Archive for June, 2007

This has to be the BBC headline of the decade. Article here.

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As you may have noticed, I use this blog occasionally as a reporter’s notebook. Earlier I blogged about life on our fennel plant. Now the expanded version with pictures is up on GeekDad.com.

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First heard on Harry Shearer‘s Le Show then read here in PC World:

Tim Berners-Lee, widely credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web, apologized last night for the double slashes used in every Web address, getting a big laugh when he said the slashes “just felt like a good thing at the time.”

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For years, we’ve been growing a little patch of fennel. The original idea was that we’d have some good fresh herbs to nibble on.

The first year that changed as our fennel became the host to two batches of Black Swallowtail caterpillars also called parsley caterpillars. Starting with the little orange eggs and continuing to the stages of caterpillar maturation from worms that look like little bird dropping to the giant green and black thumb-sized dragons with their dramatically erupting orange horns (osmeterium).

We started capturing a few and taking them inside to safely mature and to pupate and to winter over and to emerge as butterflies the next spring.

But our fennel experience didn’t stop with Black Swallowtails. Some years, a colony of praying mantis would appear. That colony would decrease in population every day — in part due to the cannibalistic tendencies of the nymphs — until by summer’s end, we had one large fat and happy mantis would be hiding in the fennel fronds.

This year, deer discovered the fennel. They nipped it back into a tighter bush. This despite all claims that fennel is rabbit and deer resistant. The rabbits, so far haven’t crossed the patch of oregano that encircles the fennel for their devastating munching.

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Even before Pirates 3 drove a sabre into what small amount of coolness was left in piracy, we noticed that “Pirates are so in that they are out.”

We had been wondering which of the trends hiding in the shadows of culture would become mainstream then go from cool to cold. The two top candidates: Ninjas and Zombies. This contest has Zombies replacing Pirates in the great Pirates versus Ninjas controversy.

Zombies have been having their own parties and flash mobs which makes them a good bet. A zombie novel, Monster Island, was a Blooker Prize finalist this year. Although one judge dissed the book for it’s zombie birds. We replied that we liked and somehow understood zombie birds, but we’ve never understood why the British considered Benny Hill funny.

Now Qwantz.com uses T-Rex to explain the rise and the end of Zombies begining by saying “I have some bad news: zombies are in danger of becoming old hat!” His solution: Zombie birds! and other things revealed in the strip.

I think we’re left with Ninjas!

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The older answers roll off My Questions into godknowswhere, so I’ll preserve them here:

Paul asks…
If you could program an HDTV show for Internet2-casting, what would it be?

Jay Cuthrell:
Place a camera inside of a ballistic grade dome on PTZ control that is linked to Internet control that is scheduled for major concert events. Once a month would be at a random open mic night somewhere in the rural US with a sponsor decal reset position.
Babatola Oguntoyinbo:
I want to see what artist workspaces look like from NYC to the Outback, from Mexico City to the Mekong Delta. And I want them all to answer the same question, “What makes you create?”. I want to produce it too – I’ve already worked the logistics.
Aaron Fulkerson:
Documentary of college campuses.
Jeffrey Pomerantz:
Re-shoot the Doctor Who missing episodes using the original scripts, but with new actors, and period costumes and film stock.
Michael Williams:
Well-known bloggers mud-wrestling to settle ideological debates.
Daniell Krawczyk:
The best of North Carolina as created by its citizens
Lorraine Eakin:
Reality show featuring shots of a Peruvian shamanistic healer, a Wall Street Broker and an unemployed street hustler living together for a month

Earlier answers here.

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Fresh from the Carrboro Farmers Market, the Trinity (sweet pepper, onion, fennel (as a substitute for celery)), heirloom tomatoes, garlic, okra. From the BBQ Joint, their own sausage. From my yard, various herbs. From the freezer, hot peppers that the deer didn’t get. Rice from somewhere I donno. Bread from Weaver St Bakery. Yummmm.

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Just back from a reception for Pauline Kaldas who will be reading from her Letters from Cairo tomorrow at the NC Art Museum. I also had a great chat with her husband, the poet T. J. Anderson III who practices poetry up at Hollins University.

Escaped from the heat by reading Nobel prize winner Gunter Grasspersonal story of his experience in the Waffen SS, “How I Spent the War” in a recent New Yorker.

But let’s not leave out Tim Lee‘s great Op-Ed in the New York Times — “The Patent Lie”. Tim has a very odd logo for a Cato Institute Scholar! The article is also getting Slashdot attention.

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The first time I heard Vitamin C’s Graduation (Friends Forever), I thought it had a catchy melody even tho it became increasingly inane. Today it’s being sung at school graduations all over the country including the middle school graduation that I attended this morning. It isn’t the lyrics that get to me but something in the melody that says “You’ve heard this over and over until you are completely numb.”

Nassib sends this YouTube link in which Rob Paravonian explains exactly why.

ALERT: N and O’s David Menconi would like us to know that he wrote about the Paravonian video on Friday December 22, 2006 on his blog On the Beat. Dave finds it mysterious that none of us read about it there. Dave, check the posting date — err, the weekend of Christmas and I wasn’t rushing to my computer to read your blog? I guess I’m a loser.

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I was in a meeting this morning about HDTV over Internet2 and National Lambda Rail with a bunch of folks. Part of the brainstorming was about content for such streams and the various audiences for that content.

The new My Questions app for FaceBook came to my attention during the meeting and I added it to my FaceBook profile. I already have answers, some that might even work.

In case you’re not on FaceBook, here’s a sample:

Paul asks…
If you could program an HDTV show for Internet2-casting, what would it be?

Howard Rheingold:
Docudrama about the life of Descartes and his adventures with the Rosicrucians.
Thomas Vander Wal:
I would really like to see a global music show that goes to the artist, shows their envirtonment, brings their music to life
Jackson Fox:
Besides “The Animated Adventures of LOLCAT?” I’d like to see short-form indie content. Animation in particular.
David Matusiak:
It would probably be “The Money Pit 2″ — the dark side of home renovation.

[more just added]
Paul asks…
If you could program an HDTV show for Internet2-casting, what would it be?

Jimmy Wales:
All Rocketboom, All the Time :)
Mike Conway:
live indy music
Ian Meyer:
loltrek
Jack Lail:
Zadia Diaz
Chris Liang:
Japanese comedy
Doug Whitfield:
And1 basketball with punk rock/hardcore…maybe some metal in the background instead of the stupid hip-hop stuff
Travis Mason:
The secret lives of cats. Where do they go all day?
Paula Le Dieu:
mm HD – I think I would stay traditional and say natural history. I have seen some great footage of heligimbal captured landscapes that are just gorgeous.

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Discussed over lunch today with great INTRAHealth folks:

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I had a good meeting with historians, folklorists, and a lot of good people for Shelby, NC who are planning the “Earl Scruggs Center: Music and Stories of the Carolina Foothills” to be established in the beautiful old Cleveland County Courthouse there.

One of the special pleasures was meeting Earl Scruggs and his son Gary, but then there were some interesting discoveries about Cleveland County, which were pleasurable in themselves.

Associated with the Scruggs Center will be the Don Gibson Theater. Gibson, who wrote a good number of hits including “I can’t stop loving you,” is buried there in Shelby with a Masonic marker on his memorial.

Also from Shelby are Heavyweight Floyd Patterson, “The Clansman” author Thomas Dixon, B Movie Maker Earl Owensby and NBA star David Thompson.

In foodways, Shelby is truly mysterious. Until recently Shelby hosted an annual Liver Mush Festival as well as a whole food, meatfree, Biblically correct Hallelujah Diet retreat center, Hallelujah Acres. Neither of these should be confused with the Shelby Hamfest, which is not about eats, but about Amateur Radio.

The downtown of Shelby was the first National Register of Historic Places Main Street Community.

Now I need to get down there and check out Cleveland County myself.

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Whilst I was in a meeting about the Earl Scruggs Center today, I got an email and a call from Jose Antonio Vargas of the Washington Post. Fred was too busy to have an opinion on the blog that may be written by the five sons of Mitt Romney. I have been reading a few of the blogs hosted or sponsored by the various presidential candidates. The Democrats have the lead in the blog/net space as far as I can tell, but I hadn’t seen the Blog of the Brothers Romney til today.

Okay, it’s a blog by nice people. They take nice pictures. They say nice things — unless you are Hillary Clinton. They won’t embarrass anyone. You feel good about them. You probably won’t read the blog very often.

Wait! There is drama afterall! Ben, the different one, the blonde one, the bearded one, the one in med school. He feels different. He has an article about his beard. He has an article about his dog. His dog is nice. He might shave his beard. He did shave his beard. His wife wishes he didn’t. His beard is still shaved.

The Brothers Romney miss the message from Tolstoy: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Or do they? They aren’t about drama but about the lack of it. Small harmless sagas may appear, the beard, but like My Three Sons + Two, they won’t take our minds off FaceBook. The blog is a sort of family featured version of “Morning in America” idealized and safe.

But is it effective? Does it energize the Romney base or make converts? Probably not. Unlike TV, the web is interactive, utile and social. There is no reason to go to boring places that don’t have much interaction or utility.

But the blog could be improved and become interesting, maybe starting with something like this.

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Roller developer Dave Johnson is a person of blogality as he commits good bloggishness about DCampSouth

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Picked up the NYTimes this morning to see a great picture of ibiblio contributor and master guitar player, Roger McGuinn, on stage with a bunch of authors — Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Stephen King, Scott Turow, etc — known as the Rock Bottom Remainders. The story isn’t half bad either.

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Just posted a new article on Geek Dad about WCOM’s Teen Spirit and Radio Pa’lante both teen-run shows on our local LPFM station.

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Jackson Fox, DCampSouth organizer, is twittering and blogging and wikiing about it. Here’s the wiki with other links.

Doc Searls has more posted about the Berkman Internet and Society Conference here.

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Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, Jessamyn West and other friends are up at Harvard at the The Berkman Center for Internet & SocietyInternet & Society Conference 2007 titled “UNIVERSITY – Knowledge Beyond Authority.”

Doc is on the Library 2.0 group and has these notes so far.

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King Knog LOLcat
You can convert any RSS stream or any Twitter stream into LOLCuteCatz — even a BBC News feed made LOLCute — with this great tool from Ian McKellar.
Allergy LOLcat

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