Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Beatles on 78rpm
Dedicated to finding the scratchy 78s that were produced mainly for countries where microgroove LPs had yet to become the standard for playing records.
Including a label pic of the Beatles first 1958 78 single
More here in list format. I also once heard that Sir Paul had a single 78 repressed for his private collection.
Not Fit to Print (Salon, free day pass req'd)
How Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraq war lobby used New York Times reporter Judith Miller to make the case for invasion.

Even more damning, Chalabi was a player, an interested party with his own virulently pro-war agenda -- a fact that alone should have raised editorial suspicions about any claims he might make that would pave the way to war. He was also a highly controversial figure, the subject of bitter intra-administration battling. He was the darling of Richard Perle and his fellow neocon hawks, including such ardent advocates of the war as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, but was viewed with deep suspicion by both the State Department and the CIA. State in particular had turned its back on Chalabi after his London-based Iraqi National Congress spent $5 million and an audit was unable to account for most of its expenditure.
Welcome to Planet Pixar
Pixar hasn't just turned into the new Disney. It has out-Disneyed Disney, becoming the apprentice that schooled the sorcerer. Pixar's most talented animators grew up admiring Disney, worked at the sketching tables in Burbank, and went on to crib the company's DNA. Pixar's story development process as well as its internal lexicon - including sweatbox, when the director critiques individual animations, and plus-ing, heaping more and more good ideas on a structure that's already working - come directly from the House That Mickey Built.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Comments from Al Gore (MoveOn)
Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.
"As we know, there are known knowns ... We also know there are known unknowns"
The poetry and song of ... Donald Rumsfeld?
Listen. (MP3, 1MB)
Hackers are mapping a buried surveillance network at Area 51.
Arnu, a Las Vegas software engineer, has shared Clark's preoccupation with the Groom Lake base since 1999, when he made a trip to the area to see what all the fuss was about. "I thought, okay, I'll give it a try, see what's out there... A couple of days turned into a couple of weeks and before I knew it I started developing a website about Area 51," says Arnu.
Arnu's Area 51 website is here, with pics of the new sensors.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Endangered Species: Quaint Towns. Green Hills. Vermont! (NYTimes)
The National Trust for Historic Preservation put the entire state of Vermont on its endangered list. Who's endangering it? Walmart.
"The one-size-fits-all big-box `template' has proven to be detrimental to communities across the United States because of its negative economic and environmental impact on historic downtowns and local businesses," the organization said in a statement. "The size and design of these stores often overwhelm their surroundings, and impersonal corporate identity too often trumps community character."
The Course is headed over Niagra Falls
It's impossible to think about Iraq without stumbling over these kinds of absurdities. How do you get a logical foothold on a war that was nurtured from the beginning on absurd premises? You can't. Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11. The invasion of Iraq was not part of the war on terror. We had no business launching this war. Now we're left with the tragic absurdity of a clueless president riding his bicycle in Texas while Americans in Iraq are going up in flames.

How bad is the current situation? Gen. Anthony Zinni, the retired Marine Corps general who headed the U.S. Central Command (which covers much of the Middle East and Central Asia) from 1997 to 2000, was utterly dismissive about the administration's "stay the course" strategy in Iraq. "The course is headed over Niagara Falls," he said in an interview with "60 Minutes," adding, "It should be evident to everybody that they've screwed up."


CBS link for General Zinni's interview has more details, video.
Rumsfeld is finally acting on the U.S. forces' torture of Iraqi civilians: He's banning camera phones to hide future evidence.
MOBILE phones fitted with digital cameras have been banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it was reported.

Michael Moore wins the Palm D'Or for Fahrenheit 9/11
“It’s very important that the jury gave the Palme d’Or to this film and also for Michael Moore to have won this for a piece of brilliant film and not just as a piece of political statement. The things he says can no longer be said on American TV and this film has reclaimed and pushed forward a realm of cinema which can place it’s arguments in front of the public. It is based on a dialectic between the audience, the film-maker and the media and it does something very important.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Daily Jive will be away for a few days. See you next week.
A Lego video for the Ween masterpice "The Mollusk"

Monday, May 17, 2004

White House rubber stamps prisoner abuse. (SFGate)
Newsweek reported that in January 2002, Gonzales wrote to President Bush that in his judgment, the post-Sept. 11 security environment "renders obsolete (the Geneva conventions') strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

The Republican spin machine is working overtime to deny, deny, deny, but this is just the sort of fascist, extremist, hate-filled directive to come out of the Bush White House.

The New Yorker Piece is here.
Film Deal for Baghdad blogger (BBC)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles at cut-the-knot.org

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Opinions on how the U.S. should get out of the failed Iraqi occupation (Guardian, UK)
Some of those polled agreed with articulate western opinion that the goal was to establish democracy (1%) or to help Iraqis (5%). A large majority of Americans believe that the UN, not the US, should take the lead in working with Iraqis to transfer authentic sovereignty as well as in economic reconstruction and maintaining civic order. (Chomsky)

The world got from 10% to 37% darker during the last 50 years due to pollution. (SFGate)
"There could be a big gorilla sitting on the dining table, and we didn't know about it," said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at UC San Diego. "There are many, many issues that it raises."
The Payphone Project was featured in a New York Times article today.
Great stuff, especially if you like to call pay phones and talk to the random people who answer.

"You'd be amazed at how many people share this odd habit," he said. People began collecting numbers while they were researching in Antarctica or vacationing in New Zealand and e-mailing them to him when they arrived home, he said.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

One liberty at a time. (Mother Jones)
From the cages at Guantanamo to a jail cell in Brooklyn, the administration isn't just threatening the rights of a few detainees—it's undermining the very foundation of democracy.
Half of the world's 1200 species of Bamboo are under threat of extinction.
Chinese kids want their internet, and they're willing to trash cafes and beat their staffers if they're barred from getting it. China has shut down almost 9000 cafes due to concerns that they may be corrupting young minds.
Browser Hijackers ruining lives

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Gehry's Pipe Organ (w/ video) (NYTimes)
Your economy is floundering. Many are making do with less. The U.S. is an international pariah. What's your government doing for you? Working Hard. Hardly working, as part of a Republican design to guard the president over his failures.

"Given all the issues and problems the country faces, it's scandalous that we're only coming in to work three days a week, and even then most of the time we're renaming post offices," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). "This is a deliberate effort to keep Congress out of town, keep us from asking questions."

Monday, May 10, 2004

A Wretched New Picture Of America
By Philip Kennicott (Washington Post)

Among the corrosive lies a nation at war tells itself is that the glory --
the lofty goals announced beforehand, the victories, the liberation of the
oppressed -- belongs to the country as a whole; but the failure -- the
accidents, the uncounted civilian dead, the crimes and atrocities -- is
always exceptional. Noble goals flow naturally from a noble people; the
occasional act of barbarity is always the work of individuals,
unaccountable, confusing and indigestible to the national conscience.

This kind of thinking was widely in evidence among military and political
leaders after the emergence of pictures documenting American abuse of Iraqi
prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison. These photographs do not capture the soul
of America, they argued. They are aberrant.

This belief, that the photographs are distortions, despite their
authenticity, is indistinguishable from propaganda. Tyrants censor;
democracies self-censor. Tyrants concoct propaganda in ministries of
information; democracies produce it through habits of thought so ingrained
that a basic lie of war -- only the good is our doing -- becomes
self-propagating.

But now we have photos that have gone to the ends of the Earth, and
painted brilliantly and indelibly, an image of America that could remain
with us for years, perhaps decades. An Army investigative report reveals
that we have stripped young men (whom we purported to liberate) of their
clothing and their dignity; we have forced them to make pyramids of flesh,
as if they were children; we have made them masturbate in front of their
captors and cameras; forced them to simulate sexual acts; threatened
prisoners with rape and sodomized at least one; beaten them; and turned
dogs upon them.

There are now images of men in the Muslim world looking at these images.
On the streets of Cairo, men pore over a newspaper. An icon appears on the
front page: a hooded man, in a rug-like poncho, standing with his arms out
like Christ, wires attached to the hands. He is faceless. This is now the
image of the war. In this country, perhaps it will have some competition
from the statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled. Everywhere else,
everywhere America is hated (and that's a very large part of this globe),
the hooded, wired, faceless man of Abu Ghraib is this war's new mascot.

The American leaders' response is a mixture of public disgust, and a good
deal of resentment that they have, through these images, lost control of
the ultimate image of the war. All the right people have pronounced
themselves, sickened, outraged, speechless. But listen more closely. "And
it's really a shame that just a handful can besmirch maybe the reputations
of hundreds of thousands of our soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines. .
. . " said Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on
Sunday.

Reputation, image, perception. The problem, it seems, isn't so much the
abuse of the prisoners, because we will get to the bottom of that and, of
course, we're not really like that. The problem is our reputation. Our
soldiers' reputations. Our national self-image. These photos, we insist,
are not us.

But these photos are us. Yes, they are the acts of individuals (though the
scandal widens, as scandals almost inevitably do, and the military's own
internal report calls the abuse "systemic").

But armies are made of individuals. Nations are made up of individuals.
Great national crimes begin with the acts of misguided individuals; and no
matter how many people are held directly accountable for these crimes, we
are, collectively, responsible for what these individuals have done. We
live in a democracy. Every errant smart bomb, every dead civilian, every
sodomized prisoner, is ours.

And more. Perhaps this is just a little cancer that crept into the culture
of the people running Abu Ghraib prison. But stand back. Look at the
history. Open up to the hard facts of human nature, the lessons of the
past, the warning signs of future abuses.

These photos show us what we may become, as occupation continues, anger and
resentment grows and costs spiral. There's nothing surprising in this.
These pictures are pictures of colonial behavior, the demeaning of occupied
people, the insult to local tradition, the humiliation of the vanquished.
They are unexceptional. In different forms, they could be pictures of the
Dutch brutalizing the Indonesians; the French brutalizing the Algerians;
the Belgians brutalizing the people of the Congo.

Look at these images closely and you realize that they can't just be the
random accidents of war, or the strange, inexplicable perversity of a few
bad seeds. First of all, they exist. Soldiers who allow themselves to be
photographed humiliating prisoners clearly don't believe this behavior is
unpalatable. Second, the soldiers didn't just reach into a grab bag of
things they thought would humiliate young Iraqi men. They chose sexual
humiliation, which may recall to outsiders the rape scandal at the Air
Force Academy, Tailhook and past killings of gay sailors and soldiers.

Is it an accident that these images feel so very much like the kind of home
made porn that is traded every day on the Internet? That they capture
exactly the quality and feel of the casual sexual decadence that so much of
the world deplores in us?

Is it an accident that the man in the hood, arms held out as if on a cross,
looks so uncannily like something out of the Spanish Inquisition? That
they have the feel of history in them, a long, buried, ugly history of
religious aggression and discrimination?

Perhaps both are accidents, meaningless accidents of photographs that
should never have seen the light of day. But they will not be perceived as
such elsewhere in the world.

World editorial reaction is vehement. We are under the suspicion of the
International Red Cross and Amnesty International. "US military power will
be seen for what it is, a behemoth with the response speed of a
muscle-bound ox and the limited understanding of a mouse," said Saudi
Arabia's English language Arab News.

We reduce Iraqis to hapless victims of a cheap porn flick; they reduce our
cherished, respected military to a hybrid beast, big, stupid, senseless.

Last year, Joel Turnipseed published "Baghdad Express," a memoir of the
first Gulf War. In it, he remembers an encounter with Iraqi prisoners. A
staff sergeant is explaining to the men the rules of the Geneva
Convention. " . . . What that means, in plain English, is 'Don't feed the
animals' and 'Don't put your hand in the cage.' "

And then, the author explains, the soldiers proceed to break the rules. The
ox thinks like a mouse.

"My vanquished were now vanquishing me," wrote Turnipseed, heartsick.

Not quite 50 years ago, Aime Cesaire, a poet and writer from Martinique,
wrote in his "Discourse on Colonialism": "First we must study how
colonization works to decivilize the colonizer, to brutalize him in the
true sense of the word, to degrade him, to awaken him to buried instincts,
to covetousness, violence, race hatred, and moral relativism."

Are we decivilized yet? Are we brutes yet? Of course not, say our leaders.

(Notes: Rush Limbaugh likens the actions depicted in the photos to
fraternity hazings. He wonders why people are making such a big deal of
them. General (ret.) William Odom, former head of the National Security
Agency, told Bill Moyers on Friday that we have now definitely lost the war
in Iraq and the only question remaining is how long it will take us to
realize the fact and get out.)
My late 70's Fuji Featherweight is nowhere to be found, but vintage bmx's museum has some cool pics of early bmx bikes. For really early stuff, go to the previously linked American Bicycle Museum (Still no Huffy Paydirt?)
While the Bush administration is mollycoddling the prisoner abusers in Iraq, the Red Cross is finding that their torture was systematic and widespread, contradicting Bush's lie that these were isolated incidents. (SFGate)

A Red Cross report disclosed Monday said coalition intelligence officers estimated that 70-90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested by mistake and said Red Cross observers witnessed U.S. officers mistreating Abu Ghraib prisoners by keeping them naked in total darkness in empty cells.

The report by the International Committee of the Red Cross supports its allegations that abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers was broad and "not individual acts" -- contrary to President Bush's contention that the mistreatment "was the wrongdoing of a few."
If you had any lingering doubt that corporate control of copyright and free speech laws was at odds with your basic rights, this should fix it: A Japanese software developer was arrested today - not for posting copyrighted materials - but for developing a better shareware system.

Police said that Kaneko succeeded in developing Winny, a software program promising greater anonymity for users than the WinMX shareware that had generally been used to swap files until then.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Nice
I found my ex-wife's wedding dress in the attic when I moved. She took the $4000 engagement ring but left the dress. I was actually going to have a dress burning party when the divorce became final, but my sister talked me out of it. She said, "That’s such a gorgeous dress. Some lucky girl would be glad to have it. You should sell it on EBay. At least get something back for it." So, this is what I’m doing. I’m selling it hoping to get enough money for maybe a couple of Mariners tickets and some beer.
America's Top Polluters for Bush (pdf)

Bush's top supporters (over $100000) are called "rangers" and "pioneers". Does every single thing about the Republican party have to be so sickeningly cringe-inducing? Is there somebody who makes sure their PR is as horribly tacky as it could possibly be? Who makes this shit up?

The dirtiest power plants in the U.S. generate more than their share of harmful pollution. And their parent corporations go the extra mile to generate campaign cash for President Bush.
The dirtiest facilities represent only 5 percent of the nation's plants, but cause 43 percent of sulfur dioxide, 31 percent of carbon dioxide and 43 percent of mercury emitted by the entire power sector. When the corporations that owned these plants faced EPA enforcement, the utility industry generated $6.6 million for Bush's campaigns -- and gained influence over administration policies in return.

(from WhiteHouseForSale.org)

Lack of Protection: A report by human rights lawyers found that the Abu Ghraib abuse was not only lawless -- it was sanctioned by Pentagon political appointees. (Salon premium. Watch an ad for a free one day pass)
Long before official reports and journalistic expos├ęs revealed the horrific abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, high-ranking American officers expressed their deep concern that the civilian officials at the Pentagon were undermining the military's traditional detention and interrogation procedures, according to a prominent New York attorney.

Also read the Rumsfeld hearing article where he admits that he saw the photos for the first time "last night around 7:30" when he knew for weeks what was going on. Apparently human rights abuse only hits his radar when he's about to be questioned on it. What a waste.

Earlier, Sen. John McCain grew exasperated with Rumsfeld when he could not answer a basic question: Who was in charge of the Abu Ghraib interrogations? McCain was trying to understand what role private contractors played in the abuse. But Rumsfeld couldn't answer. "No, Secretary Rumsfeld, in all due respect, you've got to answer this question, and it could be satisfied with a phone call," McCain said. "This is a pretty simple, straightforward question. Who was in charge of the interrogations?" Rumsfeld could only say an investigation was underway.
Urge your lawmakers to remove Donald Rumsfeld before he causes any more death, chaos, and international humiliation in the ongoing Iraqi occupation. He has shown again and again that he cannot handle the responsibility his office requires. (TrueMajority)
The work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention (via Coudal)
Charles Eames (1907-78) and Ray Eames (1912-88) gave shape to America’s twentieth century. Their lives and work represented the nation’s defining social movements: the West Coast’s coming-of-age, the economy’s shift from making goods to the producing information, and the global expansion of American culture. The Eameses embraced the era’s visionary concept of modern design as an agent of social change, elevating it to a national agenda.
Roadsidepeek has nice retro highway icons, signs and architecture.
Plastic particles surf polluted waves (Nature)
"I expected to find this material, but I was surprised by how common it is," says Thompson. Many more particles may have gone undetected in the study, he adds, as the team can only spot brightly coloured particles that are larger than 20 micrometres in diameter.
Despite the current administration's efforts, science might not be dead in the US just yet. If you have an idea for a science contest that NASA likes, they'll provide the prize money.
Welcome to Centennial Challenges, NASA's program of prize contests to stimulate innovation and competition in solar system exploration and ongoing NASA mission areas. By making awards based on actual achievements, instead of proposals, Centennial Challenges seeks novel solutions to NASA's mission challenges from non-traditional sources of innovation in academia, industry and the public.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Recipe for fun: Take a snapshot of a hairy jamband fan (a "wook") at a Phish show, photoshop his face on to every pop culture image you can think of, season liberally with "brah" and "nugs" references, then share the work with tens of thousands of your closest friends.
This is a long thread with over 60 pages of unlicensed wook photo appropriations, but some are pure genius. "Facejacking"?

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

[Design] Even Schwinn is cashing in on the custom bike fad. Check out the design on the new StingRay. Their 50's-style cruiser isn't hard to look at either.
Speak out against the U.S. Government's torture of Iraqis (MoveOn)
[The mouse goes brownshirt] Disney is preventing distribution of a Michael Moore film that criticizes Bush (NYTimes).
A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company had the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films if it deemed their distribution to be against the interests of the company. The executive said Mr. Moore's film is deemed to be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film, which does not have a release date, could alienate many.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Funny Business: When you're running for President, humor is no laughing matter (Atlantic)

In political Washington, where appearance matters above all else, the desire to display a polished wit is nearly universal, extending even to mundane private-sector types such as lobbyists and trade-association chairs. Tales abound of heated competition to secure the best writers for important humor events such as the annual Gridiron Club dinner and the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and also of the grim sense of purpose many top names apply to mastering the task of delivering jokes. No one betrays any awareness of irony in all this. As Jeff Nussbaum, a rising star among Democratic speechwriters, explains, "In Washington there is no more serious business than being funny."
I accuse: Joseph Wilson talks about his new book, "The Politics of Truth", and the Bush administrations hostile and dangerous smear campaign against people who speak out against administration tactics. (Salon Premium, 1 day pass or subscription req'd)

Wilson would live to hear himself portrayed quite differently by Republican attackers after his break with the White House. They called him a "playboy" and an "asshole," and denigrated his diplomatic record. While those personal attacks were obnoxious, what astonished Wilson was the decision by senior administration officials to expose Plame, who worked undercover for the CIA to stem the spread of weapons of mass destruction around the world. Now he strikes back in a book that urges his fellow citizens to defend democracy against the unscrupulous officials who placed their own political power above the nation's security.
U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences (NYTimes)
The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to strong evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals.
Foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America's, apparently with little public awareness of the trend or its implications for jobs, industry, national security or the vigor of the nation's intellectual and cultural life.