Tim and the Tin Titan


NY subway photos
Great series of pictures of signs in the NY subway: Satan's Laundromat: Burma-Shave The "Burma-Shave" reference is a style of road-side ads in the 50's.


Great Writing
A great story by Jerry Mahoney over at The Morning News: My Brush with Terrorism:

"After all, legend has it first class on this airline is the transportation equivalent of getting a blowjob while smoking crack. (Neither of which, any in-flight brochure will tell you, is acceptable while on board.)"
"If I?ve learned one thing from the post-Sept. 11 travel hysteria and the Patriot Act and the due-process-free Guantanamo Bay detentions, it?s that when airport security tells you to do something, it immediately becomes your top priority, outranking flying to New Orleans, exhaling, or cell mitosis."
" I imagined my bag being ?detonated? on the runway, as a safety precaution of course, and my beloved blue hooded sweatshirt becoming just a distant memory. But it turned out my bag simply had not made it aboard my plane, that it would be arriving on the next flight, that it wasn?t reduced to a thin layer of soot in a blue-hooded, nitroglycerine-free pile of soot."

Great stuff, I love this kind of writting.


Spam Saviors?
The article
Three Proposed Ways to Stem the Email Influx take a look at the 3 leading techniques to authetify the originator of an email: SPF (which I have posted about before), Caller ID for E-Mail (stupid name, it comes from Microsoft) and DomainKeys (from Yahoo). Caller ID looks to be the same as SPF except with the DNS entry being written in XML. DomainKeys would use encryption to autheticate the server that is sending e-mail.

The Language of Rapa Nui
I don't remember where is got the link for the site:
Rongorongo or the Hieroglyphs of the Easter Island Tablets but it is a pretty amazing collection of information regarding the writings of the ancient inhabitants of Easter Island.

Not much is known about this language, not even if a proper writing system, a pictogram system or another type of mnemonic system.

There are hundreds of distinct characters and hundreds more variations displayed in the 26 artifact the comprise the corpus of this language. The site has information about each piece, often times including pictures, tracings and numerical transliteration.

Many attempts have been made to translate the writings over the last 150 years, there has even been events when some local are said to have read the artifacts (although some thing they were making it all up). No one, so far, has been able to come up with a theory that makes sense.

The two somewhat consistent elements that are said to have been found are a genealogy and a lunar calendar. Personally, I think the evidence for the lunar calendar is a bit flimsy where as the genealogy look more robust.

Many theories exist, even one that says that the language is related to an ancient language from the Indus Valley.

A very fascinating mystery

Stow Away Travel
Ever dream of stowing away on a cargo ship to see the world? Turns our that many cargo ships take up to 12 passengers on board. The Internet Guide to Freighter Travel has all the information you could ever want on the subject, including where and how to book your trips and what to expect on board (not much in the way of distractions for 20 days at sea....)


The confusion of DVD-R vs. DVD+R
I have wondered for a while what the difference between the two writable DVD standards are. VideoHelp.com's What is DVD? anwsers most fo those questions with details about each formats technical details.

Briefly, DVD-R is more compatible but DVD+R is technically superior. Also, apparently Macs can only read DVD-R. So the recommendation is DVD-R for movies and Macs, DVD+R for data.


My Purse
A funny/insightful blog post on Capn Design about man-bag discrimination: the fact that men often have to check bags or backpacks at venues while women are allowed to bring in purses that are sometimes just as voluminous, if not more.

Seeing as I always have my backpack with me, I can relate :)

A Look Back
In the wake of all the horrible pictures coming out of Abu Ghraib, Sex and Psychological Operations by Herbert A. Friedman is an interesting site that details the use of sex in psychological operations in World War II by the Soviets, Germans, Americans, Japaneses and British. There are also two small section on the Korean and Vietnam war.

In those days, PsyOps consisted mostly of leaflets dropped on enemy lines. As the article demonstrates, the leaflets and their messages varied from one front to the other but a common theme seemed to be to make the soldiers worry about what is going on with their wives and girlfriends back home while they fight on the front. The Germans had a very inventive campaign, including see-through card, parodies of Time magazine and puzzles dropped in envelopes.

I do not know if this is a coincidence or not, but the American leaflets seem to be the most graphic by far (suggestions of beastiality, lesbianism and pedophilia) including some that were partially blurred by the site's author "so as not to offend".

Can the pictures of Abu Ghraib be put in the same category as these? I think not. They are in a whole different category that crossed the boundary between psychological warfare and into war crimes.

The illustrations might not be safe for work, but nothing more than bare breasts.

[from Waxy.org's links]


Why the army should not do policing
From Lessons in Command and Control from the Los Angeles Riots:
"Police officers responded to a domestic dispute, accompanied by marines. They had just gone up to the door when two shotgun birdshot rounds were fired through the door, hitting the officers. One yelled `cover me!' to the marines, who then laid down a heavy base of fire. . . . The police officer had not meant `shoot' when he yelled `cover me' to the marines. [He] meant . . . point your weapons and be prepared to respond if necessary. However, the marines responded instantly in the precise way they had been trained, where `cover me' means provide me with cover using firepower. . . . over two hundred bullets [were] fired into that house."

Comic Artist of Note
I have an artist to share with you:
Kurt Halsey has many drawings and paintings on his site. His statement describes his works well: "Shy and quiet, yet expressive and charming, my paintings use a sweetness and an innocence to tell the stories of heartache, love, sorrow, regret, confusion, and fear that each of us realistically feels in certain situations." Check out some good examples like these: the same song and she lives

PlayFair is back with a new name
The software that used to be known as PlayFair is back as hymn -- Hear Your Music aNywhere. This time it's hosted by India's FSF. The newer version, due out soon, will leave the user identifier intact, proving that this tool is not meant to facilitate file sharing.


Cheap stay
Mcgill's Summer accommodations are a great, cheap place to stay in Montreal during the summer. 45$CAN taxes included per night in Bishop Mountain Hall residences (downtown) is a bargain in a typical down room. If you want more room, Solin Hall, on the Lachine Canal, has one, two, three and four bedrooms apartments for summer sublet. The prices are excellent: 1 Bedroom Apartment, Double Occupancy, Weekly: 350$CAN. If you are willing to forgo some of the luxuries, this arrangement beats any hotel price.


Damn It
Looks like my template is buggered, so bear with me while I reconstruct...

Hum, last Sunday was this weblog's one year anniversary. Just that...

Other People's Opinions
I like getting personal recommendations from actual people. It just makes it much better than a journalists review. In that vein, I have come across a couple of general purpose sites that offer up personal recommendations:

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools and SilverOrange's Stuff. Both are full of different type of recommendations from head shavers to boots to wireless cards.

Another Favorite of mine is MTBR.com (Mountain Bike Review). This one allows any registered user to review any bike, part or accessory in the site's DB. Some of the ratings have to be taken with a grain of salt but when you read 20 reviews of people having the same problem, you can easily spot trends. I try to always check the info here before buying parts.

In the same vein, dante and I have started ToolWerks. It is meant primarily to be a technical bookmark collection, a way of organizing and categorizing our favorite bits of information. Not much there yet but it will come soon.