Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Idiots Without Borders


The Village Voice: Nation: Nat Hentoff: Criminalizing Librarians by Nat Hentoff: "So too should there be support from the American Library Association and those of the rest of us who do not romanticize dictators. A member of the ALA's policy-making governing council, Mark Rosenzweig, says patronizingly that 'we cannot presume that all countries are capable of the same level of intellectual freedom that we have in the U.S. Cuba is caught in an extremely sharp conflict with the U.S. . . . I don't think [Cuba] is a dictatorship. It's a republic.' "
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Mr. Horsley, tear down this wall!



We are seeing DOT build huge ugly walls alongside all the interstates.
1. The people who bought houses alongside the intersate bought them because the land was cheaper there. They didn't mind motorists looking at and admiring their houses. The taxpayers in general should not be building walls to increase the assessed value of these property owners.

2. The busineses alongside the interstate have higher value land. By putting up wals DOT is reducing the value of their land because their business and it's signs and phone numbers can no longer be seen by motorists. The taxpayer should not have to pay the Fifth Amendment remuneration to these people for the "taking" of their land value.

3. DOT, like seemingly every government agency, is more concerned with coming up with pojects to spend every last dime of their budget money instead of ever considering the heresy of coming in UNDER budget and retunring money to the owners (the Taxpayer).

Aren't these walls the most obvious example to everyone in their daily lives that government is taking and wasting too much money?

In the words of a great American: Mr. Horsley, tear down this wall!

[submitted to C-Span for John Horsley but they didn't use it.]

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Google


Few of the tricks made it into the TV segment - but you, the shrewd subscriber to this newsletter, get them hot off the press.

* Download and install the Google toolbar. Not only does it put the Google search box into your browser full-time, but it also blocks pop-up ads and fills in forms for you. For Windows at http://toolbar.google.com. (Ad blocking, form-filling and Google's search box are already built into the Apple's Web browser, Safari.)

* Phrase your question in the form of an answer. "After all, you're not looking for Web pages that ask your question," explains director of technology Craig Silverstein. "You're looking for pages that answer it."

So instead of typing, "What is the average rainfall in the Amazon basin?", you might get better results by typing "The average rainfall in the Amazon basin is."

* This is an old one, but very important: Put quotes around phrases that must be searched together. If you put quotes around "electric curtains," Google won't waste your time finding one set of Web pages containing the word "electric" and another set containing the word "curtains."

* Similarly, put a hyphen right before any word you want screened out. If you're looking up dolphins, for example, you'll have to wade through a million Miami Dolphins pages unless you search for "dolphins -Miami."

* Google is a global White Pages and Yellow Pages. Search for "phonebook:home depot norwalk, ct," Google instantly produces the address and phone number of the Norwalk Home Depot. This works with names ("phonebook:robert jones las vegas, NV") as well as businesses.

Don't put any space after "phonebook." And in all of the following examples, don't type the quotes I'm showing you here.

* Google is a package tracker. Type a FedEx or UPS package number (just the digits); when you click Search, Google offers a link to its tracking information.

* Google is a calculator. Type in an equation ("32+2345*3-234="). Click Search to see the answer.

* Google is a units-of-measurement converter. Type "teaspoons in a gallon," for example, or "centimeters in a foot." Click Search to see the answer.

* Google is a stock ticker. Type in AAPL or MSFT, for example, to see a link to the current Apple or Microsoft stock price, graphs, financial news and so on.

* Google is an atlas. Type in an area code, like 212, to see a Mapquest map of the area.

* Google is Wal-Mart's computer. Type in a UPC bar code number, such as "036000250015," to see the description of the product you've just "scanned in." (Thanks to the Google Blog, http://google.blogspace.com, for this tip and the next couple.)

* Google is an aviation buff. Type in a flight number like "United 22" for a link to a map of that flight's progress in the air. Or type in the tail number you see on an airplane for the full registration form for that plane.

* Google is the Department of Motor Vehicles. Type in a VIN (vehicle identification number, which is etched onto a plate, usually on the door frame, of every car), like "JH4NA1157MT001832," to find out the car's year, make and model.

* For hours of rainy-day entertainment, visit http://labs.google.com. Here, you'll find links to new, half-finished Google experiments-like Google Voice, in which you call (650) 623-6706, speak the words you want to search for and then open your browser to view the results. Disclaimer: It wasn't working when I tried it. (Ditto a lot of these experiments.)

* Poke around the "Services & Tools" link on the Google.com home page and you'll find some of the better-known lesser-known Google features, if that makes any sense.

For example, there's Froogle (product search), News, Groups (Internet discussion boards), Google Catalogs (hundreds of scanned-in product catalogs), Images (find graphics and photos from other people's Web sites), Blogger (publish your own online journal), Google language translation, Google Answers (pay a couple of bucks to have a professional researcher find the answers for you) and much more.

Pretty soon you'll need Google just to search Google!

Monday, March 29, 2004

Don't get free Lexis time, if you don't do the crime


Information Industry--LexisNexis
Source: AP (via FindLaw) [Gary Price]
LexisNexis Selling Database to Prisons
"LexisNexis...has installed computer kiosks resistant to damage in four prisons and jails in Hawaii and five in California. The kiosk consists of a touch-screen computer monitor covered in shatterproof glass inside a steel box bolted to a wall.... Prisons had to be assured that the kiosks...would not pose a danger of broken glass that could be used a weapons, said Bill Carter, vice president and managing director of LexisNexis' western market center.... 'We've taken a crowbar to it. It doesn't shatter,' Carter said."

Traffic stop strategy


A police officer pulls a guy over for speeding and has the following
exchange:

Officer: May I see your driver's license?

Driver: I don't have one. I t was suspended after my 5th DUI.

Officer: May I see the registration for this vehicle?

Driver: It's not my car. I stole it.

Officer: The car is stolen?

Driver: That's right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the
registration in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.

Officer: There's a gun in the glove box?

Driver: Yes sir. That's where I put it after I shot and killed the woman
who owns this car and stuffed her in the trunk.

Officer: There's a BODY in the TRUNK!?!?

Driver: Yes sir.

Hearing this, the officer immediately radios his captain. The car was
quickly surrounded by police and the captain approached the driver.

Captain: Sir, can I see your license?

Driver: Sure, here it is.
The license was valid.

Captain: Who's car is this?

Driver: It's mine officer. Here's the registration.
The driver owned the car.

Captain: Cuold you slowly open the glove box so I can see if there's a
gun in it?

Driver: Yes sir, but there's no gun in the glove box.
Sure enough, no gun.

Captain: Would you mind opening your trunk? I was told you said there's a
dead body in it.

Driver: No problem
Trunk opened, no body.

Captain: I don't understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told
him you didn't have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glove box and
a dead body in the trunk.

Driver: Yeah, and I bet the lying s.o.b. told you I was speeding, too.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

What's your personality?
How much do you know about yourself? Because many webloggers enjoy personality tests, this is a portal for your bloginality!
Are people with a certain personality type more apt to take personality test?
More importantly, are they more likely to have a weblog?

You will find quite a bit of reference material here about personality tests, as well as a place for you to find other people who are the same personality as you!

Are you ready to take a test?

Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2004

Descartes

However between 1648 and 1649 they exchanged a number of letters in which More made some telling objections, Descartes however in his replies making no concessions to More's points. More went on to ask:-

Why are not your vortices in the form of columns or cylinders rather than ellipses, since any point of the axis of a vortex is as it were a centre from which the celestial matter recedes with, as far as I can see, a wholly constant impetus? ... Who causes all the planets not to revolve in one plane (the plane of the ecliptic)? ... And the Moon itself, neither in the plane of the Earth's equator nor in a plane parallel to this?

In 1644, the year his Meditations were published, Descartes visited France. He returned again in 1647, when he met Pascal and argued with him that a vacuum could not exist, and then again in 1648.

In 1649 Queen Christina of Sweden persuaded Descartes to go to Stockholm. However the Queen wanted to draw tangents at 5 a.m. and Descartes broke the habit of his lifetime of getting up at 11 o'clock. After only a few months in the cold northern climate, walking to the palace for 5 o'clock every morning, he died of pneumonia.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Securities Fraud and Investor Protection Resource Center: "Most investment losses are the result of market forces, trends and factors which have nothing to do with securities fraud. Stockbrokers do not have a crystal ball and they are not guarantors of investments. But if your losses have been the result of wrongful action or fraud, you ought to know because you may be able to do something about it and recover your losses. The information at this site will hopefully assist you in distinguishing between frivolous claims and claims with merit, sour grapes and securities fraud. Finally, this site should help you understand the securities arbitration process and which claims may be appropriate or eligible for arbitration."

Monday, March 22, 2004

Overdue Media, home of Unshelved - a comic strip about a library: "What Would Dewey Do?
Our new collection is out and ready for shipping! Visit our store to see it and other fine goods, including framed prints and the Read Responsibly t-shirt."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004




Previous Issues of Action Alert
Action Alert - No. 04-09 March 4, 2004

Action Alert - No. 04-08 February 26, 2004

Action Alert - No. 04-07 February 19, 2004

Saturday, March 13, 2004


BILLBOARD: "BILLBOARD SINGLES REVIEWS

KYLIE MINOGUE
Red Blooded Woman
Producer(s): Johnny Douglas
Writer(s): J. Douglas, K. Poole
Publisher(s): Universal Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music Publishing
Genre: POP
Label/Catalog Number: Capitol 7087 6 18430 (CD promo)
Source: Billboard Magazine
Originally Reviewed: March 20, 2004

While the first single from Minogue's 'Body Language' album--'Slow'--didn't exactly set radio airwaves on fire, programmers and listeners should be more receptive to the excellent set's second offering: 'Red Blooded Woman.' After all, Britney Spears proved that programmers would open up to a second single with her smash 'Toxic.' Certainly Minogue can have a chance at a second single, too. 'Red Blooded Woman' is a sexy, skittery, beat-driven hip-pop number that sounds like a Timbaland production ?but it's not (Johnny Douglas helmed the track). Reminiscent of Justin Timberlake's haunting hit 'Cry Me a River,' Minogue's 'Red Blooded Woman' deserves a shot at mainstream top 40 and rhythmic success. --KC "
Howstuffworks "How Chocolate Works": "There are three basic things that must be done by the chocolate maker to make a chocolate bar:

Adding ingredients - The chocolate that we eat contains sugar, other flavors (like vanilla) and often milk (in milk chocolate). The chocolate maker adds these ingredients according to his or her secret recipe.
Conching - A special machine is used to massage the chocolate in order to blend the ingredients together and smooth it out. Conching can take anywhere from two to six days.

Tempering - Tempering is a carefully controlled heating process. According to this Chocolate FAQ, tempering is 'a process where the chocolate is slowly heated, then slowly cooled, allowing the cocoa butter molecules to solidify in an orderly fashion.' Without tempering, the chocolate does not harden properly or the cocoa butter separates out (as cream separates from milk). "

Friday, March 12, 2004

Former U.S. Aide Accused of Working With Iraq


By RICHARD W. STEVENSON and ERIC LICHTBLAU

Published: March 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, March 11 — Federal prosecutors charged a former Congressional aide on Thursday with working with the Iraqi intelligence service before the war, and investigators said she had sought to influence American policy by presenting herself to a highly placed relative, Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, as an intermediary.



The woman, Susan P. Lindauer, 40, was arrested Thursday morning by federal agents at her home in Takoma Park, Md., outside Washington. In New York, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment that said she had repeatedly met with representatives of the Iraqi intelligence service starting in 1999 and that she had traveled . . .

"My parents went to Bagdad to be Human Shields and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Thursday, March 11, 2004

"If you wish to have your address removed from this mailing list and sold to scores of additional mailing lists, click here, sucker".

Yahoo said it now had evidence of something that many e-mail users long suspected but had never managed to prove: that spammers take the names of people who ask to be removed from their e-mail lists and sell them to other marketers.

See next story in full.



Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Internet Providers File Suits to Stop Spammers


By SAUL HANSELL

Published: March 11, 2004

"We will follow the money,'' said Nancy Anderson, above, of Microsoft, seen here conferring with Mike Callahan of Yahoo.

Four major Internet providers announced yesterday that they had filed lawsuits meant to shut a number of leading senders of unsolicited junk e-mail, or spam.

The suits, which are seeking monetary damages and injunctions against further mass e-mail messages, are among the first to invoke the new federal antispam law, which went into effect Jan. 1.

So far, the law has not done anything to stem the torrent of spam. In February, 62 percent of all e-mail was spam, according to Brightmail, an e-mail filter company. That is up from 58 percent in December. . . .

Saturday, March 06, 2004

: "AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report is the most comprehensive retail gasoline survey available. Everyday over 60,000 self-serve stations are surveyed."
BitPass::Learn: "BitPass, a venture-funded company founded in 2002 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, offers an innovative micropayment system. Enabling paid access to a broad range of online content and services, the BitPass service provides a secure, anonymous buying experience. Using BitPass, anyone can manage, market, and deliver digital content or services--and, most importantly, earn money.

Prior to BitPass, no single system provided an economical way to process payments for low-price content and services coupled with secure access control. The BitPass solution is based on the founding belief that the most important criterion is ease of use for both Spender and Earner. The result is a system that makes buying as easy as surfing the web and selling as easy as uploading a file.

To purchase online content or services, Spenders buy a virtual prepaid debit card using trusted pay-in methods, such as PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. The intuitive service seamlessly integrates into the Spender's browsing experience with no software downloads required.

Content and service providers can enable their content and services in as little as 30 minutes by uploading a single file to their site. No setup fees or additional software are required. Earners receive payment directly from BitPass for each transaction"

Zen in the Art of Cardboard Engineering (Free Download!)



A model to bridge the gap between the precision of the cardboard engineer and the philosophy of the Zen Monk. Through the crank and the cam the cardboard engineer can stroll through the garden of enlightenment and dip a toe in the pool of infinity. Print out the model and follow the instructions.
Enlightenment awaits
For more information Click Here....