images of flag-draped coffins upset u.s. polictians

i just watched u.s. republican party politicians foaming at the mouth over the new democrat party advert that shows flag-drapped coffins. too bad they didn't mention the 2004 bush re-election campaign advert that showed a flag-draped coffin and images of the new york trade towers rubble.

it took me only five minutes to find copies of both spots on youtube.com. i was also able to find articles online that covered both events. hard to bury this sutff when you got the internet, eh?

Republicans blast Emanuel for coffin pictures
(dnc video with coffins)

More than a dozen Republicans angrily denounced Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) Thursday for his decision to air video of flag-draped coffins of American troops as part of a fundraising appeal for Democratic House candidates.
"For the Democrats, everything is about politics," said Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "But this crosses the line."

2004 Campaign: A 'Shocking' Stumble (rnc video with flag-drapped coffin)

[the re-election campaign ad release] was quickly marred by charges from some 9/11 families that the Bush team was seeking to exploit the attacks for political gain. One scene shows footage of a flag-draped coffin of a terror victim; another has an American flag waving in front of World Trade Center wreckage. Publicly, Bush aides were dismissive and insisted the flap had only strengthened their plan to make 9/11 "a central topic of the campaign."

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bigelow spacecraft inflates successfully - may be new vc bubble

Spacecraft successfully inflates in orbit
Mission controllers established communication with Genesis I about seven hours after launch. Early indications showed its GPS tracking system was working and that it had deployed its solar panels. ... The goal of the maiden Genesis mission will focus on the inflation process — a key element to determining the feasibility of constructing an expandable space habitat. Future Bigelow missions will test docking among spacecraft.

pretty cool! seems to me that the space industry is very much like the 'internet industry' of the early 1990s - on the verge of a big 'boom.'

you know, if small start-ups like this one are successful, i expect to see venture capital rush into this area very soon. ready for the new 'bubble?'

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gmail is back up again

looks like the googlers got today's gmail problems ironed out. i was able to log in and perform all functions (for me the "archive", "delete", and "mark-as-spam" functions were broken). the general tone of the posts in the google groups is also pretty positive. fwiw, i noticed the frustration and (some) anger in the posts dissipate once a googler posted a general notice that they knew of the problem and were working on it.

and that's the point, really. treating your customers (your beta testers) well will always earn you loyalty. even when things go wrong. this is a tried and true rule. one that existed *long* before the computer or the internet. maybe this event will spur the folks at gmail/google to step up their efforts to be more responsive to users of their hosted apps.

if they don't yahoo, microsoft, and others will have a great opportunity to steal customers and business from google.

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google responds to email problems via google groups

since i 'ragged' on google in a post here earlier today regarding their slow reponse to a (seemingly widespread) email glitch this morning.

i followed their instructions to post a bug report (as, i suspect, have many others) and recieved a prompt auto-reply. i'll continue this thread by posting follow ups until the issue is resovled.

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paralyzed man is now a cyborg

Brain sensor allows mind-control
Although the patient's spinal cord had been severed for three years by the time of the trial, the scientists found that brain cell activity - or neural firing patterns - persisted in the patient's motor cortex. The electrodes in the NMP were able to record this activity and send it to a computer. The computer then translated the firing patterns into movement commands which could drive computer controls or artificial limbs.

i find this incredible. a bit scary, but still incredible.

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stocks tumble on energy, inflation worries

Dow Down More Than 100 Points: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
Stocks' losses steepened Wednesday afternoon as investors sold off following a drop in oil inventories that raised Wall Street's concerns about higher oil prices and rising inflation. ... "Energy is in the back of people's minds," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist, U.S. equity research, Standard & Poor's.  ...The Energy Department reported that oil inventories dropped by a larger-than-expected amount last week. The news sent crude oil futures up 39 cents a barrel to $74.55 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

i posted on this topic just yesterday (whistling in the fiscal graveyard). investors know that things are shaky right now.

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gmail glitches expose google's achilles heel

Google Groups : Gmail Help Discussion > Problem-solving
...was loving gmail for a while, but there have been a lot of hiccups lately ... left yahoo for this, and now, i'm regretting it ... what's the point of having web-based email if you cannot use it?

seems google's gmail is flaky today. they might be getting hacked, they might be upgrading to a better/faster version, they might be having hardware problems. no one knows for sure. because on ething google does not have is responsive customer service.

the quote above is typical of the postings on google's own gmail group. even though these messages have been up for a couple hours, there has been no official response from a 'googler' posted to the group - bad move.

while many pundits cheer google's foray into application hosting, i suspect the 'high-tech' minds at google are not prepared for the 'high-touch' requirements application support requires. microsoft has spent over 25 years dealing with users. google has only a fraction of that time under their belt.

if i was working for yahoo! or microsoft right now, i'd be focusing on google's achilles heel - and providing superior customer service.

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inflatable space-hotel launch successful

Inflatable spacecraft launches from Russia
The Genesis I spacecraft lifted off from the southern Ural Mountains at 6:53 p.m. Moscow time aboard a converted Cold War ballistic missile, according to the Russian Strategic Missile Forces. It reached its designated orbit about 320 miles above Earth minutes after liftoff.

gotta hand it to the folks at bigelow aerospace. looks like they're off to a good start on their 'space hotel' project.

based on nasa's transhab project (another victim of the short-sighted u.s. space scalebacks), it's designed to create affordable, module orbiting habitats. for all the geeks out there, they're building plug-in modules for space!

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myspace surpasses yahoo mail as internet traffic leader

MySpace Moves Into #1 Position for all Internet Sites
Today Hitwise issued a press release reporting that for the first time, www.myspace.com has surpassed Yahoo! Mail as the most visited domain on the Internet for US Internet users.

even more surprising is that myspace hits have grown from 0.1% of traffic in july 2004 to 4.5% in july 2006! wow!

sure seems like social networking is king.

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u.s. house playing to the anti-gamlbing right-wing base

US moves to limit online gambling
Critics have attacked the proposals as an "outrageous" measure, claiming it aims to stir up the more conservative sectors of society ahead of the elections - and so boost the Republican party's chances.

phew! what a stinker! this bill marks as illegal u.s. banks and credit-card companies making payments to online gambling sites. it *doesn't* make gambling illegal. just paying your gambling debts! and this from a country where you can play government-sponsored lotteries in almost every state.

sounds like u.s. congress is trying to rile up conservatives on the eve of fall voting while they protect their own gambling profits - sheesh

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europe commits to greater internet access while u.s. backtracks

France proposes affordable computer access - Yahoo! News
Low-income French families will be equipped with a computer and an Internet connection for 1 euro ($1.27) a day under a new government proposal. Families who sign up will receive a computer, a high-speed connection, software and a class on how to use the equipment...

i saw a simliar story last month that the e.u. is moving to make internet access mandatory. the more access to information, the better the opportunity to learn and grow. unfortunately, it also improves that chance that online users will become victims of scams and exposed to tasteless content. that's progress, eh [sigh]?

all this news is in stark contrast to the current u.s. activity to allow providers to increase fees and restrict internet access through the orwellian-named net neutrality debate.

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dilbert's scott adams has a conspiracy theory

The Dilbert Blog: Secret Society
My favorite conspiracy theory is the one that says the world is being run by a handful of ultra-rich capitalists, and that our elected governments are mere puppets. I sure hope it’s true. Otherwise my survival depends on hordes of clueless goobers electing competent leaders. That’s about as likely as a dog pissing the Mona Lisa into a snow bank. The only way I can get to sleep at night is by imagining a secret cabal of highly competent puppetmasters who are handling the important decisions while our elected politicians debate flag burning and the definition of marriage.

i *love* scott adams' dilbert comic strip. his blog is new to me, but already, i;m cracking up!

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reported u.s. mid-summer debt reduction is just whistling in the fiscal graveyeard

The Concord Coalition also urged lawmakers and the public to keep today's new numbers--particularly the revenue growth--in perspective. Adjusted for inflation, revenues are just now reaching their level of five years ago. As a percentage of GDP, revenues fell from 20.9 percent in 2000 to 16.3 percent in 2003-- the lowest such number since 1959-- before rebounding this year to the administration's projected level of 18.3 percent. Meanwhile, spending has risen from 18.4 percent of GDP in 2000 to 20.6 percent under the Administration's policies.[emphasis mine].

i saw this coming last week while i was away on holiday. the *short-term* up-tick in tax revenues trumpted by the u.s. government today is such a minor blip that all reputable economists dismiss it as trivial. given the *growing* u.s. debt and the continued threat of rising fuel costs coupled with a general weak economy, americans have very little to cheear about right now. and that does not even include the expected pressure from retirees and medical expenses due to hit in the next decade.

btw - if you want to keep a sharp eye on the condition of the u.s. budget, i highly recommend the non-partisan concord coalition web site. it's not very 'pretty' as sites go, but it's right on target and a great resource

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zidane = the web-game

france's zinedine zidane (one of my favoraite players) and his 2006 world cup final head-butt incident (bummed me out) has spawned a tough-in-cheek web-based game (the zidane webgame).

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entertainment mogul camp pits new vs. old media

Deadline Hollywood Daily » Camp Allen Speakers/Panels List Here
For so many years Camp Allen was a secretive gathering of the privileged white men who sat atop America's entertainment conglomerates and their families, a wilderness confab replete with river-rafting, picnic-table power-lunching, and (the whole purpose of the exercise) hush-hush deal-making.

hosted by investor herb allen, 'camp allen' brings entertainment's big-wigs to hangout, gossip, and broker deals. this year, more than ever, the old media (disney, knight-ridder, etc) are facing a bleak future as the new media (google, youtube, et al) keep stealing their revenue.

this was the annual event where bill gates and warren buffet started their friendship (and you know what that created). but now the likes of gates, and apple's steve jobs won't be attending (are they old media now?).

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photonic chops closer to reality

Broadband light amplifier on a silicon chip
Cornell researchers have created a broadband light amplifier on a silicon chip, a major breakthrough in the quest to create photonic microchips. In such microchips, beams of light traveling through microscopic waveguides will replace electric currents traveling through microscopic wires.

the ability to replace electric current wwith light offers hughe potentials for power-usage and speed for microchip processors.

Photonic circuits are expected to find their first applications as repeaters and routers for fiber-optic communications, where several different wavelengths are sent over a single fiber at the same time. The new broadband device makes it possible to amplify the multiplexed traffic all at once.
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writley using gdrive?

Google Gdrive Surfaces
Corsin Camichel discovered first traces of Gdrive, Google’s rumored online storage solution. Corsin was snooping around Google’s writely.com, trying out the page name “index.html”, when he hit on what looks like a Gdrive download page.

some interesting action in the google world today. seems someone was 'playing' with writley and stumbled upon a pointer to google's (still under wraps) gdrive shared file service. is writely already using this service as their back-end for versioning and collaboration? could be very cool!

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one red paper clip for a writley invite

one red paperclip
Ok Google, I'll play right into your Gmail-ish word-of-mouth free advertising scheme: I'll trade somebody one red paperclip patch for a Writely invite.

you know the buzz on writely.com is getting up there when the 'one red paperclip guy' wants an invite!

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jon udell and i use the same lawn mower

Jon Udell: Clean air gardening
Currently I use a Scotts Classic which I bought six years ago from Clean Air Gardening. My friends and family think I'm nuts to use it, but in fact these modern reel mowers are light and easy to push. The effort required to mow the lawn is mostly just the effort required to walk the property, and that's the same whether you're behind a roaring two-stroke engine or no engine. And in the latter case you can walk in bare feet, hear birds sing, and enjoy a bit of eco-smugness.

i love my reel mower. like jon udell, my family and friends think me loony for using it, too. unfortunately, i've only had it out a few times this season. my work and travel schedule have put me 'behind' in my lawn care and, once the grass gets too long, rell mowers can be frustrating[sigh].

but reading jon's post encourages me to get 'back on track' with my own private bit of 'eco-smugness.'

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zidane gets red card, i get disappointed

Zizou remains a hero to the fans
Zidane's dismissal in extra-time for a head butt into the chest of Italy defender Marco Materazzi ensured he missed a tense penalty shootout which Italy won 5-3 and killed hopes of a fairytale ending to a glittering career.

i really enjoyed see france's zindane play his last matches during the world cup this year. that is, until late in the overtime of the final when he got into a row with an italian player. it resulted in a red card for zindane and - eventually - a loss for france.

actually, i suspect it was itally's plan to badger zidane to get him ejected from the match before he could have a chance to score again or kick in the penalty shoot out after overtime.

too bad it worked

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