May 25, 2006

May 22, 2006

Jack wiretaps the President

(***Spoiler Alert***)

In tonight's season finale of 24, Jack Bauer manages to bug POTUS, who then completely compromises himself talking to his wife. The episode ends with the Secret Service taking him to custody.

I know FISA doesn't apply. I wonder whether domestic spying laws may pertain?

The secret weapon: a microtransmitter in a pen.

I was buoyed by the stunning arrest of the President, based upon the recorded evidence, until Jack was, quite literally, Shanghaied by Chinese agents.

America is saved from a corrupt President and massive terrorist attacks in exchange for the loss of its greatest anti-hero to the rising power in the Far East. Is there any show that captures the zeigeist any better?

Micropersuasion reports that over two thirds of the blogosphere is now in Chinese.

I wonder which Mandarin-English translation software will connect the Anglosphere to the Sinasphere?

May 12, 2006

I may not get out much...

...but this is the best juggling I've ever seen.

May 10, 2006

Google Trends

Just when I thought Google had already sufficiently blown me away with Google Local, Earth and Calendar, something new has come along:

Google Trends.

The sociologist in me is agog with the possibilities. Enter a term. See when it has been searched for the most, and, intriguingly, the places where it was searched for the most. For certain terms, there is even matching of particular stories and events that impacted the search pattern.

How extraordinary!

Google Zeitgeist looks positively old hat now.

May 9, 2006

Following on the heels of the Pulse, the Pop

Popurls.com is simply amazing. I don't know why I'm so amazed at metafilters, but this wealth of information, bubbling to the top of our collective metaconsciousness through the tagging and clicking of actual people is enthralling.

Apparently, I'm no less of a geek than I was playing Wizardry in 1988. If anything, I've grown into it.

BlogPulse

I discovered BlogPulse today. It's a great way to take the blogosphere's temperature, and while Technorati is still the class of the pack, it's great to see sites emerging that allow any user to see what's happening online.

Or, in, this case, to take a pulse.

May 8, 2006

On the Table

Michael Pollan has been blogging over at the New York Times. What a find -- especially today's post on the choices Americans are presented with as we choose how, what, where and why we eat, if not, generally, who.

Holdouts may exist on this last, but I'm not one of them.

I've been enjoying Pollan's incredible "food journalism "ever since I first read The Botany of Desire years ago, right up to and including his recent NYTMagazine piece, which was adapted from the recently published book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma." I'm waiting for the BPL to lend me that last.

Last week, I read "CARNAL KNOWLEDGE: How I became a Tuscan butcher.", by Bill Buford, in the "Notes of a Gastronome" column in the pages of the New Yorker.

Unbelievably good.

We're absolutely inudated with scientific and cultural rules for what we should be eating and why, who it should be purchased from and even how the animal, vegetable and occasionally mineral should have lived and how it dies.

This has been going on for all of humanity's lifespan - after all, what is more human than the act of killing, cooking and eating something? - but there is a quality and breadth to the body of information that goes into making decisions about what/when/where/how we eat surely supasses anything that has gone before.

What's for dinner tonight?

May 5, 2006

Decadence defined in contemporary Europe?

Winds of Change has posted a thoughtful, if provocative, post.

Hat tip to the DU.

Genocide: where force is the first resort?

The editors of the New Republic have published what I have to call a must-read "From the Editors" op-ed piece at tnr.com.

Check it out here.

Money quote:

"In the response to most foreign policy crises, the use of military force is properly viewed as a last resort. In the response to genocide, the use of military force is properly viewed as a first resort."

May 3, 2006

Promptly, Into the Deep End

One click blogrolling has turned my page links into the equivalent of a lumberjack's plate after bellying up to the Aladdin's all-you-can-eat banquet bar in Vegas.

Sure, the metaphor is a stretch, but not that much.

I've tried to be choosy, as, after all, the web, specifically the blogosphere, is more full of dreck than even the worst cable television channel guide, but in the end I'm stumbling close to information overload.

May 2, 2006

Jumping on the bandwagon

No, this isn't a post about becoming a Red Sox fan after ten years of living in New England, despite being born in upstate New York.

I finally tired of updating my template everytime I wished to add a blog to my blogroll (or delete one, which has happened occasionally) and then waiting to republish.

Blecch.

As there was a service, a free one at that, that would take care of maintaining my blogroll seamlessly, I've moved on over and have incorporating Blogrolling.

While I'm far, far behind the times by doing so, I still derive tremendous satisfaction from such a time saving function. Therefore, I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

It may be a while before blogads appear here, however, as I think a reader or two might normally be warranted before I engage in such naked commercialism.

May 1, 2006

YouTube.com

It never ceases to amaze me: build something that is easy to understand and powerful in execution and the world will beat a path to your door. I remember the magic of the "I'm feeling lucky" button that Google provided back in 1999 when I first began using the site. YouTube.com seems to be riding the wave: Alexa.com rates the site as the 26th most popular globally, as of yesterday. I was able to find Steven Colbert's satiric masterpiece at the White House Correspondents Dinner over the weekend without any trouble and watch it on my laptop this weekend, an opporunity I might have missed given the curious absence of the speech from CSPAN or other cable networks. While not all video content will be similarly repurposed, I'm struck again, as always, but the power of the global network to bring people together around a great idea.

Time's 100 Most Influential

David Letterman's top 10 lists were a fixture of my adulescence, along with the rest of Gen X/Y, but then top 10 lists are everywhere. In the U.S., it seems, listing and ranking borders on obsession. Scratch that. Lists are everywhere, of colleges, nutritious foods, box office at the movie theaters, download lists, page rankings, most watching television shows, top teams...you name the category, there's a top 10.

So why point this this list of Time Magazine most influential people of 2006?

Simply because it inspired me. There's a cultural bookmark here, to be fair, and each profile has a blurb written by celebrities, politicians and thinkers who themselves might be included on this list or those from years past. I'm cynical enough to doubt the authenticity of some of the prose, but I couldn't help but find hope in the face of extraordinary people making the most of the talent that nature and nurture bestowed upon them. Would that we could all do as much with the brief years we have on this earth.