I've been pretty good about not
posting stuff about the US election, but this is too good to pass up:
The fairer question about Mr. Bush is not whether he has the intelligence to be president but whether he has the intellectual curiosity. He seems exceptionally unreflective, impatient with the world of ideas, uninterested in some of the nation's key political debates. Characteristically, he does not believe in evolution ? he says the jury is still out ? but he does not actively disbelieve in it either; as a friend puts it, "he doesn't really care about that kind of thing."
Four new moons for Saturn: S/2000 S1, S2, S3 and S4. Once they're confirmed as "real" moons they'll be given better names.
I think Bill Gates was absolutely correct to stress that developing countries need food and medicine, not the internet.
I'll never understand the stock market. Nortel takes a beating
After the close of markets on Tuesday, Nortel reported earnings of 17 cents a share in its third quarter, beating analysts' average estimates by 1 cent.
Revenues came in at $7.3 billion, which was as much as $100 million lower than expected, with only 90 percent growth in optical-equipment revenues, compared with expectations of about 120 percent growth.
How large corporations are making a heap o' cash selling porn. I dare say they're not highlighting this in their annual reports.
The General Motors Corporation, the world's largest company, now sells more graphic sex films every year than does Larry Flynt, owner of the Hustler empire. The 8.7 million Americans who subscribe to DirecTV, a General Motors subsidiary, buy nearly $200 million a year in pay-per-view sex films from satellite, according to estimates provided by distributors of the films, estimates the company did not dispute.
EchoStar Communications Corporation, the No. 2 satellite provider, whose chief financial backers include Mr. Murdoch, makes more money selling graphic adult films through its satellite subsidiary than Playboy, the oldest and best-known company in the sex business, does with its magazine, cable and Internet businesses combined, according to public and private revenue accounts by the companies.
AT&T Corporation, the nation's biggest communications company, offers a hard- core sex channel called the Hot Network to subscribers to its broadband cable service. It also owns a company that sells sex videos to nearly a million hotel rooms. Nearly one in five of AT&T's broadband cable customers pays an average of $10 a film to see what the distributor calls "real, live all-American sex — not simulated by actors."
Decent summary of the myths that drove the tech stock boom. Isn't it funny how quickly people've switched to the past tense with respect to technology stocks?
Yikes, it's been a while since I posted. It's good to be too busy to do any real surfing, I must say. I'm also being drawn into the emacs cult, I'm afraid.
Uh, what I meant to say was congratulations to exiled Chinese writer Gao Xingjian.
This month's wired content is now online; there are several good articles, including one on the recent Perl Cruise, an interview with David Boies about Napter's legal standing and this amazing article about the US subculture of people building really really really loud cars:
For the past few months, inside a Phoenix warehouse that is strictly off-limits to outsiders, a crew has been customizing a Ford Bronco with a car stereo designed to pump out a whopping 175 decibels. Sound intensity is measured on a logarithmic scale - power doubles once for every three additional decibels - so that means the Bronco's 48,000-watt system will be eight times louder than a 747. Obviously, this is not the typical bass-booming joyrider that cruises America's streets, collecting noise-pollution tickets and annoying people at stoplights. This Bronco is a highly modified, volume-maxing war machine whose sound levels are so heinous that no living person will ever be allowed to sit inside for a full-blast listen. It's called, appropriately enough, "the Beast."
The Beast is as strange a vehicle as you're likely to see. A remote control works the volume levels from the outside, where it's safe. The windshield is 3 inches thick, to prevent it from blowing out. Pneumatic pistons pull the doors shut with thousands of pounds of pressure, maintaining an airtight seal and stopping them from flying open. The body panels have been stiffened to keep them from crumpling under the force of the beat. The stock bench seat has been replaced with two custom bucket seats, fitted so far forward that the vehicle must be driven with your knees nearly at chin level. Behind the seats is a floor-to-ceiling wall of speaker cones. There is so much extra weight from the reinforcements and the dozens of batteries powering the sound system that the vehicle's top speed is about 30 mph - anything faster and the brakes might fail. The gas tank has been downsized to hold merely five gallons and the steering wheel is vestigial, 8 inches across, because this car doesn't go anywhere except up a trailer ramp. The Beast is designed for one purpose only - to be the loudest thing on four wheels.
Best in Show was absolutely hilarious; it's better than Waiting for Guffman in my opinion. It's worth it for Fred Willard's performance alone.
Riding the bus into work this morning, there was a very serious looking guy standing on the median wearing a sandwich board. He was obviously prepared to be there for a long time - he had a little chair and a thermos. I could only read the back of the sign; it was a professionally printed red script on white. It read:
Power to the cause, brother.
Best in Show is a late addition to the Vancouver International Film Festival. It's showing this Thursday. That's isn't the really great news, as it's opening in theatres a week later, but this is: Christopher Guest will be in attendance at the screening! If you visit the viff link to the film above, don't be put off by the fact that it's still listed as TBA.
I think I'll have to try doing this at some point.
The Nihilist Spasm Band is a noise band based out of London, Ontario that has been playing together for 35 years. There is a new documentary about them called What About Me: The Rise of the Nihilist Spasm Band; if you get a chance to see it, you should.