Please note: the viewport design is copied from Steve Den Beste's excellent blog, USS Clueless. Used with permission.

Friday, January 07, 2005  

via Sam Davatchi's Page

Greedo Shoots First Comic

The Emperor’s Court

Script: Jason Hall
Pencils: Ramon Bachs
Inks: Raul Fernandez
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Letters: Steve Dutro

One of the unnecessary changes to the Star Wars is the Greedo shoots first change. Aside from who shoots first and what does that to the character, the main problem to the scene is that it looks lame. Unfortunately the 2004 Edition of the movie doesn’t resolve this and the best looking solution is how it already was in the original version. It simply didn’t need any changes. Here is an excellent short story about this that I have recently found. This is an excellent comic. Make sure you buy Star Wars Tales Volume 4 TPB from Dark Horse.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:04 PM | link |

via The Register

Mozilla and Firefox flaws exposed

By John Leyden
Published Friday 7th January 2005 12:14 GMT

Mozilla and Firefox users were warned of a number of potentially troublesome security vulnerabilities this week.

The most serious flaw involves a buffer overflow bug in the way Mozilla processes the NNTP (news) protocol. The bug creates a means for hackers inject hostile code into vulnerable systems, providing they trick users into executing maliciously constructed news server links. All versions of Mozilla prior to 1.7.5 are affected. Firefox users are advised to make sure they are running version 1.0 to minimise any risk. The flaw was discovered by Maurycy Prodeus of Polish firm iSEC Security Research.

posted by Gary Williams at 7:53 PM | link |


Mexican Gov't Guide To Illegal Immigration

Click either cartoon to see the whole thing (in a new window).

Or, if you'd like the book as a PDF file, click here (right click and choose SAVE to download).

posted by Gary Williams at 7:17 PM | link |

via Day By Day

Comic Of The Day

posted by Gary Williams at 4:56 PM | link |



bad signal

Well, after I wrote the "Net05"
entry about looking again at online
comics conversation, a lot of people
seemed to start brainstorming.
I'd like to share one or two of these
notions, in the interests of just
putting these ideas out there for
people to fiddle with.

(Apologies for not citing who came
up with what -- there was a lot of
mail and memory fails. Suffice it
to say that the starting points for
all these came from other people,
and I'm grateful for your thinking.)

The Jim Lee studio's Gelatometti
groupblog seems to have caught a
lot of people's attention. It's a
terrific idea, and they're pulling it
off with great charm. I've tried to
talk one publisher into doing the
groupblog thing with a selection of
their creators. He fired back the
idea of just selecting out a group
of comics writers on the same
wavelength and letting/making them
talk about comics on a groupblog
(groupblog = several contributors
to the same blog), which would also
work -- but Gelatometti works
partly because they're all in the
same stable, and that can be
leveraged towards a brand-
establishment thing.

Another notion, in something of
the same style, was to launch a
message board but only allow a
small, selected group of people
to start topics. Which is an
admirable way to ensure a board
remains focussed without the old
WEF-style Stalinism of just erasing
any new thread that reeks of The
Stupid. The downside, of course, is
that anyone without skin thick
enough to weather accusations of
blatant elitism would be burned
alive. Also, it demands a certain
level of work from the "seeders"
to prevent the place from going

Both ideas have a certain appeal.
The former is very much a choir

of raised voices out in the superflow
of internet conversation noise,
which has its own romance. The
latter sounds to me like an excellent
tool for rabble-rousing.

Neither, it has to be said, provide
to the audience the participatory
freedoms expected from message
boards. Jane Doe with her new
webcomic can't just wander in and
plug her work to an audience that's
never heard of it before -- at least,
not in a new topic of its own.

And as a lot of people said -- and I
tend to agree -- the net has
changed enough, in the few years
since WEF shut, that it's probably
not possible to build the kind of
massive central hub for comics
conversation that it was. It may
not even be desirable.

The great strength in these ideas,
I think, is in the notion of curation.
This is how works --
the "directory of wonderful things"
that culls technology news, new
art and mild strangeness from the
whole mass of the internet. The
classic "linkblog" with smart
editorialisation from professional

You could, in fact, conflate the
two ideas above into one -- a
"seeder" message board where the
topics are launched and guided
by pro creators. As opposed to
procreators. Maybe. The curation
of information and objects pertaining
to comics combined with statements,
essays and idle thoughts, all up
for discussion. All towards creating
the discussion of new comics and
thought about comics.

Massive brainhub or huge clearing-
house for comics information?
Possibly not. I suspect things are
way too fractured, and probably
way too factionalised, for that now.
Ways to reclaim and
re-energise the conversation? Well,
you never know.

Food for thought?

Sent from mobile device
probably from the pub

posted by Gary Williams at 3:43 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Opinion: Worse Than Fiction

In my bad novel the administration will use the slogan 'support the troops' to suppress criticism of its war policy. But it will ignore repeated complaints that the troops lack armor.

The secretary of defense - another 'good man,' according to the president - won't even bother signing letters to the families of soldiers killed in action.

Last but not least, in my bad novel the president, who portrays himself as the defender of good against evil, will preside over the widespread use of torture.

How did we find ourselves living in a bad novel? It was not ever thus. Hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels have always been with us, on both sides of the aisle. But 9/11 created an environment some liberals summarize with the acronym Iokiyar: it's O.K. if you're a Republican.

The public became unwilling to believe bad things about those who claim to be defending the nation against terrorism. And the hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels of the right, empowered by the public's credulity, have come out in unprecedented force.

Apologists for the administration would like us to forget all about the Kerik affair, but Bernard Kerik perfectly symbolizes the times we live in. Like Rudolph Giuliani and, yes, President Bush, he wasn't a hero of 9/11, but he played one on TV. And like Mr. Giuliani, he was quick to cash in, literally, on his undeserved reputation.

Once the New York newspapers began digging, it became clear that Mr. Kerik is, professionally and personally, a real piece of work. But that's not unusual these days among people who successfully pass themselves off as patriots and defenders of moral values. Mr. Kerik must still be wondering why he, unlike so many others, didn't get away with it.

And Alberto Gonzales must be hoping that senators don't bring up the subject.

The principal objection to making Mr. Gonzales attorney general is that doing so will tell the world that America thinks it's acceptable to torture people. But his confirmation will also be a statement about ethics.

As White House counsel, Mr. Gonzales was charged with vetting Mr. Kerik. He must have realized what kind of man he was dealing with - yet he declared Mr. Kerik fit to oversee homeland security.

Did Mr. Gonzales defer to the wishes of a president who wanted Mr. Kerik anyway, or did he decide that his boss wouldn't want to know? (The Nelson Report, a respected newsletter, reports that Mr. Bush has made it clear to his subordinates that he doesn't want to hear bad news about Iraq.)

Either way, when the Senate confirms Mr. Gonzales, it will mean that Iokiyar remains in effect, that the basic rules of ethics don't apply to people aligned with the ruling party. And reality will continue to be worse than any fiction I could write.

posted by Gary Williams at 3:34 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Mr. Gonzales Speaks

Published: January 7, 2005

It was nice to hear Alberto Gonzales tell the Senate Judiciary Committee in his opening statement yesterday that he doesn't approve of torture and that as attorney general, he'll uphold the law. But things went rapidly downhill after that. By the time the hearing ended, Mr. Gonzales, now the White House counsel, had turned it into one of those depressing exercises in avoiding straight answers and evading accountability. The spectacle brought to mind the hearings last spring when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team dutifully denounced the horrors of Abu Ghraib and then refused to accept any responsibility.

Mr. Gonzales said the Abu Ghraib photos 'sickened and outraged' him. But he would not acknowledge that he or any other senior administration official was to blame, even though he was a central figure in the policy decisions that laid the groundwork for the abuse at Abu Ghraib and other American military prisons.

posted by Gary Williams at 3:23 PM | link |

via Project Censored 2005 - Top 25 Censored Stories

Censored 2005: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004

The top 25 censored stories list, from a University of California at Sonoma project, includes the following:

#1: Wealth Inequality in 21st Century Threatens Economy and Democracy
#2: Ashcroft vs. the Human Rights Law that Holds Corporations Accountable
#3: Bush Administration Censors Science
#4: High Levels of Uranium Found in Troops and Civilians
#5: The Wholesale Giveaway of Our Natural Resources

posted by Gary Williams at 4:32 AM | link |

via Uncertain Principles

Looking For Ancient Lead

Ingenious Solutions to Unbelievable Problems

Along the same lines as the previous post, another fascinating thing about the LRT2004 workshop was getting to see the sort of weird technical problems that people face in the ultra-low radioactivity business. I'm not talking about things like power outages or lab floods, which are just stupid failures of infrastructure, but real problems associated with the work they're trying to do.

Whenever you start looking into the really gory details of a new experiment, you always discover that people have found really ingenious solutions to problems you never even realized existed. In my own work, I've recently learned that the ATTA group at Argonne dealt with the problem of scattered light by painting the inside of their vacuum chamber black. I was sort of dimly aware that scattered light had to be a major issue (they're trying to unambiguously detect single atom fluorescence, after all), but it never even occurred to me that it would be possible to get vacuum-compatible black paint. It turns out that NASA has needed to paint a number of satellites for one reason or another, so there's a company in Alabama selling vacuum-compatible paint (if the link doesn't go directly to the product page, be warned that they have the world's most annoying Flash intro). Who knew?

In the case of the LRT2004 workshop, the most fascinating solution I'd never thought anyone would ever need was 'ancient lead' (warning: the English is a little dodgy, but that's the best explanation I found in a quick Google search).

posted by Gary Williams at 3:04 AM | link |

via deviantART... by *mibi

Death and Taxes: A visual look at where your tax dollars go.

Most people are unaware of how much of their taxes fund our military, and those aware are often misinformed. Well here it is. Laid out, easy to read and compare. With data straight from the White House.

I hope this makes people think and ask questions.

Why do we spend more on jets than we do on public housing? Why is the Endowment for the Arts so small? Whats with all this foreign military financing?

Im sure you can come up with numerous questions of your own. Unfortunately i dont have any answers. Our leaders do. Your president, his cabinet and your congress person have these answers. Ask them for the answers or better yet, demand them.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:34 AM | link |

Thursday, January 06, 2005  

via BBspot - Top 11 Geek Break Up Lines

Geek Break Up Lines

11. (A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail? R
(A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail? R
(A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail? F
Relationship failed.

10. Now that Half Life 2 is out, I need to refocus my priorities.

9. You have been unsubscribed from my dating list. Please click this link to confirm.

8. I need a lover who understands that 20 hours a day on the Internet is normal.

7. I don't think we should date any more, but we can still be on each other's buddy lists.

6. I'd like a true beauty so I don't have to spend so much time photoshopping your ugly face out of our photos.

5. It's like in X-Men number 135, where Cyclops and Jean Grey (as The Phoenix)...

4. Let's face it. You love Intel, and I'm an AMD man. It's not going to work out.

3. What do you mean your EULA says that once I've removed the shrink wrap I can't return it?

2. After you e-mailed me your full-body shot, I realized I was looking for someone more feminine

1. So long and thanks for all the fish.


posted by Gary Williams at 11:34 PM | link |

via Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things

HOWTO: Knit dim-sum-shaped toys for your cat

Catnip-filled kitty toys shaped like won tons and eggrolls are the subject of this online HOWTO, with step-by-step instructions and photos. I'm not really the knitty type of chick -- I mean, the needles I'm around generally have something to do with tattoos, piercings, travel vaccines, or the kind you drop on vinyl. But is such a great site, I'm almost tempted to try. OK, almost.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:55 PM | link |

via Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things

120-year-old tortoise adopts baby hippo

Some people in Kenya rescued a dehydrated baby hippo that had been separated from its herd. The released it into an enclosure in a sanctuary, and it ran over to a giant tortoise, and is now 'inseparable' say officials.

''When we released Owen into the enclosure, he lumbered to the tortoise which has a dark gray color similar to grown up hippos," Sabine Baer, rehabilitation and ecosystems manager at the park, told Reuters.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:17 PM | link |

Fox Montage

Bat Montage

Foxbat Montage

Gary Williams Montage


Recycle & create your own images from the web using Google's image search. is a personal creative space for New Zealand digital designer Grant Robinson. I'm currently based in Brighton, England and available for freelance design work. If you're in need of a multi-talented digital designer with over six years industry experience please contact me and I'll be happy to send you a copy of my curriculum vitae.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:20 PM | link |

via KWTX

Top Army Reserve Official Says His Force Is In Trouble

In an internal memo first obtained by the Baltimore Sun, the Army Reserve’s most senior officer, Lt. Gen. James Helmly, says the force is so hampered that it is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force."

Helmly writes in the memo addressed to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Pete Schoomaker that the Reserve has reached the point of being unable to fulfill its missions or regenerate its forces for future assignments.

The Army Reserve has about 200,000 soldiers, nearly 52,000 of whom are on active duty in the war on terrorism, mainly in

posted by Gary Williams at 2:08 PM | link |

Half-Life 2: Test bed for Internet licensing techniques

From Declan McCullagh's Politech

[Politech] Half-Life 2: Test bed for Internet licensing techniques[ip]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Half-Life 2: Test bed for Internet licensing techniques
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 11:04:34 -0600
From: Rick Russell <>
Organization: Rice University Information Technology
To: Declan McCullagh <>

This might be fodder for Politech. Long time reader, first time
contributor :-)

Half-Life 2 is a new computer game for Windows PCs. Unlike most games, HL2
uses a network-based licensing and update client that is tightly
integrated into the game itself. This client is called "Steam".

Valve, the maker of Half-Life 2, can disable or "ban" users who sign in
with falsified or pirated authentication keys by refusing to serve out a
valid license for the game. When that happens, all Steam-enabled games on
the user's computer become inaccessible, even for standalone single-player

An example of Valve's policies in action can be found here:

This is nothing new, and it's much the same as the Windows Activation
method that Microsoft has employed for two years. It may also remind you
of the banning issues in other multiplayer games like Ultima Online or

The new twist is that Valve has quietly threatened to use Steam to enforce
other license policies, not just for anti-piracy measures. There are many
reports on the Steam user forums that legitimate game owners are being
banned for using cheats or hacks that modify the behavior of the game
(even the single-player game!), and a Valve staffer says explicitly that
the Steam system will be used to enforce violations of the Steam/HL2

How do politics and technology come in? I think for the first time we have
a major consumer product which can dynamically enforce the precise letter
of the shrinkwrap license agreement, including the more obscure
prohibitions such as "don't modify the locally stored program code".

We've all debated the validity of shrinkwrap license agreements in the
past, and you may remember the debate about the Uniform Commercial Code
revisions a couple of years ago that included specific provisions to allow
remote enforcement of licensing. Well, Valve is doing it. Now. And with
gusto, it seems.

Personally, I have mixed feelings. I've tried multiplayer games in the
past with mixed success, and in many cases my experience was absolutely
ruined by cheaters. So part of me is happy to see cheaters get the
righteous come-uppance they deserve.

But another part of me is a little worried by this turn of events. Will
all software on my PC eventually follow this model, with a dozen or more
license clients running all the time, conflicting with each other, and
instantly disabling my legitimately purchased software when something goes
wrong? Who has time to review complicated license agreements? What if the
"agreement" changes after I purchase the products? What are my options for
redress of abuse by the company? It's a minefield for consumer rights,
that's for sure.

Rick R.

=> Rick Russell
=> Rice University Information Technology, Helpdesk Supervisor
=> For computer help, call xHELP (x4357 or 713-348-4357)
=> OpenPGP/GnuPG Public Key at ldap://
Politech mailing list
Archived at
Moderated by Declan McCullagh (

posted by Gary Williams at 1:25 PM | link |


All the News that Fit to Print

[entry: jimlee]

So the news is out there officially now. Over at the esteemed New York Times online no less...they are reporting that none other than Frank Miller will be the writer on the new Batman and Robin All-Star book debuting this summer.

To say this is my ultimate, dream project would be an incredible understatement. Back when I was in college from 1982 to 1986, I grew bored and disenchanted with comics, barely perusing my subscriptions when I went home for various holiday breaks. Frank Miller changed all that in 1986 when the Dark Knight Returns blew my mind and lit up my retinas.

I haven't been the same since.

My passion for creating comics comes from this one book and I've
embarrassed Frank countless times by repeating this exact same story to him. Being fortunate enough to have as passionate fans, I know how it feels to be told similar tales so I hold back and try and act normal around him now so I don't freak him out. But he is f---ing Frank Miller, man.

OK, geek mode off.

posted by Gary Williams at 5:00 AM | link |

Wednesday, January 05, 2005  

via The year 2038 bug

The Year-2038 Bug

A web site devoted to disseminating information about the year-2038 bug

Update: 01/2004 The first 2038 problems are already here. Many 32-bit programs calculate time averages using (t1 t2)/2. It should be quite obvious that this calculation fails when the time values pass 30 bits. The exact day can be calculated by making a small Unix C program, as follows:

echo 'long q=(1UL<<30);int main(){return puts(asctime(localtime(&q)));};' > x.c && cc x.c && ./a.out

In other words, on the 10th of January 2004 the occasional system will perform an incorrect time calculation until its code is corrected. Thanks to Ray Boucher for this observation.

The temporary solution is to replace all (t1 t2)/2 with (((long long) t1 t2) / 2) (POSIX/SuS) or (((double) t1 t2) / 2) (ANSI). (Note that using t1/2 + t2/2 gives a roundoff error.)

posted by Gary Williams at 10:16 PM | link |


Cory Doctorow: Rick Kleffel's column on my next book

Rick Kleffel's "Agony Column" has a fun piece on my next book, and the thing I'm working on these days:

Now however, Doctorow has taken a very different track. His forthcoming novel, 'Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town' (Tor Books / Tom Doherty Associates ; May 1, 2005 ; $24.95) is in the first place coming to town a bit later in the year. The early draft I first read of this novel was nearly three times as long as 'Eastern Standard Tribe'. But the big ch-ch-ch-changes come as Doctorow turns to face the strangeness not of a science fictional future, but instead a fantastically rendered present. Alan, the protagonist of 'Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town', is a middle-aged man who moves into a bohemian neighborhood of Toronto. He only barely fits in with the college-roomie types next door, and that's even before the gal who lives there reveals to him that she has wings that grow back even if she cuts 'em off.

Alan is a sensitive guy, and he understands, because, we're told, his father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine. This is clearly the type of reproduction that will not be taught in your hygiene classes. So, you know, when one of his brothers, a set of nested Russian nesting dolls, shows up on his doorstep starving because the innermost doll has disappeared, you can imagine that the whole family relationship issue is a bit more complex than usual. Especially since brother Davey, whom Alan and his other siblings killed years ago, may have returned, bent on revenge.

What's a guy like Alan to do but hook up with a cybergeek who plans to blanket Toronto with free wireless Internet access? I've got to admit that under the circumstances set out by Doctorow, that seems like a more than reasonable reaction. Now as to how readers will react to the novel, well, that's a different matter entirely. I'm totally engrossed by this slight shift for Doctorow from the purely technological to the absurd and fantastic. That's because Doctorow writes with the kind of hardheaded humor and logic that makes one suspect this book will be a mind-boggling delight. And perhaps a bit of a revelation for Doctorow's audience, which could really grow to include a swathe of readers who enjoy literary fantasy.

posted by Gary Williams at 7:22 PM | link |


Apparat Not Sold Out

bad signal

Despite what you may have been told, the Apparat books are NOT sold out. Reorders have been "very strong", Avatar tell me -- but Avatar did a very large overprint on these books precisely so they'd continue to be available after people got a look at

(ANGEL STOMP FUTURE and SIMON SPECTOR should drop next week -- Avatar fell victim to what they describe as "weird holiday delays" incurred by other people.)

You can STILL GET THESE BOOKS. Any store that tells you they're sold out is mistaken. These are the order codes:


-- W

posted by Gary Williams at 7:09 PM | link |


Doorstep Astronomy: New Comet Looking Bright

By Joe Rao Night Sky Columnist
posted: 31 December, 2004
7:00 a.m. ET

As 2004 draws to a close, skywatchers have yet another opportunity to view a naked-eye comet. Comet Machholz has been brightening steadily and conditions are now prime.

So far this year, there have been four comets that have managed to attain naked-eye visibility. Last spring, comets Bradfield (C/2004 F4), NEAT (C/2001 Q4), and LINEAR (C/2002 T7) all reached third magnitude, while in July another comet discovered by the automated LINEAR project (C/2003 K4) briefly peaked at sixth magnitude.

On the astronomers' magnitude scale, smaller numbers denote brighter objects. The dimmest objects visible under perfectly dark skies are about magnitude 6.5.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:56 PM | link |

via ChucK Sounds - CSWiki

ChucK Doumbek And Other Simulated Sounds

Since I downloaded the ChucK compiler/runtime Virtual Machine I've been reading their papers and playing with writing practice programs. Last night I discovered the ChucK writeups on the Princeton CS Wiki, where there's a page of sample programs and MP3's. I liked Mikael Johansson's simulated Doumbek after I downloaded it, so I've put it on my server too (it's 3.7Meg).


or you can get it from Mikael's site ( - Doumbek drum samples, ethiopian scales and random tune. (Mikael Johansson)

posted by Gary Williams at 10:35 AM | link |

via Chapter 28. Exact Formulation of the General Principle of Relativity. Einstein, Albert. 1920. Relativity: The Special and General Theory

Albert Einstein (1879–1955). Relativity: The Special and General Theory. 1920.

XXVIII. Exact Formulation of the General Principle of Relativity

WE are now in a position to replace the provisional formulation of the general principle of relativity given in Section XVIII by an exact formulation. The form there used, “All bodies of reference K, K', etc., are equivalent for the description of natural phenomena (formulation of the general laws of nature), whatever may be their state of motion,” cannot be maintained, because the use of rigid reference-bodies, in the sense of the method followed in the special theory of relativity, is in general not possible in space-time description. The Gauss co-ordinate system has to take the place of the body of reference. The following statement corresponds to the fundamental idea of the general principle of relativity: “All Gaussian co-ordinate systems are essentially equivalent for the formulation of the general laws of nature.”
We can state this general principle of relativity in still another form, which renders it yet more clearly intelligible than it is when in the form of the natural extension of the special principle of relativity. According to the special theory of relativity, the equations which express the general laws of nature pass over into equations of the same form when, by making use of the Lorentz transformation, we replace the space-time variables x, y, z, t, of a (Galileian) reference-body K by the space-time variables x', y', z', t', of a new reference-body K'. According to the general theory of relativity, on the other hand, by application of arbitrary substitutions of the Gauss variables x1, x2, x3, x4, the equations must pass over into equations of the same form; for every transformation (not only the Lorentz transformation) corresponds to the transition of one Gauss co-ordinate system into another.

posted by Gary Williams at 5:34 AM | link |

via Warren Ellis LiveJournal

LiveJournal Down The Rabbit Hole Day

A few months ago, I had a dream in which LiveJournal and everyone on it went completely nuts for a day. The entire world had turned upside-down and inside-out and nobody was their normal self anymore. And it was such a good read, that I think it should happen for real.

January 27th is the birthday of Lewis Carroll, author of ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Alice fell down a rabbit hole into a place where everything had changed and none of the rules could be counted on to apply anymore. I say, let's do the same: January 27th, 2005 should be the First Annual LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day. When you post on that Thursday, instead of the normal daily life and work and news and politics, write about the strange new world you have found yourself in for the day, with its strange new life and work and news and politics. Are your pets talking back at you now? Has your child suddenly grown to full adulthood? Does everyone at work think you're someone else now? Did Bush step down from the White House to become a pro-circuit tap-dancer? Did Zoroastrian missionaries show up on your doorstep with literature in 3-D? Have you been placed under house arrest by bizarre insectoid women wielding clubs made of lunchmeat?

Let's have a day where nobody's life makes sense anymore, where any random LJ you click on will bring you some strange new tale. Let's all fall down the Rabbit Hole for 24 hours and see what's there. It will be beautiful.

For consideration: this only works if you spread the word, of course, but three and a half weeks is forever in LJ Meme Time.

posted by Gary Williams at 5:02 AM | link |

via China Daily

Schumacher gives $10 mln in tsunami aid

Updated: 2005-01-05 10:59

Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is to donate $10 million to help the victims of the South Asian tsunami, his manager Willi Weber said on Tuesday.

According to Schumacher's manager Willy Weber, Schumacher will donate the amount of US$10million (euros 7.53 million) for victims of the quake and tsunami throughout southern Asia. [AP]
The donation from Schumacher was announced by Weber on a German television fundraising drive that on Tuesday evening received more than 34 million euros in pledges.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:42 AM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Rewarding Mr. Gonzales

Published: January 5, 2005

Last week, the Bush administration put another spin on the twisted legal reasoning behind the brutalization of prisoners at military jails, apparently in hopes of smoothing the promotion of Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel. Mr. Gonzales, who oversaw earlier memos condoning what amounts to torture and scoffed at the Geneva Conventions, is being rewarded with the job of attorney general.

But the document only underscored the poor choice Mr. Bush made when he decided to elevate a man so closely identified with the scandal of Abu Ghraib, the contempt for due process at Guant?namo Bay and the seemingly unending revelations of the abuse of Afghan and Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers. Like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the other chief architect of these policies, Mr. Gonzales shamed the nation and endangered American soldiers who may be taken prisoner in the future by condoning the sort of atrocious acts the United States has always condemned.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will question Mr. Gonzales tomorrow, even though the White House has not released documents that are essential to a serious hearing. The committee has an obligation to demand these documents, and to compel Mr. Gonzales to account for administration policies, before giving him the top law-enforcement job.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:21 AM | link |

via Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things

Sixapart buying LiveJournal?

There are rumors on the internets that Six Apart will soon buy LiveJournal. Details as they come.

Update: Om Malik has more:

Six Apart, the parent company behind hosted blogging service TypePad, and Moveable Type is about to acquire Live Journal, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is a mix of stock and cash, and could be announced sometime later this month, according to those close to the two companies. If the deal goes through, then Six Apart will become one of the largest weblog companies in the world, with nearly 6.5 million users. It also gives the company a very fighting chance against Google’s Blogger and Microsoft’s MSN Spaces.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:43 AM | link |

via Easy Bake Coven // Does This Blog Make My Ass Look Big?

Quote Of The Day

A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks - you think when Jesus comes back, he ever wants to see a cross? Kind of like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on, you know? --Bill Hicks

posted by Gary Williams at 1:26 AM | link |

Stu Savory's Blog - January 2005

1-deoxy-D-galactitol : shout it out!

1-deoxy-D-galactitol...The economy going downhill, stagnating here as the US dollar falls and falls, almost as weak as its leader. That scaramouch W (stands for Wantwit, BTW) unwilling to balance the economy and dragging everyone else down with him. Unemployment rising incessantly. No jobs. Depression.

Blogging is a boyg today, with all this depressing stuff; no fallal coamings to defy the eagre.

Makes you want to shout '1-deoxy-D-galactitol' or rather scream its common name : Fucitol

posted by Gary Williams at 12:54 AM | link |

Tuesday, January 04, 2005  

via Temporary signs - a photoset on Flickr

Temporary signs

Created by mathowie.

All the temporary signs needed at the Seattle Public Library's central branch, which is quite a design achievement, but perhaps too subtle in too many places, which required staff to create a ton of temp signage to fill the gaps.

Photos are from
26 Dec 04.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:45 PM | link |

via AKMA's Random Thoughts

What He Said

In connection with the thread developing from yesterday’s observations on doctrine and emergence, I wanted to add Augustine’s observation from On Genesis (li. 8. de Genes. ad liter. cap. 5.):

Melius est dubitare de occultis quam litigare de incertis.

It is better to make doubt of those things which are secret, than to strive about those things that are uncertain.
(From the English supplied by the translators of the Authorized Version of the Bible)

posted by Gary Williams at 11:32 PM | link |


Britney quits pop music to become a forensic scientist

January 4, 2005, 12:55:25

Britney Spears is reportedly set to quit pop music - to become a forensic scientist.

The sexy star has allegedly told friends she is considering swapping her singing career for student life and enrolling at university to study for a degree after being motivated by a TV series.

A source told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper: 'It sounds ridiculous but she's been inspired by TV's 'Crime Scene Investigation', which shows scientists solving crimes.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:03 PM | link |

via The New York Times (reigstration required)

Live Free and Die

Some 30 years ago, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act provided the land management bureau with two options for horses removed from public lands because of overcrowding: adoption or 'humane and cost-efficient' destruction. Ignoring the second option, the bureau has been warehousing 16,000 horses, unlikely to be adopted but ostensibly waiting for new homes, in overcrowded, unsanitary and expensive feedlots. An additional 37,000 horses and burros overgraze land meant to sustain 27,000.

To get the land management bureau to come to grips with the problem, Senator Conrad Burns, Republican of Montana, added a provision to a spending bill last year that allows certain horses to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, which may be a slaughterhouse. Senator Burns's amendment, signed last month by President Bush, may actually end up rescuing the wild horses he is accused of murdering. At its worst, this measure will sacrifice the unadoptable few to the benefit of all. At its best, it will prod us, as a nation, to take that first difficult step toward a sustainable program to manage wild horses.

Adoption is a partial solution, but it's not the whole answer. Adoptions don't keep up with herd growth, for one thing. And not all horses are created equal, for another. People adopt beautiful, young horses. The old, plain and ugly are doomed from the outset. In addition, virtually anyone with $125 can adopt a wild horse, but not everyone has the knowledge and perseverance to tame it, or even, as it turns out, to catch it after it's been let out to graze in its new home.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:07 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Stopping the Bum's Rush

Published: January 4, 2005

The people who hustled America into a tax cut to eliminate an imaginary budget surplus and a war to eliminate imaginary weapons are now trying another bum's rush. If they succeed, we will do nothing about the real fiscal threat and will instead dismantle Social Security, a program that is in much better financial shape than the rest of the federal government.

In the next few weeks, I'll explain why privatization will fatally undermine Social Security, and suggest steps to strengthen the program. I'll also talk about the much more urgent fiscal problems the administration hopes you won't notice while it scares you about Social Security.

Today let's focus on one piece of those scare tactics: the claim that Social Security faces an imminent crisis.

That claim is simply false. Yet much of the press has reported the falsehood as a fact.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:59 AM | link |

Click to see full size in new window

Cory Doctorow: I'm on the cover of Locus

Cory Doctorow tells me, "The January issue of Locus Magazine, the science fiction trademagazine, has a cover story on me and Charlie Stross (, my friend and collaborator. I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it."

posted by Gary Williams at 11:15 AM | link |

via ChucK : Concurrent, On-the-fly Audio Programming Language


what is it? : ChucK is a new audio programming language for real-time synthesis, composition, and performance, which runs on commodity operating systems. ChucK presents a new time-based concurrent programming model, which supports a more precise and fundamental level of expressiveness, as well as multiple, simultaneous, dynamic control rates, and the ability to add, remove, and modify code, on-the-fly, while the program is running, without stopping or restarting. It offers composers, researchers, and performers a powerful and flexible programming tool for building and experimenting with complex audio synthesis programs, and real-time interactive control.

Update: from

version: 1.1.x (frankenstein)

build instructions
For the ideas and design behind ChucK, read the papers at:
more to come for this tutorial soon...

Hello ChucK:

The first thing we are going to do is do generate a sine wave and send to the speaker so we can hear it. We can do this easily ChucK by connecting audio processing modules (unit generators) and having them work together to compute the sound.


posted by Gary Williams at 3:47 AM | link |

via whiskey river

A Hole In The Universe, Peering Over The Edge Of Emptiness

'There is a hole in the universe.

It is not like a hole in a wall where a mouse slips through, solid and crisp and leading from somewhere to someplace. It is rather like a hole in the heart, an amorphous and edgeless void. It is a heartfelt absence, a blank space where something is missing, a large and obvious blind spot in our understanding of the universe.

That missing something, strange to say, is a grasp of nothing itself. Understanding nothing matters, because nothing is the all-important background upon which everything else happens.'
- K. C. Cole
The Hole in the Universe: How Scientists Peered over the Edge of Emptiness and Found Everything

posted by Gary Williams at 3:23 AM | link |

Monday, January 03, 2005  


New Year's Eve In The Emergency Room...

My photographer friend Cameron (Punkclown) is an emergency room nurse. New Year's Day he had some stories about the night in the ER; today he pointed out some interesting ER particular, the ER Resident doctor, Doc. Shazam:

via Mr. Hassle's Long Underpants

Please back away from the steak knives...

I saw about 12-14 patients last night on new year's eve, but two stand out as being eerily similar...

posted by Gary Williams at 10:35 PM | link |

via Stu Savory's Blog - January 2005

Homeland Security And The Mither Tongue

Dr. Stu Savory
§81 : it is for to wYt Of ilke house wythin the burgh in the quhilk thar wonnys ony that in the tym of wakying aw of resoun to cum furth, thar sal ane wachman be holdyn to cum furth quhen that the wakstaff gais fra dure to dure, quha sall be of eylde and sal gang til his wache wyth tua wapnys at the rynging of the courfeu, and sua gate sal wache wysly and besily til the dawying of the daye. And gif ony hereof failye, he sal pae 1111 d, outtane wedous.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:14 PM | link |

via Wikinfo

Wikinfo, an internet encyclopedia

Welcome to Wikinfo, or Internet-Encyclopedia, an international project to create a universal open content encyclopedia. The site was launched in July, 2003, and it is a Wiki. Visit the help page or experiment in the sandbox to learn how you can edit any article. So far, there are 30509 Wikinfo articles, with Wikipedia articles available via XML import.

posted by Gary Williams at 3:12 PM | link |

Sunday, January 02, 2005  

posted by Gary Williams at 4:47 PM | link |

posted by Gary Williams at 4:21 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Sleaze in the Capitol, Gulling The Tribes

Published: January 2, 2005

One of the sorriest chapters of American history, the gulling of native Indian tribes, is continuing apace in Washington, where two Capitol insiders close to the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, are being investigated for allegedly fleecing six tribes of more than $80 million with inflated promises of V.I.P. access. The shameful dealings of Jack Abramoff, a Republican power lobbyist, and Michael Scanlon, Mr. DeLay's former spokesman, are coming to light as Senate and Justice Department investigators follow leads from nouveau-riche tribes whose casino profits spurred a new category of lucre and greed in the hyperkinetic world of Washington lobbying.

Even as the two fast-talking political brokers banked large profits for three years of minimal labor, it was found, they were exchanging gleeful private messages mocking tribal leaders as 'morons,' 'troglodytes' and 'monkeys.' 'I want all their MONEY!!!' Mr. Scanlon exuberantly e-mailed in the midst of one deal.

The outrageous affair includes evidence that the two sought to manipulate tribal elections to ensure their lobbying boondoggles, while dropping the names of Mr. DeLay and other leaders and urging tribal contributions to Republican political funds. In the latest high-roller abuses laid bare by The Washington Post, Mr. Abramoff was found to have prodded the tribes to pay for his luxury skyboxes at Washington sports arenas - yes, even at the home of the football Redskins - so he could impress Capitol politicians, staff members and fund-raisers with swank perches to push causes unrelated to tribal issues. A colleague pronounced Mr. Abramoff a master of schmooze, but sleaze seems a far better word.

While the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is continuing its inquiry, the Republican House leadership remains mute. The gulling of the casino tribes is a blot on Congress and the lobbying industry that cries out for a thorough public vetting. But no one is taking any bets, particularly at tribal casinos, that Capitol politicians can fully face the task.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:51 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Even Einstein Had His Off Days


Published: January 2, 2005

WE have now entered what is being celebrated as the Einstein Year, marking the centenary of the physicist's annus mirabilis in 1905, when he published three landmark papers - those that proved the existence of the atom, showed the validity of quantum physics and, of course, introduced the world to his theory of special relativity. Not bad for a beginner.

'It's not that I'm so smart,' Einstein once said, 'It's just that I stay with problems longer.' Whatever the reason for his greatness, there is no doubt that this determination allowed him to invent courageous new physics and explore realms that nobody else had dared to investigate.

What he was not, however, was a perfect genius. In fact, when it came to the biggest scientific issue of all - the origin of the universe - he was utterly wrong. And while we should certainly laud his achievements over the next 12 months, we may learn a more valuable lesson by investigating Einstein's greatest failure.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:20 PM | link |

via Lord Buckley's "God's Own Drunk"

God's Own Drunk

Richard "Lord" Buckley, 1906-1960

...And God's sweet moon a hangin' in the sky,
and God's sweet lanterns out there
and there's jubilation and love on that hill.

And finally my love, it up and got so strong it overwhelmed my soul,
and I laid back in the sweet green hill
with that big, old Buddy Bear's paw right in mine
and I went to sleep.

And I slept for four hours and dreamt me some tremulous dreams.

And when I woke up that old, yellow, moon was a hangin' in the sky,
and God's sweet lanterns is out there
and my buddy the bear was a missin'.

And you know something else, brothers and sisters?

So was the still!


posted by Gary Williams at 4:25 AM | link |

via whiskey river

from such stuff...

'We work in the dark
we do what we can
we give what we have.
Our doubt is our passion,
and our passion is our task.
The rest is the madness of art.'
- Henry James
from such stuff

posted by Gary Williams at 4:12 AM | link |


A Pegasus For The New Year

[entry: jimlee]

Click to see larger version in new window

Been saving this image for the New Year. While we were living in Reggio Emilia last year, we ate often at the Pegaso (Pegasus in Italian), a local pizzeria not more than 2 minutes from our apartment in the center of town. We ate there so often that we were befriended by the owner, Giulio, and Adina, a Romanian waitress who worked there.

One day, while talking about what I did for a living, Giulio asked me to do a piece for the restaurant; specifically, a drawing of a Pegasus. I didn't have the heart or the words in Italian to say that animals were my Achilles' heel; that it was one of the things in life I was least comfortable drawing.

But I didn't want to disappoint so I googled some horse reference and the best piece I found were actually a very loose watercolor of a running horse which didn't have a whole lot of detail but captured the spirit of a horse in motion. Somehow it gave me so much more information than a straightforward photo or anatomical detail could not, which is how muscle and body masses move in relationship to one another as a body is in motion.

In fact, I realized this is precisely why I was so drawn to the work of George Bridgman back when I was just starting to break into comics in 1987. Bridgman doesn't teach you the name and location of each muscle, tendon or ligament but focuses on the large blocks of mass which are attached to one another in the human body and how those blocks change both length and shape when the body moves or twists.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:07 AM | link |


Warren Ellis: The Year Of Oh Shit

[BAD SIGNAL]The Year Of Oh Shit

bad signal
is dead. Retune to
for the weird stuff, plus the comics
and other-writing stuff, plus
whatever else I feel like shoving
in there.

Currently previewing two pages
from the next issue of PLANETARY.

Many plans for this new year. Time
to raise the game a bit. In some
ways -- not the workload, which
has been mad -- 2004 has been a
recharge year for me. Watching
the way the net has changed -- as
longtime readers will know, I began
net-based promotion in the 90s to
save me from having to go to
conventions -- and watching the
way people have used the net.
Seeing, as I said the other day, the
conversation devolve into Marvel
and DC/Marvel or DC and, if you're
lucky, those indie works that make
the conservative reader comfortable.
Seeing creators recoil from
establishing themselves as a brand
for fear that the vocal online fan
audience will think them "arrogant,"
as they do with any creator who
doesn't present themselves on
bended knee. (And, of course,
seeing a couple of creators
clearly going insane.)

Feels to me to be time to make
this job fun again. Might as well,
because this feels to me like one of
those pivotal years, with boredom
and dissatisfaction everywhere.

Also: the year of everyone for
themselves. Which may not
necessarily be a bad thing.

This is a live medium, still. Treat
it like one.

Sent from mobile device
probably from the pub

posted by Gary Williams at 1:19 AM | link |

via Star Tribune

Social Security/An emerging plan to cripple it

January 2, 2005 ED0102

When President Bush promised last fall to 'strengthen' Social Security, only cynics would have concluded that he actually intended to dismantle the venerable New Deal retirement program. But as Congress prepares to return for business this month, it's beginning to look as if the cynics were right.

First, in November, the president and Republican lawmakers talked up a plan for workers to divert a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts. If enacted, that plan would actually weaken Social Security because it would drain away revenues that are needed for paying benefits today.

Then last month, leading congressional Republicans introduced a plan to recalculate the way that Social Security will pay benefits in the future. Though it purports to make a sensible switch from wage-indexing to price-indexing in the system's arithmetic, the plan amounts to a dramatic cut in retirement payouts, a cut that will grow over time. Eventually it would cripple Social Security as a source of economic security for elderly Americans.

Because the indexing proposal is so complicated, many voters will never grasp its long-term consequences -- and so it's worth examining in some detail.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:39 AM | link |

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