November 11, 2005 | 7:40 PM ET

Somewhere in the world there is a department at Sony/BMG that had a really bad week.  Yesterday, reader Trey Smith pointed out that the Sony rootkit has already been exploited by hackers .  Then, in the last 24 hours I clicked:

In conclusion: How to live without the music industry  (Includes a guide to streamripping, which I've not tried, but looks promising.)

This guy finds surprising insight in watching all six Star Wars movies at once.

Speaking of Star Wars obsessions, here's a site full of fans wearing Princess Leia metal bikinis.

Page Rank vs. Google referrals — Sort of obvious that the better your rank, the more referrals you get, but the degree of increase is what's notable here.

And while we're still putting "vs" between things, Intelligent Design vs. Creationism

Speaking of that whole ball of wax, it seems like the entire Web is recommending Charles Pierce's evisceration of creationism.  (If you've been an Altercation reader for a while you know what he's capable of.)  You might want to make this a Commuter Click, it's a lengthy magazine piece.

The Pentagon is podcasting

Cool animation of a woman drawn from the inside outNote that at one point she's naked, but really, it's a line sketch and the context is not at all sexual.  Then again, the two seconds that there's a naked woman on your screen is exactly the time your boss/wife/kid is going to wander over to your desk and ask, "What's that?"

Teens like to hide identity on Net, study finds — I often try to imagine what it would have been like to grow up with the Internet at my disposal.  I wonder how the ability to assume alternate identities online impacts the development of an identity in the real world.

"A gamer who spent £13,700 on an island that exists only in a computer game has recouped his investment, according to the game developers."  Related:  Video game maps.

Video of the Day: Plan B's stop action video

Today's French riot links:

"RainbowCrack serves as a tool to judge what is and what is not a secure password policy."  The article is about this new company's service, but the take-away for me was that passwords aren't secure and we can expect to have to use "two-factor authentication" in the future.

Undoing the worry habit — "To the extent that worrying is learned/conditioned behaviour, it can be undone."

'Gravity tractor' to deflect Earth-bound asteroids — This is the third time this week I clicked something to do with gravity research.

Wi-Fi doesn't mean anything (not even wireless fidelity)

Director Bryan Singer is video blogging the production of the new Superman movie.  Not to be confused with the Blue Tights video blog.

Wow, conservatives are really angry at the GOP over the ANWR issue .

On the Effectiveness of Aluminum Foil Helmets:  "Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities.  We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason."  Scandal!!

If you've rubbed up against any Web development sites recently you undoubtedly came upon some mention of Ajax.  Here's a handy Q&A explanation of some of the basics of what Ajax is and why it's so talked-about lately.

George W. Bush, surrealist — Not being familiar with this blogger, I thought at first he was overthinking things a bit, but the sarcasm is quickly apparent.

If you think $23.8 million is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a sculpture, the photo of the piece that sold for that much is definitely not going to change your mind.

"Astronomers have recorded a massive star moving at more than 2.6 million kilometres per hour."

Trailer for The Fountain looks good.

Is this a Judith Miller blog or some kind of fan site?

One pot cooking — saves energy.

I'll be the first to admit I was duped by the news from CBS and NBC about their video on demand initiatives.  Om Malik has a more sober perspective.

"Just because technology makes it possible for us to work 10 times faster than we used to doesn't mean we should do it."  Gasp!

Play Risk on Google maps

Fotolia Launches the first Social Marketplace for Digital Images — Looks like you can sell your own photos through this.  I wonder if they have any strategies planned for brokering the sale of amateur news photos as well.

A 7/7 survivor lets loose on the idea of sacrificing liberty for security.

Who the heck is Dawn Yang and why is she one of the most searched terms on Technorati today?  This is her blog, and this is a succinct explanation of why people are talking about her.  On a different matter she remarks, "Well, in a strange twist of reality, we've gone from netizens blogging about politics, to The Straits Times reporting about bloglitics now."  I can't think of anyone who's achieved genuine public fame purely through online notoriety, but it feels like we're getting closer every day.

I plan to do a separate mailbag post soon, but I'd like to include this one now:

I always enjoy your cruising of the Info superhighway. The tragedy that has befallen Jordan has been missing from your clicks and that's a real shame.  The Jordanians are truly plugged in.

The aggregate site Jordan Planet is of particular note, brining together a very well spoken group of Jordanian bloggers.

Of particular note is a young journalist named Natasha Tynes (Twal).  You ran a piece from her when she was in Qatar and near the bombing that occurred there in May.  Now her home of Jordan has come under attack.  Her words are piercing and real and truly worth your highlight.

Keep up the great work.

Best regards,

Will replies:  Dear Thom, thanks very much for those recommendations.  I looked at Jordan Planet in the course of collecting a little round-up, but then I found the big list at Global Voices, so that's my other suggestion.

November 10, 2005 | 6:00 PM ET

Feminist bloggers who are offended by sexist Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts are participating in a contest to come up with their own t-shirt slogans.  The prize is x-rated chocolates, but the page is clean (visually).

Speaking of sexism and inter-sex relations, Fandom and Male Privilege — This is an interesting essay that's drawing a lot of discussion and attention online.  It is essentially about how to define equality between the sexes and how it is perceived.  Beyond that, however, the subject of Slash (homoerotic fiction) is broached.  To the degree that this blog is about online subcultures, I'm please to have found a 2-degree-distant way of presenting that subject.  To be clear:  First click is clean and interesting.  Clicks beyond that, you're on your own.

Following on the heels of discussions about men's reproductive rights (sparked by Alito's Casey decision regarding spousal notification of abortion), gender equality is a hot online topic.

Speaking of new terms, Cityrag introduces the fitting term " madamism" to describe that stretched plastic surgery look.  Click the link, you'll get it.

And while we're speaking of new terms, I've been seeing the word " microchunk" all week.  It seems to have a variety of applications, but in general it refers to the process of breaking down our too-much-information society into discrete pieces or categories.

The longest list of map projects I've ever seen.

Vertical axis wind turbines — Looks like it solves the bird problem.

It all started with one red paperclip.  Traces the story of a guy who traded a red paperclip for a fish pen and kept working his way up to better stuff.  What really strikes me is how he lists all the exposure he's getting, with Boing Boing and Digg at the top.  I'm still unsure what to think of what has become the new standard pattern in Internet celebrity.

The story of the U.S. using chemical weapons on civilians in Iraq is seeing pretty steady coverage by The Independent, though as I mentioned before, the story's roots are in Italian media.  Here is the Italian TV report that is causing all the fuss.  (Note there is an English language version.  Also note that this is a 27 minute video.  Not a quickie.)  I found this blogger helpful in summarizing the matter by listing some of the claims and refutations.

Shatner Plans ‘Star Trek’ Prequel — "He says, 'I'm writing a couple of books on the adolescent Captain Kirk/Spock thing as a prequel.  It's also an idea for CBS to use as the next series of Star Trek.'"

Cars Chat and Park Themselves — Parking skill is a point of personal pride and in some places a spectator sport.  The part about inter-vehicle communication is cool though.

Dating in Iraq

Screenhead brings us a copy of the Family Guy FCC song (and reminds us of Eric Idle's FCC song too).

While at Screenhead I clicked this outstanding bit of animation.  (Takes forever to load.  This is one of those click-and-do-something-else-while-you-wait links.)

I have a friend who tracks the day-after-Thanksgiving sales and waits on line at 6 in the morning to get TVs for $20 or whatever.  I'm going to mail him this list of Black Friday  ads.

How a Slate scientist changed the NBA forever—or at least a week.  He tried to convince a team owner that fans moving in unison behind the backboard would be a better distraction to foul shot shooters.

Mainstream Media Meltdown II — A list of the latest bad stats for traditional media.

Blog-Spotting With IBM — "IBM today introduced new software that monitors and analyzes blogs, wikis, news feeds, consumer review sites, newsgroups and other community-generated content to keep tabs on their image."  I thought this meant we were getting a new toy to play with, but it looks like you have to be an IBM customer.  Still significant to note how the corporate world is ingesting online opinions.

10 Web moments that changed the world — I don't necessarily disagree with these, but 8, 9, and 10 would probably not have made my list.

Wonkette describes a disagreement over the transcript of a White House press briefing.

Feds May Let Big Telecom Hijack The Internet — It's so rare to think about the underpinnings of the Internet.  It's easy to fall into the feeling that it's a natural resource.

Brown's Alito letter lifted from blogger — (Sorry, annoying zip/YoB page.)  The story is worth noting because of how it shows the degree to which blogs are informing politicians.  Some folks tried to make a scandal out of this, but the story lost its energy when the blogger in question wasn't bothered.

Glenn entertains opposing views on torture.  Does anyone know if there's physiological data on the effects of torture?  What I'm curious about is whether there's an objective way to a) define torture and b) assess its effectiveness.  The whole discussion seems to be ruled by guesses and imagination.

Speaking of torture, Commuter Click:  Can the C.I.A. legally kill a prisoner?  I remember wondering that almost exactly two years ago when the CIA blew up a car full of terror suspects in Yemen with a missile from an unmanned drone.  I don't think this piece is about why the CIA has missiles and unmanned drones for assassinating people in foreign countries but I expect there are some overlapping issues.

Mark's Sysinternals Blog continues to be the place for updated information on the Sony DRM rootkit.

Speaking of Sony's rootkit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is trying to keep track of which titles actually employ the rootkit DRM.

50 greatest independent films — I never thought of Terminator (#3) as an indie film.

Political Party turns to Google Ads to win support for policies of Interior Minister — This brief item explains how a political party bought Google ads associated with riot-related searches.  It's interesting to imagine the future of this kind of keyword activism.  Will future searches for health advice yield ads for political parties' healthcare plans?

The Psychology Of Trolling — "What motivates people to attack internet communities from inside?"  (open discussion)

The politics of fat — An interesting look at the American pro-fat movement.  Should the endomorph majority have to put up with the bigotry of skinny people?

Muslims march against Al Qaida

The Problem with Frenchness — It's really about the problem with the word "immigrant" and deciding who's an insider and who's an outsider - further complicated by the context of French history.

Speaking of the troubles in France, Why are French Muslims rioting?  Because rioting is fun.

I don't know how much French riot coverage you can stand, but I've been enjoying the analysis...  In France, It's Not Jihad, and Never Has Been

Phoneswarm — Because random ringing pay phones with strangers calling are fun.

A Day in the Life of a Sony PSP (video)

The IRS threatening the non-profit status of a church that hosted a sermon entitled, "If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush" has a good number of bloggers upset.  The general tone is that the church is getting a hard time for criticizing Bush, but upset over this matter isn't only coming from the left.  (That sermon's title sounds really interesting actually.  I hope the transcript eventually surfaces online.)

The early strains of the expected battle between Google and Microsoft are giving a lot of tech pundits food for talk.  I've not been following the subject very closely, but I appreciated the context provided by this essay.

Speaking of competing against Google, this page puts together a series of comparisons of Google with its competitors.

Consider the horrors of peace.  Christopher Hitchens argues that working peacefully toward a resolution in Darfur meant that everyone was slaughtered while the process got nothing done.  "Thank heaven that we are tough enough to bear the shame of this, and strong enough to forgive ourselves." ( !)

November 8, 2005 | 11:59 PM ET

The Future of Media — I tried to be skeptical about this, but today I also learned you can set your Tivo online and both NBC and CBS are offering their shows for 99 cents a piece . finds the news in blogs.  Lots of insight here, but I think the part I found most interesting was the comparison of blog subject matter versus mainstream news subject matter.

How to boost your blog traffic — Might be better titled "How else to boost your traffic" because it includes some ideas that aren't typical of these kinds of posts.  Scroll the comments for further suggestions.

Do you remember the scene in Napoleon Dynamite when the school bus full of children passes just as the farmer is about to shoot the cow?  That's what this reminds me of.

Amazon creates artificial artificial intelligence — Even after reading this explanation I'm not sure I understand the much-linked Amazon Mechanical Turk program.  It sounds like glorified data entry.

The "you've got mail" guy is selling custom .wav files.  Can you imagine him reading personal "you've got mail" messages all day long?

Jeralyn Merritt walks us through the Washington Post article on the FBI spying on Americans.

Rat bikes — The insurance is probably cheap... if you can find a company that isn't afraid to insure you.

8-year-old physics genius enters university

Speaking of overachieving young people, check out the video this 18-year-old put together.

Many expect it to be one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of our age: 'There'll certainly be a Nobel Prize in it for somebody.'"  They're looking for gravity waves.

What's Wrong with Europe?  (Worth noting for being from a German source.)

Why Is France Burning?

Pong owners manual (1976)

L.A. entrepreneurs seek to market wine with "Jesus Juice" label — I think they'd have better luck marketing a line of novelty bottle labels.

Wow, make a note not to upset the folks at Something Awful.  (No nudity, but don't play this out loud at work.)

November 8, 2005 | 1:05 PM ET

I'm in the awkward position of having too many Clicked notes and not enough Clicked blogging, so I'm going to try to post a few pieces instead of one big entry so I can catch up.

By now you've heard a lot about the pirates who attacked the cruise ship .  Most of the coverage I've seen has been about how armed the pirates were.  Boing Boing highlights the unexpected armament of the cruise ship.

Speaking of modern piracy, someone sent a letter to the editor today arguing that it's more common than is reported and recommends poking around this site for further examples.

And by the way, if you've ever walked around one of those expensive-yacht-filled marinas and wondered about the cost, the Times had an operational expense breakdown in Sunday's business section.

If Google wasn’t free, would you pay $5/month for it?  The post just asks the simple question, but the comments have a lot of discussion.  If the 5 bucks included all the Google mashup sites it would probably be worth it.

Speaking of Google mashups, here's another that shows you bargain plane tickets on Google maps.

Caring For Your Introvert bounced around the blogosphere a little while ago.  I didn't link to it because it's from 2003 and I'm generally not a fan of the kind of psychological fatalism labeling like this engenders (is there such a word as horoscopic?)  But now that Ann Althouse has linked to it in relaying the news that it was The Atlantic's most read article last week, and Kevin Drum links to her... well, it's hard to argue against its online relevance.

Comparing The Flickrs of Video — There are so many video sharing services out there, but none have really come to the fore as the standard.  This post has a chart comparing a few.  There are more recommendations in the comments section.

Speaking of that chart, VSocial is a new one to me.  It lists its most popular videos and isn't full of porn, so I'll probably be back to this one.

I clicked a series of funny sites recently, seemingly unrelated, but with something in common in the URL (Note: they all play music automatically, check your volume before clicking):

They all come from a humor site called YTMND, that was featured recently in the Wall Street Journal.  (WSJ link may not be free.)

And speaking of viral sites, Greatest Internet moments — Catches you up on some of the viral novelties of the past few years.

As long as we're featuring fun stuff, the more I played this chain reaction game, the higher my score.  I stopped at 918, but I can see how extended playing would result in higher scores.

Will the riots [in France] swell the ranks of jihadists in Europe ?

What's the Pentagon budget for silly string?

An Italian company is suing Sony over the DRM/Rootkit issue.

Speaking of Italian activism: Italian Satellite TV to Broadcast Evidence of US Use of Chemical Weapons on Civilians — which explains why this link kept popping up today.

Yahoo breaks Godwin's Law — Godwin's Law?  Doesn't that have to do with calling people Nazis?  Yup.  Interesting insight into how competitive Yahoo feels toward Google.

Hollywood clicks:

  • Munich:  A new Spielberg movie about avenging the deaths of the 1972 Israeli Olympic athletes.
  • Might we see a Ghostbusters3?
  • The official Spider-Man site is drawing a lot of links for its first photo of Flint Marko (The Sandman).  Clicking through to the main site I looked through their villain index.  They've got a lot of bad guys listed.  Are they all going to be in Spider-Man III?

Tom Shales gave a weak review to Sunday's "live" West Wing stunt.  I too was generally underwhelmed.  Actually, I think the gimmick of it being live worked to the show's disadvantage because it put me on the lookout for spontaneity instead of watching the show.  And Alan Alda acted Jimmy Smitts of the stage (natch) so it was hard to listen to the script when the actors were telling their own story.

Video of the Day:  I can't tell if it's the music that makes this horrifying or if the subject matter ( hornets slaughtering honey bees) is inherently horrifying.

Digg Effect: The Top 10 Things Webmasters Should Know — Digg is a popular tech site and not unlike Boing Boing or Slashdot or Fark or other popular sites, when they link to you, expect a traffic spike.  This blog post tells you literally how many visitors to expect and how much bandwidth.  I'm not sure if this is useful to anyone (though it's certainly interesting) but perhaps if there's someone out there wondering how much traffic a basic site should be able to sustain, in this day and age of blog swarms and traffic avalanches, this may be a useful guide.

The guy who started the Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarian) movement got an $80,000 advance to codify the religion in a pasta bible.


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