The dynamic side of Psydeshow Roductions.

Mar 22, 2007:

Daylight Savings Reconsidered

So I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been using *more* energy since Daylight Savings Time started. Now the lights are on when I get home from work *and* when I get up in the morning.

So just how, exactly, was this supposed to save energy?

Ooooh, now I see. The 2005 bill in which this madness was inserted was called the "Energy Policy Act," which only a left-leaning doofus like me would take to mean "Energy Savings." My bad.

Mar 10, 2007:

Beware of violent reformers

"When people in Palestine voted for Hamas it was not for radicalism, they voted against corruption. This is the same. Because people hate American foreign policy and corrupt Arab dictatorships they have some sympathy for al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. It doesn't mean they approve of al-Qaida's actions or September 11."
-- Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper

Americans voted for Bush because they saw him as a reformer and an outsider, and downplayed his radical religious and imperialistic views. We gravitate toward leaders, and only consider their morals in hindsight.

This has long been recognized as the greatest failing of democracy, and the reason why executive powers must be restrained. We will always want strong leaders, but strong leaders always have a radical agenda tucked away somewhere.

Feb 17, 2007:

Stranded on the Interstate

“It wasn’t the state or the National Guard, it was the truck drivers and locals checking on everyone.”
-- Reggie Jackson, truck driver

Ice storm strands motorists on three interstates, citizens forced to fend for themselves while state marshals resources. Good thing the neighbors had snow mobiles and extra food. Good thing truckers are heroes.

Feb 12, 2007:

Cheaper than dirt...

A draft of the report [on the feasibility of cow-manure-based fiberboard] concludes that fiberboard panels made with processed manure "performed very well in mechanical tests, in many cases meeting or exceeding the standard requirements for particleboard."

Build your next bookcase out of pooboard + walnut veneer!

Feb 06, 2007:

On "Moderate" Regimes

"The Saudi Wahhabis are, after all, fanatics; Egypt's Hosni Mubarak is intolerant of dissent; and Jordan, the state closest to the western ideal, is a marginal player. These countries' appalling human rights records, lack of transparency and repression rank them among the world's least moderate.
"Is there such a thing as a 'moderate public beheading'?"
-- Mai Yamani

Jan 24, 2007:

Reptillian interpretation of the Constitution

“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.

“Wait a minute,” Specter interjected. “The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?”

Gonzales continued, “The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended” except in cases of rebellion or invasion.”

War on (some) terror pilloried

"The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by their infringement."
-- Sir Ken MacDonald, UK director of public prosecutions

Jan 22, 2007:

iTunes pimps like Best Buy

"The thing about iTunes, which is by far the most successful digital store so far, is that despite the cool factor they have been able to hold onto, they are really closer to Best Buy than Other Music in terms of the shopping experience. That's great for some people, but we feel there is a real need for great indie download shops with a curated selection."
-- Josh Madell, co-owner of Other Music

The clerks at OM are intimidatingly good-looking... nice to know we'll be able to shop online soon.

Jan 16, 2007:

A laundry list

"We absolutely cannot accept the concept of preventive war, nor the concept of good versus evil, nor disengagement in the Middle East, nor the Americans preaching economic liberalism abroad and practising protectionism at home. We cannot tolerate their refusal to ratify the Kyoto treaty when they are the world's No 1 polluter."

-- Ségolène Royal, on why France must maintain a certain independence from the United States.

Dec 24, 2006:

God in the role of Mr. Goodwrench

"I had been brought up to believe that time delivers our dreams and quietly carries our nightmares away, and that most of what lies before is welcoming and serene."

From Tango by Thomas McGuane.

Sep 06, 2006:

Macs unable to preview music at Amazon

Every now and then, usually while browsing the iTunes Music Store, I find myself wondering how I can stomach the whole thing, and why I wouldn't just buy my music somewhere else.

Unfortunately, ever since Kozmo went under, the path of least resistance for my mass-market music purchases has been Also hard to stomach, but generally a safe and sound place for online purchasing. And they've got a good deal on shipping.

But what they don't have is a music store with previewable tracks that play on Macs. As in, no QuickTime or mp3 previews. I guess they don't trust Apple's drm or something, but I'm not going to install sketchy real player or windows media apps just so I can buy a cd from these folks.

It's probably time to stop bitching about it and just find a music e-tailer that doesn't suck.

Apr 30, 2006:

The Liberal Foreign Policy

If it has to be a crusade, at least make it a humanistic one:
"Americans may fight evil, they argued, but that does not make us inherently good. And paradoxically, that very recognition makes national greatness possible.

"Knowing that we, too, can be corrupted by power, we seek the constraints that empires refuse. And knowing that democracy is something we pursue rather than something we embody, we advance it not merely by exhorting others but by battling the evil in ourselves.

"The irony of American exceptionalism is that by acknowledging our common fallibility, we inspire the world."
-- Peter Beinart, The Rehabilitation of the Cold War Liberal.

Otherwise known as Golden Rule Imperialism: do unto others as you would have your government do unto you. The place where it falls down, of course, is the part where democracy relies on a social contract, not an authoritarian decree.

The problem with having a Foreign Policy is that you obviously have no business enforcing it. Diplomacy and decency require a coherent voice: basic human rights, universal suffrage, environmental stewardship, a fair (not free!) market, rule of law... all desirable things.

But these are practically unenforceable except by treaty and consent. You certainly can't do it with bombs. When enforcement is counter-cultural you can't even do it with a police state.

The best Foreign Policy I can imagine takes all of the resources we deploy trying to enforce policy abroad, and redeploys most of them to implement policy at home, while strengthening diplomatic efforts and subsidizing American standards on a global scale.

You don't need to call me a dreamer, I know.

But for $300 Billion annually we should be able to have safe food and water, good roads, efficient baseline medical care; lights, heat, internet; a well-regulated, transparent market and strong public schools; humane treatment of everyone touched by government; and a fair cop.

Instead we get cowboy wars in the oilfield of hatred. So I guess I'd be willing to settle for the compromise of Golden Rule Imperialism. Who do I vote for?

Mar 09, 2006:

Paranoia in pop culture

My friend Ben writes about The Conversation, and wiretapping as...

Mar 02, 2006:

The smoking videoconference

Well of course, there's no way we could have known how much damage Hurricane Katrina was going to cause, but the federal government was apparently fully prepared to respond.

Except they didn't.

Feb 24, 2006:

Why Copy Protection Doesn't Work

I thought I had it all figured out. "Copy protection," I would say, meaning DRM of course, "is bad news, because it is impossible to make music playable without exposing the data to people who want to copy it. Plus, it twists our notions of ownership: I _bought_ a CD, not a license to play some audio files."

In other words, the economic equation doesn't make sense. Why spend millions if not billions of dollars trying to prevent the un-preventable? But I was wrong. Sort of.

This post set me straight. It's not the unrecoupable R&D investment that makes DRM a bad idea (from a media company's point of view). It's that adding DRM to a track makes it instantly less valuable than the same track without DRM.

In other words, a track that a consumer can play or save anywhere (ipod, phone, pc, car stereo, backup cd, mixtape, email, etc) is worth more than a track that can only be played on a specific device. And it costs less (because distributed free). How can you ever hope to compete with that?

Feb 23, 2006:

The Trouble With Autobiography


Feb 16, 2006:

Followup Offensive Cartoons

More reasons to burn embassies. And before you get mad at me,...

Feb 02, 2006:

Muslim Baiting in EU Newspapers

I totally dig the "freedom to blaspheme" affirmation that is sweeping the editorial ranks of newspapers in the EU, though I wonder if they shouldn't be printing childish cartoons of Jesus, or perhaps depicting the moral failures of Science alongside the controversial sketches of a certain prophet. But who knows, maybe they are. You know, just to "test the bounds of decency," because that's really what newspapers are for these days.

Okay, so I'm conflicted. Childish glee at the idea of poking fun at True Believers, but also concern that they're driving home exactly the wrong impression at the wrong time. And really, there's nothing good to say about trashing someone else's religion in the press. They should just go back to spreading gossip and pimping product like they do in America.

Jan 30, 2006:

Oh, her penetrating masthead!

In an uncharacteristically brilliant (and therefore suspect)...

Jan 17, 2006:

A lesson in Compassion

Proposed British prostitution policy is incredibly civilised.

Jan 15, 2006:

The Sky Is Falling Disease

I *love* this lead-in from today's NYT op-ed on diabetes:
A disease like diabetes gallops practically out of control, with estimates that 21 million Americans have it and 45 million more could develop it. Yet relatively few people worry about it or alter their behavior to postpone or possibly prevent its onset.

On the other hand, just the mention of flesh-eating disease, a staph infection that affects maybe 1,500 Americans each year, is enough to make many people anxious. And a news report on avian flu, which has yet to affect anyone in the United States, generates calls to personal physicians from patients eager to stock up on anti-flu drugs.
If we said that The Terrorists are behind diabetes (and, in my analysis, they most certainly are) then America would be queueing up for insulin tests and screaming bloody murder about the amount of high-fructose corn syrup injected into their bodies, daily.

But until then, pass the Krispy Kremes!

Jan 10, 2006:

Dinner For One

When a 10 minute video is in Popular rotation on Gee-Vee, you know there must be somethin' to it.

Apartment fire

This fire closed Sixth Ave for hours yesterday... we estimated 8-10 fire companies responded over the course of the event.

Dec 28, 2005:

Dancers? Stuntmen? Super heroes?

"Russian Climbers" video is a must-see. These kids are practicing a flashy version of Parkour, which is a kind of freestyle dance through an urban landscape.

Very impressive.

Also, I love that there is a sport/discipline/martial-art dedicated to escape. I generally prefer flight to fight, and this looks like a better workout than tai chi.

Dec 14, 2005:


Following on the heels of the last post, we can only say that current events make the case even stronger: the Bush administration embraces torture. They've rewritten the Army's manual to encourage illegal (and way immoral!) abuse of prisoners. And Dick Cheney is on the warpath to make sure the CIA is exempted from any restrictions on torture.

Why? Not because it gets good information about terrorists, but because it gets people to tell interrogators whatever sick lies the administration wants to hear. They mistake the raving shrieks of a man in pain for intelligence.

End this now. For the good of our country and the world.

Dec 10, 2005:

The Purpose of Torture

Ever wonder why your government might secretly condone torture?

The application of extreme interrogation techniques (torture) is more likely to result in false confessions than in actual confessions because the number of innocent victims is far larger than the number of guilty conspirators. (And also because those who have something real to confess are more likely to resist...)

So, if you want to get people to lie about threats that don't exist, torture and threats of violence are the shortest possible path.

Now you know. The purpose of torture is to extract false confessions that can in turn be used to justify policy. Like going to war over non-existent threats. Neat!

According to reliable sources, 2+2 = 5.

Dec 04, 2005:

Animated Music

This is oddly entertaining.

An American predicament

I happened across an excellent discussion of How Not to be Insane When Accused of Racism, with some really insightful (and some not so insightful) comments attached.


Dec 03, 2005:

Tiny Weapons To Be Allowed

The nail-scissors-wielding terrorist hordes may now de-cloak and run amok in the cabins of the world's jumbo jets!
"When weapons are allowed back on board an aircraft, the pilots will be able to land the plane safely but the aisles will be running with blood," said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants.

Two US Congressmen, Ed Markey and Joseph Crowley, have said they will oppose relaxing the ban with a bill.

"The Bush administration proposal is just asking the next Mohamed Atta to move from box-cutters to scissors as the weapon that's used in the passenger cabin of planes," Mr Markey said.


Frankly, I don't feel safe at work, either, with all those scissors and staplers around. TERRORISTS could TAKE OVER my OFFICE! Help me TSA, help me!

Nov 27, 2005:

Verizon Ads Steal Computing Resources


I'm writing to complain about the animated Verizon ads that appear on some pages. They are extremely CPU intensive, which makes it very difficult to read articles or even to do anything else on the computer at the same time one of these pages is open.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the use of animated ads on your pages is inconsistent with your brand identity as a sophisticated and trustworthy source of news. (oops, I nearly choked on my coffee) They are annoying to your readership, and encourage the use of ad-blocking browser extensions.

But when those animated ads are given carte blanche to use as much memory and processing cycles as they can, they go from being a bad idea to being a possibly illegal abuse of system resources on the order of spam and spyware. Please have someone look into it.


Next page »

psydeshowdium: a folder

permalink - RSS Newsfeed

jump to top