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Not you the people


If the White House had set a goal of revitalizing its online base, it couldn't have chosen a better strategy than to declare in Iraq and pick a fight with the New York Times ().  Bloggers didn't fall for gay marriage or flag burning, but right now in the punditsphere, particularly on the right, it's like 2003.  Recent disagreements over immigration and fiscal policy are out the window.

I didn't click much that you aren't from the mainstream pundits, but it's worth pointing out that is often lost when criticism of the mainstream media boils down to "bias""

"Tell me again whether there are any checks at all on this "power that has been given us".  Where is the accountability at the Times - can We the People un-elect Bill Keller?  How can we make him stop?"

Glenn makes the point, as he has done many times before, : "The founders gave freedom of the press to the people, they didn't give freedom to the press."

I've always had a little bit of a problem with the idea that the press doesn't consist of the people since I don't regard myself as anything special and yet I've managed to land a pretty good, arguably mainstream media job with access to some pretty powerful people.  When I look around the cable studios I similarly see all ordinary people.  And yet somehow the collective labor of those ordinary people results in what some see as a fourth (and unchecked) branch of the government.

Oh woah!  This is a must-listen.  !  Not just moving from ear to ear, but also above you, below you, behind you, in front of you...  Amazing.

Thing you'll waste a lot of time staring at today: 

Remember a little while ago we saw the video receiver that would enable you to tune in wireless camera signals and I complained that I wanted something that would tell me when a hidden camera was pointed at me?  — Apparently camera lenses reflect light in an identifiable way.  So next time you're in bed in your hotel room staring at the flashing light on the smoke detector wondering what else it's detecting, this could put your fears to rest.

"A man's sexual orientation may be determined by conditions in the womb, ."  The idea is that it has to do with antibodies the mother produces.  I'm not sure which interest group this news appeals to.

— Puts our relative size into perspective.  (Make sure you're not struggling with issues of futility when you click this.)

Speaking of putting things in relative size order, .

?  Some estimates go as high as a few hundred dollars a day.  This makes sense to me for some of the more clever and charismatic panhandlers.  As the article points out, crazy people and addicts aren't working with the goal of maximizing income, so actual yield is probably more often much lower.

A lot of people are getting a kick our of our .  Actually, I spoke with one of our news editors, and these questions come straight from the actual test, so it's not really "our" test.


— This link is a little old, but cool enough to include.  It's a Mt. Fuji shaped building of the future.

Digg To Launch in July 2006 — The idea is to figure out a way to graphically represent all the links being added and all the up/down votes.

— The GM Hy-Wire.  "Remember where you are right now because that is the future."

— The WSJ outlines , a booklist sharing social site.

Speaking of social sites, " a fully functioning online social network in and of itself, but it will share information with other services through common identity standards for our profiles and through APIs (application programming interfaces) for our writing, multimedia and contacts."  It's a service that will unite the various social networking sites.

Speaking of PeopleAggregator, at the prospect of receiving a stack of e-mail invites from friends signing up with yet another service.  Will this be the spirit behind ?

Speaking of new sites, I got some press material about a Web-activated telephony site called sounds pretty good.  What's cool about it is that while you activate it with your computer, ultimately you talk on your phone like a regular call.  As soon as the folks in our London Bureau start to come on shift I'm going to try it.  UPDATE:  OK, I tried it just using the free trial, not actually signing up, and it worked pretty well.  There were a few patches when the sound got a little digitized, but not inaudible, and not any worse than some regular calls I've made to London. 

has been shouting from the rooftops for what seems like ever about the flaws in electronic voting machines.  Lately he's been hammering away at the recent election in California.  Though I haven't seen anyone giving him any credit for pursuing the story, suddenly I'm seeing the media .

New political class to watch for:  — "Largely Southern, rural, lower-middle-class, female, socially conservative -- not big fans of tax cuts, but huge fans of government programs."

I'm in a little bit of an awkward position because I haven't been reporting on some petty bickering and drama surrounding Markos the Daily Kos blog guy.  Even outside of Clicked I've only barely been paying attention because frankly, I don't care.  Now the joke's on me though because it appears the conflict may have spawned a new buzzword.  People are discussing and about "" and its .  It looks like the word may come to refer to blog mob (blogstorm) hostility in response to disagreement.

— Not exactly a 45 minute law degree, but an interesting look at the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments.

The is finally out.  They've been seen all over lately.

Commuter Click:  

Somewhat related alternate Commuter Click:  Wikipedia 3.0: The end of Google?  This is a Semantic Web discussion couched in the argument that individual judgment shouldn't be overshadowed by the "wisdom" of the crowd.  It sort of makes one of his points that I'm linking to this because it's popular when I haven't read it all yet, but hey, I'm a symptom of the times.

— What?  You know of a more complete list?

Stevie Wonder plays on Sesame Street.

Scoble defends against the accusation that by pointing out that different media are better suited to different content.  I'm even going to go so far as to say that a completely new and unique challenge to the Web journalist is trying to figure out which medium is best for the content he has to present.  Online journalism is largely led by the nose by the technology provided for it, but at some point someone is going to make a lot of noise about the modern Web journalist being required to master a variety of storytelling forms.  First we have to get over all the mutual exclusivity arguments like print vs. Web, journalists vs. bloggers, podcasting vs. text, etc.

Speaking of finding new ways to present information, .

— I think the idea here is that the blogger is making fun of people who comment on photoblogging sites with overboard "constructive criticism."

The video belt.

How are troops in Iraq getting Internet access?  .

I'm not sure what the deal is with the Povich family and cringe-worthy videos, but not to be outdone by Connie, Maury terrorizes .

Speaking of YouTube clips, it seems like everyone is writing up "hall of fame" viral video stories lately.  that don't show up on most lists.

All of the unanswered .

Speaking of Lost, as much as I enjoy the show, I never wished I too could .

How do space pictures get so pretty? .

Video of the Day:  Bicycle drifting — When I was a kid we used to "peel out" on our bicycles by leaning way forward over the handlebars and giving the pedals a hard crank.  This, however, is something we never even dreamed of.

  This is gross and horrifying, but it looks like the cat is fine with it.

— This doesn't really say much other than that cell phones produce electromagnetic energy and the brain is sensitive to that energy.  It reminds me a little of the item we saw not long ago about using a magnet to turn yourself into a math savant, but so far it's a lot of "further studies are needed."

, Thought He was Meeting MySpace Friend

— Really, it's Star Trek's Next Generation crew versus Darth Vader and the Death Star.  Clever.


I'm at risk of falling too far behind in relaying highlights from the mailbag, so it's time for a new installment:

.  This is one of the best I've seen.  I want a full-screen version of it.  Don't worry, it's safe for work (there is music), and there's no cheap-shot surprise, with a bloody head and screaming or any of that (that s**t makes me mad).  You just stare at the center until words appear telling you to look away, and stuff melts.

Will replies:  I hate those screaming head jokes too.  The direct YouTube link is and if you click the icon on the far right of the video window's toolbar it'll play full screen.  Note to other readers, this is one of those after-effect illusions that make your eyes go buggy after you stare at it for a while.

I checked out one of your clicks and found Nerf gun mods by accident.Check this out-  not just a Nerf gun mod but a home built, Apparently the guys who play with the modded Nerf and homebuilt Nerf dart guns are extremely creative.  I never knew.  I think I might build one anyway.  The previous model to the one in the link though.  Much easier.

Will replies:  Thanks Matt.  I'm always amazed at the stuff people do with PVC pipe.  One thing I'd like to point out generally is that in New York there's a rule about toy guns being required to have a bright orange tip (as you might guess, this came after problems with cops and kids with realistic squirt guns).  This nerf gun is pretty realistic looking.  Be careful where you display it.

Will,If you want to Click something more revolutionary in bicycles, then post something about the

Will replies:  Thanks Paul.  Note to readers, in case you were trying to visualize how a shaft drive transfers energy and accommodates shifting, the Wikipedia link Paul provided has a cut-away diagram.

Hey – Just had to let you know that I am in love with the 1400 Videos from the 80s link.  My husband has made me plug some headphones into my laptop – I am sitting here thinking back to junior high and high school dances…The hardest part is not singing along to the songs…Thanks for the awesome links!  I always find a new “fun” site that kills far more time than it probably should :o)Will,

Will replies:  I love how much old metal is on there.  When was the last time you heard W.A.S.P.'s "L.O.V.E. Machine"?  And Vinnie Vincent Invasion???

I was checking out the RFID skimmer site.  What hackers won't do!  Now, in this day and age where RFID is really just beginning to be popular, there are people who want to abuse it and invent ways to defeat it.  I have read where credit card companies and ID cards, drivers license and whatnot, will start using RFID technology and apply them to the cards.  With this "skimmer," a thief will only have to wave a hidden scanning device close to your butt where your wallet is, (or purse) and get all kinds of information.  I have been personally opposed to RFID technology.  Wal-Mart will soon require all of their vendors to implement RFID to all their products.  The ORIGINAL plan (going back some years now) was to just pass your grocery cart through the scanner and you would be checked out instantly.  RFID proponents have gone wild in thinking up other uses for it.  The site was an interesting read.  But when it came to building the copper antenna, I cannot locate a 100 watt blowtorch anywhere.

Will replies:  Hi Dan, I agree that in spite of its billing as a DIY page, there were some special tools and skills required to put that reader together.  I'd argue that the security vulnerability is still significant.

WillKeep up the good work.

Will replies:  Wow, I'm surprised that didn't make national news.  It reminds me a little of the that went around not long ago.

Hey Will,

Will replies:  I love that moped!  I can't imagine it's possible to ride it, but funny look.  I've seen the Beatle before, and through you can get to a San Francisco Chronicle article with video of it working.


Will replies:  Thanks Chris!  I see this guy's photos bootlegged everywhere but I don't think I've ever seen them on his own site.  Most impressive to me is finally being able to see them photographed from the .  I had no idea they were so long and stretched out.

Genetically engineered petsDamn they're ugly.There is some good explanation of it Send yourself a text-message reminder...with GoogleCalendarWill, will display the robots.txt file for the Whitehouse website.  If you do a search for "Iraq" on this page, you'll see that the key directories for Iraq are still in the robots.txt file.  So, I would say that the information is still be obscured from spidering.Re: The "Iraq/Robots.txt" issue.The link you give for "Did he really say that, or was it a typo of "ludicrous?"Very slick wordplay there. Heh.I'm so excited about the Google government search.  I work for a federal agency that recently redesigned its website (actually we have two, one for individuals and one for contractors/businesses/etc.; I'm talking about the latter one).Sometimes I need to retrieve information off the site and it takes forever because the new design has a horrible user interface.Hopefully this will help me do my job more efficiently!Everytime he sees me, my friend asks, "Did you see the 'sprayage' a few days ago?"  Then he tells me -- once again -- about the "chemtrails."  I finally decided to check it out one day, and the conspiracies abound. has a forum where people send their chemtrail pics as well as a FAQ page that gives an overview of the "problem."And I was happy to report to my friend that we are not alone in our efforts against the chemtrails;  the Sylphs (fallen angels?  elemental spirits?) are on our side, as long as we placate them.  Keep on Clickin',

Will replies:  Thanks Roz.  I was aware of the conspiracy theories surrounding chemtrails, and even some non-conspiracy initiatives to treat them as visual pollution, but faith in Sylph angels is a new one to me.  Thanks for a peek at this subculture.

Hello Will,Take for example this sample result about a fellow named As you can see, information about this person includes their bank account, insurance policy (including the cars they drive and the VIN’s of both vehicles), their home address and phone number as well as the company they work for.Another fellow, Philip Clifford Evans, placed a scanned image of In at least two other examples I was able to locate credit cards – apparently active credit card numbers, including the cardholder name, expiration date and related personal information – all without very much effort or scrutiny on my part. The danger, of course, from a search engine capable of gathering and analyzing information from photographs like the Riya photo search engine, is that very unintended bits of information could be easily located and filtered through by anyone with an interest. Previously, I had worked as a software engineer designing fraud systems for banks and electronic credit card networks (as well as the processing systems, though my main focus was on fraud detection and prevention). Naturally things like this just flit to mind, for me, when I see a service like this – as interesting and powerful and even welcome as it may be.Anyhow, I thought consideration of this aspect of Riya might be of interest to you (and your readers additionally, I expect), especially in light of the frequent media attention given to identity theft and fraud of late.Thanks for your time,

Will replies:  Why on earth would someone scan in their Social Security card??  I have to wonder if that's some kind of ID theft bait.  Regardless, your point is well taken, thanks very much.  Question for readers:  Does anyone think it's a bad idea that I've included the links in Doug's mail?  I was on the fence about it, but 1) I'm not convinced it isn't bogus, and 2) the cat is pretty much already out of the bag and anyone at least as motivated as Doug has already found this info.  I could be swayed in the other direction though...  UPDATE:  OK, I went half way and turned off the link but left the content of the mail.

Thought this might be a good site for you to check out…

Will replies:  Thanks Summer, that is interesting.  He's started a new blog .  I would be a little concerned about how family members might feel about strangers posting memorials like this, or trying to contact them for the purpose of creating the memorials, but it's a nice gesture nonetheless.

Hi Will,One problem.Where are the ads?I write this with the absolute fear that I am showing my net stupidity, but unless the Swiss Army people and 'Moo Tube' were paying her for product placement, I really didn't see $85,000 in advertising.Confused in Cincy,

Will replies:  Hi John, good question and I was stumped for a while as well.  She does list ad rates, so I knew there were ads on there somewhere.  I think the answer is that they're subtle and tacked onto the end of the show -though not every show.

Regarding your Transformers entry:  You asked if there is a trailer yet.  You’re going to get a flood of e-mails about a clip that This is not from the movie!  There are even a few movie rumor sites that are hosting this as a production clip from the movie BUT IT’S NOT!  Apparently it was done buy a guy who was just learning CGI and wanted to make his own Transformer clip.  I also can’t remember whether or not you posted this link on clicked when it first came out.  Just so you don’t link to this video in error.

Will replies:  I do recall linking to some form of that video.  I remember it being a really long download for a relatively brief clip.  Good to revisit it in this context though.  Thanks for the clarification.

Hi, Will. My name's Greg Pincus, and back on April 12, you linked to my post Now it's true that we'd been courting over other manuscripts for awhile, but the truth about this story is  basically Slashdot + MSNBC + Hungarian mathematicians (etc) +bloggers = kids' book.  Just like the old days!  Ya, I love the Net.Anyway, I sum up the story Thanks again for that initial link, and have fun clicking.

Will replies:  Congratulations Greg!

Hey Wil!  I stumbled across

Will replies:  Thanks Adrienne, I'm not sure what to make of this.  I clicked the summary on the , which is more clear, but I still don't quite get it.  McDonald's, the burger chain, has a Web division with its own site that learned through some kind of computer simulation that the company's practices are bad for the environment so they revolted from their own parent company?  How do they still have jobs?  Why is McDonalds still paying for their site to be up (the credit on the bottom says the site is property of McDonald's)?  And what is up with ?  I think I'm definitely missing something.  UPDATE:  OK, I didn't say the word "hoax" but I should get some credit for skepticism.  Readers submitted a batch of links including coverage, the , this , and a filed by the hoaxter.  I also clicked , which is the guts of the .  (Thanks Kate, Jason, Davin, and other Jason.)

Hi, Will. My husband and I are avid motorcyclists.  Unless I'm thinking of someone else, you are too, because I've noticed the last couple years you've mentioned your attendance at Daytona Bike Week.I'm wondering why you haven't mentioned something to counter all the negative publicity that motorcycles have gotten after Ben Roethlisberger's recent accident. #1 - the guy was not wearing a helmet.  Anyone who is serious about motorcycling knows that one needs to wear protective gear, INCLUDING a helmet (even if it's optional in the state where one resides).  The fact that he was not wearing one is unimaginable to us. #2 - Initial reports that we have read indicate that a woman pulled out in front of him, and he crashed into her.  Who knows if this is accurate; it's just what we've read so far in the media.  There are far too many distracted drivers out there who don't "see" motorcycles.  If what we read is true, it was this woman's fault for pulling out in front of him.  It angers me that the media is portraying motorcycles as evil and dangerous, but they are not inherently so.  Yes, you are more vulnerable when you are on a motorcycle, but protective gear goes a long way toward minimizing that vulnerability.

Will replies:  Hi Debbie, I have mixed thoughts on the Roethlisberger story.  I held my tongue because I try to stick to the stuff I click, but since you asked and since this is the end of today's entry, this is not what I clicked, but it is what I thought:

  • I think it's weird that people treat the guy like he's public property.  The president should wear a helmet.  A football player can do what he wants as far as I'm concerned.
  • I knew before I even read the article that it was an oncoming left turn.  My understanding is that this is the most common motorcycle accident.  For some reason people have a hard time either seeing or judging the rate of approach of oncoming motorcycles when they're making a left turn in front of them.
  • I was annoyed that all the coverage kept pointing out that the Hayabusa is the fastest stock motorcycle you can buy.  It is (I've heard it can do 200 mph off the showroom floor), but unless the next sentence is about Roethlisberger driving at excessive speeds, it's a prejudicial point meant to demonize the biker.
  • As someone who's crashed a motorcycle, I can say that any thoughts that you don't need a helmet because you're going to roll in a ball or do some other trick is bogus.  The forces involved are beyond your power unless you plan to get in so many accidents that you get really good at it.
  • Even if you feel like you can survive a bump on the head (not impossible as Rothlisberger proved), I don't know of any substitute for protecting your face (as Rothlisberger also proved by smashing all his teeth out).

All that said, here are some things that aren't going to please Debbie:

  • If I had to ride home in 90+ degree heat with my head and face stuffed into a big foam helmet, I'd probably pass out.  Among the arguments against helmets is that they exacerbate rider fatigue.
  • There is also the argument that helmets are so protective they give riders a false sense of security, so Rothlisberger might have been going faster if he'd been wearing a helmet because he wouldn't have felt the speed as much and he'd have felt subconsciously more protected from danger.
  • I hate the wind drag on a DOT helmet.
  • In case anyone is curious, the anti-helmet conspiracy theory is that fewer people ride when helmet laws are in effect.  Since most motorcycle accidents are caused by cars crashing into motorcycles, the auto insurance industry ends up footing the bill, so they lobby (powerfully) for helmet laws, not for the sake of safety but for the sake of discouraging riders so there are fewer on the road for their drivers to hit.  Motorcycle injury stats go up when helmet laws are repealed because ridership increases.  NOTE:  This is pure biker scuttlebutt.  Notice the lack of links in this paragraph.  I don't even know if complete enough stats exist to support or disprove this argument.  In looking up Pennsylvania's helmet law (they recently did away with it) I did find that exemplifies the insurance industry's objections to repealing helmet laws, but doesn't substantiate ridership claims.
  • Speaking of scuttlebutt, there is also an argument that the extra weight of a helmet increases the likelihood of a neck injury the same amount that a helmet reduces the chances of a head injury.  Again, I don't even know if the relevant stats exist, but in case you're wondering what objections some bikers have against helmets, this is what I hear.

UPDATE:  Reader J.T. submits of the anti-helmet case being made.


It seems like it was all just a weird dream, but the meaty item I mentioned on Friday was the flare up over a few declassified pages of a report claiming that 500 chemical weapons had been found in Iraq since 2003.  Warbloggers declared it huge news and posted the documents on their blogs.  The "media bias" folks fired up the e-mail machines and decried the lack of coverage.  Critics dismissed the matter as old news, or worse, misleading news.  I clicked a jillion blog entries on the matter, but by today it feels like it never even happened.  By yesterday I was reading the Washington Post headline "Warnings on WMD 'Fabricator' Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says."

So my revised (less meaty) list of what I clicked on this story:

Armchair Generalist, with a post entitled "," does a good, if snarky, job rounding up opinions of warbloggers and critics.

did a funny job juxtaposing links: ". One way: ."

I read several entries on (scroll or follow his links to himself), but his perspective that the discovery of weapons is good news on its own was a positive perspective.  "[T]hese weapons are fine with me, buddy, and you’ll excuse me if I light up a stogey anyway."

At least we know those are 500 weapons that .

Unlike the , I did go to because also unlike the folks at Gawker I didn't recognize that the panelists, media rock stars though they may be, were more likely to go on about the state of the newspaper industry than the future of new media when the title of the panel was "Online Media and the Future of Journalism."  Dear , should you decide to write a sequel to "" please consider "Newspapers v. Online Media is Over."

I suppose it's pretty cool that this guy installed a touch screen Mac computer , but until cars are driving themselves or tied together like a train, I don't look forward to streets clogging with solitaire playing drivers.

A port-o-john that suddenly is yet another example of Japanese TV being above and beyond the U.S. in the weirdness category.  (Not totally graphic, but probably not the safest for work.)

maps items from Overhead in New York on a Google map.  (You don't have to live in or be familiar with New York to appreciate these.)

—  The bad news is that you have to lie down inside a plastic blob and putter along powered by something the size of a lawnmower engine.

A aims at discouraging suicide attacks in Iraq and elsewhere.  I have often argued that the U.S. should do a better job of winning hearts and minds with its cultural assets, not its military assets, so I can't be completely critical of this effort.  That said, it does seem pretty ridiculous to think of an anti-bombing ad alongside something like the .

Speaking of hearts and minds, .

In one of those viral link paradoxes, ABC's of the impact of global warming is seeing a lot of linkage mostly as a result of .

Speaking of global warming, when we see stats on storms causing greater destruction, don't forget that there's also a lot .  P.S. Hey, .

Another one for the "developing self esteem" curriculum to demonstrate how media images are manipulated.  You don't have to know Photoshop to .  Basically they use a blurry version of the skin so any blemishes and texture disappear.

"How many people realize that we're living in a golden age, ?  It won't last; golden ages never do."  What's going to ruin it?  The proprietary net, the possible tiered net, spam, filtering, black listing and censorship... 

I'm not a big Bible reader, but I do try to pay attention to the passages that are significant to people's politics social views.  In this case, .

Video of the Day:  .  Look, it's one thing if you want to come up with your own conspiracy theories about the space program and whatever else, but if you're going to get in a man's face and call him a coward and a liar to his face, your fantasy world is going to come to an uncomfortable end.

"A Tauranga industrial designer is on the verge of achieving international recognition for an that is worn like jewelry on the arm."  It's meant to replace the IV.  Interesting idea.  (That's New Zealand by the way.)

Since getting bad service from ISPs was in the news last week as mainstream outlets you may have seen the sleeping Comcast service guy video already.  But in case you haven't, .

— Starts to get a little trickier around level 7.

folds up and fits in a shiny little case that almost looks like jewelry.  I like the idea of giving the little case to the waiter instead of the raw card.

— Surely there's an art project to be pursued here.

— The study from the is online .

"This week, Nanosolar, a startup in Palo Alto, CA, announced plans to build a production facility with the capacity to make enough solar cells annually to generate 430 megawatts. This output would represent ."  I wonder if they have the ability to create enough of a production glut to drop the price.

"Hyperbolic space is an unimaginable concept, unless you're a Latvian mathematician who's handy with needle and yarn."  .

(Find Sarah Connor.)