August 17, 2006 | 5:49 PM ET

Andrew Sullivan points out that according to British law, authorities can hold someone for 28 days without filing charges and so far they have not charged anyone with anything in relation to last week's terror plot.  Ultimately his point is that he has more faith in the judicial system than the "trust me, they're terrorists" administration.

On the implausiblity of the explosives plot — This is the most detail I've read of how a bomb of the kind described by accounts of the plot would be made.

" I bet it will turn out to be a hoax."  This guy was on Tucker's show the other day.  His argument boils down to "they were wrong before, they're probably wrong now."  As Tucker and many bloggers have pointed out, this is not a particularly sound basis for a national defense.

Olbermann:  The nexus of terror and politics

In spite of the above, I'm inclined to wait for the due outcome of each case on its own merits.  The conclusion I do feel compelled to draw, however, is that terrorism is losing its teeth, both politically and as a global extra-governmental tactic.  People are becoming increasingly cynical about terrorists and terrorism and that cynicism may ultimately be the most effective tool in fighting terror.

Shorter Ann Althouse:  Forcing a kid to spend 9 hours a day memorizing the Koran in a language he doesn't understand at an American madrassa is illegal and abusive and ought to be reported as such.

(And in case I'm sounding too confident in my conclusions, links like the above are the sort being pointed to by some bloggers to make the point that Islamic extremism (and therefore the threat of terrorism) is more common and closer than even the media hype would have us believe.)

Authorities Warning Women Not to Wear Gel Bras As Worries of Possible Female Bombers Increase — The report mentions baby bottles with false bottoms and containing peroxide found at a recycling center in the U.K.  Can you imagine if the terrorists end up being convicted because they put the evidence in the recycling instead of destroying it?  They don't have a problem littering the ocean with the charred remains of a plane and its contents, but polluting the Earth with empty baby bottles is just wrong.

Speaking of things not being allowed on planes, how about a tiny gun that shoots tiny bullets?  Check the "gallery steel" for a look at how tiny it is.

Speaking of potentially dangerous portable things, " A portable hacking device equipped with hundreds of exploits and an automated exploitation system will go on sale in the United States in October."

Sort of spoiler:  The Harry Potter fans at MuggleNet have posted a photo of Tonks in costume from the shooting of the new movie.

Yet another collection of AOL searchers — These are mostly obscene.  They mostly follow the pattern of searching for normal stuff and then suddenly searching for something completely raunchy.  Or searching for sex terms and then searching for something completely normal.  Part of me thinks we should all have a good laugh over this and part of me says no way, there's a lot of sickos out there.

Related:  What Are Web Surfers Seeking? Well, It's Just What You'd Think

What If 9/11 Never Happened?

16 Common Myths About Atheists

I'm not sure who J.D. is but this is indeed an amazing jump.

Jason Kottke gives color photos from a 1939 to 1943 collection a Photoshop treatment.  Not the falsifying kind of treatment but the sharpen image, improve contrast kind of treatment. to stream hit shows for free — Now you can admit to watching Numb3rs without necessarily admitting that you were home watching TV on Friday night.

"Science has just published a short comparative study of international acceptance of evolution. Thirty-four countries were polled, and guess what?   We score 33rd - edging out Turkey for last place."

Death to the Caps Lock key — All good points here.  It's a huge key, it's in the way so that it gets hit accidentally.  And who the heck uses it?

How to Do Nothing at Work, and Get Away With It — I'd settle for doing nothing on vacation.

101 Ways to Build Link Popularity in 2006

The Top 20 Fitness Mistakes Beginners Make

Lightning hits a yacht — another good one for our casually collected lightning photo series.

Mormons: the correct answer

"There are now more overweight people across the world than hungry ones, according to experts."  Um... that's a good thing, right?

Ahmadenijad Blog Contains A Little Surprise For Israeli Readers Using Windows and Internet Explorer  (Not a happy surprise.)

Sneeze ring — I like the idea of making a cell phone less annoying by making the ring be something more natural and less jarring than those annoying beeps, but I'm not sure I like the idea of choosing a symptom of illness.  Here in the cube farm people leave their desks and let their cell phones ring through to voicemail.  I'd hate to listen to sneeze after sneeze.

This is probably one of those test crash flights, right?

I'm having a hard time caring about the whole "makaka" story (though I'd probably care more if that guy was representing me in Congress) but it has at least led to my clicking this list of ethnic slurs.

Commuter Click:  "Studies of the mental processes of chess grandmasters have revealed clues to how people become experts in other fields as well"

10 Ways to Make Your Digital Photos Last Forever — Short version:  delete nothing and take advantage of cheap storage by saving everything... twice.

" Here's a list of specific foods that raise your metabolism and help burn body fat."  I wonder how cumulative these are.  If you eat all this stuff, do you turn your body into a furnace?  P.S.  Don't take medical (or nutritional) advice from a random Web page.

August 16, 2006 | 11:24 AM ET

I hope I'm not seeming obsessive about the AOL search term database story, but it really is fascinating.  I clicked this blog entry doing some data crunching.  If you scroll to the bottom you find a link to another entry of profiles compiled from search terms.

The 7 ways that people search on the Web — From this story I clicked through to ValleyWag's digging and then on to the tools listed on Consumerist and from there I just did a bunch of privacy invading until I got bored.

The Hotel Chelsea blog was able to check up on a couple guests.

AOL search record poetry

Speaking of drawing information from a huge collection of data, the YouTube trends report #2 provides a window on how the video service is being used.  It's a little dense, but good info if you're interested in this sort of thing.

Encyclopedia Brown And the Mysterious Presidency of George W. Bush — The Morning News had a PDF to an excerpt.  I haven't read an Encyclopedia Brown book (and this is not a real one) in a million years, but I'm now feeling the urge to buy the whole set.  How is it possible that this series hasn't been exploited by Hollywood/TV yet?

Remember that pirate political party in Sweden?  They've announced the world's first commercial darknet called Relakks.  Surf in total anonymity.  Imagine what those search logs would look like.

Meanwhile, I had to read this description of Brightnets twice and I'm still not sure I get it.  I think the idea is similar to what we saw a while ago ( see the Monolith item at the top ) regarding digital existentialism.  Digital files are just ones and zeros, so whether those ones and zeros represent copyrighted material depends on how they're rendered.  So if you take an mp3 file and render it as a jpg, you get nothing, noise if you're lucky, and certainly not anything anyone has a copyright on.  Anyway, I think this works on a similar priciple.  Give it a read and tell me if that's what you get out of it.

Post a list on your blog and possibly win prizes (and probably win traffic).

Blogger is rolling out some new features but on a sheer buzz level I'm seeing more discussion of Windows Live Writer, which is a desktop application that helps you compose a blog entry before publishing it.

Endgame is another Google Maps game.  I recently clicked one that let you fly an airplane over a Google Maps image, but it eventually crashed my machine so I didn't bother posting the link.  Anyway, the trend to note is Google game mashups.

And speaking of Google mashups, here's a mix of maps and video.  The video is old, and I always thought it was a fast-motion movie with fake sound effects dubbed on it, so I'm not sure about the description on this page.  But again, the point is to note a cool capability.  I found it more interesting to watch with it zoomed in all the way.

The Old Time Radio Network

How to become a regular

Why Every Man Should Lift Weights — Oddly, no mention of aesthetic or "chicks dig  muscles."

The collected clips of the Mike Wallace Ahmadinejad interview.  I tried finding this on the CBS site, but couldn't find it easily so screw it, I'll watch the YouTube version.

Yesterday I clicked this Lebanese joke.  Today I read more of them in this Washington Post article.

Video Jug is a collection of how-to videos produced by citizens of the Internet.  Note:  How to do a breast exam is the most viewed.  No nudity on the main page but that video obviously contains bare boobies.

Everyone is talking about the grumbling geriatric widower videoblogging on YouTube.  Catch up now while there are still only a few.

Robin Williams plays John Stweart as Presidential Candidate — This is a trailer for a movie called Man of the Year in which a commedian fake news host runs for president and wins.  The campaign parts look the most satisfying.

Portland making progress in the war on cars

b5 Media is looking to hire (partner with) bloggers.  You do the blogging, they handle the technicals.  See the first comment for the answer to the pay question.

Second Lifers get first look at new hotel chain — Before they build a new hotel, they're building a virtual one in Second Life to see how people use the space and field any criticism.  Could those kinds of virtual lessons really translate to the real world?  I'm skeptical.

How to detect lies

Did you see this in the Times?  A picture of a three neurons compared with a simulated picture of the universe, strikingly similar.

August 15, 2006 | 1:32 PM ET

Law and Order:  Special Letters Unit

Gamers are tickled to see a new Grand Theft Auto inspired Coke commercial with a happy ending.

Speaking of games, Tilt — Use your mouse to balance the thing on the tip of your finger.  The cool part is that to play again you just keep trying.  No load waits.

Advanced pong — Actually called "Insane Orb."

1:18 PM ET

What if they threw a terror campaign and no one showed up?

Last week's terror arrests in the UK have produced more blog entries that I usually see that are critical of how we respond to terror news.  I don't mean "we" as a self governing people, although there's plenty of that too, but "we" as a culture, whipping ourselves into a panicked frenzy of breaking news banners and cancelled vacations.  An increasing number of people are upset that Osama bin Laden succeeded in starting a Helter Skelter beyond Charles Manson's wildest dreams.

What I clicked:

On the other side of the fence, the idea that Islam is being persecuted by the West is also under attack:

British Muslim leaders are entitled, along with everybody else, to raise questions about the conduct and consequences of Mr Blair's foreign policy. But they have a more immediate responsibility to promote the truth: that Britain is not the aggressor in a war against Islam; that no such war exists; that there is no glory in murder dressed as martyrdom and that terrorism is never excused by bogus accounts of historical victimisation.

Speaking of all this terrorism stuff, last week it was a popular conspiracy theory among Bush haters to view the arrests and raised terror alert in connection with Joe Lieberman's loss in the Connecticut senate Democratic primary.  To be honest, I didn't read much behind the blog headlines because the conspiracy required for such a thing seemed ridiculous, no matter how convenient it was that a lot of discussion of voter backlash against the war was suddenly interrupted by the terror parade.

But yesterday NBC News produced a report that U.S. officials rushed the arrests ahead of British preferences, so you can imagine how that has stoked the "terror alert as political distraction" idea.  (By the way, most disappointing line in that report is not about timing but about the fact that the Bitish didn't want the U.S. to conduct the arrest: "British security was concerned that Rauf be taken into custody 'in circumstances where there was due process,' according to the official, so that he could be tried in British courts.")

It's not only the anti-Bush bloggers who see terror and it's related alerts as secondary to a larger picture.  I also clicked an argument that " The Increase in Terror Activity, an Iranian Diversion attempt?"

One more before I leave this topic, I was gathering links last night while watching one of HBO's many re-airings of " The Aristocrats."  (Which is more -and better- than the repeated retelling of an obscene joke that I was expecting.)  That put the " Baby as bomb" headline in a weird light.

12:24 PM ET

18 Ways to Stay Focused at Work — Disregard number 17.

If your battery isn't bursting into flame creating an explosive chain reaction, you may be interested in 10 Tips on Maximizing Laptop Battery Performance.

ESPN's Top 10 unsportsmanlike plays

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA — As you might expect, many of them point to "stolen election" conclusions, but even if you don't want to go there it's pretty alarming.

5 steps to being more photogenic — I seem to recall clicking something with this exact title not too long ago, but these are different.

Sites that changed the world — Before you click, consider trying to write your own list.  This one has 15 sites.  Since this is from a British paper, "the world" is a little different.  For example, they list Friends reunited, which I understand had a big impact in the U.K. for putting people back in touch with each other.  I'm not sure we had anything of equal impact here in the U.S.  Maybe

Time magazine is also making lists...

25 sites we can't live without

50 coolest sites


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