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

Saturday, July 16, 2005  

Phone Line's Borked...

My computer phone line is broken. The repair guy came by Friday and said there was a short inthe cable and he couldn't find a clearn pair to hook up, so he called the line maintenance's still not repaired, so I can only get on-net through the voice line, which I mostly can't use for the 'puter. As a consequence, posting here in TFS is going to be limited at least until Monday...Sorry.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:37 PM | link |

Thursday, July 14, 2005  

via ABC News Online

Planet with three suns challenges astronomers

Astronomers have detected a planet with not one, but three suns, a finding that challenges astronomers' theories of planetary formation.

The planet, a gas giant slightly larger than Jupiter, orbits the main star of a triple-star system known as HD 188753 in the constellation Cygnus ('The Swan').

The stellar trio and its planet are about 149 light-years from Earth and about as close to each other as our sun is to Saturn, US scientists report in the journal Nature.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:15 PM | link |

Wednesday, July 13, 2005  

via New York Times (registration required)

Colin Powell Joins Venture Capital Firm

On Wednesday, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, perhaps Silicon Valley's most famous venture firm, will announce that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is joining the firm as a part-time partner. Mr. Powell acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that he has had any number of tempting job offers since leaving the State Department in January, but that the chance to work as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins seemed too enticing to turn down.

'I'm fascinated by what the company has done and is doing now,' Mr. Powell said of Kleiner Perkins. 'It's on the forefront of bringing along new technologies and bringing along entrepreneurs who are changing the world as we know it.'

posted by Gary Williams at 9:03 PM | link |

Tuesday, July 12, 2005  

via Yule Heibel's Post Studio:

Voices In Your Head Are Mostly Men

And now we know why God a middle-aged, stern man: see Why 'imaginary voices' are male.

A university research team says it has discovered why most people 'hearing voices' in hallucinations say they hear male voices.

Dr Michael Hunter's research at the University of Sheffield says that male voices are less complex to produce than female.

As such, when the brain spontaneously produces its own 'voices', a male voice is more likely to have been generated.

Among both men and women, 71% of such 'false' voices are male. [More...]

Sean Coughlan, the article's author, goes on to elaborate that the voices are not only male, but usually sound 'middle-aged' and 'derogatory.' Hmmm... 'thou shalt not....!!' The female voice is too complex for the brain to duplicate as an auditory hallucination.

It seems God also does not sing. He's not a singer, for 'melodiousness' is a feature of the female voice, which the brain finds too complex to reproduce accurately. This might explain why God has not been a Broadway singing sensation, along with why She is not 'heard' as female.

On a different note (pun), I've been neglecting the blog, but even though God gave me a cussing out about it, I realise in my saner moments that this is perhaps simply the way things have to be right now... Real life has a way of intruding, even upon the voices in one's head.

PS: my thanks go to my son, for immediately making the 'hearing voices' and 'that's why God is male' connection. He's the one who showed me the article, too.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:50 PM | link |

via ICANN blog: I don’t like Mondays | The Register

ICANN, I Don't Like Mondays

Speaking of stunning, the Denmark representative was also aggrieved about .xxx, saying the governments should have been consulted and it was a slap in the face. Which, as the new owner of .xxx itself, Mr Stuart Lawley, told me later was particularly odd since Denmark it seems is one of only a very small handful of countries where bestiality is legal. Nothing’s ever as simple as it seems on the internet.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:16 PM | link |

via DNS


The Domain Name System or DNS is a system that stores information about host names and domain names on networks, such as the Internet. Most importantly, it provides an IP address for each host name, and lists the mail exchange servers accepting e-mail for each domain.

The DNS forms a vital part of the Internet, because hardware requires IP addresses to perform routing, but humans use host names and domain names, for example in URLs and e-mail addresses.

Paul Mockapetris invented the DNS in 1983; the original specifications appear in RFC 882. In 1987 the publication of RFC 1034 and RFC 1035 updated the DNS specification and made RFC 882 and RFC 883 obsolete. Several more recent RFCs have proposed various extensions to the core protocols.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:41 AM | link |

[BAD SIGNAL]Nerd Prom Ahoy

From Warren Ellis's BAD SIGNAL

[BAD SIGNAL]Nerd Prom Ahoy

bad signal

So Laurenn leaves for San Diego
tomorrow, and Fraction and Kelly
Sue and everyone else in comics
except me the day after.

I would remind those with camphones
that I'd love shots from the con
floor for the website. Extra points
for funny stuff and stalking Laurenn,
Matt (in his I Don't Give A Fuck Suit)
and Kel. Stormtroopers are boring
unless they're all taking a piss or
something. Double for any of those
strange girls who sometimes show
up at cons wearing a "Warren Ellis'
Holy Slut Army" t-shirt -- Donna,
if you only knew how weird it is to
see those...

Anyway. Send your futurephonism
to, and hopefully
I can build a gallery of strangeness
on during the con.

Me? I'm now on my own for ten
days, as family are off doing stuff.
Expect Signals to get progressively
more drunk and random, as my
diet reduces to whisky and ephedrine
for a couple of weeks.

Of course, the comics business will
grind to a halt for the next week.
Which gives me a little time to work
up FIVE GUNS, and perhaps work up
another notion in the back of my
head. It occurred to me the other
day that I've never really written a
big ensemble drama. Team books

don't particularly count. (I wonder
if the new Marvel book, NW, will
be announced at San Diego? The
art robot just turned in the final
version of the launch graphic,
which is funny as hell.)

If you're there, check the Image
booth for FELL #1 preview material,
I'm sure there'll be some. Also,
this week. Almost all the stores I
heard from sold out of #1, but
not all of them will have adjusted
their orders, so there may well
be fewer copies of #2 in circulation.
(#2s are automatically ordered
lower than #1s in most places.)

There's a preview of #2 linked a
few entries down on,
just above the Author's Commentary
on #1. I'll probably do a commentary
on #2 next week, which'll include
things like the inspiration for Robina

There'll be a similar commentary/
appendix element to FELL, but it'll
appear in the book itself. If you're
going to want a copy of FELL #1,
you need to tell your store owner
this week or next. $1.99. Come on.
You know you want to.

-- W

Sent via mobile device
probably in the pub

posted by Gary Williams at 10:48 AM | link |

Monday, July 11, 2005  


Build Your Own Stonehenge

Dennis Randall

Age: 8 and up
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Type of Activity: Science

Materials needed:

* Center stake for reference point.
* 50 feet of rope.
* 20 to 30 marker stones or small stakes.
* A compass.

Here's a unique way to celebrate the solstice: Build your own Stonehenge. As you might know, Stonehenge is one of the oldest (4,000 years) and best known astronomical calendar sites in the world. You can recreate it without going through the bother of lugging 25 to 50 ton slabs of rock around the neighborhood. All you'll need is a bit of ambition, and a location offering an unobstructed view of the eastern or western horizon. Locations offering a 360? horizon view are ideal (and rare).

What to do

The first thing you'll need to do is create a viewing circle. Anchor a reference stake at the center point of the circle and place your compass on top of it. Find due north and place a marker at 50 feet north of the center. Repeat the process for east, west and south. (The rope is used as a guide to insure that all markers are equidistant from the center stake.) Again, using the rope as a guide, place a small marker stone every few feet around the perimeter of your circle. The center of the circle now becomes your fixed reference point and the westward facing perimeter is where you'll be placing the sunset markers.

The calendar can be started at any time, but the solstice sunsets are the most fun. Mark the point of sunset with a pole, stake or other (not easily moved) marker. Tag the marker with the date of sunset.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:44 PM | link |


Unitarian Jihad Issues Manifesto

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for 'balance' by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: 'Sincerity is not enough.' We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:39 PM | link |

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