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RE: A question to ponder
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:41 am EST, Feb  9, 2005

Palindrome wrote:
] Situation:
] you are driving down the road or stopped at a stop light and
] when you glance around you see a woman sitting alone in her
] car crying her eyes out.
] what is your reaction?
] Do you even give it a second thought?
] What do you think about?
] How does it make you feel?

Is she parked on the side of the road or is she blocking the lanes? If she's sitting on the side of the road I'd think she's having a real issue. Unfortunately in this day and age, if she's in the road itself I'd have to immediately think that she's part of some scam. Perhaps a carjacking.


RE: A question to ponder

New (sub)Urbanism: The Copyrighting of Public Space
Topic: Current Events 10:18 am EST, Feb  7, 2005

] The Reader recounts the experience of photojournalist
] Warren Wimmer's attempts to photograph Anish Kapoor's
] sculpture, Cloud Gate (more commonly known as "the
] Bean"). When Wimmer set up his tripod and camera to shoot
] the sculpture, security guards stopped him, demanding
] that they show him a permit. Wimmer protested, replying
] that it's absurd that one needs to pay for a permit to
] photograph public art in a city-owned park.

WTF? I found this linked on BoingBoing this morning and still can't quite understand how something like this ever happened. Public funds paid for a sculpture to go in a public park that the public can't take photographs of. The procurement officer definitely needs to have his or her pink slip on the way.


New (sub)Urbanism: The Copyrighting of Public Space

Informed Comment
Topic: Current Events 2:12 pm EST, Jan 21, 2005

The first thing sworn to during a (US) Presidential inauguration is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This page has linked pictures to the particular interpretations of said Constitution during the first term of Dubya.


Informed Comment

Fiction: Start the Clock, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
Topic: Arts 10:48 am EST, Jan 19, 2005

] In the stairway, I said, "You couldn't just watch a porn
] channel?"
] "It's not the same," she said. "That's all packaged and
] commercial. I wanted to interview them before and after.
] I have to know -- what it's like."
] "Why?"
] She paused on the stairs, and I stopped too. The
] muscleboys, muttering, went out onto the street, and we
] were alone in the flashing green and red light.
] "Suze, I'm going to start the clock."
] Like she'd poured a bucket of ice water down my spine.
] "You're what?"
] "I'm going to take the treatments." She spoke quickly, as
] if afraid I'd interrupt her. "They've gotten much better
] in the past couple of years, there are basically no side
] effects. They're even making headway with infants. In
] five years, it looks like most babies won't have any
] arrestation effects at all, and -- "
] Tears had sprung to my eyes. "What are you talking
] about?" I cried. "Why are you talking like them? Why are
] you talking like being like us is something to be cured?"
] I punched the wall, which hurt my hand. I sat down on the
] step and cried.
] "Suze," Abby said. She sat down next to me and put her
] hand on my shoulder. "I love being like us -- but I want
] --"
] "That?" I shouted, pointing up to the top of the stairs,
] where they were grunting again. "That's what you want?
] You'd rather have that than us?"
] "I want everything, Suze. I want every stage of life --"
] "Oh, every stupid stage, as designed by stupid God, who
] also gave us death and cancer, and --"
] She grabbed my shoulders. "Suze, listen. I want to know
] what that up there is like. Maybe I won't like it, and
] then I won't do it. But Suze, I want to have babies."

A neat new short story of Sci-Fi released under the Creative Commons license.

Fiction: Start the Clock, by Benjamin Rosenbaum

RE: Interz0ne 4: *50* BUCKS???
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:25 pm EST, Jan  9, 2005

Nanochick wrote:
] Hijexx wrote:
] ] We at Interz0ne strive to bring you the absolute best
] ] experience while you attend the conference, and we also try
] to
] ] do this where it doesn't empty your wallet in the process.
] But
] ] with trying to bring you the best of the best speakers,
] ] forums, and issues, it does mean expenditures on Interz0ne's
] ] part. We regretfully announce that we have to raise the
] ] entrance fee for this year's conference to $50.00 a
] person
] ] for the weekend

] ]
] ] ...
] ]
] I agree with Hijexx. I see no reason why a con roughly the
] size of PN...possibly even smaller, would need $50. I
] mean...Defcon is $75, and if Interz0ne is $50, then $75 for
] Defcon is starting to look like a good deal. I don't plan on
] attending Interz0ne this year. Granted, I may happen to be
] hanging out at the hotel's bar, to chat with friends I only
] see at cons...but I won't be "going" to the con because 1) I
] think $50 is way too expensive and 2) past grievances with the
] so called "student price" that was suddenly retracted at the
] door last year. If you advertise a student price, then either
] stick to it, or give me a damn good valid reason why the
] "student price" is retracted. When your a student, every
] dollar counts. Anyway, thats my rant for the evening:)

PhreakNIC has had between 300-400 attendees per year for the last three years. I think you can remove the "possibly" qualifier before "even smaller."

One thing that I can shed some light on is the fact that it does indeed cost a good bit of money to throw on an "organized" convention. Trying to find the balance between charging too little and not getting taken to the cleaners is difficult. For the first two years that I ran PhreakNIC, I took a loss. This past year we are left with enough money in the bank to actually pay for some things up front next year. (As opposed to my American Express card being the primary sponsor for PhreakNIC!) Typically convention space in the amount needed for a regional convention is anywhere from $2000-$5000 for a weekend. The need for 24 hour access drives the price up. If you have an established usage pattern for hotel rooms, you can often get that fee significantly dropped or waived altogether, which was our case for PhreakNIC 8. Now add in the price of t-shirts, especially the ones that don't sell. Badges take not only a lot of time, but money, to create. That's why I've taken the approach of trying to have a multi-use item, like the key cases from last year (yes, they were for keys, even though a pack of smokes fits perfectly in there) as the identifying item for the convention. This year's arm band worked out pretty well, too, I think. Anyway, those things cost money. Specifically, about $6500 for PhreakNIC 8, and I didn't pay speakers anything (though they did get a nice little thank you gift of a laptop backpack). That's without me having to pay for meeting space, so I'm sure the costs for interz0ne are way up there.


RE: Interz0ne 4: *50* BUCKS???

Comic book legend Will Eisner dead - Jan 4, 2005
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:01 pm EST, Jan  4, 2005

] He addressed subjects considered unthinkable in comic
] books and rarely seen at the time in newspaper comics:
] spousal abuse, tax audits, urban blight and graft.
] In 1940, he created a weekly newspaper supplement titled
] "The Spirit," which at its height had a circulation of 5
] million in 20 Sunday newspapers. The supplement consisted
] of a comic book with three self-contained stories, and
] "The Spirit" became the most popular.

I heard about this earlier today when reading more fan-ish websites and was wondering if and when the news would finally trickle to the front pages of more mainstream news sites like Apparently nearly 12 hours later. For those who aren't familiar with Will Eisner, you should check out some of his works. The article here says it best - he broke a lot of stereotypes about what you could write about in comic strips and comic books, and this was in the 1930s.

- Dolemite

Comic book legend Will Eisner dead - Jan 4, 2005

Futurismic: Fiction
Topic: Technology 9:05 am EST, Jan  4, 2005

] Reenie's head chip woke her by steadily increasing
] the perceived volume of a song by a British comedy
] troupe. Lots of trippy dreams last night. She
] couldn't remember them all this morning, but she was
] sure they were cool. She rolled out of bed and prepared
] for her "Commute" to the adjoining room. Reenie
] loved her job, well, as much as she could love any job.
] She got to work from home as much as she liked.
] Avoiding the mirror, she slipped on her jeans from
] yesterday and a sweatshirt. She had bought some new comfy
] clothes over the past week. For some goofy reason, all
] she seemed to have in her closet were suits and foreign
] yuppie wear, which were just not her. Maybe she could
] donate them to the homeless.
] Reenie's home workspace was a chaos of unwashed
] laundry, cola cans and papers. As she savored her morning
] A-1 Cola, she decided to interface with the office, make
] sure nothing was going on. "Good morning, Beth.
] How's things?"

If you liked "Ownz0red" by Cory Doctorow, which many of you did, you will definitely like this quick little 10 minute read. Futurismic is collecting short sci-fi stories and putting them on the web.


Futurismic: Fiction

Tsunami Relief
Topic: Current Events 1:24 pm EST, Dec 31, 2004

If you do not recommend this link, you are a jerk!

How could you fail to promote such a worthy cause when it only takes two clicks of your mouse? Don't be a jerk.

Once you have recommended this link, if you do not actually donate some money, you are a jerk.

How could you advocate that other people donate money when you haven't the spine for it yourself?

Don't be a jerk!

Lets put it this way... Did you donate money or time or blood after 9-11? This tragedy impacted far, far more people. Furthermore, this is South East Asia, not NYC. These people don't have effective relief infrastructure, and they don't have big life insurance plans... If the victims of 9-11 deserve your compassion, and they do, then the victims of this Tsunami do as well, and in fact they are even more in need of your help.

Don't be a jerk. Click Recommend.

Tsunami Relief

Ankle band tracks DUI offenders
Topic: Technology 9:23 am EST, Dec 21, 2004

] The anklet, called a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol
] Monitor (SCRAM), will stay attached to the 46-year-old
] man for at least 90 days, testing his perspiration for
] the presence of alcohol every hour and transmitting the
] results to a monitor/modem device once a day.
] The modem then sends the information to a company in
] Colorado that puts the results on the Internet so
] England's probation officer can see if he's consumed any
] alcohol.

On one hand, I can see this as being a great alternative to someone that has made a huge mistake, such as driving drunk. On the other hand, though, it's promoting a prohibition era type of mentality in that drinking is targeted as the offense, not drinking and driving. It seems like a much better mechanism would be a cut-off device for a vehicle that requires the owner to blow into it before it will start - I've read of these before. It also doesn't address alcoholism in a logical manner, because alcoholism is a disease rather than a simple choice. Drinking and driving can easily be stopped cold turkey, so to speak, by taking away the driving privelege. Then there's the issue of privacy - it's one thing to pay for your crime, it's another to potentially have your identity online just waiting to be duplicated by an ID thief. There's no detail as to what information is available to parole officers, but if it's online, it becomes a potential target for thieves.

Oh, well, enough ranting on this one topic for now. I'm sure others will jump in and carry the torch.

Ankle band tracks DUI offenders

Lumps of Coal for the RIAA and MPAA
Topic: Current Events 2:32 pm EST, Dec 17, 2004

Ho, ho, ho!!! That's right, it's the time of year when good little boys and girls get presents from Santa in their stockings and bad little boys and girls get lumps of coal. For every $100 donated to EFF, Public Knowledge and IPac in December, Downhill Battle will send one lump of coal to the RIAA and MPAA.

Makes me want to take up a collection at the office, it warms my heart so.

Lumps of Coal for the RIAA and MPAA

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