31 December 2005

A Promise Or A Threat Fulfilled!

First: Happy New Year! That is the big, important thing!

Secondly: As I referred to in a comment a while back, I was working on the big TODCRA Year-End Best Of List Thingy! And since it's NYE, I have Posted It! So, here it is!

Part I
Part II

So, feel free to check those out if you're so inclined. (Like last year, it's mostly me, but who knows, maybe later I'll end up adding stuff from other TODCRA members...)

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30 December 2005

Final Coil album released, reviewed

This is both exciting and sad... the final Coil studio album, The Ape Of Naples, is out and got a great review at Stylus Magazine.

The album was completed after John Balance's death just over a year ago, and sounds like it's probably great, which is... well, like I said, both exciting and sad.

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29 December 2005

Amazon to stop truckin'

What the heck was Amazon thinking?

Apparently Amazon was using an image of R. Crumb's "Keep On Truckin'" guy when a search would come up with zero results, along with a message to "keep on searchin'." Unfortunately, they're weren't paying Crumb for the use of his creation, so he's suing them.

Good for him.

(emailed to me by Tony- thanks!)

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27 December 2005

Like grains through the hour-glass....

...so go the hours I've spent playing with this hypnotic little web-toy.

Some tips: play with the various settings at the bottom, and note that some materials will burn, others will not. :)

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not enough hours in your day..?

well, it's a bit shorter than an hour but maybe this will help!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Get ready for a minute with 61 seconds. Scientists are delaying the start of 2006 by the first "leap second" in seven years, a timing tweak meant to make up for changes in the Earth's rotation.

The adjustment will be carried out by sticking an extra second into atomic clocks worldwide at the stroke of midnight Coordinated Universal Time, the widely adopted international standard, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology said this week.

"Enjoy New Year's Eve a second longer," the institute said in an explanatory notice. "You can toot your horn an extra second this year."

Coordinated Universal Time coincides with winter time in London. On the U.S. East Coast, the extra second occurs just before 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Atomic clocks at that moment will read 23:59:60 before rolling over to all zeros.

A leap second is added to keep uniform timekeeping within 0.9 second of the Earth's rotational time, which can speed up or slow down because of many factors, including ocean tides. The first leap second was added on June 30, 1972, according to NIST, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Since 1999 until recently, the two time standards have been in close enough synch to escape any need to add a leap second, NIST said.

Although it is possible to have a negative leap second -- that is, a second deducted from Coordinated Universal Time -- so far all have been add-ons, reflecting the Earth's general slowing trend due to tidal breaking.

Deciding when to introduce a leap second is the responsibility of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, a standards-setting body. Under an international pact, the preference for leap seconds is December 31 or June 30.

Precise time measurements are needed for high-speed communications systems among other modern technologies.

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26 December 2005

Freaky: Google Earth and Fire!

Freaky: Google Earth and Fire!
Originally uploaded by CatsFive.

Update! My Google Earth Flickr entry went up over the top to over 3500 views after my picture went up on MSNBC's "Clicked" blog! It's now my most-viewed picture!

I wrote:

Hi, Will,
I liked your recent blog post about people working VERY hard, it seems, just to show up as a couple dots on Google Earth. Who knows what those satellites will pick up? I myself had an interesting run-in with Google Earth, back when it first came out. I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not it’s blog-worthy, but it may be freaky/eerie/interesting enough. Take a look.
Monty Nicol
Calgary (formerly New York City)

Will replies: Monty, that may be the most amazing satellite map story I've heard yet. I don't imagine anyone would want to set their apartment on fire just to show up more clearly on Google Earth, but the fact that you get to see what happened while you were away is pretty incredible. I hope the CSI/Law & Order writers are reading this because that would make a great plot device; a crime or clue spotted on a blurry public satellite image. At least you have proof for your insurance company. Thanks very much for sharing this.

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22 December 2005

Merry Christmas, Mr. Gulp Gulp

If you read the comments for the best-of post, you might have seen me make a cryptic reference (that wasn't really so cryptic). Anyway, though -- here's the payoff:
Most Folks Call Them Green Onions, But They're Really Scallions, my Xmas Mix CD all set for the downloading! This will fit on a CD and all, so if you're inclined, just burn off a copy once you download it! (Speaking of which, it's a zip file that's about 165 MB big.) The cool thing is, after I uploaded it to yousendit.com, Andrew at Phancy.Com, unbeknownst to me, downloaded it and re-uploaded it to his server -- so he's the one who's hosting it and everything, so, y'know, thank him more than me! That was a great thing to wake up to -- a quick email letting me know he was putting it up. So, great!

(Also, unreleatedly, I have found myself obsessed with one of the songs on one of the other Dub Club mix CDs, "Le Monster" by My Favorite. It's totally not Xmasy, but, you know. It's still pretty awesome.)

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Where did Santa come from?

This short film from Finland (2003) explains it all. (Slightly NSFW.)

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20 December 2005

What was the best of 2005?

Hey, y'all, we're falling down on the job here! :)

This is the week most publications do their "best-of" lists for the previous year... movies, books, music and so forth. I'm working out my "Best Music of 2005" list right now, and will post it in a day or so. What about you? What did you enjoy this year, in any or all of these catagories?

Post your list or lists here- and I'm directing this not just at Catsfive and the Rev., but at all of our visitors as well. Tell us what you read/heard/saw this year that rocked!

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19 December 2005

Leaving an abusive... state?

This is the kind of story that keeps me awake nights...

"The way Virginia is treating us, what they are saying to us, I feel like it's being in an abusive house," Tibby says.

"I'm saying, let's get out of this house."

As A. and I head into our 40s (me) and our 50s (him), I find myself worrying about this more and more. (Georgia's voters amended our constitution in 2004 with an evil amendment similar to Virginia's). We have wills and power of attorney for each other, but as the article points out, a judge COULD decide those are invalid if they're too much like a "benefit of marriage."

What then? What if one of us dies, and then a judge declares our wills invalid? The remaining partner could end up battling some member of the other one's family who wants to claim ownership of our house. Etc etc... there's no shortage of nightmare scenarios I can imagine, though I try not to.

Moving to another state isn't really an option for us at this stage, both because of our jobs, and our family commitments. (We own my mom's home, and are pretty much her whole support system.) But like I said, it keeps me awake at night sometimes wondering what harm and heartache our home state might do to us in the name of "protecting marriage."

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18 December 2005

Hippocamp Ruins Sgt. Peppers

After Pet Sounds, they decided to do the most logical album next, which would end up being Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I'm listening to it now, and it seems all right -- not quite as good as Pet Sounds was -- almost like people are a little too worried to really tear apart the Beatles songs the way they did the Pet Sounds tracks, although there's not nearly as many returning artists as you'd expect. So far, I'd say it's worth the download, but if you're only going to get one, Pet Sounds. Easy. Pet Sounds. It's much less "safe" and, well, as such, way more interesting. Even when the experiments don't work, they stick in your head a bit more than these ones do. Perhaps they were worried since EMI seems to be much more litigious over the Beatles stuff than the Beach Boys stuff? I don't know. I just wish they'd gotten their hands a bit dirtier with this one, though. Ah well, 's still cool.

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16 December 2005

Well, poop.

Who knew there was a market for novelty edible-defecating toys?

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13 December 2005

The 1940s (in color)

We've talked about and linked to color photos from WWI and Tsarist Russia... here's an online collection (hosted by the Library Of Congress) of photos from 1940s USA. Sometimes it's hard to believe these are real and not perfectly-made movie stills.

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Share lyrics and go to jail!


Music publishers seek stringent punishment for websites disclosing lyrics

US music publishers are calling for the imprisonment of owners of websites that contain song lyrics, guitar tabs and musical scores.

The Music Publishers' Association (MPA) says such unlicensed publication is illegal and that closing websites and fining their owners is insufficient punishment.

MPA president Lauren Keise said: 'throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective'.

Keise added that the photocopier had hit songwriters and composers' incomes but that the Internet 'is taking more of a bite'.

Keise's remarks follow legal action earlier this week against the developers of software that searches the Web for lyrics. Walter Ritter was forced to withdraw one such application, pearLyrics, after receiving a cease and desist notice from record company Warner/Chappell Music.

The president of the National Music Publishers' Association, another US body, backed Keise's call.

'Unauthorised use of lyrics and tablature deprives the songwriter of the ability to make a living, and is no different than stealing,' he said.

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10 December 2005

Chuck Norris

Damn right that's Chuck Norris, baby! "The Norris theory of evolution states that no organism undergoes natural selection, there are only organisms which Chuck Norris allows to live."

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09 December 2005

Bird's Eye View

This is sort of like Google Maps, but with better, more high-res imagery. I used to live Here. Ho hum, you say? Check the "BIRD'S EYE VIEW" link (the little yellow graphics in the left margin) and zoom on in to some SERIOUS satellite imagery. And as an added bonus: ROTATE the little directional thing. It doesn't do what you think! Amazing.

What about you? Where are your interesting links? Sadly, there was nothing for where I live now (which is "off map" in so many ways). Don't forget to check the Bird's Eye View (on the left) of any place you look up.

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08 December 2005

Space Cadets

As I appear to be the only one amongst us on the UK side of the pond, I thought I'd share with you news of a new TV prank running here at the moment. In general I don't really go for such things, but given the premise of this one is that the people are being duped into thinking they're the first UK space tourists, currently undertaking training in Russia, prior to be flown into orbit for a week, it will be interesting to see if the hoaxers can actually get away with it...

You can learn more about the show and follow their progress here...


...but in summary, so far the TV company advertised for people willing to take part on a risk taking show; they weren't told the nature of the eventual programme, but the initial applicants were run through a series of tests which the show's psychologists devised to try and find the most suitable; things like checking them for suggestibility, etc., and more practical matters like if they suffer claustrophobia.

They narrowed it down to about ten (included three planted actors) before finally revealing that they were to be sent into space, and giving them the final option whether they still wanted to go ahead with it. There were no dropouts! At this point they were flown to the Russian training camp - or rather, they were flown around UK for hours, the final destination being an ex-US airbase in southern England, made over to appear as if it's in Russia.

They are to undergo training there, and the "best of the best" of them selected for their journey to space... or rather, their journey in a mock-up capsule within a huge warehouse which is somehow to become a huge soundstage - convincing enough to trick them they're in space.

It all sounds kind of unlikely, but will be interesting just how far the programme makers can take it before any of them rumble what's really going on!

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Altered state comics

Nidrian is a guy who posts strange, sometimes surreal alterations of newspaper funny-page favorites like Snuffy Smith, Sally Forth, and Family Circus:

Some are kind of juvenile (inserting off-color non-sequiturs into the dialogue) but others are weird on a level almost worthy of Jim Woodring. A few are slightly NSFW.

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01 December 2005

take a trip...

... to another blogger page, that is.


kaleidescopic spectacles optional (especially as it's an audio, not visual, treat!)

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