January 2009 Archives

♻ At last

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Finally, Googling for “unicode snowman” brings you to the correct location.

…And after 12th grade I went straight to college. Run-DMC on “Reading Rainbow” rapping about books over their own beats—it doesn’t get much better than this, folks:

♻ Fallatio

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Was listening to USPS v. Flamingo Industries last night (eventually ruling that the Postal Service couldn’t be sued under federal antitrust laws). Flamingo made mail sacks, apparently, and their representation argued that since the USPS is involved in ventures other than mail delivery, it was open for suits to be brought against it. Interesting, but the end really got me:

Edwin Kneeler, representing the USPS, finishing up: If there are no further questions.

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer: Do they really sell biking gear? They don’t sell biking gear. Do they sell biking gear?

Kneeler: I… I’m not sure whether they… I… I don’t know whether they sell biking gear. The fact that they… the fact that they use the Postal Service team in… in… in promoting Postal Service products, I think, doesn’t say anything about whether they’re subject—

Breyer: They might deliver some mail on bicycles, I mean— [Laughter]

Kneeler: —It’s entirely possible.

Chief Justice William Rhenquist: Thank you, Mr. Kneedler. The case is submitted. [Whereupon, at 10:59 a.m., the case in the above-entitled matter was submitted.]

Breyer must have had that question lingering for a good twenty minutes. (Flamingo’s lawyer brought up “biking gear” much earlier on.)

From the Oyez Project’s biography:

Both Harvard and Stanford accepted Breyer, and though Breyer preferred the former, he bowed to his parent’s wishes and chose the latter. His mother had hoped to steer Breyer away from a narrow academic focus. At Stanford, Breyer achieved his mother’s wishes more than she would have liked perhaps, when he was arrested for underage drinking.

♻ Commander-in-chief

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Easily the most arresting image from the highly anticipated “The Big Picture” on Obama’s inauguration: the changing of the commander-in-chief’s portrait at Guantanamo. You know the photographer who took it saw that Bush portrait a while ago and has been waiting months for this moment.

♻ Raw Video

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I like being subscribed to the Associated Press’s YouTube channel because they not only publish concise, digestible recaps of news, but also because the AP releases snippets of “Raw Video”—video intended to be used as background imagery while a news anchor performs a voiceover. Well-edited, the clips also preserve the background noise of the video and let the affiliates mute it at their discretion.

It’s an interesting decision for the AP to post the Raw Video clips to YouTube, since they’re clearly not of high enough quality to be downloaded and used in a commercial broadcast; they’re just there for transparency.

Some interesting, some boring, but the ones I like best feel like cinéma vérité. Footage like this, featuring workers sealing up manholes juxtaposed with loud supporters mindlessly chanting for cameras:

Perhaps not intended as art, but viewed through an artistic lens, what isn’t?

♻ No more Notebook

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I’m sad Google is stopping development on Google Notebook. Though it has all the features I need and they’re leaving it running, it’s probably the first time Google has discontinued a product I currently use.

I think Google Notebook’s lack of success was due to its flexibility; it was so free-form, people didn’t know how to use it. I find it useful for organizing research from a bunch of disparate websites and mediums, and for all my non-Amazon wishlist needs.

12 (+ 2) Frat Party Themes

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With party themes like “golf pros and tennis hos” and “CEOs and corporate hos,” I had to know what other parties could possibly fit the requirement of “.*os and .* hos.” Google Sets didn’t really help.

grep-ing /usr/share/dict/words/ did, however, and I came up with a dozen more. Be forewarned, some of them are much better than others and some of them would make much better parties than others:

  • Dynamos and boring hos
  • Embryos and fetal hos
  • Eskimos and freezing hos
  • Gigolos and elder hos
  • Hidalgos and Mexi-hos
  • Jingos and racist hos
  • Maestros and opera hos
  • Politicos and Spitzer’s hos
  • Pyros and smoking hos
  • Rambos and ammo hos
  • Tuxedos and classy hos
  • Tyros and experienced hos

Boom. Enjoy. Any others you think I missed?

There were two more that didn’t quite fit the pattern, but I like them so much, I have to include them:

  • Esperanto (speakers) and Klingon hos
  • Fellatio (enjoyers) and straight-up hos

PS: Yes, this is the nerdiest way to come up with a party (save Euler-offs).

While it was overshadowed by the Daisy ad of the same campaign, I really like “Confessions of a Republican,” created by interviewing a very nervous Republican afraid of Goldwater’s supporters:

Inverting the Inverted Pyramid

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Perhaps you’re familiar with the inverted pyramid, the journalism style that begins with the facts of the story and tapers down to less important details near the end.

Well, suffer under the tyranny of the pyramid no longer! Now, you can install another Greasemonkey script to escape the pyramid by completely flipping it: Invert Inverted Pyramid.

More specifically, the script will reverse the order of news paragraphs on the following websites (I tried to include the most popular): The New York Times, Yahoo! News, BBC, CNN, Google’s hosted AP articles, The Guardian, and Reuters.

Reading news is sometimes interesting this way (indeed, I wouldn’t have written the script if I didn’t think this would be true). For example, an article about the Minnesota Senate recount opens:

“This is so accurate and has been done so carefully that the person with the least votes is going to say, ‘I’m disappointed, I’m sad, but I came in short this time,’” he said.

If you need a refresher on Greasemonkey, don’t forget about Prefetch Notifier!

An interesting little JavaScript oddity (that Ben encouraged me to note): this script works because appendChild will remove a node if it is already a child of the parent, and then append it; this lets the script just iterate through the paragraphs backward while appending them, which is kind of cool(?).

♻ Far Out

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A while ago, I tried to submit a 45’s envelope to the design archives of Record Envelope. I was rejected because they already had this envelope, but I’ll post my version here for posterity (and because I like it more):

Scanning through the archives is great; one of my favorites: Toshiba EMI.

♻ Crude Pleasures

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Just found this guy who has a predisposition for making hip-hop remixes of old cartoons. Some of them are pretty atrocious, but these two are pretty dope.

The Jetsons:

The Transformers: