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Informed Comment
Topic: Current Events 4:24 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 1:38 pm EST, Jan 21, 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

Wired News - New Sanborn Interview
Topic: Technology 1:37 pm EST, Jan 21, 2005

] The novel The Da Vinci Code is renewing interest in
] solving the puzzle of a cryptographic sculpture located
] at CIA headquarters. Only three people know the solution,
] but the sculptor now says two of them only think they
] know it.

Big front-page top-link article on Kryptos at Wired. Coolness. :)

I've been working with the reporter on this article for awhile now, and she really did her homework. I helped her get in touch with both Jim Sanborn and Ed Scheidt for interviews, and we tried really hard to get interviews with William Webster, Jim Gillogly, and even Dan Brown. I'm also pleased that the reporter posted an actual transcript of her Sanborn interview, since that gives us more to work with on analyzing his comments!

- Elonka :)

Wired News - New Sanborn Interview

RE: Con attendence
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:18 am EST, Jan 12, 2005

Acidus wrote:
] Here are my estimates for the
] Interz0nes
] 1: ~125 +-10
] 2: ~275 +-50
] 3: ~250 +-25
] Interz0ne 3 felt like it had less people than IZ2, (of course,
] any observations I can make about IZ2 are probably wrong as I
] had a lot of shit to handle!)

Actually, I believe IZ3 only had about 150 paid attendees, including staff and speakers.

I won't be attending IZ4 for several reasons, but that $50 price tag is definitely high on the list of why I'm not.

RE: Con attendence

On Kerik Nomination, White House Missed Red Flags (
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:51 pm EST, Dec 17, 2004

] Marshall Wittman, a former Republican who is now a senior
] fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council, called this
] the first instance of the overreaching that officials in
] both parties had expected after Bush won reelection and
] claimed a broad mandate.
] "When you believe you are invulnerable, you will always
] take a step too far, and this was it," Wittman said. "The
] most cursory checking would have shown this guy has more
] skeletons than a haunted house. This choice was political
] from the beginning to the end."

Use u/p to view article without registering, courtesy of

On Kerik Nomination, White House Missed Red Flags (

Lumps of Coal for the RIAA and MPAA
Topic: Current Events 2:34 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

Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters - (United Press International)
Topic: Current Events 5:37 pm EST, Dec  9, 2004

] U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq are beginning to show
] up at homeless shelters around the country, and advocates
] fear they are the leading edge of a new generation of
] homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era.


Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters - (United Press International)

Activists Dominate Content Complaints
Topic: Arts 12:08 pm EST, Dec  7, 2004

] Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency
] complaints --- aside from those concerning the Janet
] Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super
] Bowl halftime show broadcast on CBS --- were brought by
] the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1. (The
] agency last week estimated it had received 1,068,767
] complaints about broadcast indecency so far this year;
] the Super Bowl broadcast accounted for over 540,000,
] according to commissioners%u2019 statements.)
] The prominent role played by the PTC has raised concerns
] among critics of the FCC's crackdown on indecency.
] %u201CIt means that really a tiny minority with a very
] focused political agenda is trying to censor American
] television and radio,%u201D said Jonathan Rintels,
] president and executive director of the Center for
] Creative Voices in Media, an artists' advocacy
] group.
] PTC officials disagree.
] "I wish we had that much power," said Lara
] Mahaney

Activists Dominate Content Complaints

Fed Funded Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Programs Give 'False' HIV Information
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:46 pm EST, Dec  2, 2004

] Waxman's staff reviewed 13 of the most commonly used
] abstinence-only sex education curricula in the United
] States and found that 11 of the programs -- which are
] used by 69 organizations in 25 states -- contain
] "unproved claims, subjective conclusions or outright
] falsehoods regarding reproductive health, gender traits
] and when life begins," the Post reports.
] According to the report, some of the claims made by the
] programs include: that a fetus at 43 days gestation is a
] "thinking person," that a boy or man can impregnate a
] woman or girl by touching her genitals, that women who
] undergo abortion are "more prone to suicide," that 10% of
] women who undergo abortion become sterile, that 50% of
] gay male teenagers are HIV-positive, that HIV can be
] spread through sweat and tears and that condoms fail to
] prevent sexually transmitted diseases 31% of the time
] when used during heterosexual intercourse, according to
] the report, the Post reports.

Not only does abstinence only education not work, but it's spreading misinformation as well. Just great.

Fed Funded Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Programs Give 'False' HIV Information

Election result maps
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:19 pm EST, Nov  8, 2004

] The map gives the superficial impression that the "red
] states" dominate the country, since they cover far more
] area than the blue ones. However, as pointed out by many
] others, this is misleading because it fails to take into
] account the fact that most of the red states have small
] populations, whereas most of the blue states have large
] ones. The blue may be small in area, but they are large
] in terms of numbers of people, which is what matters in
] an election.
] We can correct for this by making use of a cartogram, a
] map in which the sizes of states have been rescaled
] according to their population.

[ Neat. Particularly the last two maps... -k]

Election result maps

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