Archive for August, 2005

Katrina Aid Agencies

August 31, 2005

Glenn Reynolds has an extensive list of charities that will be helping with relief efforts along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Glenn is also planning to use that post as the repository for the charity blogburst scheduled for tomorrow. If you post recommending a charity, or some other action to help, link back to the post referenced in the previous paragraph. He will use that post to list both bloggers and charities. That way, readers of any blog will have ready access to recommendations on all the blogs.

Hurricane Katrina

August 30, 2005

As awful as things look now, they are certain to look even worse — at least for the short term. However, I predict that five or ten years from now, New Orleans will be restored to much like it was before.
Tying this to a SciFi theme, I feel like I have “seen” this before, in my mind’s eye, while reading Lucifer’s Hammer, in the descriptions of the post-impact flooding. The looting, the rapid loss of civilization.
Also, I remember David Brin (a very good, albeit leftist, SF author) writing in Earth about the futility of holding back mother nature:

…The Big Easy had class all right. In decline, there remained an air of seedy blaisance, and even the inevitable bandit types believed in courtesy.
He listened to the barge horns and thought of the manatees that had inhabited this area, back when La Salle’s men first poled their way through endless marshes, trading ax heads for furs. The manatees were long gone, of course. And soon…relatively soon…so would New Orleans.
The dying of any city begins at its foundation….
Logan had inspected hundreds of kilometers of embankments, thrown up in forlorn efforts to save the doomed shore. More tall levees contained the river, whose gradient flattened over time. Suspended silt began falling out even north of Baton Rouge. Soon the sluggish current no longer held back the sea. Salinity increased.
Upstream, the Mississippi fought like an anaconda, writhing to escape. The contest was one of raw power. And Logan knew where it would be lost….
Fortunately, Claire would move away long before the Mississippi burst through the Old River Control Structure or some other weak point, spilling into that peaceful plain of cane fields and fish farms….
In effect, he could only pray the Corps’ new barriers were as good as they claimed. It was possible….
But rivers see decades, even centuries, as mere trifles.
The Mississippi rolled by. And, not for the first time, Logan wondered if Daisy might be right after all.
I try to find solutions that work with Earth’s forces. I like to think I’ve learned from the mistakes of past engineers.
But didn’t they, too, think they built for the ages?
He remembered what Shelley had written, about an ancient pharaoh:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Can we build nothing that lasts? Nothing worth lasting?
Logan sighed. He had been away too long. He turned away from the patient river and took the rusted, creaking iron stairs back into the ancient city.

Now Where’s My Script?

August 30, 2005
Cary Grant
You scored 14% Tough, 19% Roguish, 28% Friendly, and 33% Charming!
You are the epitome of charm and style, the smooth operator who steals
the show with your sophisticated wit and quiet confidence. You are able
to catch any woman you want just by flashing that disarming smile. When
you walk into a room, the women are instantly intrigued and even the
men are impressed. When you find yourself in trouble, you are easily
able to charm your way out of it, or convince others to help you.
You’re seen as dashing, suave and romantic. Your co-stars include
Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, and Joan Fontaine, stylish women who
know a class act when they see it.

Find out what kind of classic dame you’d make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 15% on Tough
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You scored higher than 52% on Roguish
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You scored higher than 48% on Friendly
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You scored higher than 67% on Charming

Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid

(Via Clark Gable aka LDH)

My Cyborg Name and Logo

August 29, 2005

Transforming Xperimental Being Engineered for Sabotage, Thorough Gratification and Rational Killing
I actually love that description. I could be that bot.
(Via LDH and Owlish).

Carnival of Music #13

August 29, 2005

Even if you’re triskaidekaphobic, you should find something to like at Chan’s edition of the Carnival of Music this week.
Follow all of her links, and discover some new bloggers, some new musical knowledge, or both.
We need volunteers to host future carnivals. It’s easy and fun! Sign up here.

AMWOC – Second Installment

August 25, 2005

Here’s a few more words on my way to a million. I got bit by the bug hard last night, and I’m writing a story. I’ve got more than 1500 words so far, and most of the major plot mapped out.
This is intended to be a juvenile SF book, along the lines of Between Planets or Space Cadet by Heinlein. It takes place on Mars.
So far there are only two characters that I have a solid grip on: a father and a son.
I’ve put a snippet of dialogue in the extended entry. This is pretty rough (not heavily edited by any means), but I’m curious: does this sound like a natural conversation between a dad and a 12-year-old?
Does it make you want to learn more about these characters?
Let me know what you think.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wise Protein

August 25, 2005

Has anyone (other than Stephen Green) noticed that Jeff Goldstein has been on frakkin’ fire recently?
He had a brief existential crisis a few months ago, but his writing over the past few months has really sharpened, becoming even more insightful and provocative.
Take these excerpts, for example:

Yesterday, to my horror, I watched as Bill O’Reilly argued what is increasingly the standard populist postition that the government needs to get involved in policing “self-destructive” behavior, if only to save “the taxpayer” down the road from the (largely illusory) set of epidemics professional nannystatists, disguised as concerned scientists, are always warning against. O’Reilly cited such behavior as over-eating (leading to obesity) and drug use (leading to addiction)—though to be fair, he was careful to point out that he wasn’t so concerned with curbing personal freedoms per se as he was with having to pay for the longterm effects of not having curbed them in some way, a distinction with a (minor) difference.

25 August 2005


Me, I’m willing to make the following offer: I will accept as valid the chickenhawk argument from any person who agrees to support a Constitutional Amendment making military service a prerequisite for all who presume to shape foreign policy, up to and including the President, members of both the House and Senate, and all Federal Court justices. Either that, or from those who push to pass a Constitutional Amendment disbanding the military, which makes the question moot.

Short of that, I’d ask you to save your anti-democratic impulses for, say, campus speech codes or social engineering programs driven by the idea of proportionality—and allow the grownups to make the difficult choices that arise in the course of protecting the interests of our nation. Please.

22 August 2005

All while remaining reliably surreal and funny.

Will someone give this man a book deal already? Or at least an opinion column at the New York Times?

Surprised? I Am (Not)

August 25, 2005

Pure Nerd
86 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 26% Dork
For The Record: A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia. A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one. A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions. You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the “dork.” No-longer. Being smart isn’t as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 94% on nerdiness
You scored higher than 47% on geekosity
You scored higher than 26% on dork

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid
And here I thought I was a geek.
(Via Nerd Owlish).

Quick Bleg

August 24, 2005

Does anyone know of a decent online archive of Martian maps, including the highest resolution scans from the most recent orbiters, organized like Google maps?
I’m thinking specifically of a draggable, clickable, zoomable Martian atlas.
I’ve done some googling around, but haven’t found anything like this yet.
Any leads would be much appreciated.

Carnival of Music #12

August 23, 2005

Head on over the pond to Musicircus to check out the 12th installment of the Carnival of Music.
I especially liked the linked articles discussing programming of new music, critiquing copyright extension, and listing a huge number of jazz blogs.
Thanks, Rob, for hosting this week. Great job!
If you would like to host, we have an opening on September 5, and then a wide open schedule from September 19 on. Please let me know if you have a link to include in a future carnival, or if you would like to host.