On the rare occasions that it's not over bandwidth quota, Third Half has some entertaining video game-related nattering for you to read.
Newsflash: Israeli soldiers are actually human beings.
Often these days (usually while trying to puzzle out the Bush Administration's Mideast policy) I find myself wondering how allegedly smart people can be so stupid. It turns out that our top men are working on the problem.
If you're playing Bethesda's Morrowind -- good, isn't it? If not, I can definitely recommend it for anyone who has ever dreamed of being the main character in one of those enormous Terry Goodkind novel-shaped objects. Okay, okay, and who also has an ultra-beefy PC to run it on; the system requirements are ghastly. Anyway, once you obtain it, you may want this patch to eliminate the dreadful continuous CD-ROM copy protection checks, and you may also wish to tweak the lighting to improve game performance. And yes, I am aware that nobody wants to hear about my character.
Monty Python did a sketch once called "Whicker Island" where they speculated upon the fate of the international TV interviewer who has nobody left to interview. As it happens, they were parodying this guy. Well, I just thought it was interesting, that's all.
Aww, look at the cute baby robot! Actually, this is a little scary.
It's a movie of the International Space Station as seen from an amateur telescope on the ground. Neat. I also note that thanks to advancing computer technology and the Internet we're approaching the point where amateurs can analyze astronomical data in ways previously only available to professional astronomers.
A brief critique of "New Urbanism," which is essentially an effort to reconstruct the more self-contained town life of an earlier age. Living as I do right now in a town that hasn't changed much since the era the New Urbanists are so keen on, I think I'm opposed to their plan. Give me chain restaurants, freeways, and townhouse developments instead, please, and lots of them!
Given that I live in the rural Midwest this is not exactly a confidence builder. Some of the bombs were apparently found in Milan, Illinois, which is about forty-five minutes' drive north of where I am right now, and which some friends and I passed through last night on our way to see a movie in Davenport. Of course, if I were living in Israel a forty-five minutes' drive might put me in Ramallah or Beirut, so maybe I should just count my blessings.
So there's this guy, right, and he makes sculptures out of metal and glass, right, and, well, holy cow.
The fabled battleship Yamato will unfortunately be unavailable to save us in 2199, as it crumbled to bits when it hit the bottom of the sea after being sunk by US Navy planes near the end of World War II. So much for romance.
All right, all right, I'll back down. France may live.
The Azrieli Center isn't exactly the tallest skyscraper in Israel but in its own strange, postmodern way it is one of the prettiest. When I consider that there are people out there in the world who can look at something like the Azrieli Center and see nothing but a target -- well, it kind of makes me sick. And then angry.
Should I be afraid that all the evil freaks in the world are deciding to line up next to each other? Or should I be glad they make an easier target when they're all standing in one spot? And while we're on the topic of evil freaks, why exactly are we bowing and scraping for this guy when a couple of carrier battle groups could scrape his ratty little country off the map without even breathing hard? Wow, I'm just full of questions today.
So I ran Ad-Aware today -- something I strongly recommend to any Windows user -- and found out my computer was infested with Brilliant Digital, a nasty little trojan horse that is supposed to help its creators construct their own backdoor distributed computing network across the Internet. As far as I am aware BD is only distributed with the Kazaa file-sharing network which I have never installed, so I'm not clear on how I got hit with this one. Be that as at may: quite aside from the disgusting immorality of seizing people's computing power without their knowledge, this fascinating short essay points out that a "secret" and, likely, insecure distributed network such as BD is the perfect hacking target for any bad guy who needs a few million computers to accomplish some sinister task -- such as, for example, a distributed denial-of-service attack on the root nameservers that effectively brings down the entire Internet for an indeterminate period. Whee. Living in a Bruce Sterling novel isn't really as fun as reading one, I can tell you that much.
And meanwhile, according to this report spam is increasing without limit. I know that between this and viruses my own email has become almost unusable. Gosh, it sure is a good thing we don't have any of that nasty government regulation getting in the way of the free market's ability to pipe Viagra ads, mortgage refinancing offers, hardcore pornography and W32.Klez into everybody's mailboxes, huh?
Ah well. On a lighter note: you know, I don't think he liked the movie.
Electricity over IP. "We admit that the above description is vague and sounds crazy. The example below tries to add more (useless) details, without removing any doubts the reader might have about the feasibility of this proposal."