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
USA v. Mariano: A Philadelphia City Councilman faces corruption charges
USATODAY.com - Sports News, Scores & Stats
Paul Gavin - Writer, Blogger - Fiction, Short Stories, Novels, Stories
Ilana's Jo'blog from South Africa
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
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 http://dehn.slu.edu/sports.