On flight simulators, Tetris, and the CIA
The Sunday Times Mag has a feature on Gilman Louie, popularizer of Tetris who was recruited by the CIA in 1998. " Louie's marching orders were to provide venture capital for data-mining technologies that would allow the C.I.A. to monitor and profile potential terrorists as closely and carefully as Amazon monitors and profiles potential customers."
posted by brookish
on Apr 12, 2002 -
2 Hollywood Titans Brawl Over A Gang Epic
-- (NYTimes link, I apologize but am unsure of the etiquette on that issue). Martin Scorcese's project Gangs Of New York
(about pre-Civil War NYC immigrant gangs) is quickly turning into something akin to Titanic
, and not just 'cuz it's got Leo in it. The budget's out of control (maybe someone cheaper than U2 should do the score), the release date's on a backwards spiral (yes, it was supposed to come out last Christmas), some of the content rankles after 9/11, and now Harvey Weinstein wants a new ending. The cherry on top? Its current release date has it pitted against Tom Hanks and Sam "American Beauty" Mendes' The Road To Perdition
, another gangster piece. For a relatively complete diary of the film's woes, try the film's page
at the always-useful Corona
. Think Miramax has its most spectacular dud on the way, or do you trust Scorcese to pull it off?
posted by logovisual
on Apr 6, 2002 -
Suicidal lies (NYT)
"The Palestinians are so blinded by their narcissistic rage that they have lost sight of the basic truth civilization is built on: the sacredness of every human life, starting with your own. All they can agree on as a community is what they want to destroy, not what they want to build. Have you ever heard Mr. Arafat talk about what sort of education system or economy he would prefer, what sort of constitution he wants? No, because Mr. Arafat is not interested in the content of a Palestinian state, only the contours." (more inside)
posted by semmi
on Apr 1, 2002 -
A Grand Narrative
"When Hindus kill Muslims it's not a story, because there are a billion Hindus and they aren't part of the Muslim narrative. When Saddam murders his own people it's not a story, because it's in the Arab-Muslim family. But when a small band of Israeli Jews kills Muslims it sparks rage — a rage that must come from Muslims having to confront the gap between their self-perception as Muslims and the reality of the Muslim world." Thomas Friedman looks for an angle and finds a story! What role, if any, does narrative consciousness
and social psychology
play in the Middle East? (via blogdex
posted by kliuless
on Mar 8, 2002 -
Lord of the Hackers?
Sherri Turkle writes in the NYT:
Adolescents are wise in the psychology of computer games and Middle Earth. They live in a world they can't control, in a body that seems increasingly alien. To them the computer world is soothing, offering reassurance through mastery. Just as each episode of "The Lord of the Rings" presents a danger and each has its resolution, so many adolescent boys move from one block of intransigent code to another, from one screen to the next, declaring victory as they go.
But this distinction is about more than gender; it is about ways of looking at the world — real, imagined or computer-generated. Some pioneers of computing had a style of working that rewarded risk. They spoke of programming itself as though it were a dangerous quest. At M.I.T. computer hackers even had a name for it: "sport death." To pull back from the impending doom of a system crash required near magic, an almost empathetic knowledge of the intricacies of code. For this community, a certain bravado came to be seen as valuable, even necessary, beyond the world of programming.
Any programmer-hobbits care to comment on this? This doesn't exactly
describe my feelings when unsnarling html.
posted by mecran01
on Mar 8, 2002 -
The New York Times finally justified asking for my email address: you can specify a list of words and phrases and have the Times email you
whenever an article containing one of them appears. (My list: 'aphex, autechre, squarepusher, "warp records"')
posted by lbergstr
on Mar 7, 2002 -
Record Labels' Answer to Napster Still Has Artists Feeling Bypassed (NY Times).
Well, it seems the shoe's on the other foot now. Some artists are learning that the industry alternative (Pressplay, MusicNet) to free music downloading services isn't paying quite the dividends they'd expected.
"Last December, the major record labels responded with two Internet services of their own where fans pay monthly fees to download songs. Under this arrangement, however, the performers still don't get a dime: for each song downloaded, they stand to get only a fraction of a cent, according to the calculations of disgruntled managers and lawyers.
And, artists and their managers say, the labels, like Napster, aren't putting the music online with proper permission either.
Can't say I have a lot of sympathy for any
of the principals involved. What is especially amusing (but not surprising) is the apparent duplicity of the labels: "in comments not for attribution, several executives at labels and their subscription services did not dispute the accusations regarding the payment plan. They said their first priority was to make the services attractive to consumers and that the details of compensation could be worked out afterward."
posted by topolino
on Feb 18, 2002 -
Arab Experts Fault Saudi's Idea Based on Land-for-Peace Trade
Let's see if I have this right. Five arab nations attacked Israel a few times and Israel, winning, occupied land, waiting for a peace settlement. Now the very influential ruler of Saudi Arabia has a plan that will tgive back all occupied land to the Palestinians and give them a state and give them their place in Jerusalem. But other Arab "thinkers"--academics, so to speak, think this is unwsise because it would help Sharon. Instead, Israel, the victor in these wars, ought to give all back and them hope that the losers in the struggle will in turn recognize Israel's right to exist in peace.
Seems a rather odd way to win or lose in warfare and suggest to mea certain intransigence when this might be the beginning of a breakthrough that the world has waited for. What think?
posted by Postroad
on Feb 17, 2002 -
Another Prime Minister kisses ass.
Maggie tells us to git 'em, because "it is best that the United States, as the only global military superpower, deploy its energies militarily rather than on social work." (NYT)
posted by swift
on Feb 12, 2002 -
The Battle Over Bush's Gov. Papers.
What are they hiding? Executive order blocking Presidential papers, refusing to turn over Energy Taskforce member list, and now this! There must be something to hide. But what?!?!?
posted by bas67
on Feb 11, 2002 -
Bob Mould on wrestling, the internet, and mp3s.
With his first new album
in years coming out, Bob's got a new outlook that's different than the old open taping/bootleg philosophy. Since he's distributing his own work, and paying for it all, you're taking money out of his hands, so he's going with the honor system. Is the value of music really going down, or will Bob have no problem finding people to pay for it?
posted by mathowie
on Feb 10, 2002 -
(NYTimes link) is a slender black rectangle, that works as a PDA and a PC. Best part it's non-OS-centric. In desktop mode it uses Windows XP, in PDA mode it uses Palm OS, also should work with Linux. Not to be confused with Metapad
. [Via SVN]
posted by riffola
on Feb 9, 2002 -
Scientists in the USA have discovered
[NYTimes] a new cell in the eye responsible for resetting the biological clock. Its being called "heretical".. Not every day, Dr. Provencio said, do scientists find a new body function.
posted by stbalbach
on Feb 8, 2002 -
Fake profits are causing the stock market to descend. Could someone explain to me the meaningful difference between Enron and Amazon.com?
One company recently reported fake profits of $5 million, while having billions in debt. Enron, well...no profits either, and billions in debt. So why is Amazon.com considered "promising"? Enron had a revenue stream too.... Prediction: Amazon.com's stock will be "revalued" sharply lower as people get lucid about real profits and as the accounting/profit scandals spread.
posted by ParisParamus
on Feb 4, 2002 -
Whatever Next? Amazon Makes A Profit!
Having lost $3 billion so far, Amazon Books has just posted its first-ever profit of $5 million. Perhaps it was thanks to the new machines
they bought to replace more workers.(this last link req. NYT reg.
) How would you
spend it if you were Jeff Bezos? And what does it mean: has the tide turned or not?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jan 22, 2002 -
man protests prison construction by burying buses
This is one of the more original methods of protest I've seen. The "artist", an excavator by trade who is trying to protest what he sees as an unlawful zoning change that will lower the value of his property, says his inspiration came from Cadillac Ranch
Will his protest be successful? Do you think this was an appropriate way to catch the attention of the local authorities? I, for one, think this was clever.
posted by purplecow
on Jan 17, 2002 -
Even Safire is getting sick of Bush
in today's NY Times op-ed piece writing about the bogus executive privilege order he signed re: FBI missteps in Boston: "Why is Bush, so early in his term and with little to hide, going down this road to upset our system of checks and balances?...It's another mistake that will come home to haunt the Bush presidency." (nytimes.com Member ID: metafi, password: metafi) And with Lieberman and Levin opening up the Enron investigation
("Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., the full committee's chairman, promised Wednesday `a search for the truth, not a witch hunt.' But he did not rule out an examination of Enron's relationships with the Bush administration.") does anyone not think the Dems are getting fired up for the fall elections, war or no war?
posted by willrich
on Jan 3, 2002 -
Another excellent editorial by Thomas Friedman.
"I have no problem with nation- building in Afghanistan, but what I'm really interested in is nation- building in America — using the power of Sept. 11 to make our country stronger, safer and a better global citizen in the world of Sept. 12, beginning with how we use energy." (nytimes.com Member ID: metafi, password: metafi)
posted by homunculus
on Jan 2, 2002 -
at+t broadband cable units to be bought by comcast. this means chicago cable service will shift to its third owner in two years (at+t broadband having purchased prime cable just last year, and having just gotten cable modems back online from the excite@home failure two weeks ago). anyone have any clues about the ramifications of this purchase?
posted by patricking
on Dec 20, 2001 -
"Be accurate, be fair, be American"
is the Fox News mantra. Apparently, news with a moral slant is not only helping the Fox News ratings but many Americans report
wanting their news to be "Pro-American." When did it become unpatriotic to at least want news that attempts objectivity? Are "accuracy" and "fairness" always possible if Fox journalists must also subscribe to News Corporation's prescription as to what it means to "be American?"
posted by karlcleveland
on Dec 3, 2001 -
From a piece in the NYTimes today, Home Front Is Minefield for President
: "The lesson we're learning," one administration official said today, "is that you can bomb the wrong place in Afghanistan and not take much heat for it. But don't mess up at the post office."
Leave it to the White House to come away with exactly the wrong interpretation. But the facts are there, too -- most Americans are more concerned about the (relatively slight) risk of getting Anthrax than the rather significant risk that, if we screw up in Afghanistan, we might lose the current coalition against terrorism, Bin Laden, and any hope for "homeland security" for a long time to come....
posted by mattpfeff
on Oct 25, 2001 -
Why do they (our goverment representives) do this? Do they think that no one pays attention or do they know
that there is nothing we can do about it? Don't buy the war bonds.
posted by bas67
on Oct 24, 2001 -
A European Dragnet
captures new clues to bin Laden's network. They believe that for the sake of Jihad, or holy war, they can jettison the usual practices of devout Muslims. They call on adherents instead to burrow into the cultures they seek to eradicate. Let's have a block party.
posted by semmi
on Oct 12, 2001 -
Startlingly beautiful girl
. What is her life like? Does she resent it? How uncomfortable must life be for this girl's boyfriend? Why do restaurants give her a 75% discount if she sits at a window table? Rhetorical questions all, but sometimes you gotta ask. Be sure to click the slideshow thingie. (NYtimes link)
posted by luser
on Oct 4, 2001 -
"All the writers are co-plaintiffs in a well-known class-action lawsuit by the Authors Guild and the National Writers Union against the Times over electronic rights and royalties disputes." The case reached the Supreme Court. NYTimes published an article
25 Sep about the accusation though its now a "pay-per-view" article. Response to NYT from one the plaintiffs here (slow server)
. Freelancers had expressed fear this would happen
posted by mmarcos
on Oct 3, 2001 -
"In a town full of soldiers, on the edge of Fort Bragg, there could be worse names for a restaurant these days than Osama's Place, but it is hard to think of any."
posted by stchang
on Sep 28, 2001 -
Behind the scenes of the "war council."
The New York Times has a fascinating, behind-the-scenes story about the administration's struggle to develop a plan of attack. The story quotes highly-placed sources around Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, et al. The most interesting revelation? GWB himself may actually be calling the shots.
posted by pardonyou?
on Sep 22, 2001 -
Senator Biden says
that yesterday's arrests at NY airports were NOT connected to Tuesday's attacks, and those arrested were not carrying knives.
posted by ericost
on Sep 14, 2001 -
Operating on a fetus
to elicit further commentary on an earlier posting as to what is and is not human life, this article might raise some interesting observations.
posted by Postroad
on Sep 2, 2001 -