April 14, 2006 | 11:09 AM ET

"There is one fact most everyone can agree on: On April 5, 2005, Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein was shot. As for the question of why – well, that's where it gets complicated."  While that link does a good job telling the story, he doesn't tell the half of the "complicated" part.  What's really complicated about it is that this particular camera man continues to take photos of terrorist aftermath, giving some the distinct impression that he's in league with the terrorists.

The background is that conditions in Iraq are so dangerous, news agencies use locals to gather info, photos and video.  The accusation is that these local stringers are deliberately taking misleading photos to make the U.S. look bad, or else they're actually in collusion with the terrorists so they get the "good" photos.

There is a certain irony to the situation.  At the panel I attended last week, another Iraqi photojournalist, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, explained with some exasperation that not only are the stringers not in league with the insurgents, but anyone who is identified as a member of the press is immediately assumed to be allied with the Americans and is likely to be killed.  So distrusted are the media there that stringers can't just be Iraqi or even Sunni or Shia (depending on where they're reporting), they have to actually be locals from the town they're in or they're quickly identified as an outsider and likely working with the U.S.  In the big picture, the two sides on this matter aren't mutually exclusive, so all you can really do is read the reports.

Speaking of the dangers of reporting in Iraq, blogging reporter Michael Totten continues his series on the Kurds.  In Part III he crosses the war torn border from Turkey to Iraq.

Where do you click when given the choice to click anywhere?  I would have expected more of a cloud than that vague cross.

With Zunafish, you post stuff you have that you don't want anymore and you try to trade it for stuff you see there that you do want.  Poking through the CD list, there's a lot of crap here, so I reckon you have to be one of those people who takes pleasure in hunting gems.

Not long ago we saw instructions for making a LED flashlight.  With those basic principles, you can make a flashlight out of anything that'll hold batteries.  Like a Tic-Tac box.

I'm not sure what the deal is with Rube Goldberg inventions, but after clicking this 12 minute video of brief series I clicked this much longer one which results in making noodle soup.  In the second one, the announcer is so excited it's almost like he's watching a sporting event.  Even without knowing Japanese it's easy to be impressed by some of the tricks they use.

Girl's original heart restarted 10 years after transplant — The girl had a heart transplant when she was 2 and began rejecting it when she was 12.  The catch, which to me seems almost more amazing than restarting her old heart, is that they never actually took her old heart out.  I guess they just disconnected it and left it in there. (?!?)  So they took the rejected one out, hooked the original back up and everything worked.  Crazy.

Speaking of body parts that live on after they're disconnected, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that a severed head can remain aware for a little while.  (Another good one from the Damn Interesting site.)

"The Pentagon wants to deploy a host of exotic new weapons systems. Critics say too much of this costly hardware is designed to fight the wrong war."  Objectively cool, but a little depressing.  Too bad they won't be used to battle evil mutants or something.

Speaking of battling evil mutants, if you had to design a logo for a new crime fighting agency, why wouldn't you make it look like something from a super hero comic?  Also, while I can respect the intention behind putting "serious" in their name, wouldn't they be even more effective if they added "very" to the name as well?

Before I drift too far from the topic of cutting edge weapons, this from the mailbag:

Thought you might find this interesting - I know I do!
— Jared

Will replies:  Thanks Jared.  It looks a little like Star Wars Missile Defense for tanks.  Somehow I don't think they really roll around in an invisible bubble like the animation shows.  Whoever wrote the anchor's script didn't pay attention to the report.  And is it just me or does it sound like the words "top secret countermeasure" are spliced in when he gets to explaining the part about how it works? 

Huge but very realistic sculptures — NOTE:  Potentially NSFW or offensive to prudes images on slide 11 and 12.

Speaking of realistic but surreal art, Photos & Visual Art by Christopher Gilbert — Note:  This too has some skin.  Not porn and not even nipples, but a couple photos have more skin than you want your boss to see you looking at (so scroll fast).

Speaking of Photoshopping real photos, Worth1000 offers Regrettable Tattoos.

Speaking of Photoshopping, you may have seen the movie posters for Silent Hill of the girl with no mouth.  And if you live in a city where movie posters are plastered all over the place, you've probably seen that almost every one has enticed someone to draw their own mouth on there.  These are better than I've seen on the street though. 

Mapping religion in America — (I have no more to add, that says it all.  Snakes on a plane.)

Speaking of Sam Jackson vehicles, "America's astronauts may have been the first to plant a flag, drive a buggy and play golf on the Moon.  Planting flowers, however, was not on the Apollo agenda."  It's not exactly terraforming, but I can't avoid the feeling that dumping life on the moon can lead to unexpected consequences.  The article even mentions the possibility of bringing spiders to the moon.

There's some amount of rubbernecking enjoyment to be found in these freak-out break-up letters, but it sounds to me like this lady was just looking for a reason to dump this guy.

Remember that John Landon site from the letters in Tuesday's entry?  This Love/Hate t-shirt would fit right in there.  Looks like it comes in both Love and Hate versions.  Of course, if you want to switch, you can just wear your shirt inside out.

How to respond to the Da Vinci Code movie — Encourages Christians who are offended by the movie to see something else on the day of the movie's release in the hopes of skewing the box office rankings.

Speaking of offending Christians, Commuter Click: "A historian of Christian martyrdom attends a Christian Right strategy session in the 'War on Christians.'"  Reading "historian of Christian martyrdom" made me think I was going to be reading something scholarly, but it isn't, this guy's pretty scornful.  That said, the actual positions of the movement he describes sounds correct, so I'm going to give it a fuller read-through later.

Y'know how sometimes a sign will ask you to prove you're human by typing a code hidden in some squiggles?  A new form of that kind of authentication has the Web aflutter.  Instead of deciphering a code, you identify the kitten photos.

Yesterday we read that no one is actually listening to podcasts.  Today we read, "Podcasting and MP3 players are stealing radio's audience, according to the latest figures from Bridge Ratings."

The Star Wars Kid has settled his lawsuit against the kids who made him a global laughing stock.  He was looking for $351,000.  No word on the final amount.  As to the SlashDot question, I think it's a missed opportunity.  This was definitely a case of "laughing with him" and he could have had some real fun taking advantage of the situation.

The Flashbag is a memory stick that inflates as you add data.

" Millionaires24 is a new email service that caters to the super rich, and costs $399 per month."  Just because it's not April first doesn't mean it's not a joke.

Glenn has been talking about the possibility that the immigration issue could create a third party in coming elections.  This blogger's list of politicians who have "permanently lost my support for any elected office" makes it apparent how possible that is.

April 12, 2006 | 11:27 AM ET

A lot of folks are talking about a Forrester podcasting report that " just 1% use podcasts."  I recently read elsewhere that "podcast" is a misnomer because most people are listening on their computers, not on iPods.  Overall opinion of podcasting and amateur audio is still positive but some rationality is recommended with the exuberance.

Speaking of people who aren't listening to iPods, apparently the toddler set is seen as an untapped market.  Look for the iTod.

Speaking of things you can put on an iPod, Magnatune allows you to listen to bands before you buy.  I don't see any recognizable names on the list, but I found some good things to listen to.

And speaking of free music, as I write this I'm listening to the trip-hop stylings of Bitter:Sweet recommended by the editor at Download.com.  And in keeping with the research, though I could put them on an iPod (my wife has one) I'm listening to the stream through the "play now" button there on the right.  (P.S. I second the recommendation.  Nice mix of sounds.)

Speaking of integrating Web audio into our lives, Coming soon: Google Voice Search.  How's this for search engine speak:  "The system receives a voice search query from a user, derives one or more recognition hypotheses, each being associated with a weight, from the voice search query, and constructs a weighted boolean query using the recognition hypotheses."

Another step closer to tapping our com badges and shouting, "Computer!"

Speaking of different languages, I admit I had to read the Wikipedia link in the first sentence before I understood this joke.  It's a story about a guy who took an Internet meme and tricked his company into adopting it as a motto and mascot.

I hate having to ignore blogs written in languages I don't understand.  I clicked this and after picking through some translator sites I figured out that Italy is learning about Googlebombing much the same way the U.S. learned about it - through political groups trying to associate critical search terms with politician bios.  In this case it appears to be about "miserabile fallimento" instead of " miserable failure."

The Microchunking Economy — Alternate buzz phrase: "the clip culture."  The idea:  "Of course, the question is: why is this inevitable? Simple: the economics of attention dictate that microchunking media is the dominant strategy."

President Bush may have given up on connecting Saddam with U.S. terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, but that doesn't mean the matter is dead.  Captain's Quarters is the most active blog I know for continuing to make the case against Saddam:

And speaking of not accepting the commonly accepted, Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case that Iraq was looking to buy uranium from Niger.  I'm not clear on the details (there are so many) but I think the question of intent to buy uranium is different from the question of the Niger forgeries.

By way of CityRag I learn that there's a show in the UK that purports to project the appearances of skinny celebrities into the future.  Nice scare tactic, but I think there's a surgery for making sure that doesn't happen too.

Ten video sharing services compared

Speaking of video, there's a lot of discussion of ABC's plan to put TV shows on the Web for free.  After clicking through some cheerleading and some poo-pooing, I recommend this blog entry as a nice overview (with relevant links) of the discussion points.)  It's interesting to see the "unbundled" buzzword evolving into "rebundled."  It's good to read a reality based perspective on their community plans as well.

I don't know if this is spam or spectacle, but the photo of a jet with pimped SUV wheels is pretty funny.

The Fib — It's like math haiku, the syllables are based on the Fibonacci sequence.

Speaking of a chambered nautilus, the new Knitty has a nautiloid pattern.

Speaking of Knitty, a reader and distant colleague Jean writes:

Hey, the new Knitty.com is up….

And speaking of knitting blogs, you should check out:

  • Franklin (be sure to check out the Dolores storyline and the cartoons)
  • Crazy Aunt Purl — On the Crazy Aunt Purl site, the link to the archives is deliberate.  Check out the portion of the March 31st entry titled  “v. Just one leetle story.”  Completely snortworthy.

Thanks for your column.  Along with the two blogs above, it’s one of my morning must-reads.

Sincerely,
Jean

Template for a blog post — I didn't get this until I started reading through the comments.

Schneier scoffs at the idea that Google Earth poses a terrorism risk because it could help terrorists accurately target a missile.

Speaking of being afraid of maps, "Sweden's Lantmäteriverket, the state GIS agency, has been caught camouflaging its censorship of the country's spy headquarters on aerial images it makes public, and Google Maps is directly responsible for the find."

Startup called Webaroo touts 'Web on a hard drive' — The idea is that you don't necessarily need the most current version of everything on the Web.  You can pre-load your machine with the stuff you use and essentially access the Web from anywhere without an actual connection.  Then you update it periodically.

Bloggers join the mainstream — This comes as an interesting extension of Ezzie's question yesterday.  If bloggers get a satisfying amount of traffic through a syndication service that features them on commercial media sites, will they be less likely to utilize the social networking usually necessary to draw readers?

Energy Secretary Quietly Dismantles Independent Science Advisory Board — Yes, we've had quite enough science advice, thank you very much.

I was liking Die Hard: The Ballad of John McClane as the Video of the Day today.  It's Die Hard converted to a silent movie with a spoof script...

...But then I saw the acupuncturist with the amazing chi powers.  Apparently he can generate electricity in his own body and at the end he even sets a newspaper on fire with energy from his hands.  (Arg!  I looked everywhere for a photo from the scene in The Last Dragon with the lightening from the fingers, but this was the closest I could find.  Of course, this one was a gimme. And this one. [And by the way, I think it's pretty funny that there's a Wikipedia entry for the Force.])

"Australian scientists have discovered an " anti-freeze gene" that allows Antarctic grass to survive at minus 30 Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit)."

A mathematical-ish formula for assessing the perfect butt...

...Fat-seeking laser would fix zits and cellulite...

..."The average woman worries about her body every 15 minutes." — Gee, can't imagine why.

David Kopel advises not to get too carried away with the new Judas gospels and proceeds to offer some of his own analysis.  The post draws 167 comments so far, which is a considerable amount.  More on the Judas gospel here.

It has nothing to do with the Spider Man contest that I happened to click this blog of two guys buying comic books and reviewing them and generally talking about them.  I've been out of comics for a while but I'm always tempted to get back in.  Reading through this blog starts to give a feel for the lay of the land.

Eminem colleague "Proof" was shot and killed yesterday.  Another MySpace page turned obituary.

Panorama Explorer — take a picture and plot it on a map.  We've seen similar sites, but it's a worthwhile idea if it really gets going.  And if it does get going it'll stay fresher than the A9 maps.

"A Nevada-based aviation company is exploring another creative way to utilize gravity as a power source– combining some very old ideas with some very new ones– to produce an aircraft concept which might one day tote people and cargo great distances without the need for fuel. The project is called the GravityPlane."

Living in the Treetops: Free Spirit Spheres — This is seriously cool in and of itself, but "suspended via wires from old-growth trees or any other stationary objects" makes me wonder if they could be suspended between the buildings in New York City.

When delete is not enough — I missed this when it was in the Times.  It's about all the traces left in your computer by the things you do with it.

Simply Google — Google's many facets presented on a single page.

LED Construction Signs Hacked (with pro-environmental messages).  They're the kind of signs that say "buckle up" or "merge left."  I'm guessing they're are programmed locally.  Someone is probably pretty angry about this stunt since those signs usually have something to say.  If you want to talk to the commuting masses, you might consider something more along the lines of the Freeway blogger.

Records show phone jammer-White House link — I think the national media regarded this as a local story because I don't recall hearing much about it at the time.  The blogosphere has taken an interest, however.

April 11, 2006 | 8:53 AM ET

For the Spider Man contest I was looking for any answer that mentioned the Secret Wars, though I would have accepted anything to do with Battleworld or the Beyonder.  A truly disturbing number of you knew that and more.

So, for step two, and to keep things above board, here are the fifteen who are in the drawing:

  1. Juan A.
  2. David B.
  3. David L.
  4. Dan W.
  5. Michael T.
  6. Derrick W.
  7. Timothy A.
  8. John N.
  9. Ryan F.
  10. Kenneth M.
  11. Martin R.
  12. Paul Y.
  13. Rick R.
  14. Ryan E.
  15. Adam F.

Going through all that mail served as a painful reminder that it’s been a while since I posted some reader letters, so here are some highlights going back a few weeks:

About your section on the male breast being shown on TV.

I have actually had this exact debate w/ friends. Oddly enough, during our regular poker game.

How did this come you say? Well, even more odd than a bunch of dudes talking about male breasts on TV is the fact that a professional poker player (and his name totally escapes me, but he plays in the WSOP) had breast implants put in on a bet. He apparently won a large portion of money from a fellow poker player by doing it, and has decided to keep them. Now, to the point. This guy has been in countless interviews showing off his "pecs", but you know what, network TV won't show them. I have seen a couple of interviews w/ this guy and he gladly shows them off (I don't think it is a big deal, other than a dude have a C-cup). However, everytime I have seen an interview w/ him and he does this, the station blurs out his breasts, choosing not to show them for whatever fear there is of showing breasts.

So, that is where our conversation started from, a guy in the WSOP showing off his breats on national TV, but not having them actually appear because they look like something a female would have.........................

If I can find this guys name, I will send it to you.

Thanks for a wonderful section on the site,
—Craig

Will replies:  Hi Craig, I forgot about that guy.  His name is Brian Zembic.  There’s a photo of him with his top off in this article.  There’s a book about him too.  It also reminds me of a inner debate I had with myself about that naked Britney Spears sculpture a little while ago.  Where’s the line between representational and real?

Cute Slideshow
-Jeff

Will replies:  Hi Jeff, you should check out the Friday Ark carnival of animal bloggers.  Also see the I and the Bird carnival for bird bloggers.

Cool pictures
Jennifer

Will replies:  Thanks Jennifer, very cool.  I wonder how long those can stay there.  Does the artist leave them or do they end up a pile of plastic mush after the first rain?

I’ve seen the MechWarrior!  In 1989, I was stationed at Yuma proving grounds, I held a pretty high security clearance and got to see some pretty cool stuff, lasers and masers remote vehicles of various types. I happened past a hangar on the facility and say what looked like the upper torso of the machine Ridley used to defeat the alien. This one was being operated by a person in a suit strung with wires, they weren’t on or in the device, however it was set up as a forklift of sorts, I was told that multiple lower torsos existed for the device including tracks and legs. Almost 20 years later and still most of all the technology being tested there seems still to be under wraps! Anyways, thought you might be interested! 
-Tony

Speaking of robot suit wrestling.  I came across this link. Sounds like the guy is wanting to start a Mech Combat arena. Could be very entertaining if not just a little bit dagerous.
Robert

Will replies:  That’s great!  I knew such a thing must already exist.  I’m thinking the flame throwers in those Neogentronyx suits might be a bit much though.  I recently clicked this robot wrestling match, so if we can just meet somewhere in the middle I think we’ll have a new sport on our hands.

Don't understand how this works, but I thought it might be right up your alley.
Randi

Will replies:  Hi Randi, as a matter of fact I have seen this one before so I know the answer.  I’m writing in below in white, so if you highlight the space you’ll see the answer.  This way I don’t ruin it for anyone else.

Health Wonk Review is a new health policy blog carnival. The new edition is up here.  Please have a look.
David

I liked "the incremental postings", but I guess I'm out voted again.
Keep up the great worked I read and click everyday. (everyday I'm at work that is)
Greg

Dude,
I love your column....however, your experiment was DOA for me. Used to be, I could look on MSNBC, Clicked, and tell by the title whether or not you had added to the column. Now, I have no clue without actually browsing into it. Definitely NOT a time saver. Nice try though.
Thanks for all the great info you provide.
Robert

Will replies:  Thanks for everyone’s feedback on the incremental posting experiment.  Greg, you weren’t the only vote for your side, but yes, you were outvoted.  I think most Clicked readers do what Robert does, look for a new headline to know when there’s an update.  I mostly liked the incremental postings because it meant I could put a few things up in between meetings or other workday chores, or I could take the time to read a long piece and not be self conscious about the fact that the whole rest of the entry is sitting in a Notepad document, waiting.  On the other hand, I like being able to look for themes and that’s easier when I can lay them all out on the page.

Hey Will,
Big fan, I religiously read your blog! You were talking about movies that Hollywood may put to the DVD market because people won’t buy a ticket for it but might do well on DVD. I am the DVD (I guess editor) for the San Francisco Examiner and I can tell you that’s already happening. Recently, “American Pie Presents: Band Camp” came out straight to DVD and sold like a million copies, which is pretty unheard of for a straight to DVD release. Also another title called “Dirty Deeds,” a film similar to the “American Pie” films, also did pretty good on DVD without making it to the Box Office.

Also, if you count titles such as “Bubble” that came out onto DVD, pay per view and Theaters simultaneously, Hollywood is certainly making a stab at this market if not transitioning to it as a separate but equal way to deliver films. Horror movies have always done well on video/DVD and the increase in the number of horror films coming out straight to DVD has picked up as well.

By the way, this is something the motion picture association is well aware too as evidence by it’s public bashing of DVD and home theaters at this year’s Academy Awards (in case you didn’t see it).

Keep on rocking!
—Peter

Will replies:  Hi Peter, good point.  Do you think there’s something to be read into the phenomenon.  I remember reading once about how the VCR had changed how people watch movies in theaters, although the writer couldn’t decide if it made people more likely to talk in the theater like it’s their living room or more likely to be impatient with people around them, expecting it to be as quiet as their living room.  What role do American Pie knock-off films play in the widening gap between public and private entertainment?

I am sure I am not the only one to point this out, but Muslim men do not wear turbans, Sikhs do. Your blog still rocks.
—Gaurav

Will replies:  You’re quite right.  Somewhere in the web of links I followed in the course of reading about that story they mentioned using Sikhs in turbans – the idea was for the testers to be “Muslim-looking,” which is probably offensive in its own right.  Anyway, your note reminds me of the weeks following 9/11 when I would take the bus from the City to MSNBC HQ in NJ and I guess there’s a pretty strong Sikh population along that bus line.  They wore buttons that said things like “I’m a Sikh, I’m for peace” or “I’m a Sikh, ask me what that is.”  (I don’t remember exactly what they said, but the point was that they wore signs on themselves to try to stave off discrimination.)

Will,
Awesome site
They have TONS of video game music and sound effects, and they're growing.  Just making sure you've seen it.
—Patrick

Hey Will,
Okay, after reading it three times I still don't get the point of your summer job anecdote. What's an SKU number? Was he telling you to look ahead or look back? Or what??? I'm always looking for accumulated wisdom, but you lost me on this one.
—John

Will replies:  John, you weren’t the only one who didn’t get it, so I’ll try with a little more depth.  Norman was 48 years old in 1993 when I worked with him.  I mention that for two reasons.  One is that he began every story by in his deep, southern accented voice with, “Sheeeit!  I’m 48 years old!”  Sometimes his age was relevant, sometimes not, but he always pointed it out.  The other reason I mention it is that his age meant he was in Birmingham, Alabama at the time of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, Jr.  As a white kid from New Hampshire, I thought he was the coolest guy I’d ever met.  So when he taught me the “talkin’ to ya while talkin’ to ya” trick for subverting “the man” it made a big impression.

A SKU number is just a serial number to identify what’s in the boxes, but that’s beside the point.  I was supposed to ignore that and instead hear the part that the manager was near and I should look busy.

Another story that Norman told me that I still remember vividly was when we were sitting around one day talking about women (which was not uncommon).  When he was young, if a white woman was walking his way on the sidewalk, he had to step off the curb and into the gutter with eyes downcast until she passed.  Looking up at her could get him killed, he said.  As he told the story he demonstrated the posture.  Six foot four inch, 48-year-old Norman took a few steps away from me and demurely turned his face down and away.  I felt ashamed.

I forwarded this to as many people as I could.  Maybe posting on a major blog will put him over the top?
Your loyal reader,
Scott

Will replies:  I gotta be honest with you Scott, I’m pretty sure this is spam.  I was going to avoid it entirely (I have nothing against three-ways, but forcing someone into one because they lost a bet feels wrong) but I love the fight the Reddit folks had over whether it’s spam and whether that makes it less interesting or entertaining.  I guess I’ve added another layer that says the site is spam and not interesting, but discussing the site is.  Go figure.

Hey Will,
Check this out, I believe it has something to do with the 100 year anniversary of the Great San Fran quake in 1906. Way cool though.
—Andy

Will replies:  Hi Andy, thanks.  I have seen this before (readers should check out the last slide for a “watch it jiggle” video).  Speaking of the San Fran earthquake, MSNBC.com will be publishing a big project later this week on the subject.  I know this because I helped out with a brief bit of voiceover work.  Listen for me when it comes out.

Hello Will,

You wrote this in a post from 3/28:

"...but in the end I had fun realizing how much of what we do is like a video game." 

Sorry to suck out the fun but the reality is that video games are like what we do.  Game programmers work very hard at this.

Maybe you've come across this before (I've only been avoiding work reading your blog for a few months) but this guy's created some really cool artwork.  I haven't yet but it makes me want to try some out on my own.  Say what you want about Dan Brown but there is a lot of fun in his books.

Thanks,
Dan

Will replies:  Thanks Dan.  Because you offered that link I forgive you for sucking the fun out of my other-side-of-the-game-screen delusion.  I agree that Langdon’s art makes me want to try it, but I suspect he makes it look easier than it is.

Checked out the eagle website.  The eagle is sitting on two eggs and the eagles switch laying on them.  I haven’t seen any feeding yet.
—Wendy

Regarding the "Mexican Coke" made with real sugar - at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX, you can buy Dr. Pepper in glass bottles made with real cane sugar. You can also get it at the soda fountain there the same way (along with root beer) - the bonus at the soda fountain being that it's mixed "the old-fashioned way" right there in front of you. The taste of the real sugar Dr. Pepper is subtle, but definitely there.
—Polly

Hey Will,
I laughed out loud at your Mexican Coke joke. However, if people want to taste Coke made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, there's an easier way. Just buy Kosher-For-Passover Coca Cola. It's made with sugar because Ashkenazi Jews cannot eat or drink anything made with corn during the eight days of Passover. It should be available in most large U.S. supermarkets around this time of year (bottles have a yellow cap emblazoned with Hebrew letters). I've had it, and it definitely is a lot sweeter than the normal version.
Best,
Adam

Will replies:  Thanks guys.  I’ll add that Boylan’s also makes “Cane Cola” with sugar cane instead of corn syrup.

Best 404 page ever.  What do you think?
—Jim

Will replies:  Hi Jim.  I think it's funny how much competition there is for the best 404 page.  That one’s pretty good.  Also in the running are this one and the simple but lovely Nevermore page.

Hi Will!
I read your Blog regularly (and really enjoy it!).  Even though this isn’t really a blog, I thought it was something you might enjoy sharing with everyone.  The University of California has been digitalizing old record cylinders and putting them online for people to listen to by clicking on the digitalized MP3 links. So far they have processed over 6,000 of them.

Keep up the great work!
Becky

Will replies:  Thanks very much for sharing that Becky.  Amazing.

Will,
Found this interesting experiment while procrastinating PhD completion. 
It is a giant climate change experiment that individual Joes can participate in by downloading a program onto their computer.  Since one of our (as earth scientists) biggest limitations right now is computer speed, to me this a powerful concept.
—John

Will replies:  Very cool.  Thanks John.

Hey Will -
I write the site BLDGBLOG, which features that story about the Tokyo tunnels. First, thanks a million for the link, which I totally appreciate, and through which I've already received a huge spike in new visitors. So thanks again!
Second, it may be overkill here, but an earlier entry on BLDGBLOG, about underground London, is actually, in my opinion, even more interesting - though longer - and has some really unbelievable info about things like secret defense budgets, unacknowledged bunkers, classified government pedestrian tunnels - it's just cool, frankly. I love this stuff! Freaky houses that don't really exist because they're really air vents for the Tube. Etc. etc.
Anyway, here's the link.

Enjoy; and thanks again, I appreciate it.
Best, Geoff

Will replies:  Thanks Geoff.  I think the best secret urban underground story is the Paris cinema story.

What's Scarier then Chuck Norris Reading Chuck Norris facts?

Knowing if you laugh at them, A flying roundhouse kick will come out of no where...
G

Will replies:  It is so funny how utterly bewildered this Chuck is about this meme.  One day he’s selling exercise rubber bands, the next day he’s huge on the Internet with fake factoids even his ego couldn’t think up.

Hello,

I'm a big fan of Clicked.  Very cool stuff.

I thought you might be interested in this.

Blu-ray and HD DVD have been in the news a lot lately, as people try to figure out which format will dominate over the next few years. In order to help everyone decide which standard is likely to succeed, I made a short animation (60 sec) which takes a look at how well Sony formats have done over the years.

Take care,
-Ted

Will replies:  Thanks Ted.  I guess you have to give them points for persistence though, eh?

Back in 2003, you wrote an article about my blog, serenity-quest.com in which I had posted about my upcoming custody trial and my concerns about revealing too much personal information.  In January 2004, my custody trial actually occurred, and unfortunately, my blog entries were the focus of that trial and used to destroy my character.  Blogging was not as widely known as it is now, and I stopped blogging for awhile due to the devastation of what happened to me.  I've since begun blogging again under a new url and I was curious if you had written on this topic since that time.  There are numerous articles out there about people losing their jobs due to their blog, but not as many about blog entries being used to attack someone's character in court.

I'm interested in any feedback you have on this topic, because it's a new precedent in the law regarding evidence, etc.

Thanks,
Trish

Will replies:  Hi Trish, I do recall your old blog.  Sorry to hear things went poorly for you.  The only other case that comes to mind (because there was a recent update) is that of a woman having a struggle in a custody case in which her art is being used against her and examples from the Web are serving as evidence.

Maybe people reading this will know of other cases like yours.

Hobby rocketry involves everything from those little A, B and C - motored rockets many of us played with as a kid up through O-powered behemoths. Every time you go up a letter, the maximum power doubles.

I thought you'd want to see the onboard video from Peter Clay's rocket, the U.S.S. Bakula.

When the rocket breaks the sound barrier, look at how the fins twist and bend! The fins are made of "G-10," an incredibly rigid fiberglass material. The fins were strengthened with extra fiber glass!

The video's great, and we rocket scientists are going to learn a lot from it. I thought your readers might want to see this video that's making the rounds.

Rob of UnSpace

Will replies:  Thanks Rob, very cool video.  Great sound on it.

I always chuckle when I read blog-articles like these. I primarily read knitting blogs, and the online knitting community and their blogging emphasis is completely unlike that of the "news" bloggers. About the only thing they seem to have in common is the software used to get the posts online. Instead, there's an incredible sense of community--people making afghans to comfort fellow bloggers who've lost loved ones, or sending care packages to those who are hurt--not to mention massive amounts of charity knitting.

Why do so many articles about the "threat" of blogging focus on news without acknowledging that there are people out there who blog about other things, like cooking, or reading, or sports, or music, without any ulterior motive or agenda? You'd think, seeing these articles, that the only people who blog are the ones trying to compete with mainstream media and it's not the case. Is it that the journalists writing the articles are most concerned with the so-called competition and simply don't look beyond that to all the people who blog solely for recreational purposes?
—Deb

Stumbled across this as I was checking out where people were coming from… thanks for the link. Ironic how you linked to a cooking carnival I hosted, considering that I rarely blog about food, but that’s how things work out.

I don’t know if this will help you at all, but I tend to host a “roundup” of some of the better posts in the “J-Blogosphere” and a number outside of it (Jewish bloggers tend to find each other and have created a nice little niche out there). I do this about 4-5 times a week, and most of the posts are not “Jewish-based”, they just happen to be written by Jews.

I also write my own stuff, which of course you’re always welcome to link to…

If you don’t mind my asking, I’ve always been curious – do the blogs of traditional media outlets get readers? It seems as if most bloggers would be somewhat ‘distrustful’ of such a blog; instead of viewing it as just another blog, with more behind it, they seem to view it as “just another wing of the MSM, disguised.”

While people respect the news outlets themselves, or blogs themselves, they don’t seem to like the combination of the two. When a post I wrote was put into Opinion Journal, it got respect (and hate mail :) ). And obviously, bigger blogs have their own respect, even if most of it remains in the blogosphere. But blogs such as the one the WSJ created, and this one, seem to be somewhat unknown. Is this the impression you get as well, or am I way off?
—Ezzie, SerandEz

Will replies:  Hi Ezzie, I’ve been thinking all month about your question and part of the reason I’ve paired it with Deb’s is that I think she has part of your answer.  The pundit-sphere is a really narrow slice of the blogosphere.  The attention they’ve received has been disproportionate to their significance.  That said, we have Eric Alterman and Glenn Reynolds blogging on MSNBC.com and their reputations don’t seem to have suffered for it.

I agree, however, that mainstream media blogs have a different feel than personal blogs, and I think there are two reasons for that.  The first reason is the software.  Often mainstream media blogs are built into big publishing programs that aren’t part of blog databases.  So unless they take a few extra steps, they might not show up in places like Technorati.

The second difference is that even in cases where mainstream media bloggers aren’t simply columnists presented in a blog format, they are often less likely to treat their “work blog” in the social way independent bloggers conduct themselves.  As much freedom as I have with Clicked, I don’t confuse it with my personal blog and I can’t ignore its association with the site as a whole.  Similarly, I know from experience that it can be very difficult to make oneself distinct from a corporate news brand.  The MSNBC.com blog I wrote from 2002-2003 called Blogspotting had a more formal tone and people were constantly calling me “MSNBC” and they’d write to complain about media bias on cable as if I had anything to do with that.

There’s one other reason that I’m a little afraid to mention, but if I’m being honest I have to, and it’s that mainstream bloggers often don’t play the link solicitation game.  I don’t send notes to A-Listers asking for links, or pick fights with other bloggers just to make noise.  In fact, that may be the best explanation for why you haven’t heard of some mainstream media blogs.  The mainstream model is that writers answer to editors who argue the case for story placement within the news outlet (where, to answer your first question, they do get plenty of traffic).  A blogger has to do his own pitching and self promotion or he won’t get any readers.

Thanks for the food for thought.

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