanity's understanding of the universe.
If all goes as planned, Sunday morning, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch the one-ton Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It's the final piece of NASA's Great Observatory series, which includes the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory...



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Irrational News The New X-Men BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 22, 03 | 9:35 am

The Mountain Dew-fueled all-nighter is history. Today's supercoders work 40 hours a week. And two to a computer. It's called extreme programming - and it's revolutionizing the software world.

When Kevin Yu went to work for Hewlett-Packard in December 1999, he was a prematurely jaded 25-year-old programmer who had already lived through layoffs at Compaq and done a stint writing code at Digital Equipment Corp. Like most programmers he was withdrawn. He followed orders obediently. He felt removed. He worked alone.

Yu still codes at HP, but these days he's gregarious, passionate, and eager to solve problems of every kind. His attitude adjustment is the result of a new approach to writing software that's transformed practically every aspect of his job. The biggest change: Each afternoon, he pulls up a chair beside a fellow programmer, and the two of them share a single workstation - one monitor, one desk, one keyboard. It's common to find him in HP's Seattle offices shoulder to shoulder with teammate Asim Jalis, who stares into the screen as Yu "drives," both of them pondering aloud whether a new idea might work. Later, Jalis types as Yu watches, exclaiming periodically, "I get it!" when the spray of code makes sense. Sometimes one partner works the mouse while the other uses the keyboard, like a married couple finishing each other's sentences...



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Irrational Obscurity Write a Story, Go to Jail BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 22, 03 | 9:33 am

Brian Robertson was just months away from graduation at Moore High School in Moore, Oklahoma, last year when he found the beginnings of what he thought was a short story on a school computer. He copied the file to another computer, added some paragraphs to the initial text and then promptly got arrested.

Robertson, who was 18 when he wrote the story, was charged with a felony count of planning to cause serious bodily harm or death. The story he wrote, titled "Evacuation Orders," (PDF) described preparations for an armed invasion of his school that included directions to unnamed fellow commandos to kill the senior class principal and then plant plastic explosives around the campus...

Careful, Boomer...



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Thu Aug 21, 2003

Irrational Obscurity SENIORITIS BITES BACK BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 21, 03 | 11:33 am

Part of me feels bad for this kid. I can relate to him. I, too, blew off my senior year of high school after I was accepted to college. My grades slipped. I had the world's worst case of senioritis, or so I thought... until today.

A Guilford County high school graduate who recorded a perfect SAT score is suing UNC Chapel Hill, alleging the school refused to admit him after his grade point average dropped. Mark Edmonson, a National Merit Scholarship finalist, scored a perfect 1,600 on his SAT last year, but his grade point average fell from 3.8 to 3.5 in his senior year at Northwest Guilford High School. He wants a judge to force UNC to admit him as a freshman this year.

Apparently, the kid really slacked off. According to deputy attorney general Thomas Ziko:
"His senior year grades are C's, D's and F's."

Sigh. Though I feel a twinge of pity for the kid, if I met him I would have no choice but to do my best Sam Kinison impression and scream, "You dumbass! You blew off senior year! You have no one to blame but yourself! Since you aced the SAT, you must know the meaning of HUBRIS!!"




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Wed Aug 20, 2003

Irrational News Music Parody Site Pulls the Plug BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 20, 03 | 9:38 pm

Nothing can deflate a joke faster than the threat of a lawsuit.

In the case of parody website DontBuyMusic.com, a cease-and-desist notice forced the site to go offline last Friday. [Editor's note: DontBuyMusic came back up Wednesday morning. The site has been altered to comply with BuyMusic.com's legal demands.]

The website, created by the online community Macteens, spoofed the BuyMusic.com website by using the same format as the original site but rewriting the text and redirecting all clicks to the Apple iTunes website. ITunes and BuyMusic.com are both online paid music services...



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Irrational Satire The YO GOD God Detector BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 20, 03 | 9:25 pm

How many times have we heard it said, "Oh, Lord, give me a sign!" Alas, too often the reply is vague and ambiguous: the phone rings at an opportune time, a feather falls from out of the blue, a water stain appears that resembles a religious image. We all want to know if God exists; maybe He just needs a reliable method to let us know He's here...



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Tue Aug 19, 2003

Can Johnny Blog? BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 19, 03 | 10:24 pm

This may be the year that school blogs come into their own. A school blog is simply a Weblog - an online blend of diary, links and commentary - that is used by teachers and students.

Blogs seem to be a natural way for teachers to maintain a class Web page and for students to handle research projects. One site for classroom blogs, schoolblogs.com, lists more than 1,200 worldwide, up from 800 a year ago. And new blog sites for teachers have sprung up, like the Educational Bloggers Network.

One of the trendsetters among educators is Will Richardson, supervisor of instructional technology at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, N.J., who made use of blogs in his journalism and English classes last year to foster discussion and collaboration as well as to showcase students' work...



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Irrational Satire I Have An iPod--In My Mind BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 19, 03 | 10:20 pm

I'm sure you've seen a lot of tech-savvy people smugly showing off that new hunk of entertainment hardware, the iPod personal stereo. Well, I might not have the scratch to get one, but frankly, I don't want the white-corded wonder. I have my very own iPodin my mind.

I hear those little things carry up to a month's worth of music. Well, so does my mind. I can call up any song I've ever heard, any time I want. And I never have to load software or charge batteries. There are no firewire cords or docks to mess with. I just put my hands behind my head, lean back, and select a tune from the extensive music-library folder inside my brain...



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Irrational News Reality Gaming—A New Spin BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 19, 03 | 8:32 am

How often do you read about some international conflict, thinking how you would handle the situation differently? That desire is the impetus for a new line of reality games from startup Kuma Reality Games. The company plans to offer weekly episodes that will allow broadband-connected users to "play the news as it is reported."

Kuma's first product will be Kuma: War, a subscription game set to launch in February, 2004. In continuing episodes, players will receive briefings on real-world events, imagery from KH-11 surveillance satellites, and intelligence provided by a team of real military veterans. The weekly updates will be available as downloads. Later, the company will offer other reality games in genres such as crime and sports.

Kuma: War will attempt to offer episodic content closely tied to current events. "We have a board of military advisers, at the top of which is Major General Tom Wilkerson," says Glenn Broderick, director of marketing for Kuma Reality Games. "He was essentially the number two person in the Marines during the first war with Iraq. He has a lot of experience thinking about things strategically and thinking about what's going to happen next. Being predictive about events is one of the things we need to be in order to be as timely as possible. So if, for example, the North Korea situation might turn into something major, we need to have a pretty good idea that it will happen six weeks in advance so that we'll have time to turn around a mission based on that." In addition to Wilkerson, Kuma Reality Games' team of advisers consists of software executives, gaming industry veterans, and a documentary and news producer...



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Mon Aug 18, 2003

Irrational News When I'm 64 BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 18, 03 | 1:37 pm

Today's the day Apple's new G5 computers (nicknamed the "Cheese Grater") hit the stores. Continuing its corporate tradition of innovation, the G5 is the first desktop PC with a 64-bit processor. Why should you care?

According to John Markoff in the New York Times, the move to 64 bits will again make the personal computer a significantly different kind of information tool. From his article....


"Microprocessors are generally defined by the number of pieces of information they can manipulate at once. A 32-bit microprocessor, for example, can move, add, subtract or multiply numbers that are 32 zeros and ones long. A 64-bit processor is capable of handling binary numbers consisting of a string of 64 zeros and ones.

It is the length of the information string that determines the amount of random-access memory, or RAM, a processor can make use of during a task. The more RAM per task, the greater the computing power.

Thirty-two bit processors are limited to a theoretical maximum of handling 4 billion bytes of RAM per task. (A byte equals eight bits.) But by the magic of exponential math, a 64-bit processor can theoretically handle 16 quintillion (or 16 billion billion) bytes of RAM. For all current practical purposes, that is an infinite amount."



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Irrational Obscurity Civil War Steamship Gold Worth Millions BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 18, 03 | 1:13 pm

The Republic sailed from New York on Oct. 18, 1865, carrying 59 passengers and a cargo of gold. The storm hit off Georgia. For two days, the steamship battled hurricane winds and giant waves. Then the engine failed and the the Republic went down. Since 1865, the Republic has sat a third of a mile deep in the ocean off the coast of Georgia, its paddle wheel still visible. It was found by a team of explorers that hopes to bring $350 million worth of gold to the surface.



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Irrational News DNA Power Computing? Could Be !! BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 18, 03 | 1:09 pm

It almost sounds too fantastic to be true, but a growing amount of research supports the idea that DNA, the basic building block of life, could also be the basis of a staggeringly powerful new generation of computers.

If it happens, the revolution someday might be traced to the night a decade ago when University of Southern California computer scientist Leonard Adleman lay in bed reading James Watson's textbook Molecular Biology of the Gene.

"This is amazing stuff," he said to his wife, and then a foggy notion robbed him of his sleep: Human cells and computers process and store information in much the same way.



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Irrational Obscurity Wingman: Get ready to fly at 186 mph... BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 18, 03 | 1:06 pm

Want to soar like an eagle? Then go with a parasail or a hang glider. But for those who dream of screaming through the air like a superhero, there's the Skyray - a solid, triangular, carbon-fiber contraption that lets skydivers shoot above the clouds at 186 mph for two exhilarating minutes. That's quadruple the air time of the usual free fall and almost twice the speed of the world's fastest bird, the spine-tailed swift.

Nearly ready for mass production, the 9-pound Skyray is the brainchild of Munich-based inventor Alban Geissler, who has designed earthbound objects from hot rods to hot-water pumps. His innovation: delta wings, like those on an F-102 fighter jet. Instead of sticking out perpendicular to the body, the Skyray's wings are angled back, eliminating the need for a stabilizing tail and making any kind of spin - the fatal flaw of many a wing suit - impossible. When the high-speed joyride is over, the jumper pulls a rip cord and parachutes in for landing - wings still attached...



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Sat Aug 16, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Whale Flatulence Stunts Stuns Scientists BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 16, 03 | 3:28 pm

IT'S one of the unfortunate consequences of being a mammal - flatulence.

And, more unfortunately for a group of whale researchers, nature took its course right under their noses - literally.
The researchers claim this is the first photograph of a minke whale letting one go in the icy waters of Antarctica. It was taken from the bow of a research vessel.

"We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly ... it does stink," said Nick Gales, a research scientist from the Australian Antarctic Division...



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Irrational News Satellite Views Of The Blackout BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 16, 03 | 3:27 pm

These Before and After satellite views of the blackout, from the NOAA, show the geographic extent and intensity of the outage. Toronto, Ottawa, and Detroit seem the worst hit. Currently, a cnn article mentions that a reverse of power flow around Lake Erie may have caused an overload that triggered the programmed shutdown of the power grid. Would be interesting to know how the system and software works, but then again, that information could be dangerous in the wrong hands



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Fri Aug 15, 2003

Irrational News "Flash Mob" Plays Duck-Duck-Goose BAR-ENDER
Posted by: Boomer on Aug 15, 03 | 10:49 am

"Anarchy rules! Flash mobs -- big, spontaneous crowds that celebrate organized chaos -- are fast growing around the world. Their mission: to have fun. Their message: There isn't one."

200 people form an instant game of Duck-Duck-Goose in San Francisco Dolores Park. Why? Because they wanted to.

All organized via weblog, email and word of mouth.

Their instructions:

-- At precisely 2:07 p.m., form giant standing circles, holding hands, on the main lawn.

-- Sit on the ground.

-- At precisely 2:09 p.m., something will happen. You will instantly know how to play along. Play until 2:17 p.m.



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Irrational Satire Follow Up: Massive Power Outage Plunges East Coast Into Darkness BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 15, 03 | 10:03 am

Photo is pretty much self explanatory, however if I don't give at least a twenty word description, this picture will muck up my IN blurb over at Hypocrisy and Hypotheses...Let's see, 1, 2, 3, 4, ....



(Irrational Noise photo)







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Irrational Obscurity Did You See This?! BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 15, 03 | 9:59 am

So I was watching the coverage of the Blackout on ABC, and Ted Koppel was doing his live coverage. He got a call from a "Bob Dobbs" who claimed to be some muckity muck with the subway transit authority. Then "Bob Dobbs" kept telling people to log on to thankyoufortakingmycall.com to get emergency instructions. It was pretty funny. Ted was pretty clueless that it was a prank but I guess someone in the control room eventually got a clue and cut the caller...

UBERPRANK !!!



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Irrational Satire Straight Man Trapped In A Gay Man's Closet Finally Comes Out BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 15, 03 | 9:54 am

James Quinn, a straight man from San Francisco, says he has a new found respect for gay men, after a traumatic incident left him trapped in a gay man's closet.

Quinn, a carpenter by trade, was hired to renovate the closet of Tony Flurry, a San Francisco dog breeder. The events that followed left Quinn with a new outlook on the difficulties faced by millions of gay men still trapped in the closet.

As Quinn put it, "When I first took on the job I had no idea Tony was gay, he sounded like most San Francisco men on the phone, when we discussed the work he wanted done. It only became clear to me that Tony was gay when I arrived at his apartment and noticed the size of his closet".

Quinn blames his fear of bending over as the main reason for becoming trapped. "Under normal circumstances, I would have no problem bending over or kneeling down; however, I just couldn't bring myself to do it, I was just too nervous to expose my butt. I'd try, sure, but every time I started to bend my knees the only thing I could think about was becoming Tony's boy toy. As added protection, I closed the closet door and proceeded to complete the work I agreed to do. When I finally finished, my nightmare of being trapped in the closet began"...



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Thu Aug 14, 2003

Irrational Satire FeedDemon Meets the Olsen Twins BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 14, 03 | 10:40 pm

My first thought..."What a title for a porn flick !"

Nick Bradbury writes, "It's great to see a screen shot of FeedDemon on RollingStone.com's RSS FAQ - but I have to admit, I never expected my software to be seen on the same page as a picture of the Olsen twins :)"



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Irrational Satire "the answer to life, the universe, and everything" BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 14, 03 | 10:34 pm

Are you sure you want to know ?!



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Irrational Obscurity Mini-KISS Cover Band Pebbles Rocks !!! BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 14, 03 | 10:14 pm

Mini-KISS is a KISS tribute band made up of wee people. Here they are rocking at the Chamber in Atlanta, July 3, 2003. Their booking agency, Littleman Entertainment, also represents the likes of Mini-Elvis. Their slogan, "!Whatever Your Needs We're Here To Please From Mini-me to Mini-you!
"...



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Irrational Satire Attack of the Smartasses BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 14, 03 | 10:08 pm

Friendster.com creator Jonathan Abrams wants to purge his über-hip dating site of phony profiles. But online "fakesters" are fighting back. Hilariously.
BY LESSLEY ANDERSON

I'm sitting in a downtown San Francisco cafe with a man who won't tell me his name. Instead, he insists that I call him "Roy Batty" -- leader of the Nexus 6 replicants in Blade Runner. He says coyly that he's "in the 18-to-34-year-old demographic" and works as "a writer." Of what, he won't say.
Batty is a gaunt-looking man with serious gray-green eyes. He's probably in his early 30s. He's a coffeehouse philosopher who drops names like Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and French avant-thinker Guy Debord the way some guys his age drop the names of indie rock bands. Batty doesn't want to give his real name because he believes that the concept of identity is quite elastic. Throughout history, he notes, human beings have loved to wear masks, adopting personas that were far different than their everyday ones. The malleable nature of selfhood is why he's so intrigued by Blade Runner, which, he says, he's seen more than 100 times. The Batty replicant isn't quite human, but is so close that it causes the viewer to question what it means to be truly human. Similarly, the Batty I'm drinking coffee with struggles with what it means to be "really yourself." Who you are, he says, can change from moment to moment.

"Identity is provisional," Batty insists. "It's fluid." ...



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Irrational News Major Power Outage Hits New York, Other Large Cities BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 14, 03 | 10:03 pm

A major power outage struck simultaneously across dozens of cities in the eastern United States and Canada late Thursday afternoon.

Cities affected included New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Toronto and Ottawa, Canada.

In just three minutes, starting at 4:10 p.m., 21 power plants shut down, according to Genscape, a company that monitors the output of power plants.

It was unclear what caused the outage, although officials said it was not terrorism...

At least batteries still work...



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Irrational Obscurity Supercomputers To Move To Specialization? BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 14, 03 | 12:00 am

he Japan Earth Simulator outperformed a computer at Los Alamos (previously the world's fastest) by a factor of three while using fewer, more specialized processors and advanced interconnect technology. This spawned multiple government reports that many suspected would ask for more funding in the U.S. for custom supercomputer architectures and less emphasis on clustering commodity hardware. One report released yesterday suggests a balanced approach.



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Wed Aug 13, 2003

Irrational News Jane's Irrational Addiction BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 13, 03 | 11:47 pm

I'll admit it...I'm a Blogshare addict. What is Blogshare you ask? I've been spending a great deal of time there lately...... It's more fun than any other site I've frequented. Did I say fun? Let me rephrase that. Addictive! That's what it is. It's caught on like wildfire with thousands playing the game. I love it and have to recognize it for what it is? A truly unique website. The kicker is it's an excellent way to discover new and interesting websites, achieved quite easily during the context of the game. Play is free, but premium accounts are available for those who can't seem to get enough...like me...

And there has never been a better time to get started. One of the Blogshare elitest, Warren Lathe is offering $20 million Blogshare dollars for each $1.00 donation to his AIDS Marathon Fund...



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Irrational Satire Confessions of a Baggage Screener BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 13, 03 | 3:37 pm

"I used the CTX 5500 to keep bombs off your plane. I also go elbows deep in your underwear.

The suitcase was ticking.

It was my third week on the job as one of 55,000 new airport screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration, and the first day of the war in Iraq. The nationwide terror alert was at orange, and a pair of National Guardsmen patrolled the sprawling departure lobby of the US Airways terminal at LaGuardia, rifles at the ready, gas masks strapped to their thighs. All this made the egg-timer click coming from the bag, a black rolling cart with a pull-up handle, a matter of some urgency."...



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Irrational News Variable Maximum Transfer Unit: a Godsend... BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 13, 03 | 10:52 am

I just installed this amazing app and am already enthralled. No dial=up derelict, like myself, should be without it. I know, I know, claims of faster connections and promises of quicker downloads are a dime a dozen, but this FREE Beta actually delivers !!!

"Variable Maximum Transfer Unit, or VMTU is an algorithm for negotiating the packet sizes passed from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to your Internet TCP connection. Simply download, install, run and let VMTU do all the work for you."

Don't take my word for it (like you would). Download VMTU now !!! You may thank me later...



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Irrational Obscurity The Return of Pete Rose BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 13, 03 | 8:52 am

Pete Rose and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement that would allow him to return to baseball in 2004, and includes no admission of wrongdoing by Rose, Baseball Prospectus has learned. According to several sources, Rose signed the agreement after a series of pre-season meetings between Rose, Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt, and at different times, high-level representatives of Major League Baseball, including Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's Chief Operating Officer, and Allan H. "Bud" Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

The agreement includes removal of Rose from baseball's permanently ineligible list. This would allow Rose to appear on ballots for baseball's Hall of Fame, which bars such banned players from consideration. The agreement allows Rose to be employed by a team in the 2004 season, as long as that position does not involve the day to day operations. That employment restriction would be removed after a year, allowing Rose to return to managing a team as early as the 2005 season if a position is offered to him.

A spokesman for Major League Baseball denied this report. Baseball Prospectus stands by its story...

NONE TOO SOON !!!



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Irrational News Synomic Synergy BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 13, 03 | 8:44 am

Google introduced a new advanced search feature that enables users to search not only for a particular keyword, but also for its synonyms. This is accomplished by placing a ~ character directly in front of the keyword in the search box.

For example, to search for browser help as well as browser guides and tutorials users can search for browser ~help. The ~ character was chosen because it's shorthand for approximate and a good way for users to express their wish to expand searches to include synonyms. More information about this feature is available.



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Irrational Obscurity Researcher Confirms Existence of 'Earworms' BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 13, 03 | 8:34 am

"It's official: 98% of people have had songs stuck in their heads.

Research has helped define, but not explain, the experience. A recent study by the University of Cincinnati looked at the affliction, which the author, James Kellaris, calls 'earworms' from the German word ohrwurm. The ear part is obvious, but the worm part isn't incidental. Kellaris, a consumer psychologist, says it conveys the parasitic nature of the travel of songs into their listeners' ears, only to then get lodged and played on mental continuum.

He found that some 98 percent of listeners were at one time or another bothered by a tune that wouldn't leave their heads. The study also found some common offenders, including the Kit-Kat jingle ('Gimme a break'), 'Who Let the Dogs Out,' Queen's 'We Will Rock You,' the theme to 'Mission: Impossible,' 'YMCA,' 'Whoomp, There It Is,' 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' and 'It's a Small World After All....'

The 559 students used in the study had lots of trouble with the Chili's jingle for its baby-back ribs and with the Baha Men song 'Who Let the Dogs Out.' But Kellaris found that most often, each person tends to be haunted by their demon notes." ...



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Tue Aug 12, 2003

Irrational News Geek Overload : Google Calculator BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 12, 03 | 9:55 pm

Those folks over at Google have created another nifty (if moderately useful) feature of the little search engine that could. You can now type a math problem into the search bar and it will solve it for you. That's right, if you can't figure out what "86*44=" you can always just "Ask Google." Of course, if you actually find this useful, please. for God's sake, get help...



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Irrational Obscurity Meteor Shower Lights the Skies in Comet's Trail BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 12, 03 | 9:22 pm

Yellowish streaks will light up the sky tonight as the Earth collides with a large dust cloud left behind by a streaking comet.

But the weather and the moon may team up to crash the show.

The annual Perseids meteor shower peaks tonight, said Bill Cooke, a member of the space environments team at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Perseids usually is a good meteor shower to watch because it occurs in the summer, unlike the Leonids and Geminids meteor showers that occur during colder months, Cooke said. "It's probably the most observed meteor shower of the year. It's always a good one," he said.

Perseids is the debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. That comet passes around the sun once every 130 years - the last time in 1992 - leaving tiny dust particles as it speeds through the solar system. The Earth and dust cloud cross paths every July and August. The dust particles, most the size of a grain of sand or smaller -burn up as they plow into Earth's atmosphere.

The best viewing time will be between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Wednesday, Cooke said...



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Irrational News Internet Storm Center: RPC DCOM WORM (MSBLASTER) BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 12, 03 | 9:03 am

Names and Aliases: W32.Blaster.Worm (symantec),W32/Lovsan.worm (McAfee), WORM_MSBLAST.A (Trend Micro),Win32.Posa.Worm (CA),Lovsan (F-secure), MSBLASTER,Win32.Poza.

The name of the binary is msblast.exe. It is packed with UPX and will self extract. The size of the binary is about 11kByte unpacked, and 6kBytes packed.

Strings of interest:

msblast.exe
I just want to say LOVE YOU SAN!!
billy gates why do you make this possible ? Stop making money and fix your software!!
windowsupdate.com
start %s
tftp -i %s GET %s
%d.%d.%d.%d
%i.%i.%i.%i
BILLY
windows auto update
SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run







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Irrational Satire Whittler Trying to Carve Out a Living BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 12, 03 | 8:57 am

Calvin Strong's career as a professional whittler is starting to shape up nicely. After spending a year on the street whittling for whetstones and spare change, Calvin made up his mind to complete his education so that he could pursue his dream of professional whittling, and get paid to carve chunks of wood with a pocketknife.

"Before I began the apprenticeship program at Carver University, I was barely scraping by," admitted Calvin. "I had some raw whittling talent, but I didn't know how to apply it. At the time, the only work I could find was peeling potatoes. It wasn't enough, so I took a stab at school."

It was a good decision, as Calvin finished the two-year whittling certificate program, and almost immediately began to get offers. Now he has the luxury of choosing his commissioned work, and he can relax and focus on whittling what he wants to whittle.



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Mon Aug 11, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Harassing Harvesters BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 11, 03 | 1:48 pm

The Enkoder Form at Hiveware will encrypt your Email address and convert the result to a self evaluating JavaScript, hiding it from Email-harvesting robots which crawl the web looking for exposed addresses. Your address will be displayed correctly by web-browsers, but will be virtually indecipherable to Email harvesting robots.

That'll teach'em...



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Irrational News The Myth of Perfect Web Design BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 11, 03 | 1:44 pm

"Perfect is the enemy of the good."
I overheard that in a meeting recently and I wholeheartedly agree with it. It's obvious to me that it can be meaningful to many endeavors, but I think it has a particularly strong meaning when applied to Web design and development.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect Web design. I'm surprised how many people don't agree with me on this. I'll take it a step further, striving for perfection in Web design, while admirable, can actually end up having an adverse effect on your projects...



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Irrational Satire The English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 11, 03 | 8:42 am

WE H3R3 AT IRATIONAL NOIES PROUDLY BRNG 2 U TEH ANGLISH 2 TW3LVE YEAR OLD AOL3R TRANSLA2R!!11!! OMG THIS TRANSLA2R WIL TAEK WUT U WRIET IN IT AND TURN IT IN2 TEH MAN3R A 12-YEAR-OLD AOLAR WUD WRIET IT!!!!1!1 LOL A MUST FOR ANYONE WISHNG 2 COMUNICAET WIT DA AOL3R GAN3RATION.1!11111!11!1!!11!1!! WTF

M3TAFILTAR1!1!!!1!!11!!1!!!!! OMG RULES.1!!!11111!1111111!!! WTF LOL



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Irrational Satire Loo Roll Browser BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 11, 03 | 8:29 am

Fancy catching up with your emails? The Internet Loo Roll Browser is a novel and unique product designed to make best use of the time you spend on the loo! The product allows you to search the Internet whilst sitting on the toilet and print out any pages you are interested in on your toilet roll.

Could defininetly minimize the magazine and dog-eared novel clutter. Maybe a 'perfumed' or 'moisturizing' ink could be used, along with the possibility of Preparation H application...



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Sun Aug 10, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Film Review: 'Freddy Vs. Jason' BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 10, 03 | 8:00 pm

Between them, "A Nightmare on Elm Street's" Freddy Krueger and "Friday the 13th's" Jason Voorhees have figured into something like 17 features and a couple of TV series, so you know anything ...



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Irrational News IBM Nurtures Linux BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 10, 03 | 7:57 pm

The woman who heads IBM's public sector Linux business says the company could mount a drive to help governments replace Microsoft desktop computer software with the Unix-like open source operating system...



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Irrational Obscurity Tuitions Up Dramatically Nationwide BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 10, 03 | 7:37 pm

After graduating from a high school near Phoenix, Caleb Alvarado decided not to get a full-time job like many of his friends, but to become instead the first male member of his family to go to college.

By living at home, working 20 hours a week, and taking out a pile of student loans, he could afford to enroll at Arizona State University, rated the nation's lowest-tuition four-year public flagship, at $2,583 last year.

But the tuition tide is changing. Mr. Alvarado, now a senior, is not so sure he could afford to be a freshman at ASU today. A 39-percent tuition increase this fall will add $1,010 to the price of school - and to the $25,000 in student loans he expects to owe when he graduates. One of his friends recently dropped out because of the tuition hike.

Articles like these make a parent much more thankful for the Georgia Hope Scholarship, however short-lived as it may be...



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Irrational Obscurity Lockergnome's RSS Resource BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 10, 03 | 1:06 am

Looking to find the who, what, when, where and how about CSS ?! Look no further. Chris Pirillo, Adam Kalsey, Jim Howard and Olivier Travers have brought to the uninformed an excellent initiative, the Lockergnome RSS Resource. Sincere thanks to the Lockergnomies...



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Sat Aug 09, 2003

Irrational News FeedDemon Update BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 09, 03 | 7:34 pm

RSS aggregator,FeedDemon 1.0 Beta 3a, is now available. If you're using a previous beta version, be sure to read the release notes before upgrading to beta 3a. And if you just want to see what it looks like, check out the new screenshots.



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Fri Aug 08, 2003

Irrational News Got Yo Mojo Working? BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 08, 03 | 9:21 am

The founders of Metafilter and Kuro5hin plan to launch an independent news site this fall to track the 2004 presidential campaign. Matt Haughey and Rusty Foster, the programmers behind those two collaborative media sites, will create a "smart mob-style site" to provide a place for independent reporting about next year's election.

The site, still in development, will consist of three elements, Haughey says: a section devoted to Weblog-style entries about daily campaign events; a second area for first-person campaign coverage, including digital photos, phonecam shots, audio and video clips and interview transcripts; and finally news stories building on the first two sections. Readers will be allowed to edit and rewrite stories.

At least someone has their Mojo working...



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Thu Aug 07, 2003

Irrational News Google Debuts News Alerts BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 07, 03 | 10:11 am

Google News Alerts are sent by email when news articles appear online that match the topics you specify.

Some handy uses of Google News Alerts include:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams


Pretty cool,huh?!



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Irrational News ESPN to Hand Out X-Games Swag BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 07, 03 | 9:51 am

Every hour of the X-Games broadcast, ESPN will pop up a code word on the screen. The first 300 people to enter the correct code on EXPN.com will win T-shirts, hats and the chance to win a new car, trips and snowboarding lessons. Excellent promotional ploy, if you ask me.



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Irrational Obscurity Horse Clone's Sister is Mom, Too BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 07, 03 | 9:39 am

In the latest episode of scientific gene-twisting, a horse births a foal cloned as her genetic twin sister. Baby Prometea draws particular interest from breeders looking to copy champion geldings.



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Tue Aug 05, 2003

Irrational News FeedDemon 1.0 Beta 3a BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 05, 03 | 8:19 pm

FeedDemon 1.0 Beta 3a is now available. If you're using a previous beta version, be sure to read the release notes
before upgrading to beta 3a.

And if you just want to see what it looks like, check out the new screenshots.

Note: Beta 3a was released shortly after beta 3 in order to correct a problem with beta 3's GZip support.



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Irrational Obscurity Big News! New Google Operator! BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 05, 03 | 8:13 pm

From Google Spokesperson, Nate Tyler:

Today, Google introduced a new advanced search feature that enables users to search not only for a particular keyword, but also for its synonyms. This is accomplished by placing a ~ character directly in front of the keyword in the search box.

For example, to search for browser help as well as browser guides and tutorials users can search for browser ~help. The ~ character was chosen because it's shorthand for approximate and a good way for users to express their wish to expand searches to include synonyms. More information about this feature is available.



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Irrational News Secret Networks Protect Music Swappers BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 05, 03 | 9:08 am

They are the country clubs of the file-sharing world, exclusive Internet networks that require knowing the right people and having a wealth of content on your hard disk to get into the clique.

These private file-swapping networks have surfaced just as the music industry has been granted dozens of subpoenas seeking the names of those who trade copyrighted material on popular services such as Kazaa, Imesh, and Gnutella.

The private networks are open to smaller groups of perhaps 20 to 30 people who liberally share music, television shows, movies and computer programs. Members of such networks believe they can avoid legal consequences because their identities and actions are masked with the same technology used to protect online credit card transactions...



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Irrational Satire Schwarzenegger Won't Seek California Governorship, Name Too Long To Fit On Ballot BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 05, 03 | 9:00 am

The only thing standing between Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Governorship is the letter "R". The California ballot only allows for a total of nineteen characters per candidate name, Arnold Schwarzenegger's name exceeds the limit by just one letter

Schwarzenegger's advisers have been scrambling for the past 24 hours attempting to find a way to fit "Arnold Schwarzenegger", on the ballot.

A. Schwarzenegger was turned down because it sounded too much like an imported sausage.

Other name modifications were also turned down by the actor...



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Mon Aug 04, 2003

Irrational Obscurity Mars is Getting Close, Real Close BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 04, 03 | 11:12 pm

"This summer Mars will be the brightest it will ever be in our lifetimes." On August 26–27 Mars will be the closest it has been in 60,000 years. Some viewing tips can be found here. You can generate different viewpoints with NASA's Solar System Simulator as some have done recently.



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Irrational News Power Struggle (RSS) Feeding Web Logs BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 04, 03 | 11:10 pm

So it should come as little surprise that a technology behind blogs--online chronicles of personal, creative and organizational life--has manifested the kind of bitter fight for control that is inevitable in any truly democratic institution.

The conflict centers on something called Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a technology widely used to syndicate blogs and other Web content. The dispute pits Harvard Law School fellow Dave Winer, the blogging pioneer who is the key gatekeeper of RSS, against advocates of a different format. The most notable of these advocates are Blogger owner Google and Sam Ruby, an influential IBM developer who is now shepherding an RSS alternative through its early stages of development.



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Sat Aug 02, 2003

Irrational News FeedDemon News Aggregator BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 02, 03 | 10:02 pm

FeedDemon is a news aggregator currently in beta, designed by Nick Bradbury, noted creator of HomeSite. The app is very robust with real improvements on most news aggregator UI's I've seen or used.

The ease of channel aquisition as well as the vast categorized 'included feeds' make for a pleasant initial run. According to the FeedDemon site, the aggregator will be in beta through August, with a planned release date in early September. The only pitfall I have found, connection failures, may not even be a problem with the app itself, but merely a symptom of my pitifully slow internet connection...



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Irrational Obscurity Police: Teen Abduction Foiled by Cell Phone Cam BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 02, 03 | 9:58 pm

A quick-thinking 15-year-old boy used his Sprint cell phone camera to take pictures of a man who allegedly tried to lure him into his car, leading to the man's arrest, police said.

The boy, who escaped from his alleged captor after a struggle, gave pictures of the man and his car license plate to police in Clifton, New Jersey, after the incident Tuesday. Armed with that evidence, police arrested William MacDonald, 59, of Passaic, on Wednesday.

Det. Capt. Robert Rowan of the Clifton Police Department said as the boy was walking home Tuesday evening, MacDonald approached him in a white car and asked him to get in. The boy refused, Rowan said...



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Fri Aug 01, 2003

Irrational Satire Buttered-Toast.Com Handbook: Choosing an ISP BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 01, 03 | 10:10 pm

Since you’re already obviously online, and misusing your God-given right to the internet by viewing sites like this one, this guide will be of no use at all to you. However, anyone who managed to get past all of the firewalls and word-censors on a library computer, or school/work computer who is considering joining the “information super highway” should definitely take heed to this guide.

Before selecting your ISP, there are a few things you should insure you have...



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Irrational Satire RIAA Will Take 2191.78 Years To Sue Everyone BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 01, 03 | 10:09 pm

MICHAELA STEPHENS says that if the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is right and that 60 million US folk are file sharing, it's going to take the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a mighty long time to get round to them all.

She said: "I pulled out my calculator to see just how long it would take the RIAA to sue all 60 million P2P music file traders at a rate of 75 a day. 60,000,000/75 = 800,000 days to subpoena each person or 800,000 days/365 days in a year = 2191.78 years to subpoena each person".



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Irrational Obscurity Get Ready for New 'Nano' Products BAR-ENDER
Posted by: on Aug 01, 03 | 10:05 pm

Scientists are wrestling with individual atoms to develop molecule-sized computers, tiny cancer-fighting robots that travel the bloodstream ... and stain-resistant trousers.

Nanotechnology -- the science of manipulating materials billionths of a meter wide -- has emerged as a promising new field that could lead to stunning advances in years to come.

Boosters claim that nanotech-derived products may some day cure disease, slow the aging process and eliminate pollution.

But for now, the human race will have to settle for tennis balls that keep their bounce longer, flat-panel displays that shine brighter and wrinkle-free khaki slacks that resist coffee stains.

"People are saying, 'Geez, this isn't Star Trek yet; this is just pants that don't stain,' but you've got to start somewhere," said Howard Lovy, news editor of the nanotech industry journal Small Times. "I'm wearing nanopants as we speak."



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