Saturday, March 18, 2006


The Virginia Quarterly Review - A national journal of literature and discussion


DevilDucky - Interactive Flash and Funny Videos


The F word


Internet Archive: Universal access to human knowledge

Friday, March 17, 2006



Internet oddities, cars, news, links, gadgets, nonsense and more...


USA v. Mariano: A Philadelphia City Councilman faces corruption charges

Live from Courtroom 3B: The Philadelphia Inquirer chronicles the federal corruption trial of Philadelphia City Councilman Rick Mariano.


NCAA Basketball Home - CBS


A wandering woman writes from Spain - Sports News, Scores & Stats

I'm away from the office and home sick today. I've gotten sick every year for many years about this time in March. It's a seasonal illness, I suppose. Last year my boss told me to see my doctor and bring a note in from him, but when I called his office he was home sick too.


Paul Gavin - Writer, Blogger - Fiction, Short Stories, Novels, Stories

Very Funny

At first, I was livid. Words cannot express how incredibly pissed off I was when I dialed 1-212-639-9675. If you read my previous posting, you know that I had received an email from the scheduling intern from the Late Show with David Lettermen. The email said Dave was considering having me on the show and that I should let them know my availability on March 29, 2006.

Allowing excitement to overcome common sense, I dialed the number fully expecting to speak with Ms. Ida Lucier. Really, I have no idea how I missed it. Maybe it's because I have known three people with the last name Lucier. I went to school from third grade until my senior year with a woman with the last name Lucier and her brother. While I was working in Denver, I worked for several years with another man named Lucier. Or maybe I was just so caught up in the moment that I didn't realize that with the right inflection, Ida Lucier becomes "I da loser" 

Since I was expecting to hear the cheery voice of a Late Show intern, imagine my shock when I heard the battle-hardened, brittle, heavily accented New Yorker answer by saying:

"New York City Department of Sanitation. What can I do for you."




Ilana's Jo'blog from South Africa

You see, I am in a bind. With the payment I make each month to Asshole Car, I could lease a new BMW 1-Series, but since I don't have South African permanent residency, no one will give me car insurance. Even if I bought a car for cash, I still couldn't insure it. Only Asshole Car! Asshole Car pretty much only rents to desperate foreigners with no other options...

So, I am still waiting for the Asshole guys to arrive. A minibus taxi driver starts hooting frantically at me to move. Hello, I am stuck. I can't move, hence the hazards. Move your pathetic red minibus around this 1986 Ford Laser. Mr. Driver emerges from the minibus and begins banging on the window really roughly and loudly. He does this for about five minutes. I then phone Naughty crying and tell him he better hurry up cause this taxi driver is insane. Naughty replies, "Wow, that is really ridiculous. I can't believe he's doing that." YES, I KNOW THAT IS RIDICULOUS. I wasn't phoning you for your condolences. - Men's NCAA Tournament Index

Thursday, March 16, 2006


AI-Based Accoona Search Engine Aims At Google

Dwarfed by better-known search engines such as Google and Yahoo, Accoona is taking steps to outwit the big boys.

Accoona Corp. (Jersey City, N.J.) announced at a press conference here Wednesday (March 8) an enhanced search-engine portal that gives users two distinct sets of functionality to speed Internet-based data search and retrieval.

The company, founded in December 2004, has been refining its search engine technology for over a year, which is based on the extensive use of artificial intelligence techniques. The artificial intelligence algorithms enable retrieval of more results for stories associated with the search term and not just containing the term, according to John Fernandez, director of marketing for Accoona, in an interview with EE Times prior to the briefing

One of the enhanced search engine's new sets of functions, called the News function, enables users to instantly cross-reference search keywords to a suite of frequently used data-search categories. Users are presented with a set of eight drop-down buttons that allow results to be prioritized; refined by time period, media outlet, company name, country, or state; cross-referenced to a list of people; or differentiated by media type.

The other set, called the Business function, enables users to cross-reference keywords to a database that melds Dun & Bradstreet's extensive database with Accoona’s own database of business information.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


On lobbyists, Hasidic reggae, and secrets

But what if you want to be a lobbyist and you've never played a round of golf, the only season tickets you have are to a children's puppet theater, and your commodes are all American Standard and bolted to your bathroom floor? This was the challenge I faced for my latest, and most public service-oriented, Human Guinea Pig—the column in which I try things readers are curious about but don't want to go to jail for themselves. I would become a Washington lobbyist.

I, of course, was going to lobby for a commendable cause I actually believe in and do it in a totally honest way. (Except for the part where I didn't tell any of the people I was lobbying that I was also performing a journalistic experiment to see if a person with no skyboxes, etc., can even enter a Capitol Hill office, let alone get legislation passed. But I dismissed the moral dilemma presented by this small but necessary deception, because dismissing moral dilemmas made me feel like a real lobbyist.)

When I first heard the Hasidic Jewish reggae vocalist Matisyahu, I assumed his was a novelty act with distinctly limited appeal, destined to cause a small sensation among Heeb magazine subscribers and other Jewish hipsters with an overdeveloped sense of irony and secret shtetl lust—the pangs of nostalgia that periodically cause assimilated Jews to yearn for the good old days of piety and poverty in the Russian Pale of Settlement. Anyway, silly me. Matisyahu is a hit with the goyim. The 26-year-old singer's 2005 album Live at Stubb's spent eight weeks at the top of Billboard's reggae chart, went gold, and continues to sell briskly. A single, "King Without a Crown," cracked the Top 40 and has made Matisyahu a mainstay on alternative-rock radio. Last week, Matisyahu released a new album, Youth, which seems likely to enter in the upper reaches of the Billboard 200.

Frank Warren is knee-deep in secrets: They're overflowing boxes, piled on tables, leaning against walls — closing in on 30,000 at last estimate, and hundreds of new ones are arriving every week.

Warren is unperturbed; secrets have become his life. Not his secrets, mind you — America's secrets. And they're beginning to make him famous. He has become an award-winning blogger, a first-time author, an artist with a traveling exhibit, a possible documentary subject, the inspiration for a music video and the all-around media “it” boy of the moment.

It couldn't happen to a more unlikely guy. In a culture that rewards hip-and-mocking, Warren, 41, has to be the most unsnarky man in America. Lanky, soft-spoken and earnest, he is the antithesis of the Jon Stewart crowd, but he's becoming a cultural force almost as popular as Mr. Snarky himself. Warren is, as his publisher puts it in his book's foreword, “the most trusted stranger in America.”

“I've been surprised every step of the way,” Warren says. “I'm just a typical suburban husband. I'm an accidental artist. It's been quite a journey, quite an adventure.”

And all because of his blog, PostSecret .com. It started out as Warren's temporary community art project. Now it's where thousands of Americans go to anonymously post their deepest secrets, and where millions of Americans go to read them. Secret-tellers — call them “confessors” — send their secrets to his home here in suburban Washington, D.C., on postcards they decorate themselves. Warren reads every one and picks 10 to 20 to post on his blog every Sunday.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


March Madness links

Monday, March 13, 2006


Mathematicians and March Madness

Using this data, we formulated a strategy to find the picks that maximize the chances of winning a pool and wrote software to make our picks. With about nine quintillion possibilities, the search takes a little time. But it runs fast enough to get our pool brackets in on time.

Bryan Clair and David Letscher are professors of mathematics and computer science at St. Louis University. Follow their N.C.A.A. picks, posted by Wednesday, at

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