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(My battery is offering me 21 minutes to post this entry which illness and wifilessness prevented me from posting Friday. Ready, set, go!)

The one thing a person who works in the news doesn't want when then go on vacation is for any news to happen.  So it was troubling on Friday when rumors of Fidel Castro's death were tearing up the Web. Such rumors aren't uncommon. Without paying very close attention I've seen similar "a reliable source tells me" blog posts ripple through the Web. Though I can't be sure, what appears to have made this particular rumor all the more potent was the assuredness of its reporting by renowned gossip blogger Perez Hilton.  As crazy as it sounds to get new on matters of state from a gossip blogger, there was something about the very fact of that craziness that gave the rumor a new level of believability. 

Something I notice about all the accounts that claim some first hand "reliable source" is that almost all of them cite increased preparedness by Miami police. I'm wondering if the whole thing was a case of police nearly creating a problem by trying to prepare for one.

The combination of the new season on Heroes approaching and the 18th birthday of Hayden Panettiere has put Miss Panettiere's name in a lot of headlines lately.  Removed from that hype, however, her Got Milk ad may be the best one ever.

New Harold and Kumar trailer.

No sooner has YouTube come up with an ad idea than someone comes up with a Firefox extension to block them.

The World's Highest Escalator would be cooler if it wasn't enclosed. Meanwhile, was this building constructed for the purpose of being an action movie set or what?

"Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers." Interesting idea about applications to video games.

"So-called thermobaric weapons have been used by the US against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban underground bases. Combined heat and pressure kill people over a wide area by sucking the air out of lungs and destroying internal organs." Obviously I recognize the horror with which some people are linking to this story but from a more distant and cold perspective it's pretty amazing what the military is coming up with.

"NBC is getting into the ring with "American Gladiators," which has been revived by the Peacock for midseason." Could be cool if they don't let it devolve into a pro-wrestling variant, which is how I remember the old version.  (Obviously MSNBC.com is partly an NBC property. I have no inside scoop however. I did see Jimmy Falon in 30 Rock the other day though, which has nothing to do with anything, but celebrity sightings are always cool.)

The Daily Show the other night made a joke about the police ammunition shortage being connected to the war (specifically their correspondent doing a lot of gratuitous shooting into sand dunes just to feel manly) and it reminded me to look back for this link I'd noted.  Confederate Yankee not only explains the shortage more thoroughly but receives input from actual ammunition manufacturers. Remember that item about Google News allowing comments from those involved in the story? I imagine this is what it'd be like.

Design blog offers free Weight training workout sheet pdf. I'm not sure if this works if you pyramid both your weight and your reps, but still handy if you find yourself sitting at a machine and saying, "Crap, how much do I do on this machine again?"

This fake Zune phone ad is kind of mean but still pretty funny. I kind of like the idea of rotary on a cell phone.

Speaking of phones that do not exist, there's lots of enthusiasm for rumors of a Google phone.

The guy who unlocked the iPhone is auctioning "the second one" on eBay. What I'm seeing now are sites that are offering to do it for you.  I haven't checked them out and I'm not sure I'd know a scam from the real thing anyway, but if you've already done your phone phreaking homework and want your iPhone unlocked, try here or here.

Kevin Drum takes a novel, though not illogical, approach to assessing the surge by comparing this past June/July  to June/July 2006.

"A historian quoted by President Bush to help argue that critics of the administration's Iraq policy echo those who questioned the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Japan after World War II angrily distanced himself from the president's remarks Thursday." Awkward!

Spirit Airlines CEO sends a "reply all" mail and accidentally tells the world what airline CEOs think of their customers. He basically points out that consumers aren't principled enough to do anything about their anger toward an airline ("[he] will be back when we save him a penny"). I'm not sure he's wrong about that.

Roll your mouse up and down the picture and watch the time of day change. Really neat but I can't think of what use it is. I'd like to see one with a clear sky and a view of the sun and/or moon so we can watch it move across the sky.

Speaking of cool photo stuff, I finally learned how to make these HD View images. The challenging part is that they're make with a command line tool, so you have to be familiar with what that is. The one thing I haven't figured out is how to put it on our server to show you what I made, but that'll be next.

Top 10 physically modified people - I thought this was going to be about photoshopped models or plastic surgery. "Modified" in this case refers to body modification, as in piercings and tattoos and its more extreme variants.

Ralph's Recommendation:

A Good Hunch -- Jumping Goat Challenge

Jump across floating rocks to escape each level.

This game offers a unique twist in that you control two goats, but your actions with the first goat determine what you can do with the second goat. It may sound complicated, but it's easy to get the hang of it.

Hope you have as much fun with it as I've had.
-Ralph

Woo Hoo! 10 minutes of battery left! Post!