May 1, 2007
The Fallout 3 that never will be. As far as western RPGs go, the Fallout series was one of the crown jewels. A spiritual successor to EA's Wasteland, the games combined tragedy, black humor and all the cool of the retrofuture apocalypse. Although much of the creative team left to form Troika Games, and two (barely related) follow-up games were made, Black Isle Studios (who were also responsible for the Dungeons and Dragons-based Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate series, along with the epic Planescape: Torment) was planning a third sequel, but now Bethesda picked up the IP and plans to make an MMORPG. That little tech demo is all that's left of one of the most demanded video game sequels in western RPG history.
4/29 Truth Movement. As already noted within three minutes of the post on the Oakland highway collapse going up this weekend, the successful melting of steel by fire has riled up the 9/11 skeptic-baiters. See also: the entire internet.
Total user revolt at Digg over HDDVD key 'censorship'. Every single front page post at Digg is currently a post about the HD DVD processing key, which the MPAA seems to have forced Digg to censor. A web 2.0 riot in progress, and a fascinating insight into the impossibility of censorship in a medium which routes around damage.
"If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer..." ShelSilverstein.com bills itself as "the Official Site for Kids" but, if you're familiar with Sheldon Allan Silverstein's ecclectic career, you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it. Shel was best known for his books and poetry, but he was also a prolific songwriter, working extensively with Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show [sorry, Tripod link]. He also wrote Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue" and was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002. More songs and stories here. And his amazingly extensive Wikipedia page is here.
Drug Test Cowboys: The Secret World of Pharmaceutical Trial Subjects. Guinea Pig Zero is an occupational jobzine for people who are used as medical or pharmaceutical research subjects.
Flying in a Restored B-17. There is an active tour with the plane the Aluminum Overcast where you can be a passenger in this plane. Here is a blog entry from a woman whose father flew a B-17 in WWII. There are other Flying Fortresses in various stages of restoration.
Solstice/equinox calculations Been hankering to build your own Stonehenge but got stumped at the planning stage? Paul Doherty shows you the math to construct a modern ancient observatory with angles and facings correct for your latitude.
Cap'n Crunch may call up a few memories of mornings in front of the TV (or phone phreaking, for some of you). Now you can find out the rest of his story (or at least the first installment of it) - and, for the first time ever, his first name.
Dante's Inferno. A surfer-cum-Doré remix of the Divine Comedy's most famous chunk, from the book of the same name. The art of Sandow Birk informs this peculiar, but cool-looking spin on an old classic. Enjoy the trailer in glorious Quicktime, or suffer endlessly with the YouTube version. And while you're at it, check out their previous film - a mockumentary of California's civil war.
Illegal drugs. They can do strange things to people. For decades, public service announcements have warned us of their dangers. We've been lectured by Robocop! Whitney! Cavemen! Cops! TMNT! Pee Wee! Reagans! Legos! Sonny Bono! Even screaming hot dogs! Don't let drugs ruin the Now Generation. Whatever you do, don't listen to bad people and take the easy way out. 'Cuz seriously... drugs can make you really, really ugly. Mmmkay?
Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska) invited to New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate by CNN after large public protest of CNN's exclusion.
CNN has invited Sen. Mike Gravel to the Democratic Presidential Debate on CNN. This was after reporting CNN would not invite him back and large public protest. Democrats will take the stage at Saint Anselm College on June 3, Republicans on June 5. Youtube links, If you missed him on the CNN debate or the after on MSNBC.
Dell to sell machines with Ubuntu Feisty preinstalled. A major step forward for those who want to see Linux on the desktop. As mentioned on Slashdot and BoingBoing.
The Narrow Road : in which a professional mathematician guides you through pure mathematics (and touches on tangential issues).
Rod McFarland's Wordpress Theme's Tired of these slick web2.0-ish blog templates? They are either inspired by OSX or seemed to be built completely around stock photographry. No my geeks, this interface will not cut it. I need something a bit more familiar, something that resonates with my inner nerd.
"Lovely crinkly edges." Third and final part of an excellent series of unpublished interviews with Douglas Adams, with the first Hitchhiker's book still to be complete and script editing on Dr Who taking up much of his time.
Today is May 1st, also known as International Workers Day. International Workers Day began when 340,000 in Chicago, Milwaukee and other cities struck for the eight-hour day in 1886. Flash forward to today where for many workers in the I.T. industry, years of 60-hour weeks and taking classes on your own dime to keep up with technology leave you in the unemployment line, after being laid off with no notice. For years, people have been calling for the I.T. Workers of the world to unite and form a unified labor union. I.T. workers should form a union for the same reason that workers have always formed unions: together we have more power to improve the terms and conditions of our employment than we do as individuals. This is an announcement and a call to action to the world-wide IT worker community to become involved in the development of a new resource — The International I.T. Workers Union that will represent the interests of I.T. Workers around the world.
"Troy is only 8, but he knows the words to Yanguna, an Arnhem Land song celebrating kava. He sings in tune with Saltwater Band's anthem to the drug as the car bumps along the dirt track. Kava came to Arnhem Land 20 years ago as a ray of hope. Aboriginal community leaders believed the calming drink from the Pacific could be a peaceful alternative to alcohol, then raging through Aboriginal communities like a cyclone. But kava became just another abused substance.”
Doctors in London have made the world's first attempt to treat a retinal degeneration disorder using gene therapy. "The researchers aim to restore the activity in these cells and therefore restore vision by implanting healthy copies of the key gene into the RPE at the back of the eye. In other optical news, wired.com is leading with a piece about "Luke 's Binoculars" (yes, as in Skywalker) - a gadget that is meant to provide soldiers with a 120-degree field of view and allow him/her to be able to spot moving vehicles as far as 10 kilometers away by integrating EEG electrodes that monitor the wearer's neural signals. CTTWS, I presume?
Melamine found in almost half of all Chinese food imports now on the banned list. The Food and Drug Administration is enforcing a new import alert that greatly expands its curtailment of some food ingredients imported from China, authorizing border inspectors to detain ingredients used in everything from noodles to breakfast bars. The FDA has also announced that melamine laced products have found their way into the human consumption cycle via poultry and pork. Interesting to note that the budget for FDA inspections is at it's lowest level ever, and that only 1% of all imports actually get inspected.
'Da Vinci' Church Reveals Secret Code -- A father and son team from Edinburgh think they have found a secret piece of music hidden in carvings at Rosslyn Chapel. Stuart Mitchell, 41 and his father Tommy, 75, said they had deciphered a musical code locked in the stones of the chapel -- featured in Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" -- for more than 500 years. They will perform the music in May at a concert in the 15th Century chapel.
Respect the cock! Or duck, as the case may be. Avian co-evolution in action, from the New York Times.
Does the world's largest natural cavern lie below Mount Konocti in northern California? We might never know. The family who owns the mountain is trying to encourage tourism, but refuses to allow cave exploration. Meanwhile, local businessmen (including a relative of transistor coinventor John Bardeen) are trying to to build a tramway ride to the top of the mountain--with little success to date.
Happy Law Day Law Day is an opportunity to celebrate the Constitution and the laws that protect our rights and liberties and to recognize our responsibility as citizens to uphold the values of a free and just society. (Law Day 2007)
iGoogle is the new name for Google Home Page (previously). It's now out of testing. If you use any Google services, such as Gmail, it's worth checking out because it really is useful. You can even make your own widgets. For the first time since 1997, I have a home page that's not about:blank.
"The people who murder journalists in Sri Lanka feel so well protected that they carry out fresh murders to mark the anniversaries of their preceding ones."
Pulp Muppets. The title says it all.
Re-imagining Los Angeles public transit: The ambitious vision of these transit advocates and amateur cartographers for an East-Coast style rail network in Los Angeles may seem too idealistic, but the map is still fun to look at. More on the history of LA public transport from the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library.