March 30, 2006 | 4:17 PM ET

This open letter to the U.S. media regarding immigration coverage makes a lot of interesting points that help separate the wheat from the chaff in the recent immigration dust-up.  (Actually, according to this it's all chaff.)  Number 8 is a worthwhile point in the debate Glenn has been having over whether this is a matter of security.  As a whole, the entry goes a long way toward explaining why so many "what the immigration debate is really about" articles seem to be popping up everywhere.  It seems to be one of those "coded" issues.

Speaking of what it's really about, we sometimes hear President Bush accused of speaking in code to members of his base.  What's meant by this is that he uses expressions that have no special overt meaning but have special significance to religious groups, pro-life groups, etc.  Whether these coded messages exist is not my field of expertise, but I feel pretty confident that any convert communication is not taking place through reverse speech (although the guy does a good job presenting his information).

Speaking of audio, Mastering podcasts with Audacity — Describes some of the principles of audio engineering in the course of explaining this free open source software.  (Is it just me or is there no link to the actual download?  It's here.)  I haven't tried Audacity so I can't recommend it one way or other.  For the audio I deal with here at, I use a program called Sound Forge.

"That chance meeting in the common room in Princeton resulted in one of the most exciting recent advances in the theory of prime numbers."  This is one of those essays that would be completely over my head if it wasn't so well written.  It's three pages, but it reads quickly.  Speaking of coded messages that speak to a subculture, this article also includes the sentence, "Using the connection, Keating and Snaith not only explained why the answer to life, the universe and the third moment of the Riemann zeta function should be 42..."

Speaking of well-written science articles, Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006

While you're on that Seed Magazine site, check out that sunflower looking graphic that goes to  I'm long overdue for publishing mail, but that link reminded me of something that came in last night:

I've been out of the loop of reading Clicked for a little while because I started a new job, and don't have as much time for my favorite things like that as I did at my old job.  So, I'm hoping this is not redundant; if it is I apologize in advance.  If not, I thought this web site was quite neat.
— Mary Anne

Will replies:  Hi Mary Anne, congrats on the new job.  Yes, I've seen the 10x10 site before, but thanks for reminding me because bears striking resemblance to the navigation I've been playing with on this site.  I'm not a fan of the " mystery meat" aspect of not knowing what you're getting before you click, but I think it holds promise as an alternative to the traditional list of headlines design.

Speaking of design alternatives, the world of Web design has been discussing the merits of ugly design lately.  Scoble coined the term anti-marketing design, and that seems to be catching on some.  I haven't been paying very close attention, but the idea seems to be that ugly sites are doing well, so there might be some benefit to having an ugly site.  I've seen a few recommendations of this link for discussion of the matter, so that's my commuter click today.

A lot of folks are pointing to the story of the kid who climbed into the toy machine .  The whole thing sounded like a publicity stunt to me, particularly since I could swear I'd seen a similar photo before.  I was able to find two other instances of kids crawling into these machines.  (The Beeb called this one " Houdini babe.")  How many more times before they have to put a warning sticker on the machines?

The Web 2.0 Awards — We've been watching the development of what has come to be known as Web 2.0 for a while now.  For folks who aren't familiar with the term and its accompanying ideas, looking at lists like this may give you a better sense of what it's all about.

Google blog accidentally deleted itself.

" Accelerated Evolution" Converts RNA Enzyme to DNA Enzyme In Vitro — When I see "accelerated evolution" I immediately think "X-men," but this is actually about the earliest days of life on Earth and how we made the jump from RNA slime to DNA slime.

Fitzgerald Will Seek New White House Indictments — Remember the Plame Affair?  What was that, like ten years ago?

Yes, Charisma Carpenter would make an awesome Wonder Woman.  Note, item has some pin-up photos.  Lad mag stuff, not porn, but potentially work-inappropriate.

How to Have a 36 Hour Day — This is not quite the Kramer idea it sounds like.  Though the beginning is about actual sleep, most of it is about budgeting your time better (so saving time = extending the day).

Why You Too Should Cancel Cable — This blogger can't afford cable so she cancels the service and observes startling changes in herself (including weight loss).  As enjoyable as this is to read (and even agree with some parts), dumping the TV is simply not an option for me.

Since we're entering the season of Spring amorousness, the lessons in this essay about checking a partner's medicine cabinet may be relevant for some.  (It may also go a long way toward explaining why the men you bring home end up running away screaming.)

CGI Optimus Prime — The video is in a zip file and it's pretty brief, but very cool.

Mexican Coke: The 'Real Thing?' — The real secret comes around mid-page:  "It's made from sugar cane, not corn syrup."  I'm not sure how to tell exactly if a bottle of Coke is Mexican, but now that I've read this, of course I'm going to be on the look-out.  However, it's probably not a good idea to ask the waiter at you local burrito shack if he has any Mexican coke.  That might not end well.

"Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people's attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity."

The "about" page explains that stylist was involved, so I guess these are not straight off the street, but still a very illuminating look at social uniforms.

The air car - It's powered by compressed air.  I don't know how much energy is ultimately required to compress the air in the first place, but zero emissions in the city is nice.  Might make a cool short-trip-only taxi cab.

The Picoflyer is a remote control helicopter that's smaller than your hand.  (Includes video.)

Pouring Ketchup — The full technical explanation

Seven rules for corporate blogging — Rule 1:  Don't do it.  There's so much evangelizing out there about corporations keeping blogs to give themselves a human face that you don't often read about potential drawbacks.  This list provides a nice dose of reality.

Video of the Day:  Hornby Island, Bald Eagle Nest — I've tried a few times to get this to work and I think I've been checking at the wrong time of day.  I logged in this afternoon and not only was the video streaming well, but there was an eagle in the nest.  I suppose the real goal would be to catch it at feeding time.

**  Today's title, "Talkin' to ya while talkin' to ya" comes from a personal story I don't mind sharing.  In college I worked the stock room at a local department store with Norman, a 48-year-old African-American man from Birmingham, Alabama with a lot of accumulated wisdom to share.  One day we were stacking boxes of laundry soap, some of which were a little sticky, leading me to ponder what damage I might be doing to my skin, when Norman suddenly said, "You put the SKU numbers like boss man in the next row and then you can see what you got when you're looking." 

I stopped.  "What?"

"When you stack the boxes this way, then later on the boss man in the row right behind us so you can find your number better."

My brain would not engage.  I thought the 115 degree heat of the upstairs stock room was getting to me.  Norman read my look of confusion and gave me a disappointed sneer.

"I'm talkin' to ya while I'm talkin' to ya!!"

I learned a lot from Norman that summer.

March 28, 2006 | 4:14 AM ET

Multiplayer games may be the best kind of job training.  Of course, that's provided the technology behind those games doesn't end up taking your job first:  "Will artificial intelligence replace the mantra of outsourcing and manufacturing migration?"  I clicked the question here, but it comes from this larger essay.

Speaking of computers stealing jobs, divorce lawyers beware:  "Researchers in Australia have developed a computer program that relies on a branch of mathematics known as game theory to produce a fairer outcome when dividing property" in divorce cases.

Speaking of life as game: Putting the Fun in Functional; applying game mechanics to functional software — At first I thought this was too "inside-baseball," but in the end I had fun realizing how much of what we do is like a video game.

Gaming now and then — Video games have definitely passed the point of "someday we'll look back and laugh."

Speaking of gaming through time, what about the future?   When virtual worlds collide — Argues that online games are moving toward a common format such that their environments and characters will be interchangeable.  I'm going to have to bet against this one.  It might be cool for gamers, but I don't think it's in the nature of the business.

Video game of the Day:  I clicked it here, but I think this is the source.  I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me forever to figure out that the way to start the game is by making the guy in the circle open the door.

On the subject of the media undermining the effort in Iraq for not reporting the "good news" a lot of bloggers are pointing to a compelling argument by CNN's Lara Logan.  The part of her answer that resonates with me is how much of the bad news is also not being reported.  While there are online reports from people like Michale Yon that do a good job of humanizing our troops and showing their genuine good faith effort to make Iraq a better place, there are also videos of IEDs blowing up Americans and of dead and bloodied Iraqi children.  Of course, the reason we don't see those things on American TV is not because of the reporting but because of American tastes and what Ann Curry calls " green journalism ."

Not an example of humanizing our troops:  Iraqis killed by US troops ‘on rampage’

But speaking of fighting for journalism's name and reputation, "[T]he refrain that Americans are sleep deprived originates largely from people funded by the drug industry or with financial interests in sleep research clinics."  Word in the newsroom is that the last couple of months have seen an all out assault by PR companies for sleep drug corporations.

By now you've likely heard that Russia is being accused of passing U.S. military plans to Saddam.  Gateway Pundit adds photos to the mix.

Kleptones — 2 CDs-worth of mixes and mash-ups, free.

Programmable beverage containers — "Ipifini's Programmable Liquid Container technology employs buttons on the container's surface that release additives (flavors, colors, fragrances) into the liquid."

Heat Vision and Jack — "Heat Vision and Jack was created as a 1999 pilot for Fox. Written by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, directed by Ben Stiller, this series was passed over by Fox despite critical acclaim from those who've been lucky enough to see it.  The 30 minute pilot is about an astronaut (played by Jack Black) with a medical secret who is on the run from the evil Ron Silver and the rest of NASA, with the help of a talking motorcycle called Heat Vision (voiced by Owen Wilson)."  Yes, I watched the whole thing.

Speaking of unique motorcycles, Monowheels — I'm not sure if the Embryo counts, but that's still my favorite one-wheeler.  I've seen video of Kerry McLean's Mono-cycle, but at the end he gets speed wobble and wipes out.  I looked everywhere but couldn't find it online.

The Top 18 Skylines in the World — The question in the back of my mind is whether the new World Trade Center design will be good enough to raise New York's ranking from number 4.

Global values map — this takes some staring at to understand what it's showing.  Includes a cluster called "Confucian." (The report it's meant to accompany is here.)

I finally did my taxes last night.  HOLY CRAP taxes are complicated!  No link, I just had to vent a little.

"Carrying a BlackBerry is admitting that your commitment to your current activity is only partial."  I went out with a Treo-toter the other day and I agree.  Every check of the gadget is like saying, "I wish I was somewhere else."  (In the old days this was done by checking one's watch.)

Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study — My reading of this is that Americans don't see any reason to be moral other than because it's commanded by their religion.

7 career killers - Interesting advice on why just doing your job is not your whole job.

The online Jeopardy tests are this week!  Make sure you take care of registration in advance.

Speaking of applying online to be on TV, Rolling Stone is accepting applications for a new reality show.

Chicago parking map — When you get there, will you be able to find a place to park?  (This checks your machine for a certain software before loading the map.  You don't need it though, the HTML version works fine.

" Oil Standard is a web browser plug-in that converts all prices from U.S. Dollars into the equivalent value in barrels of crude oil."  The download is more than I wanted to deal with, but the idea is funny.

Walgreens customers sue over insults on their prescription printouts — It's always good to read your receipts.

Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama — Weirdest news story ever.  Even after watching it I'm not sure I understand what's going on.

How much are your books worth?  When I was a kid and collected baseball cards, the comic book store had books for looking up the value of each card.  I never actually tried to sell a baseball card, but it was fun to go treasure hunting in the book.  This Barnes and Noble feature reminds me of that.  After a couple duds I found out that I can get 4 bucks for Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch.  (But not really because it was sent to me for free by the publisher.)

Death Star theater — I had fun clicking around this company's site, they've built a lot of cool stuff.

Solar powered plane might fly continuously for weeks — Of course, my first thought was "flying cities," but it looks more like an alternative to satellites.  Still, "stratospheric platforms" sounds like something to build on.

" This privacy flaw [in Firefox] has caused my fiancé and I to break-up after having dated for 5 years."  Basically, he cleared his history, but there was still a "never remember my password for these sites" list that included some that were...  relationship damaging.


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