Thursday, August 31, 2006

To be filed under 'Pets You Dont Want'

August 29th...

August 31st...

Hans Blix needed your M&Ms

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

So... I want one of these two things... though to be sure i'm not sure which is the more effective. Reminds me why i love the interwebs...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I remember those days... days when you had a product that was cool but there was no way to capitalize on it. Our society pokes fun at bad business concepts - the scotch tape boutique, flanders leftorium, tyco... hell pud makes a living letting people piss all over these idiotic wastes of money.
Over the years I've seen board rooms drop tens of millions of dollars on bad business models... huge successful businesses drop hundreds of millions on software development projects that were fundamental misunderstandings of the market... and worked with hugely successful companies throwing money down the toilet of consulting firms and SAP faster than 18yr old boys can veer off the path of righteousness in amsterdam.
Over all these years, having been an executive and having had to deal with multimillion dollar budgets etc - there's one thing that's clear. An MBA is oft times a certificate of Snakeoil. Seldom have I encountered a consultant or a vendor who had the best interest of my business at heart - and that was less and less likely the more 'educated' they were.
So today we have Youtube - a bigger pile of DMCA violations than ISOhunt and Torrentspy combined - sitting back and saying to themselves 'ok - we've attracted an audience (albeit using OTHER people's content that we had no right to use) - how can we monetize it? (because honestly the bandwidth and server costs are killing us)'.
So what's their answer?

Paris Hilton

That's right... the business model doesnt work? just make up a new one midstream... it's the late 90s all over again. There's a business in branded podcasts - well, there are a bunch of people who've invested heavily in it as the next 'big thing' in push-media - but it doesnt work. I have a friend who was talking to a media firm in california that wanted more money than it would have cost to advertise on the superbowl for a 10-15 second sponsorship of a podcast. Idiots. Odd - no one seems interested - fancy that.

Still... honestly... oh sure, most people who think 'tube' and 'paris' are thinking metro (ok, maybe not...) - but if I were thinking of wanting to find paris hilton on a youtube-type site it'd probably be somewhere else. (nsfw... duh...)

Monday, August 21, 2006

There are a lot of things I miss about living in the UK... the museums certainly being on that list. Still - there are some museum shows I can honestly say I didn't miss (nsfw)

AugustFri 18 - Kira O’Reilly Inthewrongplaceness (A slow crushing dance with a pig for one person at a time)This work emerges from research with skin biopsies from newly dead pigs, cultivating the skin cells in vitro, in preparation to work from a biopsy of my own body’s skin. The work left me with an undercurrent of pigginess, unexpected fantasies of mergence and interspecies metamorphoses began to flicker into my consciousness; making fiercely tender and ferocious identifications with the pig as stand in, double, twin, doll, imaginary self.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bush today:
"The first reaction of course of Hezbollah and its supporters is to declare victory. I guess I would have done the same thing if I were them. Sometimes it takes people awhile to come to the sober realization of what forces create stability and what don't."

Meanwhile in Lebannon:
Hezbollah handed out bundles of cash on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group's support among Lebanon's Shi'ites and embarrassing the Beirut government."This is a very, very reasonable amount. It is not small," said Ayman Jaber (27), holding a wad he had just picked up from Hezbollah of $12 000 in banknotes wrapped in tissue.Israeli and United States officials have voiced concern that Hezbollah will entrench its popularity by moving fast -- with Iranian money -- to help people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the 34-day conflict with Israel.

Then again there's Israel:
The outcome of the war up until now has exposed our weak points. Apart from President Bush, who says we won, our overuse of air power and the huge amount of damage we inflicted on Lebanon and Lebanese infrastructure has prompted the world to change its mind about the justification of our actions. Hezbollah survived with most of its arsenal intact, and can always count on its patrons to replenish it. That, together with the fact that it stands a good chance of becoming part of the Lebanese establishment and winning the elections, has prompted Assad Jr. to rattle his saber.

so tell me again... who is it that understands what forces create stability?
when W was governor, he had Bullock to do all the heavy lifting - and he really didnt have to do much. Considering the limited set of job responsiblities, being all hat and no cattle isnt a bad thing for a governor of texas. But it turns out it doesnt play well as president.

of course, it's not his fault. he's been standing up there being the same bumbling poorly spoken christian fascist that he's always been... it's the people who voted for him. they cant pass the buck. every ounce of blood that comes from this is on their hands - and i hope they remember that when they burn in their christian hell.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Here we go again....

read this...

another deep breath

then read this...

yeah... umm... no thanks

when i read this story about the father of Jill Carroll refusing to send a 'murderers and thugs' message to the kidnappers at the behest of the FBI (note: my mind cant help but echo Josh's concern on the subject) all i could think of was...

Let me tell you the story of "Right Hand, Left Hand." It's a tale of good
and evil. Hate: It was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: These
five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of
love. The story of life is this: Static. One hand is always fighting the other
hand; and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right
hand, Love, is finished. But, hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is
coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that's right. Ooh,
it's the devastating right and Hate is hurt, he's down. Left-Hand Hate K.O.ed by
Then again... i imagine Mookie would be a terrist by the definition of this administration.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Finally - sanity... for the love of god...
i'd wondered when we might stop jumping at our own shadows. After the arrest of the kids buying phones (the ones with plenty of people who've come forward to the FBI and told em that yes, they buy phones from these guys) - i really hoped we might question things. But this whole no liquids on planes thing might be the trigger instead.

If bad people want to blow up planes they will. If bad people want to kill thousands at a football game they will. If bad people want to burn down the forests of the western united states they will. Turns out there just arent that many bad people (of course, we ARE making rather more of them these days...)

I hope this idiocy ends soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Every once in a while i pick up something pulpy to read - and being a fan of alternate history i tend to enjoy watching a good author struggle with the difficulty of tracking the implications of a small change on history. There are plenty of bad ones - but one of the best was 'The Rivers of War' by Flint... a book that fictionalizes Sam Houston's life, changing the effect of a single knife thrust in a single fight, and letting a substantially different series of events unfold. It's not fantastic... it's not silly... a guy on a harley doesn't save the world at the end... you get the idea.

I'd read Stirling's first series with the people from Nantucket who're suddenly several thousand years in the past and it was great fun. Oh sure, he manufactures some canned plot complications, but like i said - it's pulpy. I figured I'd grab the next series - where he changes things up in the rest of the world. Well - this one doesnt work so well... in fact its pretty much everything that's wrong with the genre. Rather than go into all the idiotic character mashups and dramatis personae du cardboard (i expect that in pulpy sf) I want to go after the thing that actually bothered me about the book.

Way Too Much Stupid. Zookeepers releasing tigers into the wild when there are no guns? Steam engines not working because of 'compression' issues but propane tanks are still under pressure for ballooning? And combustable explosions are gone? so what. Plenty of pool supply stores - if the bad guy is truly evil (and since he's flying the flag of mordor, i'd assume that qualifies) why not just raid the local pool supply store and chem the enemy. The author fell in love with the premise that archery + bicicles + freeways = mongols and he never stopped to consider how stupid that was.

Flint's 1832 stuff was a lot more interesting - and a lot more historically grounded. When Stirling goes off and starts in with the Wiccan spells seeming to work? yeah... he's crossed over... at that point elvis left the building.

Ah well, time for some more interesting reading...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

One for Wolf... who didnt remember Brother Theodore for some reason...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Gatorade of Terror

Ok. The story is convoluted, with everyone wanting to put their stamp on it - so lets get the story straight... first there was an arrest in Pakistan - that lead to an infiltration of a couple islamic terrorist cells in central pakistan... then there was a tip after the bombing in the london transit system of someone in contact with people in pakistan... at the end of last year the brits had a whole network of terror mapped out - and they informed the US and Pakistani authorities. Then two weeks ago pakistan arrested one of the members - there was a call from pakistan urging the bombers to go ahead and a transfer of money - and at that point the brits moved in. They broke into one of the houses of the bad guys to see what they could see - and found all the sundry bomb making materials - at which point they realized they had a big problem on their hands because this shit was going to be hard to stop. So they made the call to arrest everyone - Pakistan followed through on the same arresting five - and then the brits told the world and their american counterparts exactly what they'd found. Up to this point they'd been very spartan with their intelligence - speculation being on the grounds of past indiscretions within the Bush administration regarding leaked intelligence for political purposes. Regardless they released the info they had to release - but in describing the bomb making materials they asked that that information remain secret out of fear that they wouldnt know how to prevent this sort of thing.

From CBS:
The bombs were to have been assembled on the aircraft apparently with peroxide-based solution and everyday carry-on items such as a disposable camera or a music player, two U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Britain asked that no information be released.

So then... it turns out the terrists had bought tickets on planes for next wednesday. Though we only know that because the US continues to leak information passed on by british intelligence like a seive.

"Privately, British security officials are growing exasperated at the flow of leaked information from the US.
In particular, the ABC television network yesterday reported that MI5 had actually penetrated the UK terror cell, placing an undercover agent inside the plot as part of work known as Operation Overt. "

See. The War on Terror only works if there's Terror... the brits dont understand - you gotta get that shit out there. Protecting lives is one thing - profiting from fear is MUCH bigger.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

ZeFrank says it very well

"a small number of people can incapacitate a society by leveraging our inability to understand risk"

This is exactly how it works. Many of us work in industries where the goal of the business is to alter people's perceptions of what's best for them. Me? I might be closer to the actual process than most - so perhaps it's easier for me to recognize when politicians are using tricks to distort situations so they can profit. I'm becoming less and less convinced that a Farenheit 451 world is an unrealistic scenario - and rather than fight it - it really makes me want to move.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Video of the day...

When you're done you gotta burn another 20 minutes playing with it

Monday, August 07, 2006

so read this...
then calm down...
then read this...

i love the christians... they make me laugh...

Get a passport before October. In October the US will be issuing RFID enabled passports - and you dont want one.

Our friends at the Defcon conference talked about how unsafe this crap is - and how carrying an american passport could be read at range by exposive triggers set to go off only when Americans are nearby. Needless to say... not good...

If you do forget and end up with an RFID passport anyway? be sure to take the other suggestion to heart and microwave the fucker. It's a simple step to increasing your safety overseas.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I miss fred...

Oh sure... he wasnt this cool... but i bet Tyson doesn't mosh.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Allegorical of American Foreign Policy?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

MTV's Birthday

So MTV had a birthday... 25 years. 25 years of crap. 25 years of idiots in skinny ties telling the rest of us what we were supposed to be listening to. 25 years of manufactured style over substance. Yes - we all know - they started with the Buggles... but with a next 9 of:

2. “You Better Run,” Pat Benatar
3. “She Won’t Dance,” Rod Stewart
4. “You Better You Bet,” The Who
5. “Little Suzi’s on the Up,” Ph.D.
6. “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” Cliff Richard
7. “Brass in Pocket,” The Pretenders
8. “Time Heals,” Todd Rundgren
9. “Take it on the Run,” REO Speedwagon
10. “Rockin’ the Paradise,” Styx

It sure as hell didn't start off strong. From the AP story - their gift on this inauspicious occasion was a 'look back at 25 memorable MTV moments'. Looking over their list - it wasnt much of a gift. I'll do better with 10 of my own.

10) August 1, 1981 -- They hired Martha Quinn, a woman responsible for more adolescent male ejaculant than any playboy pictorial. Yes girls, that whole girl next door thing really does work... sad that it's Kari Wuhrer of Beastmaster 2 fame that still has a job in film.

9) The Jon Stewart Show -- Not really the same - but they did let him run with it.

8) The Ben Stiller ShowSure - it encouraged them to make non-music content... but at least it wasnt terrible (even if no one watched).

7) Beavis and Butthead -- Having a show that made fun of music videos on a music video channel? oh the irony... well... not really... since they were usually making fun of artists that sucked. Oh wait... didnt most of the artists on MTV at the time suck? hmmmm....

6) Downtown Julie Brown's Club MTV and the ensuing broad societal acceptance of the upskirt camera technique. What? You're saying taking shots up a girls skirt and broadcasting them nationwide isnt cool? Ummm... but that's why we were watching...

5) 120 MinutesMarch 10, 1986 -- The Bolshoi, The Cure, Skinny Puppy, Hunters and Collectors, The Cult, Front 242, Sonic Youth, Sinead O'Connor, Ultravox, Hüsker Dü

They were out in front on all the college charts... REM, Depeche Mode, The Smiths etc... This was where directions in music could experiment in video (unless you were watching public access cable... which tended to have even better stuff). It was the only MTV that mattered - the rest being littered with the Dwarves of Love and the Bananamamas.

4) Live Aid -- They actually showed Status Quo... they let Bono wander off into the crowd (as he was wont to do in those early days)... and Queen? damn... never saw a band own a crowd quite like that. Oh sure - all that Sir Bob Geldoff crap got annoying - and things in sub-saharan africa sure as hell didnt get much better - but at least someone was trying I suppose.MTV showed it - flipping back and forth between venues and not wasting too very much time talking about how cool it was (though there was a bit of that). No one really knew how this was going to come off - it was a hell of a lot bigger than the concert for Bangladesh - and there were a LOT of egos - but it managed to work somehow.

3) Tony James takes over -- For a week - Sputnik Television took over MTV at night with it's 'Mars needs food' campaign. No one remembers Sputnik TV for some reason... maybe I was the only one watching... but there was Tony playing at VJ spinning videos that fit somewhere between a 120 minutes playlist and a CBGBs set - peppering it all the while with a bout of sarcastic criticism of the music industry in general (not that he had any reason to be jaded, did he Billy)

2) Hands Across America -- 3pm May 25th, 1986 - 5 million idiots held hands to defeat hunger. Ahh - now that we've held hands - hunger has been defeated, my guilty conscience assuaged, and the world has become a much better place. The organizers expensed away 17 million dollars of the proceeds - but at least some soup kitchens got paid. Of course... if the 5 million people had just taken their $10 to the soup kitchens themselves it would've helped more - but MTV wouldnt have had a bunch of idiots to film and interview all afternoon.More of that backslapping participatory tribute bullshit that defined the 80s music scene so well (i still remember Bono's mullet from the Sun City video). However - this event wouldnt have made the list if it werent for the Ramones standing tall and calling a spade a spade."If you're not in it... you're out of it"

1) Woodstock 1999 -- A show built for MTV - a giant megaconcert supposed to draw a tv audience like flies to shit - and it did. 220,000 kids drawn to an EPA superfund site to mosh in the toxic mud with NIN.
From Kurt 'Rear End' Loder:

"It was dangerous to be around. The whole scene was scary. There were just waves of hatred bouncing around the place, (...) It was clear we had to get out of there. It was like a concentration camp. To get in, you get frisked to make sure you're not bringing in any water or food that would prevent you from buying from their outrageously priced booths. You wallow around in garbage and human waste. There was a palpable mood of anger."

Yes that's right - RHCP handed out candles to a huge angry crowd, they built bonfires, and hell broke loose. Watching MTV's coverage of the riot was a riot in an of itself... oh look - we've raised a generation of angry consumerist whores... good to see Grace Slick could get in on the act. MTVs coverage of the riot was laughable. Here they were on the scene of a self-perpetuated calamity and all Kurt could do was whine about how much danger he was in and flee the scene.

MTV jumped the shark that day... i dont think i've watched more than 5 minutes since.

i swear the only dancing in the streets we're going to see in iraq is the day we leave.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One of the things I miss from the days of my pre-blog portal was movie review day. So I figure if i'm going to move, I might as well bring it back. The problem with me reviewing film is, of course, I tend to dislike modern cinema. So rather than hide my bias - I use it. My ratings are based on how BAD a film is... and rather than stars, a film accrues 'BOBs'. There are 3 different categories of Bobs... Stupidity, Hubris, and Predictability. You gather bobs in each category - and even though you might garner bobs in any given group, that doesnt necessarily make the film a bad thing. It's complicated...

Predictability: A predictability bob is awarded for classically-hollywood dialog and plot complications. It's when you know exactly what's going to happen at each and every turn.

Hubris: A hubris bob is awarded when a character or storyline makes an effort to be deep and meaningful and fails. Generally -these are the moments where the film takes itself so seriously that one remembers that one is watching a movie.

Stupidity: A stupidity bob is awarded when the writer or director, in an effort to make a better film, breaks physical laws (beyond those broken by premises, though premises in themselves are sometimes awarded stupidity bobs (eg the Twins Van Damme in Double Impact)

Example Review:(this is going back a ways...)

Waterworld blows goats...

You know, i thought this was gonna be a bad film. Everyone told me it would be a bad film. The pre-release hype was all terrible - thus i felt i needed to see it on opening day... This was not a bad film. The was an UNBELIEVABLY BAD film. I couldve given 15 free negative BOBs in each category and it STILL wouldve maxed out in the first 15 MINUTES!!! We're going to do something special with this film... we're going to talk about the plot devices.

Waterworld Economy: The economy is based on fresh water, dirt, and relics from the past. Now, Mr. Costner arrives at said city with about a half gallon of dirt. He trades this for a slew of 'chits' which are the equivalent of so many liters of fresh water. He then trades half of these chits for a tomato plant. A potted tomato plant. Potted in, yes, you guessed it, dirt. A nice big 2 gallon pot of dirt... hrm.....

Waterworld Technology: A floating city of steel, full of people and plastic, with the technology to process urine into drinkable water, lacks the ability to desalinate... A giant 1/3 full oil tanker carrying 400 'rowers' - yes, rowers... lets talk about that since i know quite a bit about it... They had the rowers arranged 2 to an oar, and the oars were steel, and reached, oh I'd say 150 feet to the ocean... (probably a couple tons a piece)... still, assuming the oars are virtually weightless, what is the motive power of 400 oars vs a 1/3 full oil tanker... hrm... well, an average man can impart 1/7 effective horsepower to a boat by oarage... thats about 50 horsepower.... against a deep keeled oiltanker fighting current and winds....

Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Cars that run 500 years after the fall... cigarettes that are worth smoking??? canvas clothing??? 500 working Sea-Doos puttering around in a waveless, stormless ocean??? A man with gills behind his ears that blows air out his nose when he swims??? Where's the oxygen processing system - in his skull??? Is that why he acts like such a dumbass, his brain has been reduced to the size of a walnut???? But WORST OF ALL, the opportunity to spend the rest of your life in paradise with the more than amorously interested JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN and you turn it down to sail away in an empty boat???


There is nothing redeeming about this film. It is american filmmaking at its worst. Every pretty shot feels fake. Every line of dialogue feels stilted. Every action by an actor is taken with a look of 'dont blame me, i'm following the script' on their faces. This looked like torture for all involved. I'm really looking forward to Waterworld II. I had called Batman the worst film i'd seen, had virtually gifted it a whole slew of year end awards... BUT NO!!!! A CHALLENGER HAS ARISEN!!!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Note: the stop button will shut them up...