In keeping with my "follow-the-herd" mentality, here's a link to the WSJ's most blogged article, from Jamin Warren. The main point, as paraphrased by me, is that Americans are so horribly out of shape that they are managing to hurt themselves while playing Nintendo's new video game console, the homosexually named Wii (note that this system is about two phalluses hanging out together). As Jamin puts it, "They're reporting aching backs, sore shoulders -- even something some have dubbed 'Wii elbow.'"
Here's another select anecdote: Ryan Mercer, a customs broker in Indianapolis, lifts weights several times a week. But that hasn't helped much with the Wii. After playing the boxing game for an hour and a half, his arms, shoulders and torso were aching. "I was soaking wet with sweat, head to toe -- I had to go take a shower," he says. And the next morning? "I had trouble putting my shirt on," says the 21-year-old avid gamer.
There's a part of me that wants to laugh at all of these poorly-conditioned masses that can't handle waving a stick in the air for an hour without hurting themselves. Then I remember that I have a desk job, I get no regular exercise, and my favorite recreational activity, when possible, is aggressive spooning ("Spoon or be spooned!"). I had a runny nose and watery eyes for most of Thanksgiving because my fleece got covered in dog-hair, to which I'm mildly allergic. And I like video games (sigh).
So, instead of casting stones, I think I'll start shoring up the walls of my glass house.
Additional note: People at work have also commented on being hurt by their Wii's.
You can browse through the rest of his photos here.
I recently stumbled upon David Sifry, founder of Technorati's post on the State of the Blogosphere. The short of it is that the number of blogs are growing briskly, with the number of blogs doubling every 236 days, although the rate of growth is cooling down a bit. There are now around 57+mm blogs out there, with ~55% of them being active.
The post is pretty interesting, although it's not clear to me if Technorati is getting this data from the major services or just from people that subscribe to Technorati's service. If it's the latter, then I would say that this data is only reflective of a specific subsegment of the blogosphere. Moving on.
One thing that caught my eye was that the average # of posts/day is growing a lot more slowly than the # of blogs (roughly 3x since late '04 vs. 10x since late '04). My guess is that blogging - like the SAT's - is increasingly being done by the mainstream, with a higher number of people writing on a semi-frequent basis. So if you think my blog is mediocre and poorly updated, just wait until the rest of the world really gets on the bandwagon.
Couple other quick points:
1. The NYTimes is getting about 3.5x more trackbacks (I think that's what inbound sources is referring to) than Fox News. Much like the Dems winning the elections, that makes me happy.
2. The Japanese are almost as blog-crazy as the English (33% vs. 39% of posts). I am really, really curious about what they write about.
Anyway, that's all for now.
Well, my blog is now linked to flickr. Yippee! As my first flickr-linked post, I'm putting in a photo of a nifty, DIY iPod case, which I first saw here. This may very well turn into a project for me over Christmas, so if you get a book-shaped present from me, it's probably because I f***'ed up making one of these suckers and thought you'd like to have one.
Lifehacker also posted directions for making this puppy some time ago, which can be found here for those that want to save me the trouble of ruining a bunch of my girlfriend's hardcovers (shh, don't tell her).
In case no one noticed, I've added single-click commenting capabilities and also made it so the sidebar on the left collapses. Hurray for minute changes!
On a more serious note, there's been a lot of excitement about the Democrats taking back Congress after some 12-odd years. I think it's great that they won, but I think their victory is causing a bit of oversight on a critical issue that has totally vanished since election day, i.e. the significant issues that were cropping up with electronic voting platforms.
Given the slim margins and the intense polarization of recent elections, you would think that any hint of a miscount would be blasted out to the public. Maybe it has, and I just haven't noticed it because I've been working until midnight for the past two weeks. But my sense is that the discussion has been more about the Dems coming to power, Rumsfeld resigning, and Pelosi becoming the first female speaker of the house. Given the overwhelming feeling that this election went the right way, it seems a little bit inappropriate to talk about how things in the election went wrong.
I'm not saying that the election was stolen or that there was massive vote-theft. But there are some things that are worrying. This catalog of voting-issues news stories includes several troubling items, such as:
* Williamson County. iVotronic touch screen machines count every vote three times.
* Marion County. Doris Anne Sadler, Marion County Clerk, is unable to retrieve the votes from 520 ES&S iVotronic machines
* Waterville. Diebold scanners malfunction. Results show 27,000 votes in a town with 16,000 registered voters.
* Lancaster County. A third of the county's 232 polling stations experienced malfunctions on the Hart InterCivic eScan ballot scanners. In many cases, the memory cards were test cards, not set up for election results.
* Knox County. Circuitry in a Hart InterCivic eSlate fails, calling into question over 2600 e-ballots. Knox County Election Commission Chair Pamela Reeves explains what happened to the machine. "Apparently, what it did was it smoked. I don't know what caused it to smoke, but it was literally smoking. So they unhooked it at the time. Of course, we don't read the votes and we didn't know there was a problem until we went to read the votes Tuesday night."
And so on. According to an article in the Miami Herald, 18,382 votes either weren't cast or were miscounted in Sarasota county. Unfortunately, the voting was electronic and has no paper trail, closing out the possibility of a recount. Given that the 2000 election came down to some 500 votes in Florida, I think this should be a fairly serious concern for anyone that cares about who gets elected.
So, hurray for the Democrats and all of them getting elected. Let's just hope that they're secure enough in their victory to demand an investigation into voting practices in preparation for 2008.
If this is something that concerns you too, you can sign an on-line petition, or maybe it's send an e-mail to your senator, for paper trails and accountability at Get It Straight by 2008.
It's a bit embarrassing to be posting something this commercial, but this clip of a fat, dancing penguin should hopefully make someone happy.
Coincidentally, didn't Jamiroquai steal the tune behind this Stevie Wonder song?
Holy cheez-doodles, it's been two whole weeks since I've posted anything!
Honestly, I don't know how these other bloggers do it. Phonelesscord is pumping out around two-three humorous yet insightful posts a day. ifyougiveacowamoo, who recently nagged at me for not writing anything, has put out two whole posts in about a month. The last time I wrote anything was at the very beginning of the month, when I plip-plopped out a whole three posts in a day's time.
I think the secret is not giving a damn if anyone sees you writing your posts. The last two weeks have been super-busy for me - i.e. staying at work until 11-12 at night - but I'm sure I could've cranked out a paragraph or two if I hadn't been so nervous about people looking over my shoulder and seeing me be unproductive.
I think the big problem is that once you start not writing, the list of things to write about starts building up. To date, I have yet to make any comment on the Democrats taking over Congress, Borat being sued by drunken frat-boys and Romanian villagers alike (isn't eating a hairy scrotum enough punishment?), or my own recent conversion to Southern Baptist-inspired social conservatism. My theory is that the size of my list is directly correlated with my feelings of resignation, especially since each of these posts ends up being 4x longer than originally intended.
So, that was my feeble stab at writing something. I'll make another go of it soon, I promise. I am also willing to bet about $50 that I will be writing another "OhmygodIhaven'twritteninweeks" post sometime within the next few months, after which I will wash my hands of self-inflicted guilt and say "Screw it, it's not like anyone's reading this anyway."
This is one of the things that seems so odd to me about strategy. Sometimes, there are advances that don't make it to the market until years down the line. I just found this today. It's a link describing the automatic parallel parking feature of new 2007 Lexus LS460 sedan. This is insanely amazing to me. And yet, according to CBS News, this feature has been around in Japan since 2003.
Here's a video of the whole thing in action. Keep an eye on the guys hands and watch how close the car gets in the back:
Why is this something that took 4 years to migrate to the US? If I really had to guess, it would probably be something along the lines of "lack of a market" and high production costs. Under this scenario, the manufacturing costs must have dropped by now to a more manageable level. Either that, or there are some terribly inadequate lines of communication between Toyota and the Lexus US operations.
I'm curious about the average life of a blog. My guess is that there are probably a few categories.
These are mostly jackasses that take up all the good names and then never do anything with them. I remember them quite distinctly. It took me forever to find a name for my blog, primarily because all the good names were taken. Of all the blogs in this category, I've only found one to be of any interest at all. Got to love a guy that faces down his critics. Even if he is a lying poo face.
I've ran across a few of these. My friend Thomas falls into this category. Lee Tyler, a guy that I sort of knew on the periphery in high school also gets a nod. I'm sure that research would turn up some more. somethingwitty.blogspot.com, one of the sites that I was gunning for, also had a run of about a year. I'd include the ever-interesting Reasoner here, but atari keeps on posting and fucking up the categories.
We're all aware of these ones. The boingboing's and the drudge report's and the dailykos that everyone is always reading and citing. Bah, fooey to all of these people that seem to have caught the imagination of the public.
It's kind of interesting. For Al Gore, there's been a lot of wistfulness about what could have happened had he been elected president. I don't have the time or resourcefulness to go and look up a supporting article, but especially after the release of "An Inconvenient Truth," I think there were a lot of people who remembered that:
a) The election was more or less stolen from him
b) Had people overlooked his "wooden-ness," they might not have elected someone that thought it was acceptable to lie to the American people and then drag them into a war that's more or less Vietnam 2.0
Gore's post-movie success, I think, has a lot to do with him making a decision to essentially drop out of the limelight. He became a lecturer at Columbia for a bit, made a movie, and has repeatedly disavowed any intention of running for office. This apolitical stance has allowed him to work on what he thinks is important and say what he thinks is right, which has helped him immensely. Prior to Obamania, I'm fairly sure that a bunch of Dems were hoping that the guy would give up his guns and run for office.
Sadly, I don't think the same can be said for John Kerry. The guy just can't seem to get a break. Whereas people say that Gore had the election stolen from him, most people generally concede that Kerry ran a dumb campaign that essentially amounted to, "At least I'm not that idiot in office." Whereas Gore was stiff and wooden, Kerry just seemed to be kind of a loser (What the hell was up with that duck-hunting photo-op?). These days, anytime Kerry sticks his head out into public, it's basically just to have the door slammed in his face.
As evidence, witness his latest debacle with a botched joke. This is what he was supposed to say:
“Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”
This is what he ended up saying:
“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”(1)
And there are others too. Sigh. Poor John Kerry.
It makes me extremely happy to hear that people have taken all of the Republican sniping at John Kerry's expense more as a sign of the hypocrisy of the sniping party than as a sign of John Kerry being a bad person/bad joke giver/what have you. In particular, I liked what I read here and here.