knowledge is power Last updated - Dec 2001

 A Weblog exploring the repository of all human knowledge

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 Archive - September - October 2001

     
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Random stuff found on the Web
Some link-worthy things.
  • First Monday: The Efffects of Septmeber 11 on the leading search engine An interesting look at what people wanted to know on the 11th, and how Google changed to provide it.
  • Tony Blair's speech
  • DAWN, Pakistan's most widely circulated English language newspaper.
  • Historical Atlas of the 20th Century An excellent resource for understanding the last century's events. Loaded with maps illustrating everything from the Soviet phase of the Afghanistan war to the distribution of telephones in the last century.

    National ID card
    The White House has stated that they're not even considering the idea, but the issue of the national ID card has come up again. Such a card, and the administration, enforcement, and bureaucracy involved with it, would forever change our government and its power over our freedoms. Never mind the fact that it would be horrendously expensive, even if Larry Elison foots the bill as he has suggested. And never mind the fact that it could never work. Fingerprint everybody? How many people did we miss in the last census?
    • From the Electronic Privacy Information center ID cards Archive with a short history, resources and Recent Media Coverage links.
    • 10 reasons to oppose the proposed National I.D. card
    • The ACLU's policy on National ID "This is an impractical and ineffective proposal that would only threaten our right to privacy and foster new forms of discrimination. A national I.D. card would be no more reliable than the documents a person would show to obtain it and the cost to the American taxpayers just to issue the cards would be at least $2.5 billion, according to the Social Security Administration. "
    • An article at disinformation with many more good links. "It's very likely that any national ID proposals that make it through will be labeled voluntary. That is, if you never plan to get a job, vote, travel, cash a check, open a bank account, go to the hospital, enroll in a public school, receive Medicare or other federal benefits, purchase insurance, or buy a gun, there'll be no real need to comply. Got it? "


    Other things of Impending doom
    As if we don't have enough to worry about
    • A virus propagates using the guise as an email poll on the WTC attack "No matter how strong your feelings about the attacks on New York, do not open an e-mail inviting you to vote on what would be an appropriate response."
    • High velocity Earthward directed CME (coronal mass ejection) detected. See Space Weather Now for more. Should make for a good light show
    • We could at any moment, all turn into jelly. "The idea behind such a catastrophic possibility is supersymmetry. This theory of the Universe states that every particle that makes up matter has a heavier ghostly partner that has similar but not identical properties. If true, current data implies that the Universe must be perched on an unstable vacuum and "could suddenly condense into 'jelly' and cause this catastrophe""
    • Chicago's Controversial ray of light "The Windy City will soon be a bit brighter, thanks to a new 7-billion-candlepower beacon poised to shine atop Chicago's Palmolive Building starting late this year." Astronomers and environmentalists are not happy.


    Afghanistan
    Time for a Knowledge is Power lesson on Afghanistan.

    Dangerous Places says Afghanistan is number one with a bullet for people who want to visit dangerous places. And that was before the attacks. This site has a wealth of information on how to get in and out of Afghanistan, including a detailed history, and an outline of the politics. "The annual amount received by the guerrillas (from the US) reached a whopping US$700 million by 1988. There were even shipping Tennessee mules to Afghanistan to carry all the weapons in the hills. Even today Afghanistan is littered with the abandoned one-way shipping containers used to bring all that weaponry into the country" More on who's backing which side of their twenty-year war can be found at Fueling Aghanistan's War.

    The Taliban's internal enemy, the United Islamic Front, lost their leader, Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was killed two days before the Sept. 11 by suicide assassins posing as journalists with a bomb in a video camera. Massoud was portrayed in the movie "Rambo III" and "would have been a key figure in any future attempts by the United States to overthrow the current regime in Kabul." His last interview includes his views on how weak the Taliban is, extraditing bin Laden, gradual equality for women and loss of Afghan cultural heritage.

    Dangerous Places also has a good bio on bin Laden (go to "players") where we learn that he is "one of 53 children and the only son of one of his father's 10 wives." Recent news has a picture of bin as a youngster with some of his family, and the Toronto Sun's front page announced that bin Laden was Bush's Biz partner in Texas. According to the CIA World Factbook, "the Taliban uses a plain white flag". That might get confusing in a few months.


    Tradgedy Coverage III
    • Carlos the Jackal Prasies Attacks
    • Planes Hit Towers at the Weakest Spot The article quotes the late Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the Towers "Yamasaki insisted to one architecture critic that his buildings would "soothe" the human spirit. "Above all, with political turmoil, traffic problems and vast increases in populations and the tremendous impact of the machine, we must have serenity. Man needs a serene architecture to save his sanity in today's world.""
    • Dave Barry writes a non-humor column "I'm not naive about my country. My country is definitely not always right; my country has at times been terribly wrong. But I know this about Americans: We don't set out to kill innocent people. We don't cheer when innocent people die. "
    • Like an Orb another blog with a personal account

      Tradgedy Coverage II
      I've been lax around here, while others continue to offer understanding, knowledge and thought to the current events.
      • Dan from Lake Effect continues his Understanding Islam Week, providing many links to help us understand that which we would fear
      • texting describes what its like to "be there"
      • At fray.com - missing pieces, heartwrencing stories from NY.
      • If Zeldman's article at the last link wasn't enough to break you down, read the last week's worth of My Glamorous Life
      • Moby has written many thoughtful entries since 9_11
      • Booknotes has an idea on how to retaliate against Afghanistan. I don't think that's going quite far enough. We ought to drop cell phones, cigarettes, Baby Ruth bars, iBooks, Ben n' Jerry's, juice boxes with the little straws attached, Weber grills, including the Kingsford charcoal and cases of Omaha Steaks, mountian bikes, Doc Martins, pizzas, burritos, White Castles, fruit baskets, comic books, and tickle me elmos. We'll carpet bomb them with entire malls worth of Bannana Republic sweaters and Ambercrombie plaid shirts. After the air assault we move in on the ground with armies of construction workers to lay fiber optics and cable TV, build cell towers, condos with euro kitchens and invade with mega bookstores complete with Starbuck cafes. By the time we're inflating the giant gorillas for the grand opening of the Ford dealerships, we will have won.
      • I have several new readers who are new to weblogs. I urge you to read those with the best links on these event: rebecca, caterina, follow me here, Liberal Arts Mafia. They can teach you more than I can here. Forgive me if these links seem unbalanced towards pacificism, but I just haven't found any intelligent opinions yet for sending Americans into a place which has not been conquered since Alexander the Great.
      Don't misunderstand my appreciation of these intelligent discussions for an endorsement of pacifism. We'll need to defend ourselves with deadly force and undoubtedly, in the process will kill scores more innocents than have died here.

      I'd like to list a few of the well-reasoned right-wing personally published opinions I've seen, but in each one is an opinion or two I can't agree with. Since I don't have the time nor the ability to refute each point I don't agree with, I choose not to pass them on to my readers. I'll just end by mentioning andrewsullivan.com, kenlayne.com and Matt Welch's Warblog as examples of blogs who do a good job critizing the Apologist Left.



      Tragedy Coverage
      Yesterday I quoted a Register article that said the internet "failed in its first truly hard test as a news disseminator". Nothing could be farther from the truth. While TV put every watching American on the streets of NY to witness the incredible carnage, and it continues to provide us immediate access to official reports and interviews, it has become a steady stream of stupid, unanswerable questions played over a constant repitition of the images. The internet however showed its worth with its ability to get personal messages out, via email, numerous "I'm safe" boards, and personal sites. Personal Web sites have provided the depth of sympathy, feelings, opinions, stories and images simply unattainable from the mainstream media. Here's a list of where to find that depth.
      • Metafilter out does the rest as the premiere source of information, links and commentary. Community-edited without a trace of mob-rule.
      • World New York which normally is excellent at quoting and linking to both mainstream media and independent sites now focuses on first person accounts, where the real stories are.
      • Dave at Scripting News did a constant stream of links and commentary. Responding to a NY Times story linking to him: "For most of the day the Times home page had little or nothing about the crisis. We, collectively, got on it very quickly once it was clear that the the news sites were choked with flow and didn't have very much info... And we got first-hand reports from people who were there. There were real-time human touches that are hard to capture in a print pub with a lead time."
      • Camworld and kottke are both doing an excellent job providing links
      • Neale has a timeline
      • Red Rock Eaters pointers
      • eastwest.nu first person stories and pictures
      • saranwarp first person stories



      War
      • US terrorist attacks knock news sites off Internet "It seems that the Internet has failed in its first truly hard test as a news disseminator. The best coverage is coming from the usual TV outlets."
      • Who attacked the World Trade Centre? "The Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, warned three weeks ago that his group would carry out an unprecedented attack on US interests for its support of Israel, an Arab journalist said today." A Taliban spokesman denied it, stated that "Osama does not have the capability."
      • Now This providing excellent coverage and links



      Abandonded places
      These guys get to go into an abandoned mental hospital to remove asbestos. Fun, fun. This was a previous profession of mine and I've crawled through some scary places. I wouldn't hire this company if they say four guys could finish this job in 7 days.

      I guess it's only a movie. But the place isn't.



      Another list o'links
      Here's a week's worth of links


      Weblogs
      Here's another list of good blogs that you won't find on every list. It is as difficult to describe a blog after reading only a few weeks worth of posts, as it is to describe someone's personality after just meeting them, so forgive any generalizations I might make.
      • Nunani Inuit stories and folktales. This is what transferring knowledge to the Web is all about. In desperate need of a better way to get to the archives, and I'd love an info/intro page on the author - Rachel Attituq Qitsualik. I did find an excellent article on the Inuit society and change by the author - Living with Change.
      • Live from the Tundra In case you thought there wasn't any other blogs from far up north. This journal from a remote outpost camp on Baffin island with videos and a forum is coming to a close before winter arrives.
      • What I learned today "a mostly-daily journal of what facts, trivia or self-knowledge was revealed to me in the past 24 hours"
      • Required Field with a focus on personal freedom and expression. Up-to-date news and smart, meaty comments on the subject.
      • The Fifty Minute Hour news and a fresh perpective from a young Libertarian.
      • USS Clueless Current news links, with loads of intelligent, knowledgable, commentary and insight. The Captian gives us a good idea of the themes with the USS Clueless Drinking Game
      • Talking Points Memo is a step above the news/commentary Weblog. Why? Because Joshua Micah Marshall is journalist not just a weblogger. Why? Not just because he's a published writer, but because he actually does leg work (or phone work) to provide background and basis for his opinionated news coverage. The writers of the best of the Weblogs are excellent at researching stories and issues on the Web, but aside from those who do an interview once in a while, none of them actually do research off the Web.
      • If the last four Weblogs aren't your cup of tea, try Transient, "A weblog which links to stories and articles from around the internet without any editorial interference"
      • I have to give a bad review to theweblogreview.com. While I commend the effort, they fail in their attempted goal: "This page has been made so that people can find weblogs that interest them." Most of the reviews comment heavily on the blogs' design, and very little on the content. If I wanted to pick my blogs by the way they looked I would use screenshotstart. Many of the reviews read like 3rd grade book reports and of the reviews I read, none of the blogs sounded the least bit interesting, through no fault of the blogs themselves.



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