The spy who blogged me


.  This is pretty dense to read through and if you're following this story more for the drama of the storyline, this is a little dry.  You'll find more pleasure in this that continues to shape the narrative.

Meanwhile, if you like reality-based intrigue, the Able Danger report and the associated storylines are drawing a lot of online interest.  Captain's Quarters has become a hub of and .  (I realize "reality-based" has become a loaded expression.  I mean it in the non-loaded "based on real world events" sense.)

- I didn't mention it here, but earlier this week a lot of folks were talking about a new policy at Wikipedia. Turns out there is no new policy.  There's an interesting lesson here in the media reporting on itself rather than on the primary source.  I'm trying to get in the habit of distinguishing between reporting and relaying.  Is the story from a named source?  Are the named sources quoted directly or is the story relayed from another media report?

— I'm never sure what to make of news like this.  I use Technorati several times a day, so I only hope that whoever buys it keeps it free and useful.

Speaking of "about to be sold," BitTorrent is .

Can you imagine if ran for president?  At least there'd be a lot of dancing.

Video of the Day:  — This has been picked up by , so they're surely getting a lot of traffic, but I was able to watch it last night, so they're keeping up.  If I find an alternative version I'll add the link.

Speaking of Boing Boing, they've got a about whether Google should be allowed to index copyrighted material in books to make them searchable.

Speaking of copyright, the EFF has announced awards to wrap up their .

Speaking of raising money, points to a new trend in authors auctioning character names and other mentions in their books.

At first seemed impossible, but I was able to make it past the first level and not die right away on the second level, so folks who are actually good at video games could probably make good sport of it.

Hipsters are impressed with .  (A hipster PDA is a joke name for a notebook and a pencil.)  Related:

— A little bit gross.  Add the praying mantis along with the octopus to the list of underestimated predators.

— I hate that these articles aren't dated.  I don't know how new this is but if this was a quiz I would have got half of them wrong, starting with the first one about magnets.

Commuter Click: — A convert to Orthodoxy reconsiders evangelicalism.  This looks like it covers some of the major issues within the Christian community.

Speaking of religion, check out .  (Don't skip the intro, that's the best part.)  Woah!

Cindy Sheehan, the protesting mother whose son died in Iraq, has the Web ablaze with discussion.  For the most part the discussion follows the themes you see covered by television pundits, with some reason to canonize her, others ready to demonize her, and a mix in the middle of "I understand she's grieving but..."  The link that caught my eye was this of supportive mentions in the press, including a number of mentions of people who intend to join Sheehan in Crawford.  Seems like that could turn into a real ugly scene if enough people show up there with nothing to do but hold vigil.

— I love this idea, but you just know it'll end up taking an eye out.

— "Zhu Zhenghua thought his parents were taking him to Beijing to go sightseeing.  Instead they checked the 19-year-old into a clinic for Internet addicts..."  D'oh!

"...the gulf between our future and what Joshua Ellis calls the ‘Grim Meathook Future’ of the rest of the world."  This is hard to summarize but it's pointing to the gap between frivolous technology and necessary life-saving technology (or at least, that's what I took from it).

— This is not a how-to, it's recommended sites.

The community at the have found their name coopted by one of the new MSN blog filter channels.  They explore their legal options.

One bacon recipe per day, every day, .

— I really look forward to seeing how the blogosphere and online media treat future administrations.  Is a site like this purely a product of anti-Bushism or should all future presidents expect this kind of treatment?

— The offensive content was poems with the word "breast" and phrase "get high."  The explanation is that they're afraid of an FCC fine.  While my first instinct is outrage that a radio station has to be that afraid of the government, my second thought is to wonder if the station is overreacting a little.

Is it irresponsible for the media to encourage the audience to contribute to news gathering?  argues (among other things) that it's one thing if people offer photos or reports of news they happen to be witness to, but it's wrong for the news to ask its viewers and readers to actively pursue the news.

.  Some of them ones in the gallery are actually funny.

"Invasion of the Vorticons"  Episode One: Marooned on Mars" — A Mario-like video game.  (UPDATE:  Uh oh, I'm afraid I rather .  More details to come in the next post.  Thanks JBM!)

-They mean that literally.  It's an article about how some Chinese believe that dragons have been photographed over the Himalayas.  The article's photos are frustratingly hard to discern.

Speaking of our unexplored planet, I love the idea that a park ranger can re-discover as close to home as California.


Unfortunately, your zero to 220 clip Web site also includes this sicko, which shouldn't be spread around -- I go to your site because I like your politics and worldview, and this was unexpected.

Dear TG,
I think there's a word missing from your note, but I gather there's something on that site that offended you.  I try to keep an eye out for that sort of thing, but the changing nature of blog content is such that new things can come up after I've looked around - and of course, sometimes I just miss stuff.

On the amazing new bicycles...

"All Rights Unreserved - Loof Lirpa Publishing"

Loof Lirpa?

April Fool backwards?
— J. Brook Monroe

Dear J.,
Yeah, I think you're right, though I don't understand why it has to be a hoax.  Why can't we have cool new Dr. Seuss bicycles?

Looking through the of the page, it looks like it got picked up by some Asian blogs earlier in the week so the April context got a little lost.

Your musings (and links) to things related to the Intelligent Design vs. Darwinian Evolution debate have been  pretty one-sided.  Lots of articles written with a lot of passion and F-bombs about how people who like ID are nuts and can't hope to survive in the 21st century and all.

I used to like your blog for being filled with interesting links to, well, interesting things.  Now I'm finding links to articles written by people who think I should be drop kicked out of their universe because I happen to believe said universe couldn't have popped into existence by itself.  The belief that these people have that those who believe in ID are unable to think rationally or scientifically, for instance, is only name-calling and plainly absurd.

Are you going to balance out what you put in your blog (at the very least!) or should I be prepared to have my intelligence insulted every day?
—Tracy Bezner
Okinawa, Japan

Dear Tracy,
I agree that the majority of the blog noise, and therefore the coverage on this blog, has been pretty one-sided.  As outrageous as it may sound, two-sidedness is not something I strive for in Clicked.  To the degree that the creationist perspective is disproportionately voiced in the blogosphere, so it is here.  That said, if you've seen a good link explaining Intelligent Design, please pass it on.

Your point about the name calling and general mean spiritedness is well taken, however.  I make a point of trying to avoid it from the pundit bloggers and I should try to do the same in other areas.

How about going to the first showing of the new Rolling Stones tour in a venue that holds only 1000 people, very intimate, like an average bar--apparently the band barely fit on the stage.  How much would a ticket to something like that cost, concert of a lifetime?  $10 Canadian.  The Stones have done this twice before in Toronto, where they usually rehearse for their tours.  Story hyperlinked here.
—Ken Gunn
Sudbury ON Canada

Dear Ken,
That's awesome!  I've heard of surprise shows like this from people like Aerosmith, Prince and Bruce Springsteen, but never one where they sold tickets in advance.

I've noticed a lot of links in the real estate blogs to and thought you might be interested. [Link][][] [] []
Hope this of interest,

Dear Tony,
Thanks.  Yes, I've seen that t-shirt around a lot too, even as paid advertising on some sites.  The real estate blogs I've read seem to treat the prospect of a housing bubble with a strange glee.  Either claims of a bubble are wrong and they get to laugh at the experts, or the bubble is real and when it pops they get to enjoy the schadenfreude of watching wealthy real estate moguls suffer.  Is that how you read it?

I am wondering about blogs.  Or who has a right to privacy?  Two blogs of now ex-friends concerned the details of people's lives.  The two bloggers thought just changing the names would be enough.  One blogger thought to detail the sexual harassment of another by giving the time and place of discovery and assault even after the victim asked the blogger to not discussion the incident with anyone.  The victim asked the entry be taken down because of the details.  The blogger cried censorship expressed deep pain at not being able to express herself freely - took down the entry and closed the blog. 

The other blogger works for a church and is in charge of children and has opportunity to hear the needs of others (that would take to long to explain).  That blogger names the children, describes them and names the place she works.  The blogger also talks about the people prayed detailing their concerns. Again not using names but job titles!  The boss of this blogger saw the entries and  said it was not appropriate or fair to the children and those prayed with and asked that information not be posted. The blogger immediately cried foul and censorship and will close that blog and move it to a safe place from prying eyes where the information will still be posted but in clear violation of the request of the boss.   There is more to both messy tales but I can't fathom the "freedom of speech" would be misused in the this way.  Am I wrong to think one should consider another's feelings in this regard?

I ask to remain "anonymous" because both bloggers consider me the enemy for defending people's right to their own story. It is ugly.

Dear Anonymous,
First, nothing on a blog is ever private.  Never say anything on a blog that you're not willing to say to the world.  Some people may feel like no one could ever discover their little corner of the Web, but rest assured someone will.

It has been argued that no one has ever been fired for blogging, they've only be fired for things anyone would be fired for (usually talking about company business), only they happened to do it on a blog.  In the same way, telling someone's secrets is still telling secrets whether you blog it or whisper it in a dark alley.

As for the morality of doing so, I would think the same standards apply on blogs as in the non-virtual world.  One note I'll add, however:  Be careful if you decide to pick a fight with a blogger - or at least, expect everything you say and do to show up on the blog.


: Spam and Fake Blogs — Something not really mentioned in this entry but that I think is an important part of the theme is "blog as marketing tool."  A lot of companies have decided that they need blogs as part of their public image or to influence debate in whatever community they fit into.  At what point are these fake/spam blogs?

Speaking of fake publicity stunt blogs, Donald Trump has one now.  I can't bear to link to it so instead.

: The A-List and the Long Tail

Speaking of assessing the blogosphere and its A-List, makes a lengthy post in an effort to answer questions about the methodology behind his .  Tempers actually got pretty hot over this story.  has a good overview.

Usually I feel a little self conscious if I find myself linking to the same person too often, but this guy is just such a compelling read I have no problem recommending him every time his dispatches show up on most-linked lists.

China had a on a bus the other day.  Though the Jawa Report checked quite thoroughly, it doesn't appear to be Islam related.  In fact, the nothing-to-lose killing spree seems more akin to our own domestic murderous meltdowns and workplace shootings.
***Note:  Contains graphic photos.  But he does a good job of warning you so you don't come upon them by accident.

The news of Pentagon plans for a and concert (the Pentagon plans parades and concerts??) has some folks .  Others wonder the Freedom Walk will be.

Entries are still for the Wine Blogging Wednesday "" challenge.

James Dobson's unintentionally hysterical in your child has drawn some funny reaction (like and ) from the blogosphere.

— Bloggers are raising money to buy laptops and voice recognition tools for amputee soldiers who want to blog.

Speaking of bloggers helping, fans of the cartoon are helping in a unique way.  By clicking on and distributing the link provided, they help elevate the site of a particular cancer charity.  Click on the cartoon of August 10th for further explanation.

How the heck did I miss ?  Which I understand also happens to be National Distracted Driver Car Crash Day.  (The men are shirtless, but this is basically safe for work.)

The inventor of the Internet talks about as he'd hoped.

Speaking of inventing stuff, last week's flare up over the teaching of Intelligent Design has lingered and mutated from a debate about teaching evolution to concerns over America's scientific strength.  Are Americans emphasizing to their own detriment?  Are we as a technological world leader?  Or is it only that makes the matter seem that clear-cut?

and ratify their marriage using their blog readers as witnesses.

Going on vacation?  I hear the weather's this time of year.

One thing that can be said about the Iraq war is that it made some strange political bedfellows.  Many people ignored their domestic differences in deference to aligning themselves for or against the war.  But now that attention is returning to the homeland, the transition back to traditional bedfellows is not totally smooth.  talks about "beating up on liberal hawks."

", 26,000 (about 13%) are tax-supported government jobs. That leaves 181,000 private sector jobs. Of these private sector jobs, 177,000, or 98%, are in the domestic service sector."

— I don't know anything about the underlying political issue, but it's pretty shocking to see how well kids learn to hate.

I saw this the other day and knew it would catch on in a viral way.  Folks are linking to hosting of a game from a new marketing campaign from Miller beer called .  In this particular game the object is to leer at a woman's cleavage without getting caught.  The others are a little more safe for work, but equally unflattering to men.

— I think they've got Dr. Seuss on their design team.  UPDATE: Looks like it's an April Fool's prank.  Still cool though.

— For all the trivia there is to know, this should make a nice resource.

— Not a whole lot to see, just the dash of a motorcycle, but you can still get a pretty good feel for what it's like.  (Host site looks pretty clean to me.)  UPDATE:  Maybe not so clean.  E-mailers recommend clicking with caution.

Oobergeek has a pretty eye opening movie on .

— This must be from the same documentary as the last one we saw.  I think the octopus is taking a real PR hit with this series.

All of his furniture is made of .

(but shouldn’t be)

Mailbag!  Mailbag!

Your 8/10 "Clicked" linked to a article taking NARAL to task for its anti-Roberts ads.

Interestingly, your 8/9 link to the "Nice Guys and Bitchy Women" blog lead me to the home page for ".", where she had posted NARAL's response to's analysis... I like the title: "".  An interesting response...

And, BTW, thanks for an always-interesting blog!!

Dear Ed,
And with footnotes!  How many blog entries do you see with those?
Will has a pool going on with Cindy Sheehan this month.

Dear Gary,
After seeing President Bush mention her today, I'm thinking that's all she's going to get.
Good luck,

The "ranch dressing on spaghetti sauce" thing isn't completely weird. 
It's just a variation on tomato-cream sauce, used in so-called "."  It's a weird variation, but still within the bounds of reason.

Okay, maybe "reason" is too strong a word, but within some bounds, anyway.
— jbm!

Dear JBM,
Well, within the bounds of edibility at least, but I hope I could tell the difference between vodka sauce and tomato sauce with ranch in it.  That said, what's the best surprise ranch mix you ever tried?  Ranch on nachos is a nice treat.

Thanks for the video. While it was very cool.  I found the narrative to be disingenuous. In it, they claim not to realize that the octopus would take out the shark. I was recently reading a story book to my six year old and in it there was a big fight between an octopus and a shark. Apparently they are natural enemies as the author of this non technical book points out. I find it hard to believe that the staff of the aquarium, to a person, was unaware of this knowledge.  Also it claimed that a staff member stayed up all night to "see what was killing the sharks" . Yep just the staff member and a three camera film crew. I'm waiting for them to put a lion in a zebra cage. I'm sure the Zebras will be fine. Lions sleep most of the day you know.

Dear Doug,
My wife said the same thing.  Maybe they got bored with dropping feeder fish into the piranha tank.

Re: “They’re Not Stupid They’re Just Lazy”.  It’s the absolute truth.  I have 3 grown children, all of equal intelligence.  Two of them decided some time ago that the opportunities in this country were so severely limited there was no point in trying.  The 3rd, after leaving home and quitting high school to pursue a life of pot smoking and hanging with his buddies, suddenly woke up and realized he was supporting them.

So he went back to school (junior college) studied his ass off, got a computer related job, kept studying his ass off at nights, got a job with a national company where his studying qualified him to be sent to Microsoft’s exclusive upper atmosphere classes, and went from there to more classes in one the country’s premier colleges offering higher level computer courses.  And when he got there, lo and behold, in classes that numbered from 20 to 25 students guess what?  He was the ONLY American.  ALL the other students were Iranian, Indian, Pakistani, Saudi, Lebanese, whatever.  And as he got to know them, he found they all had one thing in common: they all worked their asses off, just like he did.

Dear Alex,
I think you'll be able to identify with some of the sentiments in the links above about America's "brain drain."  I'm not much for broad generalizations, but I wonder if the missing ingredient in a lot of cases is curiosity.  I'd be interested to know what your son says caused him to "wake up."

The Google map you have linked of 4500 military planes in storage is slightly inaccurate.  The satellite photo shows, not a massive storage facility, but “The Boneyard,” a military junkyard for retired or damaged aircraft.  It is located at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.
—SSgt Eric Gadoury, USAF

Dear SSgt Gadoury,
Amazing to think all those planes are sitting there to die.  The cable folks ran a story today about the military being concerned about Google Maps giving away too many secrets to the enemy, particularly in Iraq.  As you've made clear, looking at the map is one thing, knowing what you're looking at is quite another.


"Getting" gamers — That is to say, understanding them.  Lately I've been seeing a lot of discussion of what characteristics to expect from a generation whose perceptions are shaped by video games.  When I was growing up everyone speculated that the choppy editing of Mtv videos was ruining my generation's attention span and what would that mean for our future.  Of course, the gamer discussion is a little different because of the large number of adults who also play video games.  But whether the question is generational or society-wide, it's interesting to think about.

Hopefully not a vision of the future:  Gamer dies after 50 hours of non-stop playing — He was young too.  They figure the cause was exhaustion.

Speaking of the future:

"[C]an we have a discussion about where technology and user experience on the web are headed without using any of the following words or concepts:Ajax, web services, weblogs, Google,, Flickr, folksonomy, tags, hacks, podcasting, wikis, bottom-up, RSS, citizen journalism, mobile, TiVo, the Long Tail, and convergence."


— This seems like it would be a fun game if I could get the hang of playing it.

— I think these aired in Canada.  I like the one called T-Rex.


— I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often.

— Tsk!  And you thought Iran was next.

Lots of bloggers subscribe to the word of the day.  Yesterday's seems to have struck a chord with many: .

The activism of is drawing a lot of attention online.  She's the mother of a soldier killed in the war in Iraq who is now camping outside of President Bush's ranch demanding to speak with him about how the war is being prosecuted.  The story has taken a few twists, but you can catch up through by a Sheehan sympathizer.

-- Press Calls It a First
It sounds almost like these guys actually had an old fashioned quick draw gun duel.  There's almost nothing about this story that isn't weird, not the least, the pervasive sense of "oh well."

"There’s a story going around the blogosphere that Princeton is experimenting with ."  DRM being "digital rights management, which means it wouldn't be possible to copy or trade it, etc.  Interesting discussion in the comments.

at the idea of Monsanto patenting food.  It's a pretty amazing idea.  I think I hear science fiction writers across the blogosphere printing this up for future inspiration.

"A new study suggests that the overlap between search engine results is less than it was even a few months ago, and that the voices of each engine are ."

The biggest difference I've seen is that Google returns way more blog results.

in Canada got married for the tax benefits.  I can only assume men and women already do this.  I wonder if they signed a pre-nup.

If car exhaust is bad for the air, how about that massive cloud when the space shuttle takes off?  ( that's cleaner than I would have guessed.)

— However, in non-terror situations, what you have is lights that don't turn off.

  Not on the spaghetti, no! Nooooo!!!!

.  Still makes a good lesson about not putting a gun in your pocket though.  Warning:  Gross, but not grosser than you've seen on TV.

Video of the Day:  I like these "" videos.  (Site is visually safe for work except where noted, but the text ads are for unsafe stuff, so it depends where you work I guess.)

— video variation on the photo you've probably seen.

or How Social Gestures within Topic Groups are More Interesting Than Link Counts — Another step in the march toward a better currency thank linking in the commerce of popularity on the Internet.

If you were the CEO of Ford, what do you think ?

— At a recent tech conference, the world of online security was thrown into turmoil by a whistleblower who revealed a major flaw in the structural underpinnings of the Web.  This article is a good summary with links.  Hopefully the good guys will sort this out before I end up running a roadside pottery stand for a living.

Commuter Click:  — This seems to fit in well with the chat we just had with Matthew Simmons.

for their attack on John Roberts.

— The idea being that little bits of savings add up — especially if you invest it.  My best money-saver is bringing my own coffee to work.  I use a French press and drink it black anyway.


The New York Times had two unintentionally juxtaposing portrayals of Wi-Fi this past Sunday that I wanted to point out since it has come up a few times here.  In they tell the story of someone attempting to extort money from a company.  The important part for my point:

Using wireless computing gear stashed in an old, blue Pontiac, and fishing for access from an antenna mounted on his car's dashboard, Mr. Tereshchuk cruised Virginia and Maryland neighborhoods. As he did so, federal court documents say, he lifted Yahoo and America Online accounts and passwords from unwitting homeowners and businesspeople with wireless Internet connections.

But on the Op-Ed page, major cities for allowing eastern Oregon to beat them to the punch of free public Wi-Fi.  Though I agree it would be great to have wireless Internet offered as a public service, I can't help but wonder if we don't quite have a handle on this technology yet.

If you're like me, you went at that Coudal riddle last week by drawing out a little chart.  has built a fill-in-able chart online for you.

— A breakdown of the types of each category.  With over 200 comments I think she's hit a nerve.

:  The real reason American high-schoolers have such dismal test scores.

Patterico reacts to the same article that has Kevin from Fanblogs upset in this afternoon's e-mail entry below:  .

— The site itself appears to have been around for a while, but something has definitely .

The link text said

Video of the Day: .  Place your bets.  Guess correctly and you win a giant back tattoo of the two locked in mortal combat.

— Digg is a popular new tagging site that has drawn a lot of techies.  I guess there's some competition forming between the two communities.  Given the general online mantra of empowering the masses, Tim McIntire makes an interesting point about community size and niche:

The more users you have, the lower the mean expertise becomes in a particular area. This may sound contrary to logic at first, wouldn't it seem obvious that as your user base grows, your aggregate knowledge grows? Aggregate, yes. Mean, no. Mean is the important statistic here, as a link will grow to become headline news if the majority thinks it should be even though the minority expert class knows the news to be useless, incorrect, repetitive or outdated.

is an instant messenger, but it works by also considering your location and finding people near you.  It's been around for a little while but seeing an increase in link traffic because of rumors (not especially convincing ones) that Google may have an interest in it.
UPDATE:  Oops, getting .

— Hedonistica reports it's from a French film called Banlieu 13.  (Note:  Some content on this host site may be too violent for work.)

Do you "sense that there's something qualitatively different about today's web," and would you therefore consider the label Web 2.0?  seems based around trying to get some perspective on whether new Web tools have brought about a qualitative change in the Web or if it just feels that way because new tools are exciting.

The only thing that blows my mind more than the fact that people actually believe Nigerian spam rip-offs is the fact that Nigerian spam rip-offs .  Not that I don't think Africans are capable or anything, it just seems an odd thing to be honest about.

  You'll only find a headline like that in a British paper.

:  Everything you learn in your first year, more or less

Though only blogging a short while (in fact, only living a short while), has been recognized (by ) for his artistic vision.

While at Boing Boing I picked up this to listen to while putting together tonight's post:  — Old time music all the time (streamed).  My banjo please.

(includes video)  Definitely creepy.

is the second time I've seen someone trying to anticipate and interrupt perceived neocon drumming for war against Iran.  The first was .  Whether that's what's going on or not, it would seem the "cry wolf" factor is in full effect.

— A true diplomat for our time.

.  Where will they take us?  (Jokey, but eerily possible.)

Though I generally regard talk radio as the grown-up equivalent of professional wrestling, there's been a new development in the Air America story mentioned last week.  As , NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer is now investigating, making the story a considerably bigger deal.

What's it like when the New York Times asks you to write an editorial for them?  .

, time-shifted by 60 years

— Why links are a poor way of gauging blog popularity.  I was interested to see how lists in on blog traffic differ from most-linked lists.

Here's an odd one:  Conservative bloggers are anticipating that liberals will suggest that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is gay and thereby undermine his conservative support.  To pre-empt such a tactic, they're announcing their too.

In a very small nutshell (so small that I'll probably get mail telling me I'm wrong) the idea behind intelligent design is that some elements of life are so staggeringly complex or simply beautiful it makes more sense that someone made them that way than it does to think they became that way by accident through evolution.  This blogger points out that not everything is quite so miraculous so perhaps it's worth considering "," or "DUH" for short.

— That headline is the reason why solar houses should happen and why they're not happening.

found some photos at an estate sale.  They do seem to tell a story.  I can even imagine them finding these online today.


I'll have a regular Clicked entry later but I've fallen woefully behind on mail so I wanted to rectify that in one shot.

Last week you linked to the Carnival of Personal Finance.  I'm writing to let you know that I've posted the , with the largest number of submissions so far.

Please feel free to link if you believe your readers may be interested.


I just discovered your blog today.  Thanks for mentioning the Carnival of Personal Finance.

I have been blogging about personal finance since last October.  I recently did a post on .  I know it sounds like a weird topic, but I figured since a lot of women go to blogs for personal finance information, it would be cool to highlight blogs that are authored by women.

Anyway, I’m glad I found your blog.  I’m going to check it out daily.



Dear Flexo and JLP,
Thanks for the links.  Following that entry I received quite a few notes from personal finance bloggers offering up their sites, so hopefully they're all finding a place in these community round-ups.

"The Leaky Cauldron has photos from the next Harry Potter movie.  I think the kids still look relatively age-appropriate to the story."

Well, DUH!

I apologize for being smart-alec about this, but the comments about the Harry Potter stars getting "too old" drives me crazy!
In the books, they don't stay 10 forever. They are supposed to get older each book.

According to the actual Book, the three characters are 14 and 15 during the fourth year at Hogwarts.

(Hermione Granger's 15th birthday is in September, Ron Weasley turns 15 in March, while Harry is basically 14 the entire book.)

Now, let's look at the actual birthdays of the actors: (birthdays from

Emma Watson:         04/15/90   (recently turned 15)
Rupert Grint:         08/24/88   (16 during filming)
Daniel Radcliffe: 07/23/89   (just turned 16, would have been 15 during filming)

So... Emma Watson is virtually the same age as Hermione.  Daniel Radcliffe is one year older than Harry.  Rupert Grint is just a little over a year older than Ron.  That seems very reasonable to me.  This sure as heck isn't a bunch of actors in their late 20's trying to pretend they're in high school. These kids are still kids.

Dear Jay,
Thanks for doing the math on that.  It's good to know the Harry Potter movies won't eventually look like Porky's or 90201.  I think there's still some real-world drama in watching whether the movies can be made on a fast enough schedule.

So far, only one site has the location of the Horcrux, the most important object in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Site contains major spoilers and important hints to the seventh book.  All original.  How do I know?  Well, because I wrote it.  []

Dear Amadeus,
That is a great idea that I never even considered.  I actually hope you're right because I'd be interesting to see how that plot twist would be resolved by Rowling.

Thanks for the link back on 7/21 to Gelf's blurb racket (comparing critics blurbs in movie ads to the actual reviews).  We hadn't updated it in a while since then, but there have been two new ones since then, and .
Take care,

Dear Carl,
Thanks for those updates.  I actually thought of that feature when I clicked the story of the movie studio getting sued for .  Your research could end up making us a few bucks.

Thanks for the link, Will.

I gotta tell you, this story really got me steamed.


Dear Kevin,
It's amazing how much that attitude is similar to what we heard from political reporters about political bloggers.  That is, until political bloggers scooped them on a few stories, corrected them on a few others and proved themselves to be a potent political force.  I have a funny feeling you'll get the last laugh on the mainstream sports media.

Dear Will,
On August 4th, 2005 you wrote "I knew that a lot of folks in eastern Canada are interested in splitting from the country, but I didn't realized the degree of that sentiment in the west as well". Now I have lived in Eastern Canada, specifically Nova Scotia, for my entire 22 years and I personally take offense to the implication that Eastern Canadians wish to split from Canada. If you look at the records, the only province that has ever held a referendum is Quebec, and if you ask me Quebec can hardly be called "Eastern Canada" since there are no less than 4 provinces in Canada to the east of Quebec (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador). Not only that, but each and every referendum in Quebec has been shot down by the majority of voters.

Now, you have supplied documentation that supports your statement that western Canadians wish to split from Canada, so there is no real argument there, but I would like to see the related article that lead to you "kn[owing] that a lot of folks in eastern Canada are interested in splitting from the country". If you cannot supply this documentation than I would ask that you print an apology in your article and that you inform your friends down there in the States that the only "eastern" Canadians that are interested in splitting from Canada live in Quebec, and that as far as I'm concerned they can stay in Quebec until they come to their senses and start loving Canada like the rest of us do.
Michael MacLachlan

Dear Michael,
Thanks very much for a lesson I didn't even know I didn't know.  By amazing coincidence, just as your letter came in I was on the phone with someone from the so I was able to get him to give me some further explanation of what I did wrong. 

Of course, it was Quebec that I meant, and I meant eastern Canada as being simply the that's on the right half of the country.  What I didn't realize was that "Eastern Canada" is a recognized region.  So, according to the guy on the phone, calling Quebec "Eastern" is like calling Texas a Midwest state simple because it's in the middle of the map, when really, everyone knows Texas doesn't count as Midwest and in fact, Texas is pretty much just Texas.

I'll stop there before I begin to get angry mail from Texans now, but you get the idea.

Thanks again Michael for pointing that out,

Thanks a lot for your posting about punch cards. The thread is amusing and the comments are much more civilized than other posts I have read.

So much for reminiscing, it also brought back memories of the ultimate geek tool from long time ago. Before calculators and PDAs, the status symbol for most geeks in science and engineering schools was the slide rule. I remember some geeks brandishing them like swords ready to slay the equation dragons and mathematical monsters. Here is a link that shows the whole universe of the slide rule which has shrunk a lot and about to be swallowed by a black hole.

If anything, the slide rule is very useful is whacking the head of someone who annoys you a lot.

Dear Lee,
I wish there was something in my job that required me to use a slide rule.  What a cool device.  I remember playing with them as a kid and pretending I knew what it was for.

Is this Anti-Viral marketing?
The new is out. See the trailer here or find out how to set up your own public screening
-Jan and Scott

Dear J&S,
It might be negative marketing, but it's still viral by virtue of the fact that publicity is spreading from person to person.  What caught my eye is that they're to the documentary.  I'll be interested to see how that works out for them.

Dear Will,
Thanks for the link.  I just wanted to inform you that is up just in case you missed it.

I think it's rather sad that they can't differentiate between an anti-terrorism vigil and any kind of protest.  It seems the people responsible for our security are a bunch of scared chicken-littles who try to avoid responsibility at all costs and whose idea of policing is to scare everyone or just arrest them.  It's probably why the terrorists keep blowing shit up and the government can't seem to do anything about it.  Sigh.

The interesting thing it seems, or the moral of the story if you will is this: if you do want a permit to do such a thing in Egypt, what you need is foreign press, cameras and foreigners with you (double points for Americans).  The Egyptian police will not touch a foreigner, especially with the president trying really hard to placate Bush.

Living in this country has become a Kafka-esque experience, let me tell you!

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my really long and overdrawn rants and tirades.  Hope you are not bored to death by them.


Dear Sandmonkey,
Thanks for a really fascinating pair of entries.  It's seldom we think about the organizing side of public events like protests and vigils.  Hopefully the advent of citizen generated media will further turn the spotlight on government abuses so that you always have foreign press, cameras and foreigners with you.
Peace indeed,