With Tumblr, there is no "stealing" words or images, only reblogging. It encourages a delightful collectivity. The reblog button may currently only be available on tumblelogs, but it's only a matter of time until this quick-and-easy curation function is adapted for the rest of the Internet. Perhaps Tumblr's greatest innovation is that it has settled the question of who owns content on the Internet by eliminating the idea of ownership all together.
Debunking third-world myths | Hans Rosling on TED Talks
Topic: Health and Wellness
8:32 pm EDT, Apr 17, 2007
If you enjoyed using the Gapminder web site when it was recommended here back in September, or again last month, you'll be interested to know that a fascinating presentation by Hans Rosling, from TED 2006, is now available online.
You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world” using extraordinary animation software developed by his Gapminder Foundation. The Trendalyzer software (recently acquired by Google) turns complex global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop. Asian countries, as colorful bubbles, float across the grid -- toward better national health and wealth. Animated bell curves representing national income distribution squish and flatten. In Rosling’s hands, global trends — life expectancy, child mortality, poverty rates — become clear, intuitive and even playful.
As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently. It’s something exotic called Spasmodic Dysphonia. Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis. It happens to people in my age bracket.
Boing Boing: If The Ten Commandments was a Teen Comedy
3:15 pm EDT, May 21, 2006
"Ten Things I Hate About Commandments" is a mash-up trailer for a John Hughes style teen comedy, using footage from the Charlton Heston version of The Ten Commandments. It's masterfully done, and milk-out-the-nose funny.
I don't know about "milk-out-the-nose", but I did enjoy the Samuel L. Jackson voiceover.
The US Census Bureau, due to issues related to the separation of church and state, does not ask questions related to faith or religion on the decennial census. Accordingly, there are few sources of comprehensive data on church membership and religious affiliation for the United States. Perhaps the leading organization to address this gap is the Glenmary Research Center, which publishes Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States, 2000. The following series of county-level choropleth maps, which reveals the distribution of the larger and more regionally concentrated church bodies, draws on this resource. The maps are in GIF format.
In keeping with this trend, Colbert's name is scattered all over the set -- in the background in two places, on a plasma screen in front of him, twice on his desk and moving in a red ticker across the ground, plus his desk is in the shape of a giant "C." During the opening credits, an eagle flies around his head, and words flash across the screen: "POWERFUL," "COURAGEOUS," "EXCEPTIONAL," and also "DOMINEERING," "RELENTLESS," "GRIPPY." Yes, you read that right: Grippy. Soon, Colbert tells us about his own personal brand of no-nonsense, hard-hitting ... well, nonsense. Somewhere out there, Bill O'Reilly is fidgeting and twitching like the villain whose voodoo doll just took a thumb tack to the forehead.
In a nice play on O'Reilly's "No-Spin Zone" foolishness, Colbert wants us to know that even though his name is all over the place, the show isn't all about him. "No, this program is dedicated to you, the heroes!" he bellows. "And who are the heroes? The people who watch this show -- average, hardworking Americans. You're not the elites, you're not the country club crowd. I know for a fact that my country club would never let you in. But you get it! And you come from a long line of it-getters!"
Immediately, Colbert has his finger on the throbbing pulse of right-wing punditry, the dexterity with which they pander to the working class without getting any mud on their Italian wing-tip loafers. "On this show, your voice will be heard," Colbert reassures us, "in the form of my voice."
Which brings us to "tonight's word": truthiness. "Now I'm sure some of the word police, the 'Wordinistas' over at Webster's, are gonna say, 'Hey, that's not a word.'" But Colbert goes on to explain, "I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart. And that's exactly what's pulling our country apart today. We are divided between those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart." Next to Colbert, a bullet point flashes "No Thinking." With the glorification of ignorance at its peak, this little rant couldn't feel any more timely. It's soothing, somehow, to witness Colbert tackling the profound absurdity of the times with such unbridled glee.
It was pretty amazing last night.
[ Awesome. Except that it's making me want to get cable again... -k]
Stratfor via DailyKos: The Importance of the Plame Affair
Topic: Politics and Law
9:40 pm EDT, Oct 23, 2005
The CIA is divided between the Directorate of Intelligence, which houses the analysts, and the Directorate of Operations, which houses the spies and the paramilitary forces. The spies are, in general, divided into two groups. There are those with official cover and those with non-official cover. Official cover means that the agent is working at the U.S. embassy in some country, acting as a cultural, agricultural or some other type of attache, and is protected by diplomatic immunity. They carry out a variety of espionage functions, limited by the fact that most foreign intelligence services know who the CIA agents at the embassy are and, frankly, assume that everyone at the embassy is an agent. They are therefore followed, their home phones are tapped, and their maids deliver scraps of paper to the host government. This obviously limits the utility of these agents. Being seen with one of them automatically blows the cover of any potential recruits.
Then there are those with non-official cover, the NOCs. These agents are the backbone of the American espionage system. A NOC does not have diplomatic cover. If captured, he has no protection. Indeed, as the saying goes, if something goes wrong, the CIA will deny it has ever heard of him. A NOC is under constant pressure when he is needed by the government and is on his own when things go wrong. That is understood going in by all NOCs.