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Second string news

Naturally, bloggers have been talking about the big stories that are consuming the mainstream media's attention; the publishing of Iraq's nuclear instructions and that prominent pastor buying drugs from his gay prostitute masseuse.  But there were other stories that resonated in the blogosphere that didn't (to my viewing) make as much noise in the mainstream.  Warbloggers were outraged at the student dressed as a suicide terrorist for Halloween.  (Here's the student's apology.)  On the left, I was amused by the TalkLeft headline, GOP declares Iraq war over.  That blog wasn't alone in having a strong reaction to the termination of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Speaking of that prominent pastor, "With a rise in the popularity of Christian-style weddings in Japan, some Westerners are finding they can make a lucrative living by acting as priests."  Funny, here in America there are apparently a number of people trying to pass themselves off as men of the cloth as well.

Speaking of making a mockery of religion, Evan Almighty is a Bruce Almighty sequel featuring Steve Carell in a Noah role.

Speaking of Old Testament comedy, I also watched this animated telling of the story of Job.

Speaking of God turning His back, 300 unanswered prayers wash up off N.J.; Letters to God — anguished, humorous, some decades old — found in ocean.  It was probably one of my colleagues who wrote that headline, but I'd like to know how they know the prayers weren't answered.  Maybe those were the answered ones.

U.S. presidential speeches tag cloud - The page is a weird layout because the top is all graphic and navigation.  What you want is the middle of the page.  The timeline dragger is above the word cloud on the right.  It reminds me of the State of the Union word count interactive timeline.  (And the State of the Union parser.)  The really early speeches are the most interesting I think.

Speaking of early America, Ben Franklin on why older women make better lovers.

Mass culture turns on the Republicans -- but why?  This takes the unexpected twist of criticizing fair-weather Bush critics.

Speaking of the election, Election 2004 site flashback:  electoral-vote.com is back in the online discourse with its mouseover map.

Soros Bumped as Top Political Giver by Swift-Boat Group's Perry ... in case you thought this election season had a familiar feel.

Still speaking of the election, how much different would campaigns be if voters had to pass a test to vote?  How much different would government be?

Long piece in Fortune Magazine about Diebold, the voting machine maker.

Speaking of our fragile democracy, 12 smartcards go missing in Tennessee; Control electronic voting machines.

Top ten non-Google map innovations - It's interesting to see the MSNBC News Map listed at the end.  It's not new, but I'm pretty sure you won't find it on our site.  I'm not even sure who made it.

Speaking of maps, Map of hate groups in the U.S.

Machine gun sentry robot.  Includes video of the death robot's view.  Also quasi-A-Team soundtrack.  Find Sarah Connor.

I clicked the headline to Newsweek's video game blog when it was on the cover today.  Not only does he reveal that the commercial with the Tears for Fears cover is by a guy named Michael Andrews but he offers a link to a YouTube playlist of different songs set to the same video game commercial.  It's pretty elementary, but still an interesting presentation.

Speaking of video games, you may be familiar with Dance Dance Revolution, the arcade game that requires a player move to dance steps on the screen.  Imagine playing that game in a flame retardant suit and being blasted with fire when you lose.  If you don't feel like imagining it, click here and have it described to you.  Why does this not have video??

Stephen Colbert on the issue of having his show's clips removed from YouTube.  He seems to be saying that the people who contribute the videos should be the ones making the money.  I wonder what he thinks of the item we saw yesterday about Google paying for high traffic videos.

How to roll Maki

What's better than a laughing baby?  I can't think of anything.

"The Xenoturbella does not seem to have a brain, gut or gonads, making it unique among living animals."  It's part of a new phylum discovered.  Earlier: New sea creatures found in Hawaii - I'm trying not to let my imagination get carried away with headlines like this.

A quick trip to the mailbag:

I want one of these.  The Meteor style is nice, but the Chalet would be stylish anywhere in the house...
- Eric