Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Plague Books

A recent BoingBoing entry was about plague books. I go to the article about Steve Johnson's favorite books about plagues. I am shocked however when I discover that I have 3 of the 5 books on the list. But then I also have books about torture.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The No Enumeration Election System

American election laws were once the freest and most open in the world. They were one of the first countries to get rid property qualifications. In 1850 when nearly all white american men could vote only about 1/7 of British men could vote. The Reform act of 1832 gave the vote to men who paid at least £50 in rent. In today's terms, based average incomes, that is monthly rent between $4K to $7K . That was then. After the high point of democracy that was also witnessed deTocqueville came their civil war, reconstruction and desire by the losers to keep blacks down. Since there was no legal way to disenfranchise many other dubious methods were tried, see Jim Crow.

Today the yanks have among the lowest voter participation rate in the world. They have registration. The discusion on Talk of the Nation was about Carter-Baker Commision on Federal Election Reform. One of the recomendation of the commision was the requirement for photo ID for voting and registration. There were 2 members of the commission in on the discssion. One, a Spencer Overton, and here, talked about the systemic barriers to voting now and the further burden of photo ID as a requirement for those without drivers licences or passports. He suggests that everyone should be given IDs first and then have the requirement for them. He so disagreed with the finding that he wrote his own minority report, available here. Another commisson member, Sharon Priest, considered the whole idea of going door to door to build up a voters list a waste of time. If people don't take an interest in their local affairs and go to effort to vote they shouldn't depend on the government to help them. She then outlined all the steps for enumeration explaining that it is crazy government interference. Unfortunately Canada doesn't do enumeration during elections anymore. But it still the best way to maintain a voter's list. With no door-to-door enumeration the voter's list for home owners remains more complete than for the more mobile/transient renters.

Maurice Sendak talking about his Demons

Maurice Sendak has always been an scary illustrator. He makes children's books that have real menace in them. I remember Where the Wild Things Are from my childhood. His recent work involves child abduction. This is the topic for a kid's book. Check out Sendak talking why he puts children in danger, there is also audio slide show that highlights some of his spookiest images.

New Software

The Comicbook Reader is a sequential image viewer specially designed for viewing scanned comic books. This free ware program, and protocol, replaces the PDF format. PDFs are good for moving around completed documents. This pprogram is better than the Microsoft Image Viewer because it can maximize the images.

I just downloaded some Heavy Metal and am now enjoying the reading thorough them.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Roman Architectural Manual found again

When I was younger I read / glanced through/ leafed a book on roman architecture. The book is, The Ten Books on Architecture. Evidently the "books" are probably scrolls. The one fact I can remember from reading this book is the proper proportions of columns. Since then all columns that are too thin or too thick (very rare) seem very wrong. I am happy to find a full version of this book on a university website. It is there along the text of the latin original.


Newsgroup Humor

In a thread about The League of Extraordinary Germans comes this very netcentrentic back and forth

Mister Fifty Five
Wouldnt Schwarznegger get Austria? (Before German annexation of Austria? Hmp!)
Proud to be Nek
Wouldn't "wouldnt" get an apostrophe? And "Hmp" have an extra h? Although I think we could allow the Anschluss in this case, y'know.
Mister Fifty Five
Would it be the Internet if no-one ever nitpicked your lack of an apostrophe in 'would't' and your misspelling of 'hmph'?
(I really don't think so...)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Zombie War

A horror author was on radio talking about his recent book about the Zombie War. The amusing thing is that he was able to get everybody who called in to relate stories about the recent Zombie War. Everybody goes along with the sick joke. The book except was not as amusing as people getting undead fever.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cooooooooooooool Wax

Cool Wax is a blog devoted amusing and odd recording. Here are some the odd recordings, Colonel Saunders own version of Mexican Music, Don Rickles insulting TV, and Music to read James Bond to.

Pleasantly Odd.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Gruesome Ketchup Ad

The Campaign Against Landmines, a New Zealand group has come with a way to raise awareness by using ketchup packages. To get at the ketchup you have rip off a foot. Here is Adfreak discussing this advertising method. Here is some more news coverage with a clip of the ketchup package in action.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cats That Look Like Hitler

Not everyone thinks that a Website devoted to Cats That Look Like Hitler is a good use of bandwidth. Still good for a laugh.
This is probably the worst website I have ever seen!! Why on earth is this entertaining!? The pictures are of the same dam cat! Next thing it will be birth marks that resemble countries or celebrities!!! GET A LIFE!!!
- anonymous

Julius Ceasar, What a Guy

A Welsh historian has come out with a new political biography Julius Caesar, A Life of a Collossus. Good discussion on NPR's Talk of The Nation.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reformed Hacker on Security

Kevin Mitnick is a reformed hacker. He is also a convicted hacker who only won the right to use computers, cell phones, or any other electronic or communications technology 3 years after he was paroled. He was on Talk of the Nation talking about the different ways other people can get information about you from different government and non-government organizations like utility companies. Listen to the scary and needful story on privacy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Horror Movie Writer has Horrifying Experience

At the 5:00 PM Wedesday screening of The Abandoned at TIFF one of the writers of the film related his own recent experience.

One of the writers of the film before the screening told his own personal horror story. The writer was/is staying at the Delta Chelsea a few doors down from where some people were murdered. At 5 am he was woken up by ETF cops banging on his door. the ETF cops in full gear with assault rifles. He was questioned if he heard anything and told to stay in his room. He stuck his head a while later and asked a cop what was going on and was told to watch TV. After flipping around he found the story about 2 Germans and one Switzer killed in the room next door. When the writer was escorted off the floor to a new room, the hallway is filled with policemen. On the walls of the hallway was smeared blood. This is the appropriate introduction to a horror film.

The Manchester Sound from Vivaldi

The Manchester Sound is a famous variety of pop music. Here is a group on the Early Music Show preforming Vivaldi's Manchester Sonatas.

Pro Corporate Ideologues

There is anger in western Canada against the Canadian Wheat Board. There is anger because the CWB is working for farmers instead of screwing them over. If the wheat board was a private company using their marketing power for its benefit the right wing ideologoes would be very happy. Because the wheat board is working to make money for farmers instead of making money from farmers, see international grain companies, it is seen some sort of commie group going against the natural order of things. And not encouraging business sewctors thatmake money on grain handling.

Here is a discussion and news reports On The Current about the Canadian Wheat Board. Here is also an additional newsreport from CBC.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other

This is Pew study that looks way that muslims and non-muslims view each other. Look at part of this survey. Westerers and muslims look at the same scene of veiled and unveiled women and take opposite conclusions from the same data. Different world views come from different attitudes to the individual. We in the west believe it is wrong to oppress people. The muslim world comes from the attitude that slavery has always existed, always will exist and that for you and your clan to retain social status no one in your family must look or dresses like a slave. This is the explantion for the various kinds of veiling, since slaves don't wear veils.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy Theories

The editors of Popular Mechanics a magazine have examined 9/11 conspiracy theories. Popular Mechanics is the right kind of magizine to look at this issue. It only deals with stuff not policy. The article examines the way what can seem like unexplainable details are unexplainable only if you don't understand science and technology. The Dale Gribbles of the world will always suspects the authorities and experts who ever they are. Here are the editors on NPR discussing their risposte of the conspiracy theories.

Ted Rall admiting his Impotence

We all want to be the voice in the wilderness that are eventually believed and followed. Ted Rall has railed at a large number targets from Generalissimo Bush to 911 widows. In his latest cartoon he admits that no evidence of crimes and misdemeanors are enough to move Americans.

Friday, September 08, 2006

For cult fans out there be it for alien possession, moon god or moonies here are the last words of Jim Jones spinning conspiracy theories as his people drink the Koolaid.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Film Festival Blog

I, Baron von Feldspar, wish to direct you to my new Blog, Feldspar's Film Festival 2006, about Toronto International Film Festival. This is an entirely new blog to get around TIFF strictures blog limitations. (see below).
PROHIBITED CONTENT - The following types of content may not be posted on your blog or on the Toronto International Film Festival's website:
  1. Any content that is libelous, defamatory, hateful, obscene, profane, harassing, embarrassing, pornographic, abusive, threatening or offensive.
  2. Any content that furthers or promotes illegal activities.
  3. Any content that solicits personal information from other users that may identify one or more such users.
  4. Any content that violates any intellectual property or proprietary rights, including without limitation copyright and trade-marks.
Since I cannot guarantee that on my regular blog, Feldsparia, I have never posted obscene material or libelous material that is insulting to thieves, murderers, Republicans, Communists or Jihadis I have created this new blog just for the film festival. I think that limitation on "obscene" is a little rich from TIFF since every year the festival has a Ye Olde Traditional Porn Documentry. YOTPD is also a sound that shows up in such documentries. This year the YOTPD is the movie S&Man.