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Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be bloggers

My name is Will.  This is what I clicked.

September 30 |

Livejournal now has a directory of blogs on its service .  I was able to look up my old high school and find some students there blogging.  Thankfully, most of them were restricted to "friends only," which is as it should be for kids' blogs.  While there is good learning to be done on the Internet, it's no place for the vulnerable.  There are a lot of weirdoes online (present company excluded I'm sure).

Speaking of kids and being vulnerable, we've seen pieces on cyber bullying before, but you may want to pack up your things and raise your kids in an Amish community.  Kids can be cruel.

I feel bad for having lost track of this with all the attention on the storms, but there's still a little time left to submit your blog for consideration as the .  It's a genuinely broken down in part by language.  I can't image how the judging is going to be done.  I volunteered one year to judge the Bloggies and it was a massive task.  An organizer of the BoBs has sent this note:

We're getting to the last days of the BOBs suggestion phase here in Bonn, but we'd love to get another wave of blogs and podcasts submitted to the contest so the judges and users have the widest selection to choose from.  We'd really appreciate it if you'd make a short announcement to let people who want to take part know that time is running short.

Video of the Day:  Perhaps you've heard the buzz about this new .  Alternate link .  Details .

— We almost never think about the ping services that function as the underpinnings to so many blog tools.  The root problem is one that plagues many aspects of the Web: more traffic means increased cost.  Unlike TV, which has a flat cost to broadcast no matter how many people receive the signal, serving Web content costs more as use increases.  Given the growth of the blogosphere, it's not hard to see how problems could arise.

Speaking of the expense of increased traffic, got zapped with a $17,000 bandwidth bill because their iPod Nano parody video became suddenly popular.  I think the number of free media upload sites has made this less common, but what always catches people by surprise is how quickly the traffic comes once something becomes viral.

says he’s getting rid of everything he owns on eBay.  I guess he got himself into a lot of debt buying all that crap so now he's trying to make a fresh start of things.

— Getting swallowed in it might be a myth, but it still sounds dangerous.


.  (Note:  I'm linking to the print version because the regular version has a photo.)  The item is brief but mindblowing nonetheless.  Apparently they think Satanists ordered them.  That sounds completely ridiculous, but then, it's hard to think of a non-ridiculous reason to be sending dead fetuses in the mail.

Speaking of real life being stranger than fiction, , to the point where he’s got his own little air force.  I don't know if that's ever been a movie plot but if it was it would really test the suspension of disbelief.

is blasting a rant at comic book creators for not being more productive and original.  No doubt it has significance to the comic book community or it wouldn't be so heavily linked, but even if you’re just someone who’s been a little lazy about pursuing your own creative interests, it strikes a surprisingly personal and motivational chord.  So get off your butt and go draw/write/play/do something.

Today’s new vocab word (who would have thought this theme would keep up all week?):

— The guy they say did the uploading to the Web could get three years in jail.

You are probably aware by now that Roy Blunt is going to take over for Tom DeLay.  His political opponents are clearly ready for him.  I didn't read through all the content on but the sheer volume of it is a statement in itself.  No rest for politicians in the information age.

Have you actually watched that yet?  I'm not sure they've solved the problem of how to present all of that information in an easy-to-consume way.  (That's not a knock on Sites, I was just expecting something more innovative from Yahoo.)

"When Esquire magazine writer A.J. Jacobs decided to do an article about the freely distributable and freely editable online encyclopedia Wikipedia, he took an innovative approach: He posted a crummy, ."

Clerks 2 is starting production in .

— This guy describes business incentives for Best Buy managers that explain why they're always trying to sell you a gold plated cable with everything.

allows users to think themselves along a virtual street.  Which is good because if you walked down a real street wearing it you'd freak out your neighbors.

"In order to fulfill his obligation to his early solo label Bang Records,Van Morrison sat down in 1967 or so and cranked out , on topics ranging from ringworm to wanting a danish, to hating his record label and a guy named George."

Justice Department Releases Granted by President Bush — I don't find this on the actual DoJ Web site but may be just be processing lag (or I'm looking wrong).  I’d like to know the story behind “possession of tax-unpaid whiskey.”  In fact, I’d like to try some tax-unpaid whiskey, maybe with a little ice-unmelted.

writes in support of Captain Ian Fishback for speaking out on Abu Ghraib.

— includes insights into why the medium caught on so fast.

Related:  .

Philly bloggers are having a bit of a .  You'll recall local bloggers cried racism when cable news channels did not cover the story of her having gone missing.  Now that the matter is mostly settled (she was found dead and her ex-boyfriend was arrested) there is still discussion about the media and missing woman cases.


Hey Will, love your consolidation of goodies - funny, relevant, moving, controversial. Awesome job. I've read the Tech section on MSNBC for years but only recently discovered your blog back in July. Is there an archive section?

Also wanted to pass a link onto you...

with quotes. Terrific photography and very moving.

Dear Dan,
Thanks for the link and the comments.  If you look in the right column there is a link to archives.  It's really just a pre-seeded search, but most of the past Clicked entries come up close to the top.  Some of the links may have expired, but most of it should still be vital.

Two headlines were juxtaposed on my homepage today.


I couldn't help but go, "hmmmm".  (I was already aware of the disconcerting information in the second article.)

Dear Rebecca,
HA!  You've solved it!  It's not global warming that's shrinking the polar ice caps, it's all those bar patrons and their "on the rocks" drinks!

I hereby declare my opposition to the use of arctic ice in bar drinks (excepting tax-unpaid whiskey).

was sent to me via a online group.  It is a very moving video done by this vblogger.

.  It works best when using Quick Time.  I recommend opening Quick Time and using the "open URL" option under file.

Listen to the voice at the end, it is none other than Barbara Bush during her visit to the shelters.  I was speechless when I heard it.  Many of these people lost everything they owned, even if it wasn't much, and she thinks they are better off!  Come on Barbara, these people have already lost everything they possess, the least you can do is allow them to keep their dignity!

Webster defines Dignity as
1 : the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed
2 a : high rank, office, or position b : a legal title of nobility or honor
3 archaic : DIGNITARY
4 : formal reserve or seriousness of manner, appearance, or language

HMMMM, I guess Barbara's dictionary only lists definition #2.

—Cheryl K

Dear Cheryl,
Thanks!  I've read at least two articles about that smashup video (note to other readers, it pairs the Green Day song with hurricane footage) and never got around to finding it myself.

Love Clicked, I read it should work weekends too!

In a nutshell, the defining technical characteristic of fourth-generation nuclear weapons is the triggering - by some advanced technology such as a superlaser, magnetic compression, antimatter, etc. - of a relatively small thermonuclear explosion in which a deuterium-tritium mixture is burnt in a device whose weight and size are not much larger than a few kilograms and litres.

Since the yield of these warheads could go from a fraction of a ton to many tens of tons of high-explosive equivalent, their delivery by precision-guided munitions or other means will dramatically increase the fire-power of those who possess them - without crossing the threshold of using kiloton-to-megaton nuclear weapons, and therefore without breaking the taboo against the first-use of weapons of mass destruction.

Moreover, since these new weapons will use no (or very little) fissionable materials, they will produce virtually no radioactive fallout. Their proponents will define them as "clean" nuclear weapons - and possibly draw a parallel between their battlefield use and the consequences of the expenditure of depleted uranium ammunition.

Dear Russ,
Thanks.  Yes, that is fascinating.  I admit my first reaction was that it sucks when new technology is so quickly applied to ideas for how to kill people better.  On the other hand, I suppose a "cleaner" weapon is always desirable if battlefields are an inevitability.  Naturally it's scary to think what a terrorist could do with this, but the complexity makes it sound like that would be unlikely, do you agree?  I'll have to print it out to read the whole thing later.  Since it was posted a year ago, how much closer to reality do you think it is?

.  I wouldn't be surprised to see individual blogs pick up on this soon.

Dear Michael,
Yes, I saw this link getting passed around some this week.  It never occurred to me that VOIP is a way around phone taps.  I don't see how they can mandate that every communication technology be tap-able just in case law enforcement decides it needs to spy on you.  We'll have to watch where this story goes.  So often the government's efforts to ban or block technology falls apart because they don't understand what they're banning.

Push button, receive bacon

Dear JMC,
Thanks, I'm definitely more prepared for a terrorist emergency now.  I wonder if there's one of these for airplane emergency landings.


Dear Michael,
Allow me to elaborate for click-shy users.  There is a bug in a football video game that renders a player as though he were only 7 inches tall.  The photos are really funny, and I wish I could see that player's face when he fired up the game to see his virtual character.

September 29 |

— I had read about the idea of this but didn’t realize how active an effort was pursuing it.  The possibilities of what could result from wiring the third world are pretty mind boggling.  .  Not only is the design interesting, but it shows how crank power would fit.

Speaking of the possibilities, China is already afraid of .

Speaking of Web oppression, Grow a Brain has a collection of "" screen grabs.

has another straw poll for Republican candidates for 2008 with a pretty complex submission system.

— Just put it over there next to the butter machine.

— Everyone I know who's ever grown tomatoes has ended up with more than they could eat, giving them away, jarring sauce, making anything they can think of with tomatoes in the recipe just to use them up.  I often wonder what would happen if everyone who was able grew food in little urban gardens.  As a society what could we do with that food?

Speaking of small gardens,   Wired has a story about using empty shipping containers as mini farms.  I don’t really follow farming news, but I wonder if micro farms are a popular idea.

— This is another one of those mythbusting lists.  I think it's interesting that he calls it folklore.

Speaking of hurricane news myths,

Al Qaeda is starting its own ?  The parody possibilities abound.

; It is a highly addictive drug, but governments everywhere encourage its use — Richard Dawkins calls religion by a different name to emphasize its similarity to drug addiction.

lists the new cases in which the Supreme Court “granted cert.”

"  Sadly, the answer seems to be 'very.'"  This is about how people readily accept the top search results they're given.

"France has reacted with horror as details emerged this week of the who bound their hands together and jumped from the 17th-storey window of a block of flats in Paris."

— I'll have to take their word for it.

Speaking of DeLay, as you’ve probably figured out already, the spin on the story is that it’s a partisan witch hunt.  Think Progress .

Continuing the week's theme of : "More people know what dogging is than blogging, according to a survey which suggests that Brits are not as tech-savvy as might be expected."  (There's a glossary at the end.)

is a pretty amazing idea.  If you want to search sites that you trust and weed out all the junk, you can make a list of just the sites you want to search and save that list.

for a cell phone or something, but have you ever seen flash animation that jumps between two panes?  Neat.  (Note, my browser read the windows as popups so I had to hold the control button while canceling the request to install Korean, but it works.)

  — Believe it?

— We’ve seen Talk Origins here before, but I think this list is new.  Holy Moly it’s comprehensive.

I got a mail from a reader earlier in the week saying that more attention should be paid to the story of prisoners in the path of hurricanes.  I imagine this is what they meant: 

Video of the Day: 


— They make their own bodies heat up to over 100 degrees.

; Psy-ops propaganda goes mainstream.  If you’re prone to paranoia, you should probably skip this one.

Is free Google WiFi coming to ?

Google will use its new WiFi system to study people's Web habits to improve relevancy in their search engine.  (He fears it because he works for Microsoft.  But some folks might fear it for privacy reasons.  Most people will probably not fear it.)

Speaking of Google taking over the world, "Google wants to become , and they are meeting with all of the major broadcasters to make it happen."  Something we don't often realize here is how many U.S. TV shows are played overseas, sometimes pretty far behind their US airing.  For those folks, seeing US TV on the Web (for free) has a different significance.

?  That’s a big dramatic I think.  Wordpress is a very popular blogware program and now they’re going to offer free hosting, which may put a dent in Blogger’s user base, but I don’t see how there’s going to be any killing going on.

— I don't know why I find this so funny.  I think because I have absolutely no understanding of how they get this it sounds like they're making it up and it's a pretty funny thing to make up:

There are regions that feel 3D. There are regions that feel 5D. There are regions that feel 9D. These extra dimensions are infinitely large. We just happen to be in a place that feels 3D to us.

Oh yeah, I feel 5... 5 and a half D at least.  6 when I've had enough sleep.

Sound effects to help you make excuses to .

— When you read this, does it sound like they haven't actually dug up the loot yet?  Perhaps they missed a certain live Geraldo special.

"Nearly everyone is familiar with printers that print documents, but how about printers that actually make things?" — Let me know when it can do "Early Grey, hot."

(or how the lower cognitive cost of tagging makes it popular)

September 28 |

  UPDATE:  Here's the .  Of course, Clicked readers look at everything with a critical eye while enjoying the food for thought to make up their own minds.

:  “'Rain forests here,' decreed the Lord God. 'And deserts there. For a spa feeling.'”

I don’t know enough about Catholic culture , but it seems to be a hit among those who do.

— “D.T. Suzuki and his Japanese masters conceived just such a questionable need to make Buddhism look and feel and act like Christianity. As a result, what was presented to the West as "Zen" is an animal that never existed.”

— "'What do you guys think? Is the world really 4.5 billion years old?' Carter asked.  'Nonsense!' one girl called out. The adults in the group smiled."

Wow, I can’t recommend of Katrina pictures and descriptions highly enough.  He’s got a place to help his family out , but wait until you get home because there’s some nakedness in some of the pictures for sale.  (Thanks Matt!)

In my Clicked notes today I wrote with the words “a star is born.”  In Congressional hearings today, Mike Brown credited (blamed) that blog for breaking the story of his fudged resume.

A surprising (to me) number of bloggers (like , , and ) thought the Aaron Broussard segment on Meet the Press on Sunday was an ambush.  I saw it more as setting the record straight (but I admit I had an insider’s inkling that it was coming.)

It looks like coining new terms is showing up as a theme this week.  :  Rovenge, White Crayon, and room to add your own.

Speaking of group recipe projects, is about vegan meals.

As you know by now, I often like to look at news stories as literary intrigue.  Check out of another chapter from the book of Abramoff.

Speaking of intrigue, Boing Boing fleshes out an that duped a lot of people.

The hardest enigma on the Internet — Not to be confused with the hardest riddle on the Internet — Which is still not so hard as the (says )

Speaking of harder games, if you were overwhelmed by the 15 move rock, paper, scissors, you'll never be able to handle !  (How did I overlook this yesterday?)

— This list looks long enough to turn your "go bag" into a mobile home, but it's good food for thought.  When you have to get out in a hurry, you'd be surprised how quickly and easily clear thought leaves you.  Better to have planned ahead.

— The Time Lord is Stephen Hawking and he’s returning because he has written an easier to understand version of “A Brief History of Time.”  This would have been my commuter click today but I lost track of myself and read the whole thing already.

— Professionalism limits.

— “Each week, SpaceNow will introduce a debate topic on a controversial issue surrounding human spaceflight - a few sample opinions will be offered, after which the forums will be opened for your discussion.”

This looks like , but it’s news to me.  The NBC show Medium is doing a 3-D HDTV episode in November.  I wonder what it’s going to look like on a 15 year O-L-D TV.  (The NBC in stands for NBC.  That and a dollar ninety nine still won't get me on the subway.)

– Could this be the beginning of the end of blogosphere domination by pundits and techies?

Popular alternative porn (?) site pulls some photos in response to government pressure.  This page is safe except for the very bottom, so don’t scroll too far, and whatever you do, don’t click beyond this page if you're at work or your mom is watching.

A lot of bloggers are at the that Michael Brown is still on the FEMA payroll.

predicts that Priscilla Owen will be next to pitched for the Supreme Court and we’ll see it announced on Thursday.  As I recall, Red State did not accurately predict John Roberts, but it’s fun to see someone willing to go out on a limb with a public prediction.

for fans mourning the loss of Don Adams.

– The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington highlight who they think are the 13 most corrupt members of Congress.

Video of the Day:  Google is offering the first episode of the show as a free stream.  Loads quick.  Plays really well.  TV is doomed.

Mailbag!  Mailbag!

Re: Conspiracy theory of the day:  Hurricanes as weapons

Oh, really?  3 days ago I read the article about the weatherman resigning and I, too, became interested.  Previous to that, I thought these people were on an acid trip.

However, in researching I was surprised to find respected media sources reporting on the same thing.

Perhaps not the genesis of Katrina, but there sure as hell -IS- something going on.

Start with these:

  • []
  • []
  • []

Love your work,

Dear CH,
For what it's worth, something I learned in talking with one of the Virtual Earth guys who helped us put together the maps.  One of the things he mentioned is that the mapping planes fly low and in a grid pattern in order to take the pictures that go into the maps.  That's what those contrails remind me of.

"Comparing how past presidents handled past storms. Doesn't mention how past local governments did."

Seriously, friend. You need to put the leash on that hairy little conservative pundit that poohs on your article every once in a while.

Show the links. We don't need to read your backhanded, snarky opinion about them.
Speaking of opinions, I have an opinion that you need to play with a few new transition phrases; you know, besides "speaking of . . ."

Love your stuff. Read it every day. : )

Dear Josh,
HA!  Well, you're at least partially right, I'll admit that everything I write passes through a mental "what hate mail will this provoke" filter.  I didn't think I was being backhandedly snarky, I was shooting for flatly informative, as in, "Yes, I know local government messed up too and that's not mentioned here, no need to send mail angrily pointing that out."

You don't like "Speaking of..."???  I thought I was cultivating a catch phrase.  I guess I should hold off on the Clicked "Speaking of..." coffee mugs then?

I haven't seen this anywhere, and I thought bloggers would be all over it.  Our own government issued a report that the Diebold GEMS central tabulator voting system has a major hole.  Scroll down to the Diebold warning.

" due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could a local or remote authenticated malicious user modify votes."

Hi Denise,
Y'know what blogger loves going after Diebold is .  He claims to have an insider company source and everything.

Thanks for the cool link,

Hey Will -
Regarding the site you clicked .  You wanted instructions on a bow tie...check out .  It includes the Windsor, Half Windsor, Four in Hand, Pratt, and yep...the Bow Tie.
I keep in my bookmarks just to have the handy instructions available whenever I need 'em.
Have a good one!
Jeff Weidner
San Clemente, CA

Dear Jeff,
Thanks!  You'd think I'd have picked this up just by working 30 feet (and behind a wall) from Tucker Carlson, but sadly I have no such skills.

Uh, Will, that story about America having to buy bullets is from the Onion.
Have you been living in a cave?

Dear Andy,
You got something against caves?  I'm not above falling for hoaxes, so I searched the Onion and didn't come up with anything.  If you have a link, please pass it along.  In the meantime, I did find , which shows that the issue of importing bullets is not actually all that new.

And check out this mail from a reader named Carter:

Will --

It's a General Accounting Office report; if it's real, it'll be somewhere on :

The money quote is in the third paragraph below, which occurs at line 686 or so if you copy and paste the above article into a text editor.

According to PEO officials, the national technology and industrial base has been able to meet the increased requirements for medium caliber ammunition. In an effort to meet DOD's small ammunition requirements, the PEO initiated additional modernization efforts at Lake City to increase production from a maximum capacity of 800 million rounds in fiscal year 2001 to approximately 1.2 billion rounds per year in July 2004.[Footnote 6] Despite this increased production capacity, Lake City was unable to meet fiscal year 2004 requirements for small caliber ammunition. Consequently, the PEO was forced to rely on other ammunition sources.  While many commercial ammunition producers responded to the PEO's sources sought announcements,[Footnote 7] few were able to satisfy DOD's ammunition specifications. For example, seven of nine commercial producers responding to the PEO's announcement for a specific type of 5.56mm ammunition were unable to meet the specifications, such as producing metal cartridge cases. For an announcement for different types of .50-caliber ammunition, none of the 10 respondents were able to meet all of the specifications. Several respondents were foreign ammunition producers. According to officials from U.S. commercial ammunition producers, the recent surge in DOD's small caliber ammunition requirements could only be met by accessing available worldwide capacity. The PEO was eventually able to find commercial producers qualified to fill DOD's small caliber ammunition shortfall in fiscal year 2004. These included Israel Military Industries and Olin-Winchester--a U.S. ammunition producer. According to data provided by the PEO, almost 313 million rounds of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and .50-caliber ammunition were purchased from commercial ammunition producers in fiscal year 2004.[Footnote 8] According to a PEO official, DOD paid about $10 million more than a similar amount of small caliber ammunition would cost from Lake City. However, Lake City could not meet the 2004 requirement. Although DOD paid a premium as a result of the need to procure ammunition outside the government-owned base, we did not analyze whether maintaining a more robust base would have been cost-effective.

September 26 |

Don't click the link in this item.  An amateur porn site is offering free membership to soldiers who post their gorey war photos -- and they're taking up the offer.  Some of the photos are more foul than anything you can picture in your head.  Even the photos accompanying about the site is nothing I recommend seeing.  I can't even type the name of the site here, that's how "unsafe for work" the whole thing is.

So if it's so bad, why am I linking to a story about it or even mentioning it at all?  Because it's part of a growing argument that U.S. troops may be doing more harm than good in terms of U.S. image in the region and ought to come home.  Case in point: .

Of course, the counter argument is that the and pulling out now makes everything done so far a waste.

— This reads a little like one of those e-mails you get with thirty people on the "To" line, and frankly, I work in an office and I've never heard these words, but I recognize all of the definitions.

— I mention this because there's an even longer list of discussion and if you're trying to decide between Windows and Apple this could be handy.

to TimesSelect and the idea of charging for popular content.  Naturally, the bulk of the opinions are shocked that anyone would think to charge for content, especially in the face of the glory that is bloggerdom.

"Since the Presidential Succession Act only covers 18 people, what would happen if something happened to those 18?  We felt it important to continue the list for all Americans as a true contingency plan for Democracy.  to join the list, should your country need you."  Note:  I don't know anything about these guys, enter your real e-mail at your own risk.

(no bow tie instructions yet)

Video of the Day:  .  (Heavy flash file)

Comparing how handled past storms.  Doesn't mention how past local governments did.

Who profits the most when gas prices rise?  Hint:  Not that exhausted fellow working behind the bullet proof glass.

Did I say "idea?"  They're actually going to build this thing: 

— but what about all those congratulations and praise to the media for doing such a good job?  (.)

Conspiracy theory of the day:  — Cool photos anyway.

Some bloggers are of a pretty small amount of money resulting from a government effort to raise funds for the rebuilding of Iraq.  I didn't even hear anything about it since the plan was first announced, so I'm thinking they weren't really trying.  Surely they could do better than that with a TV benefit, a couple of those cowboy singers and some heart wrenching slow motion video.

Folks online are freaking out that the new iPod Nano's screen .

— For advanced players, Rock, Paper, Scissors with 15 possible moves.

— Count how many times you shout "I loved that show."  Meanwhile, no Farscape and there's no way the new Battlestar is better than STNG and Wonder Woman but no Hulk?  Deep Space 9?  The 4400?  How about HBO's Carnivale?  Anyway, there's a discussion board there with most of these sentiments already expressed but if you need to vent it's there for you.

I know Hurricanes are the big emergency right now and I've been hyping the earthquake threat, but it's probably wise to save a few worrying neurons for fears of .

Commuter Click:  Microgrids as peer to peer energy  (It's about energy.  "Peer to peer" is a metaphor.)

?  Markos Moulitsas interviews Juan Cole on something called Evolve TV which I'm not familiar with but has archives going back a few months so I guess they're not new.

— Of course you have to raise an eyebrow when something is called "secret" in a big headline of a widely read paper, but if you've been following that story of the "undercover soldiers," this takes it a little further.

— Doesn't sound like they're alleging anything illegal really, but the story does paint a pretty ugly picture of U.S. military firing indiscriminately and in great volume at anything that moves, friendly or not...

...Which brings me to this:  — As news consumers we decide what to believe and what to doubt and frankly I have trouble buying this one.  I have seen videos of soldiers shooting like crazy, but still.

  I almost wrote that Time smells blood in the water after their big Mike Brown story, but after Bernard Kerik, Mike Brown, that FDA guy, and the procurement guy that got arrested the other day, I'm surprised every news department in the country isn't running the bios of Bush administration officials.

In case you missed it, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard was on again this weekend to explain the inaccuracies in his earlier appearance.

"If we all agreed what "pork" was, there wouldn't be any of it in the budget."  at the national budget and trying to find things to cut.

Let me know if you have a good reason why today's entry should have included mention of the protests in D.C. this weekend.  I can't seem to come up with any.

A quick mail:

- I've had shots of my house in Lakeview up since last Tuesday...

Dear Troy,
Wow, very powerful.  I take it you're responding to my comment on Friday that I hadn't seen inside anyone's house down there.  Thanks very much for sharing your photos with us.  I can't even imagine the task you face in recovery.
Best wishes,