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


Influential food books of the past 10-20 years

Filed under: — adam @ 9:56 am

Someone on a list asked about influential food books of the past 10-20 years. Here’s my list:

Books that started the trend of deconstructing modern food chains:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

This one is notable because it’s one of the first I’ve read that’s really well balanced with looking at balancing health, environmental impact, and worker welfare, but also taking into account taste and the fact that people really like to eat foreign foods:

The Ethical Gourmet

Seminal books that explore the science of cooking:

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)

The beginning of the restaurant insider expose:

Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.)

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

And the evolution towards bringing restaurant and cooking school techniques to the home chef:

Think Like a Chef

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

There are many excellent recent cookbooks, but I don’t know how many of them really qualify as influential.



Cool photo roundup


Museum of Natural History:

400+ forms used by the NSA:

London Bananas:

How to make an inkjet print that will last 10000 years:


My photos featured briefly in Tom Mylan interview

Filed under: — adam @ 5:26 pm

Grace Piper interviewed local butcher Tom Mylan at the Unfancy Food Show, and used some of my pictures to illustrate:


PS3s used for science

It’s just extraordinary to me what a boon the PS3 is to the scientific community.

“Overall, a single PS3 performs better than the highest-end desktops available and compares to as many as 25 nodes of an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. And there is still tremendous scope left for extracting more performance through further optimization. More on that soon.”

Tags: , ,


All about audio options on HD discs

Filed under: — adam @ 7:35 am

Just to add to the confusion:

“On Standard-Def DVD, there are essentially only two competing sound formats to choose from: Dolby Digital or DTS.[...]The reality of the situation is that both Dolby Digital and DTS are capable of delivering very good, sometimes even exceptional sound quality on DVD.[...]The advent of Blu-ray and HD DVD has brought a dramatic increase in picture quality from Standard Definition to High Definition.[...]High Definition video deserves High Definition audio to go with it.”

And thus begins the litany of the seven different options for audio tracks on HD discs, and how they’re supported on HD DVD vs. Blu-ray.

Tags: , , , , ,


I have been stunned into submission by Marc Andreessen’s new blog

Filed under: — adam @ 4:49 pm

It is simply great. Post after post is just captivating, interesting, and relevant if you have anything to do with tech these days.

Go read that for a while:

Tags: , ,


Well that’s just about the strangest thing I’ve seen all day

Filed under: — adam @ 8:14 pm

“This work began on the day when we had made a extra big candy like a bowling ball by ourselves.
Since that day, we had been licking the candy day after day for about six months.’

Tags: , , ,

New social networking features on Confabb launched today

Filed under: — adam @ 2:41 pm

I’m extremely proud of the Confabb site, and it’s nice to see it evolving past the limited feature set we were able to squeeze in before launch. There’s a LOT more great stuff coming. The development team has been working very hard for the past few months, and a bunch of new social networking features went live today.

From the press release:

New Logged-in Homepage

Log in and check out ‘your new homepage.’ Above ‘your conferences’ is the new ‘your network,’ a bird’s-eye view of bulletin board messages from within your network (more on that below), your online Confabb connections and any messages sent to you by those within the Confabb community. Click on ‘My Account’ to see the full range of search and connection possibilities. Post your own messages for everyone to see on “your bulletin board,” which will be broadcast globally—Confabb pings no fewer than 68 of the major alerting services—or have a one-on-one discussion with other Confabb members. You can also see what others are talking about and invite new people, either from within or outside of Confabb, to join your network.

New Search!

There are two new forms of search on the site (you’ll all remember that the search function was Confabb’s Achilles Heel when we launched). There is now an advanced search for conferences which drills down into multiple parameters such as location, keyword, location, category and when the show date starts and stops. That nullifies one of the biggest knocks we got at launch. People will love it. We’ve also added a “User Search” which lets Confabb users search for and connect with other Confabb community members. Of course that sets us up for connecting people within the community and that’s the best part.

MY Connections (or “buddy lists”)

Just as you keep a list of people with home you correspond daily, the “My Connections” tab is your gateway to the personal contacts you’ve made within the Confabb community–people with whom you’ve connected before and want to stay in touch with going forward. This is your personal network; friends, colleagues and other contacts whose whereabouts and doings you want to follow as they prepare for and an attend events. Attendees can view a list of other conference participants, check out their profiles, invite them into their personal network and email them directly through Confabb’s personal messaging feature.

Personal Messaging

This is the Confabb community’s personal email service. We respect everyone’s right to privacy so messaging within the community is handled by us; simply use the “contact” link to jot a note to the person of your choice and we’ll send the message to the email that person has registered within our system. Responses are handled by us as well so your information is never revealed unless you choose to do that outside of the community.


This is cool. “Media” is just that: everything that interests you from across the web, from text-based articles and links to photos, RSS feeds for breaking information and even full blown videos. The content comes from the web’s leading sources of open information, including Technorati, Google and Yahoo!, Feedster, Flickr and YouTube. Simply click the “Media” tab at the top of the navigation bar and find information on just about anything by searching for the subject’s name or the subject’s tag in the desired content source. The Media tab lets you experience the conference through everyone else’s eyes, and they experience it through content you create, find and share with them.

Bulletin Boards

Confabb now provides all of its users with their own personal blogs, or bulletin boards, from which they can share their thoughts, opinions on the issues and experiences. This is the community member’s space; it’s intensely individual, consisting of the member’s content and comments from their readers. People can also read the musing of others within their network by clicking on the “Bulletin Board Posts within My Network” tab, which shows what others within their network are saying too.

Each board–the individual blog and the personal network bulletin board–are completely searchable by the major search engines. You will build traffic from within the community as well as anyone from around the globe with an interest in what you have to say!

Tags: , ,


Open letter to Apple asking for help improving medical design

Filed under: — adam @ 3:22 pm

Tags: , , ,


Google to purge some data after 18-24 months

Filed under: — adam @ 6:33 pm

Well, that’s a nice start. Good for them.

Tags: , ,

Confabb is hosting the Personal Democracy Forum 2007 site

Filed under: — adam @ 11:39 am

Exciting! — Confabb is hosting the site for Personal Democracy Forum 2007.

The science of politics is changing, and these are the people who are doing interesting things about it.

You can browse information about the conference (news, events, sessions, speakers, and more), and register from the site. You can use your existing Confabb login, if you have one (OpenID is coming, but not yet).

(Disclosure: I’m one of the co-founders of Confabb.)

Tags: , , , ,


Daylight Savings Time updates this weekend

Filed under: — adam @ 5:45 pm

Congress changed Daylight Savings Time, and the changes take effect this weekend.

Most Windows and Mac machines will auto update if allowed to do so. If you have a unix box, you probably already know about this.

Don’t forget to also update your Palm and other handhelds that are DST-aware.

If you have a network-aware Palm device, you can do this over the air, with this:

Tags: , ,


Leopard has support for ZFS

Filed under: — adam @ 8:06 pm

I’m probably a bit behind in hearing about this, but very cool nonetheless.

Tags: , , ,


Jim Gray is missing, help find him

Filed under: — adam @ 2:59 pm

Jim Gray, an influential computer scientist, is missing at sea. Amazon has provided satellite imagery and is using the distributed Amazon Mechanical Turk system to enlist the public to sift through the massive amounts of data to help find him.

This is pretty extraordinary.

Tags: , ,


NYT on the Iraqi version of the Daily Show

This is a NYT article about an Iraqi show which seems to be called “Hurry Up, He’s Dead”.

The description is painful to read, a horrible ironic reminder of the awfulness:

“In a recent episode, the host, Saad Khalifa, reported that Iraq’s Ministry of Water and Sewage had decided to change its name to simply the Ministry of Sewage — because it had given up on the water part.”

“Mr. Sudani, the writer, said he has lost hope for his country. Iraq’s leaders are incompetent, he said. He fears that services will never be restored. The American experiment in democracy, he said, was born dead.

All anyone can do, he said, is laugh.”

Via Perry Metzger:

Tags: , , , ,


Songbird media player looks pretty cool

Filed under: — adam @ 12:03 pm

This looks VERY promsing.

Open source, cross-platform, extensible media player based on Mozilla to browse, collect, and play web and local media files. Sure.

Tags: , , , , ,


Step by step instructions on how to set up a webcam for security monitoring

With an open source monitoring program – Dorgem.



Wikipedia refuses to censor in China


Tags: , , , ,


Who writes Wikipedia

Filed under: — adam @ 10:46 am

Aaron Swartz, as part of his bid to join the Wikimedia board, has done some fascinating research into the posting habits of Wikipedia users. He’s come up with some patterns of how entries get created:

Tags: , ,


Open letter to John Warnock

Filed under: — adam @ 11:36 am

‘Please consider releasing eight to twelve core fonts into the public domain. The amount of revenue lost from a small core set of fonts surely can’t have a significant impact on Adobe’s bottom line. And the gesture of releasing such a set into the public domain would have many positive ripple effects for years to come.’

Tags: , , ,

[Update: I've been informed that John Warnock is no longer the CEO of Adobe.]


AOL releases “anonymized” search data for 500k users

This is a serious breach of user privacy, and I can’t imagine there won’t be lawsuits over this.

Either they didn’t think this through, or this is the best way they could think of to raise a public outrage.

Tags: , ,


A chef’s response on Foie Gras

Filed under: — adam @ 10:50 am

From Eve Felder, CIA dean, someone who’s spent time actually feeding the ducks.

“It was an extremely gentle and intimate experience. The animal does not have a gag reflex. They always waddled away perfectly happy and full and ready for a nap.”

Tags: ,


This is a great video of the ZDNet Executive Editor explaining what’s wrong with DRM.

Tags: , ,


Designing community

Filed under: — adam @ 2:33 pm

There’s something really important in here about designing community.

And also, it’s about Snakes on a Plane.

Tags: , ,


This is seriously badass

Filed under: — adam @ 3:00 pm

“This is a HOWTO that describes how to take a stock RedHat9 system and convert it to Gentoo, remotely over ssh and while it is running.”

Tags: , , ,


How to troubleshoot your HD picture

Filed under: — adam @ 9:46 pm

Seems like a useful article from Popular Mechanics on some common things that can go wrong with HD.

Tags: , ,

Skype protocol reportedly broken

Filed under: — adam @ 3:43 pm

A Chinese company is claiming to have produced software that will seamlessly integrate with Skype.

Tags: ,


Finally, a good use for Flash

Filed under: — adam @ 5:37 pm

Gliffy is an online diagram maker (a la Visio).

You all know how I feel about diagrams. This rocks!

Tags: , ,


Apple is about to lose a few hundred thousand users

Filed under: — adam @ 8:05 am

Cory Doctorow switches to Ubuntu, following Mark Pilgrim:

Tags: , , , , ,


Jim Baen died yesterday

Filed under: — adam @ 11:34 am

Not just a luminary in science fiction, but also a guiding light on free ebooks.

Tags: , ,


Why Mark Pilgrim is switching to Linux

Filed under: — adam @ 9:02 am

John Gruber has written this great piece analyzing the rationale behind Mark Pilgrim’s switch from OSX to Linux and the critics of the argument.

There are some truths in there:

“Telling Pilgrim that he’s making a mistake because Ubuntu doesn’t have as refined or cohesive a UI as Mac OS X is like telling someone who is switching from a Chevy Tahoe to a Toyota Prius that he’s not going to have as much cargo room. He knows it.”

“If your reaction to Pilgrim’s announcement was a snap judgment that he’s lost it, or that he’s being an asshole who’s just looking for attention as the guy who switched away from the Mac just at the time when it (the Mac) seems poised to become more popular than ever, or that he’s an open source fanatic who just can’t be reasoned with or trusted — are you sure that the zealotry at play is his?”

“I’m deeply suspicious of Mac users who claim to be perfectly happy with Mac OS X. Real Mac users, to me, are people with much higher standards, impossibly high standards, and who use Macs not because they’re great, but because they suck less than everything else. Pilgrim, to me, is a quintessential Mac user in that regard; and what he’s doing is wondering if maybe things might suck less somewhere else.”

I find myself thinking the same thoughts often as I struggle with switching my desktop away from Windows to Linux. I’ve done it in the past, but the simple fact is that there are things on Windows that need in order to get my work done that don’t exist on Linux yet. Someday. I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Coffee cups with stamps in the bottom

Filed under: — adam @ 11:09 am

Instead of corporate logos, they leave behind pretty floral patterns.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Paul McCartney is 64 today

Filed under: — adam @ 5:19 pm

Tags: , ,


NYC restaurant reviews organized by subway stop

Filed under: — adam @ 8:43 am

Tags: , , ,


The Shot Behind the Shot

Filed under: — adam @ 3:25 pm

A while back, I started a Flickr group called “The Shot Behind the Shot”. There aren’t many photos in it, but I like them all.

These are the rules for pictures in the group:

Every photograph tells a story. Some photographs capture a photographer trying to tell a story, and in doing so tell a completely different story.

This group is for those different stories.

Please be encouraged to add comments about why you felt compelled to capture the photographer capturing something else and what that means to you.

All shots must 1) have another photographer in the shot, 2) also include at least some of the subject of that photographer’s shot (no pictures of just photographers, and no pictures where you are the other photographer’s subject unless they otherwise meet the qualifications), and 3) tell a story different from the one that the photographer is telling. If the shot does not show what the other photographer is taking a picture of, this is the wrong group for it. Gratuitous pictures of public asses and/or nudity are acceptable, if they meet these qualifications. However, pictures may be arbitrarily deleted from the pool without comment at the discretion of the admins. Keep it tasteful and interesting. You have been warned.

Tags: , ,


Oh, the hairmanity.

Filed under: — adam @ 5:01 pm

Some sort of canonical list of bad 80s videos on YouTube.

Tags: , , , ,


Autonomous robot does heart surgery!

Filed under: — adam @ 9:28 am

Wow, the future is now!

The Italian expert has used the robot surgeon for at least 40 previous operations, some of which have been described in detail in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The novelty of this latest experience is that the robot was able to conduct the entire procedure by itself. In the past it needed specific orders from its operator along the way.

Tags: , , , ,


Au-16 is a golden buckyball-like cage

Filed under: — adam @ 10:46 am

Wow. That’s pretty.

Tags: , , , ,


Towards the zero-energy home

Filed under: — adam @ 10:30 am

A developer in Oklahoma has built a zero-energy home prototype for $200k. It’s a combination of energy efficiency, and photovoltaic and geothermal power production, mostly built with readily available off-the-shelf components. That’s fantastic.

“Ideal Homes built the first zero energy home in the country priced under $200,000. The modest one-story, three-bedroom, two bathroom home produces as much energy as it consumes in a year, achieving net zero energy consumption.”

Tags: , , , , ,


MIT hacked out party dorm room

Filed under: — adam @ 9:21 am

“Since moving into my dorm this last fall, my roommate RJ Ryan and I have been working on creating the most elaborate automation system we could envision. Featuring everything from web control, voice activation, and a security system, to large continuously running information displays, electric blinds, and one-touch parties, the
custom designed MIDAS Automation System has brought ease to our lives (if one doesn’t count all the time it took to actually build and program the system).”

One doesn’t.


Tags: , , ,


Tamiflu goes open source

Filed under: — adam @ 8:49 pm

Tags: , , , ,


An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore has made a movie about global warming, in case you needed some more convincing.

Tags: , ,


I’m reading this on my left monitor

Filed under: — adam @ 1:37 pm

I’ve been a convert to a dual-head display for a long time now.



Where to buy linux laptops

Filed under: — adam @ 11:00 am

I found this pretty comprehensive list of which laptops support linux:

Tags: ,

Apple introduces dual booting XP on Intel Macs

Filed under: — adam @ 8:57 am

“Boot Camp simplifies Windows installation on an Intel-based Mac by providing a simple graphical step-by-step assistant application to dynamically create a second partition on the hard drive for Windows, to burn a CD with all the necessary Windows drivers, and to install Windows from a Windows XP installation CD. After installation is complete, users can choose to run either Mac OS X or Windows when they restart their computer.”

Tags: , , ,


Someone’s been painting directional signs on the ground outside subway stop in NYC

Filed under: — adam @ 11:29 am

Great idea.

Tags: , , , , ,


Claim your settlement from Sony

If you bought an infected CD from Sony, you’re entitled to some benefits under the lawsuit settlement:

Tags: , , , , ,

Zfone is simple encrypted voip telephony

Filed under: — adam @ 9:30 am

Phil Zimmermann, the guy who brought you PGP, has just released a public beta of his new open source encrypted VOIP software – Zfone. The beta is Mac/linux only, the Windows version will be out in a month or so.

It’s an encrypting proxy for SIP calls using pre-existing software. I don’t know enough about how the protocol works to say if this would work with things like Vonage or not.

“In the future, the Zfone protocol will be integrated into standalone secure VoIP clients, but today we have a software product that lets you turn your existing VoIP client into a secure phone. The current Zfone software runs in the Internet Protocol stack on any Windows XP, Mac OS X, or Linux PC, and intercepts and filters all the VoIP packets as they go in and out of the machine, and secures the call on the fly. You can use a variety of different software VoIP clients to make a VoIP call. The Zfone software detects when the call starts, and initiates a cryptographic key agreement between the two parties, and then proceeds to encrypt and decrypt the voice packets on the fly. It has its own little separate GUI, telling the user if the call is secure.”

Zfone has been tested with these VoIP clients and VoIP services:
VoIP clients: X-Lite, Gizmo, and SJphone.
VoIP service providers: Free World Dialup,, and SIPphone.

Tags: , , , , ,


Google forced to release records by the court

As predicted, U.S. Judge James Ware intends to force Google to hand over the requested data to the DoJ.

Tags: , , , ,


Outrage fatigue roundup 3/2/2006

The big news this week – video that Bush knew that Katrina would destroy New Orleans a day before the storm hit:

Asking for complaint forms in Flordia Police stations gets you harassed and threatened:

Greek cell phone taps of high officials were enabled by embedded surveillance tech:

Zogby poll shows 72% of troops want to get out of Iraq in the next year, but also that 85% of them think they’re there to retaliate for Saddam’s attacking us on 9/11. So, there’s that:

Human rights abuses in Iraq are worse than under Saddam (oops, Freudian slip – I typed Bush there first):

Daily Kos is mumbling something about State-initiated impeachment:

And, a kitten:

Tags: , , ,

Firefly complete series on Amazon for $20

Filed under: — adam @ 10:31 am

We watched the broadcast, and thought it was stupid, and didn’t give it an adequate chance. Turns out the part we watched was the worst 15 minutes of the series. I was prodded by a few people to give it another try, and was pleasantly surprised.

If you haven’t watched it, you should. Amazon has the DVD series for $20:

Tags: , , , ,


Conversation about CC licenses

Joe Gratz and I are having an interesting discussion about Creative Commons licenses over in the comments of his blog post about Schmap:

Tags: , , , ,


Flash physics engine

Filed under: — adam @ 1:17 pm

Someone had fun with the Flash physics engine.

Warning: not porn, but does include bra-related breast physics.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


The Anti-Griddle

Filed under: — adam @ 6:02 pm

‘This unique innovation allows you to effortlessly freeze sauces and purees solid or develop semi-frozen creations with stable, crunchy surfaces and cool, creamy centers.’

Tags: , , ,


First movie shot on camera phones

Filed under: — adam @ 11:53 am

“Early this year, production wrapped on the first ever feature film to be shot entirely with cell phone cameras. Directed by South African filmmaker, Aryan Kaganof, “SMS Sugar Man” is the story of a pimp and two high class prostitutes driving around Johannesburg on Christmas Eve. It was shot for less than 1 million rand ($164,000) in just twelve days.”


New Microsoft search tech?

Filed under: — adam @ 7:29 pm

Thomas Hawk points out that Microsoft has trademarked something called “Relerank”, relating to ranking search results:

Tags: , , ,


The Hurtt Prize

Harold Hurtt, police chief of Houston, has advocated changing building permits to require cameras in public areas of malls and apartment complexes, to try to deter crime:

He’s quoted in the article, saying “I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?”

1) “Wrong” is always changing, and isn’t always correct.

2) Our society and legal system are neither constructed for or capable of handling perfect law enforcement.

3) It’s not worth any price to catch all of the criminals. There are tradeoffs to be made.

The Hurtt Prize is a $1000-and-growing bounty offered for anyone who gets a video capture of Mr. Hurtt committing a crime.

Tags: , , ,

Retiring to a perpetual cruise

Filed under: — adam @ 12:11 pm

Interesting tidbit from Snopes, via (Kottke).

Apparently, it’s about the same price to take a perpetual cruise as it is to live in a nursing home, and at least a few people have been doing this for years.

Tags: , ,


That song from the Ultraviolet trailer

Filed under: — adam @ 6:17 pm

That second song from the Ultraviolet trailer (not the one from the Matrix) is 24 by Jem, on this album:

Finally Woken

Tags: , , ,


New Beastles mashup album

Filed under: — adam @ 12:50 am

There’s a new Beastles mashup album, and it’s fantastic.

(The direct links seem to be broken, but the torrent link still works.)

Tags: , , ,


China loves the Patriot Act

Filed under: — adam @ 7:36 pm

In an interview with a senior Chinese official responsible for policing the Internet, he defends China’s monitoring and filtering as no different from what other countries do to enforce their laws and keep the content on the internet “safe”. He points to the Patriot Act as evidence that the US is “doing a good job on this front”.

Tags: , ,


Outstanding pictures of China

Filed under: — adam @ 2:50 pm

My friend Kyle sent me this link, which has some truly breathtaking pictures of China:

Tags: , ,

3d painted rooms that only resolve from one angle

Filed under: — adam @ 12:52 pm

Cool optical effects.

Tags: , , , ,


Tutorial on making cutouts with Photoshop

Filed under: — adam @ 12:29 pm

I’ve posted a short tutorial on how to make cutouts with photoshop:

Tags: , , ,


Treo 800p rumors

Filed under: — adam @ 4:37 pm

320×320, 3.2mp camera, 128M, PalmOS, EVDO, Wifi option.

Feels nice. Kinda warm.

[update: completely debunked.]

Tags: , , ,

Pigeon smog blog

Filed under: — adam @ 1:42 pm

Scientists at UC Irvine are planning to equip pigeons with small bird-sized backpacks containing pollution detectors, GPS, and wireless data access, so they can post realtime smog data to a blog.

The mind boggles.

Tags: , ,

Detailed survey of verbatim answers from AOL, MS, Yahoo, and Google about what details they store

Declan McCullagh has compiled responses from AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google on the following questions (two of which are nearly verbatim from my previous query, uncredited):

So we’ve been working on a survey of search engines, and what data they keep and don’t keep. We asked Google, MSN, AOL, and Yahoo the same questions:

- What information do you record about searches? Do you store IP addresses linked to search terms and types of searches (image vs. Web)?
- Given a list of search terms, can you produce a list of people who searched for that term, identified by IP address and/or cookie value?
- Have you ever been asked by an attorney in a civil suit to produce such a list of people? A prosecutor in a criminal case?
- Given an IP address or cookie value, can you produce a list of the terms searched by the user of that IP address or cookie value?
- Have you ever been asked by an attorney in a civil suit to produce such a list of search terms? A prosecutor in a criminal case?
- Do you ever purge these data, or set an expiration date of for instance 2 years or 5 years?
- Do you ever anticipate offering search engine users a way to delete that data?

Tags: , , ,



Filed under: — adam @ 6:35 pm

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s a low-cost portable still for purifying water with a pretty ingenious design.

Tags: , , ,

Blackmal.e warning

Filed under: — adam @ 5:07 pm

If you run a Windows machine, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your virus scans are up to date. There’s a nasty virus going around that’s set to delete some files on Feb 3.


US-VISIT approximate costs: $15M per criminal

Filed under: — adam @ 5:48 pm

The system has cost around $15 billion, and has caught about 1000 criminals. No terrorists, all immigration violations and common criminals.

This estimate doesn’t include lost tourism revenue, academic implications of detaining foreign students or professors, or a count of how many of those criminals might have been caught anyway.

Tags: , , ,


Update on DOJ/Google

This is a fascinating deconstruction of the court documents and letters available so far:


They’ve finally figured out how bees fly

Filed under: — adam @ 12:31 pm



Filed under: — adam @ 12:09 pm

Draw a picture, and Retriever will fetch “similar” images from flickr (based mostly on color and rough shapes).

Update: I did a pretty random search, and it turned up one of my images. Cool!

One of my shots in retrievr


What, nothing about popcorn?

Filed under: — adam @ 1:22 am

Kottke posts his best of 2005 links.


Interesting list of Google acquisitions

Filed under: — adam @ 12:38 pm

This is a list of companies that Google has bought. There are some on there that I hadn’t seen before.


More Schneier on secret surveillance

Filed under: — adam @ 10:01 am

“This rationale was spelled out in a memo written by John Yoo, a White House attorney, less than two weeks after the attacks of 9/11. It’s a dense read and a terrifying piece of legal contortionism, but it basically says that the president has unlimited powers to fight terrorism. He can spy on anyone, arrest anyone, and kidnap anyone and ship him to another country … merely on the suspicion that he might be a terrorist. And according to the memo, this power lasts until there is no more terrorism in the world.”


Schenier on NSA surveillance in Salon

Filed under: — adam @ 9:08 am

Bruce Schneier has an excellent piece in Salon on the recent wiretap revelations:


All cute, all the time

Filed under: — adam @ 1:52 pm


Alexa index is now open to the public

Filed under: — adam @ 12:13 pm

Wow, that’s so amazingly cool.

‘In short, Alexa, an Amazon-owned search company started by Bruce Gilliat and Brewster Kahle (and the spider that fuels the Internet Archive), is going to offer its index up to anyone who wants it. Alexa has about 5 billion documents in its index – about 100 terabytes of data. It’s best known for its toolbar-based traffic and site stats, which are much debated and, regardless, much used across the web.’


New worms will chat with you via IM

Filed under: — adam @ 4:32 pm


X-men 3 Trailer

Filed under: — adam @ 6:57 pm

X-men 3 trailer is out.

Well now, that looks very interesting.
(or just jump to the large one at:


Print your own monopoly money

Filed under: — adam @ 10:16 am

Hasbro has PDFs you can download to print your own monopoly money. Via boingboing:


Stanford scientists directly monitor RNA polymerase (which is way cooler than it sounds)

Filed under: — adam @ 9:59 pm

They’ve perfected a technique to allow, for the first time, protein activity to be directly monitored. They’ve focused on RNA polymerase, and have proposed a mechanical action theory about how RNAP moves up the DNA chain.

The technique is directly applicable to a whole host of other biochemical processes.

That’s just incredibly cool.


Google Base launches

Filed under: — adam @ 12:46 pm

Clearly, Google would just as soon prefer not to have an internet at all.

Does BASE stand for “Big All-Seeing Eye”?

USPTO apparently grants patent for warp drive

I don’t remember who originally sent this to me, but I got it a few times. This is apparently a patent for a warp drive.

” A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle’s propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale.”

They’re off their rocker.,960,975.WKU.&OS=PN/6,960,975&RS=PN/6,960,975


MIT students study tinfoil hats

Conclusion: tinfoil hat makes it easier for the gummint to read your brain. It’s a conspiracy!


Preaching to the Esquire

Long article copied shamelessly from Esquire about”Idiot America”.

“Idiot America is a collaborative effort, the result of millions of decisions made and not made. It’s the development of a collective Gut at the expense of a collective mind. It’s what results when politicians make ridiculous statements and not merely do we abandon the right to punish them for it at the polls, but we also become too timid to punish them with ridicule on a daily basis, because the polls say they’re popular anyway. It’s what results when leaders are not held to account for mistakes that end up killing people.”

Via Novitz:

EFF releases list of infected Sony CDs

Filed under: — adam @ 11:33 am

EFF has put together a list of the known CDs infected with Sony’s rootkit:

Also, some pictures of what the labels look like:


Patenting Storylines

Filed under: — adam @ 2:11 pm

“A Plot or Storyline Patent application seeks to patent the underlying
novel and nonobvious storyline of a fictional story.”

Here’s an article about it:

And the actual patent application:


Photoshop CS2 tuning guide from Adobe

Filed under: — adam @ 7:44 pm

There’s some very good information in there about tuning the OS and Photoshop for performance with CS2.


Katamari Damacy text adventure!

Filed under: — adam @ 10:44 am


> N

There is a PAPER CLIP here.


I do not know what a CLIP is.


You roll up the PAPER CLIP.

You are standing on the floor of a bedroom.


Your Katamari is 10.2cm.

And so forth.


Ribosome simulated

Filed under: — adam @ 8:26 am

This is incredibly cool. A complete working ribosome has been described in a computer simulation.

Via Perry:


James Doohan’s ashes to be flown into space

Filed under: — adam @ 10:10 am

Scotty’s getting his final wish. A CD with messages from fans will join him. Add yours here:

New spinoff series coming from Dr. Who writer

Filed under: — adam @ 10:09 am

“The new programme will be called Torchwood (an anagram of Doctor Who) and will follow a crack team investigating alien activities and crime in modern-day Britain.

It will feature in its starring role John Barrowman, who played Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and who will play the same character in Torchwood.”


Something bugging you?

Filed under: — adam @ 2:50 pm

Got a bug, and don’t know what it is?

Ask What’s That Bug:


Cool Guinness ad

Filed under: — adam @ 5:23 pm

Unhappy Birthday

Filed under: — adam @ 12:42 pm

This is a good page describing the legal situation surrounding the copyright of the song “Happy Birthday”.

Via Perry:

Tracking stock spam results

Filed under: — adam @ 12:35 pm

A project to determine just how much money you’d lose if you bought every penny stock you got spam about.


Really amazing photos from New York nightlife in the 70’s

Filed under: — adam @ 9:47 am

All sorts of naked, painted, and blowjobby.

With a caption like “A man applies Crisco shortening to his arm in preparation of inserting it into Annie Sprinkels [sic]“, how can you really go wrong?

Mini shopping

Filed under: — adam @ 9:45 am

Where to buy travel sizes for all sorts of things.

Powered by WordPress