October 24, 2005 | 2:34 AM ET

Podcasting for regular people — I'm seeing the idea of "casual content creation" come up more often among Web thinkers.  The idea is that not everyone wants to be a global media star through their blog.  In fact most people don't, and lately a whole bunch of people who thought they might are figuring out that they don't either.  So there's a new focus on the casual user.  Remember that piece a week ago about all the cool kids switching to LiveJournal accounts to keep strangers away from their blogs? 

I think a similar attitude can be found in Kottke's explanation of what a tumbleblog is.

As long as we're learning new words, how about Aptronymn.

There are The Gravity Games and then there are gravity games.

This is a weird item to pursue, but since I linked to the reverend criticizing the rampant spread of teen lesbianism (so rampant that his teenage son can't get a date) I felt some obligation to report that his son has in fact found a non-lesbian to date.

I suppose it's understandable that the Coburn Amendment didn't get more coverage considering it didn't actually pass.  We don't get a lot of news reports on failed legislation.  In the political blogosphere, however, it was a pretty big deal.  In short, it was the legislative parallel of all the pork-busting the blogosphere has been buzzing about.  Club for Growth blogged the matter extensively here then here.

"The latest broadband delivery system has seen researchers looking to the skies to provide super-fast Internet access via airships."

We no longer have to wait for women-specific news for there to be a round-up of perspectives from feminist bloggers.  There is now a Carnival of the Feminists.

In case you heard folks fussing on the Sunday morning shows about Colin Powell's chief of staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson and his bashing of the Bush administration, we have the FT article without the subscription wall.

The world's smallest car ; Wheels made up of just 60 atoms each — "Eventually the researchers want to build tiny trucks that could carry atoms and molecules around in miniature factories."  Unfortunately for American laborers, the driving of the trucks will be outsourced to Who-ville.

Why bad habits are hard to break — As you might have guessed, it's all in the brain.

"A growing number of cities in the US are treating high-speed internet as a basic amenity for citizens, like running water or the electricity grid. But as the concept expands so does the battle with big business."

Commuter Click:  The sharpest image — A pretty lengthy article about a guy using an aerial camera mounted in his van to take ultra high resolution photos.

New mathematics-based sculpture unveils fourth dimension — The explanation makes sense to me, but I can't escape the feeling of skepticism.

Wizbang explains the origins of the Life's Little Annoyances blog.

Homer becomes Omar for Arab makeover of Simpsons — (Another on this subject here via reader Jon.  Thanks Jon.)

Which way do polls lean? — This guy took the trend line for all of President Bush's approval polls and then compared the individual polls against the overall trend line to see which polls scored consistently higher or lower.

I finally got around to reading about the Puca Project.  The idea is for people of non-trick-or-treat age to still dress up and basically do a little performance art for the benefit of others.  Could be fun if you're the kind of person who enjoys that, but try not to get arrested.

A decade of underrated movies — (Yes, Starship Troopers is totally underrated.  The sequel was terrible though.)

Chinese eBay babies — eBabies?

What's the difference between a liberal and a progressive?

Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town has a feed that reads you a couple pages each day and starts from the beginning no matter when you subscribe.

You may have seen the headline about the 40 top magazine covers of all time.  I must have been looking in the wrong spot because none of the articles I saw actually showed all 40.  This one does.

Then-and-now news translations from Lost Remote.

In the mailbag...

Where in the Delay Mugshot are the booking numbers and where is the profile?

Also, are not most arrestees stripped of street clothes and photographed in jail garb.

This looks like a HS graduation photo.

Will replies:  Dear Neil, I'm posting your letter here in the hopes that another reader has a good explanation.  I had the same question about the numbers.  At first I thought that maybe the TV folks had cropped the numbers off to get it to fit on their screen, but the mugshot on the Smoking Gun doesn't have numbers either.  My second theory was that you only get numbers if you go to jail.  Looking at TSG's big list of mugshots, however, I suspect the answer is simply that different places do things differently.

As for your second question, he didn't actually go to jail, so no orange jumpsuits.

October 20, 2005 | 10:32 PM ET

Looks like it's time once again to break out the hurricane links.  Here's the National Hurricane Center on Wilma.  No doubt we'll be seeing storm blogger links in the days to come.  But in the meantime, today's Video of the Day is a time lapsed video of the entire hurricane season so far.  The cool part is that it leaves each storm's path on the map so you can see just how busy this season has been.  If you prefer your storm tracking one at a time, our tracker is here .

This guy made his new baby's middle name "Google" completely without encouragement or reimbursement from the company.

Steps to limited government — If pork busting is just a short term gimmick, what's a better idea for restraining government spending?

Facts of the Plame case aside, it's relatively safe to say that Karl Rove is not the type of person to take abuse lying down.  If people in the administration do end up indicted by Fitzgerald, can you imagine the wrath he'll incur?

Recently a report credited the decline in frequency and deadliness of wars around the world to the peacekeeping efforts of the UN.  The Belmont Club looks at other explanations.

Kill the TV keep the shows — A pretty lengthy look at the difference between watching TV shows and watching TV.

Will the Internet replace the boob tube?  These stories are coming up with increasing frequency.

iPod video showing up on BitTorrent already.  It's amazing how quickly this idea is being embraced.

Everyone's buzzing about secret dots on printouts: "'We've found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer,' said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen."  Coming soon to a CSI episode near you.

Fractal Food

Commuter Click:  Jay Rosen hosts a big discussion of points of view in journalism.  Looks like there may be some meaty discussion in here of actual change in the news business as opposed to more "bloggers v. mainstream" hairpulling.

The spreading of Lisa Rein's clip of the Daily Show segment on avian flu has been growing all week.

David Copperfield says he plans to impregnate a girl on stage (No, with magic.)  Random note: I chatted with Copperfield once when he was on the Today show.  He tells a pretty funny story about having to improvise a magic duck trick when his props were lost on the way to New York.

I think this may be from the recent march on Washington.  Audio of a reverend preaching about the evils of lesbianism.  Only funny if you don't feel particularly threatened by lesbians.  (Headphone note:  Naturally, you don't want to blast this to the office.)

It took me a while to figure out why this Bible passage was showing up with so many links.  It turns out it's the verse of the day today and some bloggers have the verse of the day display automatically on their site.  ( Like this one.)  I wonder who chooses what the passage will be.

Businessweek writes about video game playing grannies including Old Grandma Hardcore whose curse filled video clips you may recall from this past summer.  Video games for older folks makes tons of sense.  They keep your mind sharp, they're interesting, they aren't strenuous and they can be a connection to a broader social world.

The NBA player dress code — I wonder if this will have an impact on street fashion.

I don't know if you've been watching Chris Matthews this week, but he is positively giddy over the Plame investigation story.

"For the first time ever, Bloggers are invited to meet directly with House Members and blog from the Capitol."  This event was today, so I'm a little late picking up on it, but it's exciting to see the development of what appears to be a blogger press corps.

Blogs With Us — Free hosted WordPress blogs.

Josh Marshall reprints the funniest "who's on first" exchange between Scott McClellan and the White House press corps over yesterday's Daily News article.

Kos reprints a lengthy piece on why the Plame affair matters to the intelligence community.

Study Reveals Pittsburgh Unprepared For Full-Scale Zombie Attack — Tsk!  And after all that talk of preparedness!

The 10 faces of innovation — Not literal faces, but rather, personality types.

Strange New Products — The site lives up to its name.  It feels a little like looking through one of those airplane catalogs, but those are fun too.

"A Spanish judge has issued an international arrest order for three US soldiers over the shelling of a Baghdad hotel that killed a cameraman."

Gates dumps dollar for euro  Update:  Note: Though not exactly false, this item is based on old news.

Honda's making improvements to its hydrogen car prototype.  And it looks like Yamaha is working on a line of motorcycles (or at least, two wheeled things, some of which look like motorcycles.)

Online hearing test — Takes a couple seconds.  I passed.  (Note:  This is on the site of a company that makes hearing products, so take that for what it's worth.)

Listen to Einstein explain the equivalence of energy and matter.  (In English)

Huge Darth Vader and Yoda butter sculpture.

A tip twofer: 16 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog and Tips for Terrific Telephone Interviews

"Next time you sit down to pay your cable-modem or DSL bill, consider this: Most Japanese consumers can get an Internet connection that's 16 times faster than the typical American DSL line for a mere $22 per month."  I have a funny feeling that Americans will have universal broadband coverage before they have universal health coverage.

The best thing about claiming you've made a clock that will run accurately for 10,000 years is... who's going to call you on it if you're wrong?

Looks like a New York Times article made Google Maps Mania a popular link today.


Hey Will:
I just finished reading MSNBC's " Apocalypse, now? " article and it made me think of this great Web site for Clicked. The Web site is titled "It's the End of the World as We Know it, Again!"  The site creator has compiled a listing of doomsday prophecies from before the birth of Jesus all the way to modern times and written them in short passages reminiscent of Ripley's Believe it or Not. It's a truly hilarious site that takes days, not just hours, to read all the way through.
—Robert Voitle

Will replies:  Thanks Robert.  Maybe if more doomsday folks checked out the site they wouldn't have to make up their own stuff.  It's too bad there's no way to hold to account people who want to attribute every bad thing that happens as holy punishment.

Related to the sleep links you have had recently.  Not released just yet, but this alarm clock pretty much guarantees a good night's sleep for the rest of your life by waking you up between sleep cycles.
—Benjamin Johnson

Will replies:  Thanks Benjamin, that's a cool idea.  How does it know my sleep cycles?

Just a minor correction, but I didn't think anything of it when I saw the Eminem i-pod commercial on TV yesterday, until I saw your Clicked entry stating "Why was this Eminem video banned?  (root)."

Not banned.  I think I had ESPN on, perhaps Fox . . . in any case, I'm pretty sure an NFL game was on when the commercial aired.  It was all just background to me while I tuned up my road bike, but since I like Eminem's music, I lifted my head at the sound of his tune, and saw the supposedly banned commercial.

But I do share your question . . . why would it be banned?
— Paul Thompson, Eugene, OR

Will replies:  You're totally right Paul.  That ad isn't banned at all, I see it all the time now.  I don't know what the story is, but I feel a little duped.  P.S. You have a TV in your garage?

A cool project for all those people with too much time on their hands...

Gauss Rifle


Will replies:  Thanks David.  I've often wondered if something like this would be possible with transportation.  It would probably be a bumpy ride to have cars smash each other down the highway

Hi Will,
This is for a site called Common Census.

Basically it’s a project that is trying to develop a general idea of how much a major city’s influence is carried over into the ‘burbs. For example, do people in Connecticut consider themselves more influenced by NYC or Boston? There’s even a section that asks people their sports affiliations…Do residents of the “Nutmeg State” consider themselves Yankee fans or do they root for the Red Sox?  The project is still in it’s infancy but it’s fascinating to see that people in Montana see their biggest influence coming from Salt Lake City….three states away!

Will replies:  Thanks Cathy, that's really neat.  I like that sphere of influence map.  I would be interested to see an overlay of TV network broadcast ranges.  I think a lot of people identify with the TV news they see and that usually comes from the nearest major city.

October 19, 2005 | 2:44 AM ET

"This is the first music video in the world to be shot using mobile phones."  A lot of folks seem real happy to link to this, but at the risk of offending someone, I have to say I'm not impressed.  The video itself is boring, but more to the point, why shoot video with a mobile phone, only to keep the phone stationary like a regular camera?  Isn't the mobility the whole idea?  Shoot a music video on a mobile phone while walking down the street or something.  Or give the phones to a bunch of people and they can all send them in and then assemble the video from that.  If you're going to use phones, do something phoney with the phones.

Today I clicked on more complaints about the spam plaguing Blogger.com, but I also clicked a couple responses from the company.  Businesses and the folks in charge of speaking on their behalf would do well to take the lesson.

Video of the Day:  I'm having trouble distinguishing fact from farce with this one.  I gather, at least, that Lil' Markie is a character meant to represent an unborn child in an anti-abortion drama.

The link text I clicked to this page described it as "ghetto models," which seems kind of mean, but I can't think of a more polite word.  Do be sure to click through to the artist's site.

I was never a huge Dr. Who fan (though I had friends who wore the scarf and everything) but this new series sounds like it could be really good.

Speaking of sci fi: Rough guide to sci fi movies

Speaking of sci fi titles, A few thousand science fiction covers

"Time critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present."

Here's something I hadn't considered.  In the event of a global pandemic, will the ability to combat the disease be hindered by drug patents?

State of the blogosphere 2005 part 1 —  Short version: growing like crazy.  But only 13 percent of all blogs are updated weekly or more.  I think it's cool to see the spikes on the chart for major news events.  I wonder what percent of blogs are updated during those spikes.

I usually skip the funny eBay sales, but this one showed up on blog lists AND it was IM'ed to me, so I guess it's spreading (even though it's over).

Josh Marshall has taken an interest in Judith Miller's special security clearance.  Scroll up for his pursuits.

Speaking of Miller, on one of the Sunday gab shows someone called for the Times to review Judy Miller's past reporting the way they did Jayson Blair's.  Folks online have already begun doing so.  In this case, her food-for-oil scandal reporting.

One more... Let's Make a Deal : The Legalese of PlameGate

For some reason the Worth1000 contests that involve the insidious sneaking of logos into every day scenes and objects end up being the most popular (in terms of links).

Climate Model Predicts Extreme Changes for U.S. — It should be pointed out that the study was of the U.S., so it's not like this is the only country singled out for climate change.  Also, the study projects over the next century, during which time presumably a lot can happen.  So don't despair.  Or, despair and head north.

Quake aid hampered by ban on web shots - "Open-access satellite images are revolutionizing responses to disasters. Yet the government of Pakistan has forced aid agencies to remove pictures of earthquake devastation from the Internet."  Do the benefits of hiding the satellite images from the public really outweigh the good they could do?

Though the Japan and Mexico videos are funny, I bet 50 cents the "it" ad campaign ends in disappointment.

Air Force testing new transparent armor — Yes, I also thought the headline was talking about invisible body armor.  Really it's about bullet proof glass (but not made of glass).

The Video iPod: What you need to know — Or at least what you wanted to know (provided you have any interest in the new video iPod).

Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards 2005 — "New products that represent benchmarks of engineering."  If you're in a rush, just check out 5 and 10.

Tape It Off The Internet — It's not a hoax, it's just in "private alpha" right now.  You know this is inevitable, it's just a matter of all the money makers repositioning themselves from old media to new.

How a snail crosses a gap

Robot magazine premieres

Top ten design mistakes on blogs (thankfully not codified in law)

Ernie the Attorney has some poignant thoughts upon returning home to New Orleans.

"A senior British military police officer in Iraq involved in the investigation of alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by soldiers has been found dead at a camp in Basra."

Knowing when to quit — "It’s hard for me to give up on good ideas, but I feel that in order to do something great not only do you need a good idea to start with, you need to be able to focus on that idea and execute."

Ubersleep? Hacking Sleep? Stupid! — This is a follow to the item yesterday about polyphasic sleep.

The Anbar Campaign - A Flash Presentation — An animated mapping of the military operations in Iraq for the past year.  I feel like we've seen something like this before, maybe from this same blogger.  I don't know if the military releases this information in a timely manner for the media to report on, but it might make the war there feel like it had a little more direction if it were put in the context of military operations like this.  At least it wouldn't seem like our troops are over there just driving around getting blown up by car bombs.

Anil Dash theorizes about a new generation of start-ups and " flipping."

Lockingpicking is a sport?

Al Jazeera cites Pravda in a story questioning the existence of al Qaeda.  Not too surprising really.  What surprised me is the huge discussion thread mostly from Americans.  I wonder what percent of the audience for Al Jazeera's English language site is American.  I wonder how much of their Arabic speaking audience is peeking over to the English side.

" Jeff (AKA Ninjalicious) published twenty-five issues of Infiltration, a zine about going places you weren't supposed to go. And next week, his definitive book on the subject -- Access All Areas: A User's Guide to the Art of Urban Exploration -- is being launched in Toronto, to the dismay of lazy security guards everywhere."

A couple mails:

Dear Will,
Here's something to warm your heart.  It seems that Jack Thompson, who is not very popular with the gaming community, recently made a proposal to donate $10000 to charity if someone would create a video game with his specifications.  The basic premise: A tale of a father's revenge against the video game industry.  Well the folks at Penny Arcade struck back by pointing out that their Child's Play charity has donated more than half a million dollars to children's hospitals with the help of fellow gamers.  Jack obviously wasn't happy about that.  Then, someone made the game, and Jack backs out of his promised donation, calling his original proposal a "satire."  So I guess that charity will never see that $10000 eh?  Well here's the punchline: The creators of Penny Arcade have donated $10000 to charity in Jack's name.  I think they just charmed a bigger donation out of me for their Child's Play charity.

Will replies:  Thanks Ajin for that summary.  I'd seen Jack Thompson's name around a little while ago but skipped reading the story because, well, frankly who the hell is Jack Thompson and why should I care what he has to say?  But lately the links have been flying fast and thick, so I've been trying to catch up on what's been going on.

This is definitely not work-safe due to language.  Well, headphones would make it okay.  I had never considered this poor guy's predicament, or that he even existed, though it seems obvious to me now.
— Lonnie

Will replies:  Thank Lonnie, that's hysterical - though they do make you wait a while for the punchline.  Actually, I think the parting shot is the funniest.  Maytag repairman, move over.

October 17, 2005 | 9:33 PM ET

Breaking booking:  I just heard back from a publicist at Columbia Records and Bette Midler is going to take some time to talk on the phone with me on Wednesday at 5:30 pm ET.  If you're  a fan with a question, use this link to send it in so I can work it into the question list before the chat.

October 17, 2005 | 6:23 PM ET

Two big stories kept the blogosphere humming this weekend.  The biggest was probably Judith Miller finally breaking her silence on the Plame matter in the New York Times.  There are two parts of the Miller story (and reaction to it).  There's the Plame story itself and the theories and guessing about what prosecutor Fitzgerald is thinking.  And there are the journalistic questions about what Miller knows, how she found out and how she reported it.

For the heavy theorizing and big picture assessments I clicked Tom Maguire (who is also recommended by Mickey Kaus).  I'm half way through Jay Rosen and I saw Josh Marshall's round-up of Kevin Drum posts so I skimmed that as well.  Hopefully once everyone recalibrates in light of the new info from this weekend there will be time to catch up before any further major developments.

The journalism issues are a little more compact so criticism on that front was easier to consume.  I first clicked this criticism.

And there's this:

As the devastating Times article, and her own first-person account, make clear, Miller should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism -- and her own paper. And her editor, who has not taken responsibility, should apologize to readers.

Which is part of a considerable run of articles from E&P.  Lastly, this afternoon a lot of folks are asking me if I've seen this Bloomberg article about prosecutors looking at Vice President Cheney.  (Obviously there's much more out there, but how much can a guy click?)

The other big story over the weekend was the Iraq election.  Omar at Iraq the Model made an interesting point about how Iraqis regard their vote:

[T]his guy who used to believe in conspiracy theories and stuff like “what America wants is what’s going to happen” now feels that his vote can make a difference.

This time around there wasn't quite the same frenzy to round-up Iraqi blog reaction and display purple finger.  Which is not to say there isn't anything to click.  That said, Omar also pointed to some local video.  I scrolled through the live blogging here and Chris Allbritton has a lengthy writeup with some interesting perspective on the rumors that pass for news on election day.  (Maybe next time we can give them some of our exit polling.)  Allbritton's entry today about suspicious numbers in the north may be more relevant by now.

Video of the Day:  New Jib Jab:   Big Box Mart

" GodBlogCon is designed to establish and cultivate relationships within the Christian blogging community and to provide opportunities for Christian bloggers to think about their role within the broader blogging world."

Camera toss photos — As best as I can figure, these are exactly what the title says:  long shutter speed, push the button and toss your camera in the air.

"The names of the president and the members of the presidential cabinet according tot he etymological backgrounds of their first and last names, and of their middle names when available."  (By the way, I used this site for today's subtitle.)

This cover version of Baby Got Back is a must-listen.  Actually, I had a great time with the links on this guy's site, like this Pi song and his George W. Bush splice song.  (And FYI he's playing in the city tomorrow.)

Speaking of fun with math, Slashdot is calling for you to share your favorite math/logic riddle.  I imagine this is why I also ran into this collection of such riddles.

And speaking of mixing familiar songs into unfamiliarity, this is a little old, but just for fun, Ghostbusters meets Nine Inch Nails.

Wil Wheaton plays (and blogs) poker.  I often skip poker links I see online, thinking they're just spam, but I guess some may have been part of this new tournament.

"Maybe we should adopt a convention of putting a star (*) in the subject field of any notice which is to be taken as a joke."  A workshopping of ideas following this suggestion on a message board led to the birth of the first smiley emoticon.

Apparently the Wall Street Journal followed up on the Oklahoma suicide bomber — though not to the satisfaction of Powerline.

Are we in the midst of a spam blog explosion?  And what can Google do to stop the abuse of its Blogger service?

Speaking of spam, spam king busted.  May he rot.

Hacking sleep — This is about polyphasic sleep, which I think is something Kramer tried on an episode of Seinfeld.  The idea is to take naps of 20 minutes at a time so that you can stay up longer.  This blog has links to the journal of a guy trying it, along with further explanation.

Speaking of playing with sleep, this guy argues for sleeping according to cycles, not purely quantity of hours.

An interview with one of the key figures in the space elevator idea.

Founders unite for startup school — Will "a new startup age" be more successful if it's led by geeks instead of businessmen?

Wetness-defying water? Physicists discover a paradox: hydrophobic water

Prince of Persia game

In this space we've looked at gamers paying low wage laborers to rack up points and other credits for them, but I don't think we've seen mechanical automation for that purpose.  Boing Boing brings us the story of a guy who hooked his joystick up to an oscillating fan to play automatically for him.

New York City from the top of the Empire State Building.

Download this Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn thriller for free.  "This film is public domain due to the failure to put the then required copyright notice in the released print."

General Zod, surprise candidate for 2008, sure to capture the super-villain vote.

Google adds tagging — almost.  They've added the ability for you to label pages for your personal use.  Many folks are speculating that Google will eventually allow users to share those labels publicly, which would mean an instant public tagging system.

Anil Dash points out "a little bit of cultural myopia at Web 2.0."  Does the homogeneity of the audiences at big Web conferences make them less likely to produce ideas and products that will appeal to the broader mainstream?

Knitted Dawn of the Dead dolls.

Is the Internet the New Social Welfare Delivery System?  Basically asking, is the networking structure of the Internet better suited to help people than the traditional relief agencies?  This doesn't give the answer, just asks the question.

Seth Godin explains the strategy that went into coming up with the name Squidoo.  I agree with his advice not to use a placeholder name because that becomes the one everyone uses and then anything else sounds like it doesn't fit.  I've seen that happen with new TV shows here at MSNBC and also with naming children.


With apologies:  I accidentally deleted Kim Komando's mail, but I did retain the link.  She offers some handy tips on checking popular online haunts for young people to look into whether your kid is blogging.  Of course, your kid can hide if he or she wants to, but a casual look around can't hurt.  I would argue that there's even value in finding out if anyone online is talking about your kid.  The bottom line is that the Internet is dangerous for kids so pay attention.  Thanks Kim!

Hello Will,
Since you've declared that you do not view self-promotion with a harsh eye, I'd figure I'd drop you a note about our podcast, called The White Collar Ruckus.  In short, it's a podcast about life in a cubicle and the material is devoted to musings about everyday office life.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking - but occasionally it is funny, or at least others think so.  I believe I have them fooled, yes I do.  Maybe it's the hip hop loop background music - it distracts them from realizing that I'm really talking about nothing.

It's really just easier if you go to WhiteCollarRuckus.libsyn.com and listen to a few episodes (but don't start with #1, it's sucky like a pilot episode should be, although others may disagree).  You can also go to PodcastAlley.com and do a search on 'white collar ruckus' and click on 'Details' which will give you access to comments that others have left about it.
The White Collar Ruckus

Will replies:  Hello Mr. Rukus.  I listened to number 12 so far and I think it came out really well.  Did you edit out the "um"s or do you really speak that smoothly?  A note to other readers, the theme music in the beginning has a curse-out-loud, so check your volume and boss/child/easily offended co-worker proximity before playing that one.


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