spacer image
spacer image

May 31, 2005

Simon's thoughts: Ok... interesting. Enough to bring a busy Masters student, (and ex-filmaker) out of the closet. B... >>

Snarkmarket Collaboration #1


Robin's call to action (4MB MP3)
Right-click to download, or just click to play it in your browser.

So, I made a video. But due to the vagaries of webcams and computer hard drives (I guess?) the sound was waaay out of sync -- I mean seriously, I would have just gone ahead and posted it except that it was hurting my brain it was so messed up.

But, in the spirit of just getting something out there, here is the audio alone, sweetened with a nice Minus Kelvin track. Take a listen. It is a description of a Snarkproject that I hope you will contribute to!

After you've listened: If you're in, email something to me at rsloan at gmail dot com between now and Friday!

I neglected to say in the pitch that I will, of course, be throwing some content in myself -- probably video clips from around San Francisco. And Matt better contribute something from Frezzle-rock, too, or I will start posting weird stuff under his name.

To underscore, though: The only reason I think this project might even be possible is that such a great, smart crew makes time for Snarkmarket -- old and new friends alike. So I hope you'll join in!

For reference: Matt on Kotkin | Tim on Kotkin | More from Matt

Posted May 31, 2005 at 11:54 | Comments (5) | Permasnark
File under: Collaborations

Kiss from the UK

Robin says,

The awesomely-named Jemima Kiss writes up EPIC over at She actually emailed me some questions last week but I, uh, didn't reply in time. Doh!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:50 AM

May 30, 2005

No Seriously... Can We Get One of These in San Francisco?

Robin says,

Oh great. GREAT.

Now thanks to Rex and Chuck Olsen, Minneapolis (!) has a kick-ass comprehensive what's-going-on-around-town site powered by RSS blog-juice.

Thus spake Sorgatz:

It's a few things, yet it's also something very simple: a one-site stop for Twin Cities conversations about culture, media, politics, and entertainment.'s primary function is to answer these two questions:

1) What are people in the Twin Cities talking about today?

2) What is going on around town tonight?

Check out the rest of his very cool articulation of what they're up to with the site.

I'm not super-into the name -- "MNspeak"? -- but whatevs, it could be called and I'd still want one for San Francisco if it did what this site purports to do.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:30 PM
Donny's thoughts: Actually, I think Imogen Heaps' song "Hide and Seek" is wonderful! It definitely deserves a liste... >>

Revenge of the Frou


Garden State was a solid movie, but its chief virtue was probably that it introduced the world to Frou Frou.

Now the voice of the Frou, Imogen Heap, is back with two new songs in advance of a new album.

iTunes: Hide and Seek. Goodnight and Go.

You can actually skip the first one; it's got a cool robo-choral sound in parts, but is mostly forgettable otherwise. "Goodnight and Go," on the other hand, is awesome: It sounds exactly like all the old songs. Which is, frankly, exactly what's needed at this point.

Posted May 30, 2005 at 10:19 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Recommended

Truth > Fiction

Robin says,

Paris Hilton is marrying a dude... named Paris.

And if this wire story had even a whiff of humanity it would have to break down halfway through and go: "But... they're BOTH named Paris??!?!"

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:42 PM

May 29, 2005

The Myth of the Creative Class?

Matt says,

Regarding our recent discussion on suburbs and cities, here's an interesting article from Joel Kotkin debunking many of the "creative cities" ideas that have been so popular in the wake of Richard Florida. (Suburbs vs. urbs roundup: Tim | Terrance | Kevin.) According to Kotkin:

The renaissance of American cities has been greatly overstated--and this unwarranted optimism is doing a disservice to cities themselves. Urban politics has become self-satisfied and triumphalist, content to see cities promote the appearance of thriving while failing to serve the very people--families, immigrants, often minorities--who most need cities to be decent, livable places. The myths that have grown up surrounding the urban renaissance are now often treated as fact. As an urban historian who lives in a major city, I believe that recognizing these myths for what they are is a critical first step towards the redemption of urban America.

Related: Peak oil doomsayer James Howard Kunstler and natural capitalist Amory Lovins have a go at the question of whether the 'burbs end with a bang or a whimper. The resultant thread on WorldChanging is better.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:31 PM

"All of Us Abuse the Hand Sanitizer"

Matt says,

I was reminded of this the other day, when I wrote a story about sex ed:

The other day I realized, as a cold claw of pure fear squeezed my frantic heart, that I have been working as a video clerk for ten months.

The immortal first line of True Porn Clerk Stories, one of my favorite no-longer-updated blogs that's an awesome read from start to finish.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:59 PM

May 28, 2005

Crazy Frog Axel F

Robin says,

Apparently this ringtone (click 'preview' on this page) has become... a top-selling single in the UK.


Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:22 AM

May 27, 2005

The Citizen Editor

Robin says,

First it was Jarvis; now Steve Outing is articulating a new kind of newsroom role:

Ergo, there's a new position opening up in some newsrooms: the citizen editor. While their ranks are small now, they are certain to grow in number. Journalism graduates seeking work in the field in the years ahead well may choose traditional reporting and editing, or veer toward the newer and very different line of editing the work of citizen journalists. Traditional journalists seeking new challenges or a change in work routine will have another option.

Totally agree.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:44 PM

Hey, Look, Downtown San Francisco


Keyhole is now Google Earth, and as a registered Keyhole user (read: huge nerd), I got to download a beta of the new app. No big differences have jumped out at me yet, except, you know, the 3D models of all buildings.

I'm sure they won't be 1980s-gray for long.

Posted May 27, 2005 at 3:12 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Technosnark

Removing Price Tags

Matt says,

If this works, then the blog Tricks of the Trade will have contributed a true service to mankind:

There is a better way to remove a price tag from a gift than trying to peel it off with your fingernail. Place a piece of tape over the sticker and rub it with your finger, leaving an end to pull on. Then rip the tape off like you would a band-aid, and the price tag will go with it.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:11 PM


Robin says,

Boing Boing reminds us how much high-fructose death syrup is in pop. In fact it's the leading source of calories in America. Gawd.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:28 AM

May 26, 2005

Sketch Comedy on the Web

Matt says,

Did Olde English make the Web rounds when I wasn't looking? 'Cause some of their stuff is hilarious.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:56 PM

'There's Some Light in the World'

Robin says,

WaPo rockstar Sebastian Mallaby on rockstar rockstar Bono's activism and the way he weaves it into U2 concerts. Cool.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:48 PM
Aaron's thoughts: You don't like beaches? Well, ain't that a beach! ... >>

Dr. Beach Lays It Down


Well lookit that. Fort de Soto is the best beach in America this year, according to the guy who comes up with the arbitrary list of the best beaches in America.

That's totally where I used to kick it back in St. Petersburg. I don't actually like beaches -- at all -- but de Soto has some pretty cool lagoon action going on.

Posted May 26, 2005 at 2:54 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany


Robin says,

It has come to Snarkmarket's attention that we are blocked by UK broadband provider BT Yahoo.

Clearly a result of our strident anti-BT Yahoo agitation in these pages.


Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:58 AM

May 25, 2005

Speaking of Comics ...

Matt says,

Apparently back in February The Guardian put up an 8-page Joe Sacco comic from Iraq. It's a 37-meg PDF download, to forewarn you, but it's a quick, interesting look at the war through a keen set of eyes. It's not as good as his Pulitzer-winning effort in Palestine or his reporting in Eastern Europe, mostly because he's embedded with the troops this time rather than speaking with civilians, but it's probably different from any other Iraq war coverage you've seen. (Via MadInkBeard.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:53 PM

Wi-Fi Web Browsing... Tablet... Linux... $350

Robin says,


Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:21 PM

May 24, 2005

Robin's thoughts: That's fantastic!... >>

Mais Qu'est-Ce Que J'Etais Venu Faire, Moi?


In 1947, Raymond Queneau wrote the same simple story about a man on a train 99 different ways. The book Exercises in Style became a bestseller in France, and its English translation is in its second edition. (You can find it here in French.)

This year, Matt Madden wants to do the same thing with comics. His forthcoming book, also called Exercises in Style, retells the mundane tale of a man on a late-night trip to the fridge in 99 different incarnations. A preview of the book is available on Madden's Web site.

I love the way this little storytelling gimmick fuels the imagination. The way you can spend lifetimes thinking about how meaning shifts in each quarto of a Shakespeare play, flipping through a few of Madden's exercises can make his nothing little characters come alive in your mind. As you move from drawing to drawing and note the changes in perspective or tone, you can imagine rich interior worlds. In one variation, the trip to the fridge is frightening. In another, it's fantastical. If you're like me, by the time you've clicked through just a few, you begin to understand the fridge-goer as a character on some deep existential quest.

But my favorite thing on the site is a variation submitted by one of Madden's guest artists, Sébastien Trahan. It's in French, but you don't need to understand French to appreciate it. (Just know that "14h11" in French means 2:11, etc.)

Posted May 24, 2005 at 10:08 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany

Guess Which Force We're a Part Of

Robin says,

Zephyr Teachout, director of internet organizing for the Dean campaign back in tha day, has a new post up that's framed by her "working meta-theory of the world":

The idea is that there are three ascendant forces in the world -- multinational corporations, radical theocracy, and civic democracy. Whichever one of these three figures out how to use the collective action solving power of the internet the best-- well, wins. Defines world history for the next few centuries. Dominates.

Cool, no? The whole post is good; go read it.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:47 PM

The World is Complicated

Robin says,

Edward Jay Epstein has been doing these cool inside-the-movie-biz features on Here's the latest, about how insurance companies reign supreme in Hollywood. Super interesting -- and demystifying.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:23 PM

May 23, 2005

The Herndon Climb

Matt says,


I think this may just supplant the Poe Toaster as Best Tradition Ever. Every year, all the "plebes" at the U.S. Naval Academy use each other's bodies as ladders to climb a lard-slathered obelisk, which they then crown with the hat of an upperclassman. Wow.



(Via Chrisafer.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:30 PM

Can't... Resist... Linking

Robin says,

Dude! How are we on the B-list of bloggers?

Yes, I know that page is just an entry in a viral media contest. In fact, it's basically just a little love note that says, "Dear several hundred bloggers: Please link to this page out of vanity."

Done and done.

UPDATE: My god. The page is actually a giant check-off form. The little white arrows tell you who is vain (and has therefore linked to the site). Sorry Matt... looks like you are self-interested by association. Just kidding.

Comments (8) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:46 PM


Another entry in the Everything Bad Is Good for You file, this one noted by Chad Capellman over at morph:

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Johan Santana, he of the 2004 AL Cy Young Award and a ridiculously dominant recent record for the Minnesota Twins, prepares for opponents by locking himself in a room and playing PlayStation.

As reported in the recent issue of Sports Illustrated:

Either the night before or on the morning of the game, he'll check out the lineup of the team he's facing, take in how the hitters have done against him. Then, alone on his bed, he'll pick up his PlayStation Portable, plug in the team he'll soon be pitching against for real, and go to work. ...

"Believe it or not, sometimes I see things in video games that will come true," Santana says. "Particularly in the last year. They're coming up with some good games, so realistic -- the stats are so accurate, and you can go from there. I'm sure a lot of players will agree with what I'm saying. Because it gives you ideas. I see the scouting reports, though I don't go by that, and in these video games you can see what the hitters have, how to approach them. It's pretty cool.

Posted May 23, 2005 at 12:25 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Video Games

Electronic Wars of Self-Representation

Robin says,

I love stuff like this. The rad-tastic Global Voices reports:

Bloggers in the Philippines are outraged that "a Google search for the word 'Filipina' throws back a slew of sites on dating and mail order brides. It's even worse for Google Image Search." But the "Pinoy Bloggers" -- as they call themselves -- aren't just going to sit back and let this state of affairs continue. They've got a plan to link the word "Filipina" to URLs and permalinks to each others' blog posts that describe women of the Philippines as "excellent, smart and tenacious."

It's Google-bombing for good, not evil!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:10 AM

Found in Translation?

You might have heard that Google let 100 journalists into the Lair last week for a rare "Factory Tour," previewing some of the goodies we can expect to see in the coming years. (It all sounds a little bit Willy Wonka-ish.) But did you hear this?

One fascinating area Google is aggressively exploring is automated language translation. Engineers have been studying the massive collection of translated documents that the United Nations keeps on its Web site -- as well as other document collections -- to develop a program that can automatically translate back and forth between documents.

To date, the company has examined about 200 billion words to train its system on the structures of various languages.

"If we can make every piece of the Web, every document, accessible to everybody, that will contribute something to the world,'' said Alan Eustace, vice president of engineering and research. "And that's what this project is aimed at.''

Google showed off a few translations it had performed using the new technology, from Arabic to English and from Chinese to English. They appeared nearly flawless.

The way language translation works now, apparently, is that people have created programs telling computers how different languages work. But with the complexity of language, given all its exceptions and colloquialisms, this doesn't work very well. (First sentence of this paragraph taken from English to French and back: "The translation of language in manner functions now, apparently, is that people created with computers of programs saying how the various languages function." Which is actually comparatively good.)

Google's taking a Rosetta Stone approach, teaching the computers to really learn languages by statistically analyzing existing translations. Philipp at Google Blogoscoped gives his thoughts on where this could lead.

Posted May 23, 2005 at 7:57 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Technosnark

May 22, 2005

Attention: San Francisco Web Media

Robin says,

Excuse me, SF sites, but why does the SF equivalent to this page not exist?

Y'all gettin' shown up by Fresno, folks!

Hott. Hotter. And clearly, hottest.

I hate SFStation, by the way. No RSS feeds, whaaa?

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:33 PM

Your Hosts, Again

Matt says,

Tune into the Advertising Show sometime during the next couple hours to hear me and [possibly] Robin being interviewed about EPIC. We'll post the archived show when we're done.

Update: Robin and I each spoke for a good sixteen seconds or so over the course of the two-hour show, most of which went like this:

Host: So this EPIC 2014 business, eh? What's that about?
Robin: X--
Host: Fascinating. We'll be back after 10 minutes to dig deeper into that fascinating answer.

Update: Here's the link. Don't go too crazy.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:03 PM


Matt says,

I've seen this Technology Review article everywhere, and I have only one comment:

It's called collaborative citizen journalism (CCJ) ...

Is it really? Because that's hella lame. (Note that exactly one person in the article uses the term "CCJ.")

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:14 AM

Changing of the Guard

Matt says,

I've snarked out NYT public editor Daniel Okrent before for his seeming tendency to focus his lens on himself rather than the newspaper. I eventually came around to Robin's point of view. But for the most part, I always liked what he wrote, and I'll be sad to see him go. Good show, Mr. O.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:54 AM

May 21, 2005


Matt says,

Having heard many a stricken, Webphobic news editor decry the introduction of "choice" to media consumption -- "What about the delicious serendipity of discovering all the amazing articles we've carefully hand-selected for them?!" -- this Rafat Ali quote rings of Absolute Truth:

One thing which somehow everyone lamented yesterday: the end of serendipity, as choice in news sources and methods of consumption becomes an increasing reality. My reaction: what you people call serendipity, we call links. What you people call the homepage, we call Bloglines. What you call indepth-reporting, we call blogging a story to death.

Via BM.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:54 PM
Robin's thoughts: Addendum. Sometimes I enjoy a good cinematic reamage. Brad Plumer obliges <a href="http://plumer.... >>

Long in the Tooth


For the moment, The New York Times has put up an archive of coverage of the Star Wars films, from the first Vincent Canby review of A New Hope (May 26, 1977) to now. My favorite moment comes in Janet Maslin's review of The Empire Strikes Back (written 25 years ago today!):

If George Lucas makes good on his promise to turn Star Wars into a parade of nine films and spend several years on the making of each of them, we may all be pretty long in the tooth before this story gets told.

Good Lord. Nine?! Sith was fun, but really ... we're quite sure Lucas is done with this now, right?

RELATED: The 1983 fan reactions to Return of the Jedi on USENET (via MeFi).

UPDATE: I clearly was not paying enough attention. The Washington Post has a much nicer archive. (Although they do need to do a better job of copy-editing the old articles.)

CAPSULE REVIEW: Everyone's pretty much agreed that it's a very fun film with awful dialogue, and I'm no different. Some would call it the apotheosis of epic; I'm going to stick with fun film. While I'm impressed by the scope of Lucas' story and how well it tied together, the writing and acting pretty much disqualifies this from the category of great cinema. It's a wonderful spectacle, though.

Posted May 21, 2005 at 10:23 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Movies

May 20, 2005

Mapping the Market

Robin says,

Find cheap gas using Google Maps! I love it!

(Thanks to Kevin for the link.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:15 PM

May 19, 2005


Matt says,

The site's online. Previously mentioned. And also. (Via MeFi.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:34 PM


Robin says,

Ooh, great NYT article:
Raymond Chandler once remarked that Holmes "is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue." He is languid, aloof, arrogant, supercilious and a bipolar druggie who in "The Sign of Four" is shooting up cocaine three times a day to overcome his lassitude. He has no friends other than Watson, and Mr. Lanza notwithstanding, he is almost certainly a virgin.

Two things I love about Holmes: 1. 221B Baker Street, and 2. The necessity of Watson. Come to think of it, those are both pretty Batman-ish properties, aren't they? Like the Batcave and, well, Robin. Makes sense: Batman is supposed to be the world's greatest detective, very much the heir to Holmes.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:49 PM

Pushing the Limits (or) To Zerg Or Not To Zerg?

Robin says,

I wish I had more time to write about this mind-blowing entry from Terra Nova. Here's a bit to get you interested:

In fact, one might argue that the hallmark of a good gamer, as compared to a non-gamer who games, might be stated thusly: the gamer knows how to efficiently approach and parse a new world, where the non-gamer doesn't.

This too:

Zergs, by instinct, try to stretch the concept of the group to its natural conclusion: bigger is badder, and badder is a safer griffon upon from to throttle loot from poor souls. Besides, very large zergs have an epic feel… or at least a colorful spread of color and character – as far as they eye can see - between the lagged screen refreshes, that is.


Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:36 PM

MyYahooglezon... Oh, I'm So Confused

Robin says,

And here is your Google Grid homepage.

What I want to know is: Why so few choices? This actually kinda blows!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:23 PM

Grow, Googlezon, Grow

Robin says,

Marshall Brain (the guy who invented has blogged a bit about EPIC lately. Today he notes that the word "Googlezon" is still on the rise in the Google index.

If only we were making money off of this... why is there not a Googlezon t-shirt yet??

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:50 AM

May 18, 2005

Matt's thoughts: HA! That definitely rocks hard.... >>

The Trusted Word in Policy Magazine Recommendations

foreign policy basks in snarkmarket love

Note the endorsement.

Hey, if you're out there, FP -- can a blogga get a free thermos or what?

(Seriously though, you should check out FP if you haven't before. Here's the subscription offer too.)

Posted May 18, 2005 at 10:52 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Media Galaxy
Robin's thoughts: Hmm, thanks to comment spam this post is brought to my attention again. I retroactively amend my ... >>

The Hope That Is Nintendo

So, Microsoft and Sony have both busted out with their next-generation game systems: the Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively. They both look ridiculously powerful and full of cool potential.

But where is the game company to which I owe the most allegiance? Where is Nintendo?

As usual, wandering off in some other bizarre direction.

Big N has unveiled its next-generation system, the Revolution, but details are scant. And honestly, the thing doesn't even seem designed to compete with Microsoft and Sony's next-gen machines.

And yet, two things tantalize:

  • Is Nintendo building a platform and toolset that will make it possible for normal nerds to once again make games in the fertile darkness of their basements? The possibility is raised by hello, nintendo. Some context: Games have become ridiculously complex and costly productions. It's like making a movie... except... harder. And you have to do it faster. It requires dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people and many millions of dollars. So the indie game makers of yore are few and far between these days, especially on consoles. Could Nintendo bring them back? How?

  • Nintendo is also saying you'll be able to play 20 years of awesome Nintendo games on the Revolution. Ya gotta admit... that's cool. Because amazingly, Super Mario Bros. 3, published in 1988, still holds up.
Posted May 18, 2005 at 10:16 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Video Games

May 17, 2005

I Bet You $3000 ...

Matt says,

The Long Now Institute has been mentioned at least obliquely in these pages before. But it wasn't till today that I encountered Long Bets, a Long Now spinoff. The discussions are the real attraction.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:36 PM

Why Wite-Out Still Smells Crappy

Matt says,

Clive Thompson isolates this fantastically revealing kicker from an NYT article about correction fluid:

An enduring drawback of correction fluid is the solvent vapor. That could be fixed, but not without damaging the psyche of faithful consumers, said Mr. McCaffrey of Liquid Paper: "People who have grown up using a product tend to equate its smell with quality, and you don't want to change that - whether it's crayons or correction fluid."
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:18 PM

May 16, 2005

Dustin's thoughts: Dah! I despise the letter "H" for being so easily overlooked. In fact, I'm appalled at how easily... >>

Columnists at Cal


Things I learned at UC-Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall last Friday night:

  • Thomas Friedmas has lost the ability to communicate in normal human language; now he speaks only in weirdly polished anecdotes and soundbites.

  • Maureen Dowd is bangin'! Seriously man. I know she's like 50 or something but still.

Also noted:

  • Dowd keeps up a casual correspondence with George H. W. Bush. He emails her with critiques of the Times. That's cute.

  • Friedman had an off-the-record chat with George W. Bush about the war in Iraq. I'm not exactly sure when. His interviewer asked him: "And he wanted that to be off the record because...?" to which Friedman replied, disingenuously I think, "I have no idea!"

  • Dowd on Saudi Arabia: "The Saudis are sort've a weird... bifurcated... sick society." That's the kinda pundit-class pronouncement I like!

  • Dowd on Al Gore: "At least he was into modernity!"

  • Friedman on Friedman: "Going to the Arab world with Tom Friedman is like going to the mall with Britney Spears." (Okay, he was quoting someone else, but still.)

  • Friedman explaining some ridiculous thing from his book: "Plug and play! Compete, connect, and collaborate!" [with the polished ease of a man who's been on TV one... too... many... times]

Posted May 16, 2005 at 11:48 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Journalism

The Perfect Site for Me

Matt says,

Halfbakery. This site's been around forever, but I've spent precious little time there. Until now. This is awesome!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:56 PM

Subscribe to Maureen Dowd?

Matt says,

Meh. Pretty much the only one I'll miss is Kristof. Krugs, occasionally. The NYT's announced a decision to charge for the op-ed page online, and bloggers are already saying their sayonaras. (This will be on Every Blog in the World in 5 ... 4 ... )

Update: Changed the link to a more complete story. The $50 annual fee (yowza!) will also allow subscribers access to the NYT archive.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:48 PM

And Here's Your Host ...

Matt says,

Check me out in RealPlaya.

Comments (10) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:37 AM


Robin says,

For some reason this headline makes me laugh:

Stegosaur plates and spikes for looks only, researchers say

(For the record, the stegosaurus was my favorite dinosaur back during the time when you, like, had to have a favorite dinosaur.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:04 AM

Chappelle Shows Up

Robin says,

You probably heard that Dave Chappelle kinda disappeared. Turns out he went to South Africa. Really interesting interview. Way to go with the web exclusive, TIME!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:02 AM

May 15, 2005

The Future Is Now

Matt says,

An aside:

I love the thought that our children are growing up used to having domestic robots in the house. Robots for them are slightly dim but friendly vacuum cleaners, not fearsome weapons or fantasy toys.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:46 PM
Tim's thoughts: Thanks for the nod, Matt. Your latest post inspired me to compose an entirely-too-long Schrift, c... >>

The Places I Have Come to Fear the Most


I have a reflexive dislike of the suburbs. I grew up in Orlando, in one of its suburbs stacked on suburbs, all in distant orbit around a tiny center of faux-urbanity we called downtown. (Which in turn hovered in distant orbit around a giant center of faux-reality we called Disney World.)

Orlando feels horribly lifeless to me. I often say that in Orlando, you have to drive 20 minutes to get to the convenience store. I can't think of a single good Mom-and-Pop shop around where I grew up. When I go back to visit, there are no places where my friends and I can sit idly and chat until the wee hours. For a while, we seriously took to frequenting the lobbies of the nicer hotels.

When I was a sophomore away in college, my parents suddenly moved away from the house I'd lived in since 4th grade. To this day, I haven't even gone back to see what the house looks like. I have tons of memories of that time in my life, but the house, lifeless and suburban, figures in none of them. Meanwhile, my grandmother's house in Chicago, where I spent only a week each year until my late teens, is a living place brimming with unforgettable corners.

grandmashouse.jpgSo it feels instinctively right to me when I hear James Howard Kunstler describe suburbs as resource-sucking parasites, or when I read essays like David Owen's magnificent "Green Manhattan" (about how super-urbs like Manhattan "offer one of the few plausible remedies for some of the world's most discouraging environmental ills") and Michael Pollan's equally magnificent "Why Mow?" (about how the once-democratic suburban lawn has become a symbol of near-totalitarian conformity).

How could anyone choose a suburb over a city? I ask myself. Cities engender creativity and comity and efficiency. The Renaissance could never have taken place in a suburbanized Europe.

But I occasionally get jolted out of my city-worship when I encounter a bit of reality like this post by Terrance at the Republic of T:

... Read more ....
Posted May 15, 2005 at 3:20 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Society/Culture

The Class Menagerie

Robin says,

Click on the 'how class breaks down' tab. That's a really interesting view -- and honestly, not as polarized as I expected it to be.

Also click the 'income mobility' tab. Kinda blows to be in the bottom fifth.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:58 PM
Aaron's thoughts: Ha ha. Thanks guys. I feel like a dork posting here, but who is Dan and what etch-a-sketch thin... >>

Cooler Than Is Physically Possible

Go, Minus Kelvin, go!

Friend of Snarkmarket Aaron McLeran just got a mad shout-out from none other than Larry Lessig, the Atticus Finch of the internet. (Or something like that.)

The story, in brief: Aaron posts his wicked e-beats on ccMixter. Dude named Pat Chilla (the Beat Gorilla!) picks up on A's genius, connects with him, and next thing you know, Minus Kelvin is on Runoff Records doing tracks for America's Next Top Model and some as-yet-to-be-revealed MTV shows. Hott!

If you haven't heard any MK music, start with this -- it's one of my faves. Then check out the site.

Posted May 15, 2005 at 1:06 | Comments (5) | Permasnark
File under: Media Galaxy

May 14, 2005


Matt says,

Dang. I thought I'd be the first to point to Dan Gillmor's new project, Bayosphere, currently in beta or soft-launch or gestation or something else short of ta-da. But it looks like Tampa Bay stalwart Laura Fries (that's Fries like French) beat me to the punch. Why you always gotta be blog-blocking, Laura? Sheez.

Anyway, Dan Gillmor, formerly of Typepad, formerly formerly of the San Jose Mercury News, has begun to unwrap his first citizen's media venture that isn't necessarily tied to a book. As of this moment, there isn't much describing exactly what this new venture is about, besides citizen's media and the SF Bay Area, but worth noting and bookmarking, if you're interested in either of those two things.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:26 AM

May 13, 2005

Tetris Shelves

Matt says,

A link worth posting even if many of you probably already saw it on Boing Boing.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:19 PM

The Best Blog on the Internet (Right Now)

Robin says,

The Darth Side just keeps getting better and better. Somehow a random blog-author is bringing more depth and subtlety to the Star Wars mythos than George Lucas ever did.

From today's entry:

Hate! Love! Misery! Joy! These are paths to the dark side, for to invest in the emotional life of civilization is to care about its fate. To care is to suffer, and suffering is real.

The Jedi were mere spectators.

I just can't say enough how much I love the mix of histrionics and casual asides:

There is a schism in the Force and it rolls this way like thunder.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:33 AM

May 12, 2005


Robin says,

Craiglist throws a party for The Onion -- could that be any cooler? Am so there!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:07 PM

May 11, 2005

Push the Button


The trailer for fashion photographer David LaChapelle's documentary about krumping, Rize, has been released. Despite appearing a full year ago on BoingBoing, the art of krumping (a.k.a. clown dancing) remains the next hot thing in hip-hop dancing.

Most recently, krumping was featured to great effect in the Chemical Brothers' video "Galvanize," although Missy Elliott probably deserves the most credit for piping it into the mainstream with last year's summer jam "I'm Really Hot."

From the reviews collected at LaChappelle's site, it sounds like Rize impressed the Sundance crowd. It's been compared to Paris is Burning, a strong contender for my favorite documentary of all time.

At least superficially, the comparison makes sense. In PIB, a straight Jewish woman captures New York's brilliant, predominantly black and Latino voguing scene at its height -- and also at the height of AIDS and violence against queers and within the queer community on and around Christopher St. With Rize, a gay white photographer takes on LA's brilliant, predominantly black krumping scene -- a splash of positivity set against the violent backdrop of South Central L.A.

Here's hoping it makes it to Fresno.

Posted May 11, 2005 at 9:43 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Music

May 10, 2005

Greasemonkey Script of the Day

Matt says,

Platypus lets you edit Web pages to appear however you want (remove elements, insert your own HTML, move things around), then saves those changes as a Greasemonkey user script, so the Web site always displays just how you like it. Best ever. (From Waxy.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:09 PM

Please F*** You

Matt says,

English sentences without overt grammatical subjects. A linguistic exploration of the f-word's unusual place within the English language. (From LanguageHat.)

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:55 PM

Bald Is Cute

Robin says,

Natalie Portman: Welcome to the club!

(Okay, now, go to some other site, maybe or something, read for a while, and then read the next post. Otherwise the tonal shift will destroy you.)

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:36 AM

May 9, 2005

Robin's thoughts: BUT let me retract most of that snark in the face of the fact that <a href="http://corzine.senate... >>


If there's one link worth double-posting to Snarkmarket on an otherwise-quiet posting day, it's this. The Passion of the Present, a blog that has been tirelessly chronicling the ongoing genocide in Darfur for almost a year. It's been almost a year since I wrote this. I haven't played the "Paris Hilton vs. Darfur" game since, but whether the ratio's gotten better or worse, the slaughter continues.

We know the ending to this story. Eventually, the conflict will come to an end, after a couple years of unthinkable death. We'll put on a brief, solemn, nationwide show of mourning and regret, crying "Never again!" Ten years down the line, we'll light candles, hold memorials, maybe even make a movie.

I'm bad at preaching. I do it for my own sake. When my children ask, "Where were you when Africa disappeared?" who knows how I'll reply? I hope I don't have to say that I just wasn't paying attention. I think that might be the worst possible answer.

Posted May 9, 2005 at 11:40 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Society/Culture

RSS-ify Anything

Matt says,

One of your favorite websites lacks an RSS feed? Roll your own.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:37 AM

May 8, 2005

Subsidies for Newspapers!

Matt says,

Michael Kinsley, sometimes I love you. And right now is one of those times:

Newspapers are essential to every American, and none more so than the fools and ingrates who have stopped buying them. It is up to us, as members of the last generation that experienced life before computer screens, to make sure that future generations of Americans will know what to do when it says "Continued on Page B37." In a recent survey of Americans younger than age 30, only 26 percent said "Look in Section B," and a pitiful 13 percent chose the correct answer, which is "Look FOR Section B. It's around here somewhere." As a service to humanity and because I like my job, here is a seven-point plan to save the newspaper industry.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:56 AM

May 7, 2005

U.S. News & World Googlezon

Robin says,

John Leo of U.S. News on EPIC. Sweet!

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:53 PM

May 6, 2005

"Things" Returns!

Matt says,

Beloved Webstop Things magazine is back, hopefully frequently and for good, with a collection of wonderful links, including:

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:49 PM

Everything On-Demand

Matt says,

Chad Capellman over at morph writes up this Craigslist ad, which he sees as a portent of things to come:

I need some very simple PHP/MYSQL coding done, and I need it now.

I'll give you 100 bucks, but it has to be RIGHT NOW.

email me. I"m here.

* this is in or around TRYST COFFEESHOP

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:29 PM

May 5, 2005

Binary Cover Art

Matt says,

xandy.gif When Coldplay released their latest album with the cover at left, fans were apparently really curious about what the image meant. So they did some voodoo and discovered that the image is a graphical representation of a code invented in the 19th Century by Frenchman Emile Baudot. I wonder if Coldplay knew this. (Via The Modern Age.)

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:39 PM

May 4, 2005

Album of the Year!! Or... So I Hear

Robin says,

Tim says Andrew Bird's new album rules. And that's good enough for me.

P.S. Somebody get this guy a job at the New Yorker.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:21 PM
Terrence's thoughts: I'd never heard of Amazon's SIPs until now. It sounds interesting, even inovative, although I'm n... >>

Oh Amazon You Cruel Temptress


I've seen Amazon's new "statistically improbable phrases" feature noted elsewhere; however I haven't seen anyone mention their new(er?) text stats summary.

It includes, for every book, the Gunning Fog Index (remember that?) as well as more run-of-the-mill stuff like number of characters, words, etc. Cute touch: They also compute words-per-dollar -- for comparison shopping, clearly.

Anyway, this reminded me of the fact that Amazon has scanned and digitized sooo many books.

And I realize this is unrealistic, but I would just like to say, for the record, that I wish to have immediate access to all of those digital books for some (perhaps unreasonable) monthly fee.

You may display the books on my Librie if you wish.

Posted May 4, 2005 at 11:11 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Media Galaxy

May 3, 2005

EPIC Is Pretty in Pink

Robin says,

Hey, a nice note from Patrick Phillips of IWantMedia alerted me to this: EPIC is in the Financial Times. Excerpt:

Sometimes, a piece of science fiction can turn out to be more than just a bit of crazy speculation.

A short online film* about the future of newspapers - produced six months ago by two Fellows at The Poynter Institute, a US journalism school - remains mostly pure fantasy. It predicts that the press will lose the race for online readers over the next 10 years after failing to make rapid changes needed to attract consumers who prefer to catch up with the news on the internet.

Anybody with an subscription wanna tell us what the rest of the article says?

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:32 AM

May 2, 2005

'The Most Interesting Mind in America'

Matt says,

When Malcolm Gladwell says you've got the most brilliant mind in America, I'm guessing you can write pretty much anything your little heart desires and it'll sell like hotcakes, even with a hellsafugly cover.

At any rate, Freakonomics sounds fun. This excerpt and this one, both about baby names, are fascinating. OK Kottke interview | The NYT Mag article I assume led to the book | A NYT Mag piece also co-authored by Levitt and Dubner | Other writings by Dubner

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:03 PM

May 1, 2005

I Know We've Discussed This Already, But

Robin says,

Can I just say how underwhelmed I am by the NYT's choice of Fareed Zakaria to review Tom Friedman's new book? I mean... isn't Fareed Zakaria basically just Tom Friedman? Boooring.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:57 PM

Dromedary Droid

Robin says,


If you're thinking to yourself, "Is that a robot camel jockey??," the answer is yes, yes it is.

Via Global Voices.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:44 PM
spacer image
spacer image