Google Knows How Smart You Are

whatsupwithGoogle Suggest is that curiously useless feature you see guessing what you want to search for. It lists the most popular queries starting with the word(s) you’ve entered. Slate’s found a way to have fun with it, for people that enjoy not being dumb.

The short, misnamed “Awkward Suggestions”  is worth a read. Slate will mess with headlines throughout the popular run of a story — can anyone tell me why they do that? — but they’ve settled on a weak one here; what an opportunity for something smug!

It’s called… Internet

A CBC segment on “Internet”. Somewhere since we’ve prepended “The” and it sounds quite funny to hear it without. This clip is from October 8, 1993. Already with 15 million users worldwide, but not a mention of WWW.

Update: 17 years on, and Peter Mansbridge looks exactly the same.

First Report On The Internet – CBC Prime Time NewsClick here for more home videos

Use Your Mascot Wisely

pileofdeadbabies-lowThis is screen shot featuring an advertisement at SourceForge. The orange character here I suppose represents triumph over other software, perhaps your triumph over your competitors thanks to it, standing out from the pack, in any case.

This anthropomorphic figure apparently is not the logo of the advertiser, so it’s more like a mascot. Fine.

So what’s the problem? It looks like a pile of dead babies.

Who vets this stuff?

Fareed on Jihad and Technology

jihad-youtubeFareed Zakaria opines in a special way. His ideas are grounded and hard to argue. Zakaria referring to an official Taliban YouTube channel, since decommissioned along with a website hosted in Portland, Oregon:

…and all this strikes me as bizarre and totally hypocritical. This is a gang of fundamentalist, Islamic warriors who are waging war against the west and modernity, the modern world and all the values it espouses. But to make this real it has to use the fruits of the modern world, technology, the Internet, YouTube, of course they also use modern weapons. To my mind, this is the sign of the fundamental weakness of groups like the Taliban. Even the Taliban can not survive without the products of the modern world that it apparently despises.

Football Over People

football-over-peopleCNN Mocks American Values?

This is an oldie but… In the path of Hurricane Ike, Texas prepares for the worst. Allow me to hack this up, paraphrase. (notice that huge cart of hoarded supplies in the photo, complete with proud “low prices on board” emblem)

President Bush declared an emergency in Texas, making federal funds available for the state to prepare for the storm… Officials in Galveston area’s Brazoria County ordered mandatory evacuation…

Perhaps more important to many Texans, dozens of high school football games in cities and towns along the coast were rescheduled from Friday to Thursday night to avoid playing in the storm.

On Iran: Opposites Attract

ahmadinejadOpposite opinions on Iran and War today. Both of these are so attractive to me, for the strength of the authors and the arguments they make. Greenwald: a sensible anti-war position focused on foreign sentiment and  consequences; Hitchens: on inevitability and timeliness.

Hitchens in Slate
Why Wait To Disarm Iran?

Greenwald in Salon
David Rohde on the “why do they hate us?” question

Cancel Your Burqa Fitting, Canadians

fyou-burqaA Muslim advocacy group called the Muslim Canadian Congress has appealed to the Canadian government to ban the Burqa. How French. Their argument is a shotgun approach:

  1. security: covered faces and bodies have security implications. Given, liquor stores in my neirhborhood may advertise “no hoods”; the disclaimer there is not a fashion consideration.
  2. Islamic myth: this apparently matters to the political and/or religious tolerance crowd. Consider other oppressive and abusive measures socially evolved peoples have done away with that are mandated. Apostate? Homosexual? good luck.
  3. religious oppression: Bingo. The idea that a Muslim group will fight this fight is important. But who’s it hurting you ask? And don’t we have to be religiously tolerant? Ask the female genital mutilation (FGM) faction — I implore you to look up infibulation. Consider how using the ever-popular standard of religious tolerance for less violent totalitarian mechanisms give cover to the grotesque.

Colby Cosh opines, editorializing at the National Post,  “that letting people wear what they like is liberalism.” This one’s tough, as if free will is the issue. As corollary, I imagine a large majority of North Koreans actually think they love their Dear Leader. And of course we should applaud them for their choice.

TBL Apologies for URLs

as_seen_on_http_tshirtTBL, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW, apologized today for including two forward slashes at the beginning of http protocol addresses.

(Yes they are indeed not backslashes)

Apparently these characters were not necessary and he gives no reason for the inclusion except to say “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” Of course it did. Nerd.