Everywhere I look I run into a campaign to save the CBS TV show Jericho. I was a regular viewer of Jericho, though the idea (major American cities are nuked and a small Midwest town is left to figure out what happened and how to survive) was always more interesting than the actual execution. It would make (and has made) a better book than a TV show. Anyway, the strangest protest I've seen (for this or pretty much any other cause) has been the Nuts about Jericho campaign. They're collecting money to send "deeply discounted peanuts" to CBS as a protest. And it's working out to be literally tons of peanuts PER DAY. I wonder if I can see them if I go to the CBS building. What the heck is CBS going to do with them?
Speaking of aggregating small contributions into a giant effort, reCaptcha hopes to harvest a few seconds from online users to digitize books. Captcha is what they call the security device that asks you to type the squiggly letters you see on forms like blog comments. The idea is that spam programs can't read the letters. But the idea with reCaptcha is that instead of random squiggly letters you have pieces of text that didn't scan well in the course of digitizing a book. So answering the captcha helps edit the scanned text.
Speaking of the falling walls of Jericho, "George Lucas, creator of "Star Wars," has never hesitated to protect his intellectual property, which is why some call him "Lucas the Litigator." But this week, his Lucasfilm plans to make clips of "Star Wars" available to fans on the Internet to mash up -- meaning to remix however they want -- at will." I don't know if this is one of those free Wall Street Journal pieces but you might find a bootleg version if you google the headline. I got an embargoed press release from Eyespot on the story. Here it is on PRWeb. In short, Lucasfilm figured out that if you can beat 'em, join 'em. Funny line: "Eyespot has set up a program to make sure none of the doctored clips contain nudity, pornography, and the like. As a backup, a team of screeners based in Costa Rica will watch each video before it goes live." Can you imagine a job that requires watching Star Wars fan mash-ups to police for porn?
Eugene Volokh explores the line between hate crime and free speech in a legal case involving one of those "God hates fags" jerks.
Have you ever seen one of those empathy bellies? (NOTE: Site plays music on launch.) Well this item is about a device that gives police empathy insanity. It's so they have a better understanding of psychotics they may encounter on the job.
Better living through self deception - Jason Kottke outlines many ways that lying to yourself is actually beneficial to your well being.
Man who claims FBI is after him puts entire life online - What he's really doing is constantly photoblogging himself to prove his innocence at all times. It's an interesting twist on both narcissism blogging and big brother surveillance. In a time when the slightest suspicion by a neighbor or a TSA agent can have to detained in legal limbo for days or weeks or more, maybe it's not such a bad idea to engage in a bit of alibi blogging.
Dynamic architecture - The floors turn. I guess this isn't totally revolutionary (no pun) because rotating restaurants aren't unheard of - just not a whole building of them. But do check out the construction tab.
There's one part in this Slashdot item about Googling for credit card numbers that really raised my hair: "For each of the four major card companies, I called their security departments and reported two of the cards that I had found compromised, and then a week later, called the cardholders themselves to see if the card companies had notified them. Surprisingly, of the four companies, American Express was the only one whose customers in this experiment, when I called them a week later, said that AmEx had contacted them and told them to change their numbers."
"Journalists and technologists don't understand each other." After reading this I have a neck ache from nodding so much. It's about this new Medill journalism program that proposes to turn technologists into journalists or vice versa. In the media shift to the Web, very little has been said about journalists learning new technical skills. We see a lot about the change in mindset and use of new tools, but very few journalists bother to learn the nitty gritty of programming. I wonder if they'll offer any of this for online audit.
A cool timeline of British history.
"Customs officers at Cairo's airport on Thursday detained a man bound for Saudi Arabia who was trying to smuggle 700 live snakes on a plane, airport authorities said." I believe they were Egyptian MF snakes. (NOTE: That's a curse joke.)
I'm embarrassed to say I'd never heard of a hang drum before.
I saw Al Gore on The Daily Show last night and I was so impressed that he was actually familiar with pop culture that it didn't occur to me what a weak argument he was making.
Fark takes up the LOLCats idea with presidents for a thread that seems to scroll forever. This is one of those jokes you either get or you don't. I have to wonder at the cultural gap that's forming around these running online jokes.
Dreams of flying - People made to look like they're flying when they're really lying on the ground. Click it, you'll see.
A six stroke, steam assisted engine sprays water into the hot cylinder to drive the 5th stroke and vents the steam through a third valve on the 6th.
Speaking of alternative automotive power, "India's largest automaker is set to start producing the world's first commercial air-powered vehicle." Every time I read about this engine I can't avoid the mental image of a car farting down the street like an untied balloon.
Speaking of getting around, I wonder if they considered putting a trailer hitch on the Segway.
Speaking of weird ways to push things, how about a bicycle lift?
How do the French produce their wine? Magic.
"A decision by the makers of Big Brother to not tell a contestant her father has died has been condemned as inhumane, unethical and psychologically damaging."
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails lets rip at ignorant record companies -- and maybe describes the future of music sales.