Tuesday, June 25, 2002

thwarted ... I thought

First we got an alert that said you could see the water from the hole in the middle of the bridge. The bridge is the Q Bridge on I-95 over New Haven Harbor. So, okay, I'll take some circuitous backroads route over to I-91 and then drop up to take Route 15, the Merritt Parkway, home. But a truck managed to slam into a bridge and effectively close the southbound lanes. Trucks are not allowed on the Merritt. So I decided to wait it out. And resigned myself to a witchy commute. But, in a burst of unusual competence, the highway crews patched the hole on I-95 and shored on the bridge on the Merritt just in time for the evening rush.

I don't know what's more shocking: the bridge I drive over six times a week falling apart or the highway dept. patching it in a matter of hours instead of weeks.
posted by lee on 06/25/02 at 09:30 PM

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Monday, June 24, 2002

Are you ready?

A Time/CNN poll claims a third of all Americans are paying attention to the news as it relates to signs that the end is nigh. I think that's a ridculously high number -- did they ask it in evangelical churches on a Sunday or what? NOBODY I know has said ANYTHING about believing the end of the world (or the rapture or whatever other crap is supposed to happen.) I also find it hard to believe a third of America pays attention to anything at the same time, or for more than a day or two, unless the media keeps pounding it into our collective eyeballs. Rapture Ready has an end-time index, which now stands at "fasten your seat belts." Gee, that's helpful.

Well, since the end of the world is coming, guess I can start smoking again, eh?

I wonder how many True Believers spend actual time doing good works (I actually know a few who do -- but not many). I bet the percentage is extremely low. From what I've seen, most True Believers are more worried about saving the non-existent or minding others' business or raising money for expanding ministries than doing good works.

If all of those claiming to be Chrstians did what they're supposed to do to truly earn that label, this country would be a much, much better place than it is now. As it stands now, for the most part, American Christianity makes about as much sense as Scientology or Druidism. I think religion is a neurological construct, anyway, with no basis in reality.
posted by lee on 06/24/02 at 08:19 PM

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Saturday, June 22, 2002

it’s amazing what people spend time doing

STAR WARS ASCIIMATION. Requires java to be enabled. From New Zealand -- where I guess there's not much to do.
posted by lee on 06/22/02 at 03:11 PM

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Friday, June 21, 2002

Librarian of Congress still trying to kill webcasting

The Librarian of Congress ruled that webcasters should pay a royalty rate of .07 cents (7/1000 of a cent) per song per listener instead of .14 cents per listener per song. Here is the decision: Webcasting Determination.

So, the small webcasters will only go out of business half as fast. Webcasters have one month to file an appeal -- they'll have to do it since you can bet your bottom dollar RIAA will not.

What's wrong with the percentage of revenue rate broadcasters pay now? Who's going to track how many listeners are out there, and how? Will the government know I've been listening to 3Wk, and for how long? How are the song copyright owners going to get paid? Who's going to keep track of this?

Looks like LoC Billington doesn't understand what is going on, or he's in bed with the RIAA. Probably both. Or one of the audit bureaus. Figures he'd create a huge new line of business for something that could have been fairly straightforward if percentage of revenue rules applied. Then, perhaps, copyright owners would get SOMETHING. Under this scheme, the webcasters will go out of business and the copyright owners will not only lose any source of royalty revenue from webcasting, but they will also lose record (CD) sales because people can't buy something they don't know exists.

It's a shame. I hope webcasters can somehow band together and file an appeal. Or figure out a way to tell the goverment to screw itself and continue to webcast without paying ransom to the RIAA -- maybe putting a reasonable royalty fee into some sort of escrow account that an impartial third party could then distribute to the copyright holders.

It's crap like this that makes me realize Thomas Jefferson was right. And why, if I were to ever register with a political party, it would be with the Libertarians.
posted by lee on 06/21/02 at 07:36 PM

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Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Lighthouses and Fresnel Lenses

Stanley and I went with my parents, who are in town visiting from Michigan (Oscoda), to see the Sheffield Island lighthouse.


sturg1-s.jpgWhile it was interesting, it wasn't nearly as interesting as most of the lighthouses on the Great Lakes. (This website is by Terry Pepper.) My favorite lighthouse is the Sturgeon Point light, north of Harrisville, MI.

As you can probably tell by looking at the banner and background images on this page, I love Fresnel Lenses. I took these photos at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point (where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down), just north of Paradise, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. (The museum, though small, is fascinating and the trip is worth it for the scenery alone.) You can find a lot of information about these lenses here: Seeing The Light - The Fresnel Lens.
posted by lee on 06/19/02 at 02:52 PM

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Another silly “personality” test?

What your computer says about you. I think whatever psychologists the BBC are citing in this article are, for the most part, off the mark. My desktop is my workspace and, aside from my wallpaper and screensaver, my desktop icons change almost daily, depending upon what I'm working on. Most "sophisticated" computer people I know have minimalist desktops, containing only icons that are too difficult to get rid of or stuff used every day and icons for current working folders. I've also noticed technologically savvy people stop downloading the latest and greatest after a while -- wastes too much time. If the tool works well, and the handle fits your hand perfectly, why change it until you have to?
posted by lee on 06/19/02 at 01:45 PM

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WOMBAT alert

Web gambling ban passes hurdle from MSNBC. Aren't there more important things to worry about than this? I guess gambling is only a good thing if the government is making money off it.
posted by lee on 06/19/02 at 05:06 AM

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Handy Info Tool

State Health Facts Online from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Loads of health-related statistics. A little clunky to use, but an amazing effort nonetheless. But it doesn't explain why our insurance premium went up 28% this year. Or why the cost of prescription drugs is rising so steeply (could it be at least partially due to commercials?), or why hospital costs are rising so fast. Or why this country is so backward -- I mean, a major country WITHOUT national health care. I know I'm more frightened about the possibility of going into debt for the rest of my life due to a major illness or an accident than I am of any terrorist.
posted by lee on 06/19/02 at 04:59 AM

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Sunday, June 16, 2002

Shrub flounders yet again

How Stupid is too stupid? Europeans discover the true depth of Bush's stupidity. It's even worse than I realized.
posted by lee on 06/16/02 at 01:45 PM

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Wednesday, June 12, 2002

not a medium i would choose

Etched In Time, Art, Sports art and one-of-a-kind Collectibles by George Vlosich, who is an Etch-a-Sketch artist. No kidding.
posted by lee on 06/12/02 at 05:43 PM

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