home > archives > Miscellaneous
August 20, 2007
Riddle You This: Great Riddle Site A Friend Recommended

Hey I'm not much of a riddler, but I know a lot of you are, and a friend of mine recommended
this riddle site to me last night. So I thought I'd pass it on to you...

It's a riddle wrapped in a website (wrapped in a floury tortilla :-)

Weffriddles.com.

Posted by Lisa at 05:27 PM
April 01, 2006
Nice April Fool's From Google

Nice one: google romance.

I gotta tell ya, for a minute, they got me :-)

Update: the tour actually has some ingenious ideas for selling stuff to online daters. For instance - sending emails where all they have to do is click to send flowers to their upcoming date, etc. Somebody's gonna do this for real someday.

Posted by Lisa at 04:31 PM
September 12, 2003
A Home Grown Daily Show Of Sorts - Courtesy of Big Toe Productions

Damian Griffin wrote me last week to let me know about his own sketch comedy routine that was crafted in the classic The Daily Show fashion. It's pretty funny! I'm jealous, because one of my secret fantasies is to have a sketch comedy show of my own someday.

Damian is also an animator. His animated short film has been in about 17 festivals across the country.

Here's the clip (and a bunch of information about it below):

Big Toe Productions - Up To The Minute News

Here's a description from Damian in his own words:


Like most of you I love the Daily Show and think its the best social satire we have going right now. Jon Stewart is the greatest!

A few months ago I had the opportunity to attempt a Daily Show-esque newscast during a sketch comedy show in Denver. I recently digitized the last newscast I did and decided to post a clip of it to be humiliated by the message board.

But first, a few disclosures about the clip and show.

The Quicktime clip is about 7minutes long and about 18mb. It was done on May 31st, 2003.

This clip has stage lighting, interesting camera work, and is sometimes a little hard to hear.

I am not Jon Stewart and don't claim to be anywhere in his ballpark. This was just an unpaid gig and was just for fun.

I pretty much wrote the news segment and created the graphics over the course of a few hours on Friday afternoons shortly before the show, with little to no time for rehersal. I found it to be sometimes daunting for one person, but overall extremely rewarding and enjoyable.

There were 28 newscasts in all.

Posted by Lisa at 08:12 PM
July 31, 2003
Israel Passes Law Blocking Residency Permits For Israeli/Palestinian Marriages

Reaction #1: This is so sad.

Reaction #2: Ouch! Bad timing guys. I thought Israel was supposed to be in the process of building goodwill towards the Palestinian people. This can't be a step in the right direction.

New Law for Israeli-Palestinian Couples
By Gavin Rabinowitz for the Associated Press.


Israel's parliament on Thursday passed a new law that would force Palestinians who marry Israelis to live separate lives or move out of Israel despite charges from human rights groups and Israeli Arabs that the law is racist.

The law would prevent Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who marry Israeli Arabs from obtaining residency permits in Israel...

"This is a racist law that decides who can live here according to racist criteria," said Yael Stein from the Israeli rights group B'tselem.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have sent letters to the parliament protesting the law and urging lawmakers not to pass it, a statement from Human Rights Watch said.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-2974045,00.html

New Law for Israeli-Palestinian Couples


Thursday July 31, 2003 4:39 PM

By GAVIN RABINOWITZ

Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's parliament on Thursday passed a new law that would force Palestinians who marry Israelis to live separate lives or move out of Israel despite charges from human rights groups and Israeli Arabs that the law is racist.

The law would prevent Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who marry Israeli Arabs from obtaining residency permits in Israel.

The vote was 53 in favor, 25 against and one abstention, a spokeswoman for the parliament said.

``We see this law as the implementation of the transfer policy by the state of Israel,'' said Jafar Savah from Mossawa, an advocacy center for Israeli Arabs, referring to a plan by far right groups to transfer Israeli Arabs to other Arab countries.

Savah said the law was an attempt to legalize unofficial policy that has been in effect since September 2000 when violence broke out and warned that the law would damage relations between Israel and its Arab minority.

Both local and international human rights groups have condemned the law as racist.

``This is a racist law that decides who can live here according to racist criteria,'' said Yael Stein from the Israeli rights group B'tselem.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have sent letters to the parliament protesting the law and urging lawmakers not to pass it, a statement from Human Rights Watch said.

Israel's government contends that such a law is necessary for security reasons, citing instances where Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza have exploited their residency permits, granting them freedom of movement in Israel, to carry out terror attacks.

``This law comes to address a security issue,'' Cabinet Minister Gideon Ezra told Israel Radio. ``Since September 2000 we have seen a significant connection, in terror attacks, between Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza and Israeli Arabs,'' Ezra said.

Israel and the Palestinians have been locked in a bloody conflict for 33 months, though a cease-fire declared by the Palestinians on June 29 has significantly reduced violence.

The law, which passed its first reading on June 18, would force newly married couples to choose between living in the Palestinian areas or living separately and would be in effect for a year when the parliament must renew it.

It is not uncommon for members of Israel's 1 million strong Arab community to marry residents of the Palestinian areas, and this was one of the only ways a Palestinian could be eligible for an Israeli residency permit.

Ezra told the radio that since 1993 over 100,000 Palestinians have obtained Israeli permits in this manner. ``It has grown out of control,'' he said.

Stein from B'tselem said there have been only 20 cases from these 100,000 people who have been involved in terror.

``I am not taking these attacks lightly but this is an extreme solution to a marginal phenomenon,'' Stein said.

Ezra turned aside charges that the law was racist, saying ``I agree that anyone who kills Jews just because they are Jewish is a racist.''

Rights groups accused Israel of trying to rush the bill through parliament before it goes into recess on August 3.

Posted by Lisa at 10:02 AM
March 25, 2003
Funny CNN Parody

What they're really saying when you read between the lines :-)

Funny CNN Parody

Posted by Lisa at 09:03 AM
January 12, 2003
Fresh RIAA Hack Off Of The Presses (And On the RIAA's Website)

It might not be up anymore by the time you read this, but it was located here as of shortly after midnight tonight (not sure how long it's been up):
A New Vision for the Recording Industry


Our member labels will halt all plans to sell copy-restricted CDs. Restricting the use of CDs devalues the product, reducing the incentive for consumers to buy them. Also we believe that as time goes on, the public will realize, as we have, that due to the viral natural of distribution through file-sharing networks copy-restriction will never be effective at preventing online piracy but rather is indented to force our customers to buy the same music on multiple media.

We also vow to stop pursuing the companies behind file-sharing networks in court. In light of studies by reputable pollsters that have shown that most users of file-sharing networks reported that their music purchases increased in frequency, there seems to be little reason to continue spending millions in an attempt to shut down these services. Instead, we plan to propose to settle out of court in exchange for a royalty system based on a fraction of profit (only fair, given that these profits are derived in part from our products).

We will also stop lobbying politicians to impose draconian copyright laws on the American people. Last June, Rep. Rick Berman, who received more campaign donations from the entertainment industry than any other Congressperson, proposed legislation that would exempt rights-holders from anti-hacking law in order that they might exact vigilante-style justice on file-sharers. Initially we were thrilled at the display of the political might of our money, but later were sickened as we realized the implications for democracy in America. Morally, we cannot continue this manipulation of the political system.

Here's the full text in case the link goes bad:

http://www.riaa.com/PR_story.cfm?id=597

Press Releases
Contact: 202.775.0101
email

A New Vision for the Recording Industry

The past year has been one of the worst in the previous decade for the music industry. While factors beyond our control, such as the down-turn in the American economy, have no doubt contributed to this, the industry itself can certain not completely escape blame. In an attempt correct this, representatives from our member labels recently met to discuss ways of reforming the industry. The result of the meeting was a set of changes to current policies, outlined below, which, when implemented, we hope will pull the industry out of its current slump.

Our member labels will halt all plans to sell copy-restricted CDs. Restricting the use of CDs devalues the product, reducing the incentive for consumers to buy them. Also we believe that as time goes on, the public will realize, as we have, that due to the viral natural of distribution through file-sharing networks copy-restriction will never be effective at preventing online piracy but rather is indented to force our customers to buy the same music on multiple media.

We also vow to stop pursuing the companies behind file-sharing networks in court. In light of studies by reputable pollsters that have shown that most users of file-sharing networks reported that their music purchases increased in frequency, there seems to be little reason to continue spending millions in an attempt to shut down these services. Instead, we plan to propose to settle out of court in exchange for a royalty system based on a fraction of profit (only fair, given that these profits are derived in part from our products).

We will also stop lobbying politicians to impose draconian copyright laws on the American people. Last June, Rep. Rick Berman, who received more campaign donations from the entertainment industry than any other Congressperson, proposed legislation that would exempt rights-holders from anti-hacking law in order that they might exact vigilante-style justice on file-sharers. Initially we were thrilled at the display of the political might of our money, but later were sickened as we realized the implications for democracy in America. Morally, we cannot continue this manipulation of the political system.

In addition to the reasons just given, we also are doing both of the above, halting the lawsuits against the companies file-sharing services and stopping our coercive political contributions, in an attempt to restore consumer confidence in the music industry. Our customers will know longer will feel guilty after buying a CD, now knowing that the proceeds from their purchases will not be used to support causes that harm them and their peers.

To further convince consumers that the proceeds from their music purchases are well spent, we will be attempting to treat our talent more fairly. At the core of this effort will be the halting of collusion between labels on recording contracts. While overlooked by anti-trust law, the elimination of competition caused by collusion is just as harmful to the producers of content as it is to the consumers. No longer will artists be forced into signing contracts which reduce artist''s royalties for a multitude of arbitrary or antiquated reasons for if any label attempts such abuse, they''ll be certain to lose their talent to a competitor. We believe that this can be undertaken without damaging industry profitability. Firstly, the previously mentioned reduced legal and political expenditures will help to offset the cost. Secondly, we plan fix the sobering statistic that nine out of ten industry ventures end up failing recovering their costs. This figure would be unacceptable outside the entertainment industry and, while it was viable inside it due to the abuse of artists, there is no reason it should not be possible to vastly improve upon it.

Finally, we promise to stop trying to brainwash the world into thinking of music as property, something that an artist has an innate right to control, even after the media that embodies that music has changed hands. Rather, we will recognized only the original goal of copyright law in America, to benefit the average citizen by creating a incentive to produce creative works. We will also launch a publicity campaign to remind the public of this principle, unknown to many. We hope that upon learning that the true purpose of copyright law is to benefit them, average citizens will be more likely to respect it.

It is our hope that these policy changes will revitalize the industry and make it deserving of the unique place it holds within American culture.


Posted by Lisa at 12:19 AM
October 15, 2002
Internet Society Wins .org Bid

Nonprofit organization to oversee dot-orgs
As reprinted in the 10/15/02 San Francisco Chronicle from the NY Times.

The group that oversees the Internet's address system has selected The Internet Society as the future operator of the .org domain. The Internet Society was chosen out of 11 bids to take over responsibility for .org addresses from VeriSign Inc., which agreed to relinquish .org at the end of 2002 as part of an agreement allowing the company to continue managing the lucrative .com domain.

The Internet Society, a nonprofit organization involved in developing technology standards for the Internet, has established a separate nonprofit organization, the Public Interest Registry, to serve as the .org operator beginning Jan. 1, 2003.

Posted by Lisa at 02:39 PM
October 01, 2002
Ashcroft Sings of God and Kings

Ashcroft sings on CNN...

Posted by Lisa at 02:38 PM
August 03, 2002
Classic Films from the Prelinger Archive in Berkeley Thursday

The Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley is presenting a showing of films from the Prelinger Archive.

Check out the line up for this week and next week too.

Survival of the Fittest

Though these films were meant to consider the moment, they are often concerned with issues that irascibly linger. Here contradictions between Man, nature, and social byproducts duke it out.

Ant City (Almanac Films, 1949). Recut from a captured German science film, Ant City abuts images of the social life of ants with surreally dissociated narration. The effort to describe ant life in anthropomorphic terms leaves us feeling that such attempts to "humanize" other species are bound to fail. (9:56 mins, B&W)

A Nation at Your Fingertips (Audio Productions for the Bell System, 1951). For many, freedom to communicate instantly over a wide area didn't begin with e-mail, but with the telephone. This film dramatizes the exciting impact direct long-distance dialing had on isolated families. (10:19 mins, B&W)

Freedom Highway (Jerry Fairbanks Productions for Greyhound Lines, 1956). A bus transports us on a mysterious journey through the landscape of American mythology, overlaid with roads, battles, and Manifest Destiny. Its passengers, who include Tommy Kirk, Angie Dickinson, and Tex Ritter, learn that the space we inhabit can't be separated from the events that occurred there. (34:45 mins, Color)

Perversion for Profit (Citizens for Decent Literature, Inc., 1964-65). Banker Charles Keating and several others founded CDL in the early 1960s, producing "film essays" as part of their effort to influence anti-pornography legislation. Perversion for Profit shows examples of everyday erotica, reaching new heights of prurience in its efforts to censor offending body parts. (29:23 mins, Color)

# (Total running time: 85 mins, All films U.S., 16mm, From the Prelinger Archives)


PFA FILMSERIES: Films that Haunt the Future: Ephemera from the Prelinger Archives

PFA PLAYDATE: Thursday August 8, 2002


******

Artful Adaptations

Ephemeral films document all aspects of human life, from birth unto death. What follows are four films about people at odds with their environments, and how they try to help themselves.

Safety: Harm Hides at Home (Rodger Landoue, 1977). As usual in safety films, the everyday world is a minefield of potential risks, menaces, and jeopardy, but "Guardiana, the Safety Woman" and her supernatural powers are here to protect children from harm. (16 mins, Color)

Age 13 (Arthur Swerdloff for Sid Davis Productions, 1955). Sid Davis's most compassionate film and certainly his most unusual, Age 13 enlists Bu˝uelian surrealism and a neorealist sensibility to follow the emergence of an "at-risk" young teen from immobilizing anger to self-expression. In its inability to come to terms with customary film language, this might well be called an outsider film. (26:40 mins, B&W)

Social Class in America (Knickerbocker Productions, 1957). This sociology film obeys the conventions of educational films, but packs quite a wallop. Following three boys who grow up in a small company town, it shows the limits that social class imposes on mobility. An unusually downbeat (and realistic) document of disappointment in the fifties. (14:49 mins, B&W)

Boredom at Work: The Search for Zest (University of Oklahoma, 1963). From a remarkable series on the emotions of everyday life, The Search for Zest shows the efforts of a bored, desexualized, and neurotic engineer to find happiness through therapy. Borrowing from film noir and late 1950s TV drama, it might be read as a case study of a rural man trapped by his discontent with urban life. (25 mins, B&W)

# (Total running time: 83 mins, All films U.S., 16mm, From the Prelinger Archives)


PFA FILMSERIES: Films that Haunt the Future: Ephemera from the Prelinger Archives

PFA PLAYDATE: Thursday August 15, 2002

Posted by Lisa at 03:56 PM
July 29, 2002
Move Along, There's Nothing To See Here

UFOs in D.C. See the Washington Post story by Steve Vogel:
F-16s Pursue Unknown Craft Over Region.

Posted by Lisa at 03:48 PM
July 08, 2002
Partisan Gridlock All Over Again

Looks like it's the same old story on Capitol Hill this year: nobody wants the other side to get credit for doing anything before this fall's elections. The answer: do nothing at all.

Sure this might stop a lot of the stupid legislation we've been watching getting thrown around this year from being passed anytime soon, but it's going to stop anything useful from being done either. Bummer.

Read Declan McCullagh's piece for CNET (he left Wired News!) that explains the situation and also provides a nice breakdown of the various dopey tech bills and the one piece of legislation that is most likely to pass -- Homeland Security:
Much ado about nothing.

April 23, 2002
Major Pro-Palestinian Protests On Both Sides of the Globe

There was some major protesting going on last weekend, although you wouldn't know it from watching television. (Can you say: "media consipracy" boys and girls?)

Here are some links about the Pro-palestinian demonstration that happened in Washington DC:
Demonstrators Rally to Palestinian Cause

Pro-Palestinian march takes Washington by storm

Thousands protest Israeli, U.S. policies

Weekend Protests Prove Peaceful, Yet Send Powerful Message

Here are some pictures from a Pro-Palestinian demonstration that took place in Oslo, the Netherlands.

Posted by Lisa at 02:50 PM
April 16, 2002
Miscellaneous Fodder Here are some cool articles I ran across that I wish I had more time to say something witty about:
Grandads complete space mission

Magnetic fluid 'could save sight'

Web pirates pillage Hollywood
(which sounds like the usual anti-technology propaganda but turns out to be a fairly objective CS Monitor piece)
Posted by Lisa at 11:03 AM
December 25, 2001
Cory Doctorow on the Web's Carpetbaggers

Cory Doctorow has written some wonderful words to end the year with for the O'Reilly Network.

See:
2002: The Carpetbaggers Go Home .

In case it's escaped your notice, the economy is also circling the drain. Once-proud giants like Yahoo are shutting down weird little community-driven divisions like webrings.com. The traditional business press is full of gloating editorials from columnists who insist that they were never fooled for a second, they knew from Day One that the Internet was just hype and horseshit, a waffle-iron married to a fax machine, and here we are, the bubble burst, fortunes lost, hardy-har-har. (Even a stopped (analog) clock is right twice a day.)

Having spent billions trying to make 95-percent-reliable services function at 97 percent reliability, the Captains of Industry are off for greener pastures (cough biotech cough), leaving behind a horde of underemployed html jocks, perl obsessives, pixel-pushers, and pythoneers. What are these reborn slackers doing with their time in a down economy?

Exactly what they've done all along, only more so. The spare-time economy has yielded a bountiful harvest of weblogs, Photoshop tennis matches, homebrew Web services and dangerously Seattlean levels of garage-band activity.

Webloggers aren't professional journalists; they don't adhere to the code of ethics that CNN et al are nominally bound by, and they often can't spell or string together a coherent sentence, let alone pen an inverted-pyramid story. Nevertheless, bloggers are collectively brilliant at ferreting out every little detail of a story, wearing its edges smooth with discussion, and spitting it out again. Further, bloggers are spread out across the Internet, mirroring, quoting, and linking back to one another, collectively forming a Distributed Provision of Service that is resistant to CNN-killing catastrophes like 9/11. Blogs are about 95 percent of the way to being full-fledged news-sources, and the difference between the bloggers of the world and CNN is a couple of percentiles and several billion dollars.

Even as cable modem companies are knocking hundreds of thousands of subscribers offline, untethered forced-leisure gangs are committing random acts of senseless wirelessness, armed with cheap-like-borscht 802.11b cards and antennae made from washers, hot glue, and Pringles cans.

Posted by Lisa at 10:12 AM