April 1, 2005 | 12:13 AM ET

Continuing in what seems like a series of "busted" clicks this week, the blogworld is scandalized to read about popular blogware, Wordpress, busted gaming Google.  (And the first sentence fits well with yesterday's topic of e-shaming and the grey areas that might constitute taking it too far:  "I'm hesitant to even write about this, knowing the web's fondness for angry mob justice, but I feel like it's an important issue that needs to be addressed.")

Speaking of Google gaming... New word of the day: Cloaking.

And while we're talking about The Search Engine, Google has come up with something called " pre-fetch" in which your browser starts downloading your search results before you even click them.  It's a little more detailed than that, but not much.  What gives me pause is that you get cookies and other material from a site you never actually visit.  I know the idea is to have the page load more quickly when you do eventually click it, but I'm not sure I want my computer cache saying I went to pages I didn't visit.

World's ugliest car restored

The man who saved the world finally recognized  P.S. I don't know anything about Mosnews, but it's a nice story.

Speaking of history in that part of the world, The Russian Photography Collection

Ever wonder what TV shouting heads sound like when they're not busy hurting America?

Terri Schiavo's passing has come not a moment too soon from the perspective of blog civility.

Speaking of brains in the news... The future is now.

And speaking of miracle cures, it's not always easy to discern what specifically is drawing people to link to Mickey Kaus (because his individual entries seldom have distinct links), but I'm thinking this time it's for his pointing out that stem cells, universal healthcare and other medical angles weren't presented very forcefully throughout the Schiavo affair.

How can we celebrate the military while enforcing a no tolerance gun policy in schools?

WiFi Hotspot Directory -33 within a mile of my house, zero within ten miles of my in-laws.  Ain't that the way?

Earlier this week we saw two bloggers who found each other online.  In case your blog hasn't been yielding you many marriage proposals, Consumating is designed to help you find the geek of your dreams.

Speaking of looking for love...Hmmm... what are the chances that a popular erotic blog written by a British call girl turns out to be not by a British call girl?

Video of the Day: Hitchhiker's guide to movie trailers

Not the Video of the Day but a solid viral marketing effort:  M&M Star Wars Mpire ad.  I ran into it at two different links, here and here, so it looks like they're having some success getting it to spread online.  Personally, I'm more attracted to the dark chocolate idea than I am to the Star Wars gimmic.

Boing Boing brings us news of a silent Rave with wireless headphones.  I think this is a really cool idea, but what I'd really like to see is a directional sound rave.  (Some explanation links here, here, and here.)

First April Fool gotcha of the year.  It had me going, right up to the second to last paragraph.

The Well turns twenty

Speaking of time slipping away Ronald Reagan was shot 24 years ago.  Where were you?

Online gamer killed for selling cyber sword  Prior to writing this blog, this story would have made no sense to me, but we see examples on a regular basis of people turning their cyber property into real money.  It only makes sense that real crime would eventually follow.

Waiters nauseated by food (familiar faces)  The weird thing is that the video is hosted on some kind of Olde English malt liquor comedy site.  I guess they're trying to get away from the on a stoop in a paper bag image.

Commuter Click:  This story has been popular for a few days.  It looks like Rocky meets robot builders.

I tried once to explain the controversy surrounding PyMusique but it ended up requiring more text than I generally use here.  Thankfully, the Times has a pretty compact summary.  -I will say, however, that the last sentence of this piece is false:

And the answer here is quite clear: If nobody paid for music, there wouldn’t be any.

Actually, there would be just about as much as there is now.  Contrary to the popular mindset that humans are only motivated by money and greed, in fact, particularly in the arts, people are often motivated to do things because they actually like doing them -and often in spite of the fact that there's no money in it.  If you don't believe me, take a look at all the people blogging for free.  Don't they know that if no one pays for it there won't be any?  What are they, communists?  Sheesh!

Another popular living will parody.  Sample:

I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

How did you get that awesome job at Pixar?

One from the mailbag:

There is a rather large underground marketplace for unusual/alternative art dolls far more artistically inclined than the your suburban Barbies and Bratz (Some of the makers of these dolls also work in the toy industry on the popular ones you would buy for your daughter).  These dolls often sell for hundreds of dollars on auction in places like ebay or for commissioned pieces.

These friends of ours are one of the original underground art doll creators.
Thanks,
Scott Kuenzli

Dear Scott,
Thanks for that further explanation.  I'm wondering if there's some kind of convention or something going on that is making the strange doll links increase in popularity.  Today I clicked this gallery of " Toddlerpedes."
Cheers,
Will

March 31, 2005 | 1:31 AM ET

The somewhat dramatic conclusion to yesterday's plagiarism gotcha story.  Turns out the post was meant to be a bluff but became so popular the blog readers forced the matter.

Doesn't it defeat the purpose of going on tour to push your ideas if you're only going to talk to people who already agree with you?

Community/hobby I'd never heard of before:  Strange dolls

Commuter Click: Laying the Newspaper Gently Down to Die

Related: Don't fear the blogger

Amazon.com's most prolific reviewer

" Contactless chips"  Yes, I feel much better now.  Almost as good as I would if they were called "Freedom chips."

Today's Schiavo collection:

  • This Hit and Run round-up is similar to a few other sites I saw today that try to summarize the collected facts.
  • Hugh Hewitt and Glenn engage the new blog debate over whether the Schiavo hype is an indication of the rise (or fall) of American theocrats.
  • From the putting-your-money-where-your-mouth-is department, Dr. Boyle offers a $100,000 challenge.
  • Atrios and many other liberal bloggers feel the media should have made more of an almost-showdown between Florida law enforcement agencies.  Obviously there's no defending mainstream news judgment, but report on almost-news?

Design your own anti-procrastination plan

Sleepbot:  From what I can tell it plays ambient music to sleep to and then wakes you up with an alarm you set.  NOTE:  I didn't try this other than to play some of the music, so while I can confirm that there's sleepy music to be found here, if you have a job interview tomorrow morning, stick with what you know and play with this later.

The Star Wars fan film awards:   The Today show had this the other day.  I was wondering how long it would take to spread online. 

Howie Kurtz makes some waves with his report on a study being published this week that shows a pretty big majority of the people who teach at American colleges and universities report themselves as being liberal.  I haven't seen the study online yet, but I can't imagine there won't be a pdf at some point for us to read it first hand.

Speaking of education and politics, it's one thing to lash out against the ivory tower of academia, but quite another to declare yourself against intelligence.

Improv Everywhere, the folks we last saw put a bathroom attendant in McDonalds gathered a large group for a short notice and unannounced performance in the windows of a building in New York City.  It reminds me of flash mobs, except they actually do something.

Junk or Justice?  Depends on who's doing the suing.

At first this looks like a blog version of Footloose.  But the guy does have a point about kids who aren't careful with what they talk about online being easy targets for predators.  And don't even get me started on camgirls. 

Tonight's Nightly News had an alarming report from Lisa Myers about a terrorist Web site teaching how to fire a missile along with diagrams of New York's JFK airport.  Her report says that a lot of the info comes from an American magazine.  I knew I'd never be able to find the terrorist Web site, but out of curiosity, I googled the headline of the American magazine shown on the screen.  Found it.

How to disco  Hysterical.  This is a really big file, although the video itself is only about three and a half minutes long.  It looks like it's hosted on a university server though, so hopefully we're not destroying anyone's bandwidth limit.

Video of the Day:  Extreme kicks contest

To the mailbag!

Hello, Will,

Thanks for linking to my piece on e-shaming. 

I don't know if clarification is needed, but I believe that shining the spotlight on lawyer misconduct or incompetence is appropriate.  I do not condone distortion or mean-spirited smear-tactics.
Best wishes,
David

Dear David,
Thanks for the note.  I understood that from reading your post, but I'll add your note here for further clarity.  I definitely like the idea of public accountability and the Internet is a great tool for that.  There does appear to be a spectrum of situations to which that tool is applied and also the degree to which it is applied to any given situation.
Cheers,
Will

The music that "kicks' on the bike video is "Mario Takes a Walk" from the album Gravity by Jesse Cook.  Great sample of his music - if you like it, you'll love the rest.

I enjoy reading your posts each day.  Thanks for some thoughtful entries and some great laughs.
-Kati Rangel

Dear Kati,
Thanks for that!  I will definitely keep an eye out for him.  Certainly not the typical accompaniment for extreme sports videos.
Thanks,
Will

Sean-Paul at the Agonist writes that there's a new version of the National Press Club letter with almost 100 signatures on it.  But Bill the Punditguy writes that it's a trap.

March 29, 2005 | 5:23 PM ET

E-shaming?  I've already come out in favor of naming names when it comes to how legislators vote of pork laden bills, but I'm also very much against what we might call e-smearing (although I guess I've been lax in my support of this principle since I haven't condemned certain googlebombing efforts I've reported on here).  [link via this new lawyer blog]

Speaking of online attacks, there is a lot of attention being paid to the story of the GayPatriot blogger.  In a book about blogs as weapons, this could be a chapter in itself.

Speaking of e-shaming, The National Press Club Welcomes ... Jeff Gannon?  Turns out Gannon is only part of a larger criticism of this conference.

PowerPoint and the way it outlines information is the subject of a lot of criticism and ridicule on the Internet.  I can't say I totally understand why, but it's a safe bet that it has to do with a lot of smart people who spend a lot of time thinking about good ways to present information not being fond of the PowerPoint format.

That said, lately it seems a lot of people are enjoying the outline format for song lyrics This one takes it a step further using business-speak like "Visualize your goals."

Speaking of lyrics, using technology to better display backward Satanic messages in music.  I still couldn't hear it until I clicked the lyric display and could read the words along with the clips.  Now that music comes on CDs that don't spin backward, and MP3s, that don't spin at all, does this come up anymore?  Is there a modern equivalent of the backward Satanic message?

Billmon doesn't explain his research, but we might guess we're seeing the power of a simple name googling.

A blog wedding!  She tells the story.  He, in true blog fashion, offers tips of the hat.

While there, and always interested in new good video, I clicked that Flite Risk link and downloaded this one.  The video is 20 minutes long, so it took forever, but it's the first time I've seen someone take a book on tape and remix it -in this case into a parody movie.

And speaking of tinkering with pre-existing content to make a parody movie of considerable length:  The Old Negro Space Program

Flickr related tag browser  Cool interface.

This story about the (still) coming death of newspapers reminds me of a billboard in New York a few years back in which one person declares that magazines are dead and another person asks what magazine they read that in.

Death by passport (?)

" Consumerpedia is the consumer information resource everyone can help build.  Each topic has its own page where anyone and everyone can create a new topic or add comments and navigational suggestions to existing topics."

BSI: Portland --As in " Blog Scene Investigation"  Imagine if the powers of blogger doggedness and investigation are applied to fighting crime.  What a great story.

Speaking of bloggers busting people, this seems a little mean, but I certainly don't defend her.

Can " 20% time" work for other companies?  (I never heard of it either.  The short explanation: "An engineer can be 40% on one project, 40% on something completely different and 20% on his or her own thing.")

How Yahoo got its mojo back

Celebrity corner:

Pastoring families of the hopelessly ill:

There often comes a time when we need to explain, as gently but as clearly as possible, that life can be grasped so tightly that it precludes trust in a gracious God who provides throughout both our life and our death, and that letting a loved one pass into eternity, as heart-hollowing as it is, is in some cases an affirmation of faith and hope rather than their denial.

To avoid controversy, perhaps it's best to will yourself to Congress.  "In the Senate, a tie shall be broken by a potato sack race between the eldest Senators for each side of the argument."

Speaking of that, something that surprised us about the response to our Schiavo Citizen Journalist assignment last week was how many people have personal stories of life and death decisions.

Many of the folks who write letters to MSNBC.com in support of maintaining Terri Schiavo's life mention Nazism.  One person this morning used the word "Hitlercide."  While I admit I haven't been looking too hard, this is the first time I've seen a more specific reference to Nazism in connection with the Schiavo case.

Video(s) of the Day:  Darren Brown- Clips of a hypnotist on British TV.  I'm frightened to think what this says about humans and how prone they are to manipulation.

The latest development in the rift forming on the political right:  The American Liberty League  (Scroll a bit for explanation and links to the formative ideas.)

Many bloggers are pointing to Roger L. Simon for blog coverage of the food-for-oil scandal.  This is the post getting most of the attention but you'll probably want to go to the front of his blog since the story is developing quite quickly lately.

The full Fantastic Four trailer is out.  I'm thinking Jessica Alba is poorly cast as Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman.  I would have recommended Jeri Ryan.

Speaking of Star Trek: WWSD  (What Would Spock Do?)  I wonder if they had feeding tubes on Star Trek.

Still speaking of Star Trek:  A synthetic approximation of a socially interactive human.  I can't think of anywhere in my regular life where I'd want to interact with this.  Too creepy.

Because I know I have at least one reader with young sons, I warn you that showing them this video will result in an increased likelihood of a trip to the emergency room.  P.S. The music kicks.  P.P.S.  It's a pretty long video so it may take a while to load.

From the "too much time on your hands" department: Penny sculpture

I'm running into an increasing number of silly Peep links.  To cover them all, I direct you to the Big List of Peep Links.

March 28, 2005 | 5:41 PM ET

I've been on the TV a few times today talking about using blogs to find information about today's earthquake.

The big hubs for finding quality clicks quickly may be familiar if you were following blogs through the post-Christmas tsunami.  The Tsunami Help blog is actively engaged in reporting links.

Jeff Ooi, who we read through the tsunami and was recently in blog news again when he was arrested for blogging is back performing a vital public service.

And the Malaysian blog aggregator Project Petaling Street pulls together posts from a number of blogs in the area.

Via Brain Off I clicked this cool interactive map of global seismic activity and this projected model of a tsunami.

Mack Zulkifli set up an IRC chat room for the quick reporting of news and links.  I hate to call this "old fashioned" but I think it's fair to say that not many people still use IRC chat.  Still, for the more technical minded folks who run blogs -especially within a community, this is a great way to coordinate.

Peter Tan has been helpful.  My particular favorite: " Bloggers are morons."  Also handy, What to do in an earthquake.

There are many message board communities that were interesting for first hand accounts, like SPUG.

Global Voices Online kept track of who was the first with the news.  (Note to self:  Check there again next time there's news.)

Some translated news here.

"The only people who update websites at 1 in the morning... are bloggers."

Something I hadn't heard was that the Alaska tsunami warning system was tested for the first time yesterday.  In case you're wondering, it appears to have worked.

One thing that I think is worth pointing out is how people in that region were able to turn to their online communities for help and information.  If something happened in your area in the middle of the night and the local news was still showing re-runs of Seinfeld, and the national news was running the same tape loop or "previously broadcast" show from earlier in the night, where would you go for quick information?  Who would you contact if you had some to share?  For many in Indonesia and the surrounding area, they have their answer.

I'll post more earthquake links if I come upon any significant ones.  Let me know if you think I missed something important.

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