March 26, 2006 | 4:14 AM ET

By now you've likely read about the implosion of Ben Domenech , the newly hired conservative blogger at the Washington Post.  The short version is that he resigned in the face of accusations of plagiarism.  I'm not sure how much this matters in the big picture.  It may have taken some of the shine of the self-righteousness of pundit bloggers, but everyone already knows that what really matters is merit, not media, and the blogs vs journalism debate has been a dead end for at least a year.  If you're interested in a longer examination of what happened, Outside the Beltway has a good collection of links and reactions.  I'll add that while I don't agree that this has ruined all mainstream media opportunities for bloggers, it does highlight the difficulty mainstream media has in scouting talent from blogs.

Speaking of running afoul of the blogosphere, the latest company to make a fool of itself trying to bully a blogger is called Transparency International.  The story is German, but I read a summary here in English.

Speaking of online scandals, remember that piece a while ago from Nature that said that Wikipedia was as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica?  Turns out Nature didn't do a very good job setting up that study.  Page 2 is juicier.

"Did you know that tortillas now outsell Wonder Bread in the U.S.? And salsa outsells ketchup?"
He follows with a list of statistics about how Hispanics are flourishing in America and goes on to describe the immigration situation in the U.S. in a glass-half-full way.

Speaking of lists of interesting trivia, Intellectual Property Run Amok is a list of mostly absurd factoids involving copyright, patents and trademarks.

Speaking of burgeoning demographic trends, in looking at the future of media and the Internet we've mostly been looking at TV, music and movies, but could it be gaming that pushes broadband and net neutrality onto the global stage?

Speaking of net neutrality and who owns the Internet, here's an amazing map of literally who owns the Internet (in North America).  "[A] map of just about every router on the North American backbone, (there are 134,855 of them for those who are counting)."

In anticipation of a showdown over healthcare, Jane Galt writes a baseline from which the discussion can begin, lest it spin untethered into fingerpointing and name calling.

Environmental Economics:  Economists on Environmental and Natural Resources: News, Opinion, and Analysis — Since it seems that the only way this country is going to get serious about protecting the environment is if someone can find a way to make money from it, environmental economics is particularly important.

" Mobber's patent-pending software shows you who's on a particular web page, allowing you to chat with them privately or in a group."  This sounds very much like the Gabbly site we played with earlier in the week.  The biggest difference here is that it uses profiles so you can see before hand who's looking at the page you're looking at.

"The Socializer allows you to easily submit a link to several social bookmarking systems."  Sometimes you'll see a blog with a bunch of little buttons for all the various social sites like digg, delicious, etc.  This takes care of most of those buttons in one shot.

Morality 2.0 — There are a lot of pieces to this blog entry, and a lot of good things to think about.  Is there too much immoral behavior on MySpace?  Is it possible to have moral objections to what goes on at MySpace without being an uptight "fascist"?  And if advertisers don't like to be associated with material of dubious moral standing, and people often create material of dubious moral standing, and the Web 2.0 model is about exploiting what people create, is Web 2.0 doomed to problems with advertisers because they don't want to be associated with what's being produced?

Finger breakdancing — I think the thumb-to-pinkie body wave is the coolest part.

I'm pretty sure Britney Spears wouldn't appreciate a sculpture of her giving birth naked on a bear skin rug, even if it is a pro-life tribute to her son (and they made her arms nice a toned).  NOTE:  If you're offended by the human form, don't upset yourself by clicking this.  This doesn't include as graphic a perspective as it could, and it is just a sculpture, but it's pretty realistic.  It's not porn, but you probably don't want your boss seeing this on your screen at work.

Speaking of giving birth, apparently Indian reservations aren't bound by the laws of the states they're in, so if a state bans abortion, it may still be legal on a reservation in that state.  That is shaping up to be the case in South Dakota where a local tribe intends to open a Planned Parenthood clinic.  Pro-choice activists are naturally throwing their support behind the effort.

I came to this site through a game called Don't Shoot The Puppy, which could have been an exercise in grossness for its own sake, but isn't really.  Without taking these little games too seriously, they all make statements about gameplay, user interface and gaming in general.  NOTE:  Some of them are puzzles and the answers are in the comments, which are not hidden, so avert your eyes or you'll end up inadvertently reading a spoiler.

The Dixie Chicks have a new album coming in May, but a new song streaming free on their site.  Looks like they still have some bad feelings about that whole "ashamed he's from Texas" thing.

" Roma Victor is a non-fantasy MMORPG (Massively-Multi player Online Role-Playing Game) based in the Roman Empire, circa 180AD."  It launches this July.

Looks like instead of punishing misbehavior with player bans, they perform a crucifixion.

Speaking of crucifixion, Americans, especially Catholics, approve of torture.

Ten emerging technologies mostly having to do with the human body.

I don't know if the term Jeffies is going to catch on, but since a recent AP article caused an uproar among political bloggers about straw man arguments, I'm taking note of its meaning for the short term.

March 23, 2006 | 12:30 PM ET

Google Idol.  Y'know all those amateur lip synch videos?  This sets them up in competition.  Cheesy performances with no Ryan Seacrest and no stretching 10 minutes of music across 60 minutes of show.  Sold.

Speaking of American Idol, Alan has a great report on the DialIdol speed dialing site and how it predicts losers.

Speaking of music reports, The Aural Times:  "We sing the news so you don't have to."  Hysterical.  "Cyclone Batters Australian Coast" is now stuck in my head."

Breakdown FM: Tribute to Professor X of X-Clan

How to make mozzarella cheese.  The video is dark and there's an annoying amount of ambient noise, but you can still learn from it and pick up some extra info bits to boot.  And the chef has a fun accent.

When I saw Forbes' list of the 20 most important hand tools I was generally unmoved.  The suggestion that what unites them is that " they all do one thing really well" makes it more fun to think about.

Part of what made the coverage of Operation Swarmer so farcical is the complete and utter lack of coverage of any other military operations conducted on a regular basis.  These operations are regularly covered by Bill Roggio.  (And Operation Iron Strike is a way cooler name, by the way.)

An essay called " The Israel Lobby," a shorter version of which can be read here, has a lot of bloggers buzzing about U.S. policy in the Middle East and the influence of Israeli lobbyists.  Actually, as I click around, the buzz seems to be about whether the essay is anti-Semitic or whether criticism of the essay as anti-Semitic is unreasonable.  Well, you know how Israel debates go.  I'll leave it to you to look further if you're into that sort of thing.

"To make a long story short, there are "seven riddles" about this underground world, a secret Subtokyo of tunnels; the parallel subways were only mystery number one."  What?  You need more than that to want to click it?

The Washington Post saw the need to start a new conservative blog called Red America.

The new blogger is the co-founder of Red State, and already pretty-well-known blog, so it's hard to say why his blogging in a different location is significant.

I did find the observations at MyDD about the structure of the right wing blogosphere interesting (though I don't agree that there is no right wing blogosphere, or that it's dead).  Not long ago there was a lot of talk about differences in linking styles, and sometimes I think an argument can be made that they network differently (why liberal "hives" like Kos, TPM Cafe, and Huffington?).

What I like best about the new Google Finance site is the graph that shows what news event took place when a stock price spiked.

New expressions to be aware of:  " Skin in the game" — It means having a personal stake in something.  I guess it's seeing heavy use in healthcare discussions.  (I clicked this one first.)

What makes you feel poor?

Nation Master — It's an effort to build the world's largest database of statistics.  Apparently it's run by volunteers and accepts contributions from readers.  I'm not sure how to interpret that in terms of reliability, but it still seems like a good resource.

I had a fun time today playing with the toys at TouchGraph, particularly the TG GoogleBrowser.  You enter a site and it shows the network of linking sites.  I found it was missing some, but the display is really cool.

Speaking of blog measurements, Blog Influence measures your influence in the blogosphere based on a special algorithm.

We join a game of " what would you cut" already in progress, having volleyed from Kevin Drum to Andrew Sullivan and back to Drum.  The question is, what would you cut from the federal government to balance the budget?

" Strange though it seems, a typical microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food. For while heating food requires more than 100 times as much power as running the clock, most microwave ovens stand idle—in “standby” mode—more than 99% of the time."

If I understand it correctly, The Largest Online Stadium is like a giant avatar chat room for soccer fans.

Think the Internet will replace TV? Think again.  What he's asking you to think again about is bandwidth.

A key ring-sized kite on the hysterically named " I want one of those."

Why you should choose math in high school — While I agree with this argument, I will add that one of my regrets is not taking more math in college and part of the reason I didn't was because my high school AP (advanced placement) physics and calculus took care of college level math requirements.

While these fake Japanese acrobats are entertaining, these real Japanese acrobats are the Video of the Day.

The new M80 Stiletto — the Navy's cool new "bat boat."

All Things Web 2.0 - " THE LIST" — Literally a big long list of Web 2.0 companies.  There are a lot of fun ones in there, many of which we've already clicked in this space.

Are You Liable If Someone Does Something Illegal On Your WiFi?  This article says no, but points out that your ISP might be unhappy with you.

March 21, 2006 | 4:23 PM ET

I've been running into people lately who tell me they don't like the word "blog" or they don't believe in "the blogosphere" as a unified construct.  So I was interested to see this marketer confronting a negative connotation with the word blog and simply dropping the term.  It may be that in the future people say, "What ever happened to that blog fad?  Now excuse me while I go online to read my favorite independent writers and journalists."

Speaking of blogs getting their due, we've seen discussion of whether blogs have a real impact on the political process in America, but this is the first time I've seen a discussion of whether blogs have helped shape the legacy of the war.  When history looks back on the Iraq War, will it mention the media environment and the role of blogs?

Blogs: threat or menace?  (And do they still beat their wives?)  A general lack of understanding of blogging along with a whole lot of hype, back patting, and ego, have led to a false competition between blogs and "journalism."  Perhaps dropping the word "blog" will also eliminate the mythical "blogger" who seems to live separate and apart from the media and humanity itself.

Speaking of blogger mystique, Sex-crazed DC blogger to get sitcom treatment by HBO

Speaking of running against the conventional Web wisdom, Net Neutrality: Myth of the Digital Elite.  The idea that the Web should be something everyone shares like a public utility is almost universally accepted in the online echo chamber.  But not everyone agrees that it's such a good idea to take control of the Internet away from the businesses that own its infrastructure.

I hadn't really thought of the South Park/Scientology fight as being in the same league as the Mohammad cartoons, but I guess cartoons mocking religious are cartoons mocking religion.  (Of course, in this case, the cartoons themselves are almost a religion to some people.)  Anyway, one has to wonder if this is another case of an offended party shooting itself in the foot.  Even if Comedy Central doesn't replay the South Park episode in question, how many people have now seen it online who wouldn't have seen it otherwise?  More relevant links and discussion here.

Speaking of said scandal, did Chef Really Quit South Park?  The theory is that Isaac Hayes is not healthy enough to be quitting shows and in fact it was the Church of Scientology that quit in his name.

Last week I got stuck with a pile of "I'll read it later" items.  This week I'm going to try harder to keep up.  " This paper takes measure of an emerging scholarly field that sits at the intersection of many important areas of study. Critical Information Studies (CIS) considers the ways in which culture and information are regulated by their relationship to commerce, creativity, and other human affairs."  The phrase "emerging scholarly field" gets me every time.  (You may recognize this is the same Siva who occasionally contributes to Altercation.)

It's ironic that after all the fuss over file trading, there seems to be a new trend in the sanctioned streaming of entire new albums.

Speaking of free music, a quickie Google search trick for finding mp3 libraries.  This works frighteningly well.  And by frightening I mean for the people whose song libraries are online and public and they don't realize it.

As long as we're speaking of music, here's at look at some of the original songs that were ultimately instilled in rock consciousness by Led Zeppelin.  (It looks studying Led Zep pre-cursors is a field of interest unto itself.)  The downloads are a little sluggish, so be patient.  For some reason I clicked the second installment first.  It starts here.)

It's all fun and games until the happy couple run into a glass door.

Kosher Cooking Carnival #3 — With number 4 to be here.  I was just talking with my colleague Jon Bonné about food blogs.  I'll have to also mention the idea of food bloggers preserving cultural recipes.

Pre-pixilated clothes for reality TV shows.  I didn't think it was a copyright problem, I thought they pixilated logos out of refusal to give anyone any free advertising.

Mainstream media news making a splash online:

" The octomatics-project is about a new number system which has a lot of advantages over our old decimal system."  This is really neat, comes with a new way of writing numbers telling time.

How to prevent hearing loss — Specifically with regard to listening to iPods or going to loud concerts.  Page two has the actual list and there are a few good insights there about how iPod volume can accidentally end up louder than it should be.  I'm skeptical, however, that an indicator on your iPod that you're playing it too loud would really make people change their listening habits.  Perhaps even the contrary.

Surprise lunch with Bill Gates — Can you imagine?  Maybe just in case, you better a take a few minutes right now to think about what you'd ask him because I'm pretty sure that it's hard to get the brain to work in a situation like this.

Early data suggests that the number of blades in a shaver obeys Moore's Law.  At the present rate we could see 14 blade shavers as early as 2010.

"Notable German developer Schadenfreude Interactive has submitted this exclusive postmortem on their recent smash hit rhythm action game Accordion Hero, in which you must "Polka your way up from Der Rathskeller to Oktoberfest in Munich!"."

Speaking of playing music, but this time not satire: Self-tuning guitar customization.  This is a real Video of the Day candidate.  What a cool invention for only $800.  I also love that it looks like there are maybe 5 people at that demo and yet by now the video has probably been seen by hundreds of thousands.

Speaking of cool music inventions, apparently we're expecting a new release from Moog at the end of the month.

Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? by William Shakespeare ported to ActionScript 2.0 — You don't have to know this programming language to see the art here.  In fact, knowing the sonnet helps understand now the language works.

Video game therapy--a new frontier — It sounds a little like biofeedback (or maybe neurofeedback?) but with a video game element to keep it engaging.  Most fascinating sentence: "A private island called Brigadoon in Linden Lab's "Second Life" virtual world is open only to people with Asperger's syndrome and autism."

"The purpose of this article is to go beyond the basics and explore how social engineering, employed as technology, has evolved over the past few years."  Social engineering in this case means manipulating people to scam them.  Out of context quote that stood out to me:  "Kevin Mitnick, renowned and reformed hacker, in his book The Art of Deception, goes further to explain that people inherently want to be helpful and therefore are easily duped."  We've seen a few stories in the past couple of weeks about scientific evidence of this "want to be helpful."  I'd been interpreting it as a sign that the world won't necessarily dissolve into war and chaos, but I think the reason those stories were popular online is their implications in this category as well as in the field of social software and collaborative journalism.

World's most expensive cars.  That Mercedes McLaren we saw last week is number 7.
I can't easily find the original Forbes link, but Wired has the relevant clicks.  Most are in the half-mil range.

Arianna Huffington draws lessons from her dust-up with George Clooney.

Let site visitors leave a voicemail for you — Uses Odeo.com and a bit of cut and paste code.  I haven't tried it but it looks pretty simple.

March 20, 2006 | 3:46 AM ET

Will TV in the future look more like TV or more like the Web?  Seeing news like this makes me think TV will ultimately be abandoned:  "NBC said that it will make 10 web-only episodes of popular comedy 'The Office' during the summer, when the show is not on the air."

But then I learn about CozmoTV which is a sort of supercharged Tivo that uses the Web only as a means of helping you watch TV better and I think TV in the future will still be TV.

And then I finally got around to reading this introduction to IPTV which describes the likelihood that telecoms will provide your phone, Internet and TV all the same way, which makes the question basically moot.

The next question is when Web features and games will cease to be categorized as " Tech" simply because they're on a computer and move to the Entertainment section.

A lot of folks are linking to an eBay auction of devices modified with video game controllers.  More interesting is the blog of the source of these inventions.  If you're liking that new invention show you'll like this.

Getting "Chipped" - Interviews with RFID Pioneers — There's a whole do-it-yourself community that is playing with RFID tags.  This is a video of people explaining why they implanted RFID chips in their hands and what they do with them.  It ends showing a guy getting one injecting with a fat needle.  Most of me thinks this is cool, but part of me skeeves at the sub-dermal aspect.  Can I just wear it on a bracelet?

Sheesh, the TV news folks are still breathlessly reporting Operation Swarmer with blazing, hysterical breaking news banners and already it's being picked apart.

Here's a cool Google Earth tool.  Enter the flight number and track it in real time.  Note that it's Google Earth, not Google Maps, so you have to have it on your machine.  Not knowing any flights, I took a wild guess that Delta flight 22 exists and sure enough was able to track a plane from Atlanta to DeGaulle airport in Paris.

The Snakes on a Plane movie is holding a contest for a song to be included in the movie.  (Scroll down for the movie trailer.)

I know it seems like everyone and their brother is announcing Bush approval poll results lately, but this is an interesting presentation of polling data.  Note that it's an animated gif, so you have to sit there and wait for it to change, but it shows on a red/blue scale how the president's popularity has changed in each state over the past year.

Did you know there was such a thing as a transparent butterfly?  Well... the wings anyway, but still pretty cool.

Is Al Qaeda Planning a New Attack?  Apparently there is more terror chatter now than pre-9/11.  Strange that it isn't triggering a color change (We're still on that system, right?).  Reading through this blog entry reminds me of why terrorism fear is such an effective political tool.

As Jay Rosen has been pointing out with his look at newspaper blogging, adding blogs without adding value to the reader is not good enough.  One example is the Grey's Anatomy blog where viewers are wanting more and saying so.

Speaking of Rosen, he's real keen on the new feature at the Guardian called Comment is free.  It's being compared to the Huffington Post.

Contrary to what has become accepted fact, there are a number of bloggers (and presumably their readers) who feel there's sufficient evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism.  The latest piece in this argument is the recent release of papers recovered in Iraq, summarized with passion, here.

Speaking of recovered Iraq papers, The Memory Hole has " Reports From the Future of Iraq Project - Over 1,200 Pages of Previously Unavailable Reports From State Dept Planning for Post-Saddam Iraq; Warnings and Recommendations by Experts and Iraqi Exiles Ignored by Administration"

Could Digg be used for Sun stock manipulation? — Speculation that a group of people colluded to get a false business rumor promoted on Digg so thousands of people would see it and possibly effect the stock price.  In the end it looks like it probably didn't happen that way, but the possibility is still worth thinking about.

NASA astronauts are going back to the moon and when they get there they may need quake-proof housing.  This is based on data from 1977, so not exactly breaking news, but the idea that a planet that isn't saturated with water vibrates more than the earth and therefore requires special considerations for building materials is interesting.

" It's strange because it started out with a truck towing cattle, and ended in fire."

Chinese gold farmers documented — Includes a six minute clip from a documentary coming out about Chinese laborers who play the boring parts of video games for American gamers, acquiring virtual goods and wealth in massive multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft.

The Fast Company "Fast 50" list is out with some cool stuff on it.  Also some boring stuff, but I don't see a good way of knowing which is which without flipping through them all.

Gabbly was crashed earlier this week, but appears to be back up now.  The idea is that you add a URL to their URL and get a chat room for talking about that site.  On Monday I'll hang out in the room associated with the Clicked URL for a little while in case you want to try it and say hello.

The robot nurse of the future .  It has soft skin too.  Is this the solution to the coming boom in elderly Americans?

AmericaBlog gives an interesting, if somewhat critical peek at the Pentagon's blog outreach.

VCs and the hydrogen economy: An update — Looks at the issue of private investment in the hydrogen alternative.  Even if you don't care about the money side, it's a nice overview of the state of the technology in practical terms.

TuneFind:  Find songs and music you've heard on television or in movies — The links take you to iTunes.  It's actually a community driven site.  If you heard something good and don't find it on the site you can submit it.

Did you know there is one unwinnable FreeCell game?

J.D. Fisher, founder of the " Speaking of..." Cafe Press store and host of last week's Carnival of Education introduces the term " guzinta" and points out its application in the "area model of multiplication and division."

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