November 2008 Archives

I wish the words NORTH, SOUTH; EAST, WEST weren’t so damn similar in shape. The antonyms are the same length, and have so many letters in common.

[adam@adam-hahns-macbook:~]$ grep -c "^$" /usr/share/dict/words
[adam@adam-hahns-macbook:~]$ grep -c "^$" /usr/share/dict/words

Not too many words fit the description, and those that do are opposites. I know this is probably due to etymology, but I just wish they weren’t words I didn’t have to pick out from a distance.


♻ Always a fun one

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Inspired by recent events of the court, I had to conduct this search. Some of the reports are actually pretty fun to read. (I found a sweet song (censored on YouTube) sampling “I’m Your Puppet” through that one.)

♻ My Adidas

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I really like the feel of this new adidas Originals ad:

♻ Aryan Outfitters

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Whenever I read an article on Mother Jones, I can’t help but take another look at their photo-essay on a KKK seamstress.

♻ Amazing PPTs c/o our Taxes

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The “Death and Taxes” guy analyzes PowerPoint presentations made by our military. While most of them are confusing, some of them are just clipart badass. More presentations available via Google!

I also enjoyed his Ekonami code.

I realize that linking to this on my blog is the hipster/nerd equivalent of forwarding an email asking why our tax dollars pay for “illegals” in emergency rooms or something, but these graphics are just too awesome.

♻ Just Take It and Go

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This tale of a recent (depressing) RadioShack visit compels me to link to The Onion.

♻ Launch Pad 39A

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Reuters talks about the process and technology involved in getting the right shots quickly for the recent shuttle launch:

KSC Photo Blog from Scott Audette on Vimeo.

Some of it’s pretty irreverent; it’s strange to think about how mechanical these shoots are for Reuters.

[via the Reuters Photographers blog]

♻ Full Stop

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Mainly for Ben: great interview from the Helvetica documentary:

Can’t wait for Gary Hustwit’s next doc, Objectified.

♻ Beyond -O3

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GCC Hacks in the Linux Kernel. GCC is crazy/awesome. While I imagine few programmers know of these optimizations, let’s hope compilers get so smart, no programmer will have to (save the compiler programmers…).

My favorite ad

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I see a lot of online ads in my day-to-day work. One popular tool at the advertiser’s disposal is the use of an IP address-to-location database to figure out what type of ad to show based on country, state, etc. Additionally, these can be used to “personalize” an ad (e.g., “Get an insurance quote for Redwood City, CA now!”). All this said, a few months ago, I came across my favorite banner ad I’ve ever seen:

It’s clear that the “San Carlos” (the database wasn’t perfect, since I was in San Mateo when I saw this) was added for a personalization factor (or something), but the fact that “sex” is also in red makes it seem like it was also added on the fly. (Of course this isn’t true, but it’s funny to imagine.) When showed to a co-worker, he suggested, “What else could fit in there? ‘Tea’? Girls from San Carlos want to have tea with you! TEA DATES.”

♻ LDS + YT

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Jeffrey introduced me to an interesting phenomenon: the LDS Mission Call. Mormons have the option to go on a 24-month mission, but where in the world they are assigned is almost random—the 20-somethings are sent a letter giving their assignment. Opening this letter is a pretty big deal, so friends and family are gathered either in person, via phone, or video chat. Now, it seems that videos of mission calls are posted on YouTube as a simple way of sharing the moment with relatives who couldn’t be there… and the rest of the world. So, without further adieu, I give you thousands of mission calls.

While I disagree with pretty much everything they represent, the videos are pretty fascinating to watch. It’s almost voyeuristic to watch some of them… Listening to a family’s elation when a loved one gets to go to a far-off land, or the thick disappointment known to everybody in the room when “Peoria, Illinois” is read out.

♻ Permission Granted

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Check out the ringing endorsement for the infamous “Chinatown bus” from the Federal Highway Administration. [via my dad]

♻ Weekend Web

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After a hiatus, the hilarious Weekend Web is back. If you’re not familiar, a bunch of people make fun of terrible forum posts (while they may or may not have their own terrible forum).

♻ You are correct

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Listening to DJ Z-Trip’s Obama mix lately. Highlights include DJ Vadim’s “The Terrorist” mixed with Obama’s favorite song, as well as a nice cameo from a Speak & Spell.

Captured with ⌘⇧3

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Is this some kind of joke perpetrated by Adobe?

Seriously? ⌥⇧⌘K to bring up the Keyboard Shortcuts menu?

Shoutout to ⌘C ⌘V Character for making this post possible.

Don't Litter

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More pictures from New York available on Facebook.

Update: Check out Ben’s flickr set.

Just got back from NYC. Map (with places we visited on our four days colored in Roy G. Biv for ordering, natch):

View Larger Map

♻ Carson Daly has my Respect?

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The Rock-afire Explosion documentary guys will be on “Last Call with Carson Daly” Tuesday of next week!

As unfunny/boring as I find the interviews, Carson Daly was the first person I saw on TV talking about Girl Talk

Update: The (slightly awkward) interview is now on YouTube.

♻ Prop(aganda)

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Uh, didn’t this chick kind of lose her “debate” with her friend by not being able to support her position?

Damn it.

♻ Birds

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Just realized somebody undid my edit on birds. Fuck that—when my kids are learning about animals, they’re going to learn that birds have wings. on the matter:

bird |bərd| noun 1 a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, and a beak and (typically) by being able to fly […]

♻ Watch this space

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♻ An Important FTP Server

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AP Election Services [via]

I was watching C-SPAN a few weeks ago and saw a program on running elections with Secretaries of State from a bunch of states. They really praised the AP for not only having dedicated employees who stuck through the entire night of counting, but also for working with the state’s technical infrastructure for disseminating the results.

♻ One Trick Pony

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If you drive at all, you’ve probably noticed the plummeting gas prices lately. I had always heard that conservative incumbents reduce prices before an election, taking advantage of voters’ short-term memories—making the public think the economy is rosy. While I’d heard this, I didn’t know if it was actually true, so tonight, I found out.

The data is from August 1990 to present, with the month preceding presidential elections marked in the color of incumbent president’s party. If the theory was true at all, we’d expect to see dips in all the red streaks, but we don’t. We see:

  • A large dip during this election (duh)
  • A small rise in 2004
  • Nothing noticeable in 1992, 1996, or 2000

Huh, I guess the myth was wrong (or I need more data).

PS: Excel 2007 was used to make this chart. I tried using Numbers first, which choked (miserably) graphing a relatively small dataset. Calc was next, but it couldn’t do the small dots I wanted. Why is this so hard? Is there a easier piece of software to use to make non-chartjunk? What do you use?

PPS: The red/blue dichotomy is actually relatively new—newer than all this data! Check it.

♻ 538 releases RSS...

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…less than 48 hours before the election. Better late than never?

Hello, World

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For the past few weeks, when friends asked what I’ve been up to, I’d often reply, “Eh, not much—working on my website.” For the amount of time it seems I’ve put into this, is not very impressive, but I guess it’s finally reached a steady enough state that I’m ready to “launch” it.

A Note on Naming

For those of you who have arrived and not deciphered the URL, you’re at, AKA, the “trashcan.” Why trashcan? Originally, I wanted a domain referencing the Ashcan School introduced to me in my (excellent) American Art 1900-1945 class. Setting up a site at seemed a little pretentious, though, and I’m not sure The Eight would appreciate my style.

Subdomains to the rescue! By making the subdomain “tr” as my homepage, I can keep my original domain—and be a little self-deprecating at the same time. Great. (I’m still kind of referencing the movement, even; they were called “ashcan” because early critics said their work belonged in a garbage can.)


My biggest blog idol is Andy Baio, and it would be a sin of omission if I didn’t mention him as an inspiration. Thus, as far as content goes, there will be two broad types of posts: links and original content. Links, denoted by a recycling symbol, will be more common, whereas original content is more rare and, appropriately, called “trash.”

If you have any suggestions or nits to pick, don’t hesitate to comment. Be sure to subscribe in your favorite feed reader!