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Talkin' to ya while talkin' to ya

My name is Will.  This is what I clicked.

March 30, 2006 |

This regarding immigration coverage makes a lot of interesting points that help separate the wheat from the chaff in the recent immigration dust-up.  (Actually, according to this it's all chaff.)  Number 8 is a worthwhile point in over whether this is a matter of security.  As a whole, the entry goes a long way toward explaining why so many "what the immigration debate is really about" articles seem to be popping up everywhere.  It seems to be one of those "coded" issues.

Speaking of what it's really about, we sometimes hear President Bush accused of speaking in code to members of his base.  What's meant by this is that he uses expressions that have no special overt meaning but have special significance to religious groups, pro-life groups, etc.  Whether these coded messages exist is not my field of expertise, but I feel pretty confident that any convert communication is not taking place through (although the guy does a good job presenting his information).

Speaking of audio, — Describes some of the principles of audio engineering in the course of explaining this free open source software.  (Is it just me or is there no link to the actual download?  It's .)  I haven't tried Audacity so I can't recommend it one way or other.  For the audio I deal with here at, I use a program called Sound Forge.

"That chance meeting in the common room in Princeton resulted in one of the most exciting recent ."  This is one of those essays that would be completely over my head if it wasn't so well written.  It's three pages, but it reads quickly.  Speaking of coded messages that speak to a subculture, this article also includes the sentence, "Using the connection, Keating and Snaith not only explained why the answer to life, the universe and the third moment of the Riemann zeta function should be 42..."

Speaking of well-written science articles,

While you're on that Seed Magazine site, check out that sunflower looking graphic that goes to  I'm long overdue for publishing mail, but that link reminded me of something that came in last night:

Will,I've been out of the loop of reading Clicked for a little while because I started a new job, and don't have as much time for my favorite things like that as I did at my old job.  So, I'm hoping this is not redundant; if it is I apologize in advance.  If not, I thought was quite neat.— Mary Anne

Will replies:  Hi Mary Anne, congrats on the new job.  Yes, I've seen the 10x10 site before, but thanks for reminding me because bears striking resemblance to the navigation I've been playing with on .  I'm not a fan of the "" aspect of not knowing what you're getting before you click, but I think it holds promise as an alternative to the traditional list of headlines design.

Speaking of design alternatives, the world of Web design has been discussing the merits of ugly design lately.  Scoble coined the term , and that seems to be catching on some.  I haven't been paying very close attention, but the idea seems to be that ugly sites are doing well, so there might be some benefit to having an ugly site.  I've seen a few recommendations of for discussion of the matter, so that's my commuter click today.

A lot of folks are pointing to the story of the kid who .  The whole thing sounded like a publicity stunt to me, particularly since I could swear I'd seen a similar photo before.  I was able to find instances of into these machines.  (The Beeb called this one ".")  How many more times before they have to put a warning sticker on the machines?

— We've been watching the development of what has come to be known as Web 2.0 for a while now.  For folks who aren't familiar with the term and its accompanying ideas, looking at lists like this may give you a better sense of what it's all about.

Google blog .

"" Converts RNA Enzyme to DNA Enzyme In Vitro — When I see "accelerated evolution" I immediately think "X-men," but this is actually about the earliest days of life on Earth and how we made the jump from RNA slime to DNA slime.

— Remember the Plame Affair?  What was that, like ten years ago?

Yes, Charisma Carpenter would make an awesome .  Note, item has some pin-up photos.  Lad mag stuff, not porn, but potentially work-inappropriate.

— This is not quite the it sounds like.  Though the beginning is about actual sleep, most of it is about budgeting your time better (so saving time = extending the day).

— This blogger can't afford cable so she cancels the service and observes startling changes in herself (including weight loss).  As enjoyable as this is to read (and even agree with some parts), dumping the TV is simply not an option for me.

Since we're entering the season of Spring amorousness, the lessons in about checking a partner's medicine cabinet may be relevant for some.  (It may also go a long way toward explaining why the men you bring home end up running away screaming.)

— The video is in a zip file and it's pretty brief, but very cool.

— The real secret comes around mid-page:  "It's made from sugar cane, not corn syrup."  I'm not sure how to tell exactly if a bottle of Coke is Mexican, but now that I've read this, of course I'm going to be on the look-out.  However, it's probably not a good idea to ask the waiter at you local burrito shack if he has any Mexican coke.  That might not end well.

"Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, of people's attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity."

The "about" page explains that stylist was involved, so I guess these are not straight off the street, but still a very illuminating look at social uniforms.

- It's powered by compressed air.  I don't know how much energy is ultimately required to compress the air in the first place, but zero emissions in the city is nice.  Might make a cool short-trip-only taxi cab.

is a remote control helicopter that's smaller than your hand.  (Includes video.)

— The full technical explanation

— Rule 1:  Don't do it.  There's so much evangelizing out there about corporations keeping blogs to give themselves a human face that you don't often read about potential drawbacks.  This list provides a nice dose of reality.

Video of the Day:  — I've tried a few times to get this to work and I think I've been checking at the wrong time of day.  I logged in this afternoon and not only was the video streaming well, but there was an eagle in the nest.  I suppose the real goal would be to catch it at feeding time.

**  Today's title, "Talkin' to ya while talkin' to ya" comes from a personal story I don't mind sharing.  In college I worked the stock room at a local department store with Norman, a 48-year-old African-American man from Birmingham, Alabama with a lot of accumulated wisdom to share.  One day we were stacking boxes of laundry soap, some of which were a little sticky, leading me to ponder what damage I might be doing to my skin, when Norman suddenly said, "You put the SKU numbers like boss man in the next row and then you can see what you got when you're looking." 

I stopped.  "What?"

"When you stack the boxes this way, then later on the boss man in the row right behind us so you can find your number better."

My brain would not engage.  I thought the 115 degree heat of the upstairs stock room was getting to me.  Norman read my look of confusion and gave me a disappointed sneer.

"I'm talkin' to ya while I'm talkin' to ya!!"

I learned a lot from Norman that summer.

March 28, 2006 |

Multiplayer games may be the .  Of course, that's provided the technology behind those games doesn't end up taking your job first:  "Will artificial intelligence replace the mantra of outsourcing and manufacturing migration?"  I clicked the question , but it comes from this .

Speaking of computers stealing jobs, :  "Researchers in Australia have developed a computer program that relies on a branch of mathematics known as game theory to produce a fairer outcome when dividing property" in divorce cases.

Speaking of life as game: ; applying game mechanics to functional software — At first I thought this was too "inside-baseball," but in the end I had fun realizing how much of what we do is like a video game.

— Video games have definitely passed the point of "someday we'll look back and laugh."

Speaking of gaming through time, what about the future?   — Argues that online games are moving toward a common format such that their environments and characters will be interchangeable.  I'm going to have to bet against this one.  It might be cool for gamers, but I don't think it's in the nature of the business.

Video game of the Day:  I clicked it , but I think .  I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me forever to figure out that the way to start the game is by making the guy in the circle open the door.

On the subject of the media undermining the effort in Iraq for not reporting the "good news" a lot of bloggers are pointing to .  The part of her answer that resonates with me is how much of the bad news is also not being reported.  While there are online reports from people like that do a good job of humanizing our troops and showing their genuine good faith effort to make Iraq a better place, there are also videos of IEDs blowing up Americans and of dead and bloodied Iraqi children.  Of course, the reason we don't see those things on American TV is not because of the reporting but because of American tastes and what Ann Curry calls "."

Not an example of humanizing our troops: 

But speaking of fighting for journalism's name and reputation, "[T]he refrain that Americans are sleep deprived originates largely from people or with financial interests in sleep research clinics."  Word in the newsroom is that the last couple of months have seen an all out assault by PR companies for sleep drug corporations.

By now you've likely heard that Russia is being accused of passing U.S. military plans to Saddam.  to the mix.

— 2 CDs-worth of mixes and mash-ups, free.

— "Ipifini's Programmable Liquid Container technology employs buttons on the container's surface that release additives (flavors, colors, fragrances) into the liquid."

— "Heat Vision and Jack was created as a 1999 pilot for Fox. Written by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, directed by Ben Stiller, this series was passed over by Fox despite critical acclaim from those who've been lucky enough to see it.  The 30 minute pilot is about an astronaut (played by Jack Black) with a medical secret who is on the run from the evil Ron Silver and the rest of NASA, with the help of a talking motorcycle called Heat Vision (voiced by Owen Wilson)."  Yes, I watched the whole thing.

Speaking of unique motorcycles, — I'm not sure if the counts, but that's still my favorite .  I've seen video of , but at the end he gets speed wobble and wipes out.  I looked everywhere but couldn't find it online.

— The question in the back of my mind is whether the new World Trade Center design will be good enough to raise New York's ranking from number 4.

— this takes some staring at to understand what it's showing.  Includes a cluster called "Confucian." (The report it's meant to accompany is .)

I finally did my taxes last night.  HOLY CRAP taxes are complicated!  No link, I just a little.

"Carrying a BlackBerry is admitting that your is only partial."  I went out with a Treo-toter the other day and I agree.  Every check of the gadget is like saying, "I wish I was somewhere else."  (In the old days this was done by checking one's watch.)

, according to new U of M study — My reading of this is that Americans don't see any reason to be moral other than because it's commanded by their religion.

- Interesting advice on why just doing your job is not your whole job.

  Make sure you take care of registration in advance.

Speaking of applying online to be on TV, is accepting applications for a new reality show.

— When you get there, will you be able to find a place to park?  (This checks your machine for a certain software before loading the map.  You don't need it though, the HTML version works fine.

" is a web browser plug-in that converts all prices from U.S. Dollars into the equivalent value in barrels of crude oil."  The download is more than I wanted to deal with, but the idea is funny.

— It's always good to read your receipts.

— Weirdest news story ever.  Even after watching it I'm not sure I understand what's going on.

  When I was a kid and collected baseball cards, the comic book store had books for looking up the value of each card.  I never actually tried to sell a baseball card, but it was fun to go treasure hunting in the book.  This Barnes and Noble feature reminds me of that.  After a couple duds I found out that I can get 4 bucks for Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch.  (But not really because it was sent to me for free by the publisher.)

— I had fun clicking around , they've built a lot of cool stuff.

— Of course, my first thought was "flying cities," but it looks more like an alternative to satellites.  Still, "stratospheric platforms" sounds like something to build on.

" [in Firefox] has caused my fiancé and I to break-up after having dated for 5 years."  Basically, he cleared his history, but there was still a "never remember my password for these sites" list that included some that were...  relationship damaging.