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Neat gallery of Iris Photos
Topic: Arts 10:17 am EST, Jan 14, 2008

This is a neat gallery of irises. I wish the artist had some commentary on where the models came from. I took high resolution pictures of my own iris several years ago (sorry, not going to post them here, just in case irises become a financial biometric in the future) and found them to be very uniform in color. Most of these have various splashes of odd color in them and I wonder how typical that is. I haven't noticed it much in people before, except that Palindrome has an eyecatching copperish splash of color in one eye.

(Okay, that's my contribution to creepy eye contact for the day.)

Via BoingBoing

Neat gallery of Iris Photos

Ford: Car owners are pirates if they distribute pictures of their own cars
Topic: Society 9:57 am EST, Jan 14, 2008

Via BoingBoing:

Josh sez, "The folks at BMC (Black Mustang Club) automotive forum wanted to put together a calendar featuring members' cars, and print it through CafePress. Photos were submitted, the layout was set, and... CafePress notifies the site admin that pictures of Ford cars cannot be printed. Not just Ford logos, not just Mustang logos, the car -as a whole- is a Ford trademark and its image can't be reproduced without permission. So even though Ford has a lineup of enthusiasts who want to show off their Ford cars, the company is bent on alienating them. 'Them' being some of the most loyal owners and future buyers that they have. Or rather, that they had, because many have decided that they will not be doing business with Ford again if this matter isn't resolved."

I got some more info from the folks at cafepress and according to them, a law firm representing Ford contacted them saying that our calendar pics (and our club's event logos - anything with one of our cars in it) infringes on Ford's trademarks which include the use of images of THEIR vehicles. Also, Ford claims that all the images, logos and designs OUR graphics team made for the BMC events using Danni are theirs as well. Funny, I thought Danni's title had my name on it ... and I thought you guys owned your cars ... and, well ... I'm not even going to get into how wrong and unfair I feel this whole thing is as I'd be typing for hours, but I wholeheartedly echo everything you guys have been saying all afternoon. I'm not letting this go un-addressed and I'll keep you guys posted as I get to work on this.

I'm sorry, but at this point we will not be producing the 2008 BMC Calendar, featuring our 2007 Members of the Month, solely due to Ford Motor Company's claim that THEY own all rights to the photos YOU take of YOUR car. I hope to resolve this soon, and be able to provide the calendar and other BMC merchandise that you guys want and deserve! This thread will remain open for you to comment however you wish, and I'll update it as needed.

This is a really bad idea on the part of Ford, I think. Can you imagine if clothing companies did this? It wouldn't be smart of them to sell the rights along with the shirt, so I guess it would have to have some sort of shrinkwrap license agreement.

It would be one thing if Ford was in the business of making cool calendars featuring their cars, but as far as I know, they aren't.

Ford: Car owners are pirates if they distribute pictures of their own cars

Organizing Lego
Topic: Technology 11:58 pm EST, Jan  8, 2008

So, I have a project for a client that has some huge SQL queries and I finally forked out the kilobucks to hire MySQL to optimize them.

When I teach databases, I usually take students back to an old library or doctor's office to examine how information was stored before computers. You probably remember the Title Cards, Author Cards, and Subject Cards. If you wanted to search by something else, you were screwed.

As I've watched this complex set of queries drop from 4 hours to 5 minutes 34 seconds, I'm reminded of how much the right method matters.

So, this article on organizing Lego blocks just hit home with me today.

Organizing Lego

Five unbelievably cool research facilities
Topic: Science 11:51 pm EST, Jan  8, 2008

Five unbelievably cool research facilities

100 Years Of Turbulence
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:14 pm EST, Jan  6, 2008

The Wright brothers' first priority was to patent their airplane, and they duly received their patent in 1904. It didn't just cover their specific design, but the whole concept of three-axis control - being able to independently steer the aircraft in pitch, roll, and yaw - that was critical to powered flight. This patent became a mighty weapon that the Wright brothers used for the next thirteen years to sue the bejesus out of anyone else who tried to fly an airplane.

It may not have been a problem if the Wrights themselves had kept working on aircraft design, or if the original flyer had been good enough to license. But neither was the case - the Wrights became so consumed with their lawsuits that they had no time or energy left for further work, essentially becoming the SCO of the early aviation age. And their airplane design, while innovative, was mostly innovative in the wrong ways.

100 Years Of Turbulence

[citation needed] bumper stickers
Topic: Arts 8:48 pm EST, Jan  2, 2008

[citation needed] bumper stickers

Little Coffee Shops Need Not Fear Starbucks
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:08 am EST, Dec 29, 2007

The funny thing about Starbucks is it's helped to create a coffee culture filled with a significant number of people who don't actually like Starbucks—which means that, despite conventional wisdom, it's actually a good thing to be a mom & pop coffee shop with a Starbucks nearby, writes Slate. Instead of stealing your business, you get the spillover from their store. "They'll do all of your marketing for you, and your sales will soar."

That's certainly how it worked out for Hyman. Soon after declining Starbucks's buyout offer, Hyman received the expected news that the company was opening up next to one of his stores. But instead of panicking, he decided to call his friend Jim Stewart, founder of the Seattle's Best Coffee chain, to find out what really happens when a Starbucks opens nearby. "You're going to love it," Stewart reported. "They'll do all of your marketing for you, and your sales will soar." The prediction came true: Each new Starbucks store created a local buzz, drawing new converts to the latte-drinking fold. When the lines at Starbucks grew beyond the point of reason, these converts started venturing out--and, Look! There was another coffeehouse right next-door! Hyman's new neighbor boosted his sales so much that he decided to turn the tactic around and start targeting Starbucks. "We bought a Chinese restaurant right next to one of their stores and converted it, and by God, it was doing $1 million a year right away," he said.

We've noticed that Starbucks has had another "positive" effect on the coffee house industry—it's trained consumers to willingly pay over $1.50 for a cuppa joe no matter where they're buying it. Maybe this is why "Just over the five-year period from 2000 to 2005... the number of mom and pops grew 40 percent, from 9,800 to nearly 14,000 coffeehouses," and "the failure rate for new coffeehouses is a mere 10 percent."

From Slate via Consumerist

Little Coffee Shops Need Not Fear Starbucks

Rome's Trevi Fountain Gets Dyed Red
Topic: Arts 10:23 pm EDT, Oct 22, 2007

Vandals dyed the Trevi fountain red in protest of some issue over the city's film festival.

Here's what the fountain usually looks like:

And, while we're talking about vacation photos from Italy, this guy makes a living doing "instant" tourist pictures, not with a Polaroid, but with a digital camera and a battery powered inkjet!

My guess is that this kind of thing is common there. Rome has lots of graffiti, much of it politically charged...

Rome's Trevi Fountain Gets Dyed Red

Emma Goldman Institute for Anarchist Studies
Topic: Arts 11:07 am EDT, Oct 17, 2007

I love signs like this :)

Emma Goldman Institute for Anarchist Studies

Terrorist Attack on Sears Tower
Topic: Current Events 11:21 pm EDT, Oct 15, 2007

"My God, it's just awful," said commuter Nick Dawson, one of countless Chicago residents who struggled to comprehend what had occurred. "Why would anyone do something like this?"

In what is being called the first conceptual terrorist attack on American soil, the landmark Sears Tower was encased in 18 million tons of strawberry gelatin early Monday morning, leaving thousands shocked, angry, and seriously confused.

"My God, it's just awful," said commuter Nick Dawson, one of countless Chicago residents who struggled to comprehend what had occurred. "Why would anyone do something like this?"

As of press time, 11 night security guards were still trapped inside the famous structure, their rescue unlikely until the Jell-O melts.

Tentative speculation that the dessert enclosure was in fact an act of terrorism was quickly confirmed after a group known only as the Prophet's Collective took credit for the attack in a three-hour-long video that surfaced on the Internet.

"Your outdated ideas of what terrorism is have been challenged," an unidentified, disembodied voice announces following the video's first 45 minutes of random imagery set to minimalist techno music.

"We believe that this is the same group responsible for the 2005 Saran-wrapping of the American embassy in Paris," CIA director Michael Hayden said. "This is an extremely dangerous organization with absolutely no regard for American tastes and sensibilities. If left unchecked, it could forever change the face of contemporary terrorism."

Hayden said the CIA is working closely with the National Endowment for the Arts to cut off all grants that may serve as funding for the group. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has begun monitoring any large purchases of gravy, tinfoil, pig's blood, and barbed wire in hopes of preventing another aesthetic tragedy.

Bob, The Onion rocks sometimes - almost as good as Hijackers Find Selves in Hell.

Two questions: (1) Does this justify the TSA's ban on liquids? (2) When will the Flight Simulator mod be available?

Terrorist Attack on Sears Tower

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