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August 30, 2006

Suspended Citizenship

Robin says,

Good post from Saheli on this situation:

[T]he United States has denied re- entry to two American citizens--one naturalized and one-native born--unless they first agree to be interrogated by the FBI abroad without a lawyer and take a polygraph test. They have not been charged with any crime.

As always with S.S.R. Datta, the analysis is nuanced and, it seems to me, correct.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:49 AM

Meet the Panopticon, Age 21

Robin says,

Bob Kerrey gets interviewed in Foreign Policy. Here's an interesting prediction:

FP: How will college students affect November's election and the U.S. presidential race two years from now?

BK: They're likely to have a very large impact as a result of this 'macaca' type of an event [involving Sen. George Allen]. They're going to be out with cameras and tape recorders and blogs, and they'll be carrying a larger part of the debate itself. I think it will likely be a relatively small fraction of young people who turn out and vote. [But] in the blogosphere and beyond, there will be something that will be comparable to this remarkable story of George Allen -- it was, I think, a 20-year-old who [broke that story]. I think you'll see a lot more of that.

Worth reading.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:24 AM

August 29, 2006

Buy This Book

Robin says,


Buy this book!

Okay I'm biased. I used to work at the Poynter Institute, where Roy Peter Clark hangs his hat, and I learned lots from him. Much of it was stuff that's now encoded in this book, actually. But even so, I am so glad to have it all in one place. Even better, the volume is a wonder to behold: simple, slim, elegant.

And, you know, I can tell just from the feel of it that this is the kind of book that will age like good leather shoes: One day it will be totally worn out and beaten up from overuse, but somehow handsomer for it.

Dude, I have a question though -- even when you're Roy Peter Clark, how do you score blurbs from Mark Bowden, Sister Helen Prejean, Eugene Patterson, Howell Raines, Tom French, and David Von Drehle?

Indeed, Von Drehle writes: "Roy is the Obi-Wan Kenobi of writing teachers..." Just for the record, if one of his Snarkmarket students is Anakin Skywalker (i.e. initially promising but ultimately a force for total evil) it is definitely Matt.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:13 PM

August 28, 2006

8.5" x AWESOME

Robin says,


Crazy paper art! (Click past the homepage, then check out the 'A4 papercut' stuff. It's so rad.) Via Core77.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:16 AM

August 27, 2006

No Surprise This One's Online

Robin says,

At this point, blogging software should probably just include a button that says "link to latest Malcolm Gladwell article." Because, well, yeah. It's about pensions and is, of course, illuminating and eminently sensible. And, bonus! -- the article continues on Gladwell's blog.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:17 PM

August 24, 2006


Robin says,

Ezra Klein points to video of Stephen Lewis's speech at the close of the big AIDS conference in Toronto. He's right, it's great (control-F for 'lewis' on the page). Lewis is a Canadian diplomat and, it turns out, a bracing speaker.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:01 AM

August 23, 2006


Robin says,

In The New Atlantis this month there's a review of two books on shipping containers (middle item) -- the TCP/IP packets of modern trade. (Come on, you are all blog readers out there, you know what I mean.) Somehow I find this incredibly evocative:

[...] McLean inaugurated the era of containerization on April 26, 1956 by transporting 58 containers from Newark to Houston aboard a ship called the Ideal X.

Also: It is said that the container cranes at the Port of Oakland were the inspiration for George Lucas's AT-AT walkers. It's highly plausible.

There's a couple of interesting-looking pieces in this month's Atlantis, too... one about scientists' memoirs and another on network neutrality. I'll read them and let you know if they're any good.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:07 AM

August 22, 2006

This Blogpost Automatically Generated in 0.03 Seconds

Robin says,

Thomson and Reuters run stories written by computers! COMPUTERS I say! Will Sullivan with the deets and the awesomely appropriate frame-grab.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:28 AM

August 21, 2006

Second Life and Macromyopia

Robin says,

3pointD transcribes a fascinating keynote talk by Mitch Kapor at the Second Life Community Convention this weekend.

Also, he gives a name to an effect I am constantly citing:

One thing that’s very important to keep in mind is something called Macromyopia. For people who are inside a new phenomenon like Second Life, we tend to overestimate the short-term effects. We think more great things are going to happen sooner than they typically do. Conversely, we underestimate the long-term impact.

Or: In the short-term, things change slower than we expect them to. In the long-term, they change more than we ever imagined they would. Now I know what to call it!

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:50 AM

August 20, 2006

It's the Center of the Universe, I Hear

Robin says,

Earth: just another failed planetary nucleus. Aww.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:16 PM

August 19, 2006

links for 2006-08-19

Posted August 19, 2006 at 4:18 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Five Words

The Amazing Screw-On Head

Robin says,

I am way late to the party on this one, but The Amazing Screw-On Head is fantastic. Mike Mignola is my favorite comic-book artist of all time so it's no surprise I like it, but still. Give it fifteen minutes.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:59 AM

August 18, 2006

I Just Found a Little Piece of My Soul

Robin says,

YouTube isn't great because it has music videos and stuff (see below).

It's great because it has this.

Why the clip is cool, in adult terms: It's a rare view of industrialism as joyful and fun, not sinful and dehumanizing.

Why the clip is cool, in kid terms: CRAYONS!

Comments (9) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:15 PM

New Kinds of Graffiti

Robin says,

Beautiful stuff over at if:book.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:54 PM

Gimme a Treadmill, Gimme a Beat

Robin says,

Ultimate Friday music video viewing, via vcritic.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:47 PM

August 17, 2006

A Pixel the Size of Everything

Robin says,

Browsing the site for Ask a Scientist, a cool lecture series here in SF, I stumbled across the coolest link ever. Down in the bottom-right corner of the page, it says: "Want to get freaked out? Click here."

Go ahead, try it.

Every time I see that thing my brain folds.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:36 PM

A (Really Expensive) Room of One's Own

Robin says,

Daniel Brook ruminates on hyper-gentrification in The Next American City:

"How can you live in San Francisco and write a book?" is, to reluctantly borrow a phrase from Donald Rumsfeld, a 21st-century question. In the past, the City by the Bay was always considered a writer’s metropolis. A hundred years ago, it was Jack London territory. Mid-century brought Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Today, Michael Lewis, Amy Tan, and Michael Chabon call the Bay Area home. These established celebrity authors can afford to live in San Francisco, but an undiscovered Kerouac or a budding Ginsberg never could.

While San Francisco’s dot-com boom may be over, the high cost of living reflects a "new normal." Post-bust rents remain 76 percent higher than the pre-boom rents. Writing a first book here sounds preposterous because it is preposterous. That basic commodity Virginia Woolf identified as the prerequisite for the writing life -- a room of one’s own -- is now a four-figure monthly proposition.


Lots more in the magazine, too; check out Joel Kotkin on the triumph of the suburbs, etc.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:15 PM

August 16, 2006

Kitchen Efficiencies

Matt says,

This is an awesome idea: a cutting board with an integrated scale, allowing you to measure your ingredients as you slice 'em.

I've long wished that the task of measuring was better integrated into the cooking process. I've been on the lookout for a set of containers to hold my flour, rice, sugar and other dry goods, with lids that double as measuring cups. Let me know if you see anything.


Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:33 PM

August 15, 2006

...On a Plane

Robin says,

Great. First no gels or liquids... now this.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:27 AM

August 14, 2006

links for 2006-08-14

Posted August 14, 2006 at 4:20 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Five Words

Xbox DIY

Robin says,

Microsoft is releasing a free development kit for Xbox 360 games: You make them on your PC and download them to the Xbox. It ain't exactly full democratization of game development -- you can't share games made this way with random friends on Xbox Live -- but still, it's pretty great. Deets on Gamasutra.

Update: Microsoft's Peter Moore enumerates eight ways to open up the world of game development. Excellent and correct.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:55 AM

August 10, 2006

links for 2006-08-10

Posted August 10, 2006 at 4:20 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Five Words

Alive in New Mombasa

Robin says,

You've probably seen that awesome short film "Alive in Joburg" (here it is on Google Video) -- verite-style with computer graphics, dusty depressing future, aliens, etc.

Well, the guy who directed it just got tapped to direct the Halo movie! Awesome.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:41 AM

August 9, 2006

It's Inevitable

Robin says,

I was just checking out Google Video's new ad system and happened to click on this video, a Charlie Rose episode featuring Thomas Friedman.

And it struck me: This man is going to run for political office.

Maybe not soon, but some day. Just listen to the way he talks! And come on, he's rich!

When it happens, just remember: Snarkmarket called it.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:58 AM

Ticket Masters

Robin says,

Whoah! Insanely useful comment thread on Lifehacker: How to get cheap plane tickets. I just found out about a ton of things I'd never even dreamed of before -- Tripstalker, whaaa?

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:46 AM

August 7, 2006

Where's the Merchant Ivory of Video Games?

Robin says,

I'm not sure I agree with the analogy here, but it's a fun read: Ernest Adams on why we need highbrow games in Gamasutra.

Update: Some interesting comments on the piece.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:02 AM

August 3, 2006

Twelve Movies

Matt says,

From chapter 4 of The Singularity Is Near:

Although we have the illusion of receiving high-resolution images from our eyes, what the optic nerve actually sends to the brain is just outlines and clues about points of interest in our visual field. We then essentially hallucinate the world from cortical memories that interpret a series of extremely low-resolution movies that arrive in parallel channels. In a 2001 study published in Nature, Frank S. Werblin, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and doctoral student Boton Roska, M.D., showed that the optic nerve carries ten to twelve output channels, each of which carries only minimal information about a given scene. One group of what are called ganglion cells sends information only about edges (changes in contrast). Another group detects only large areas of uniform color, whereas a third group is sensitive only to the backgrounds behind figures of interest.

"Even though we think we see the world so fully, what we are receiving is really just hints, edges in space and time," says Werblin. "These 12 pictures of the world constitute all the information we will ever have about what's out there, and from these 12 pictures, which are so sparse, we reconstruct the richness of the visual world. I'm curious how nature selected these 12 simple movies and how it can be that they are sufficient to provide us with all the information we seem to need."

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:01 PM

Generation Debt

Robin says,

Correction: THIS is my new favorite blog. Anya Kamenetz writes about finance from a 25-year-old's perspective. She just wrote a book, too.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:59 AM

August 2, 2006

Robin's thoughts: Side note: I ate a melted lego brick when I was ten. Then vomited.... >>

links for 2006-08-02

Posted August 2, 2006 at 4:21 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Five Words

August 1, 2006

My New Favorite Blog

Robin says,

OMG! Muckraking Mom! Raison d'etre:

I think there’s a need for a website exclusively devoted to muckraking moms -- moms who discover the political machinery behind the politics of our every day lives and expose it. Eventually, I hope this site will grow to include the contributions of a veritable army of muckraking moms, and dads too.
Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:31 PM

MTV Turns 25

Robin says,

The WaPo's Hank Stuever, one of my favorite writers at any newspaper, find's MTV's moral center. He also uses the word "snarkabratory." (Thanks, Nora!)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:29 AM
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