Lobster break!

Can't wait for this movie.

Dozens of lobsters destined to be boiled alive made a successful getaway from a supermarket in Stuttgart in the early hours of Sunday morning, police said.

(WTF is it Now?)

(If you poke around on the OS X software download page, you can find a lobster-petting widget. FYI.)

The yore file

From our Midwestern Bureau, a link to Wired's article on the programming language, LOGO.

While I sat at my desk one day, two of my classmates figured out how to overwrite the entire screen, which seemed kinda naughty at the time. They giggled, did it again, then giggled some more. From curious children, hackers were born.

Read more here.

Obama to beat up on girl, maybe bomb somebody next

OK, I just made that part up about the bombing but all I'm saying is, if you are a small third-world country, be afraid.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 27 — Senator Barack Obama said he would start confronting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton more forcefully, declaring Friday that she had not been candid in describing her views on critical issues, as he tries to address mounting alarm among supporters that his lack of assertiveness has allowed her to dominate the presidential race.


Assertiveness, that's what we need. Wait until he gets hold of an army.

Oh. No?


iChat does SMS. I don't know if that's new in Leopard but I just figured it out so as far as I am it is. New. (iChat also IMs over .Mac, AIM, Jabber and Google Talk.) I'm not a big IMer but IM is pretty cool. And with the big new iChat feature - screen sharing - I might be doing more of it. Screen sharing sure would take the hassle out of doing online tech support.

Cat notes

In Leopard...
  • Right-clicking on an address in the Address Book produces a mapping action, goes straight to Google Maps
  • The Dictionary now also searches Wikipedia
  • Spotlight, the app that searches the disk, will also find words in the Dictionary
  • Spotlight does arithmetic too, and offers to start the calculator
  • I'm making rice pudding for dinner tomorrow

Miss too flat, fret Brits

According to Miss England Georgia Horsley "pageant organizers," whoever they may be, want her to curve - not fatten, Bunky, just curve - up a bit for the upcoming Miss World contest, reports the AP. It's all about becoming "voluptuous and womanly," Horsley explained on some TV show or other, rather than "stick-thin," although they have some pretty good looking sticks over in Britain there.

Obligingly, she plans to eat oily fish.

Autumn in black and white

Autumn in black and white, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Nice work if you can get it

FEMA stages fake press conference, asks all the right questions. Go figure.

From the Washington Post:

We're told the questions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of external affairs, and by "Mike" Widomski, the deputy director of public affairs. Director of External Affairs John "Pat" Philbin asked a question, and another came, we understand, from someone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin.
Faux and MSNBC bite, carry the show live. Yum.

Liveblogging, whatever, the new cat

OK I don't know exactly what liveblogging is but it seems like a good idea given the alternative. But whatever, I'm sitting here fooling around with Leopard, the new version of Mac OS -X (but I still don't get it with the cat thing, Steve) released today. It is, like, totally. Took about an hour and a half to install - I just did an upgrade, not a nuke-all-and-rebuild-from-scratch job, because I'd just done that a couple of months ago and my system was pretty clean. That's an hour and a half of fooling around with, I don't know, "life" or something, because the whole install requires about five clicks and after that it does itself. Tres cool.

The result seems, right up front, noticeably snappier than the old OS, even though there's a lot more going on as we speak. Lots of nifty to explore, beginning with the two enormous improvements (IMHO), Time Machine and Spaces. Time Machine is the one-click wonder of a backup system that sure looks bulletproof - makes hourly, then daily, then monthly incremental backups and keeps them in an easy-to-navigate and snap-to-restore form. Spaces is the dandy virtual desktop array that's so easy to work with (and I've played around with virtual desktops before) I'm already beginning to wonder how I managed to survive without it.

And there's a ton of other stuff to explore, not even counting all the Unixy goodness underneath. So I'll be at this for a while. Let's hear it for three-day weekends, huh?

Later: Weekly. Not monthly. Sorry. Time Machine, I mean. Hourly, daily, and weekly. When it makes the daily it deletes the hourlies included in that day. When it makes the weekly it deletes the included dailies. It saves the dailies forever, or until the external disk fills up, at which time it deletes the oldest to make room for more new (which means you're screwed if it takes you more than a few months to notice your hard drive's crashed).

Didn't get the memo, I guess

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo asked U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday for continued support as he seeks to stabilize the volatile eastern part of his vast Central African nation.

So this guy Kabila is wanting Commander Guy to stabilize something? Dude, somebody ought to drop him a note.

Leave no child behind

BOSTON - Microsoft Corp. has made progress in getting its Windows software to work on a low-cost laptop computer for poor children that currently runs on rival Linux software, an executive said on Thursday.

Everybody pays, Bunky, that's the rule.

Well OK then

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged on Wednesday that the United States mishandled the case of a Canadian engineer seized by U.S. officials and taken to Syria, where he and the Canadian government say he was tortured.

Rice, speaking at a U.S. congressional hearing, said the United States has told Canada "that we will try to do better in the future."

Rice was asked by a committe member if the US had diplomatic assurances from Syria that the engineer, a guy named Maher Arar, would not be tortured, Rice said she'd need more time to make up an answer.

The Canadian government has apologized to Arar and agreed to pay him almost $10 million in compensation.

The Bush administration has not apologized. Arar's name remains on watch lists that forbid his entry into the United States.

The zone

The zone, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Well he's big with water so, hey, might work

[Michael] Brown, the man who led FEMA immediately after the 2005 hurricane, when tens of thousands of people on the Gulf Coast went without food, power or water for weeks, is out offering his consulting services to California businesses affected by the fires.

(ABC News)

Best tech headline of the day

iPhone: Not As Hot As Scarlett Johansson, But Good Enough As A Temporary Significant Other


More news from Iowa, wherever that is

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - A Burlington man's "corny" overtures didn't go over so well with local police. Daniel Eugene Wilson, 47, was arrested on Tuesday after police allege he impersonated an officer and made harassing phone calls to a former girlfriend.

The woman involved has also accused Wilson of "corning" - or throwing ears of corn - at her home.

(AP - MyWay)


Abandoned, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's in the bag then

Norma "Duffy" Lyon, known for carving life-sized cows from butter for 46 years at the Iowa State Fair, said she's backing Obama because he "doesn't believe in a lot of gobbly-gook" and spends time listening to ordinary voters.

(AP via Yahoo! News)
Sorry. The Devil made me say that. Really. But hey, look what he made her say. Gobbly-gook? I haven't heard that since before she was born. Of course I've never been in Iowa, which might be why.

Rudy! Rudy!

"I took a city that was known for pornography and licked it to a large extent."

- Giuliani, as quoted by the New York Daily News
Yeah, yeah, I know. You've already read it on several thousand other blogs. But it's just such a great line, isn't it?

Is that smoke I smell, or something else?

This morning on Fox News, hosts of the show Fox and Friends blamed the wildfires in California on a new culprit: al Qaeda. They pointed to a 2003 FBI memo, which raised the possibility that al Qaeda may try to set wildfires around the western United States. They also noted that men in a “hovering helicopter” saw “a guy starting one of these fires.”

(Think Progress)

Is "PC" still PC?

Somebody asked me the other day what I mean (relative to computers) when I say "PC" and it suddenly occured to me: duh. I have no idea. What I sorta mean is the kind you have, not the kind I have, making the pretty safe assumption you have an Intel-based box running Windows. But not necessarily exactly, it turns out.

"PC" was the name given by IBM to its first entry in the personal computer market, which had been around by then for quite a while (see this entry at the Blinkenlights Archaeological Institute for more). The proprietary BIOS in the IBM PC was immediately reverse-engineered and the "clone" came into being (powered by the happily disremembered MS-DOS, renamed from PC-DOS); as clones acquired respectability they became known, more delicately, as IBM-compatibles; and as IBM's share of the personal computer market declined and eventually vanished the entire class of Intel-based, Microsoft-powered computers came to be known as PCs - in the consumer world, pretty much all the computers in the world except Apple's.

But now, Apple computers run on Intel chips and quite handily run, in addition to the Mac OS, Windows right out of the box. And some used-to-be PCs are built with AMD chips and run other operating systems as well, notably Linux and the various flavors of BSD (which also run happily on Apple hardware, in most cases). So are Macs PCs now or are PCs not? If you see what I mean. I myself have no idea.

But the good news is, today is the last day before tomorrow, which is the release date for Apple's long (in techno terms)-awaited iteration of OS-X, and there will probably be a little Leopard-blogging this weekend.

And a good thing it is

The writers of the constitution wrote in the second amendment that the right to bare arms is a right of the citizens of America.

- From a Social Studies essay posted at Scriptovia ("Effective Learning Through Collaboration BETA")
Speaking of bare arms, Faux News reminds us that in the "Live Free or Die" state of New Hampshire (where it might be a better idea to wear a sweater this morning but hey, you want bare arms you got 'em, it's the law) there is no waiting period for the purchase of firearms, no background checks for buyers of rifles and shotguns, no restrictions on children under 18 owning firearms, and - oh yeah, Bunky - no restrictions on the blind possessing guns. So, you know, just keep your head down.


The end is near

The end is near, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's beginning to look like Sunday was the day. Since then we've had rain and wind, and a lot of leaves are on the ground now, even though what seems like a lot of trees remain green. It's been a disappointing color season, the second (at least) in a row. Possibly that's due to a dryer-than-usual August, possibly to an unseasonably (or new-seasonably?) warm October. Maybe it's just a fluke.

The color will still be around a while, but the end is near.

So what do we do now, all run out and get anthrax?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government needs to throw away more than $12 million worth of expired anthrax vaccine and quickly use up the rest of a rapidly aging supply worth hundreds of millions of dollars, a Government Accountability Office expert said on Tuesday.

(Reuters via Yahoo! News)
How else are they going to use up all that vaccine? And by the way, whatever happened to that anthrax guy? He just sort of disappeared.

Because we're so damn good at remaking countries

"We all know that Cuba is going to face very significant requirements to rebuild itself," said a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the president. "There's a whole set of challenges that Cuba is going to face. The United States will clearly want to help the Cubans as they define what it is they need, but we think the international community should be thinking that way as well."

(AP via Yahoo! News)

But you'll have to take a number, Cubans. It's a long line.

Dude! It's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week!

"Rick Santorum has been the most courageous and outspoken public figure in
America alerting all of us to the true nature of the enemy we face," said
David Horowitz, founder of the Freedom Center, and organizer of
"Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," which includes events at over 100 schools
across America.

Woohoo. I almost missed it. Which I couldn't afford to do because I already missed Talk Like a Pirate Day and Make Cookies With More Chocolate Chips Day.

(OK, I just made that last one up but it does sound like a pretty good idea. I bet I could get 100 schools signed up for that one, easy. Unless the Fat Police get there first.)


The very definition of a bankrupt foreign policy

Guerrilla leaders said the Americans classify the P.K.K. [Kurdistan Workers' Party] as a terrorist group because it is fighting Turkey, an important American ally, while the P.J.A.K. [Party for Free Life in Kurdistan] is not labeled as such because it is fighting Iran.

In fact, the two groups appear to a large extent to be one and the same, and share the same goal: fighting campaigns to win new autonomy and rights for Kurds in Iran and Turkey. They share leadership, logistics and allegiance to Abdullah Ocalan, the P.K.K. leader imprisoned in Turkey.

Not often you see it spelled out so clearly, but there it is.

I think I'll wait to see what Ebert says

Inside the Five Star Video Obscenity Trial

(Adult Video News)
Ah. Well. "Five Star Video" is the name of the defendant. So that explains that, although if AVN's Mark Kernes is right - "One observer described the events taking place in Courtroom 604 of the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse yesterday as 'high drama,' but that term barely scratches the surface" - the trial deserves at least a few stars too. I wonder if it's on Netflix yet.

(Thanks to the Sideshow for noting this.)


Now they notice

Authorities in Italy are investigating a mafia clan accused of trafficking nuclear waste and trying to make plutonium.

The 'Ndrangheta mafia, which gained notoriety in August for its blood feud killings of six men in Germany, is alleged to have made illegal shipments of radioactive waste to Somalia, as well as seeking the "clandestine production" of other nuclear material.

(The Guardian)

Could turn out Iran is the only country without nukes.

More for us then!

No More Sex on Chinese TV


At least it's on thing we don't have to import.

Western Mass

Western Mass, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Oh no! Kids are zonked!

College students relying on unregulated potions and elixirs to pull all-nighters and muscle their way through school have medical professionals fearful about just how badly they are treating their bodies in the pursuit of academic success.

With midterm exams looming, students are fueling themselves on sugary coffee drinks and jazzy concoctions made of caffeine and herbs - all packaged as “energy drinks” with names such as Amp, Full Throttle and Rockstar. In some cases, students supplement the liquid buzz with drugs like Adderall and other amphetamines.

(Boston Herald)
Why can't they just drink beer? I mean hey, it was good enough for us.

Field beneath the hill

Field beneath the hill, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

And not a penny vanished into thin air

As the investigative reporters Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele observed in the October Vanity Fair, America has to date “spent twice as much in inflation-adjusted dollars to rebuild Iraq as it did to rebuild Japan — an industrialized country three times Iraq’s size, two of whose cities had been incinerated by atomic bombs.” (And still Iraq lacks reliable electric power.)

(Frank Rich, NYTimes)

It vanished into somebody's pocket.