Monday, March 27, 2006

NPR: Which DVD Format Is the One for Me?

[npr, mst3k, DVD]

On Weekend Edition Sunday, (March 26, 2006) Kevin Murphy discussed the two new DVD formats are due out soon- one from Sony and one from Toshiba. As they battle for supremacy in the high-definition market (can you say Betamax versus VHS?) Kevin talks about what it (and 3:2 pull-down) means for the consumer.

Listen to: Which DVD Format Is the One for Me? (Real or Win)

CBS Reporter on CNN Discusses Lack of "Good News" in Iraq

[iraq, politics, CNN, CBS]

Iraq-based CBS reporter Lara Logan talks to CNN about the lack of "Good News" in Iraq. Short answer: there isn't much to tell.

He's Got the Whole World In His Hands

[history, computing]

Happy 10th Birthday to the Palm (Pilot).

Friday, March 24, 2006

[Wooster Collective] Recommendation: Crate Art in Melbourne


Culture jamming: Crate Art in Melbourne. Best use of milk-crates ever!

When In Doubt, Ask

best comic all week, originally uploaded by adampsyche.


How long until this number gets changed?

X at 5

[MacOS, OS X]

Time flies when you aren't looking - Apple's OS X turns 5.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Take That, South Dakota


“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty,” the President of the
Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire
Thunder, said last week. “I will personally establish a Planned
Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of
the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has
absolutely no jurisdiction.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight

[mp3 80s music]

Sugartown (a music blog) has unearthed one of the great lost gems of 1983. The single, "The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight," by Dominatrix "successfully combined a Euro-dance beat with an edgy punk/new wave perspective," to quote

Grab this while you can, if you have never heard it you are in for a treat. If you have, get ready to have skinny/piano key tie and/or lace and fishnet flashbacks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Endangered Law By Ted Williams

[politics, Sierra Club]

A snippet of a web-essay from The Sierra Club:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was an awakening--humankind's
first serious expression of an ecological conscience and its first
and, so far, best major effort to preserve the planet's genetic
wealth. The law has been a beacon for the world, inspiring nations
and global communities to enact similar statutes, most notably the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The ESA has been hugely successful because it has teeth; and because
it has teeth it has come under vicious and prolonged attack by the
development interests it inconveniences. Since 1978, when Congress
hatched the "God Squad"--a committee empowered to sacrifice species
it deems nonessential--the ESA has survived unscathed. But now a two-
pronged attack by Congress and the administration threatens to bring
it down. Last September, Rep. Richard Pombo R-CA)--a developer posing
as a rancher posing as an advocate of the public good--prevailed on
the House to pass his "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery
Act," basically a repeal.

The Bush administration's assault has been more artful and,
ultimately perhaps, more effective. For example, listing species is
something it doesn't do on its own volition. The administration of
George H. W. Bush listed an average of 58 species per year. The
Clinton administration listed an average of 65 per year--this despite
a one-year listing moratorium sponsored by Senator Kay Bailey
Hutchison (R-TX). The George W. Bush administration has listed an
average of 8 for a total of 40. Thirty-eight of these listings were
in response to court action, one in response to threatened court
action, and one in response to a citizens' petition.

Shortly after taking office the president reneged on his campaign
promise to reduce carbon emissions. He then reneged on the nation's
commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to deal
with global warming--a threat to thousands of species. More recently,
the administration has forbidden NASA scientists to inform the public
about strong links between climate change and greenhouse gases.

In 2001 Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who as Colorado's attorney
general had tried to prove in court that the ESA was
unconstitutional, ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to insert the
following disclaimer into all ESA-related press releases:
"Designation of critical habitat provides little additional
protection to species." Two years later she suspended designation of
critical habitat.

The administration's notion that plants and animals don't need places
to live was painfully evident in 2002 when, to appease irrigators,
the Bureau of Reclamation dewatered the Klamath River in southern
Oregon and northern California, thereby killing 33,000 chinook and
coho salmon (the latter threatened), and further imperiling two
species of endangered suckers. Those who blamed the administration
were accused by Steve Williams, then director of the Fish and
Wildlife Service, of a "premature rush to judgment." And he went on
to proclaim that it was "too soon to draw conclusions" about what
might have caused the biggest dieoff of adult salmon in history--
roughly the equivalent of a parachute manufacturer suggesting that
skydivers scraped from asphalt might have died on the way down from
bird flu.

Even as Klamath salmon were expiring the administration was
jeopardizing four endangered fish and a world-class trout fishery on
Colorado's Gunnison River by giving away federal water rights.

That same fall Interior had declined to appeal a bizarre court ruling
that cancelled the water right of Deer Flat National Wildlife refuge
in Idaho, a refuge dedicated to waterfowl and important to listed

Where Pombo and his allies have attempted frontal assaults, the Bush
administration has favored flanking maneuvers. Consider Interior's
machinations with the threatened marbled murrelet which nests in old-
growth rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. When the timber
industry sued Interior in an effort to get the bird delisted the
administration declined to defend, and the Fish and Wildlife Service
initiated closed-door negotiations. It then bypassed its own
scientists, whose data the timber industry didn't like, and hired
consultants to do a "status review." But the consultants also came up
with the "wrong" answer--that ESA protection was entirely
appropriate. With that, Interior rewrote the report, reversing the

Presiding over the rewrite was assistant secretary for fish and
wildlife and parks, Craig Manson, who boasts that his administration
has "reduced critical habitat in some areas by 90 percent" and
submits that extinction might be okay. "If we are saying that the
loss of species in and of itself is inherently bad, I don't think we
know enough about how the world works to say that," he told the Los
Angeles Times. And in an interview with Grist magazine, he questioned
the "orthodoxy" that "every species has a place in the ecosystem and
therefore the loss of any species diminishes us in some negative way."

Federal agencies that permit or undertake development in the habitat
of a listed species must consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service
or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to determine if that
species will be jeopardized. If a "jeopardy opinion" is forthcoming,
the service or NMFS must suggest "reasonable and prudent
alternatives" or advise that the project would violate the ESA. To
circumvent this inconvenience, the Bush administration has proposed
"self-consultation" by agencies like the Forest Service which are
controlled by interests they're supposed to regulate and have scant
capability of assessing risks to fish and wildlife.

Moreover, Fish and Wildlife Service Florida Panther biologist Andy
Eller reports that he's been told by his superiors that the
administration has forbidden jeopardy opinions for any species no
matter what. Eller was ordered to put a "positive" spin on his
biological opinions about development in endangered panther habitat.
When he refused he was taken off panthers, harassed, and suspended.

On November 30, 2004, NMFS issued a biological opinion that the eight
main-stem Columbia and Snake River dams, which are in the process of
eliminating 27 threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead stocks,
don't count as fish killers because they were built before ESA
enactment and are thus part of the natural environment, like
waterfalls. It was an astonishing, unlawful action which contravened
ESA's plainly stated recovery mission. But when the scientific and
environmental communities expressed outrage NMFS flack Brian Gorman
declared that paperwork--not results--is all that's required of his
agency: "The Endangered Species Act does not mandate recovery; it
mandates a recovery plan."

Then, on June 16, 2005, NMFS announced a policy to count domestic
salmonids raised in hatcheries as wild fish when determining whether
or not a stock requires ESA protection, thereby tossing out all
scientific data, including its own. Who needs clean, free-flowing
rivers when you can mass-produce fish in concrete troughs?

On February 21, 2006 the Fish and Wildlife Service announced its
decision not to list the Yellowstone cutthroat trout as threatened,
despite overwhelming evidence from its own scientists that the fish
is on the way out. Yet only 10 months earlier it had seen fit to
jeopardize one of the last strongholds of Yellowstone cutthroats by
repealing the Clinton-era protection for roadless areas greater than
5,000 acres--the most popular initiative in the history of federal

This has allowed exploratory roads to be hacked into the Sage Creek
area in Idaho's Caribou-Targhee National Forest for possible
expansion of J.R. Simplot Company's phosphate strip mine, a major
Superfund site spewing trout-killing selenium into tributaries of
Crow Creek and the Blackfoot River. Concurrently, the administration
is proposing to replace the waterborne selenium standard of 5 parts
per billion with the far laxer fish-tissue standard of 7.91 parts per
million. According to Interior's resident selenium expert, Dr. Joseph
Skorupa of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "the proposed tissue
standard would mean 50- to 90-percent mortality for cutthroat trout."

Brock Evans, former Sierra Club staffer and now director of the
Endangered Species Coalition, attributes the ESA's longevity to its
"nobility and high-mindedness." And he offers this thought: "Thirty-
three years ago our lawmakers got together and said: ‘We're not going
to let another living thing go extinct in this nation or anywhere on
this planet, if we can help it.' That's pretty impressive."

Indeed it is. And what's also impressive is that, despite the
perceived inconveniences of the ESA, 86 percent of Americans want to
preserve it and keep it strong. As a nation we loathe the thought of
extinction. The ESA reflects America at its very best. It does not
consider "value" or "usefulness" or human concepts of "beauty" and
"magnificence." With it we affirm our civility, our unselfishness,
our democracy.

Friday, March 17, 2006

On the Topic of the Irish


Proving that nothing is new in politics, we proudly (re)present:


By Jonathan Swift, 1729

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Names in the Blame Game


Ever notice the knee-jerk reaction to any bad news regarding the
current administration is to compare Bush to Clinton.

You know what? Clinton isn't the President any more, neither is
Lincoln, Jackson or Washington or a whole lot of other men, some
alive, some dead. None of them saints or angels.

Wasn't this to be the administration that was going to 'take
responsibility' and 'restore honor to the office'?

No matter how you feel about the past, it's history. Let's deal with
the mess we have at hand and get things back on track.

Stepping off my soapbox now having spent my 2¢, which is a lot when
you are a Cheapass-bastard!

Monday, March 13, 2006

EvokeTV: Slick TV Listings using Ajax

[www, TV]

From their own description, "EvokeTV is an interesting new way to
look through TV listings using Ajax. Not only does it have the
listings for thousands of areas, it also gives you the show's
synopsis in a nice little sidebar. Add some nice Ajax gloss, and you
have a great tool for channel surfing (or BitTorrent downloading)"

Faster than Yahoo! and if it can recommend new shows, even better.
Although I really should be reading a book....

15 Minutes of Fame

[google video]

Not sure why this was in the top 15 Google Videos today but perhaps
this girl needs to meet the Star wars kid?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Billion, with a B.


One Billion Page Views. As advertised (or not as the case may be).

Need This Needlepoint

[art, craft, fabric]

Saw this and so want to have one of my own - there sure are some crafty people out there and right now Megan Whitmarsh is at the top of my list!

[titled ‘Shangri-la’]

Thursday Music

[Death Cab For Cutie, YouTube]

I have heard this song on KFOG many times and finally found out it
was Death Cab For Cutie - OK they do say 'Crooked Teeth' once or
twice but nothing to me gave it away as the title. Does this mean I
should watching "The OC" next? I thought "Veronica Mars" was enough
to keep my 'teen cred.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hustle and Flo

[oscar, grits]

I would say I have the latest Oscar®-winning song in my head but all I can remember is one line of the chorus. On that note I give you the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word/name 'Flo.'

In case you are wondering, Flo is on the left. I just though Jeri Ryan (Star Trek's '7 of 9') is looking more like Polly Holiday every day.

Friday, March 03, 2006

8-bit 06

[art, video games, retro]

i am 8-bit 2.006 will take place between April 18th – May 19th at its original venue at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight (7020 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA).

Wish I could go but maybe the book would would be a good substitute - a nifty paperback coffee table book titled "i am 8-bit: Art Inspired By Classic Videogames Of The 80’s." Written by curator Jon Gibson with a forward by Spin Magazine’s senior writer Chuck Klosterman, get a heartwarming look at what inspired each of the artists to create their bitty art. Over 150 pages, the book will contain 100 different selections of art from the show, with a number of commentaries by the artists.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

iSay iSay iSay

[iPod, iTunes, terminal, AudioBook]

Make you own AudioBook with MacOS X. In terminal type:
'say -f /Users/username/Documents/SomeFile.txt -o SomeFile.aiff'

What you'll get back is a aiff file of your Mac reading whatever you told it to. Use iTunes to convert it to an MP3 and you are ready to listen on the go. Use it to convert web pages or eBooks from Project Gutenberg or similar.

Type 'man say' inside terminal for more usage tips and tricks.
idogcow. Get yours at

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