May 27, 2005 | 1:47 AM ET

World wide blog count for May: now over 60 million blogs -- Interesting to see how they derive the numbers.

Be a more productive blogger

Once blogs 'change everything,' fascination with them will chill -- One thing's for sure, after that headline, the word "chill" is definitely over.  But for the past few years, every two weeks someone declares the death of blogs, or the death of blog hype and yet still it persists.  And in spite of that 60 million blogs number, today I saw a letter from a reader asking what a blog is and why is it everywhere, and another letter writer mentioned clicking the link for "blots."  And those are from people who are Web savvy enough to be visiting a news Web site and sending e-mail.  So while some people may feel saturated in blog bluster, I think we still have a ways to go.

Speaking of shark jumping, ABC News kicks off the mainstreaming of podcasting.

Speaking of podcasting, "If your goal is to be an A list podcaster, today's the day to start. And invest. And persist."  He argues there will be more room at the top for A list podcasters than there is for A list bloggers.  I wonder if that prospect will put a dent in the blogging population.

I like the idea of a person-powered water sled, but jiggling myself to exhaustion just to keep it moving might lose its novelty pretty quickly.

Another one of those dramatic anti-landmine ads -- This one isn't as graphic as the kids blowing up on the soccer field, but still powerful.

Learning from video, a Video of the Day combo.  The structural integrity chapter:

Magazine Publishers of America offer a vision of the future

The link I clicked to this blog entry said "3D wallpapers" but there are a lot of cool links here.  The blog itself, Grow a Brain, says it's the original real estate blog.  That may be, but there are a ton of fun links here.  Put this on the "come back when I have a lot of time to kill" list.

Phallic logo awards -- When Sigmund Freud designs logos...

Lies Verizon DSL Support has told me today -- Lousy service in the age of blogs is a bad idea.

Evolution theory stickers taken off textbooks -- The ouch quote: "The school district had put 34,452 stickers on textbooks across the county."

The best way to fake being cool is to be at least passingly familiar with trends you'd genuinely know about if you were actually cool.  To that end, this clip explains with considerable sarcasm proper online gaming etiquette.  And on this page we learn a little more about the could-be-a-lost-episode-of-Monster-Garage trend of water cooling your PC.  (I think keeping it cool makes it process data faster.)

I almost never come across gossip links, but Tom Cruise's antics on Oprah recently seem to be resonating with a lot of people.  Defamer tells the story in pictures.  I just hope this buzz doesn't start a trend of making a spectacle of oneself.

NPR with yet another segment on blogging and the workplace

The guy who thought "freedom fries" was a good idea is no longer quite as committed to the cause.  Maybe "fickle fries" would have been more appropriate?

Speaking of changing stories, it's been a really long time since we had a "click again" item in which what we learn from bloggers contradicts the conventional wisdom.  Today's theme, the Newsweek/Koran story.

  • The White House condemned Newsweek for causing the deaths of rioting protestors.  Click again.
  • Americans have made it clear that we respect other religions and oppose the desecration of symbols like the Koran.  Click again.
  • Well, for all the spin and confused and retracted facts, the bottom line is that people lost their lives, right?  Click again.

"A report in the medical journal Psychopathology notes that psychotic delusions increasingly concern the internet, suggesting high-technology can fulfill the role of malign 'magical' forces often experienced in psychosis."  The voices in my computer tell me this is an interesting study.

Sometimes you are just screwed.  Juan Cole explains why he thinks the answer in Iraq is that there are no answers.

Bill Maher addresses the Congressman who accused him of treason.  He basically says a member of Congress should have better things to do than worry about a comedian's jokes.  Sounds like a perfect opportunity to use Plogress to find out just what Congressman Bachus has been doing with his time.

May 26, 2005 | 1:36 AM ET

Map heads take note:  MSN Virtual Earth To Take On Google Earth -- Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble shoots some video with the guys behind Microsoft's forthcoming map product.  (This is the second day in a row I clicked on a 30 minute video and only made it half way through before moving on.  There may be a lesson in that.)

Disclosure:  (I wonder if I can get this on a rubber stamp.)  MSN is among the corporate names people sometimes use to refer to me when I link to them.

Death by a Thousand Blogs -- I don't usually link to NY Times columnists, but what a great headline that is.  (The story is about Chinese bloggers breaking that government's hold on public information.)

Speaking of citizen journalism, of all the citizen journalism efforts out there, the one I run into most often is Now Public.  It's a little confusing to understand at first, but the idea is that if you have something to contribute to a news story, you can post that story and your additions (like photos).  P.S.  Their citizen photojournalism award submission deadline is tomorrow.

On TV, as soon as you say something it disappears into the air.  Online, not so much.

Looks like we're coming into Burning Man season.

Spirit of America, the blog-based pro-democracy charity gives a progress report.

Really neat surrealist photos -- I ran this link through Technorati to see if there's some particular reason why people are linking to this, but it looks like a general word of mouth, hey-check-this-out kind of spreading.

Speaking of surreal photos, Cool weather pictures -- I don't know if "cool" is the word I'd use.  I think I'd go with "God's wrath is upon us, the end of the world is now."

"Action Squad explores.  This generally occurs late at night, to aid in avoiding other people, particularly those with badges and funny blue uniforms."

iMuffs -- The first Bluetooth headset for your iPod AND your phone!

What are you consuming?  You're looking for a new book, what are people reading?  You want to start listening to jazz, what are people listening to?

Is there anything humans can't make art of?  This guy figured out how to hack the images on Amazon, apparently for no other purpose than to play around with them and make art.

Secrets of the A-List Bloggers: Lots of short entries -- This isn't really an advice piece, it's more like a math analysis.

The Coalition of the Chillin' is the group of people who aren't freaking out over the filibuster compromise.

Wiki Trivia takes quotes from wiki definitions and leaves out the noun being described.

The Visible Human Browser is meant to show different kinds of cross sectional scans of the human body.

Digitize your LPs and tapes -- As I think I've mentioned once before, I was able to do something like this with an old stereo, running a wire from the speaker jack to the computer input and recording it with audio software.  This looks like a better quality solution.

Singularity!  A Tough Guide to the Rapture of the Nerds -- The site is rich with definitional links, but this definition of singularity gives the basic idea.  The Singularity is the point at which technology advances beyond human control.  OK, now all you scifi writers, tell the story.

And of course, "technology advances" may be a bit of an oxymoron as Leno proved in this clip.

Speaking of science fiction, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

That Leno clip is the Video of the Day if you're not into ridiculousness.  However, if you are into ridiculousness, the Video of the Day is the Cybernetic Parrot Sausage.  And don't try to tell me you haven't considered stuffing electronics into a large orange sausage.

Happy Towel Day

How to start using BitTorrent to download files -- This looks more complicated than I remember it being when I first learned, but it should be helpful if you're hitting snags.

Rare mixes mastermixes remixes bootlegs and pirate radio from the mid 80s -- This isn't what I listened to in the mid 80s, but if you're into early sampled dance music you'll get enjoyment from this.

Mailbag!!

Hello from Hanover, NH.
I assure you that HUFU is not a hoax.  A lot of work went into product development, artwork, editorial content and website design.  I hope you will take a closer look at the site beyond the human flesh alternatives section, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at [redacted by Will].

Regards,
Mark Nuckols

Dear Mark,
Thanks for the note.  You're right, I didn't look closely enough to see that Hufu is made of tofu (something that should have been obvious to me by the name).  I've added a note to yesterday's entry.
Regards,
Will

Will,
I'm a long time reader, and now it seems a first time "caller".  I just found this site this morning hilarious and perhaps a bit off base, but quite funny.

It made me laugh; hope it makes you laugh.
-Ben Hess

Dear Ben,
Thanks for the recommendation, that is hysterical.  I bet slurpee slurping/brainfreeze endurance could be made into a sport.
Cheers,
Will

Check out Poolitics.com.

They run pools on all sorts of political issues.

They're currently featuring a few related to John Bolton's nomination, including how many Dems will vote to confirm, and how many Repubs won't.
Cheers.
- Brett M.

Dear Brett,
Thanks for the pointer.  Something tells me I'm supposed to officially discourage wagering on news events, but the site looks fun.  I particularly like that jackpots are so small.  I wonder if this has been considered as a teaching aid.  Seems like the perfect way to get kids (and people generally) to want to pay attention to the news.
Thanks,
Will

May 25, 2005 | 1:50 AM ET

The filibuster matter is definitely one time when the TV news folks and the news bloggers are in synch.  Filibuster links -or more specifically, compromise links- were everywhere today.  I saw a Powerline blogger and our favorite P.M.T.-ist from Crooks and Liars on the air today.

Check out that round-up on C&L and you get a sense of why there are so many filibuster links getting circulated.  Everyone seems to be checking out what everyone else is saying.  In that spirit, this is what I clicked:

And I didn't just click righties:

  • " The worst, the compromise is in." ... "We don't have a "Republic" tonight. We have a total Republican regime. Welcome to the Theocracy."
  • Kevin Drum has links to the actual agreement, but it seems to have left him with more answers than questions.

Professor Bainbridge gets the funny quote of the day though I think:

Will somebody please get these folks some cheese to go with their whine?

Star Wars tool of Satan

What would Jesus eat?

Speaking of alternative diets, Eat Hufu, the human flesh alternative.  What that means is that it's imitation human flesh... for food.  I didn't bother creating an account, but it looks like you can actually order this stuff.  It may be a hoax, but it seems like it could be a big seller with goth/vampire types and maybe animal rights people looking to make a point.  I couldn't actually find the page that says what it's supposed to be made of.
UPDATE: No hoax.  It's made of tofu.

And as long as I'm grossing everyone one out, Scotch (ostrich) egg

Speaking of eating meat, this Paris Hilton commercial may have hit a new high in viral online marketing.  Apparently she did some kind of hamburger commercial.  I don't think we have Carl's Jr. here in New York, so the fact that I watched the commercial and also the "making of" video for a product I can't even buy says something about the success of this campaign.  Hell, we even had articles on our site about it.  At this point they can stop buying ads on TV and just let the buzz do the work.  NOTE:  This is the second time I've clicked on link having to do with this girl that has automatically started to play music.  Oh, and the video is of her in a bathing suit washing a car.  Depending on what your job is, that might not be safe for it.

Speaking of spending time online, here's the scoffable story of the day:

"Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano has been told to cut back on his computer time because the hours he's spending typing could be contributing to his elbow problems.

Zambrano said he had been logging about four hours a day communicating via e-mail with his brother."

Hmmm... maybe he should try "e-mailing" with his other hand.

"It's not carpal tunnel, but if you don't watch it, who knows what it can lead to? We are trying to alleviate it," Cubs manger Dusty Baker said.

Who knows indeed.

Speaking of Star Wars, I don't know if any of you went after that new Star Wars download, but be aware that FOX is going after individual downloaders.

Vampirism as corporate pharmacology product -- I saw this on BoingBoing the other day, they have some deeper background.  I didn't make it through all 30 minutes, I'll have to go back later.

Can anyone tell me the story behind this?  UPDATE: Nevermind, I found it.  The fine folks at Metafilter appear to be the catalyst for this spreading.  It looks like something that gets put together for someone's retirement party.  All I can say is thank God they're Norwegian peacekeepers and not Americans or we'd never hear the end of it.

Wormhole 'no use' for time travel -- I hope you saved your receipt.

BitTorrent creator to launch search engine

Two hurt in mock sabre duel -- "A videotape was found nearby by police called to the scene on Sunday."  Looking forward to that leaking to the Web.

On that note, the Video of the Day today is a huge file, actually a sort of short film in which two guys have a light saber battle in a field.  It's video like this that makes me excited for post-Lucas Star Wars.

Dan Drezner gives us an update on the French referendum on the proposed EU constitution.

Y'know that story of the bus driver getting in a fight with a kid on the bus?  Compfused has the raw video, cursewords and all.  I'm not sure it'll change your mind, but it's different from what you see on TV news.

In robot housekeeping news, the Roomba robot vacuum people have a new robot that washes floors.  I'm not sure I like the name.  Shouldn't something called Scooba perform tasks underwater?  That should be the name of their robot pool cleaner.

I had to watch this twice to figure out what they were selling.  I have a hard time imagining an American TV commercial showing a man-sized rooster getting off a toilet bowl.

Is the long tail full of crap?

Why do we lie and why are we so good at it?  This has to be a Commuter Click, I can't read that off the screen, I'll go cross eyed.

Feeling kind of related to the above: Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor

I hate scammers.  Phone scammer nags a guy.  He records it for our benefit.  This scammer is pretty lousy at his scam.  Makes for a funny recording though.  **It does get a little blue at the very end.

How to perform strong man stunts  (P.S.  Looking at the diagrams of these, let me point out ahead of time that you try these stunts on your own.  I don't recommend them.)

Is this normal? -- People submit situations and you vote on whether it's normal or not.  Most of the ones I got had to do with relationships.  Fun food for discussion though.

Terrorists might... -- At some point after 9/11 there was an explanation offered that no one ever considered that anyone would crash planes into buildings.  I think that excuse ultimately proved false, but regardless, at least one person thought it would be a good idea to harness the power of the online community to make sure that if terrorists strike again, at least no one could say it never came up as a possibility.  Some of them are silly.

Great stuff in the mailbag today:

"And something that was never well established in my mind about the story is how obvious it should have been that Newsweek item would call riots and subsequent death.  Is it predictable that this blog entry showing an American tank with "New Testament" written on its gun will spark riots and death too?"

Are you asking the right question?  The blog entry you link has copied pictures that appear on an official USMC web site.  If you follow the links on Americablog, they will take you to the site.

Isn't the correct question, won't this entry on a U.S. military site spark riots and death?'

And, how can our government castigates a news organization when our official sites post such inflammatory material?  Will those who called for journalists to be charged with treason or sedition call for these marines to be charged with the same crimes?

-Name withheld

Dear Reader,
Points all well taken.  I was trying to make the point that it's not really that easy to predict what could set off deadly riots.  Why not that item too?  I understand your concerns though, thanks for sharing them.
Regards,
Will

Regarding the Newsweek story that you couldn't find on MSNBC's Newsweek site, it's here .  They don't appear to have the cover prominently displayed, however.
-William Duncanson

Dear William,
You rock!  Obviously I was looking for the wrong thing.  Actually, the one you cite is not the same as the translated clips offered here.  I wonder if they're on a similar theme from the same issue or if they really do rewrite the same story for different editions, even different foreign editions.
Best,
Will

Hi Will,
Check this out .

Is it just me or should someone write these guys a letter asking if they have thought this thing all the way through?  What if they wrote back saying, whew, thanks for that, we could have blown up the State, just never occurred to us—star-core heat, just like a hydrogen bomb, an energy pulse 1,000 times the electric generating power of the United States inside one building.  That would have singed the hair on our asses—what were we thinking?  Maybe we’ll just use the lasers to make some of those cool 3-D thingies.
-Ken
Sudbury, ON Canada

Dear Ken,
For all matters scientific I immediately turn to my colleague, MSNBC.com Science Editor Alan Boyle who blogs on this site over at Watch a 'ring of fire' solar eclipse online.  Here's what Alan had to say about safety issues with basically creating a sun in a lab:

The key consideration is that the energy is generated in a very brief time frame from a very small target before the target flies apart. “Desktop fusion” experiments operate under the same limitations … a lot of energy is generated, but for just a few billionths of a second … such a brief time that the total energy output is minuscule.

Here’s what Bob Hirschfeld, spokesman for the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said: “It’s a lot of energy, but over a brief amount of time … It’s faster than a blink of your eye.”

The “1,000 times” figure refers to the vanishingly brief pulse of laser light that is focused on the target, and the plan is that the reaction would generate more energy than is put into the system. But the time frame is so brief that the “cost” of the energy generated is about $5, Hirschfeld said.

Here’s what Berkeley’s FAQ on inertial-confinement fusion says:

“ICF capsules will never have military application, because the weight of even the smallest conceivable driver makes the destructive capability of an ICF explosion orders of magnitude lower than any nuclear weapon, or the chemical and biological weapons that terrorists and rogue nations might pursue.”

The National Resource Defense Council’s objections to the NIF have mostly to do with the view that the prospects of producing more energy than is put into the system are dubious.

I hope that puts your mind at ease.
Cheers,
Will

May 23, 2005 | 1:12 AM ET

As you know, I often find popular links without their context so I have to do some working backwards.  I almost skipped this one entirely until reading the comments after the brief post.  OMG!  What happened? ... Googling the blogger's name brought me this brief explanation and this longer story from the Daily News.  Add one more to the list of uses for blogs, and someone contact the Law & Order script writers.

Among the more common responses to the Newsweek Koran story last week was "What about the treatment of the Bible" and "What about the treatment of the flag."  So when some bloggers saw a copy of the cover of Newsweek's Japanese edition with a depiction of the American flag in a garbage can, well, let's just say word spread fast.  The cover in question is not in relation to the Koran story but that hardly matters at this point.

I feel like saying something about how America is perceived abroad and media outlets making editorial decisions based on the attitudes of their audiences, but for the people following this part of the story the issue is singular and pretty clear cut, so trying to over think it comes across like a song and dance.

Disclosure?  MSNBC.com hosts Newsweek's site, including some of the international editions.  I looked around to see if I could find this story or even the offending cover in our archives, but I didn't see it.  There does appear to be a Japanese Newsweek site, but I don't think it has to do with MSNBC.com.

Speaking of foreign versions of popular media, congratulations, Helena Paparizou.

Speaking of European elections, Germany has just gone through a pretty dramatic election.

Speaking of trying to follow events in a place that doesn't speak English, Google is working on new translating software.  Will it be better than Babel Fish?

Speaking of translations, what's French for blog?

Evolution debate ping-pong:

2050 - and immortality is within our grasp

20 things gamers want from the seventh generation of game consoles -- I'm not much of a gamer, so I thought I would skim through this.  I ended up reading closely.  This may be the most revealing essay on the current state of gaming I've ever read.

Regarding number 5, in spite of what the studies say, I'm really skeptical that there's a correlation between

and whether girls want to play with that character.  Do boys feel bad choosing characters with impossibly big biceps and pecs?  Did the

I played with as a kid affect my sense of self?  Skeptical.

Speaking of impossible upper bodies, the guy in today's Video of the Day has absolutely super-human strength.

-- I looked at the first 40 and they're SFW (although there are a couple of Slave Leias that made me say, "What were you thinking?")

Digby points out, there's killing for the sake of saving lives, and then there's killing for the sake of saving lives.

Questions about actual regard for human life came up a few times today, whether personal or in the big picture.

Time's top 100 movies  I guess Starship Troopers was number 101.

Simpsons for the blind -- In brief, there's a service that describes what's on TV for blind people and this is a recording of what that sounds like.  I think it may be even funnier.  The narrator has to describe some of the visual gags, but it totally works.

"As head boy at a legendary choir school, Lawrence Lessig was repeatedly molested by the charismatic choir director, part of a horrific pattern of child abuse there. Now, as one of America’s most famous lawyers, he’s put his own past on trial to make sure such a thing never happens again."  In case you can't place the name, Lawrence Lessig is a pretty huge figure in the online world, so was alarming news to many.

Speaking of Lessig's field of specialty, Piracy is Good?  The new laws of television  (This is Part 2 of an essay we clicked last week.)

Speaking of television, its future considered, here .

Roadcasting is a system that allows anyone to have their own radio station, broadcasted among cars in an ad-hoc network. It plays the songs that people want to hear and it transforms car radio into an interactive medium.

Isn't that called "rolling down the window with the radio up"?

Speaking of "casting," iTunes to support podcasting.

And still casting, you can watch Nosferatu online.  Check out their whole podcasting section, there's some really good stuff there.

This guy hates dimes.

4815162342 -- To fans of the TV show Lost, those numbers mean something.  Although as this site shows, they don't quite agree on what.

Very Small Objects -- This is a participatory database cataloguing very small objects.  They have a guide for how to name them and a whole gallery of them.  This is also very silly.

How to Build a Complete Photo Studio for Less Than $100

Paper Plate Education -- Example: Design a plate for practicing addition and multiplication tables.

Speaking of educational tools, I just brushed up on Spanish words starting with the letter A at the Flashcard Exchange.

Apartment Therapy's smallest coolest apartments.

Are you having second thoughts about that video game instruction manual you threw away because you thought you wouldn't need it?  Try Replacement Docs.

How to become an early riser

The most common wrong strategy is this: You assume that if you’re going to get up earlier, you’d better go to bed earlier. So you figure out how much sleep you’re getting now, and then just shift everything back a few hours.

That's the only strategy I thought there was!

The blogosphere has a few terms for sudden spikes in traffic.  Pundit bloggers refer to an "instalanche" when Glenn Reynolds links to them and sends a flood of new users.  Among tech bloggers there is a phenomenon described as both an honor and a curse, known as getting slashdotted.  Traffic from Slashdot comes in such a volume that they regular crash the sites they mean to showcase.  Now, having offered those few sentences of foundation, How to get Slashdotted.

Commuter Click:  Blogging and Journalistic Practice -- It's funny to see bloggers cited in footnotes.

Coming full circle to the subject of Newsweek's Koran story and related themes, "Reporting on abuses that have been committed by our troops, in our name, is not anti-military."

And Kevin Drum is losing patience with the matter.  "Newsweek and the rest of the media need to get up off their knees and start fighting back. They've done enough apologizing." 

Wretchard at Belmont Club is also losing his patience, but for a different reason.

And something that was never well established in my mind about the story is how obvious it should have been that Newsweek item would call riots and subsequent death.  Is it predictable that this blog entry showing an American tank with "New Testament" written on its gun will spark riots and death too?

Phew!  Monday entries are always a workout.

May 21, 2005 | 12:32 AM ET

The idea of a site that deals in blogger gossip and celebrity bloggers calls to mind an interesting question.  At what point does a blogger give up the expectation of privacy and become a public figure?  Provided it's not a parody, Blogebrity, or its corresponding blog, may answer that question.

One of the many things I've learned in the course of writing this blog is that it's not very polite to speculate that someone else's site is a parody (particularly if it isn't one).  In this case what sparks my suspicion is that Blogebrity is participating in the Contagious Media Showdown.  We clicked on the Showdown when it was announced, but the official kickoff was last night.  Basically it's a contest to see who can create a site and get the most traffic without advertising.  (Read the rules, it's more specific than that.)  So basically everyone on the list is trying stunts and strategies to get attention on the Web. 

Already Crying While Eating is showing up on all the popular lists -- not without reason, it's weird enough that it spread even without a contest.

I also got a kick out of Farting Saucers, but only because it's Friday and I'm tired.  But already in just these three examples you can see the different strategies being employed.

Can bloggers on the right "Eason" another loose talking media person?  If they do, will "Eason" really become a verb?  Stay tuned.

Meanwhile on the other side of the pundit blogging rainbow, if you clicked anywhere on the left of the blogosphere today you know that Senator Santorum compared Senate Democrats to Hitler.  ( C&L w/ the PMT)  It seems like every few days some new person is comparing someone to Hitler and then quickly apologizing for doing so.  Earlier this week it was Wal-Mart.  The pattern is so common I can't help but think it's deliberate, but after reading Eugene Volokh's mention of Godwin's Law, I'm wondering if perhaps it's just part of human nature.

Star Wars links (hang in there, these are bound to go away soon):

Yesterday I complained that I didn't know what to make of the new "My Google."  One explanation is that all they've done is reinvent the Web portal.

The smarter you are, the dumber you get -- Actual headline: Too much knowledge can be bad for some types of memory, study finds.  The idea is that the more you know, the more you assume and end up taking for granted so you stop noticing actual real details.

How to (for purely educational experimental purposes) phreak with your iPod Hey Jason, is this on your list?

Blogging 101 -- you don't need a blog -- This is a little old, but I didn't see it when it came out and it really is great advice.  Basically he's saying the odds are good that your blog will suck, so don't bother.

U.S. gives Anchorage $1.5M for bus stop -- I don't understand this.  Everyone knows Ted Stevens is abusing the system.  With all the watchdog groups and all the shame-on-you media reports this stuff still gets through.

The American Street gives big media a pep talk.

Yesterday we saw a post celebrating newspapers.  Today we find one promoting old fashioned paper book research.  All this "the future is now" stuff is exciting, but maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Bill Whittle has a lengthy two part essay on his blog.  ( Part 1, Part 2)  I was hesitant to post them here because it's hard to summarize and it is pretty long.  Having read through Part 1, he's expressing his frustration with people he feels aren't contributing to, or are actually obstacles to progress in the war on terror.  Some might deride it as a blog rant, but the sincerity and the authenticity is such that if you want to understand that perspective this paints the picture well.

Michael Totten shares the news that Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution" is being felt in Syria.

I can only assume this is done with some extreme contortionism, but it's really hard to see a body in there.

Video of the Day:  Deere John -- Backhoe Ballet -- This is also my first time visiting the films of Mitchell Rose.

Chromasia may be the most popular photoblog on the Web.  I can't figure out a specific reason why it showed up on my radar today, but I'm happy to include it because photoblogs generally aren't part of the link trading game, so we don't see them here very often.

From the site for an RSS conference that just happened here in the City I clicked this explanation for why bloggers may not be so quick to dump the New York Times if they move their Op-Eds behind a subscription wall.

May 20, 2005 | 2:24 AM ET

I read a new-to-me term today, neoluddite, which I think refers to  people who reject technology on purpose because they fear a sort of attack of the machines future like the Terminator/Matrix movies.  Reading about gridswarms and ultraswarms and the CIA killing people with drones, I can sort of see where they're coming from.  (I wonder how much the military recruiting shortfalls are a catalyst to developing more unmanned devices.)  Note: the swarms link doesn't mention military uses, I'm just being dramatic.

A lot of bloggers are linking to this Guardian article about the U.S. role in the UN food-for-oil scandal.

"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."

When I read it I thought, woah, did we have that story on our site?  Yup.   I guess I wasn't paying attention.

And that's along the lines of what Al Franken writes about in this Huffington Post entry (which, by the way, is a counter example to yesterday's "fodder for Hollywood haters" ).  At least I was already aware of the missing 8 billion.

Speaking of all that, the transcript of Galloway's opening remarks is here.

Now let us praise daily newspapers -- "Newspapers are the only consistent source of real reporting we have."

Spot the hoax:

(OK, it was kind of a trick question.)

Josh Marshall on why the (some?) Senate Republicans are looking to declare the filibuster unconstitutional rather than just changing the rule.

Speaking of the filibuster bluster, The Top 10 filibuster falsehoods  (not exactly an impartial source, but still interesting)

On becoming a woman, circa 1951 -- I was more fascinated by the follow-up chapter on homosexuality, lesbianism specifically.

Photoshopping Darth Vader -- Mostly political themed.  For a broader contest of a similar nature, check out the folks at Worth 1000.

Y'know, this Star Wars hype is running out of steam.  I reckon Harry Potter will be the new hype soon.  They still have a lot of movies yet to come and the new book will be out July 16.  Have you started planning your Potter Party yet?

Plogress:  "This site was built to provide current information on what our representatives are doing in Congress!"  The only thing I wish it has was a link to the legislation itself so we can read it, but the site just started, so maybe that'll be added in later.  Perhaps working with the GovTrack folks would be a good idea.

Awesome! New Hapland game!  The link for the first one is here, but it's taking a while to load.  I imagine they're using a lot of bandwidth to serve the new one, so if you didn't get a chance to play the first one you may have to come back to it in a few days when things calm down.  Not that you need to.  Hapland is one of those figure-it-out-by-clicking-on-things games.

Real-time Forecast of Earthquake Hazard in the Next 24 Hours -- That's cool and probably even life-saving, but the recent quake map is the one that really blows my mind.

Porn Valley goes blogging -- Since the general rule for this blog is no nudity on the first click (any clicks after that are your own fault) this is probably about as close to linking to porn blogging as Clicked will ever get.

Top ten favorite words that aren't in the dictionary

You know the Newsweek story is over when it's degenerated from being a story about Guantanamo to a story about a story about Guantanamo to a story about the stories about the story about Guantanamo.

Speaking of meta, I'm not familiar with the music site called Pitchfork, but today I kept running into this review on Pitchfork that makes fun of Pitchfork reviews.  Thankfully, arriving late to the party does not make the pieces less funny.

You may recall, not too long ago we clicked a survey from the Pew folks designed to tell you where your fit in the political spectrum.  They've now compiled those results into a sizeable report.  Choice quote:

The typology study's finding of significant cleavages within parties not only runs counter to the widespread impression of a nation increasingly divided into two unified camps, but also raises questions about political alignments in the future. In particular, the study suggests that if the political agenda turns away from issues of defense and security, prospects for party unity could weaken significantly.

Screen cleaner

"Some web addresses (URL) are very long and complicated. doiop creates for you a short URL with a keyword you choose, making it easy to remember or give away. This link will not break in emails and never expire."  I haven't tried it yet, but I admire the idea.

Das Keyboard for uber geeks -- no letters on any of the keys.  If a store-bought blank keyboard is for uber geeks, what kind of geek has a keyboard with all the letters worn off through use?  I inherited my keyboard from whoever worked here before me, so by now, not only are the letters worn off, but the keys themselves are misshapen.  That's geek pride.  (The Das Keyboard also has variable weighted keys, which I've never heard of.  I wonder if that makes up for it being flat.)

Google launches My Google, which makes news outside of search engine blog circles.  I often miss what the big deal is about things like this.  No doubt next week sometime I'll be posting a link to a tech blogger who explains why this is either evil or the greatest idea ever.

Speaking of making mainstream news, Waxy.org finds itself once again under the crush of a mainstream traffic frenzy, this time with news and a peek at a leaked "workprint" of the new Star Wars movie.  If you're not able to see the clip, it's brief and just shows the quality and what a workprint is.  It has the counter numbers on it, probably for editing or something.  Reading through the comments on Waxy and sites where the file is actually being traded, this leaked version is generally being seen as a fan item, not really worth the immense download for the casual viewer.  There also appears to be a general expectation that there will be a higher quality version out there shortly anyway.

Speaking of movies, The All-Time Top 100 Voices in the Movies

Artist spends 500 hours to draw a calendar photo using MS Paint.  It sounds stupid they way I just described it, but really, it boggles the mind.

How to speak gangsta

The matter of UFOs on the Google Sightseeing site is not quite settled.

Speaking of Google Maps, Search Movie mixes Google Maps with movie listings.  It loads a little slow and it got my neighborhood movie theater wrong, but those are work-out-able.  Cool idea.  (From the same folks who do Cheap Gas, which again, doesn't quite work for me in my area, but is still really interesting to compare gas prices around the country.)

The Morning News announces its 2005 Editors’ Awards for Online Excellence -- A great list of cool sites.

Feeling in a rut?  12 ways to think differently

Video of the Day: Learn to Dance with Napoleon Dynomite -- The names of the moves are funny.

Predator at the Chessboard - A field guide to chess tactics

BitTorrent has a trackerless version in beta.  The explanation on the site of what this means is pretty clear, but in brief, the only way to offer a torrent file is to have access to a server.  This new version aims to make that no longer the case.

Commuter Click: Behind the Scenes of Phishing Attacks -- I understood the first part and then it got real technical, so I have to print this one out and see what I can get out of it.

Less hard to understand Commuter Click: Completely Rethinking the Web

Mailbag!

Hello,
I was aboard Alitalia flight 618, diverted from Boston to Bangor when a no-fly suspect was, well, flying. The FBI later declared there were no terror suspects aboard, but among the passengers there was... a blogger!  My account of the diversion is up here.

Plus there's already some interesting comments from a Bangor resident and an airline pilot.
Thanks,
Nick Genes
blogborygmi.com
medgadget.com

Dear Nick,
What a great story.  I'm glad you shared this because I definitely would have freaked out if I looked out the plane window and didn't see the airport we were supposed to have landed at.
Thanks,
Will
P.S.  Readers may be interested to know that I passed Nick's note on to the cable folks and they've invited him to tell his tale on the air some time Friday during the day.  I'll keep an eye out for a video clip.

UPDATE: The aforementioned clip:

Video: Diverted to Bangor

People always talk about the hit music ratings.  This page lists the most requested songs (music tablature) that guitarists are wanting to play.  The list is re-set daily.  The #1 most requested on 5/19/05 (by a long shot) was BYOB by System of a Down.  Now that is a song that is not even on the radar of most people.  Just goes to show that musicians and the music marketers don't see things the same way.
-Jan and Scott

Dear J&S,
What a cool site.  I see there are bass tab offerings as well.  I love the idea that people are figuring out songs and sharing their notes with each other.  I'm sure the music publishers are freaking out, but I think this is a worthwhile community.
Appreciatively,
Will

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