Monday, July 28, 2008

This is what happens when you sell yourself as different only to show your true colors as just another opportunistic politician.

And this is what happens when i read stories like that.

ComicCon 08 has ended... and much like the E3 shows it replaced as the hollywood media meets convergence culture event of the summer - it's become a less-rare odd mixture of oddly obsessive fans and the narcissistic stars that love to be loved.

I feel bad for those that've had their venue usurped by hollywood moguls and girls in hello kitty costumes. Desuetude indeed...

Passing motorists called Ozark police out of concern for the teen as he walked along the busy overpass. When the police arrived, the young man was lying on the shoulder of the highway directly underneath the 30 foot high overpass with a broken back and foot.

Doctors believe 16-year-old Mace Hutchinson broke his back and heel after falling, as his injuries are consistent with such a fall. The boy's family does not understand why police would have tasered the the teen 19 times after he was so seriously injured.

Color me unimpressed...
(seriously... if i had a broken back and you started tasing me i'd probably have some harsh things to say about what i wanted to do to you and your family as well)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

See - this is a perfect example. The internet has cut the cost of transport of information, right? I mean - I've said this god knows how many times - that the value of 'product' in a Tofflerian 'information economy' is reduced exponentially over time due to the ability to easily replicate and distribute said information. Hell - i spent i dont know how many hours studying feudal grain price fluctuations in central europe based on brigandage/war and it's effects on urban pricing - i KNOW how this crap works...

So textbooks have always been a scam. Professors would demand the latest edition - and change editions every couple years (usually involving a new forward, or a couple maps). This was absurd when I was in college... the pricing and the demands are STILL absurd... but used textbooks (as a method of mitigating these costs) were certainly popular back in my day. We had textbook trading faires, people shared books, etc etc. How did professors get around it - they negotiated 'fair use' copyright fees for pieces of works, assembled them into yearly 'reading material', and had Ginny's print up 600 page sets. $30 at Ginnys for the best parts of 6 books was a much better deal than $100 for a single book - and enough of that $30 got back to the profs that it was very much in there interest to do it. The textbook companies could only offer kickbacks to profs for making and requiring new sales - that was all they could do - and over time it has jacked the cost of textbooks into absurdist levels.

Which leads us to - how is this news? I'm surprised the big textbook houses are still in business - they're no more accurate than wikipedia - and they're certainly not priced rationally relative to the cost of manufacture. The reality is - look at the SEEDS in that NYTimes article image... 13... it's not like that's a 'significant and imminent threat' to the publishing industry. How many of that handful of 'criminals' would buy the book if it were, say, $50 instead of $200 - and tell me that that equation isnt BUILT into the pricing model. This is just more 'evil pirates is not sexy' bluster.

I'm looking at 9000 seeds in 'the pirate bat' pirate bay hollywood stick poking going on right now. If they want to point out the problem - THAT's where you do it (though if the NYTimes did that there'd be another 3000 seeds in a matter of hours)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Muahahahahahahaahah (first 49 seconds of this one)

Now there's some *real* pre-9/11 thinking for ya...

Fox... Really? I mean... REALLY?... nyoro~n

mmmmm... Guinness...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Far be it from me to tell anyone what should and shouldnt be on television... I mean really. But come on.

An Islamic TV station using a Bugs Bunny lookalike to preach hatred to children has been slammed by religious leaders in the UK who fear it could brainwash vulnerable British children. Assud the rabbit, who vows to 'kill and eat Jews' and glorifies the maiming of 'infidels' appears on Palestinian children's show, Tomorrow's Pioneers.

Now look. I know it's fairly standard practice in religious indoctrination to get em young - but isn't this just too much? I'm not bitching about the nanny state mentality of 'protecting the young minds of vulnerable british snowflakes' - that's a load of crap... where I see the problem is with getting hate spewing crap off the public airwaves and into the dank tubes of teh intarwebs (or on Fox News) where it belongs. Violent religious intolerance is bad enough amongst the Hagees and the Liebermans - we dont need a generation of bigoted british asshats joining in the fun. Next thing you know they'll be sporting Liverpool Golly badges and heading for Columbus with cricket bats.

Still - I suppose it could be worse... it could be Xuxa.

The Spam King has abdicated... permanently.
I feel for the teenage daughter - shot through the neck... hopefully she'll collect on the Nigerian Bank deposit I hear she has waiting for her - she's going to need the money.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just to drag the rest of you down to my misanthropic level... Italy is trying to lower the bar yet again. Don't they understand that it's the Americans that are supposed to be doing that...

Note: this story is rather disturbing in a 'i hate people' sort of way. Not that there aren't plenty of those on any given day, but for some reason this one just pissed me off. (I think it's the picture on page 2 that does it)

A great encapsulation of why I cant vote for the other asshole either.

New World Order indeed....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

then watch

the crazy stormtroopers are at it again arent they...

I remember these stories at the time...

I remember being in my car, listening to NPR, hearing accounts of the 'camps'... the 'rumors' of how bad it might be behind the lines... the first hand accounts by women who'd been liberated or had somehow managed to escape.

And all I could think at the time was 'bomb every serb city flat' - a society that can breed monsters that do things like that need not exist. Now, a decade or more later, I look back at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and I cant help but wonder when we joined the ranks of the axis of evil. A decade or more later, we've finally caught Karadzic - and i can only hope some of the boys from Gitmo who've spent so much time practicing their trade on innocents might put their newfound skills to better use. This is a man who should be tortured... repeatedly... for decades.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Give you one guess what's wrong with this video...
and no - it's not that it needs more of this

Juan Cole goes off on the Malaki Der Spiegel interview - and the mainstream media's complicity in trying to make it out to be something it isnt - a mistranslation. Just to make it clear - what he said, translated from the audiotape of the interview in question, was “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

That is as close to 'get the fuck out of my country' as he's going to get - and presenting it as anything OTHER than that is propaganda.

Now I'm not saying Obamaron has more than half a clue on this one - the idea of ratcheting up the war on terra by pouring military resources into afghanistan at this point has quagmire book two writ large, but no one said we elect intelligent people as president.

There are solutions, but they involve things like books and clothes and being friendly rather than dropping bombs on people - and there's no lobby for that. Gah - i feel dirty again...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Great piece in the Washington Post today on the Airforce's waste of anti-terrorism money on color-coordinated seatbelts (you cant make this shit up). Hell - considering how big a waste of money the REST of the War on Terra is, the idea of blowing it on 'comfort capsules' isnt really any more egregious.

"In a letter of complaint sent yesterday to Gates, POGO asserted that the new capsules will provide no special communications or work capabilities beyond those already available for top officials on Air Force transport aircraft."

That being the case, perhaps airforce brass have been living a little large across the board. To quote my father on the subject - "I want my own comfort capsule". I suppose we should come to expect this sort of graft and waste when dealing with the Bush administration - afterall these sorts of boneheaded maneuvers are pretty well guaranteed to provide the excuse for applying harsh budget oversight to otherwise successful government programs (not that the war on terra should fall into that particular silo). It plays as a classic republican 'ruin good government at all costs' strategy. Almost requires a good earworm to get it out of your system.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 20th Vocaloid 2 is releasing 2 new voices... it will cost $148... this is what happens when your currency becomes synonymous with the constitution - ie 'brownbacks'. I'm busy beefing up the firewalls and installing encryption on everything (no i'm not being silly - they've left us no choice). There are some interesting products... but i want to toy with them before i suggest anything.

Anyway - to get the bad taste of politics out of your mouth, and in honor of vocaloid's release, here's something annoying from Sweden.

Friday, July 18, 2008

So yesterday on The View...
oh god - did i really just say that?
yeah... i guess i did... oh well, nothing to do but go forward from here...


So where was I... ah yes... Whoopi Goldberg went off on a nuanced rant about racism in America and tried to reclaim the N word. Needless to say the resident blonde on set didn't really understand - and honestly - I have to say I felt for her. Whoopi is making an argument that's got complexities and rules that are BEYOND Elisabeth... and thus the sad Survivor refugee finds she's unable to follow the rules and know what she's supposed to do.

The reality is that there are some things you dont reclaim. You cant take back the swastika even though it's a religious symbol of good luck that predates the N421s... no one in their right mind would try. When a white southerner makes claims about 'heritage' in reference to the confederate flag you KNOW how people react - and for good reason... Elisabeth is TRYING to do the right thing here and Whoopi is confusing her... yes - there's racism that's deeper and more complex than the use of a single simple word - but that doesn't mean we need to USE the damned word - and that doesn't mean that someone as demonstrably stupid as Elisabeth is EVAR going to understand that.

In the mean time, in no way does this alter my willingness to use the C word for Hillary.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

If you're an IT guy and you have a mad plan to take over your city, it should probably involve more than 'securing the network from unauthorized tampering'. I mean - this guy is being accused of taking the city hostage - when in reality he just has the master password for the routers and is refusing to relinquish it.
Maybe I misunderstand, but this story seems a bit of an exaggeration.

Red Swingline indeed....

The good news is that no matter how far we fall, there'll always be someone who's leading the charge with a sense of unbridled irony.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In Japan, everything is on the table.

Whether it's a little girl raising the spirit of a sunken relic of empire, a space battleship saving earth, or a moe girl who transforms into a mighty battleship to blow the clothing off the CV-6 Enterprise.

I wish someone would do this sort of thing to the American civil war - not that i want to see Longstreet in a tattered speedo or anything...

sing it with me --
...tiny bubbles...

no, things haven't crossed the line... honest... you just need more medical treatment if you think so

Sunday, July 13, 2008

hey jesse...
in case you didnt notice - he doesn't have any
didnt you get the memo?

Friday, July 11, 2008

For some reason i keep having these conversations with these people from skill-game companies who want to figure out how to convert their players into people who'll play for cash. I wrote a long fairly complex paper on the subject six months ago, citing some of Henry Jenkins work on collaborative culture (what draws people to online communities like these) and drawing on my fairly extensive experience in the space. The net net is - ITS NOT GOING TO WORK. There's really not much point in reading all the 'here's what these analysts over at E&Y had to say about the sector growth' and mapping those projections to the realities or the breakout of all the attempts by very large online organizations to make these games work (backgammon to mahjong) and why they've all failed (no matter what model was attempted). The only route that seems to work is the large scale advertising model - but that requires HUGE channel relationships with giant piles of eyeballs (ie what EA seems to be doing with POGO in China if the guys they're talking to to run the thing are telling me straight (language barriers can be tough some days)).

Ultimately - there are probably ways to make these sorts of things almost work - but you have to have DEEP pockets, have a method of pouring massive amounts of your profits back into brand building to fend off the traditional game portal brands and service providers who see gaming communities as easy advertising eyeballs, and all the idiot companies that will come along and blow massive wads of cash trying to snap up your fun players so they can try to do the impossible themselves.

The reality is - doing online gaming requires COMPLEX infrastructures that you are not going to build in your garage with 3 guys who havent been there and done it. If you want to build these things - you need to find people who've done it - and you need to VET YOUR IDIOT IDEA before you waste the development money. MARKETING REQUIREMENTS DOCUMENTS people... do your homework... if some sleazy CEO comes to you and promises you a billion dollars if only you'll give him enough money so he can fly first class to China and stay in a 5-star hotel - odds are you're being taken for a ride.

In the end - sometimes - it's not about the execution. Some ideas are just bad. An MMORPG based in a high school for example... (Of course, if you're going to make a verb out of a bacteria, it might as well involve a dance mix...)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Since we're not talking about politics - how about kitties...

'i wonder if they make rohypnol for dogs'

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

FISA and Politics

There comes a point in life when you look at the years you've been banging your head into a wall and say 'that wall there, it's a wall, it's probably not going to be a doorway just because i keep running my head into it'. It just sort of defines batshit crazy...

Ok - maybe defines is strong... Still and honestly, I expect 'the machine' to control politics in this country - big and small. I expect corporations to run things through the use of lobbyist money and post-government employment. Why? The same reason communism fails - because people are dicks. Where this system fails is when the public interest at large lacks a voice... where the education system is intentionally deteriorated to the point of churning out people more interested in Bachelorette than Iraq's PM insisting on troop withdrawal timetables... where the news media becomes a venue for 'entertainment' stories rather than facts (from a book)... where the political system becomes so corrupt that real dire threats to the public at large are swept under the rug, ignored, pandered to, and left to later generations to sort.

I'm done with politics. I dont want to talk about it anymore. There's no point. I've put my head into that wall too many times - and it's not changing. No more Colbert and Stewart... no more Olbermann and TPM and DU and WaPo op eds... it's pointless and i'm tired.

Obama? Phil put it pretty well...

    Well if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand
    I've seen your face before my friend, but I don't know if you know who I am
    Well I was there and I saw what you did, I saw it with my own two eyes
    So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been
    It's all been a pack of lies

So that's it. Go ahead and burn the planet to a cinder people. I'm buying a lawn chair and a four-pack of Guinness, a bucket of popcorn, and some opera glasses. No more money to political parties, no more standing in lines for 3 hours to caucus, no more weeks in Little Rock or 18 hour days in political organizations trying to change this country for the better - and no more voting for bond elections that increase teacher pay or rebuild infrastructure. I'm truly disaffected at this point. It can all go to hell for all I care.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

i've been polishing off the last Charles Stross works - namely Glasshouse and Halting State over the last couple weeks. He's an author that keeps getting better. His ideas are still strong - his characters are getting cleaner and more nuanced - and his story telling is getting tighter. With most authors you pick up a book and you know you're going to get something a lot like what you got last time... Stross is breaking that rule. I started reading Stross when i pulled one of his older ebooks off a torrent - loved it - bought the hard copy - and have bought all the rest (take that you anti-filesharing nazis).

Halting State was a really intriguing story - but then i suppose if you write a book merging the worlds of corrupt high-finance, government spying, online banking, and World of Warcraft I suppose it's natural to find me intrigued - somewhere in there rooting around like a pig in shit.

Thanks Charlie - you've been making my brain work - and there are far too few of those out there. Saturn's Children is next - i'll pick it up when next in town.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

did i mention that we suck yet today?


damn... well...we still suck
"On five occasions he was ordered to either falsify his reporting on WMD in the Near East, or not to file his reports at all"

I'm almost numb to it all now...

DIAF assholes.

The US Army is at it again. Not enough to throw puppies off cliffs or torture the innocent... now we're killing the sheep in iraq so they dont come to the US i suppose.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cant help but feel for the people flooded out by muskrats in MO.

"It's so disappointing," said Linda Wilmesherr as she peered through binoculars at water pouring through a gap that appeared to be 30 feet wide. "With all the guns in this county, couldn't we kill a muskrat?"
if you need to kill varmints you gotta fallback with superior firepower - and superior intelligence. Alas - we seem to have neither...

Cuts for NASA funding
Budget Increases for Faith Based Intitiatives

Fuck him.
I hope he spends a lot of time with Michael Ballack near the bus stop.

0:13 to 0:18 is priceless