Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


I’m getting a little tired of the experiment

Filed under: — adam @ 11:29 pm

Can we perhaps try a new maze or something?

A rant against the use of faith as a weapon

Filed under: — adam @ 11:25 pm

Department of Education looking to build a giant database of all college students

Filed under: — adam @ 11:20 pm

Yeah, this sounds like a great idea.

Disposable Travel Underwear

Filed under: — adam @ 11:18 pm

"Frequent travelers who don’t want to do laundry in the sink or pay
for expensive hotel laundry services can just take along several packs
of OneDerWear disposable underwear. OneDearWear is 100% cotton, 100%
biodegradable, and comes in several styles for men and women, from
boxers to thongs."

Apparently, boiling a lava lamp is not a good idea

Filed under: — adam @ 4:36 pm

Ummm… duh.

Well isn’t that just the cutest thing

Filed under: — adam @ 11:35 am

Anime mousepads (with ergonomic breasts!)

"This quality mousepad features a uh, CLEVER ergonomic wrist rest on a pair of gel boobs."

That’s just too funny.

Personalized happy ending Romeo and Juliet

Filed under: — adam @ 10:34 am

Via chrisd, who says "Please, please, make them stop this":


Mr. & Mrs. Smith looks good

Filed under: — adam @ 5:18 pm

Angelina Jolie + Brad Pitt. Funny and a good action movie at the same time. Sure!

Stem cell transplant success claimed in S. Korea

Filed under: — adam @ 5:15 pm

"South Korean researchers say they’ve used stem cell therapy to enable a paralyzed patient to walk after she was not even able to stand for the last 19 years."

General braising technique

Filed under: — adam @ 3:14 pm

I originally posted this on Ask Mefi, but it’s worth repeating.

Here’s my recipe for braised lamb shanks.

Sprinkle kosher salt over shanks. Pan sear shanks in olive oil until good and brown. Not “just browned”, slightly crispy. Do them in batches if you’ve got a small pan – that’s fine. Lay a bunch of assorted fresh herbs in the bottom of a large pan (any will do, but be sure to include rosemary – it goes particularly well with lamb), and lay the shanks on top. Fill the pan with a mixture of 1/2 wine and 1/2 stock, to halfway cover the shanks. Put in the oven for 1 hour on 350, uncovered (this differs from many braises, which are done in a covered pan). Then add sliced vegetables to the pan (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms all work well – use your imagination here). Check every 30 minutes, turn everything when it’s starting to brown and dry out. Add more stock/wine when needed to keep it at the halfway point. Total oven time is probably around 3 hours – it’s done when the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling off the bone. Remove from the oven, and let it cool in some of the liquid. Take the rest out, reserve half. Take the other half, and reduce down a bit, and add some cornstarch or arrowroot which you’ve dissolved in water (this is called a slurry). Stir this in, and let it cook for a few minutes. This will thicken the sauce, which you can add back over the dish and serve . But wait, you’re not done yet! Take the rest of the sauce you reserved, and reduce it over a low flame unil it’s very syrupy (this will be about 1/16th the original volume, but YMWV). This may take an hour. Cool rapidly in an ice bath, and refrigerate. Congratulations! You’ve just made a lamb glace. This is extremely precious (yes, taste it). It will keep in the fridge for a few months. Reconstitute it with boiling water, and use it as part of the stock portion for next time, or for other sauces. Same basic technique works with short ribs.

How to choose a computer from parts

This is adapted from a response I wrote to someone on a mailing list asking for help in picking components for a home-built machine. I’m a big fan of this – you can tune the parts to your liking, you get an intimate sense of how things fit together, and it’s substantially cheaper than buying the same machine from a vendor.



TPM asks "why aren’t bills public before legislators vote on them?"

Filed under: — adam @ 8:19 pm

That is an excellent question. Offhand, I cannot think of any good reasons why not. I think this is something that’s very worthwhile to get behind. More public scrutiny can only help.

CRT market isn’t dead yet; new slimmer CRTs coming next year

Filed under: — adam @ 1:17 pm

Man shoots cell phone into prison with a bow

Filed under: — adam @ 1:10 pm

"Authorities in Sweden arrested a man who shot mobile phones into the yard of a high-security prison with a bow and arrows, police said Saturday."


Power and Powerlessness

Filed under: — adam @ 1:07 pm

I’m not sure I necessarily agree with the conclusions, but it’s an interesting discussion anyway. It seems to me that the Democrats lost this election because they concentrated on the Republican-leaning voters (regardless of which party they’re actually affiliated with) who couldn’t stand to vote for Bush while completely ignoring the Democratic-leaning voters who couldn’t stand to vote for Kerry. While the former are extremely vocal, I think there are a lot more of the latter. The Kerry camp completely failed to give a strong answer to those people about why he’d be better than Bush.

"This diagram was set up to explain how a dominant power maintains its power, but you can relatively easily reverse-engineer the situation to figure out what to do if you’re the one being fucked with. For instance, let’s take a walk through this looking at the two-party system of American self-governance at the national level."

Rabies survival without vaccine

Filed under: — adam @ 12:51 pm

"A Wisconsin teenager is the first human ever to survive rabies without vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday, after she received a desperate and novel type of therapy."

Dawkins’s FAQ

Filed under: — adam @ 12:48 pm

I’m a big fan of Richard Dawkins. Evolutionary theory is very widely misunderstood, and I didn’t really grok it until I read The Selfish Gene. I highly recommend it.

These are the questions he gets asked frequently:


Print your own dodecahedric calendar

Filed under: — adam @ 9:34 pm

What the fans want

Filed under: — adam @ 8:35 pm

This was originally posted to someoftheanswers, but I stumbled upon it again, and I feel it’s worth repeating.


A few days ago, Farscape was cancelled.
I’m loathe to pick up an episodic series in the middle, because it makes me feel like I’m always missing something, so I’ve been watching the shows, in order, as they’ve been released on DVD. And it’s great. I have more than two years to go, but I still lament its passing. I love sf, I love sci-fi, and I love sf/sci-fi television. And I’ve watched as show after show has been ruined. Sometimes it’s by straying from the original concept in an attempt to pick up a wider audience, which always results in the original audience that made the show popular fleeing as fast as they can. Sometimes it’s just not understanding what the fans want.
So, I’ll lay it out for you:

1. Put the show in a timeslot, and keep it there. We, the public, are busy. We like TV, but we don’t have time to check your often-wrong website to find out when the shows we like will actually be on. Moving shows around does not successfully introduce them to new audiences, it alienates the old ones who knew when and where to find it and now no longer do. It’s disingenuous to run a show for three months without running any two episodes in the same slot in a row (or at all), then decide that people didn’t like it and kill it.
2. I have a pet peeve about pre-empting regular shows for long-running sports events, because I don’t watch sports. I understand, however, that some people like sports, and advertisers like to pay money for those slots. If you have to bounce a show, then you should do two things: 1) apologize at least a little bit to the fans of the show and 2) air the show in its entirety in some other timeslot. “We join XXXX already in progress…” is not acceptable, especially for a first-run show that may never again be aired uncut.
3. Keep your website up to date and easy to navigate. If it’s Saturday, don’t make us look for your Sunday shows in “next week’s lineup”. Post prominent notices that shows have been moved. Make it easy for us to find the shows we like. Make the listings correspond to what’s actually on. Make this part of your syndication contracts.
4. If your show is watched by hordes of intelligent fans who are drawn to your multi-season plot arcs, interesting characters, and politcal tension, don’t suddenly turn the show into “Kevin Sorbo’s Action Hour”. Television action cannot compete with the movies for long periods of time. It just ends up being boring and repetetive if you focus on it.
5. Hordes of intelligent fans are drawn to multi-season plot arcs, interesting characters, and political tension. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your fans, and don’t play down to the lowest-common denominator – raise the bar! Your viewers are smart. Treat them that way.
6. Make the plot dependent on earlier episodes, and make it possible for people to see them. Either rerun them in order on a periodic basis or make them available on VHS/DVD (but not VHS-only). Make this part of your syndication contracts.
7. Invest in good writers. Ply them with caffeine and chocolate.
8. Ensemble shows can work very well, if they’re balanced.
9. Don’t cancel a good series in the middle to try out something slick and shiny where the show is just a vehicle for a main character who is a desperate loner trying to find (his wife’s killer | his killer | the people who stole his memories | the people who stole his identity | aliens).

Thieves steal 911 equipment by accident

Filed under: — adam @ 5:28 pm

That’s great. They go into a Verizon building to steal telephony circuit boards, but inadvertently disable large chunks of the 911 system, so the cops come over to investigate, and catch them in the act.

Smart cars cleared for US sale

Filed under: — adam @ 5:12 pm

Okay, I like gentoo

Filed under: — adam @ 2:48 pm

I’m most of the way through installing my first gentoo build, and
there’s a lot to like about it.

- emerge makes sense, at least on the surface

- the rc system is far more logical than any other I’ve used

- it follows a very important rule: "where things are configurable, offer sane defaults that won’t be wrong, even though they may not be as finely tuned"

The install process is completely unguided, but there is VERY good step-by-step documentation. I’d like to see some of these common tasks packaged up into an installer for less technical users, but for those so inclined, it’s really nice to be doing the install inside a running linux system instead of having to drop out of the installer when you want a shell.

So far, thumbs up.

Tinted carrots offer health benefits, colors

Filed under: — adam @ 12:05 pm

Selective breeding yields carrots high in healthy and colorful compounds:

"Xanthophylls give the yellow carrots their golden hues and have been linked with good eye health. Red carrots contain lycopene, a type of carotene also found in tomatoes that’s believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers.

Purple carrots owe their color to anthocyanins. In a class all by themselves, these pigments are considered to be powerful antioxidants that can guard the body’s fragile cells from the destructive effects of unstable molecules known as free radicals."

Two more on exit polls

Filed under: — adam @ 12:01 pm

No, we’re not done with that yet.

How to make sushi videos

Filed under: — adam @ 11:58 am

Panasonic ultralight vehicle runs on two AA batteries

Filed under: — adam @ 11:52 am

Seems like more of a gimmick, but still pretty cool.

“Weighing 18.5kg, OxyRide can drive for 1.23km with a 50kg passenger, or travel 65m in 74 seconds on fresh cells, claims Panasonic.

Developed to promote the firm’s AA Digital Xtreme Power (DXP) disposable camera batteries, the cells use a modified alkaline chemistry, with nickel hydroxide and other undisclosed ‘active elements’ added to the standard manganese dioxide electrode.”

Look forward to that call

Filed under: — adam @ 11:49 am

Someone finally invented the cellphone-driven vibrator.

"When your phone receives a text message or phone call it will switch on the Vibrating stimulator for a set period of time."

It seems like the next natural step is to combine this with the Audi-Oh.


I hereby decree today to be Mendeleev Day

Filed under: — adam @ 2:06 am

I was just reminded that Dimitri Mendeleev was simply one clever bastard.

I’m open to suggestions on appropriate celebrations.


Experimenting with unpatched IE and spyware

Filed under: — adam @ 1:15 am

"How bad is this problem? How much junk can get installed on a user’s PC by merely visiting a single site? I set out to see for myself — by visiting a single web page taking advantage of a security hole (in an ordinary fresh copy of Windows XP), and by recording what programs that site caused to be installed on my PC. In the course of my testing, my test PC was brought to a virtual stand-still — with at least 16 distinct programs installed. I was not shown licenses or other installation prompts for any of these programs, and I certainly didn’t consent to their installation on my PC."


Man, there’s weird stuff going on in the Ukraine

Filed under: — adam @ 3:35 pm

RISK. I blame RISK.

ROTK extended edition preview

Filed under: — adam @ 10:58 am

Looks good.

Some more textbook stickers

Filed under: — adam @ 10:42 am

Um, yeah. There’s something going on in the Ukraine

Filed under: — adam @ 10:12 am

(As a side note, I’ve always been suspicious of Ukraine. I blame RISK.)


Analysis of complete 4pm exit poll data

Filed under: — adam @ 7:29 pm

Airform inflatable sculpture

Filed under: — adam @ 12:56 pm

Turn your back on Bush

Filed under: — adam @ 12:05 pm

A call for a very simple but meaningful protest at the Inauguration.

"We’re calling on people to attend inauguration without protest signs, shirts or stickers. Once through security and at the procession, at a given signal, we’ll all turn our backs on Bush’s motorcade and continue through his speech and swearing in. A simple, clear and coherent message."

Tracking mozilla extensions

Filed under: — adam @ 11:42 am

I’ve started tracking mozilla/firefox extensions I use, if you’re interested:

The government of closed doors

Filed under: — adam @ 10:45 am

This is a good article detailing some of the ways in which our government is being dismantled from the inside. It’s pretty clear that both the Democrats and the Republicans are at fault here in creating this situation, although the Republicans are wielding their time in the sun like a bulldozer in a dollhouse.

‘"There was no way that every member of Congress could hold up their right hand and say, `I read every page of that bill before the vote,’ " said Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, noting that members had just one day to examine the 400-plus-page bill before voting on a law that would change health-care allotments across the country.’


‘Democrats are arguably suffering from their own decisions: It was the then-majority Democrats who changed the makeup of the Rules Committee to give the majority more than a 2-to-1 advantage over the other party, acknowledged a Democratic staff member close to the panel.

"Our hands are not clean, no question," the staff member said. "But it’s like a thin layer of dust compared to what the Republicans are doing."

Now, rank-and-file members sometimes have trouble even finding out when the Rules Committee is meeting. The powerful committee frequently decides bills in hastily called, late-night "emergency" sessions, despite House rules requiring that the panel convene during regular
business hours and give panel members 48 hours notice. So far in the current Congress, 54 percent of bills have been drawn up in "emergency" sessions, according to committee staff members.’

I stand with the Libertarians on this one. I believe that power should be both given and taken with a light touch, for the following two reasons:

1) Power, once given, is never returned willingly, and if you want it back, you have to take it.

2) Power to an elected or appointed office should be given with the assumption that it will be misused at some point in the future (even if the current holders would never do that), and appropriate controls should be put into place to prevent it from the outset.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any understanding of this.

Government tracking of color laser printers

Filed under: — adam @ 10:36 am

Apparently, many color laser prints are traceable to the printer by a series of microscopic yellow dots encoding the serial number, which are included on every print made by the printer. Ostensibly, this is used to foil counterfeiters.

The spammy nerve!

Filed under: — adam @ 10:28 am

I’ve started receiving a number of emails like this. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the message that looks like spam, so they’ve been getting through the filters.

I assume that the spam is entirely in the image, which I didn’t see, because I don’t use an html mailer for my main email. As far as I’m concerned, this is yet another reason NOT to use an html-capable email client.


[-- Attachment #1 --]
[-- Type: multipart/alternative, Encoding: 7bit, Size: 5.2K --]

Get a capable html e-mailer

[-- Attachment #2: 00000001.jpg --]
[-- Type: image/jpeg, Encoding: base64, Size: 11K --]

[-- image/jpeg is unsupported (use 'v' to view this part) --]



Today’s laugh comes from Eric Dietiker

Filed under: — adam @ 11:53 pm

I don’t know if the letters make it onto the Wired site, but my print copy arrived this morning, and this rebuttal to Intelligent Design made me laugh:

"I’m designed intelligently? As far as I can see, I was designed by an idiot. My parts are neither interchangeable nor replaceable. I could use a new ankle right now, and almost everything I do injures my
back. Some of my internal organs are useless, and can even kill me. My risk-calculation engine is useless. I am afraid to eat beef, but have no problem catapulting myself down tree-lined roads on my motorcycle. My judgment is so bad I can be convinced to send my life savings to a complete stranger with just one phone call.

The final stake in the heart of ID is that there are people we might
otherwise consider intelligent who, in the face of all this, maintain
we are functioning as intended."

Christo gets his Central Park wet dream

Filed under: — adam @ 4:36 pm

Full back HTML tattoo

Filed under: — adam @ 10:59 am

Via Boingboing:

Solar chimney seems like a good idea

Filed under: — adam @ 10:48 am

" It works using the solar chimney to cover a large greenhouse which covers several square miles. As the hot air rises, it would escape up a 990m tower in the centre of the structure. Wind turbo-generators mounted in the chimney would convert this 50km-an-hour rush of hot air into electricity."

California’s getting one.

Explanations of optics flaws

Filed under: — adam @ 10:46 am

A good collection of the kinds of things that can go wrong with imaging optics.

Everybody needs more floodlights

Filed under: — adam @ 10:41 am

But these are LEDs. 22 watts to get twice the light output of a 100 watt incandescent bulb. They’re more expensive, but they last 50,000 hours. Also, they’re available in warm, neutral, and cool, which is a godsend if you actually care about whether your light is well-balanced or not.

I firmly believe that Edison’s lightbulb is pretty much done for as a technology. It had a good run, but it’s over. I was in the LL Bean outlet store over the summer, and every flashlight there had a regular bulb – they’ve been completely displaced by LEDs in the regular store.


That’s just great.

Filed under: — adam @ 3:59 pm

Suffolk County interracial couples woken up by doorbell at 3 in the morning find a cross burning on their lawn.


Followup on Istook Amendment

Filed under: — adam @ 3:59 pm

A followup with a possible explanation:

"There’ve been at least two Istook Amendments before this one. But the phrase is most commonly associated with an amendment Istook tried to get attached to a number of bills in the mid-90s that would have placed tough restrictions on political advocacy by tax exempt organizations that receive federal funds.

Here’s an example that illustrates the issue — and I preface this with a warning that I’m sure I’ll be oversimplifying or getting some nuances of the issue wrong.

Planned Parenthood may receive a federal grant for, say, doing an STD awareness program or doing free STD testing in low income areas. Planned Parenthood also does public advocacy on behalf of birth control and sex ed. and abortion rights. The federal grant is dedicated specifically at that one program while the advocacy work is funded by foundation grants or private contributions or whatever.

Istook would say, all money’s fungible. So same difference. The federal government is actually funding Planned Parenthood’s lobbying on behalf of reproductive rights.

Let’s set aside for the moment whether his argument makes sense. If you were really interested in this issue — as Istook clearly is — you’d be very interested in seeing the tax returns of the organizations in question to see if they’re really segregating the money as they say they are."

Interesting article about undecided voters and "issues"

Filed under: — adam @ 1:50 pm

(Registration required. Use bugmenot. On a side note, I installed the bugmenot firefox extension, and it’s GREAT – totally effortless.)

More fun and games with the omnibus spending bill (read this!)

Filed under: — adam @ 11:01 am

In addition to the abortion provision, it seems that Rep. Ernest Istook of Oklahoma inserted the following provision:

"Hereinafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."

TPM notes:

"The provision was slipped into the bill at the last moment. And, at least on the Democratic side, no one was told about it until some Dems caught it at the last moment.

Senate Republicans quickly backtracked, calling the provision a mistake or snafu and insisting they knew nothing about it. You can see some of the back-and-forth that took place on the Senate floor in this AP piece at CNN."


How to tell if your prostitute is an extraterrestrial

Filed under: — adam @ 10:46 am

I mean, consider the source, but this seems like helpful advice, if
you’re into that sort of thing.


All kinds of Windows XP performance tweaks

Filed under: — adam @ 11:18 am

This is a great, deep resource.

Tips for not raising suspicion when you take pictures in public

Filed under: — adam @ 10:54 am

Not so much tips as a case study, but interesting nonetheless.

It’s got this gem in it:

"Beyond these limited steps, the Investigator agreed that there was little a photographer could do to avoid coming under suspicion in these troubled times."

If only I could concentrate and smoke the naked people

Filed under: — adam @ 10:48 am

‘Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee Thursday.

Witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee spared no superlative in their description of the negative effects of pornography.

Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today."’,1282,65772,00.html

Anti-abortion provision neatly tucked into omnibus spending bill.

Filed under: — adam @ 10:44 am

"The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals."

As we’ve discussed here before, I think it’s the referrals part that really sticks this.

Via Mr. Zeau:

Artificial homes for hermit crabs

Filed under: — adam @ 10:34 am

"Right now, 30 percent of all hermit crabs on our shorelines are living in shells that are too small for them. In the springtime, when the animal has its growth spurt, this shortage skyrockets to 60 percent. Hermit crabs, whose own bodies provide only thin exoskeletons, must scavenge and appropriate hard-walled shells abandoned by marine gastropods for shelter. The problem is that there currently are not enough shells left on our beaches for hermit crabs to use. This situation is not only uncomfortable but dire."

Data Mining the Senate

Filed under: — adam @ 10:32 am

“With this data we can do many interesting visualizations and analyses that will be discussed in the next section. We will learn how influential each senator is, how influential are individual states, which senators voted most similarly, and which blocs seem to exist in the US Senate.”

Canadian NDP wants to ban trans fats

Filed under: — adam @ 10:03 am


Daschle goes, food labeling follows

Filed under: — adam @ 12:48 pm

"As part of the 2002 farm bill, country-of-origin labeling was supposed to have gone into effect this fall. Congress last year postponed it until 2006. Now, House Republicans are trying to wipe it off the books as part of a spending bill they plan to finish this month.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he expected the Senate to agree to repealing the measure, whose main champion two years ago was Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D."

If Metallica was a Beatles tribute band

Filed under: — adam @ 10:51 am


10 second DeLay

Filed under: — adam @ 10:49 am

"By a voice vote, and with a handful of lawmakers voicing opposition, the House Republican Conference decided that a party committee of several dozen members would review any felony indictment of a party leader and recommend at that time whether the leader should step aside."

Joshua Micah Marshall has a running play by play of his readers pinning down Republicans about how and whether they voted for this. Interesting stuff.

Google launches Scholar search

Filed under: — adam @ 10:32 am

"Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web."

Interesting. There are other journal search engines out there, but I think this is the first time they’ve been incorporated by a general search engine, for free. I hope that the others follow this lead – I’d like to see even more of this kind of information open to the public.

Wachowski Bros doing V for Vendetta movie

Filed under: — adam @ 10:20 am

Big long list of default passwords

Filed under: — adam @ 10:18 am

Internet Archive pages are admissible evidence

Filed under: — adam @ 10:16 am

This makes sense to me, assuming that they’re only used to determine what was on a web page at a particular time (which it seems like they are).

Be careful biking in the streets

Filed under: — adam @ 10:06 am

Bike messenger killed near Times Square yesterday.,0,2478983.story

UC Berkeley paper on Florida election results

Filed under: — adam @ 9:52 am

"Electronic voting raised President Bush’s advantage from the tiny edge he held in 2000 to a clearer margin of victory in 2004. The impact of e-voting was not uniform, however. Its impact was proportional to the Democratic support in the county, i.e., it was especially large in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade."

With actual data.


Bush tax plan

Filed under: — adam @ 6:00 pm

The important thing here (on page 2) is:

"To pay for those large tax cuts, the administration is looking at eliminating both the deduction for state and local taxes, and the business tax deduction for employer-sponsored health insurance."

Bad bad bad. We need more incentives for employers to offer health insurance, not fewer.

Mefi is accepting new logins again

Filed under: — adam @ 11:30 am

If you want a Metafilter login, now’s your chance. It costs $5, which goes towards server expenses. Well worth it – I think that Metafilter is still one of the most interesting sites out there.

I’m totally addicted to Ask Metafilter.

Wild mushroom strudel

Filed under: — adam @ 11:27 am

This follows my general rule of “if you’re trying to impress, use phyllo dough or puff pastry, because people who haven’t worked with it think it’s hard and it’s not”.

The basic strudel is really easy – saute a handful of shallots and a chopped garlic clove in 2 tbsp butter until they turn clear. Add 1 cup chopped mixed mushrooms* and 3 tbsp white wine. Cook until they’re cooked through – 8-10 minutes. Cool. Mix 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese and whatever fresh chopped herbs you have on hand (I like parsley**). This is your filling. Thaw phyllo dough according to the directions on the package (it comes frozen). You’ll need 3 sheets. Lay out 1 sheet, brush with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top of it, and brush with melted butter. Repeat with the third sheet. (So now you have a stack of three sheets, with melted butter on each layer). Put the filling in the middle, and roll it up like a burrito. Brush the entire outside, top and bottom, with melted butter. Lay it seam side down on a pan or baking sheet with sides (not a perfectly flat sheet), seam down. Cut a diamond pattern into the top with parallel diagonal cuts (use a sharp knife, otherwise you’ll tear the dough). Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so, until golden brown. Slice and serve.

* Whatever mushrooms you can find. Definitely choose cremini over white button. Shitake adds some nice chewy texture.

** Parsley is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS flat Italian parsley, not the crinkly stuff.

Downloadable eye charts

Filed under: — adam @ 11:00 am

The wakeup pillow

Filed under: — adam @ 10:59 am

‘Two Chilean engineering students have designed (Good Awakening") a pillow for waking up deaf people (or those who simply don’t want to hear the alarm clock).

You can programme the pillow to wake you up at any time. The pillow gently shakes your head by inflating and deflating, providing a feeling similar to hair massage.’

Joe Trippi says blogs are driving recount efforts

Filed under: — adam @ 10:42 am

Interesting. I think the media is looking at this whole thing (the blogging phenomenon) in the wrong way. Bloggers aren’t journalists, nor are they really trying to be (in the general case). They’re opinion filters.

Kerry still has $15M in the bank!

Filed under: — adam @ 10:37 am

Um. Yeah.

I’m pretty speechless about this.

1) There are theories that money spent on campaigning directly translates to voter turnout. If that’s true, the margin was too thin to have not spent this money.

2) As pointed out in the link, even if it wasn’t used for Kerry, it could have very much benefited a number of key Democratic races.

So much for peak oil

Filed under: — adam @ 12:27 am

“Researchers at Luca Technologies have made a discovery regarding natural gas production in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin that could lead to a renewable source of energy for generations to come.

The company today announced that laboratory evidence shows that the Powder River Basin (PRB) coals are generating natural gas in real time through the ongoing activity of anaerobic microbes (bacteria that live in the absence of oxygen) resident in those coal fields.”

Lots of important stuff going on over at

Filed under: — adam @ 12:27 am

Among other things, a long story that ends with:

“Everyone agreed to convene tomorrow morning, to further audit, discuss the hand count that Black Box Voting will require of Volusia County, and of course, it is time to talk about contesting the election in Volusia.”


Garrison Keillor says born-again Christians shouldn’t be able to vote

Filed under: — adam @ 10:50 am

"Speaking in the aftermath of the presidential election, Democrat radio host Garrison Keillor says he is on a quest to take away the right of born-again Christians to vote, saying their citizenship is actually in heaven, not the United States."

Library Rainbow

Filed under: — adam @ 7:58 am

“For one amazing week in November, Adobe Bookshop in San Francisco has agreed to allow its estimated 20,000 books to be reclassified by color. Shifting from red to orange to yellow to green, the books will follow the spectrum continuously, changing Adobe from a neighborhood bookshop into a magical library — but only for one week.”

Frank Llloyd Wright house demolished

Filed under: — adam @ 7:54 am

"The 88-year-old beach house came tumbling down last week – the first Wright building to meet such a fate in more than 30 years – to make way for a four-bedroom home with a two-car garage. The last Wright structure to come down was Milwaukee’s Arthur Munkwitz Apartments in 1973."


Halo 2 RSS feeds

Filed under: — adam @ 1:56 pm

Halo 2 lets you track your online stats with an RSS reader!

Awesome minimal pool table

Filed under: — adam @ 11:28 am

New York paper coffee cups in ceramic

Filed under: — adam @ 10:49 am


It may become a crime to skip commercials this week

Filed under: — adam @ 10:37 am

‘The bill lumps together several pending copyright bills including HR4077, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, which would criminally punish a person who "infringes a copyright by … offering for distribution to the public by electronic means, with reckless disregard of the risk of further infringement." Critics charge the vague language could apply to a person who uses the popular Apple iTunes music-sharing application.

The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content — like a gory or sexually explicit scene — in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited. The proposed law also includes language from the Pirate Act (S2237), which would permit the Justice Department to file civil lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers.’,1283,65704,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

Ohio recount

Filed under: — adam @ 10:30 am

Although I can’t find anything about it on the LP or GP sites, is reporting that the Ohio recount fundraising goal has been reached, and there will be a recount.

"The Libertarian and Green parties have collected the needed $113,600, so there will be a recount in Ohio. Ralph Nader is also asking for a recount in New Hampshire. If nothing else, these recounts will give us two data points for the popular vote in each state so we will be able to compute the standard deviations. We are all used to the concept of margin of error caused by the statistical sampling used in polls, but it may take some getting used to if there is a substantial statistical error in counting the actual votes."


Marine caught on film shooting an unarmed prisoner in Falluja

Filed under: — adam @ 9:34 pm

Kevin Sites has been doing some fantastic reporting on Iraq via his blog:

Why the Democrats aren’t doing their job

Filed under: — adam @ 9:22 pm

I was inspired to share the following I wrote in response to the thought "if I just did a little bit more (and by extension if everyone did a little bit more), maybe Kerry would have been elected".

My response was this:

That’s wishful thinking on your part. Yes, the grassroots are powerful, sometimes surprisingly so. But I think the blame for this loss goes squarely on the Kerry/Edwards campaign managers. It’s not like they didn’t have enough money or enough volunteers. They simply failed to grasp, on a nationwide scale, what factors bring people to the polls to vote for a particular candidate. The Dems have been getting this up the ass in spades at least since the primaries. That Kerry was a surprise going in is the root of the whole problem. There’s no consistent message, there’s no organization, there’s no coordination, and there’s a lot of uncertainty and misreading of opinion.

Granted, it’s not clear to me that the results are even remotely accurate. But if they are, there are a number of messages there that the Dems don’t get. One of them is that there are a lot of single-issue voters, who really just don’t seem to care about much else (which I personally find very alien). Another is that every
attempt to portray Bush as an idiot, even by himself (think "internets") only gets him more support. Yet another is that telling people to vote for you is much more effective than asking them.

4000 people mysteriously move from Allegany to the Bronx

Filed under: — adam @ 1:57 pm


Is it always snowing?

Filed under: — adam @ 1:02 pm

At any given minute, is it always snowing somewhere on Earth, or are there times when there is no snow falling anywhere on the planet?

Does this answer differ with the time of year?

The FCC asserts rights over the whole internets

Filed under: — adam @ 12:58 pm

‘The FCC’s brief, filed in response to PK’s challenge to FCC’s jurisdiction in the flag matter, is breathtaking. FCC’s position is that its Act gives it regulatory power over all instrumentalities, facilities, and apparatus "associated with the overall circuit of messages sent and received" via all interstate radio and wire communication. That’s quite a claim.’

Wal-Mart and data collection

Filed under: — adam @ 12:19 pm

A frightening look at the data collection that Wal-Mart is doing, where it’s going, and how it’s taken control of the retail channel.

A particularly startling excerpt:


Eventually, some experts say, Wal-Mart will use its technology to institute what is called scan-based trading, in which manufacturers own each product until it is sold.

"Wal-Mart will never take those products onto its books," said Bruce Hudson, a retail analyst at the Meta Group, an information technology consulting firm in Stamford, Conn. "If you think of the impact of shedding $50 billion of inventory, that is huge."

The impact will probably be felt by suppliers, he added, but none are likely to complain.

"You can see the pattern of Wal-Mart’s mandates, and as Wal-Mart grows in power, it is getting more dictatorial," he said. "The suppliers shake their heads and say, ‘I don’t want to go this way, but they are so big.’ Wal-Mart lives in a world of supply and command, instead of a world of supply and demand."


Is it okay for one retailer to get into a position where it controls a large majority of retail sales, then ask its suppliers to accept all of the risk for not selling things quickly enough?


Donations needed for Ohio recount

Filed under: — adam @ 1:44 pm

According to

"Once the results have been certified, which could be as early as tomorrow in some states, the paper ballots are destroyed and the computer memories are cleared immediately, preventing subsequent recounts."

Okay, no really this time

Filed under: — adam @ 1:21 pm

Please stop clicking on the paypal (and ebay) links that are emailed to you. And please stop using IE.

No, really!


Welcome to the Presinator

Filed under: — adam @ 1:17 pm

"Californians will soon see advertisements urging them to help give Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other foreign-born citizens the chance to run for president."

On the one hand, I’m not convinced that foreign-born citizens shouldn’t be allowed to run for President, but on the other hand, I’m not sure if it’s okay that Demolition Man turn out to be right.

You are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute. Have a joy-joy day!

RSS Reader excess bandwidth

Filed under: — adam @ 1:07 pm

The discussion of badly behaved RSS readers came up a few months ago, but it still has the makings of a huge problem. I wonder if distributing RSS feeds via bittorrent or a similar technology is the right answer.

GlennLog: What Bandwidth RSS Uses

Ghost captured on film

Filed under: — adam @ 1:03 pm

"This is is a car advertisement from Germany . When they finished
filming the ad, the people who made it, noticed something moving along
the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist."


Non-wacko on exit poll results

Filed under: — adam @ 2:39 pm

Steven Freeman is a U. Penn professor. This paper is an analysis of the lack of evidence that the exit polls are anything other than correct, and elaborating that “no explanations of the discrepancy have yet been provided” despite the fact that most of the media has simply pushed the story aside. Basically, the point is this: either the exit poll data is wrong in some way that hasn’t been clarified, or the count is off. Regardless of which one is true, it is imperative that we know which, and why.

JWZ says "I am bored and somewhat dizzy…"

Filed under: — adam @ 11:09 am

"…and you will entertain me now. Post a funny picture. Or tell me about some freakish trick you can do with your body. I’ll start: due to a second grade monkeybar mishap, I can pop my right shoulder out of its socket."

And so it goes:

New Logitech speakers actually go to 11

Filed under: — adam @ 10:10 am

Wow, took them long enough.,1412,65686,00.html


Elektra trailer

Filed under: — adam @ 1:17 pm

Yeah, I don’t know. Jennifer Garner was surprisingly disappointing in the sea of disappointment that was Daredevil.

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