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Friday, December 11st, 1998

Local rant:The Political Hearings Drinking Game

Local rant:The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Sorry, but these hearings are just rife with material: Can we prosecute any of these bozos for lying when they refer to their political opponents as "my dear colleagues" or even worse "my dear friends from across the aisle"?

Lost in all of the noise, there's a new NETFUTURE out.

There's been an update to the Political Hearings Drinking Game, I'll check any suggestions mailed to me at home and incorporate them later when I get home.

Need To Know is out this week, starting with a Doug Englebart quote that got me thinking:

"The real question I've been working these past 50 years on is how to augment the human intellect through collective thinking"

It seems indicative of something that the mouse, as used in point-n-drool interfaces, hasn't really augmented the high end of "the human intellect", it's brought the low end into a world and set of discussions they really don't understand. Couldn't we have just left them with TV? Sorry for the cynicism, the background of politicians talking has that effect.

Quote of the day from the proceedings: "This is not an indictment, this is an impeachment", used to justify a lower standard of proof than an indictment. As damning an admission that this is a politically motivated action if ever there were one.

Some links to constitutions: The U.S. Constitution stored at the House of Representatives Web Site U.S. Constitution stored at the Cornell Law web site. The U.S. Constitution stored at the National Archives and Records Administration. State and Federal Constitutions

In SFGate, there's an AP report that an anti-drug campaign backfired. Specifically, pencils with "Too Cool to Do Drugs" on them had the "Drugs" side towards the eraser, so the obvious phrases appeared as they were used. But, you know, that original phrase isn't exactly unambiguous, because, well, it might imply that doing drugs is just too cool. What, do these anti-drug people leave their brains at... wait, don't answer that.

For you IF fanatics: Andrew 'Zarf' Plotkin's home page has moved to

Yay! Susie Bright's back in Salon, this time asking "what's wrong with strippers at teenager's parties?"

Thursday, December 10th, 1998

Local rant:

The use of children in political speech making, much like the trite use of fawns or cute dogs in movie making, should be banned.

So my office-mate has been inflicting the House Judicial Committee proceedings on me. My first reaction is that we shouldn't limit ourselves to the D.C., we should nuke both Maryland and Virginia, it's the only way to be truly sure. Does Mr. Shipper's (sp?) standard of truthfulness apply to himself? Then what about all those mistruths he told about the consequences of postponing the Paula Jones case? And the "we've got lots of stuff I can't show you" intimations? Not that I'm siding with the Democrats, I've just been subjected to several hours of intimations and innuendo claiming to be a case. But really it's a fruitless waste of time, everyone on that committee has known for weeks (if not months) how they'll be voting.

Dang, on my first pass through Keevah's Kastle I don't see my favorite of her poems. Oh well, I'll pester her, but in the mean time she's one of the few modern poets whose work I can read.

The Declaration of Independence is mirrored at Flutterby because it's an important document to have easy to find.

A new mouthorgan, bemoaning the lack of good reviews of sexuality books in the mainstream.

In Salon this morning, there's a reprint of a David Steinberg article that's already scrolled off of Flutterby. It's good that Steinberg's getting paid, bad that the mainstream press (which Salon is most emphatically a part of) is so far behind the real world. But Salon's been particularly lame recently anyway.

Wednesday, December 09th, 1998

On Upside there's an article by Sam Williams about mentoring homeless kids, and trying to make people conform, that's well worth reading:

"The discussion wasn't about career paths anymore. This was personal. This was Joe vs. the Beehive, and the Beehive was buzzing for retribution."

For the Pointy Haired Bosses in your life, here's Six Lies about Linux

Gulp, /. points to this gem from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Be afraid, be very very afraid:

The FDIC is proposing to issue a regulation requiring insured nonmember banks to develop and maintain ``Know Your Customer'' programs. As proposed, the regulation would require each nonmember bank to develop a program designed to determine the identity of its customers; determine its customers' sources of funds; determine the normal and expected transactions of its customers; monitor account activity for transactions that are inconsistent with those normal and expected transactions; and report any transactions of its customers that are determined to be suspicious, in accordance with the FDIC's existing suspicious activity reporting regulation.

More ego gratification from DejaNews, this time a simple C implementation of the Animals game from "back when AI was cool."

Ego gratification: An old post of mine to about why abstraction is necessary in computer game design.

CNN tells us that Madam Tussaud's wax museum in Sydney Australia has a problem. The exhibitor's general manager Vicky Brown reports that "The figures are very accessible and people tend to get up close to get their photographs taken. We were finding that every time we went past Bill Clinton the zipper was undone."

Relatedly, my office-mate and I have been listening to the House Judiciary proceedings. Boy, what a bunch of posturing windbags. There's no fact discovery here, just a crowd of losers trying to trip each other up so they can say "nya nya nya". Like watching kids squabble in the sandbox, voting only encourages them. I guess at least in Washington they can't do any real damage.

In Salon Magazine, Keith Knight's The K Chronicles addresses being a part of that oppressed minority: a lefty.

Haven't looked at any of these, but tom's suggestions are usually worth at least a glance. Unfortunately, the list looks like it contains the same blank marketing crap that dominates white media, but maybe there's a few gems. Anyway, here's a message with "The Best African American Sites on the Web":

Finally, the results of our "Best Af-Am Sites on the Web98," are in. After surveying over 42,000 Af-Am citizens on their favorite sites, we have created the following list of top sites based on popularity, content, design, and navigation. Please forward this message to others who are in search of quality African American programming on the web, and thank you to all those who participated in the survey.


Thank You, Courtesy of Black Data Research Incorporated

Tuesday, December 08th, 1998

Want to know how to use words? The King's English by H.W. Fowler might help.

Gratuitous Ayn Rand quote:

A living entity that regarded its means of survival as evil, would not survive. A plant that struggled to mangle its roots, a bird that fought to break its wings would not remain for long in the existence they affronted. But the history of man has been a struggle to deny and destroy his mind.

Monday, December 7th, 1998

Kirrily 'Skud' Robert has an in-progress list of questions you should ask before hiring a web professional.

As soon as I heard about how Microsoft's "new" ClearType system works I thought "Hey, that's how hi-res mode on the Apple ][ worked!" Apparently PC Week agrees with me.

Marylaine suggests that 'tis the season to buy fruitcake this morning in My Word's Worth.

An article entitled Microsoft and 3D Graphics: A Case Study in Suppressing Innovation and Competition talks about Microsoft's attacks on OpenGL. I don't need to recount my tales of FUD at that "Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference" where the alleged technical presenter doing the Direct3D dog and pony show didn't know why you'd want a separate normal at each triangle vertex.

Saturday, December 5th, 1998

Robert reports:

I went through several Linux sites over the past few weeks and listed some of the ones that don't suck here If you have any recommendations, let me know.

Friday, December 04th, 1998

So I got to the list that tom pointed to, and my first impression is that for a bunch of so-called libertarians (whatinthehell is a "libertarian-socialist" anyway?) they sure are a life-hating unhappy bunch. Or at least the write-ups portray them that way.


Richmond, Ca, Friday December 4.

In perhaps the most desperate stroke of their recent box office battle, SKG principal Jeffery Katzenberg called in a favor from God to try and literally wipe Pixar Animation Studios off the map. Apparently pleased with the free marketing he's receiving from the forthcoming SKG animated release, "Price of Egypt," God obliged and unleashed a magnitude 4.1 earthquake on the unexpecting city of Richmond, Ca.

Sources close to Katzenberg say that he was expecting more from the Creator. Local geologists estimated that at least a 6.0 would have been necessary to disrupt business at the Richmond-based studio responsible for the record-breaking new film, "A Bug's Life" ($46.5 million last weekend), the only percieved box office threat to SKG's "Prince." However, they also estimate that anything greater than 6.7 could have threatened operations at the home office of SKG partner Pacific Data Images in nearby Palo Alto, Ca. A local priest who follows God closely said, "God's pretty savvy, especially when it comes to his own media representation. Good advertising is hard to come by, and 'Prince of Egypt' may be the only taste of the Bible the kids today will get. God's been losing the world's attention to the likes of Disney and Pixar in recent years, you know. I think he just wanted to remind everyone who's the boss."

A new Need To Know today which, among other observations, points to this report that David Siegel has recanted on his awful web "design". Well, on reading the article, not completely. On other fronts, I've run across at least one page today that gave me only a black browser window with JavaScript turned off. Needless to say they get no link here.

Microsoft hater? Here's the O'Reilly book for you.

From tom comes this note:

Prominent Anarchists and Left-Libertarians
The following are all individuals who have distinguished themselves in the past and present by opposing various forms of coercion, authority and injustice, political and economic, in true libertarian tradition.

- see esp. Max Stirner [called "our saint" by Marx] & link to the concept of egoist communism.

Thursday, December 03rd, 1998

At Clean Sheets is a review of I Am My Lover: Women Pleasure Themselves which is well worth reading, and which I'm going to have to browse next time I'm in Good Vibrations

If you haven't checked back in at Clean Sheets recently, it might be worth a look. A few more book reviews, erotic stories, and another exhibit of photographs. Along those lines, on Good Vibrations Pat Califia has written a new Quickies.

A modest proposal for revamping the AOL software, including a tool bar with "Me2", "Spam" and "Flame" icons. Apologies to my readers who are AOL users, and yes, there are a few of you, but AOL is such an easy target.

Hokay, back from Seattle, some random notes:

On Seattle: The New York Wall Street yuppiedom of the 80's and the Reagan years was fueled by cocaine. The boom of the '90s is obviously driven by caffeine, you can't turn around with your arms outstretched without hitting at least two people serving mochas. Didn't get to spend much time outside, most of it was in meetings, but I did see the mountains once, and it looks like Boeing might be a cool place to visit.

Did walk by the original Starbuck's, and there's no way that original logo would play in the midwest or Chattanooga...

Quote of the day: In an on-line Pixar stock discussion group, someone asked about the possibility of Disney buying Pixar. Here's the best answer he got:

Disney just flies by every Fall and picks up a Movie off of the offering rock.

A new mouthorgan on our responses to public d/s relationships. Got me thinking about seeing the *fnord*s.

An AP report on CNN says that underage drinking saved two lives. Cool.

Monday, November 30th, 1998

Oh yeah, my U.S. centrism once again intruded, but Need To Know marches on.

I'll write y'all on Thursday. I'm off to Seattle.

Just in case you didn't know what's worn under a kilt:

Monday, November 30th, 1998

Marylaine proclaims that The Customer is Sometimes Wrong this morning, and there's a new set of Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet strips this morning.

WARNING: I'm gone again 'til Thursday

Wednesday, November 25th, 1998

Local rant:AOL acquiring Netscape


AstroJax "The future of the YoYo." Mine has certainly been fun, and I pull it out again regularly. Everybody can do some stuff with a YoYo, but staying good requires practice. Just doing anything with this device gets people's attention.

CNN has a report previewing Literary Review's upcoming "Bad Sex Prize", "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it."

Oh yeah, there's this movie opening tonight. "A Bug's Life" or something like that. See it or I'll break your kneecaps. And look for my name just after the out-takes.

Flutterby! will be unpersoned over Thanksgiving. Any notes are gonna have to come from those of you who kow the key.

Tuesday, November 24th, 1998

A few days ago Larry Ellison of Oracle said he'd give a million dollars to anyone showing that Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 came within a factor of 100 of Oracle. Details here:

On /., Skud (a regular denizen of the Scary Devil Monastery) talks about her experiences as a woman in computing.

Tom passes on this startling news:


BALTIMORE (CNN): Inspired by recent images of super-distant galaxies, which according to astronomers provide a glimpse deep into the universe's past, scientists on the Hubble Deep Field Project rotated the oribiting telescope 180 degrees, allowing them to peer far into the future.
     Early results are promising. "I got them to aim it at my house, and was relieved to discover that I will find my car keys by the end of the week," explains NASA Chief Astronomer William Trell. "But then I apparently lose my wallet. I'm not looking forward to that."
     Hubble scientists also report seeing themselves receiving increased funding in the near future.

-- Tom Lokovic

Stuff the Warning Label Said Not to Dotm: getting pinatas near open flame; incinerating aerosol bottles; and the BFP(otato)G-9000, a mach1 capable pneumatic potato gun with interchangeable barrels. Includes MPEG and stills of potatoes meeting several watermelons at 550 MPH.

This is to make it clear that the BFPG-9000 is a pneumatic/compressed air based potato gun with a main volume of 4 gallons typically pressurized to 125psi. Conventional hairspray based potato guns typically only develop 10 to 20psi when firing are no match in comparison to the muzzle velocity and sheer destructive Kinetic Energy of compressed air based designs as will shortly become evident to you :)

The supreme court has (finally) overtuned Georgia's anti-sodomy law, but CNN reports that this may not last. Where do they dig up these people?

"I think there needs to be a law of some sort on the books," said Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Taylor, who will preside over the Senate when the Legislature convenes in January. "I think, Republican or Democrat, it's an issue the Legislature would rather not deal with. But we don't have that option."

Monday, November 23rd, 1998

Local rant:My response to The (Anti-)Linux Crusade

Pat Califia keeps us up to date with the politics of sex in the latest Topping the News

Salon Magazine reports on a working brain implant that lets a victim of a cerebral hemmorrhage "manipulate icons on a computer screen."

More gratuitous A Bug's Life promotion, a People Magazine review. "Bottom Line: Make a beeline for it"


Marylaine has a new My Word's Worth titled "CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY AMARETTO TRUFFLE".

Saturday, November 21st, 1998

Local rant:Re: Earth's Website

If you're a regular user of Flutterby, you may have noticed that all of the pages are uglier than usual. Please ready why Flutterby's pages are ugly, and give me your feedback. I'd like a compromise, but I've had enough trouble trying to reduce eyestrain on other pages all over the web that I think it's time I took a stand.

At lunch to day I saw Paul Ekman, a researcher in non-verbal communication, speak. So, some non-verbal communication links:

Sluggy Freelance_ is a comic strip about a web designer, his alien secretary, a killer rabbit, a weasel (or is that ferret?) with a short attention span, an intern to a radio shrink, and a tinkerer who summons demons and builds large destructive robots, who have far too many experiences with interdimensional travel to be healthy. Starting at the _Sluggy Viewer's Guide will just chew up way more of your time than is good for you.

Live near the San Francisco Bay? You're always welcome at Scotch Night, 5:30 for an hour or two depending on how interesting the conversation is going. Buuuuuut... Attendance was low last night, and the wackiest ideas always come out of that, so if you'd be interested in a real party, we'd try to get a wide variety of industry folks there without the usual hangers-on, sometime in January or February, drop me an e-mail. Let's scheme.

A Bug's Life as seen by CNN

A Bug's Life as seen by the LA Times

A Bug's Life_ as seen _by USA Today

There is no cabal, the illuminati don't exist, and I am not a member of any secret conspiratorial organizations. Move along, nothing to see here.

Read Need To Know, join the dark side!

The clips on the Net show it all - the wide-eyed child looking on helpless: dragged away from everything that he knows, transported to the byzantine world of the court, where familiar, powerful figures debate whether he is yet too powerful and must be... destroyed. Yes, we sense much fear in BILL GATES.

Frank passes on a note that the United States Postal Service has announced that in April of 1999 it will issue a 33 cent stamp commemorating Ayn Rand.

Thursday, November 19th, 1998

Okay, the cartoon isn't that funny, but A Bug's Life has made it into the popular culture. It's really weird to see how this stuff propagates.

Kiddie porn on the 'net? It's taken this long to see the first person convicted and sentenced for selling child pornography on the 'net.

If you haven't dropped in on the erotica and commentary in CleanSheets for a while, now might be a good time to check again.

A new mouthorgan on the evils of popular "advice" outlets and their treatment of sex.

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Questions, comments, flames: contact Dan Lyke