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The sky's limit

My name is Will.  This is what I clicked.

— If a hole rips open in your plane and you go plummeting, try to have the presence of mind to take pictures, OK?  (What a nightmare.)  And if you decide to attack the person who has enough generosity (not to mention balls) to take pictures and report his story to the world, try not to do it .  (What a disgrace.)

Speaking of having the courage to report one's story to the world, I didn't really understand all the upset over when I read it.  The military notices a blogger who views military operations in Iraq in a favorable light, so he is invited to come to Iraq to see (and write about) things first hand.  Seems pretty cut and dry from the military's perspective.  But reading , I can understand his frustration at being portrayed as a propagandist.  Regardless of who benefits from his reporting, his character should not be besmirched as a reporter (professional or "citizen").

writes about Kwanza, Christmas and Christianity.  If you're not interested in that, the third paragraph about "the most irritating thing about running a blog with commenting" is good for a laugh.

Last night I watched of a lottery ticket practical joke.  This morning it's all over the TV.  Here's the original in case you're annoyed by all the bleeping of the curses.  NOTE:  If you've not seen this on TV already, the guy curses up a storm when he thinks he's won the lottery.  Strangely, he curses a lot less when he finds out it's a joke.

Speaking of all over the news, of the body builder couple arrested for murder.

South Korea comes up with not to answer the phone.  "In the new year, prosecutors in South Korea will begin issuing indictments via text message."

Warner Brothers is making a graphic novel into a movie called 300.  The is up.  Lots of blue screen work.

Since wire taps are in the news so much lately, it's fun to listen to from mob investigations.  It'll make you glad it's not your job to have to sort through it all.


— Keep an eye out for "unbundled" as a buzzword for treating shows and other video as discrete elements instead of part of a schedule.

Speaking of future media, — That's the kind of impressive title you'd expect from an anthropologist, but the entry itself isn't that intimidating.  In fact, it breaks down models of the Web future into four categories.  A nice summary of the big ideas out there.

— I've seen posters and reviews for this but never actually saw it.  For all the online video news out there, what's most amazing to me is that Google can offer a three hour movie for free like this.  Even though the resolution of their videos is consistently crappy, it's still a pretty amazing offering.

— If I hadn't lived through the ridiculousness of the PMRC in the 80's and lectures on how hair-metal bands were trying to convert me to Satan ("See how he bows before the drum kit and the cymbals look like horns?"), I would think this is a hoax.

— I'm not sure what to make of this, but it seems a worthwhile trend to make a note of.  I gather that "vidding" is dubbing music over scenes from favorite TV shows or movies.  I downloaded one of the zips from to make sure I understood what they were talking about.  I reckon this is the newest incarnation of the mixed tape.

.  "We Three Kings" is officially over.  (I actually waited until I was alone to listen to his, figuring the camels would be perverse or the song would be racist, but in fact, it's cute and funny and even PC - or whatever kind of "correctness" it is when it respects the religion.

— "Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging..."

So you got one of those new video iPods for Christmas.  Now what the heck are you ?

Speaking of things you might put on an iPod, -  Books in the public domain read aloud for free download.  Note that there are some in progress and you can volunteer to read a chapter yourself.

And while we're speaking of iPods, I've seen people build their own iPods, but usually the instructions are over my head.  , however, looks within my abilities.

Who knew it was even possible to order ?

is funnier than I would have thought.

— Should the U.S. have just signed Kyoto and simply missed the targets like everyone else?

"" — Could technology do an end-run around drugs as we know them?  (I reckon it depends on who ends up making money on it.)

Jason Kottke's .  A seriously long list.  (Hey look, the site is back up.)

— It looks like Part 2, Page 46 is the part you're looking for if you want to read the descriptions of coercive techniques, but the whole thing is really interesting.  (Of course, I may think that because I've been gorging myself on reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, so the interrogation techniques and personality profiles all have a familiar ring.)  Lots of similar documents on this page.


Hi Will -What do you use to get past the subscription requirements on those articles you click?Thanks

Will replies:  Dear Terri, I regularly use , and when I do, I always check whatever "remember me" button I can find on the sign in page so I don't have to do it again.  The unfortunate result is that I sometimes don't know when I'm linking to a site that requires registration because I've been there before and already have the cookie.  The only exception is  For those links I click for the free day pass and just go do something else while I wait for the commercial to play out.

Will - First, in the spirit of full disclosure, I teach motorcycle riding at a Honda facility, using Honda motorcycles.  But that doesn't really play into this memo over the airbag on the new Honda Goldwings. I actually agree with you about the airbag vests/jackets, since it moves the protection to the rider.  I had the exact same thought about setting it off by forgetting to disconnect it from the lanyard when I first saw it, but I'm not the inventor.  If I remember correctly, Evel Knievel was going to demonstrate its safety by wearing one during a jump.  I don't think it ever happened, though.But, about the airbag on the Goldwing - this is actually a good idea.  When I first read the headline about a month ago, I had the "Oh, no!" thought.  When I read the article, I have to agree with the engineers at Honda.  The object isn't the same as an airbag in a car.  This airbag it to reduce the injuries from hitting the windscreen and the object you hit as you come off the motorcycle.  In essence, the purpose is to slow you down a bit and to redirect you over some of the things that will cause more severe bodily harm, such as broken bones and impact injuries to vital organs.  Yes, there will be injuries, but this is an attempt to lessen the severity of them, from what I read and have seen.(Since I work with Honda, maybe I'll go try one out........... yeah, not gonna happen!)Keep up the clicking!Stephen Bobic

Will replies:  Hi Stephen, In the spirit of full disclosure, I have crashed a Honda.  My first bike was a '93 Shadow VLX.  While I think an airbag that moves with the rider makes more sense, I don't think a bike-based airbag makes no sense because a crashing rider does have some impact with the bike.  I had a lay-down, not a collision, but I still ended up (involuntarily) smacking a mirror off the handlebar with my own hand so I can imagine how an airbag might help guard against the bike doing damage to the rider, especially with a faring like the Goldwing's.

Jason Calcanis makes some of the most discussion-generating .

Elsewhere, .

(Part 1)

And for more general thoughts on the future, the new .

But if you're not ready to move on quite yet, a few look-back links I clicked:

  • A lot of folks are blown away that Time has named Battlestar Gallactica the .  Given the items we've clicked about BG over the year, this is not news for Clicked readers.
  • — Usually round-ups like this have an accusatory tone of "you're a lazy news consumer who missed the important stuff so you better pay attention to this."  But actually, this round-up is about compelling stories and good writing and reporting, most of which you may have missed because they're local in nature.

Everyone's playing .

I can't actually read this, but it looks like it's discussion and photos of .  I'm not even sure why a lot of people would link to this, but then I found myself flipping through and finding the whole thing strangely engrossing, so I'm sharing them with you.

Speaking of languages, "Language affects , a study suggests."

Speaking of seeing things differently, — I love that this is written in English but with a Russian accent.  I worked with a Russian guy for a while and he would describe dinners with bottles of Stoli frozen in blocks of ice.  It's funny that this writer doesn't understand the idea of trying to get drunk on the least possible alcohol.  I still have trouble understanding why anyone would drink a whole bottle of vodka and spend the night trying to resist the resulting intoxication.  Why bother?

I always keep an eye out for names I don't know in the Technorati search list.  Today I clicked .

— "It's not the toys, it's the playing."  (And being from Barry, it comes with charts.)

— Actually, I have to quibble with that.  It may be the first bike to come with an airbag, but the airbag idea for motorcyclists is already out there in the form of .  The idea is that you tie yourself to your bike so that if you're thrown, the caps are ripped off the CO2 cartriges and your clothes fill with air.  The bad part is if you forget your tether and just get off the bike and inflate yourself.  D'oh!  Still, I think it makes more sense than putting the air bag on the bike.

The winners of the will be announced shortly.

Cory Doctorow has released his second after the success of his first try at it.  It's already available in a staggering number of formats.  (This link might actually belong with the predictions links above.)

Sometimes entertaining Ana Nova stories turn out to be hoaxes, but is woth a good for a thought.  Was the photographer obligated to ruin his shot by warning the bicyclist about the hole?  (I don't buy his argument about needing to take the shot to convince the government.)

Catching up on some recent mail....

Will,You asked "What the heck is Ghost Rider?" in Today's Clicked.  FYI, Ghost Rider is an old 1970s Marvel comics character about a stunt biker who was cursed into becoming a flaming-skulled demon.  It was hokey and cool all at once.  More info is available .— Adam Frey, Capt, USAF

Will replies:  Ah!  I did collect Arak Son of Thunder by the same writer when I was young, but I guess Ghost Rider was before my time.  Thanks for the tip.

Hi, Will,I liked your recent blog post about people working VERY hard, it seems, just to show up as a couple dots on Google Earth.  Who knows what those satellites will pick up?  I myself had an interesting run-in with Google Earth, back when it first came out.  I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not it’s blog-worthy, but it may be freaky/eerie/interesting enough. .Cheers,Monty NicolCalgary (formerly New York City)Canada

Will replies:  Monty, that may be the most amazing satellite map story I've heard yet.  I don't imagine anyone would want to set their apartment on fire just to show up more clearly on Google Earth, but the fact that you get to see what happened while you were away is pretty incredible.  I hope the CSI/Law & Order writers are reading this because that would make a great plot device; a crime or clue spotted on a blurry public satellite image.  At least you have proof for your insurance company.  Thanks very much for sharing this.

Dear Will,I think you overreacted by pulling the link to "" from your .  Yes, the authors have a Jewish perspective (or "agenda" as you called it.)  Given today's hubbub about the "War Against Christmas," however, it might be useful for Christians, including Messrs. O'Reilly, Gibson et. al., to understand the pagan origins of the holiday, and the anti-Semitic uses to which it has been put.  In particular, it could show them why some Jews are not just being 'politically correct' when they are less than thrilled about being wished a "Merry Christmas."  (I do not count myself among them, perhaps because my birthday is December 25.)I think the comparison to "Hitler's Birthday" is a bit overblown, but it is not completely unjustified.  Over the centuries, millions of Jews have been murdered and persecuted in Christ's name.  And, as James Carroll (a Catholic) points out in "Constantine's Sword," Hitler's Final Solution was a logical outgrowth of seventeen centuries of European Christian anti-Semitism.As an aside, the common short form of "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" has always been "Happy Holidays!" with no political correctness implied.Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!Marty Cobern

Will replies:  Thanks Marty for giving me a new context in which to re-introduce that link.  My reason for taking it down was not to deny the points made by the page, but rather that it did not suit the editorial point I meant to make with that item.  I initially highlighted the link because the history of Christmas is such a bizarre amalgam of (non-Christian) traditions that it's almost funny.  But as you point out, the bit about Hitler's birthday is somewhat overblown and the suggestion that Christmas be celebrated with atonement for Christian crimes against Jews is not what I meant to say when I wrote up the item. 

To be sure, crimes have been committed in Christ's name throughout history, but that's Christian history, not exclusively Christmas history.  Though the last part of the page argues against allowing that particular meaning to be forgotten, I think the larger point to be taken from the history of Christmas is that its meaning is consistently forgotten.  How else could so many remote pieces of culture be continually (right up to modern times with Rudolph and Frosty) incorporated into a single holiday?

Regarding ‘Passing Cars to Generate Power’This is a clear abuse of conservation of energy — Gas in the UK is already amongst the most expensive per gallon in the world, and the extraction of power from passing traffic is basically just reducing the average mileage of each vehicle (which are already rather inefficient at extracting energy from gasoline).  This is far less efficient than say using a purpose built generator or power plant to extract energy from gasoline or say a more appropriate greener fuel like natural gas.  Even modern coal plants are more efficient than automobiles.  Crackpot ideas like this should be staunched, not funded.  Unfortunately no one with signature authority seems to recall high school science.  Or possibly more insidious, this may have been funded by some oil company or consortia to purposely sap more money from the gasoline purchasing public should this device become more widespread.

Will replies:  I'll grant you that further reducing fuel efficiency and automotive emissions would be counter productive, but since you mention conservation of energy, how about if we just do it on downhill stretches when a driver would have to apply the brakes anyway?  Or maybe in the approach to toll booths or red lights?  That's obviously the reasoning behind hybrids that generate power from the brakes.  I just can't help feeling like there's some baby in that bathwater.

Will, I was wondering if there was another web address besides  that would reach your blog.Thanks!Rebecca

Will replies:  Hi Rebecca.  This page does have a "name" URL as well:  .

Odd that a video of light bending from extreme velocity doesn’t include basic concepts like blue-shift.  Or am I just being too much of a nerd?The view straight ahead at those speeds would slowly turn more and more blue/violet as you accelerated, eventually becoming “black” as it shifted off the visible spectrum into ultra violet.  An interesting effect of this is that the “infra red” radiation from heat in the structures and such would become visible red, then move up through orange, and on up the scale.  Eventually, the electrical wires in the buildings might become visible, as long-wave radiation from them would shift up towards visible red.  (I’m not certain that would happen at the speed listed at the bottom of the screen.  I haven’t got the needed math.)This effect would have a gradually decreasing strength starting at a point directly ahead of the point of view and being 0 directly to the sides.Of course, even if this were shown, the video only points straight ahead, and would miss the opposite effect behind the point of view.  There, colors would shift towards red (violet becomes blue, blue moves down to green, and so on), with reds disappearing into invisibility first and eventually the only thing visible would be ultra violet, perhaps even X-radiation (not a lot of either of those inside the atmosphere, which is a good thing, but would leave the view directly behind as mostly black).So, the video was an interesting exercise, but it certainly could have been even more interesting.  At least, to me it would have been had the creator done more than just use a fish-eye lens effect.Though I’m probably granting the whole thing WAY too much importance.Gus

Will replies:  Gus, when it comes to simulated light speed, there's no such thing as being too much of a nerd.  Thanks for the further explanation, very neat.

Hey Will, I just read from your site from Reuters about making a standard for swapping programs between digital devices.  And all of a sudden it occurred to me, what does this mean for ratings?  If you can record/download 2 or 3 programs from the same timeslot on the same night, how can Nielsen keep track of those ratings?  Has Nielsen taken into account that people can watch one program and record another at the same time?  CNet asks the same question . Patrick Duff

Will replies:  Hi Patrick, the most compelling thing I've read about the future of ratings is something called "."  The idea is that all media, from TV to radio to billboards, would broadcast an extra signal - similar to how radio already broadcasts extra information so newer radios can display call letters and song information.  The extra signal would be picked up by a pager-sized device worn by people who would be the equivalent of a Nielsen family.  There'd be no manual recording of what a person watched.  Instead, the meter would record all the signals to which the person was exposed to give a more exact idea of the person's overall media exposure.

A line from yesterday's Josh Marshall link has been stuck in my head.  "The president may well find himself or herself in situations that the Congress could not have anticipated or ones where the well-being of the country requires the president to ignore the letter of the law."  Not long ago, popular blogger Andrew Sullivan wrote by also arguing that in the ticking bomb scenario a president might choose to break the law.  He drew a connection to civil disobedience, which is also a sort of principled breaking of the law.  (Use the new improved BugMeNot for the TNR link if you don't want to bother.)

And today we saw the end of a union strike in New York City that also was against the law.  I don't know enough about demographics to know what makes an official trend or even what that trend might be, but I feel like the subject of ignoring the law in favor of principle is coming up a lot lately.

Speaking of yesterday's links, posts comments from one of her readers about the nature of the "spying" or "snooping" in question in the NSA story.  Like Kevin Drum's post, the suggestion is that the government is using an online information harvesting tool that analyzes data exchanged to look for keywords and traffic that might indicate foul play.

One such harvesting tool is something called Echelon, and this new interest in how and whether it's being used would explain why on the subject has resurfaced.

at the Counterterrorism blog argues that the problem is not too much spying on Americans but not enough spying on terrorists and asks, "Are we or are we not at war with the terrorists?"

on why it's not about too much spying on Americans but too much power in one place over Americans.

Speaking of White House controversy, Karl Rove implicated in .

The song that opened was the Gary Jules version of the Tears For Fears hit "Mad World."  And the video for it is today's .

I read through and I'm still not sure I understand it.  Hackers have found a way to install bit torrent on other people's machines, your machine, and then force movie downloads into your machine.  It's not really clear why, but I imagine it would help speed downloads if you could force other people to seed them.  It also probably throws a wrench in copyright prosecution if you can legitimately argue that you didn't put those illegal movies on your machine.

Speaking of hacking, the hacking of a Diebold eVoting machine .

Speaking of hacking but not really, — I'm not a hacker.  I understand a little bit of programming, but not enough to do anything fancy.  So when someone finds a hack that involves tweaking a search term or a URL, I'm always gratified that it's something I can try.  Using Google as a proxy is one such hack.  Tinker with the URL and you can access pages that might be blocked by your school or work (or government?).

Speaking of faking it, here's a good lesson for this shopping season:  .  Know what you're buying.

?  It may seem odd, but a lot of people are acting like it was Google who sold out to AOL in that deal this week.

What the heck is ?  Nick Cage as a flaming skull biker on a twisty flaming chrome bike?

You may remember who lets people turn his Christmas lights on and off through the Web.  If not, the "Why do I do it" video is a good introduction.  Apparently every other year has been a hoax, but this year is for real.

  I don't see the Times mentioning their source technology for this, it looks like a Technorati category.  Interesting that you can click the title and see all the blog reviews of it.  Looks like a good example of the vertical search idea we read about yesterday.

Speaking of the Times getting technical, check out what they did with locals' .

  I've read about how U.S. broadband is slower than the broadband in other countries, but this the first time I've seen a discussion of a person can actually tell when their broadband is that much faster - and by the way, just because a page loads faster doesn't mean you're going to read it any faster.

"The girls we spoke to see as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity."

— I'm a sucker for "banned" stuff, so of course I .  It's gory (funny gory, not angry or scary gory), but since our society is more afraid of boobs than blood, you can probably watch this at work with no problem.

I keep clicking videos of running through university settings.  The last one I saw, they ran through a lection hall.  This looks like a library or computer lab.

: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade)

Michael J. Fox to do .

"An attempt by Singapore Adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow to break the existing record of 212.5 Hours underwater" — of course .

Web visionary John Battelle makes .

- You know you can never figure it out when you try to re-fold the one at the restaurant.

— It's not uncommon to see knot-tying instructional Web sites, but this one is noteworthy for animating the instructions.  Actually, I think the mouse-over steps are the most useful.  Of course, the names are what give knots their appeal.

While reading about this I may a clicked on the new worst job in the world:  .

The naturally growing .

A robot that can in the mirror has been invented.

— Summer Solstice, the Equinox, and Winter Solstice photographed on the same horizon.

— A massive round up of reaction to this week's Intelligent Design decision.

Dan Gillmor to launch the .

The trailer for the new Mel Gibson movie .  I had heard he was doing an apocalypse movie, but this isn't really what I was expecting.

Naturally, the NSA wiretap story (which Jonathan Alter is calling ) is tearing up the blogosphere.  But it's also tearing up traditional media and what's more, there seems to be a new development almost every day.  So given that this story is in a state of news gathering free for all, this is what I clicked:

  • of the Times' handling of the story.
  • , in the course of a huge round-up, outlines the different perspectives on the case.
  • at the Volokh Conspiracy explores the legal twists and turns of the story at great length.  This may be the most comprehensive legal look in the blogosphere right now.
  • on Jefferson's anticipation of presidents breaking the law for the good of the republic.  (Marshall also has the of the Rockefeller letter.  I'd only seen a typed copy.)
  • has a bit on Echelon, the intelligence collecting technology
  • Ars Technica drew my interest with this headline:  , but I found about privacy and good leadership more compelling.
  • ponders the nature of the secret NSA bugging program.
  • rounds up reactions from "current and former signals intelligence guys."

Regarding that , no, , I'm sure it's serious to some people, but there's something funny about the Pentagon seeing a

Today's bloggernecking items:  You may have read about the teen who was to manslaughter because he confessed on his blog.  That's .

And in the case of the her Navy Reservist/milblogger husband, his online outlet is , updated mere days ago.

Speaking of blogs in the news, the have a blog.

I keep linking to everyone else's year in pictures, is also published now.  Also a to those who died this year.

Speaking of year-end wrap ups,   (Janet Jackson was the top search term of the year?)

starts a blog.  There's nothing too earthshaking there yet, but there's a certain unavoidable reverence for this event nonetheless.  (In case you need your memory jogged, he is generally credited with being the .)

— Basically he and his friend sat in the same place all summer and there are spots in that place in the satellite photo.  I'm not sure this is totally unique because there are probably hot dog carts in the city that are always on the same corner than can find themselves the same way.  It's fun to think of what you'd do if you knew when the map satellite was going to be taking your picture.  A maybe?  (Can you believe is still finding something new to post every day?)

— Last year I saw something similar to this and they called it snow graffiti.  They made stencils and used food coloring and water and sprayed faces on snow banks.  This is a little more free form.  I wonder how much color lingers when the snow melts.

Video of the Day: 

Welcome to the Internet.  .  Drive through please.

Somewhat related: 

And as long as we're counting, World of Warcraft surpasses .  That's a big game.

These are receiving rave reviews.  Though there is some instrument-specific instruction, it primarily explains music theory.

Speaking of music, .  Looks like it's time to initiate operation Kevin Bacon.

— This would be a little more convincing if it didn't say he was born in two different places in the first two inches of the page, but it does bear striking resemblance to who was sent to Syria.

Like something straight out of one of those new nanny shows on TV, a .

"Venezuela has given the world's biggest oil company, ExxonMobil, until the end of this year to enter ."

A peek at the Xbox .  I've never worked in sales at a department store, so I don't know how weird this is, but the instructions for what to do when the new Xbox shipment comes seems pretty crazy.  Not exactly, "when the new stuff comes in, put a price tag on it and put it on the shelf."

With all the buzzing about Web 2.0 this year, we (I) haven't heard much from the Semantic Web folks in a while.  But that's not to say those ideas have gone away.

  • — A consortium of blogging startups wants to give deeper meaning to the Internet by giving people tools to categorize web pages.

Hand over the car keys because after those two articles you'll be buzzword drunk.  Folks who are enthusiastic about the Semantic Web want people to put categorizing information into their web pages so that otherwise unrelated sites can be collected into categories (vertical searches).  The result is that these search categories take the place of specialty sites (walled gardens).  So you don't go to eBay to list what you have for sale, you just post it to your personal site or blog and label it and it'll show up in a search-created category.

"" — This made me realize that I can't remember ever seeing a photo of Matt Groening before.

While I find military matters interesting, I'm not much of an equipment buff, so I didn't expect much when I clicked a link to .  That said, it's hard not to be impressed by the .

In case you're curious, we have a copy of in the .

Considering the season, it seems like there's a lot of heavy news going on.  That's making for some dense blog surfing, so while I squint through angry pundit bloggers, this is what else I clicked.

- A look at the origins of Christmas traditions.

Speaking of Christmas traditions and their mutations, — Crazy Santa partying is officially a global phenomenon.

(You may have read about the .  Those zombie people also did a .)

More Christmas parodies: 

  (not as dirty as it sounds)

The Eyemaze folks have .  I think this is the third of theirs I've played, so if you've been reading Clicked for a while you'll recognize it.  If you're not familiar, check out the other games in the margin.  The idea is to figure out the order in which to click the items.

This bit of gives new meaning to "liveblogging."  Setting the content of the commentary aside for a sec, the idea of matching running comments against streaming media seems like something that could catch on.  (Comedy Central fans know that Stephen Colbert has already figured this out.)

Evidence of global warming: .  (May not be appropriate for work.)

Speaking of global warming,

Speaking of animals and environmental damage, — This is apparently not a joke.  I guess penguins damaged by oil spills need sweaters.

.  (Note:  They don't post a warning before showing a dead body.)

— I don't think this is a parody, though like any conspiracy theory, you know how to treat it.  It makes the argument that Dave Chapelle's show was actually the victim of a conspiracy by high powered African Americans who were offended by his comedy.

This is pretty cool to watch.  I chose a photo from a random story () and it found the faces and analyzed them.  The results were miserably inaccurate, but it was still interesting to watch.

I published the two most recent chats yesterday.  was a great guy to interview.  His voice is pretty rough, but he was fun.  The other one, with , the 57-year-old new mother, was frankly a little too "new age" for my taste, but I can't be too critical because it does seem to work for her.

Speaking of moods as motivation, — If you stay happy, you're more likely to be successful than if you wait for success to make you happy.

"A road ramp that uses has been developed."  This is a brilliant idea and there should be more like it everywhere.  Obviously we can't get back all the energy used to move a car, but it's such a waste having such huge machines do nothing but move little people.  I'd always thought there'd be a way to use magnets to generate power with cars.  Cars would drive through a tunnel or beside a rail drawing magnets along for the ride, generating electricity.  At the end of the tunnel, the magnet would swing to the other lane to be drawn back to the other end.  Anyway, ramps are fine too.  Good idea.

Speaking of magnets, .

Still speaking of magnets, a quick trip to the mailbag:

Will,Love your blog...  Here's a quote from :"Beware - you must think ahead when moving these magnets.Two of these magnets close together can create an almost unbelievable magnetic field that can be very dangerous. Of all the unique items we offer for sale, we consider these two items the most dangerous of all. Our normal packing & shipping personnel refuse to package these magnets - our engineers have to do it. This is no joke and we cannot stress it strongly enough - that you must be extremely careful - and know what you're doing with these magnets. Take Note: Two of the 3" x 1" disc magnets can very easily break your arm if they get out of control."You may have found this before I came on board a year ago, but I thought it pretty cool myself.— Roger

Will replies:  Dear Roger, thanks for the link, I love this site, but for the life of me I can't think of what I'd do with a magnet this strong (other than accidentally wipe out every computer gadget I own).  I know folks who build robots that construct flat screen TVs, and part of that process includes magnets that are so strong they'll crush your finger if they're allowed to get too close to each other.

"A senior at UMass Dartmouth was two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called 'The Little Red Book.'"  I'm afraid to comment.

- New Yorkers rap about buying snacks and going to the movies.

That's fun, but the Video of the Day is .

If you've not been watching the Fimoculous list update, this blog is also tracking all the year-end wrap up lists.

I clicked this after a weekend Digg blasted it into my click-path.

It seems like I was just clicking a story about a music lyric service getting sued into non-existence, but today I clicked .  Led Zep, yes.  Motorhead, no (but you can submit some if you like).

Why is the guy who invented the Segway ?  Because his company has invented a new water purifier.  (The serious subtext is that a global water shortage is part of the business model.)  No mention of what the distillate looks like.

New buzzphrase to watch, "."  The idea is that the accuracy of some of the most popular Web resources cannot be precisely measured, but can be described with probability.  Thoughtful discussion .

— Expect controversy. (Not just because Amidala shaved her head but because the hero is a terrorist, sort of.)

Speaking of odd art, geranium leaf as photographic paper  (Sort of like writing words on your belly before you go tanning, but different.)

— I love these every time I find one.  It shows the before and after of how a model was photoshopped.  As I always say, pages like this should be required reading for adolescents with developing body images.  Including boys.