Here's one of the more useful year end lists: Rolling Stone lists the 100 best songs of 2007, forcing me to face the sad fact that I'm woefully out of touch because I don't know half of these. Luckily, they all have "listen" links. The only bad part is that you have to install the Rhapsody player but I bit the bullet. ADDING: The other bad part is the cognitive dissonance you'll suffer when you see some of the questionable rankings of the songs you do recognize.
USASpending.gov has finally launched.
It's a site meant to make federal spending more transparent with an eye
toward holding legislators accountable (as required by The Federal
Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006). We can now
probably expect more blog-exposed scandals about who is benefiting from
Tech bloggers are atwitter over Google's latest toy-in-the-making, Google Knol. Apparently it's still in super secret mode but sample screens and descriptions have been released.
From what I've read it sounds like a more widely distributed Wikipedia. People write about what they know about and contribute to the database. It seems a bit odd that Google would want to make a new Wikipedia or duplicated the efforts of other companies who are already trying to do something similar. Additionally, Google already has a lot of places for me to write about what I know, most prominently Blogger blogs. Why would I fill out a Knol page instead? Nick Carr has the best explanation I've seen. He points out the way Wikipedia has risen to the top of search results on Google and observes, "I'm guessing that serving as the front door for a vast ad-less info-moshpit outfitted with open source search tools is not exactly the future that Google has in mind for itself. Enter Knol."
Yahoo has a new toy to offer as well. Yahoo Shortcuts looks at what you've written in your blog and shows you where you might add pieces from other Yahoo services to augment what you're about to post. I'm skeptical that the average blogger cares to add all of these bells and whistles to a blog entry but if you've looked at a story on msnbc.com lately you know that dressing up text with deeper features has become a staple of online journalism. Outside of that, if this marks a trend of services that automatically help us manage our various services and subscriptions and profiles and other Web 2.0 junk, I welcome it.
Speaking of online journalism, check out The Whale Hunt. NOTE: It's a photo story of a real whale hunt and sorry for the spoiler but they catch one. Which means the photos at the end are pretty rough for animal lovers or the generally squeamish.
Speaking of photos, Flickr now provides traffic stats for its "pro" users. (Pro users are people who pay for the service, not necessarily professionals. I think I pay like 24 bucks a year.) I put in for the stats on my account yesterday and saw that I got one click from something called FlickrLeech. FlickrLeech is a nice way to surf Flickr photos. Their tag line is "because paging sucks" and their solution to the problem of flipping through photo pages one photo at a time is to present a huge page of thumbnails. The photos are sorted by Flickr's "interestingness" algorithm so they're of a reliably high quality.
Game to kill off a Friday: Mutually Assured Destruction - Remember Missile Command? That's what this is, but with upgrades and an operatic soundtrack. Playing with the mouse is not as fun as the huge roller ball in the arcade game, but still a good time. (Did the arcade game have a huge roller ball control or did I just have little hands when that game was in the arcade area of the local roller rink?)
All day yesterday I waited for the Porn for Girls by Girls site to load and it wouldn't. Wow, I thought, this must be some amazing porn for it to be seeing such heavy traffic. This morning I finally got to see what the big deal is. It's a (basically sexist but not entirely unfunny) joke and totally safe for work.
Frank Pringle has found a way to squeeze oil and gas from just about anything - This is billed as a solution to producing oil but to me it seems more like a solution to dealing with waste. The machine must require energy to zap all this stuff to turn it into oil and I can't imagine that energy is coming in any particularly green way. But if the result is that waste material is turned into something useful, it might be a good idea for places with a waste management problem - especially if incineration or some other solution requiring energy is already part of the plan.
Speaking of energy, Vampire Energy is the term for the energy used by appliances on stand-by or other off-but-not-quite-off modes.
Last time I looked at Newseum it was a gallery of newspaper front pages. Now they've got an interactive map so you can roll your mouse over a point on the map and see the newspaper from page from that location. (A little slow to load but it works.)
I've mentioned before that I bump into the Beppe Grillo blog online all the time and always struggle with translating it. The New York Times provides a welcome explanation of what's going on in Italy and why Beppe Grillo is such a big deal. In linking here I'm pointing to the video set in the story. Grillo blogs his appearance in the Times.
15 Can't-Miss Ways to Declutter Your Mind - It must be the season, I've been feeling muddle-headed all week.
"Pop-up Card Designer is a Windows application, which generates unfolded pattern of Pop Up Cards."
Speaking of cards, 30 Years of LucasFilm Christmas Cards