Monday, January 30, 2006

Project Censored presents the Top 10 Censored News Stories of 2005.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stephen Colbert discusses "Bill O'Reilly, fantasy role-playing games, and the plague of truthiness sweeping the nation" in this Onion A.V Club interview.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The new blog Republicans...or the Mafia helps you understand today's political events "by comparing corrupt Republicans and their shady goings-on to well-known characters and scenes from your favorite gangster movies."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Witold Rybczynski explains why Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Sholom Synagogue is an overlooked materpiece in this Slate slide show.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Phrase Finder provides the meanings and origins of many colloquial phrases and sayings, including Scot free and the whole nine yards. The site also has information on euphemisms, misheard song lyrics and more.

Monday, January 23, 2006

William Gibson explains how he discovered science fiction and history in this Infinite Matrix essay.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Christopher Stern explains "The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet" in this Washington Post article:

"Do you prefer to search for information online with Google or Yahoo? What about bargain shopping -- do you go to Amazon or eBay? Many of us make these kinds of decisions several times a day, based on who knows what -- maybe you don't like bidding, or maybe Google's clean white search page suits you better than Yahoo's colorful clutter.

But the nation's largest telephone companies have a new business plan, and if it comes to pass you may one day discover that Yahoo suddenly responds much faster to your inquiries, overriding your affinity for Google. Or that Amazon's Web site seems sluggish compared with eBay's.

The changes may sound subtle, but make no mistake: The telecommunications companies' proposals have the potential, within just a few years, to alter the flow of commerce and information -- and your personal experience -- on the Internet. For the first time, the companies that own the equipment that delivers the Internet to your office, cubicle, den and dorm room could, for a price, give one company priority on their networks over another."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Michael Hiltzik explains what's wrong with the Medicare prescription drug benefit in this Los Angeles Times column:

"Forget Iraq, the economy, the abortive Social Security scheme: The defining fiasco of the Bush Administration may prove to be the utterly disastrous Medicare prescription drug benefit, formally known as Medicare Part D. Already the newspapers are filled with stories about Medicare-Medicaid patients, the poorest of the poor, being denied prescriptions by the thousands because the government, with only two full years to prepare, didn't have its computer systems tested, up, and running when the program launched January 1. The pain is just beginning."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

According to this Cincinnati Enquirer article, the new elevator system in the Metropolitan Park West Tower in downtown Seattle "alleviates passenger bottlenecks" and "minimizes stops by grouping together passengers with common destinations."

"Here's how it works:

Self-standing and wall-mounted kiosks with touch screens are installed in common areas where elevator passengers wait. Passengers enter their destination floor on the touch screen.

The requests are processed, and a message is displayed informing users to ride a specific car.

"In a conventional system, waiting passengers crowd into the first available elevator, which often results in the car stopping at numerous floors, increasing travel time," said Joe Rennekamp, vice president of engineering at Fujitec's corporate offices in Lebanon.

In time, the new Fujitec system becomes even more efficient at grouping passengers by learning elevator-use patterns, said Rennekamp, whose team of engineers pioneered the software for the system. It does this by considering historical information to learn traffic variances in the building."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Bancroft Library presents this 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire website. The site includes an interactive map and a 360-degree panorama of San Francisco after the disaster.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Robert Gordon explains "The Basic Case Against Alito" in this post from the blog Balkinization.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This New Scientist article explains that, "Dogs do as well as state-of-the-art screening tests at sniffing out people with lung or breast cancer. The research raises the possibility that trained dogs could detect cancers even earlier and might some day supplement or even replace mammograms and CT scans in the laboratory."

Monday, January 09, 2006

According to this Washington Post story, NASA's Stardust spacecraft collected dust from the comet Wild 2. This weekend the spacecraft will release a capsule carrying the comet dust, which will land in the Utah desert, providing a "treasure trove" of material for scientific study.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

This Los Angeles Times article tells the story of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, who was lucky to have good friends like Rep. Tom DeLay help him when his savings and loan collapsed.

"Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking $300 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.

The investigation was ultimately dropped.

The effort to help Hurwitz began in 1999 when DeLay wrote a letter to the chairman of the FDIC denouncing the investigation of Hurwitz as a "form of harassment and deceit on the part of government employees." When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo — both considered proteges of DeLay — used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz.

Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

From time to time, magazines and radio stations compile lists of the 100 Greatest Albums of all time. The website Timepieces has gathered links to these 70 'All Time' Best Albums Lists from the US, UK, Netherlands and Belgium.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

According to this Washington Post article, Lobbyist Jack Abramoff "pleaded guilty yesterday to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in a deal that requires him to provide evidence about members of Congress." This Slate article examines which lawmakers Abramoff may testify against. The Post also tries to explain the complicated Abramoff scandal with this helpful chart.