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

Saturday, February 19, 2005  

Meg's Newest Magazine Style CSS Design

Magazine Style

says Aloha with rainbows. Composing snapshots takes away from the relaxing atmosphere
so the camera only snaps when we are leaving.

Maui rainbows...

Room View
Maui Room View

Here's the code:

<!-- background starting at the top -->
<div style="border:2px solid pink;width:389px;height:300px;
background:url( repeat;">
<div style="color:#2D0008;padding-top:3px;font-family:Georgia,Times;
padding-bottom:5px;text-align:center;">Magazine Style</span></div>

<!-- the drop cap -->
<p style="color:white;margin-top:30px;float:left;width:43%;padding-top:5px;padding-left:10px;">
<span style="float:left;color:ivory;font-size:100px;line-height:80px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;
font-family:times,"times new roman";">M</span>aui
says Aloha with rainbows. Composing snapshots takes away from the relaxing atmosphere
so the camera only snaps when we are leaving.
<p style="color:firebrick;">Maui rainbows...</p>

<!-- the picture to the right -->
<p style="float:right;padding-top:30px;margin-right:15px;">
<img src="" width="150" height="112" style="border:1px solid #2D0008;" alt="Room View" title="Room View">
<span style="color:ivory;font-weight:bold;line-height:120%;position:relative;
top:-28px;left:10px;">Maui Room View</span>

<div style="clear:both;"></div>

posted by Gary Williams at 9:36 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

The Boss in the Machine


Published: February 19, 2005

San Francisco — THERE are unused icons on your desktop": this message sometimes appears in a balloon on the lower right-hand corner of my computer screen. I can't imagine why I should be alerted to this fact. The condition of my personal workspace is my own business, as I see it. But no matter what I might be doing at the moment - writing, reading, coding, thinking or (God forbid) simply letting my thoughts trail off where they may - the designers of the Windows XP operating system seem to think I should stop right now and clean up my desk.

That is why I was surprised to read that Microsoft researchers now feel confident that they can figure out when it's all right to interrupt me. According to the project director for something called the Attentional User Interface, the researchers believe they "can detect when users are available for communication, or when the user is in a state of flow."

Nothing could frighten me more. Microsoft is the company whose software once offered an ogling, talking paper clip (called "Clippit") to "help" me with my writing. Its software puts a little cartoon dog on its search dialogue screen, pops up regularly to tell me it's time to download yet another operating-system patch, and feels compelled to inform me - right now - that my desk needs tidying up.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:02 AM | link |

Friday, February 18, 2005  

via Google Maps

Example searches at Google Maps Beta

Go to a location:

Find a business:

Get directions:

Drag the map with your mouse, or double-click to center. Take a tour ?

Note: Try "Joke in Washington DC" in the Get directions box...

posted by Gary Williams at 9:28 PM | link |

via EFF: Endangered Gizmos!

Help EFF Protect the Environment for Innovation!

FCC Chairman Michael Powell calls TiVo 'God's machine,' and its devotees have been known to declare, 'You can take my TiVo when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!' But suppose none of us had ever been given the opportunity to use or own a TiVo -- or, for that matter, an iPod? Suppose instead that Hollywood and the record companies hunted down, hobbled, or killed these innovative gizmos in infancy or adolescence, to ensure that they wouldn't grow up to threaten the status quo?

That's the strategy the entertainment industry is using to control the next generation of TiVos and iPods. Its arsenal includes government-backed technology mandates, lawsuits, international treaties, and behind-the-scenes negotiations in seemingly obscure technology standards groups. The result is a world in which, increasingly, only industry-approved devices and technologies are 'allowed' to survive in the marketplace.

This is bad news for innovation and free competition, but it also threatens a wide range of activities the entertainment conglomerates have no use for -- everything from making educational 'fair' use of TV or movie clips for a classroom presentation, to creating your own 'Daily Show'-style video to make a political statement, to simply copying an MP3 file to a second device so you can take your music with you.

Rather than sit back and watch as promising new technologies are picked off one-by-one, EFF has created the Endangered Gizmos List to help you defend fair use and preserve the environment for innovation.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:29 PM | link |

via MathWorld News

42nd Mersenne Prime (Probably) Discovered

By Eric W. Weisstein

February 18, 2005--Less than a year after the 41st Mersenne prime was reported (MathWorld headline news: June 1, 2004), Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project organizer George Woltman is reporting in a Feb. 18 email to the GIMPS mailing list that a new Mersenne number has been flagged as prime and reported to the project's server. If verified, this would be the 42nd known Mersenne prime, as well as the largest prime number known of any kind.

Mersenne numbers are numbers of the form Mn = 2n - 1, giving the first few as 1, 3, 7, 15, 31, 63, 127, .... Interestingly, the definition of these numbers therefore means that the nth Mersenne number is simply a string of n 1s when represented in binary. For example, M7 = 27 - 1 = 127 = 11111112 is a Mersenne number. In fact, since 127 is also prime, 127 is also a Mersenne prime.

The study of such numbers has a long and interesting history, and the search for Mersenne numbers that are prime has been a computationally challenging exercise requiring the world's fastest computers. Mersenne primes are intimately connected with so-called perfect numbers, which were extensively studied by the ancient Greeks, including by Euclid. A complete list of indices n of the previously known Mersenne primes is given in the table below (as well as by sequence A000043 in Neil Sloane's On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences). The last of these has a whopping 7,235,733 decimal digits. However, note that the region between the 39th and 40th known Mersenne primes has not been completely searched, so it is not known if M20,996,011 is actually the 40th Mersenne prime.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:19 PM | link |

via The Register

SCO faces ejection from Nasdaq

By Ashlee Vance in Chicago
Published Thursday 17th February 2005 17:16 GMT

The Nasdaq exchange has threatened to delist The SCO Group unless the company can get up to date with a key filing meant for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SCO today revealed that Nasdaq officials may pull it from the exchange unless it files its Form 10-K in a 'timely fashion.' Already packed down with lawsuits against IBM and Novell, SCO will now have to endure another hearing with Nasdaq officials if it wants to remain on the exchange. Without such a hearing, SCO will disappear from the market on Feb. 25.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:06 PM | link |

via About Hitherby Dragons

The Secret Of What is Hitherby Dragons?

Hitherby Dragons is a story about the emptiness.

If you look out at the world, there's a lot that you know. There's a lot that you understand. But at the edge of your map there's emptiness. There's questions that are hard to answer. There's things that are hard to explain. There's choices that don't make sense and there's a sea of chaos and there's emptiness.

Jane is a girl with some questions she needs to answer. So she's gone to the edge of the world, where Santa Ynez touches on the chaos, and walked across the bridge to the abandoned tower of the gibbelins, and set up with some friends and associates a stage, and every night, more or less, they put on a show, and try to answer some of their questions.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:16 PM | link |

M$ Guide to 133t

MicroSoft has a guide to l33tsp33k (duh...)

posted by Gary Williams at 10:11 AM | link |

Thursday, February 17, 2005  

via User Friendly

Comic Of The Day

posted by Gary Williams at 3:05 PM | link |

Wednesday, February 16, 2005  

via The New York Times (registration required)

Tilting at Windmills

By Bill McKibben
Published: February 16, 2005
Johnsburg, N.Y.

FINALLY, American environmentalists have a chance to get it right about wind power.

News broke this week of plans for the first big wind energy installation in the Adirondack Park. Ten towering turbines would sprout on the site of an old garnet mine in this tiny town. They'd be visible from the ski slopes at nearby Gore Mountain, and they'd be visible too from the deep wild of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, one of the loneliest and most beautiful parts of New York's 'forever wild' Adirondack Forest Preserve, the model for a century of American conservation. In fact, it would be hard to imagine a place better suited to illustrate the controversy that wind power is causing in this country.


I know the area well; I've lived most of my adult life in this part of the world, and I've skied and backpacked through the old mine and the woods around it, searched for (and found) lost hunters, encountered its bears and coyotes and fisher, sat on its anonymous peaks and knolls and watched the hawks circle beneath. In fact, this very wilderness - these yellow birches, the bear that left that berry-filled pile of scat, those particular loons laughing on that particular lake - led me to fall in love with the world outdoors.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:43 PM | link |

Cory Doctorow's Newest Short Story Published Online

Subject: [Doctorow] My latest short story: I, Robot

Last spring, in the wake of Ray Bradbury pitching a tantrum over
Michael Moore appropriating the title of Fahrenheit 451 to make
Fahrenheit 9/11, I conceived of a plan to write a series of stories
with the same titles as famous sf shorts, which would pick apart the
toalitarian assumptions underpinning some of sf's classic narratives.

Today, Infinite Matrix magazine published the latest of these, a story
called "I, Robot," which describes the police state that would have to
obtain if you were going to have a world where there was only one kind
of robot allowed and only one company was allowed to make it.

I'm really happy with how this story came out. I miss writing short
stories -- they're so much fun to do, so great to create a pocket
universe in thirty pages.

via Infinite Matrix -- Cory Doctorow

i, robot

by Cory Doctorow

Arturo Icaza de Arana-Goldberg, Police Detective Third Grade, United North American Trading Sphere, Third District, Fourth Prefecture, Second Division (Parkdale) had had many adventures in his distinguished career, running crooks to ground with an unbeatable combination of instinct and unstinting devotion to duty.

He'd been decorated on three separate occasions by his commander and by the Regional Manager for Social Harmony, and his mother kept a small shrine dedicated to his press clippings and commendations that occupied most of the cramped sitting-room of her flat off Steeles Avenue.

No amount of policeman's devotion and skill availed him when it came to making his twelve-year-old get ready for school, though.

"Haul ass, young lady — out of bed, on your feet, shit-shower-shave, or I swear to God, I will beat you purple and shove you out the door jaybird naked. Capeesh?"

The mound beneath the covers groaned and hissed. "You are a terrible father," it said. "And I never loved you." The voice was indistinct and muffled by the pillow.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:27 AM | link |

Tuesday, February 15, 2005  

via The New York Times (registration required)

On Guard, America

Published: February 15, 2005

In the name of foiling potential terrorists, the House has passed a misbegotten immigration control bill that would make it harder for persecuted immigrants to get political asylum in this country. One of the nation's bedrock principles - sanctuary - would be badly crimped by the measure, which would also block states from granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Eleven states grant such licenses as a way to encourage highway safety and accident insurance coverage.

The House measure, called the Real ID bill, has been denounced as a human rights retreat by the Catholic bishops conference and other champions of immigrant rights. It would require political asylum applicants to offer greater evidence of persecution and give judges less power to reverse asylum denials by immigration officials. The bill drew a last-minute endorsement from the White House, which is seeking to curry favor for President Bush's proposal to create guest worker visas. But even administration officials expressed misgivings about the asylum strictures.

The bill would also undermine work by federal agencies and the states to come up with national standards for securing driver's licenses. That effort - which was ordered up by Congress - is a far more sensible approach than the hurriedly cobbled-together House measure, which was passed without benefit of committee hearings.

The Senate must defeat this measure: being anti-terrorist doesn't have to walk hand in hand with being anti-immigrant.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:11 AM | link |

Spike's Buddy, Rex

originally uploaded by Iggy..
Spike's got a big friend, Iggy says he's roaming Siberia, but I don't know about that...

posted by Gary Williams at 2:32 AM | link |

Featuring: My Iguana Friend Spike!

originally uploaded by Iggy..
Spike, my iguana friend, revisited. Here's a tryout of the Flickr's blogging facility...(click the picture for a full-page view)

posted by Gary Williams at 1:50 AM | link |

via Technorati

Tag: bbintroducingtagback

What's all this? This page shows all kinds of goodies from the web about bbintroducingtagback. To contribute, just make a post to your blog about bbintroducingtagback and include the link below:

posted by Gary Williams at 12:44 AM | link |

via How to Read Mathematics

How to Read Mathematics

by Shai Simonson and Fernando Gouvea

Mathematics is 'a language that can neither be read nor understood without initiation'. (Emblems of Mind, Edward Rothstein, Avon Books, page 15).

A reading protocol is a set of strategies that a reader must use in order to benefit fully from reading the text. Poetry calls for a different set of strategies than fiction, and fiction a different set than non-fiction. It would be ridiculous to read fiction and ask oneself what is the author's source for the assertion that the hero is blond and tanned; it would be wrong to read non-fiction and not ask such a question. This reading protocol extends to a viewing or listening protocol in art and music. Indeed, much of the introductory course material in literature, music and art is spent teaching these protocols.

Mathematics has a reading protocol all its own, and just as we teach students to read literature, we should teach them to read mathematics.This article categorizes some of the strategies for a mathematics reading protocol. I am sure my readers will think of many strategies that I missed. The point is that there *is* such a protocol, that we all know and use it, and that we should make an attempt to share the secret with our students.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:24 AM | link |

via AKMA's Random Thoughts

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice!

In the Name of God Almighty, the Blessed Trinity on high – Amen.

It’s an odd thing, from a logical and psychological point of view, to command someone to rejoice. How would I obey such a command? With a forced grin and a hollow laugh? Wan cheeriness and parched humor? And it’s all the more strange when St. Paul commands us to rejoice always, always, no matter what the circumstances, and then repeats himself: “Again I say, Rejoice!” Even today, on as joyous an occasion as we’re permitted to share, in the company of John and Juliet and so many beloved friends and family, we may be permitted to think that Paul has gone a little over the top in urging us to rejoice, rejoice, rejoice always.

Paul is not, of course, selling us a cheery positive outlook as the antidote to every misfortune, to the frustrations that sometimes accompany married life, to the griefs that befall all mortals. A positive attitude may offer all sorts of benefits, but it does little by way of theological illumination. Paul wants for the Philippians, and for us, an understanding of who we really are, of how God loves us, and of where we fit into God’s tremendous, sprawling mural of creation. Paul wants us to share the joy of knowing the God who loves us intimately, utterly, fully – so fully that our God enters this troubled world on our terms, knows our pain, endures our limitations, and breaks apart the bounds that evil and mortality impose upon us.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:11 AM | link |

Monday, February 14, 2005  

via Handy Latin Phrases (The Original)

Lex clavatoris designati rescindenda est.

The designated hitter rule has got to go.

Tuis pugis pignore!
You bet your bippy!

Quomodo cogis comas tuas sic videri?
How do you get your hair to do that?

posted by Gary Williams at 11:38 PM | link |

via Hitherby Dragons: Letters Column for January, Take 2

Hitherby Dragons, Comments

(1) by Joejay on 13.02. 22:48
We live in an age of miracles and fuckheads, and the secret truth is, the fuckheads have always been there, and the miracles haven't.

That's one of the most true and optimistic things I've ever read. Before I went through the archives here, I'd have said 'the most true and optimistic,' but if I've learned one thing from it, it's that absolutes don't apply here.

If I've learned two, it's the literary importance of exclamation points.

(2) by GoldenH on 13.02. 23:31
I think exclimation points are Rebecca's way of typing in l33t

posted by Gary Williams at 9:53 PM | link |

via Dilbert.Com

Comic Of The Day

posted by Gary Williams at 12:41 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Happy Valentines: I Love Them, I Love Him Not


Published: February 14, 2005

Washington — YOUR young child shows up at your bedside five minutes before the alarm clock is set to ring. She climbs in. She is warm, her hair is silken, and she nestles perfectly into the curve of your torso.

You experience something like plenitude - until the alarm clock rings and your spouse's arm stretches out to shut it off and comes to rest upon the two of you. That arm is bristly and heavy, and feels, somehow, laden with demand. What demand the poor thing carries is not clear, but whatever it is, it feels like too much on this particular school morning when, after the usual rites of teeth brushing and sneakers and mittens are through, you've got to plan how, on this day of all days, you will most adequately express to your little loved ones just how deeply - and how festively and chocolate-drenchedly - you love them.

Happy Valentine's Day.

The holiday of lovers has been transformed into something very different for many parents these days. That's little wonder: for many couples, love itself has been transformed by the passage into parenthood.

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

Sunday, February 13, 2005  


Mint sprouts corny coins

By Kieran Nicholson
Denver Post Staff Writer

Arizona Daily Star
Rob Weiss, owner of Old Pueblo Coin Exchange. Inc., holds a new Wisconsin quarter in his store recently in Tucson, Ariz. The coin is one of several he found with unusual markings resembling extra corn leaves on the back. The markings are of two distict styles. This one carries the 'down leaf' extra marks.

A curious anomaly in coins struck at the Denver Mint has set off a frenzy among collectors and could be a bonanza for those lucky enough to find them.

The irregular quarters were first discovered by an Arizona retiree who collects coins and inspects scores of them with a magnifying glass.

'It's like finding a needle in the haystack; it's like hitting the lottery,' said Bob Ford, 72, who is credited with the find.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:53 PM | link |

via RedNova News

Can This Black Box See Into the Future?

Deep in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the ones found in modern pocket calculators.

But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world events.

The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.

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

via The Register

Lizard Army develops copulating robot

By Lester Haines
Published Friday 11th February 2005 14:18 GMT

RoTM™ We're obliged this week to vigilant members of the neoLuddite Resistance Army (NRA) who have monitored with alarm the news that a South Korean professor claims to have developed artificial chromosomes which will eventually lead to emotional, self-reproducing cybersexpots. Kim Jong-Hwan of the ITRC-Intelligent Robot Research Centre says that once his chromosome software is installed in a robot within the next three months, the previously cold and distant machine will acquire reasoning and emotions - among the latter the overwhelming urge to indulge in torrid robo-rumpy-pumpy.

Kim says: "Christians may not like it, but we must consider this the origin of an artificial species. Until now, most researchers in this field have focused only on the functionality of the machines, but we think in terms of the essence of the creatures.

posted by Gary Williams at 7:19 PM | link |

via SinFest

Comic Of The Day

posted by Gary Williams at 12:47 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

For Canseco and McGwire, Little Brotherly Love


Published: February 13, 2005

They are dressed in matching black suits, black shoes, black hats, yellow socks, yellow shirts and skinny ties. They are sitting on the hood of a police cruiser holding five-foot baseball bats, their eyes disguised by identical black sunglasses.

Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire looked like buddies in this poster from 1988. They were supposed to look like brothers, too. McGwire and Canseco were nicknamed the Bash Brothers, so the marketers outfitted them to look like bigger, meaner Blues Brothers who favored a dash of yellow in their wardrobes.

The poster is obsolete, and the relationship between Canseco and McGwire is, too. They were never that friendly while bashing their forearms together for the Oakland Athletics after home runs, but they were civil to each other. Any shred of civility has vanished.

When Canseco appears on '60 Minutes' tonight, he will make statements about McGwire and steroids use. Canseco is promoting his new book, 'Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big,' and he will sit in front of Mike Wallace and assert that he and McGwire used steroids while playing for the A's and that he even injected McGwire with them.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:13 AM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Fat Substitute, Once Praised, Is Pushed Out of the Kitchen


Published: February 13, 2005

Bob Pitts knows doughnuts. He fried his first one in 1961 at the original Dunkin' Donuts shop in Quincy, Mass. Just by looking at the lumps and cracks on a misshapen doughnut, he can tell if the frying oil is too cool or the batter too warm. But Mr. Pitts, the company's doughnut specialist, cannot find a way to make one that tastes good without using partially hydrogenated oil, now considered the worst fat in the American diet.

An artificial fat once embraced as a cheap and seemingly healthy alternative to saturated fats like butter or tropical oils, partially hydrogenated oil has been the food industry's favorite cooking medium for decades. It makes French fries crisp and sweets creamy, and keeps packaged pastries fresh for months.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:02 AM | link |

via Flickr: Blog this photo

Spike — iguana Science

Lookin' good in the sun. Iguanas are solar powered and require direct exposure to sunlight everyday. Sunlight enables metabolization of calcium, without it their bodies absorb calcium from the bones resulting in deformities & eventual death.

Uploaded by Iggy. on 1 Feb '05, 11.11pm EST."

posted by Gary Williams at 2:04 AM | link |

via ThinkGeek

The Bard's got nuthin on us.

The eloquence of a few lines of verse can be a powerful thing. Poetry can cause you to pause and think about life. It can incite feelings of rage. A good poem can even bring you to tears. We're not sure where this one lies in the spectrum of emotional reactions, but we're thinking somewhere between a chuckle and a look of heartfelt confusion. This shirt designed by ThinkGeek Love Labs® makes an especially good gift to one you love or love to confuse, depending on their knowledge of hex and Internet lore.

roses are #FF0000
violets are #0000FF
all my base
are belong to you

posted by Gary Williams at 1:50 AM | link |

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