the whole world burns

Archive for March 2005

day of dots clock

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A clock: one dot is one second.

CD of the most un-/wanted songs

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The most favored ensemble, determined from a rating by participants of their favorite instruments in combination, comprises a moderately sized group (three to ten instruments) consisting of guitar, piano, saxophone, bass, drums, violin, cello, synthesizer, with low male and female vocals singing in rock/r&b style. The favorite lyrics narrate a love story, and the favorite listening circumstance is at home. ... [The song] will be unavoidably and uncontrollably "liked" by 72 plus or minus 12% ... of listeners.

The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe... An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. ... [F]ewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.

The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat

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Fascinating article about the lessons in worldbuilding learnt from the making of Habitat, a very early (it ran on the Commodore 64!) online MMORPG. Interesting to compare with newer systems like Second Life, which have obviously been constructed with these lessons in mind.


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Terrifying doll chimeras, chains of plastic bodies strung together like faux-flesh centipedes... shudder

Greasemonkey 0.2.5

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Greasemonkey 0.2.5 includes an XMLHttpRequest convenience method that works across domains. Oohhhh yeah.

Timothy Leary


Leary was convicted of a drug possession charge, fled, and was eventually imprisoned for several years. When he arrived in prison, he was given a standard psychological test that the prison used to assign inmates to appropriate work assignments. Having written the test himself, he was able to give the answers that got him a job working in the prison library.



There was some worry last month when a few fanfiction sites were sent cease-and-desist notices by the MPAA for daring to use their rating system (e.g. G, PG, PG-13, R). In what I assume is a response to this, just announced that they're "adopting the Fiction Rating guide from FictionRatings.Com". (The two sites are owned by the same person.)

The decision to adopt a system which isn't legally murky is admirable, but this is only marginally better.

Fiction Rating "unverified" symbols and textual guidelines may be used at no cost provided the following conditions are met:

  1. Non-Profit use: personal use or via an organization.
  2. All content using the Fiction Ratings system must be completely free, without requirement of registration, and be openly accessible to the general public.

Why oh why couldn't they make it completely open? It's not even usable by sites like Restricted Section, which requires free registration to keep minors from accessing NC-17/X-rated content.

Om Malik on Yahoo getting cool again

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Yahoo! is trying to get its geek cred back, since it filters up/down to the mainstream media. It's working, too: I'm this close to switching primary search engine.


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Destroy any website.

'a sex ed textbook that isn't "abstinence only" cannot be bought in the United States'

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If I have kids, I'll give them stuff like "The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks" and "The Big Book of Bondage". They'll be so embarrassed they'll beg for a textbook about contraception...

backwards masking

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More fun deciphering "hidden messages" in music played backwards. The best one, from Britney's "Hit Me Baby One More Time":

Forwards: "With you I lose my mind give me a sign..." Backwards: "Sleep with me, I'm not too young."

See also Hidden & Satanic Messages in Rock Music.

Light Speed!


Light Speed! is an OpenGL-based program developed to illustrate the effects of special relativity on the appearance of moving objects. When an object accelerates to more than a few million meters per second, it begins to appear warped and discolored in strange and unusual ways, and as it approaches the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) the effects become more and more bizarre. In addition, the manner in which the object is distorted varies drastically with the viewpoint from which it is observed.

"ordinary" flavoured condoms

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Finally, we have the Ordinary flavored condom, which I think is the wild card here. Ordinary what? An ordinary condom? Latex flavor? If so, does that really count as a flavored condom? Or perhaps Ordinary means what we all really hope it means.

cartoonist faces jail for blasphemy

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Haderer did not even know that his book, The Life of Jesus, had been published in Greece until he received a summons to appear in court in Athens in January charged with blasphemy.

He was given a six-month suspended sentence in absentia, but if he loses his appeal next month his sentence could be increased to two years.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.