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My Archives: October 2004

Friday, October 29, 2004

No Capes, No Kryptonite
Posted by CKL @ 11:16 AM PST
You'll understand when you see The Incredibles. DeeAnn and I were lucky enough to attend a screening at Pixar last night, and it was fantastic. One of the best movies I've seen this year. Get in line now.

Speaking of movies...

Garden State
It's probably no longer playing at a theatre near you, and it's not a movie for everyone-- to fully enjoy the story requires (gasp!) comprehension, not just stimulus response-- but I highly recommend it. Great soundtrack, too.

The Station Agent
Also excellent, and similar to Garden State in that the protagonist learns to change for the better through undesired but serendipitous circumstances. Full of hope and muted glee. Rent it and see for yourself.

Skip it. You're better off watching any Holodeck episode of TNG, DSN "Far Beyond the Stars", or even Buffy "Normal Again".


Neil Gaiman reimagines Marvel's Silver Age heroes in the 17th century for yet another crisis. Stylish, well-informed, and I love the British version of Mr. Fantastic.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Posted by CKL @ 10:57 PM PST
Finally, some parenting advice anyone can understand:

"If you're having trouble figuring out how to deal with a child ... try thinking of him as a stoned adult. It's not polite to draw attention to his being stoned, so just explain patiently and expect some weird lapses of judgment and the occasional flash of surprising insight."

-- "When Kids Show Up at Your Demo" By 'Becca Stallings


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Terror begins at home
Posted by CKL @ 11:38 AM PST
"Founded in 1865, The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest terrorist organization in the United States."
-- International Spy Musem exhibit "The Enemy Within: Terror in America, 1776 to Today"

Hmm... The Civil War ends, the KKK starts. Coincidence?


Monday, October 11, 2004

Posted by CKL @ 04:16 PM PST
Web toy of the moment: WhatTheFont accepts an image uploaded from your computer or a URL to a server-side image, does some edge detection and color separation, asks you to perform the OCR, and then attempts to identify the font that was used for the text in your image. Pretty cool. How long before this technology defeats CAPTCHAs, I wonder?

On a tangent, the topic of machine vision figured briefly in Astro Teller's Exegesis, a novel written as a series of email correspondences. Nothing really groundbreaking, and some of the technical details are pretty dated now, but still worth a look if you're into AI fiction.


Friday, October 8, 2004

Lame Excuse of the Day
Posted by CKL @ 11:11 AM PST
So there's a new mural at the Livermore public library which depicts famous people from world history, and nobody noticed that some of the names were misspelled until the unveiling. Possibly the most egregious is Albert Einstein, spelled "Eistein" on the mural.

In her defense, the artist said:

"The people that are into humanities, and are into [William] Blake's concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words... In their mind, the words register correctly." (as reported in
Which begs the question: why didn't you misspell all the names, then? And are you saying that your art is only for "people that are into humanities," and screw all those nitpicking scientists? If so-- disregarding the bigotry for now-- then why the hell did you include Albert Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist of the last century, in your mural?

Could it be that you made a mistake? Why can't you just admit that?

Anyway. Now, after the city has offered to pay for her to fly back from Florida and correct the misspellings, the artist is refusing to do so because she's gotten some hate mail. Her official statement to AP:

"I will not return to Livermore for any reason... There seems to be so much hatred within certain people. They continuously look for a scapegoat. I guess I am the sacrificial goat."
No, actually, you are an idiot.

Here's my favorite part:

When asked whether she chose the words and names for the work or whether the city provided her with a list, [the artist] took an artistic stance in response.

"The art chose the words," she said.

Lady, please stop saying and doing stupid things before you give all artists a bad name.

This is really just pathetic. First she's a bad speller who can't own up to her faults. Now she won't fix her mistakes because, what, some people don't like her? I could understand if she'd received some death threats or something, but if that's the case, why not tell the world and get some real sympathy for yourself instead of looking like a petulant child?

This is the bottom line: misspelling someone's name is disrespectful to that person. The artist has never, as far as I can see, claimed that the misspellings were intentional. Is she saying her misguided artistic integrity is worth more than paying proper tribute to Van Gogh? Michelangelo? Gauguin? Shakespeare? I don't think so.

California state law requires that the city get the artist's permission before removing or changing her work, so that's not an option now. But here's my proposal: find another artist or designer, one who can actually spell, to create a plaque for installation next to the mural. The plaque will contain a list of all the names of the people depicted in the mural, corrections for any misspellings, and a paragraph explaining that the original artist was an unreasonable moron.

Speaking of stubborn fools, the second Presidential debate happens tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing Kerry wipe the floor with Dubya again, but even more so to The Daily Show's analysis afterward.


Thursday, October 7, 2004

Headline of the Year
Posted by CKL @ 08:57 AM PST
Pig Masturbation Scene Arouses U.K. Audience

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

We are not smart.
Posted by CKL @ 09:44 AM PST
His words, my links:

"A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development states that upward of 60 percent of Americans ages 16-25 are 'functionally illiterate', meaning they can't, for example, fill out a detailed form or read a numerical table (like a time schedule). A recent Florida study shows at least 70 percent of recent high school graduates need remedial courses -- that is, basic reading and math -- when they enter community college...

"In short, as the theory goes, most Americans don't give a damn because we're on top and we own everything and have more nukes than anyone and we're never the ones getting invaded. It's our unofficial motto -- America: We Don't Have to Care."

-- Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist


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