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

Saturday, November 19, 2005  

[Doctorow] When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth podcast concludes

By Cory Doctorow

I've been podcasting my short story "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth"
-- about the sysadmins surviving in data-centers after the apocalypse
-- since Oct 27 and I've wrapped up the story today. You can download
all six parts as MP3s or Oggs on my podcast page -- or just wait for
the story to come out in the second issue of Baen's Astounding
Stories, a DRM-free, pay-to-download science fiction mag.

Podcast page:


Cory Doctorow

posted by Gary Williams at 5:38 PM | link |

Bush ethics class, (via Doonsbury)

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

Friday, November 18, 2005  

ChildsPlay Charity Has It's Own Website

posted by Gary Williams at 5:23 PM | link |

Thursday, November 17, 2005  

Rupert Grint, left, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe at Hogwarts.

via New York Times (registration required)

The Young Wizard Puts Away Childish Things

Published: November 17, 2005

Childhood ends for Harry Potter, the young wizard with the zigzag scar and phantasmagorical world of troubles, not long after the dragons have roared and the merpeople have screeched their empty threats through broken teeth. And, as in the book 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' on which this latest and happily satisfying film adaptation is based, childhood ends with screams and a final shudder in a graveyard crowded with tombstones and evil. In a scene of startling intensity, one boy dies while another is delivered from the malevolent force that has steadily wended its way through J. K. Rowling's series toward its prey.

This is the second time that Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), now 14, has experienced childhood's end, of course, as Ms. Rowling and the directors of all four films have reminded us. Orphaned at 1 by the malevolent wizard Lord Voldemort, Harry has developed over the years, books and films from a sentimental Dickensian figure into a prickly adolescent for whom girls now present almost as serious a problem as the Dark Lord. As those who have cracked the spines of the books know, their genius rests as much in Harry's dual identity as in Ms. Rowling's grasp on the fantastic: at once susceptibly human and wholly alien, a geeky outsider and an awesomely cool kid, Harry holds up a mirror to those who curl up with books and congregate in theaters, taking flight in their imaginations.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:04 PM | link |

Now, TFS Has A Wiki!

I was watching Call For Help on TV today and they talked a lot about a free wiki site, So, naturally, I signed TFS up for a free wiki. You can try it out (but only 5 users for free...)

(After some fiddle I made it viewable by everybody, so if you're recognized as Guest, you can look, but not edit the pages...)

posted by Gary Williams at 12:37 PM | link |

Wednesday, November 16, 2005  


This isn't the real America

By Jimmy Carter

11/14/05 'Los Angeles Times' -- -- IN RECENT YEARS, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.

These include the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our environment and human rights.

Also endangered are our historic commitments to providing citizens with truthful information, treating dissenting voices and beliefs with respect, state and local autonomy and fiscal responsibility.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:15 PM | link |

Tuesday, November 15, 2005  

via New York Times (registration required)

Seeing Mountains in Starry Clouds of Creation

Published: November 15, 2005

In 1995, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope produced 'The Pillars of Creation,' an image of stars emerging from biblical-looking clouds of dust that has become an icon of the space age.

Now astronomers operating NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have made their own version. The new image, appropriately called 'Mountains of Creation,' shows star-forming pillars in a region known as W5 in the constellation Cassiopeia. These pillars, at heights up to 40 light-years, are 10 times as large as those in the famous Hubble image.

The astronomers, led by Lori E. Allen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, say the towering mountains of the new image probably represent the densest, most fecund remnants of a larger, cloud. It is being eroded by radiation and winds of particles from a ferociously bright star just out of the top of the picture.

Nestled within the dusty pillars are hundreds of embryonic stars. But Spitzer's detectors are designed to see infrared, or 'heat,' radiation right through the dust, allowing astronomers to study the cloaked stars, which Dr. Allen described as 'offspring' of the big star.

'The Sun could have formed in such a cluster, since many stars form in clusters,' Dr. Allen said in an e-mail message, explaining that pressure created by the star could compress gas in the cloud, bringing about the formation of new stars.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:42 AM | link |

Monday, November 14, 2005  


Japanese Asteroid Probe Apparently Lost in Space

By The Associated Press

posted: 13 November 2005
09:21 am ET
TOKYO (AP) _ Japan's space agency suffered another glitch in its mission to collect surface samples from an asteroid and return to Earth when a can-sized robot lander apparently became lost in space while attempting a practice touch down.

The rehearsal landing followed an earlier attempt that was aborted due to mechanical trouble, but the space agency said it is still targeting actual landings on the potato-shaped asteroid Itokawa on Nov. 19 and Nov. 25.

The Hayabusa probe successfully released the Minerva surface-exploring robot on Saturday, but Minerva appeared to start drifting away from the asteroid's surface, according to a release from JAXA, Japan's space agency. Minerva was expected to land and hop around on the asteroid's surface collecting data with three small color cameras.

'Unfortunately, it appears Minerva did not recognize the surface,'' JAXA said.

Minerva was still in radio contact with Hayabusa late Saturday, and mission controllers were trying to find out more about its condition and location, JAXA said. Officials, however, expected the transmissions to give out soon, Kyodo News agency reported.

'It is very disappointing that it did not work out nicely,'' JAXA official Junichiro Kawaguchi was quoted as saying by Kyodo. 'We found out various things about the asteroid, so we will study the data and hope it will lead to the successful landing of Hayabusa.''

Another procedure Saturday to collect surface data with laser altimeter was largely successful, the agency said.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:06 PM | link |

[Doctorow] Themepunks concludes on Salon

By Cory Doctorow

The tenth and final installment of my serialized novel-in-progress
went live on Salon just now. I'm working hard on the next section of
the novel and hope to have it in the can by the new year, though it
remains to be seen whether Salon will take up syndicating it, too.
I've really, really appreciated the warm feedback I've gotten from
you folks for this over the last two and a half months -- it's really
helped me keep focused as I worked on the next section.

In today's installment, Lester and Andrea reunite, but the New Work
economy hits the skids:

> Lester came down the drive grinning and bouncing on the balls of
> his feet. Perry had evidently been expecting him, for he came
> racing through the shantytown and pelted down the roadway and threw
> himself at Lester, grabbing him in a crazy, exuberant, whooping
> hug. Francis gimped out a moment later and gave him a solemn
> handshake. She hadn't blogged their meeting in Detroit, so if
> Francis and Perry knew about Lester's transformation, they'd found
> out without hearing it from her.
> She finished recording the homecoming from Mrs Torrence's crow's
> nest, then paid the grinning old bag and took the stairs two at a
> time, hurrying to catch up with Lester and his crowd.
> Lester accepted her hug warmly but distantly, letting go a fraction
> of a second before she did. She didn't let it get to her. He had
> drawn a crowd now, with Francis's protege printer-techs in the
> innermost circle, and he was recounting the story of his
> transformation. He had them as spellbound as a roomful of ewoks
> listening to C3PO.
> "Shit, why don't we sell that stuff?" Jason said. He'd taken a real
> interest in the business end of their 3D printer project.
> "Too much competition," Lester said. "There are already a dozen
> shops tooling up to make bathtub versions of the therapy here in
> America. Hundreds more in Eastern Europe. There just won't be any
> profit in it by the time we get to market. Getting thin on the
> cheap's going to be *easy*. Hell, all it takes to do it is the
> stuff you'd use for an E lab. You can buy all that in a kit from a
> catalog."
> Jason nodded, but looked unconvinced.
> Andrea took Lester's return as her cue to write about his
> transformation. She snapped more pics of him, added some video. He
> gave her ten minutes' description of the therapies he'd undergone,
> and named a price for the therapy that was substantially lower than
> a couple weeks in a Hollywood fat-farm, and far more effective.

Final installment:
Previous Installments:

posted by Gary Williams at 3:48 PM | link |

Sunday, November 13, 2005  

via Observations

Thoughts and Good Advice

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:39 PM | link |

via New York Times (registration required)

Thread Counts, Yo

When quality of life is measured in thread counts and half-baths, when the only thing that's really distressed in a person's life is his vintage clothing or antique bric-a-brac, New Yorkers are ultimately not so much tough as they are al dente. If New York ever had a slum that could be called Mobsters' Row, it would only be a matter of time before we'd all be raving about the cheap lofts available in MoRo.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:58 AM | link |

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