November 18, 2005 | 4:08 PM ET

Before I get too far behind, here are a few recent mails:

Will,
I don't know if you've seen this yet, but you probably would've eventually.  A young man named Charlie Wenzel has gotten himself into trouble by scamming an internet buyer on Pirate 4x4 here is a link to the resulting forum thread.  Just a little reminder to internet scammers that people will find you.  Remember people, Don't Get Wenzeled!
Thanks
Billy

Will replies:  Thanks for the link Billy.  That site is crashed right now from all the traffic.  A quick look at Google shows the matter is pretty high profile.  I was able to find the original thread, however, and holy moly, they don't play in that community.  (Note: Some strong language there, but by page two you get to the meat of the drama.)

I enjoy Clicked very much. I visit the site almost daily.

This is fascinating. A man who had a lobotomy as a child explores his lobotomy and lobotomy in general.
—Sean

Will replies:  Thanks Sean.  I definitely had the wrong idea about what a lobotomy does to a person.  Very interesting.

I love your blog. We are getting our first snow here in KC so I thought that this would be a cool link.
—Karre M.

Will replies:  Thanks Karre.  The animated gifs of the growing artificial snowflakes are cool.  On a vaguely related note, I got a kick out of the snow scenes in this paper art (which appears to be related to this).

Dear Will,
Never thought I'd see this one, but a group of people recently donated millions of dollars for free college, just for Kalamazoo students.  This is hot news around Michigan!  Check the story out here.

P.S.  My house is for sale in Kzoo, hopefully it sells!

Thanks,
Tim Lauderdale

Will replies:  Hi Tim, I remember when that idea was first going through and it made a lot of headlines.  Has it had any impact on the town?  Does the fact that you're moving out mean that the plan hasn't boosted the local economy or that it's drawn so many kids you can't stand to live there anymore?

Long time reader here...I thought this was a joke at first, but it seems they are serious.  It is a pamphlet Entitled " How to Refuse Alien Abduction"...and IMHO quite funny, although not intentionally.  :)

Will replies:  Thanks!  That site is full of fascinating information.  Who says the Internet isn't supporting the cause of UFO research?

November 18, 2005 | 2:42 PM ET

“If I’m dumb enough to buy water, I’m certainly dumb enough to pay too much for it!”  Not surprisingly, the Dilbert guy is taking the blogosphere by storm.

Speaking of over-glorified water, The strange case of supernatural water — Why blessed water won't kill bacteria defies explanation.  It must be the work of the devil.

Speaking of the new science of faith, US leadership in science and technology may end soon.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.  (Actually, I'm twisting things a bit.  This report mostly credits new abilities in global communication that allow those interested in science to pursue it from their own country.  They also blame immigration policies.  The only mention of faith science is a reference to the erosion of "scientific and technical building blocks.")

The Wall Street Journal lists " the Blogs Insiders Read to Stay Current."  No political pundits included.

Meditation can boost your gray matter — The study involved 40 minutes of meditation a day.  I think if I closed my eyes for that long I'd be asleep in 15.

Speaking of... How to Get Started With Meditation

Hunt for the worst sound in the world — I only made it through a few before I wondered why I was bothering.

The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles —  Look for "Zubbles" on shelves in February.  (The pagination on this is kind of annoying.  Click the print button to read the whole thing on one page.)

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Told Entirely in Emoticons

Video of the Day:  How does this end?

"A transportation magazine ran a " Guide to Hiring Women" article in 1943."  So offensive it's guaranteed to make you gasp...

...But it makes the Carnival of the Feminists that much more significant.

The Top 40 Bands in America Today - 2005 Edition — As determined by music/MP3 bloggers.

Why The Morning-After Pill Is Pro-Life — Particularly significant given the political leanings of this blogger.

Personal weather stations on Google maps — There's a little lag in the weather stations loading, so you have to be patient, but the Wunderground folks are pioneers in harnessing the reporting power of the public, and they actually produce something useful.

15 questions for Bob Woodward — I don't look forward to going through all the same stories and analysis we went through for Judy Miller all over again, but I do appreciate lists like this that highlight the story's main issues.

There's a new reality show coming to the UK in which they convince people they're in space when they're not.  Yes, The Truman Show comparison was the first thing that came to my mind as well.

As cool as I think it is to have little video screens on everything (iPods, cell phones...) I can't really imagine myself watching anything on them that I wouldn't just as readily watch later on a bigger screen.  An original spin-off series of Lost, however, would draw my viewership.

Scarface poster created using the entire script from 1983 film.  (Comparing the script to what I read in the poster, it looks like the writing on the poster ends before the "say hello to my little friend" line.  Humph.)  Update:  This one has it, at the very end of the red section.  Another Update:  Say hello to my little correction:  Joseph from Los Angeles Pop Art has informed me that both posters have the full script, including the "little friend" line.

November 17, 2005 | 12:35 AM ET

Police are looking for Peter Braunstein in connection with a particularly twisted rape in New York City.  As seems to be the rule more than the exception lately, copies of his online writings are available to those interested in some insights into the character of a man before his life was plastered on front pages along with a rape accusation.

Speaking of the online writings of people in the headlines, a mail from yesterday:

Hey Will,
Saw your links to Kara Borden's and David Ludwig's blogs.  With all the concern you have previously expressed about weirdoes reading young people's blogs though.. you think it was a wise choice?  Especially since the 14-year old might be innocent?  She's got a lot of personal photos on there of her, her family and her friends.

That said, I wrote this... without leaving links to their blogs:

From MySpace To Murder- When The News And Social Networks Collide

Best,
Adam

Will replies:  Hi Adam, outstanding essay.  I still do maintain that the Internet is too full of weirdoes to allow kids to surf unsupervised.  I advise any readers with 14-year-old daughters to do what they can to pay attention to what they do online, educate them about the dangers of revealing too much personal information, and encourage them to make any personal sites permission-access only.  (That's easy for me to say, but if you need more convincing, go look at what some 14-year-old girls are putting online.)  That said, Kara Borden's story isn't about revealing too much personal info online.  Her problems are of an entirely different nature.

But your point is well taken.  The public spotlight can often draw an ugly mob.  When I posted those links, I did consider what comments would be left by the public because I remembered what happened to this guy's blog last July .  But blogs are already public whether I link to them or not.  It is precisely because they're public that they can be dangerous.  The blogosphere hardly needs my help finding these sites, and weirdoes need even less help.

I think I've hit my limit on running off at the mouth, but your letter raises other questions about linking to minors and standards for what is acceptable to link to so I look forward to picking up those issues in future posts.

The launch of Google analytics has a lot of folks sitting up.  It looks like a statistics collecting service, with an emphasis on optimizing traffic in such a way as to grow an online business.  Given the nature of Google's AdSense, it makes sense for them to help users figure out how to get the most bang for their buck on those ads.

If you think it's creepy that Google is tracking your surfing, someone has found a solution.  I'll add that most advice on blogging says not to obsess over traffic and stats.  I think that advice still stands if you're not trying to run your blog like a business.

With all the partisan fingerpointing about how we got into Iraq, Kevin Drum points a bipartisan finger in making a point I haven't heard since before there was an Iraq war to fight about.  Congress shirked its constitutional responsibility.  It's the job of Congress to declare war, not pass weasely resolutions that shrug responsibility to another branch and allow members to claim credit by association when the war is popular and redirect blame when it's unpopular.  "After all, a declaration of war can hardly be misinterpreted."

Gateway Pundit continues to track the violence in France.  (Yeah, they're still rioting in France.)

This piece assessing (with more info than I could process) the value of switching to a hybrid car led me to click around the OmniNerd site.  This is the first I've heard of hybrid mod kits.  Of course, anything controlled by a computer is going to have a hacker trying to get at it.  The "power of the many" advocates would probably get a kick out of the idea that hybrids may see performance improvements from the modification community.

It's all I can do to try to keep up with the Sony DRM story and it may all be moot since they're now recalling the CDs with the root kit.  But for the sake of completeness, this is what I clicked:

November 16, 2005 | 1:27 PM ET

Entry in progress...  There's no point in keeping these links unshared while I get hung up on understanding a few of the more meaty items I clicked.  More to come later.

The new monogamy — No mystery why this link is getting a lot of attention.  It's about couples "negotiating the terms of monogamy."  I consider myself a pretty open minded person but I don't think I could get my head around something like this.

Time buys Andrew Sullivan.  Gawker gets cozy with Yahoo .

If you think it's creepy that Google is tracking your surfing, someone has found a solution.

Remember the guy who was trying to patent his story plot idea?  Glypho is the exact opposite of that.  Communal book writing.

The tidy table — Clears the junk off your table and makes an artistic statement.

Target as the target — Some folks are upset with the store for not dispensing emergency contraceptive "Plan B."

" This is a method for making colorful, permanent mosaic installations in asphalt roads and lots."

Drawing conclusions about the Intelligent Designer's mistakes and motivations.

Terminator on TV: " The Sarah Connor Chronicles"  I'd watch it.

The inventor's handbook — From the folks at MIT.  I don't know if you've ever tried to search the Web for advice on inventing and patenting, but the results are rife with spam and rip-off artists, so this is a helpful resource.

The books famous people loved in college.

Figure 1. ( Every Playboy Centerfold, 1988-1997) — Surprisingly safe for work.  Looks a little like the shroud of Turin.  If you click around, there are a few others of a similar nature and at least one might be vaguely unsafe for work, but that's only if you click around.

Is gravity leaking from our universe?  Why panic about bird flu wiping out humanity when you can panic about dark matter wiping out the universe?

Looks like the Weblog Awards are coming around again.

Video of the Day:  Everyone seems pretty enraptured with vibrated sheer thickening fluids and the holes they keep.

Other Video of the Day:  If that's not doing it for you, how 'bout this: Superman: Electric Earthquake (A free movie from Watchfilms.)

While there's no White House blog, the influence of blog style cannot be denied in the response on the White House Web site to the Washington Post, New York Times, and Senator Levin.  I can't recall seeing anything like this before.

Speaking of the influence of blogs... Chillin with Chalabi — Arianna Huffington describes her dinner with Chalabi as surreal, but even reading the story is surreal.  Blogs as a window on the lives of movers and shakers (like John Cusac???) definitely alters perceptions of power in the world.

The 8 basic steps of image editing — A nice, very basic list of ways to tweak your digital photos with Photoshop to make them look better.

Speaking of tech tips, Steve Rubel is offering a list of 10 blog hacks.  These are not quite so elementary — more appropriate to the person who has basic blogging down and is starting to ask, now what?

The Jones Soda folks are offering smoked salmon paté soda.

Looking for a sign — An interesting article about language research in which pairs of participants are forced to invent a language in order to complete a game.

Beware the Starbucks drip of death

"Inside a chamber about the size of a small fridge in Greenville, Indiana, scientists are taking the first steps toward creating human settlements on Mars."  They're trying to figure out how to grow plants there.

In 'wrongful life' suit, disabled woman blames doctor for letting her be born.

Create your own maps with Wayfaring.  This may be a function other maps have as well and I just don't know it, but this is the first one I've seen that appears to make it possible to plot your own driving directions for someone else.  If I want to show someone an alternate route from MSNBC to the City and mark landmarks along the way, this looks like the ideal solution.

Somewhere out there, Google presents a quote of the day.  I know this because a whole lot of people linked to this page of Ellen Goodman quotes because the fourth one on the list about being normal struck a particular chord.

He was doing a heck of a job at Amtrak, so he was fired.  (Op-ed, not a news report.)  This country would so totally benefit from a good train system.

America's CryptoKids, Future Codemakers & Codebreakers — "How can I work for the NSA?"

Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch — Because eventually news coverage will turn back to missing women.  (Except for Rising from the Ruin.)

Marines Quiet About Brutal New Weapon — New term to me:  "Thermobaric weapons."

November 15, 2005 | 12:22 PM ET

A quick note regarding the story of the teen accused of killing his girlfriend's parents .  Some reports mention the teens' personal sites.  Her blog is here, (less interesting My Space here).  His blog is here.  Naturally, they're seeing a lot of traffic, so the photo hosting is hitting bandwidth limits. 

November 15, 2005 | 2:39 AM ET

Good morning, Will!
Thanks for your "Clicked"!  Regarding torture definitions...

—Darren, Arlington Heights, IL

Will replies:  Thanks Darren, I'll look into those.  This weekend I also clicked this blogger's examination of the charges of medical malpractice against the U.S. by detainees.  (The series of posts begins here.)

Countering the Counter-Recruiters — Recent efforts to keep military recruiters away from schools has led some in the military to speak up in defense of their profession.

Has International Relations Theory been irrelevant to discussions about al Qaeda?  How does theory about relations between nations deal with a nationless entity?

The Web is flooded with second (and third and fourth...) guesses about the Iraq war, and has been since it started, but I think John Edwards' admission that he was wrong, followed by his recommended plan to leave Iraq seems to have drawn the most attention.

Without dwelling too much on partisan fingerpointing in the second guessing about the Iraq war, Captains Quarters remembers Congressional Democrats being too anxious to look tough on terror to question the intelligence leading to war.  And Tom Maguire remembers everyone being so confident that a distinct military success would occur that sweating the details (the ones that presently plague the mission) seemed unnecessary.

Speaking of 2004 political figures, If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush — The Inebriated Mule was kind enough to post the transcript of the sermon that got the church in trouble for being too political.  I thought it would contain more zingers, but I guess it's what I should have expected.

Maps to celebrity homes — This is more funny than useful.  By virtue of living in New York City I happen to know where a few people on this list really live and it's not where the map says they do.  I'm thinking these are the addresses of fan clubs or management offices or something.  (Although one of those John Travolta addresses does kind of look like his airport house (saw it on Oprah).

Speaking of maps, "[A]ccording to Gates, Microsoft is already spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" to create a photorealistic 3D map of the whole world in which we can all interact.  (P.S. What a cool site.)

Video of the Day:  Contortion so extreme I almost couldn't watch.  I'm not sure what this is a video of.  It looks almost like an audition or rehearsal more than a performance.  The most surreal part is that at the very end, Santa Claus is on the sideline.  This video may well be a never-before-seen look at how he solves the chimney problem.  (I don't advise visiting the named on the video while at work.  It's not porn, but has potential for awkward content.  The video itself and Putfile are clean.)

Jurassic Park IV?  I didn't even know there was a Jurassic Park III.

A mailbag prelude to today's Sony links:

RE:  If you think you had a bad week...
The news is getting ever worse for Sony.  Parts of Sony's DRM rootkit contain code copied from an open source project (LAME).  Copyright infringement carries penalties of up to $250,000 per incident, a cool quarter million per CD.  Sony is in deep s**t.
—Greg Hogan

Will replies:  Thanks Greg, I missed that but found the link here.  Here's what else I clicked:

And like Friday, I also clicked on a program for stream ripping.  Will the state of DRM and copy prevention bring us to a point where we're basically "taping things off the radio" like the old days?

Keeping with the theme: How to find free music on the Web

Speaking of migrating media, Newspaper Execs Say Circ Declines Reflect Shift to Web, Less Discounting

Which leads to another trip to the mailbag:

Hi Will-
Is the fact that newspaper subscriptions are declining precipitously supposed to be a bad thing?

Maybe the hard copies of the paper aren't getting sold, but thanks to the Internet, I'm able, from Maine, to read papers like the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Des Moines Register, and a host of others on a daily basis, which would have been next to impossible years ago.  If anything, the newspapers are simply shifting from paper to electronic and increasing their audience and influence.

Maybe I missed it, but nobody seems to be making that point.
—Keith

Will replies:  Hi Keith.  It's only a bad thing if you work in dead tree media and aren't clever enough to shift your business to the Web in a way that continues to sustain your business.  It might also be a bad thing if your company as a whole has an Internet strategy but you're caught in an old-school division that isn't making the transition.  Your local paper might think it's bad news because you may be going to the big papers for your hard news and local blogs and other sites for your local news.  But from all indications I've seen, the Web is good news for news consumers.

In the category of learning from other people's mistakes, never play games with something that's a click away from being public.  That goes for live microphones, TV cameras, news articles, and photo captions.

Austin Bay on the significance of showing the terrorist woman on TV.  There's a lot of talk online about the Jordan bombs backfiring on al Qaeda.

"The computer can listen to an entirely new album and predict how people will respond based on what it knows about the latest reactions to the music it has already heard."  I don't buy it.  While it may be possible for the computer to figure that similar features in songs will elicit some similar responses in people, I don't see how it can take into account cultural context or, probably more important, business context.

If you think the best part of a bowl of sugary cereal is drinking the leftover milk, you'll like Liquid Cereal.  (Though there does seem to be some press about the product, I can't find anywhere to actually buy it, which makes me wonder if it really exists.)

Internet killed the alien star — I hadn't considered this, but the Internet hasn't been the boon to UFO theories as one might have predicted.

"For the first time in 1,300 years, the great Tibetan Book of the Dead has been translated into English."

Top 20 geek novels

If Dr. Seuss wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation...  —Appears to be enjoying a resurgence of popularity on LiveJournal.

The Dilbert guy on Intelligent Design:

[T]he most fascinating aspect of the debate over Darwinism versus Intelligent Design is that neither side understands the other side’s argument.
...
What you have instead is each side misrepresenting the other’s position and then making a good argument for why the misrepresentation is wrong.

Six degrees of smoking — Use the lighter, take a picture, pass the lighter.  It reminds me of the Where's George? money tracking site.

iPodder changes its name to Juice.

Zero Cash, A Little Talent and 30 Days — "The idea is to try to setup some type of [online] business in my free time and see if I can start to turn a profit in a 30 day period."  This link is to Day 1.  She's on Day 5 now so there's not too much to catch up on.

A baby's fetal cells can enter a mother's brain through her bloodstream.  I thought this was an article about stem cells, but the other significance is that it means there's a way to treat the brain without going through the skull.

Tailrank (still in beta) looks like the kind of link popularity index I use to write Clicked.  I haven't had a change to play with it much yet, however.

Just when you thought your lucky number was a special one... every number has its own significance.

A hackers' reunion — They're MIT pranksters.  Some good stories.

Europe Needs a New Identity — One that is based on ideas so that outsiders can feel included for sharing those ideas.

Kuwait's biggest field starts to run out of oil

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments