Books | Events | Games | Investing | Links | Meta | Miscellaneous | Movies | Sports | Tech | Television | Things | Travels |

March 20, 2009

Humorous story in the NYT - "My Life With Cables"

Very amusing story and great illustrations - My Life With Cables.

Posted by aarondf at 02:25 PM | Links | Comments (0)

December 03, 2008

The Big Picture again - Venice under Water

Venice under Water - amazing just how casual most of the people look. This continues to be a must-see blog.

Posted by aarondf at 04:25 PM | Links | Comments (0)

November 06, 2008

Election Map

Go here and click on "Voting shifts" in the upper left. The map is color-coded by shift in vote to the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate from 2004 to 2008. My point in linking this map should be pretty self-explanatory and I found powerful - at least it is fairly contained. Btw, Massachusetts and Arizona's shifts are probably explained by the home-state candidates (Kerry in 2004 and McCain in 2008) so probably ignore them.

Posted by aarondf at 01:09 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 30, 2008

Prometheus - Web Comic

I haven't yet read the whole archive but Prometheus is the best new (to me) comic I have seen since xkcd, not that they have anything particular in common.

Posted by aarondf at 04:31 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 06, 2008

Another Amazing Photo Set - Yann Arthus-Bertrand's Earth From Above

Another bunch of just amazing photographs from Alan Taylor's Big Picture blog - the images are all by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and part of his "Earth From Above" series.

Posted by aarondf at 03:25 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 05, 2008

Cute Cat Pictures

Oh, also, this entry on Cute Overload is not to be missed for cat lovers.

Posted by aarondf at 04:35 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Building a Castle in California

I should write a catch-up post given how long its been since I posted but for now here's a cool story of a guy in California building a castle entirely by himself, down to forging bolts and latches for it.

Posted by aarondf at 04:32 PM | Links | Comments (0)

July 08, 2008

The Web Site is Down

Very funny video - may not be immediately obvious but this is a video and you need to hit the little play button. The video is generally pretty funny but the last minute or so is hilarious so if you aren't into the beginning, skip ahead.

Kind of a modern BOFH.

Posted by aarondf at 04:56 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

Dancing the World

Tons of people (I saw it from Toonhead first) are linking this but it deserves it. Almost bound to bring a smile to your face. Simple but wonderful idea.

Matt Harding dancing in tons of locations all over the world and getting the locals to join in.

Posted by aarondf at 05:31 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 30, 2008

Why is Oil going up so much?

Excellent post on the rise of oil prices on The Big Picture. I of course am really happy about the rise in gas prices as MAYBE it will get us to finally do some of the things which we should have done long ago about this issue.

Posted by aarondf at 04:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 01, 2008

Sweet story

Super-sweet story about an incident at a Division II college women's softball game.

Link via Eric Berlin and Kottke.

Posted by aarondf at 04:16 PM | Links | Comments (0)

The idiotic Gas tax vacation idea.

Excellent post on the Clinton/McCain idiotic gasoline tax vacation idea. In particular

We have no energy policy, and none on the horizon. Candidates serious about the issue of high energy prices should be discussing increased CAFE standards, capital gains tax waivers for alternative energy investments, greater offshore drilling, Pigou taxes, rapid nuclear plant approvals, a huge increase in the basic R&D the government does on energy -- a Manhattan project for energy and transportation science.

This all seems so damn obvious and yet none of it gets done. So frustrating.

Posted by aarondf at 04:12 PM | Links | Comments (0)

January 07, 2008

Parable of the Talents

Wonderful story about a church event in Ohio reenacting a Bible parable.

Posted by aarondf at 05:48 PM | Links | Comments (0)

January 02, 2008


How did I not hear about this until now. Would definitely have gone down to check it out if I had known.

Posted by aarondf at 05:37 PM | Links | Comments (0)

December 19, 2007

The Kick Is Up and It’s ... A Career Killer

The Kick Is Up and It’s ... A Career Killer is a great article from October about field goal kicking/kickers in the NFL, written by Michael Lewis.

Posted by aarondf at 05:44 PM | Links | Comments (1)

November 06, 2007

Ron Paul Candidacy

There is a nice article in Salon on Ron Paul and his candidacy. I would vote for him (and have in the past) in a second as a Libertarian candidate (despite of course not agreeing with all of his positions) but pretty sure I won't as a Republican candidate as he is an anomaly on the Republican side and a vote on that side, especially when he obviously won't win, seems counterproductive.

Posted by aarondf at 06:16 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 23, 2007

Information Revolution

This YouTube video is very nicely done and worth watching I think. It is on the digital/web information revolution, similar ideas to Clay Shirky's "Ontology is Overrated" talk if you have seen that.

Link from NPL mailing list.

Posted by aarondf at 03:08 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 25, 2007

Civics Literacy test

I recommend this Civics Literacy test although should warn that it is awfully hard. I got 50 out of 60 although was kind of unlucky on a a number of 50-50 guesses.

Posted by aarondf at 04:33 PM | Links | Comments (1)

Tennis Infographics

This New York Times infographic on tennis is really impressive in presentation. I found slides 5 and 9 particularly informative. You can really see the difference in effect of the surfaces (clay vs. grass) in #5 and of serving diversity (Nadal vs. Roddick) in #9. Kudos to the graphic designers on this piece.

Link from kottke.

Posted by aarondf at 04:27 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 14, 2007

Are the Rich falling behind?

Pretty funny video.

Posted by aarondf at 04:49 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 29, 2007

Pretty Amazing Image Editing Technology

Check out the video here. The general ability seems pretty cool but the ease with which it erases portions of images is pretty scary really.

Posted by aarondf at 02:49 PM | Links | Comments (3)

June 15, 2007

Another Security Article

Another excellent Bruce Schneier security article. Quoting the article:

The alleged plan, to blow up JFK's fuel tanks and a small segment of the 40-mile petroleum pipeline that supplies the airport, was ridiculous. The fuel tanks are thick-walled, making them hard to damage. The airport tanks are separated from the pipelines by cutoff valves, so even if a fire broke out at the tanks, it would not back up into the pipelines. And the pipeline couldn't blow up in any case, since there's no oxygen to aid combustion. Not that the terrorists ever got to the stage -- or demonstrated that they could get there -- where they actually obtained explosives. Or even a current map of the airport's infrastructure.

But read what Russell Defreitas, the lead terrorist, had to say: "Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow.... They love JFK -- he's like the man. If you hit that, the whole country will be in mourning. It's like you can kill the man twice."

If these are the terrorists we're fighting, we've got a pretty incompetent enemy.

You couldn't tell that from the press reports, though. "The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable," U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said at a news conference, calling it "one of the most chilling plots imaginable." Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) added, "It had the potential to be another 9/11."

These people are just as deluded as Defreitas.

The only voice of reason out there seemed to be New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said: "There are lots of threats to you in the world. There's the threat of a heart attack for genetic reasons. You can't sit there and worry about everything. Get a life.... You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist."

Posted by aarondf at 11:48 AM | Links | Comments (1)

June 13, 2007

Photo Retrospective

Magnum 60 Years is photo retrospective and worth checking out.

Posted by aarondf at 12:20 PM | Links | Comments (1)

June 05, 2007

NY Jobs

Fascinating article in New York magazine on income/costs of various New York individuals and businesses. Found this comment from the Private Investigator quite interesting too:

Why Men Are Better Clients: They are nearly always wrong when they suspect a cheating spouse, but they often won’t believe it and will keep McKeever tailing. (Women are 90 percent correct when they suspect their husbands.)

Posted by aarondf at 06:20 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 18, 2007

Another Schneier essay

Another excellent Bruce Schneier essay, well worth reading.

Posted by aarondf at 03:10 PM | Links | Comments (1)

April 06, 2007

What is the most random number between 1 and 20?

I've always quite disliked the scheme for choosing a starting player by asking someone to name a number between 1 and N where N is the number of players. When I do it, I at least do between like 1 and 100 and take the mod N result which I expect is a bit more fair. Here's a simple poll result agreeing with me about the inaccuracy of this method.

Things like the Spin-4-It some use I don't like much better since it is quite rare that every person has an equal percentage of the 360 degree arc.

Obviously, all this is pretty unimportant but if you are trying to randomize something, seems strange to use something not even close to random.

Posted by aarondf at 01:45 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 04, 2007

Atul Gawande: The Bell Curve

Very interesting New Yorker article entitled The Bell Curve from several years ago on medical practices and issues of the exceptional vs the average vs the bad. Got to this particular article through a series of links and reading about the author, Atul Gawande, following a link from Kottke. Might even get his book from the library.

Posted by aarondf at 03:38 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 28, 2007

Posted by aarondf at 03:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Time Capsule Puzzle Hunt

Did Squonk (Scott Weiss) and his wife Susan's puzzle hunt, which they presented at last weekend's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament - I didn't attend the ACPT, just did the hunt afterwards. The puzzles are all pretty easy (some of them take well under 30 seconds) but they are well constructed and fun. This hunt was obviously intended to be doable by teams with no puzzle hunt experience at all so there are full instructions on most puzzles. Recommended.

Posted by aarondf at 03:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 20, 2007

Ricky Gervais Meets ...

Ricky Gervais, creator of The Office, apparently did a show in Britain where he meets and interviews other well known comedians for an hour. A bunch of the episodes are on YouTube and they are really very funny and interesting. I've watched the interviews with Garry Shandling, Christopher Guest, and Larry David and all are worth watching.

Posted by aarondf at 02:55 PM | Links | Comments (2)

March 13, 2007

50 States in a Week's Vacation

This is a very cool story of a guy who took 9 days to visit all 50 states (48 by car and AK and HI by plane). The level of planning and detail is quite impressive. Link from Kottke.

Posted by aarondf at 01:41 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 09, 2007


Mentioned on David Farber's IP list, I went and installed Hyperwords, which is a pretty cool Firefox addition. It both greatly enhances the functionality of the little search box in the upper right (which I never use but many people do) and also lets you select text in a web page and then directly look it up in Wikipedia or Google or a Translator or a bunch of other options. Free and pretty cool and for some tasks seems like it could greatly speed them up.

Posted by aarondf at 04:04 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Hillarious new Apple product - check it out

The iLaunch is set to revolutionize product launches for all time.

Posted by aarondf at 01:04 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 06, 2007

Cool new Google tool

The name Gapminder for Google's new tool doesn't do anything for me but the tool is very cool. Basically it lets you look graphically at demographic data (where it is available) for a very large number of countries over the last 30 years or so. Can choose which countries to plot and what statistic to show. The coolest thing is to choose the stats on the axes and the countries in the right sidebar and then drag the time slider to the beginning and hit play - it shows the track over time of the chosen stats.

An interesting example is Vietnam with Fertility Rate vs Life Expectancy. In a single generation, the fertility rate has gone from the incredibly high 6 to around 1.8 (under replacement rate) while over the same period life expectancy has increased from 45 to 70 years.

Posted by aarondf at 02:21 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 02, 2007

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Here are some really nice short videos of Ira Glass (host of This American Life on NPR) giving hints and help on the basics of doing storytelling and creative work.

Posted by aarondf at 04:02 PM | Links | Comments (0)

November 03, 2006

In Jokes in Books

From Eric Albert, a collection of In-Jokes, mostly from technical computer books. Some are very funny.

Posted by aarondf at 04:51 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 27, 2006

Spasmodic Dysphonia

Wow, this is fascinating enough to be worth linking too despite my craziness. Bizarre.

Posted by aarondf at 11:54 AM | Links | Comments (0)

September 25, 2006

Time to buy a gun?

I love this article on taking advantage of the extra security on firearms in checked luggage on planes (even semi-firearms like starter pistols that fire only blanks) to get your luggage extra protection and not have it opened in transit and stuff possibly stolen from it.

Posted by aarondf at 03:55 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 15, 2006

Healthcare comparison between US and UK

Interesting post by Malcolm Gladwell in his blog about a study done comparing health and the effectiveness of healthcare spending betweent he US and the UK. The US turns out to spend far more per person AND get much worse results. The comment about drinking levels was also quite a surprise to me.

Posted by aarondf at 03:52 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 24, 2006

Google in China

Very interesting article in the NYT yesterday on the Internet in China, and the interaction of American companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo there. The article is 10 pages long but I found it well worth reading. I felt before and this article strengthens my belief that Google's particular compromise (at least at present) in is a reasonable one and probably is a net good (not 'not evil' but more good than evil).

Posted by aarondf at 03:55 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

Maps of religous geographical concentration

From BoingBoing, very interesting link to a site showing maps of the US color-coded by religious concentration. Don't know how accurate their data is but interesting nevertheless.

Posted by aarondf at 02:47 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 14, 2006

Perry Bible Fellowship

From Toonhead, check out these wonderful comics by Nicholas Gurewitch in all different styles. I'd seen a bunch of the individual ones before but never so many collected at once.

Some personal favorites.The Other Girls, Executive Decision, Boss, Lost, Genius, Sir, Sensei,

Posted by aarondf at 01:15 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 22, 2006

Universe of Discourse - Tools

I've been reading Mark-Jason Dominus's blog The Universe of Discourse since dougo pointed it out a few weeks ago. The length and research involved in his essays is pretty amazing. I thought the recent one regarding Forbes' list of the Top 20 tools of all-time particularly interesting and completely agree that missing the Hammer, Rope and portable container (Bag or Basket) was a massive oversight in an otherwise pretty good list and that having things like the Level ahead of these is just crazy.

In the "Its a small world after all" category, I've known about mjd's general site for ages since he was another of the very early people heavily involved in the web. I also visited his house a couple of times about 15 years ago to play Cosmic Encounter (Mayfair version) not long after I first learned it from Sharon Jackson while we were both at Penn.

Posted by aarondf at 04:31 PM | Links | Comments (0)

February 23, 2006

Hillarious Onion Headline

Betty Friedan Honored With Second-Class Postage Stamp

Posted by aarondf at 05:02 PM | Links | Comments (0)

What do Warren Buffett, Anna Nicole Smith and Fidel Castro have in common?

Read this article to find out.

Posted by aarondf at 03:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 25, 2005

September 30, 2005

7 Habits of Highly Successful People

7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Posted by aarondf at 04:52 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 14, 2005

Why the poor response to Katrina, especially after 9/11?

Bruce Schneier with another excellent article on security and cost-benefit choices in the wake of Katrina. This feels repetitive to me by this point but it certainly seems that many don't yet get this, at the highest levels where they need to.

Posted by aarondf at 03:26 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 07, 2005

World of Warcraft article in NYT

The New York Times has an article on World of Warcraft today. I think they correctly note Warcraft's strongest point of being both accessible and deep. Yes, it also has a cool world and great graphics and all but as always the gameplay is the thing and Blizzard is incredibly good at getting it right.

Posted by aarondf at 05:36 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 31, 2005

Mathematics for Dummies

Paul Phillips quotes an interview with poker player Mike Matusow who says:

Mike Matusow: So, if it's fifty-fifty, would you want to go in holding a made hand or needing to make a hand?

Wow and this guy plays a game of odds (among other things) for a living?

Posted by aarondf at 05:12 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Mathematics for Dummies

Paul Phillips quotes an interview with poker player Mike Matusow who says:

Mike Matusow: So, if it's fifty-fifty, would you want to go in holding a made hand or needing to make a hand?

Wow and this guy plays a game of odds (among other things) for a living?

Posted by aarondf at 05:12 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Google Purge

This Onion story on Google Purge is pretty damn funny and it is quite interesting the level of backlash Google seems to be taking. I personally remain very pro-Google but it is hard for any company to maintain as glowing a reputation as they have held for a long while so the backlash isn't too surprising really.

"Of course, some people might not want their DNA indexed. Hence, the robot army. It's crazy, it's brilliant—typical Google."

Posted by aarondf at 02:53 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005


I was looking over the archives of the Flickr Blog and found this amazing shot (titled "Where Balloons Come From") which I have to assume was totally serendipitous and not posed, but maybe not. Either way, hillarious.

Posted by aarondf at 04:13 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005

Harbin Ice and Snow World 2005

Another very cool ice festival in China.

Posted by aarondf at 02:12 PM | Links | Comments (1)

July 14, 2005

Interview with Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier, amazing security guru who's blog I link to in my sidebar, was interviewed recently. Highly recommended reading on understanding and practicing rational security.

Posted by aarondf at 01:48 PM | Links | Comments (1)

July 13, 2005

Crunching World of Warcraft Statistics

There's a fascinating blog called PlayOn compiling and analyzing all sorts of play data from World of Warcraft, which I continue to play a ton.

Posted by aarondf at 03:12 PM | Links | Comments (2)

July 08, 2005

Google again - Google Earth

Wow! Google Earth is almost mind-blowingly cool. The resolution is much better than that in Google Maps and it lets you zoom in even farther, albeit being very blurry of course if you go in too close. Cars are very easy to pick out and even identify models in most cases. The animation and annotation effects are great too as I first searched for my current house in Cambridge, MA and then searched for my father's house in MD and it zoomed out from MA, panned down to MD and then zooomed in and at a great default speed where it was neither going to fast for me nor making it wish it got to the destination view faster (and presumably that is or will be adjustable anyway). Only runs on Windows but if you have a Windows box, check it out!

Posted by aarondf at 05:19 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 29, 2005

Carma post by Defective Yeti

Another very funny, but with a grain of real seriousness mixed in, post by the always funny Matthew Baldwin, aka Defective Yeti.

Posted by aarondf at 03:39 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

The flag is a symbol

Excellent article related to the Flag Burning Amendment in the Denver Post. Link from IP list.

Posted by aarondf at 11:29 AM | Links | Comments (1)

May 12, 2005

20 Questions AI (online or purchasable as a toy)

From Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools blog is a post about this incredible new toy for playing 20 Questions which is amazingly accurate even for abstract concepts and incredible with objects. It is available for purchase as a toy or to play free at

Posted by aarondf at 03:31 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005

Remember only one password and yet have every site's password be unique

This is really a brilliant idea. I am not sure I am up for it, particularly all the switching of existing ones but great idea. The concept is you remember only one truly secure password and then for each site just choose a really obvious string (like the url or whatever). By plugging both of these things into this Javascript app (running locally on your machine) you create a password which you then actually use on the site. This way, each site has a unique password but you only need to remember one password and the math is such there is no way to go back from the site password to the 'real' password.

It obviously does add a bit of hassle as you have to run the Javascript app every time you need to figure out a site's password but since in many cases the browser remembers the password for sites, this hopefully isn't such a big deal. And the obvious huge upside is that you neither have to remember a ton of passwords or use a single password which if someone finds out gives them access to your account on a ton of sites.

Posted by aarondf at 04:55 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 04, 2005

Interesting dialog on the use of the term "midgets"

Film critic Roger Ebert has posted an interesting email dialog he had with actor Daniel Woodburn. Quite an interesting read, including the Essay Ebert references and includes. Link via Rebecca's Pocket?.

Posted by aarondf at 02:05 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

Interesting Article

I for some reason found this article quite interesting, entitled "10 Things I Have Learned" by designer Milton Glaser. The joke about the rabbit and final reference to it in particular are somehow powerful.

Posted by aarondf at 04:40 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

Cat Survives 10-Mile Trip on Top of Car

Cute Story.

Posted by aarondf at 11:32 AM | Links | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Link 100 Funniest Jokes

GQ has come out with a list of the 100 Funniest Jokes of All Time.

Posted by aarondf at 04:02 PM | Links | Comments (0)

February 11, 2005

Links: Google Maps

Wow, another amazing tool from Google - Google Maps. It is still in beta (and a few issues ARE apparent) but it is fast and interactive and has a much better rendering engine than MapQuest and other maps I have used, making the maps so much more readable. Due to a Firefox bug, the route line for driving directions doesn't print, but I'm sure this and other minor things will quickly be fixed. This will almost certainly immediately become my mapping tool of choice.

There is a nice article, written by a user, on the technology and HTML/XML/Map data tricks behind Google Maps.

Posted by aarondf at 11:33 AM | Links | Comments (1)

Link: Restaurant Review

This is from an excellent wine blog I read, a very well written review of what might be the best restaurant in the world.

Posted by aarondf at 11:30 AM | Links | Comments (0)

December 15, 2004

Safe Personal Computing Article

Excellent article on Safe Personal Computing (protecting your PC or Laptop) by computer security guru Bruce Schneier.

Its hard to do all of these but it is all good advice and worth doing as much as is reasonably possible.

Posted by aarondf at 03:38 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Google Suggest and Beyond

Google Suggest was announced a little while ago and is very cool. Now, the first hack on it, the Google Alphabet has been done and is a very neat idea. I wonder if Suggest will be useful during the upcoming Mystery Hunt.

Posted by aarondf at 10:55 AM | Links | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004

Cluster Ballooning

Cool site about a guy who goes Cluster Ballooning using a large number of helium balloons. Looks totally cool in a dreams of childhood way. Link from BoingBoing.

Posted by aarondf at 03:05 PM | Links | Comments (0)

November 24, 2004

Destitute lottery winner story

Well put! Dan Gillmor nicely expresses my disgust for newspaper stories purely positive spin on this lottery winner.

The article says "Good thing he wasn't pinching pennies" except of course that may very well be the reason he had such financial problems in the first place. Its also a bad sign that he opted for the lump-sum payment. I guess $88.5 million is enough that he may not manage to blow through it all but I'm not sure of that. The annual payments is a good way to force compulsive spenders to be more sane with the money.

Posted by aarondf at 11:49 AM | Links | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004


I may write something myself later but for the moment I'm too depressed. I am also really surprised (and of course completely disgusted and scared almost to tears) with this result. I think yesterday will end up being one of the worst days ever for this country. In 2000, people may not have known what they would be getting - now, there is no excuse. It is hard to live in a country where more than half the people would vote for this group of people and what they have done to civil liberties, our standing in the world, the environment, etc... At least I live in a section of the country that doesn't support this but I'm not sure that's enough.

Anyway, there is a nice article by Dan Gillmor. I think his point about the Democratic party in many ways now being a failed alternative is correct but is there a way to shift this trend when 50% of the people seem to me pretty much unreachable based on yesterday's result. Even if we manage to survive the next four years, what then?

Posted by aarondf at 01:20 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

Red Sox article

There's a really nicely done article on the win by Bill Simmons. Well worth reading.

Posted by aarondf at 02:08 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

Book/Movie Lord of the Rings Nitpicks site

Bill's blog pointed me to The Nit Picker's Guide to the Lord of the Rings site which tries to list all the specific differences (skipping all the sections like Bombadil which Jackson completely skips) between the books and the movies. There is a lot missing like the vital lack of Aragorn's banner at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields but it is a nice start at least. Link from Wirds Werds Wurds.

This particularly reminded me of the powerful comment of Graydon Saunders which I quoted below my RotK commentary here. As far as I am concerned, Jackson just doesn't get it in regards to the most emotionally powerful of the book's themes (and in many other important respects) and so completely ruins what is in so many respects a great effort.

Posted by aarondf at 05:44 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Neal Stephenson /. Interview

There is an interesting and amusing Neal Stephenson interview on /.. I just got Systerm of the World from the library and will hopefully start it tonight after the game. I hope I'm able to finish it in the three weeks I have it from the library - something I didn't manage with the previous one.

Posted by aarondf at 04:48 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

Links: Very cool aerial photos

Check out La Terre Vue du Ciel (The Earth Seen from the Sky) for an incredible collection of images of aerial photography. The photos have no captions but that is a small loss. Link from Making Light.

Posted by aarondf at 12:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Online Flash Game: Net

Dougo pointed me to a cool logic puzzle game called Net. The game it most reminds me of, in case you've played it, is Sokoban but something like the more well known MineSweeper as well. Score, strangely to me, seems mostly based on making the fewest turns of squares and not on how long it takes to complete a puzzle.

If you are confused about how to play, try the 3x3 grid and it should become pretty obvious and then switch to the larger boards.

Posted by aarondf at 04:00 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Link: Charades movie trailer

Very cool fake movie trailer for The Big Charade. From Peter's Static Zombie.

Posted by aarondf at 12:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

Link: World Demography

Interesting article on the world demographic situation with the US being an exception among rich countries in maintaining a fairly steady population and Europe and Japan's population significantly aging and decreasing at current trends. Surprisingly interesting read of statistic after statistic.

Posted by aarondf at 04:45 PM | Links | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

Links: Sometimes a Tie Isn't Really a Tie

Very interesting article by Charlie Cook of the Cook Report indicating that despite the very even poll numbers in the swing states, Cook thinks that in reality Kerry has a fair lead and is very likely to win unless something drastic happens to aid Bush. I don't know if he's right but his reasoning (and supporting poll numbers) does seem quite sound. Of course, this also makes me more worried about what the Bushies may try to engineer or at least be massively looking to take advantage of.

Posted by aarondf at 04:11 PM | Links | Comments (0)

Links: Clinton book review

Interesting long article reviewing Clinton's book by Garry Wills. '"What a waste! What a waste!"''. (via Electrolite)

Posted by aarondf at 04:05 PM | Links | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Links: The Incredible Hulk's blog

The Hulk's blog is hillarious. Thanks BoingBoing for the pointer (which they took from Kottke).

Posted by aarondf at 01:15 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

Links: Bruce Schneier's Cryptogram newsletter

Excellent article by the brilliant Bruce Schneier on the complexities of codebreaking, even once it succeeds. Schneier commonly writes incredibly sensible and practical articles on all aspects of security (physical, electronic, ...), so much more sane than almost anything we hear from officialdom.

Posted by aarondf at 03:14 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Link: How Websites Learn

There's an interesting blog entry titled How Websites Learn. This is based on (and heavily quotes from) the excellent Stewart Brand book How Buildings Learn. I am not sure the added value of Steven's points is that great but he does an excellent job of quoting some of the very best pieces of Brand's book. I was particularly happy, although not surprised, that he quoted the Oxford College Hall story which I also found very powerful.

Posted by aarondf at 02:37 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

Emerald City and Ted Chiang

I just discovered the SF zine Emerald City by Cheryl Morgan which has a bunch of interesting articles. The review of Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others which I read a few months ago is really nicely done and I strongly agree with it - competent prose, huge ideas, way worth reading even if you don't like it as the ideas are so interesting and delved into so deeply.

Posted by aarondf at 04:57 PM | Links | Comments (0)

FCC Song

Check out this very funny MP3 file written by Eric Idle of Monty Python attacking the Bush administration.

Posted by aarondf at 03:39 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 28, 2004

Link: Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

Check out these absolutely gorgeous pictures of the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival in China.

Link found via BoingBoing.

Posted by aarondf at 05:44 PM | Links | Comments (0)

May 07, 2004

Links: McSweeny's Open Letters

Discovered these very funny Open Letters to People or Entities who are unlikely to Respond at McSweeny's. I haven't read nearly them all but this one to Google is particularly funny. Thanks, Kevin.

Posted by aarondf at 11:37 AM | Links | Comments (0)

April 22, 2004

Links: Spelling Test

You might want to try your hand at this very difficult Spelling Test with 50 words with two spelling choices. I got 12 wrong which is pretty awful given random guesses would only get 25 wrong. In theory this means I only knew 52% of the words and got another 24% randomly right.

Posted by aarondf at 04:26 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 21, 2004

Links: Neal Stephenson interview

Salon (register or watch an ad to see the full interview) has an interesting interview with Neal Stephenson up. I'm currently reading (slowly) and enjoying his Confusion, Book Two of his Baroque Cycle.

Posted by aarondf at 05:40 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 09, 2004

Another cute Flash thing.

Check this Bubblewrap flash app out. Kind of fun.

Also worth looking at is this American Express ad featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Superman. Very funny and there will be more coming. Interesting campaign with these ads being long and only shown on the web, not on TV.

Posted by aarondf at 11:19 AM | Links | Comments (0)

April 08, 2004

Links: Flash Face

Cool link for building faces using Flash. (From

Posted by aarondf at 01:31 PM | Links | Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

Checking up on your Neighbors

Pretty scary site in terms of privacy at You can enter a zip code and find all (or at least many - not sure the details of how they are getting their information) the people in the area who have contributed to political campaigns and how much they have contributed to whom.

Posted by aarondf at 10:32 AM | Links | Comments (0)

March 19, 2004

New Google Feature

There's a cool new Beta Google feature called Google Local where you enter a location identifier (like zip code) along with your search terms. It does a very nice job of finding business that offer that search term near you. I have a chair that is broken so did a search on welding 02139 and immediately pulled up a number of places. I will probably take my chair in to one of them early next week and see what they can do.

Posted by aarondf at 03:36 PM | Links | Comments (0)

January 30, 2004

Links: Usage of Words around the Country (Soda vs Pop vs Coke)

I figured I should post the link to this very cool survery of usage and speech as it varies around the country. The soda question - "105. What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?" was the one I was most interested in. I can't stand it when people say pop and was glad that at least soda came out way ahead overall.

Posted by aarondf at 04:24 PM | Links | Comments (0)

December 09, 2003

Cute picture

This image is apparently of two baby tiger cubs at the Amersfoort Zoo in the Netherlands. Cute!!!

Posted by aarondf at 04:20 PM | Links | Comments (2)

December 02, 2003

Mr. Picassohead

Mr. Picassohead is a very cool web tool for creating somewhat Picasso-like drawings. The gallery has some very neat stuff in it that people have drawn.

Posted by aarondf at 04:41 PM | Links | Comments (0)

November 21, 2003

Goat Tower

Very cool looking Goat Tower. Check it out.

Posted by aarondf at 03:08 PM | Links | Comments (2)

November 13, 2003

Link: Slave to TiVo

Interesting story on Reuters on the danger of becoming a slave to one's TiVo. I definitely identify with this story. For me, I think a bigger drive would go a long way towards solving the problem but maybe it would just make it worse.

Posted by aarondf at 02:33 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 29, 2003

Link to old Guy Steele talk

I was mentioning this talk to a friend a week or so ago and realized I should post it here. I heard this talk (link is to a PostScript document) by Guy Steele (famous for Common Lisp, work on Emacs, Java, etc...) in February, 2000 but it was initially given in 1998. I immensely recommend it, particularly, but not exclusively, to programmers. Given by Steele, it is probably the best talk I have ever heard. The written version isn't quite as much fun but is still amazingly good.

Posted by aarondf at 03:15 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 09, 2003

Television Without Pity

I missed last week's Survivor as my TiVo seems to have some difficulty with the name of the show this year and is having trouble finding it on the schedule even though I have a Season Pass. Not sure quite what the deal is but I may have to do a timed recording or manually add each week's episode. Anyway, I found a site which has a really long and detailed summary of episodes at Television Without Pity. The write-up for last week's episode is here. It is very long but also very funny and they apparently do many other shows too.

Posted by aarondf at 01:32 PM | Links | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

Ashcroft = Torquemada

Walter Cronkite writes an excellent anti-Ashcroft (and Bush) article opposing the excesses of the Patriot Act and others.

Posted by aarondf at 11:19 AM | Links | Comments (0)

August 21, 2003

BBC Poll on America's role in the world

Was emailed on IP a link to a BBC poll on the view of people in various countries around the world on the USA's role in the world. The poll is extremely interesting and I highly recommend it. However, I wish there were more details on the methodology of it. I gather that it was not a random sample and that there are 1000 people answering from each country but am not sure on either of these points. If not a random sample, was the nature of the selection method likely to be influential. Did the show that the poll relates to influence people in some way? I don't find the results that surprising so these issues don't really worry me but could affect things.

Posted by aarondf at 04:17 PM | Links | Comments (0)

August 15, 2003

Conan O'Brien Harvard Class Day Speech

Also from Charlie Rose, Conan O'Brien was on his show last night and Charlie made a big deal of his 2000 Harvard speech (which was for Class Day, the day before Commencement). It is quite good and worth reading.

Posted by aarondf at 11:22 AM | Links | Comments (0)

August 14, 2003

Map Quest Aerial Photos

I thought I had posted about this before but I guess not and it is very cool. MapQuest at some point pretty recently added the ability to access aerial (satellite) photos of locations you map with it. Here is the zoom on my building at work. Definitely check it out. Pointed out to me by my friend Michael.

Posted by aarondf at 01:28 PM | Links | Comments (5)

August 08, 2003

Links: Trip Log (sort of)

I just read Philip Greenspun's Boston-Alaska-Baja-Boston 2002 trip log and quite enjoyed it. It is only vaguely a trip log with a ton of digressions but the digressions and Greenspun's writing and photos are interesting. Well worth reading.

Posted by aarondf at 04:25 PM | Links | Comments (0)

June 11, 2003

Link: Gear Recommendations blog

Just read on BoingBoing about a very cool blog by Kevin Kelly of Wired fame with gear reviews called Recommendo. I'll be going through the archives as I have time but a quick look suggest he has excellent suggestions for stuff. I also highly recommend Cook's Illustrated off the front page and their accompanying TV Show American's Test Kitchen. I also think Froogle is an excellent idea, giving commercial searches for things to buy a separate area.

Posted by aarondf at 12:46 PM | Links | Comments (0)

April 14, 2003

Image of London from space

Very cool image of London at night from space selected for last Friday's Astronomy Picture of the Day which regularly has very cool images. Via Neil Gaiman via
Electrolite via ...

Posted by aarondf at 04:22 PM | Links | Comments (0)