September 30, 2005

Identity 2.0

This is pretty geeky, so consider yourself warned. But Dick Hardt's Identity 2.0 talk, from OSCON, is pretty fascinating. And it's a terrific presentation too!

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:00 PM

September 28, 2005

Guerilla Drive-In Movies

I want to do one of these:

Some folks set up a digital projector outfitted with an FM transmitter and put it inside a car. Every couple of weeks they send out an e-mail to a listserv full of fans with details on the movie that will be showing, the wall it will be projected on, the time and whatnot. You show up, tune to the designated FM station and enjoy a flick, or steam up the windows. The Mobile Movie movement started in Santa Cruz, and is now playing in Berkeley, Oakland, Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles, West Chester, PA., and Tampa City, FL.

Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In website.

Posted by jackhodgson at 12:03 PM

A better way to "fight" the terrorists?

Boingboing tells us of a Planned Parenthood clinic that has come up with an ingenious way to discourage abusive protesters.

Supporters of the clinic pledge donations for every protester who shows up. And the clinic makes sure the protesters know they are helping raise money for the organization.

My point with the headline is that I'm increasingly coming to see that a "head-on" attack on these kinds of enemies isn't working, and that a more inventive strategy is needed. I'm not saying we should take pledges on terror, but military counter attacks are clearly not working.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:16 AM

Terrorists Don't Do Movie Plots

Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of homeland security spend too much time watching action movies. They defend against specific movie plots instead of against the broad threats of terrorism.

We all do it. Our imaginations run wild with detailed and specific threats. We imagine anthrax spread from crop dusters. Or a contaminated milk supply. Or terrorist scuba divers armed with almanacs. Before long, we're envisioning an entire movie plot, without Bruce Willis saving the day. And we're scared.


We need to defend against the broad threat of terrorism, not against specific movie plots. Security is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the next terrorist act. We need to spend more money on intelligence and investigation: identifying the terrorists themselves, cutting off their funding, and stopping them regardless of what their plans are. We need to spend more money on emergency response: lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what it is. And we need to face the geopolitical consequences of our foreign policy and how it helps or hinders terrorism.


Posted by jackhodgson at 11:05 AM

Recently discovered WWII pics

*Here is a very impressive, and sobering, collection of recently discovered WWII vintage aerial pics of places around Europe.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:59 AM


I may go to this. It sounds interesting.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005, News Restaurant, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 7:30pm - ?

Rumspringa is a Pennsylvania German term meaning, literately, "Running Around". Like many people who run websites, I take some of my greatest pleasure in meeting people who use the site and talking to them face-to-face. But I don't want to have another dreary meeting, held furtively in the back of a pizza place or using borrowed public space; I'd like to try something a little special and different.


The idea is simple: assemble, in real life, some of the people who use the site or its related sites ( and all the * sub-sites). Have it in a really nice place, in a function room set aside for the occasion. Let the chips fall where they may, conversation-wise, but have on the agenda a couple of short (30 minutes or less) speeches about interesting subjects for people to enjoy while having a drink or eating. Treat people with respect, and get treated with respect. Meet, learn, gain some insight, have some fun.

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:51 AM

New Director's Cut of Blade Runner stalled

Boingboing points us to this article in WiredNH about a new special edition of this SF classic which is now stuck in copyright limbo:

The new version of the film is said to be digitally remastered and remixed from the original negatives, greatly improving the quality of a film now more than 20 years old. There is also much speculation among hardcore fans about never-before-seen footage being added as well as some of the major technical gaffes being cleaned up, including the removal of crew members' shadows on the walls and the appearance of wires attached to Spinners (cars that fly). The new version could also have tons of bonus features, including a BBC documentary, director's commentary and bonus footage.
Posted by jackhodgson at 07:56 AM

September 27, 2005

Seasonal changes

leaf2005It's really starting to feel like Fall here in Northern New England.

This morning we woke up to a real chill in the air. Nice, I like it.

The foliage is slow this year. JanV tells me that she's heard that there's some thing happening to the leaves this year that will result in them not being as brightly colored.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:58 AM

The George Factor

In this final week of the American League regular season, the deciding factor may be: Are the Yankees more afraid of Steinbrenner than the Redsox are of Redsox Nation.

Maybe Theo and John H just aren't nasty enough.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:00 AM

September 26, 2005

Healthy News

Let's not be giving President Bush any ideas. AP via Yahoo!News:

China said Sunday it is imposing new regulations to control content on its news Web sites and will allow the posting of only "healthy and civilized" news.

The move is part of China's ongoing efforts to police the country's 100-million Internet population. Only the United States, with 135 million users, has more.

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:45 AM

Redsox good for your health

AP via Yahoo!Sports:

According to a study published Monday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, traffic in Boston-area emergency rooms significantly slowed during last year's Red Sox championship games.
Posted by jackhodgson at 09:40 AM

September 23, 2005

Big Mess

It's looking like Galveston and Houston are gonna be spared the worst of Rita. But that means that all the people who went through the ordeal of evacuating will be less likely to do it next time.

As these big hurricanes become more common, we need a protection plan that doesn't involve evacuation. For example, either harden the infrastructure, or stop living there altogether.

Posted by jackhodgson at 01:02 PM

Survivor Guatemala Episode #2

s11logoNo real heros or villains appearing yet.

Over in the forum, I have been nominated to replace Jeff Probst when he retires. I'll do it cause I like the hats.

Warning: Spoilers in the comments forum.

Posted by jackhodgson at 07:49 AM

September 16, 2005

Rock Climbing in Pawtuckaway

rockclimberConcord Monitor:

The forest, part of Pawtuckaway State Park bordering Deerfield and Nottingham, is a glacially unique field where large boulders were deposited at the end of the Ice Age.

On any given day, small children and rock climbers reign among the stones, their shouts of excitement sometimes indistinguishable. Women picnic atop the miniature mountains, and family dogs crisscross the landscape, taking in the show.

One thing. The story suggests that there's a $3 charge to get into the boulders area. No. That part of the park is no charge. The developed beach/picnicking/camping part has an admission charge.

Posted by jackhodgson at 12:48 PM

Give me hundreds of billions of dollars and I will fix it. Really.

Josh Marshall:

Let's see. What was the problem with Michael Brown exactly? Let's see. No expertise or experience for the job. Got the gig because he was pals with Bush's political fixer. Also a political loyalist.

So to learn the lesson and get back on track, to run the recovery, President Bush picks Karl Rove.

That's great.

Do we really all need the paint by numbers version of this picture.

Then there's the president's great line from the speech: "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces."

Later in the same piece:

As I've been saying, repressive governments mix adminsitrative clumsiness and inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies. That's almost always the pattern. The direction the president wants to go in is one in which, in emergencies, the federal government will have trouble moving water into or enabling transportation out of the disaster zone but will be well-equipped to declare martial law on a moment's notice.

Another pack of lies. Right in front of everyone.

Read the whole thing...

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:16 AM

September 15, 2005

Survivor starts tonite

A new season of Survivor starts tonight at 8.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:01 PM

September 14, 2005

The Homebrew Satellite Club points to this story from the New York Times:

An ambitious program called CubeSat, developed at Stanford University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is giving students and companies the opportunity to build and launch functional satellites into low Earth orbit, or about 240 to 360 miles above the planet.

The satellites are tiny--they weigh a kilogram and generally measure about 10 centimeters on each side--but they cost far less than conventional commercial satellites. A CubeSat unit costs roughly $40,000 to build and only $40,000 to launch. As part of the program, Cal Poly takes care of the bureaucratic and logistical hurdles.

By contrast, a conventional satellite can run between $150 million and $250 million to build and $100 million to launch.

"I kind of look at this as the Apple II. The ordinary person can get something into space," said Bob Twiggs, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford and one of the principals behind CubeSat. "We don't know what the ultimate use is, but look what happened to the Internet."
Posted by jackhodgson at 04:43 PM

September 13, 2005

Tech Axis Shifting?

I've always thought that if I were to move back to the West Coast I would live North of San Francisco.

I lived for 10+ years in Palo Alto and Cupertino, and for a few month in Berkeley. But if I went back I figured Marin County or Sonoma would be the place to live.

Now, one of the most popular podcasts on the net is the TechCast "This Week in Tech" aka TWIT.

TWIT's homebase is Leo Laporte's "lab" in Petaluma California, and now the weekly show is being recorded at Noonan's in San Rafael.

Now, not only are the show's panelists heading there every Sunday, but a live audience of the tech community's faithful are heading there too.

That's a strong referral for the area.

Posted by jackhodgson at 12:55 PM

September 09, 2005

Could oil prices be a bubble ready to burst?

Steve Forbes, the billionaire business publisher, predicted that the oil bubble will burst inside a year and the price will plunge... "I'll make a bold prediction. In 12 months you're going to see oil down to $35 to $40 a barrel," he said. "It is a huge bubble, I don't know what's going to pop it but eventually it will pop - you cannot go against supply and demand, you cannot go against the fundamentals forever."

Later in the story...

Mr Forbes said the whole concept of the strategic reserve was pushing prices higher. "The speculators know now that no matter what happens to the price of oil Uncle Sam is there buying almost every day," he said. "Stop the buying and in fact throw some of that oil on the open market, boy that would throw it in turmoil and send the price down."
Posted by jackhodgson at 01:53 PM

September 06, 2005

What happened?

Reporters are starting to piece together accounts of what happened in New Orleans. Here's one report that SDAB pointed us to.

New Orleans has always existed in a delicate balance between land and water, chaos and order, black and white, the very rich and the very poor. ... This week, bit by bit, that delicate balance came completely undone. Water took over earth when levees broke, putting 80 percent of the city under water. The mix of fatalism and bravado that allowed the city's biggest fear - a killer hurricane - to become the marquee drink of Bourbon Street gave way to terror and despair and horrifying spasms of looting and violence.


Posted by jackhodgson at 01:47 PM

September 05, 2005

Downtown NOLA online

From an article on we learn about this internet service provider, located in downtown New Orleans, which has stayed up and running throughout the crisis. They even have a blog, with very active comments area, talking about conditions in downtown.

Posted by jackhodgson at 02:24 AM

September 02, 2005

Cavalry has arrived


Reports are that a very large contingent of National Guard are now arriving in New Orleans. Their stated mission is to restore order and aid the victims.

We have the makings of our first genuine hero of this disaster. There is a General in charge of this effort who was praised by the NOLA mayor. And now I hear a report of a General on the ground, directing traffic from the street, as this convoy arrives in downtown.

Here's a story which refers to, and quotes Lt. Gen. Steven Blum regarding the mission of the Guard. I'm trying to find out if all these references are to the same man.

Lt. Gen. Steven Blum of the National Guard said 7,000 National Guardsmen arriving in Louisiana on Friday would be dedicated to restoring order in New Orleans. He said half of them had just returned from assignments overseas and are "highly proficient in the use of lethal force." He pledged to "put down" the violence "in a quick and efficient manner."

"But they are coming here to save Louisiana citizens. The only thing we are attacking is the effects of this hurricane," he said. Blum said that a huge airlift of supplies was landing Friday and that it signaled "the cavalry is and will continue to arrive."

This has the potential of being a star-making situation.

UPDATE: It now appears that the "take charge" leader may be "three-star Army Lieutenant General Russell Russel Honore"


Posted by jackhodgson at 12:43 PM

September 01, 2005

Where is the leadership?

wesleyclarkWesley Clark on the TPMCafe website:

...leadership means lifting people up; challenging them to push themselves to succeed where they before thought success was out of reach. That philosophy was captured well by our Army motto, "Be All You Can Be," which also means helping others to be all they can be. What we need to do as individuals and a party is to stand up and speak out to create equal opportunity for economic success. To treat others the way we want to be treated. To reach out and help those who are in pain. Most importantly, leadership means calling on others to do all these things too.

In short leadership is everything we are not getting from this White House. Instead of challenging us to push ourselves to accomplish great things, we get platitudes. We can do better than that.


Posted by jackhodgson at 01:42 PM


A reader of Josh Marshall's excellent Talking Points Memo blog asks:

I have a question that no one has raised so far. Wouldn’t part of any homeland security preparation be the handling of refugees? Virtually any serious terrorist attack (explosion, nuclear, biological) would entail a large number of displaced persons. Wasn’t anything done along these lines?
Posted by jackhodgson at 01:35 PM

Paradigm shift

I noticed in the BigMedia coverage this morning that the victims leaving the Katrina disaster area are shifting from being called "evacuees" to "refugees".

Posted by jackhodgson at 01:24 PM

Don't worry, President Bush will take care of us.

Having Katrina arrive in Louisiana was bad enough, but now they're in really big trouble: BBC:

[President Bush] promised his cabinet will take over the aid operation for "one of the worst natural disasters" the US had seen.
Posted by jackhodgson at 02:35 AM