Thursday, June 30, 2005

NME.COM: Franz Ferdinand reveal all about their second album

Alex Kapranos: “We decided quite a while ago that we didn’t want to give any of the albums titles, they were just going to be called ‘Franz Ferdinand’.” Pretentious, but not new: Peter Gabriel covered this ground almost 30 years ago. (via

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Amateur Gourmet: All That Work and It Tastes Like Vomit!

Adam on the vagaries of cooking: “The kitchen’s not a vending machine: if you put in hard work you won't necessarily get deliciousness. Sometimes your cake will have the texture of vomit.” Imagine the wharf without any boats

“What’s Fisherman’s Wharf without the fishermen?” Probably the same crowded, artificial tourist trap it is now.

City of Walnut Creek: New Downtown Library Project

The architect is chosen. Community workshop this Thursday to discuss the design. I have some concerns to raise…

The Boston Globe: For a fee, some blogs boost firms

$5 a pop seems an awfully cheap price for your online integrity. (More; via A Whole Lotta Nothing)

Ben Hammersley's Dangerous Precedent: The curse of the missing clause

“There’s something missing from sentences that needs to be replaced, lest we all get the wrong idea. That clause is ‘in the US’.”

Monday, June 27, 2005

Alameda County Fair

Biggest and best of the local county fairs. (The Contra Costa County Fair has been and gone without much fanfare.)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

BBC News: Cruise clashes on TV over drugs

Tom Cruise’s ongoing descent into Scientology-fuelled kookiness: “Psychiatry is a pseudo science.” I'm half hoping War of the Worlds flops; a thumping failure might prick his self-importance a bit.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Baby Name Wizard: Are you Googleable?

“For some tech-focused families, ‘Googleability’ is now a prime baby-naming requirement.”. It helps to have an unusal surname to begin with. Ironically, I’ve just been ousted from the top of Google by a WWI memorial…

VisiBone JavaScript Reference

Quick reference card: very handy.

Tea Leaves: You are Not the Boss of Me

On the laziness of computer gaming’s Boss Battle cliché: “dodge, hit, dodge, hit, dodge, hit until the Boss dies or you die”. I'm replaying Halo; one of it’s many joys is that there are no Boss battles.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Whatever: Oh My God! They Look Just Like Us!

John Scalzi nails the NYT on “its vein of mild heterosexual panic”: “The horror! The sheer, unadulterated, sexually-ambiguous horror!”

Monday, June 20, 2005

Real Simple: Surprising Expiration Dates

Rough shelf-life guidelines. I’m intrigued by the precision of “Steak sauce: 33 months”. (via

Science@NASA: Summer Moon Illusion

“Sky watchers have known this for thousands of years: moons hanging low in the sky look unnaturally big.”

Friday, June 17, 2005

Paul Graham: The Submarine

Graham on the PR industry, the hidden hand behind many media stories. Teresa Nielsen Hayden comments: “Reporting and newswriting takes work. Press releases are a freebie.”

Guardian Unlimited Culture Vulture: Dancing Queen?

Liz gets hip with an iPod. This Metafilter comment suggests it’s a royal-wePod; but The Sun already blagged the best gag with its headline, “My husband and iPod”.

Los Angeles Times: High Court Raises Bar for Safety of Thrill Rides

California Supreme Court rules amusement-park rides as “common carriers”, requiring the same safety standards as buses and trains. Probably not good news for Disneyland’s aging but classic rides…

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tri-Valley Herald: Grass fire consumes land near Mt. Diablo

Fire in Lime Ridge Open Space, on land we walked last week. (Not the first time; photos of a 2003 fire.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

SFGate: Experts say with tsunami warnings, better safe than sorry

7.2-magnitude earthquake off the California coast (USGS report) “did generate a tsunami—of 1 centimeter”. Less a tsunami, more a ripple, methinks.

Wikipedia: Song of the South

Disney’s rarely-seen Jim-Crow-era movie; the source of the song Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, and of the animatronic rabbits on Splash Mountain.

Wikipedia: Unusual articles

Wikipedia’s collection of articles “you would not expect to find in a standard encyclopedia”.

Monday, June 13, 2005 Great Site Ranking in Google

Terrible writing (“could never of guessed at”) but interesting content: a recent Google patent reveals Google’s use of history tracking to score pages. (via Scobelizer)

USGS: Recent Earthquake Activity in California-Nevada

Surprising how many small earthquakes go pretty much unnoticed.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Stuff On My Cat

“Stuff + cats = awesome.” (via Jeremy Zawodny)

MetaFilter: Pray out the gay!

Flippant title, deadly serious content, made me very angry: gay teenager sent to Christian program to treat “broken and addictive” homosexuality.

Guardian Unlimited Film: To cut a long story short

The Guardian looks at film trailers: “Of course I only put in the best bits. If I’d put in all the shit bits, you wouldn’t have gone to see it.” Also interesting: the ubiquitous use of other film’s scores in trailers. (via

New Scientist: Computer graphics card simulates supernova collapse

Using a graphics card as a co-processor for data analysis and visualisation. (Summary paper, PDF.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Chronicle Watch: Faded lane markers on Walnut Creek freeway

The SF Chronicle’s Chronicle Watch column is oddly interesting in tracking minor public-works projects. These dodgy freeway markings caught me out recently.

Project Aardvark: Summer in the City

21st century networking: “I’ve had good luck meeting people through those sharing music on iTunes using their AIM screen name as their shared name.” God, I feel old.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Graphic Design USA: Logo Trends 2005

Oddly fascinating. (via

Google Maps Wallpaper shut down

Well that sucks. (Update: this Slashdot comment links to a mirror of the Google Maps Wallpaper downloadable exe; the zip also contains the Python source.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Fishbowl: Podcasting in a Nutshell

“For the time being, I’m going to continue to file podcasting under ‘inaccessible and inconvenient’.”

Coding Horror: Compression and Cliffs

Compression ratio vs. compression time: it’s rarely worth using better compression more than the default.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Google Maps Wallpaper

Combines Google Maps tiles into larger images. (via MAKE:Blog)

Michael Bach: Rapid coloured afterimage illusion

As puts it: “this broke my brain”. Particularly when the full effect kicked in. Many more interactive illusions on his site.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Editor & Publisher: ‘Shadow’ Ads Drawing Concern

“Watermark” advertisments under newspaper content — or as Phillip Torrone puts it, “print versions of pop-under ads”.

ACLU: Federal Court Orders Government to Turn Over Videos and Photos Showing Detainee Abuse

Good. The way to eradicate abuse is to shine a light on it, not to try to hide it behind the Geneva Convention’s protection from “public curiosity”.

Times: Creationism: God’s gift to the ignorant

Richard Dawkins on the selective misquoting of scientists by creationists: notoriously, the habit of pulling Darwin’s comments on the development of the eye out of their surrounding context. (via

Pharyngula: A historian disgraces himself

A furious demolition of some very weak psuedo-science: “evolution appears to be plainly impossible”, says the quoted author, who appears to believe that evolution means that cats should give birth to racoons. (via

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The teaser trailer is showing with Revenge of the Sith. Looks promising, if a little too influenced by Lord of the Rings. Room for plenty of sequels, too — although I suspect Reepicheep risks becoming the next Jar Jar Binks

Wired: The DreamWorks Machine

Wired on Dreamworks Animation’s production process. Katzenberg’s scene critique (“great, but what I think you need to do is have her kick him in the nuts”) epitomises the differences between Pixar’s storytelling and Dreamworks’ cheap gags.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 Celebrate Doughnut Day!

Free Krispy Kreme doughnuts tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Fishbowl: Things I Learned Watching Revenge of the Sith

Careful, spoilers. And yes, “younglings”. “You can write this shit, George, but you can't say it” indeed.

Llamasoft: Neon

XBox 360 to have built-in Jeff Minter light-synth. Way cool.