Oh, and, the Queen Mother passed away in her sleep at 3.15 this afternoon. Here's wondering whether the event was predicted by the Global Consciousness Project.
So, Easter. That happy Friday where we kill and eat our god. And then, a couple of days later when he comes back "You can't kill me, puny mortal", etc, etc. But there's today, O! special day, O! day free from Big Brother peering over your shoulder saying Don't Do This, Don't Do That, No Thieving, No Lying, No Fun; O! day of casting off of yokes, of rising up triumphant over our creator. A godless day of freedom. We should celebrate this more than anything. Ding dong, the witch is dead.
use Appkit; Any Perl + Mac OS X developers in the house? This could be very nice.
Do mermaids smell of fish?
Two strange and somewhat worrying things have occurred already this Saturday.
One | Yesterday I was sent spam email ordaining me as a minister in the Universal Life Church (based in California). Today I received in a physical envelope a certificate of the same. Only this letter was hand delivered to my house, and I live in London. A very scary mix of the virtual and the real. (Add to that the backpack full of documents left outside my front door, and I get the feeling I'm involved in something much larger and more complex than I realise.)
Two | Neighbours across and slightly further down the street are watching extremely filthy pornography with the curtains open. How do I know? Because their tele seemed to be showing some pink and rhythmic looking, so I checked it out with my binoculars for ten minutes or so, until I was sure what it was.
Granted, in the second of those incidents the party being strange and worrying was myself, but it's still a lot for a single day. More news as it happens.
Update: They're still watching porn. (By the way, if you read a weblog today that says anything like "He's still watching me with those damn binoculars!", could you let me know please? I'll be more discreet.)
Trench warfare. Heavily hypertexted, large amounts of personal narrative. Informative. Moving.
Good, long article on Moby in the New York Times Magazine [registration required]. There'll be a new album shortly.
Defaced photos of Britney Spears from the NYC subway.
Chicago, February 27, 2002: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock from nine to seven minutes to midnight. Whoa. Serious. U.S. unilateralism, nuclear proliferation, the escalating tension between India and Pakistan. And what can we do in the face of inpending apocalypse? Buy the commerative t-shirt.
In response to another email Phil G posted something that was a list of quotations and it reminded me of a McSweeney's List piece (one of the Scout Handbook pieces) so Es and I went to the site to check it out. While hunting round through the archives we went through a door to the server room, which turned out to be a basement somewhere and I was surprised. More sites should do that I thought. Going through another door we left the building, but it closed behind us and we couldn't get in. The door was metal with no handle, and painted with white paint now flaking off.
Outside was yellow and grey, a dusty ground with buildings that looked as though they should be much larger scattered around. "It's a wilderness," I said, but it wasn't. Or at least it was, but only in one direction. In another direction it was farmland, and in another a tourist attraction. But everywhere it appeared to be an abandoned metropolis transposed to a village of the great plains. It was then I realised we were at the edge of a reservation, and the last surviving Navajo Indians were eking out a living acting as tourist guides.
There were three, all outside the broken down entrance to some park or another (on my left, if facing forward was the wilderness, backward the farm, and right the McSweeney's server building). The first man held a billboard and was running up and down, continuously shouting his incomprehensible sales pitch. He wore the mask of a hawk, as large as his torso, made of wood and breaking up, painted crudely in patches. Closer to me were two children, also wearing masks. They stood by a gallows holding ropes which were strung over a pulley to become a noose holding up a body. They both wore black. Turning, staring at me, they jiggled the rope to mime the action of a squaw (the body) being hanged. They all wanted me to pay to go into the park. I didn't.
Es and I turned and left, at which point it emerged the Navajo village was just up the road from my mother's house in the New Forest (England). We walked down the country lane to her house where a giant party was in progress. Hedges, trees, the garage and the neighbour's house had been removed for the cars to park. People were everywhere, and this was the culmination of a week long party to celebrate the renovation of the house (my mother told me). I could hear the sounds of guests helping with DIY in the background.
On the grass after the cars but before the party I saw Rafiki run past, and Woody (the other dog) lying on the ground chewing a bone. He looked younger than when I last saw him, last weekend, three days ago.
More than slightly disturbing. And that's just the length of the url. Famous people who look better with the body of an animal DOT co DOT uk [via scribot].
The History of Flash, as told by its creator Jonathan Grey. Muchos background on his early life and what led up to Flash, and some nice quotes. "If you ever think Flash is difficult to use, you should try drawing with a joystick on an Apple II before the concept of undo was invented. That will test your patience."
New Upsideclown from Neil: These Are The Days. It's odd. We're obsessed with trying to find some kind of handle on the City. Here I am [each of us says], one in seven million: what does it mean? Being exposed to this, day in day out, this complexity that dwarfs me, what is this doing to me? So we chronicle it, trying to extract some thread. And that's as far as we've got. Still confused.
See how web colour palettes change with colourblindness using Cal's Color Vision. I didn't even know there were so many ways of being colourblind. Or that so many people were.
The Church Of The Atomic Christ. Great pictures.
The Online Diary History Project is a new 'site cataloguing the social history of journals, with personal recollections from 1995. Superb. One thing the 'net doesn't have is an effective collective memory, one that lets us learn from our past. This is spot on.
Horses for the blind. Tiny, tiny horses. Seriously. Guide horses.
I have a new hobby. I'm splitting universes. On the way back from Hammersmith tube to my house I pass a number of bollards, and phone boxes, and manhole covers in the pavement. Walking dead straight towards whatever-it-is, I clear my mind and refuse to think about which side I'm going to step to avoid it. Just as I'm about to hit I make an impulsive (and completely necessary) decision and pop that's it, the universe fork()s, and the alternate mes continue on their way. I step one way in one universe, and the other in the universe created for that decision. The multiverse, see, catering to all possibilities. It's a good feeling, being the Creator. Well, a creator really, if you're being pedantic.
This evening I must have created at least 31 extra universes (five binary decisions makes 32, deduct the one for this original). At the first bollard, I jumped right. Bada bing, another reality.
By the way. If that last sentence said "left" then you're from the alternate universe. Glad to have you with us. Hello!
More about the Taleyarkhan/Lahey cold fusion paper, which will be released in the online edition of Science on March 7. (This article in the Village Voice claims that the experiment can't be replicated. That's bad news.) [Links via slashdot.]
Update: Science have released the cold fusion paper as PDF. Did I say cold fusion? I meant evidence for nuclear emissions in cavitating bubbles, sorry.
How do you mark a site that'll still be dangerous after 10,000 years such that future civilisations won't interfere with it and harm themselves? Message to 12,000 A.D. [via haddock] attempts to answer that question.
Possible evidence for tabletop cold fusion [Times Online; registration required] to be announced this week. If true, this will change the world. Or rather: the enormous change that would come when the cheap-oil energy boom has to halt in a few decades won't come. Which amounts to much the same thing. It's a ripple of the future, anyhow.
And another comment: Do the big effects tend to come from things that aren't predictable/known from conventional science? Does science always just explain what's already there? How often are the predictions themselves steps into the unknown? I've talked a lot to people [Julius, Stephen] about the future of maths and physics. Julius says the next 100 years are going to be a glorious golden age of maths, of science. Counterintuitives all over the place. How do those measures I've mentioned just now change in those kind of eras? Do those kind of measures pre-empt those eras? Can we see them coming?
The intelligent design argument counters evolution by claiming some processes are irreducible and couldn't have come about piecemeal. Commonly a mousetrap is used to illustrate this, being an object that couldn't exist without having been consciously designed for its purpose. A reducibly complex mousetrap [via Bifurcated Rivets] counters intelligent design with a possible evolution path. It could be a more convincing article, though, if it could show why each intermediate step was more effective than the step before.
Why is evolution such a controversial topic? Things around us so obviously and blatently change with their environment. Whether you call it population shift or natural selection isn't important. Similarly, whether we've correctly identified the evolutionary mechanism isn't important. But the concept itself - that complex things have come from less complex things - even if we don't know exactly how - why should that be under dispute?
Kloudscape. Desktop wallpapers of clouds from 39,000 feet. Whatever feet are. Fucking imperialists. 12km. Great pictures though.
Chilling Effects Clearinghouse: "Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you". Background material to help you protect your rights. [Thanks, Ed.]