Archive for March, 2011

Subtract One Panel for Despair

23:47 31 Mar 2011

Don’t believe me? Check out “3eanuts”.

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It’s a Straight Old Game, Apparently

17:49 29 Mar 2011

I hadn’t realized that soccer was still so closeted; now that I think about it, are all the major sports that same way? Does the construction of masculinity associated with our conception of athletic success make it so difficult to come out, or is it that the sports institutions are extremely traditionalistic and hidebound, or both?

I’d also like to say, and not at all in a sexual sense, fuck you, Sepp Blatter.

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A Guatemalan Tale of Truth Stranger than Fiction

21:37 28 Mar 2011

David Grann’s “A Murder Foretold: Unravelling the ultimate political conspiracy” is an amazing article; I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

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CrossFit Open 2011 Workout 1 B

17:17 27 Mar 2011. Updated: 17:49 17 Apr 2011

I tried the first workout again on Saturday, but did worse rather than better. I’m not that happy with my score, but it’s good enough to put me ahead of my goal of top 50%.

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BoingBoing’s Classic Game Deaths

21:00 25 Mar 2011

If you haven’t seen this already, you should definitely watch it (assuming any interest in classic video games, that is).

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23:42 24 Mar 2011. Updated: 01:43 25 Mar 2011

Pentadactyl is an add-on for Firefox that allows for keyboard-focused interaction with the browser by providing Vim-like keybindings. If you’re at all interested in browsing with the keyboard instead of the mouse, you should try it out.

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AT&T: No Escape

23:24 22 Mar 2011. Updated: 00:25 23 Mar 2011

When I first got my landline in San Francisco, it was with PacBell. They got bought by SBC, who were bought by AT&T. When I first got a cellphone in 2006, my service was with Cingular. They got taken over by AT&T. I stuck with AT&T for a while, with plenty of gripes, before escaping to T-Mobile. I’ve been very happy with T-Mobile.

So, naturally, AT&T now intends to buy T-Mobile.

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Realistic Sounds for Old Video Games

22:47 21 Mar 2011

Bits of this are just hilarious. The Pac-Man ghost-eating sound is probably my favorite.

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CrossFit Open 2011 Workout 1

15:11 20 Mar 2011

This year’s equivalent to Sectionals is a very different approach to the problem of qualification for Regionals. The whole Games structure is still three-tiered, with a qualifying stage for Regionals which is the qualifying stage for the actual CrossFit Games event. But whereas last year Sectionals were events themselves, taking place over two days, this year we have the CrossFit Open, taking place over six (now actually seven) weeks without any central location. Competitors can either compete at registered affiliates or video themselves doing the workouts.

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Welcome to the Future Market

21:58 18 Mar 2011

The year is 2011, and sophisticated AIs carefully watch trends and track/correlate/analyze vast amounts of data to inform sophisticated maneuvers in the global markets.

Or, well, maybe a bunch of dodgy scripts are doing clumsy sentiment analysis on various volatile and imprecise social networks and rumormongering news services, and they can’t tell the difference between Anne Hathaway and Berkshire Hathaway.

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A Historical Comparison of IE Versions

23:35 17 Mar 2011. Updated: 00:36 18 Mar 2011

I’ve been struggling all week with a JavaScript issue that’s either caused or uncovered by Internet Explorer 9, and while this video has nothing to say on that front, it’s still fascinating to me:

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Cities: Urban Centers or Transfer Points for Capital?

22:33 15 Mar 2011

Cities have always been centers of capital; I don’t think you can have cities without something (in our history, initially agriculture) to produce surpluses of goods that can (must?) be stored (hoarded? selectively distributed?), and the centralization that such storage encourages has always been a fundamental part of why cities exist.

I love cities. I love them for their concentration of people and culture (the modern form of which, it could be argued, arises out of the former), for the intermingling they encourage and for the aspects of cultural and social choice they provide. I’ve always disliked other aspects, however: the concentration of capital and the power dynamics this creates, and the shaping of cities as feeding/breeding grounds for capitalist/consumerist expenditure/exploitation. I don’t care that these dynamics have thus far been prime drivers for the existence of cities; an optimist (yes, really) about human potential, I believe it’s possible for us to reorganize cities to have the good without the bad. In any case, cities have always had this tension (among others) between capital and people, but they’re still understood largely as spaces for inhabitation—that is, as places for people.

This may be changing.

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Blast from the Past: Reddy Realty

23:50 14 Mar 2011. Updated: 00:51 15 Mar 2011

From 1999–2000 I lived in a Berkeley apartment, and was recently reminded that it was rented from a criminal sex offender who would ultimately plead guilty to, among other things, the transportation of minors for illegal sexual activity.

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Obama: Just Another Establishment Hack

19:42 13 Mar 2011

I’ve actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They have assured me that they are.

Obama was referring to Bradley Manning, who is being held in Quantico, in 23-hour-a-day isolation, who’s deliberately being deprived of sleep, and who has recently had even his boxer shorts taken away from him.

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Should’ve Bought Apple Stock

23:49 11 Mar 2011. Updated: 00:50 12 Mar 2011

This is actually a little painful to go through: a list of Apple hardware prices combined with what that many dollars’ worth of Apple stock at the time would be worth today.

I bought a PowerBook G4 800 DVI-Ti in 2002; it was and remains the most expensive machine I’ve ever purchased. It’s certainly served me well, and I still have it, but if I’d put that money into Apple stock at the time, my Apple stock would now be worth a shade over $72000.

Even though I’m posting it, I’m not sure what the point of this chart is. It’s not useful for predicting the future, so really it seems like a comprehensive exercise in enabling regret, but regret is one of the least useful states of mind. It might fire our dopamine receptors and convince us we’re gaining information, but it’s low-value information. Despite this realization, my feeling of “why didn’t I even consider buying Apple stock at the time?” is strong enough right now that I’m going to post it anyway.

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Facebook “Like” Top 40 News Stories

20:20 10 Mar 2011

An interesting study of Facebook user interest in news stories on major news sites from October 2010 to January 2011.

I’m a little depressed by the number of astrology-related “likes”.

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CrossFit Open 2011 Coming Up

22:13 08 Mar 2011

Registration for this year’s version of Sectionals, the CrossFit 2011 Open, is now open. I registered this afternoon, and am looking forward to competing and to seeing what the logistics of the competition are like—there’s no one central location per region anymore, instead any affiliate can run qualifying sessions, and in addition competitors can submit workouts on video. Another change is that it’s spread out over six weeks, with workouts announced every week starting 15 March. Workouts are the same of everyone everywhere, although regions still matter for qualification.

My goal is still to place in the top 50% in my region, and I don’t think that’ll be an easy goal to achieve. Like every competitor, I have to hope that none of the workouts contain major weaknesses for me—and that I’m able to finish all of them as specified, because no scaling is allowed.

I’m in much better shape, especially in terms of strength, than last year, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough.

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The Ongoing Torture of Bradley Manning

23:51 07 Mar 2011

Yes, it is torture. Glenn Greenwald, among others, has been bringing into the public eye the suffering inflicted upon him.

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Quick & Dirty Book Info Lookup

21:57 06 Mar 2011

I’m still trying to cut down on the number of books I have in my apartment. That still feels wrong, but the shift to ebooks is making it a little easier. Now I’m getting rid of books that aren’t big favorites of mine, weren’t given to me as gifts, and aren’t in the poorly-defined category of “classics I want to keep”.

Because I’m a pack rat and a data geek, I have a hard time getting rid of books if I haven’t recorded the metadata about them I want to record. Unfortunately, I’m not always diligent about noting that info as I read the books, so the majority of the books I wanted to give away or sell were books where I hadn’t done so—and I really didn’t want to go through them one by one.

Modern technology to the rescue…

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Webcomic: Romantically Apocalyptic

21:01 04 Mar 2011

Probably not as cool as it thinks it is, but odd and worth a look: Romantically Apocalyptic.

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China Miéville and “Uncoding the City”

23:07 03 Mar 2011

There’s a fantastic interview with China Miéville over at BLDGBLOG, quite long and ranging over a lot of interesting topics. Perhaps my favorite piece:

I know there’s a very strong tradition—a tradition in which I write, myself—about the decoding of the city. Thomas de Quincey, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Iain Sinclair—that type-thing. The idea that, if you draw the right lines across the city, you’ll find its Kabbalistic heart and so on.

The thing about that is that it’s intoxicating—but it’s also bullshit.

—Geoff Manaugh & China Miéville. “Unsolving the City: An Interview with China Miéville”. BLDGBLOG, Tuesday 01 March 2011.
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Defending Tennessee from the Specter of Islamic Rule

22:54 01 Mar 2011

This is amazingly ridiculous: “Tennessee Jumps on the Anti-Sharia Bandwagon”. That’s right, Tennessee State Senator Bill Ketron has introduced a bill that essentially equates the practice of Sharia law with treason. While it might not pass, and if it did pass it would pretty clearly not be Constitutional, it’s really sad that it’s even been proposed.

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