Megnut

Archive for January 2003

Behind in the fact race

As a new New York resident, I'm playing catch up with all my fellow citizens who've resided here longer. For example, only today did I find out that the state muffin of New York is the apple muffin (of course!), which is something I'm sure everyone else has already known for a very long time.

8 and 9 are in!

Earlier this week I posted a brief list of tips and tricks. I didn't have any to fill out the "8 tips" or "9 trick" spots but a very nice reader named Kris took the time to send some in. So, here we go:

Eight tips for using your pocket PC

Top Eight Mistakes in Web Site Design
9 tips for new C++ programmers

Nine Tips to Incorporating UML into Your Project

Nine Common E-Commerce Mistakes--and How to Avoid Them

Nine Tips for Dog Behavior Modification (Ok, this one's not tech related, but still useful. Perhaps my neighbors with the lunging dogs that try to eat me will read it?)

Thanks Kris!

RU-486 under attack

The abortion pill RU-486 was approved for use in the United States in 2000 but a University of Oregon study, profiled in this Wired News article, Study: Abortion Pill Under Attack, finds that disinformation and political hurdles are hindering its use.

A study by University of Oregon researchers has found that access to the treatment is limited by anti-abortion campaigns, as well by legal roadblocks physicians must face in order to prescribe the drug.

"The basic issue is that the public lacks awareness of what medical abortion is and how effective and safe it is in early term pregnancies," [Maria] Harvey [director of research at the University of Oregon Center for the Study of Women in Society] said. "Women lack that info; therefore they can't be active consumers."

Harvey's paper finds that anti-abortion groups have perpetrated the notion that RU-486 is associated with serious health risks, and that it was rushed through FDA approval without sufficient study.

France approved RU-486 in 1989. England approved it in 1991. Over 200,000 European women have used RU-486 rather than surgical abortions to safely terminate pregnancies. It's outrageous that disinformation campaigns are keeping women from making informed decisions about their best course of treatment. Knowledge is power. Some people would prefer that women don't have any.

Depressed

All this writing about political stuff this week is making me very depressed.

Vegetable stock recipe

I've posted my veggie stock recipe for those that are interested in making stock from scratch. Don't be limited by the ingredients I use here. You can always add more based on what you're making (i.e. seeds from a squash if you're making a squash soup, mushrooms if the stock will go in porcini risotto, etc.) I like to keep it simple because I usually don't know what I'll be using the stock for in advance.

The best cookbook ever

The Vegetarian Bistro: 250 Authentic French Regional Recipes by Marlena SpielerWhile I'm talking about cooking, I have to recommend my favorite cookbook of all-time: The Vegetarian Bistro: 250 Authentic French Regional Recipes by Marlena Spieler. I use this wonderful cookbook all the time. It's filled with really good stuff: a roasted portobello mushroom recipe that takes less than five minutes of prep (and less than 30 minutes total) that will knock your socks off, tarts, salads, soups, even dessert! I've made probably 50% of the recipes and only one was lackluster (probably user error). If you're looking to spice up your cooking repertoire, I strongly recommend this book.

Down in DC

I'm down in DC today for DCDotComm so posting will be light, if it happens at all.

Greatest comeback in professional sports

Poor Oakland, they needed a Frank Reich-like comeback to pull out last night's game. Alas, they didn't have Frank Reich. Or anyone like.

Delayed Sidekick

Back when I posted about the Sidekick being available for only $49.99 from Amazon, I ordered one. Shortly after I placed my order, it was delayed, and now I've received notice of a further delay. Which means (from what I can tell), only one of the rebates can be activated now (luckily the $100 one, but not the $50 one). I placed the order January 10 and now Amazon is estimated shipping February 5 - 12. I think I'm going to go ahead and cancel and save my money. Word on the street is a color monitor in summer '03, so maybe I'll wait for that instead.

Buy low, sell high

Over at the Motley Fool, a question: Is there any silver lining to falling stock prices? Answer, "There sure is."

These words should ring true for anyone investing for the long haul -- especially those just starting out. If you've just plunked your first thousand dollars into the stock market and plan to keep adding to it over the next decades, you'll benefit from falling prices in the short term. And, by investing for more than 10 years, you smooth out the risk of owning common stocks.

This counter-intuitive perspective is also important if you're someone who regularly invests in stocks. Since you're buying stock perhaps every few months, you'll be able to get more shares with each payment if the prices are falling. Remember: It's not timing the market that matters, but your time in the market.

State of the Union

I tried to watch the State of the Union last night. I even thought about blogging as it happened, but I realized the post would be a reactionary, emotional tirade short on insight and reflection. So I tried to listen. But eventually I got so disgusted and annoyed that I shut off the television, missing the part I'd tuned in for in the first place -- the justification for going to war with Iraq.

What is nanopublishing?

A Guardian article, New biz on the blog, looks at the ways in which people (people being Nick, with whom I'm working) are using weblogs to create new "thin media" or "nanopublishing" sites. The key with these new ventures is cost: because it's low, revenue requirements remain in a reasonable realm (oy, alliteration overload, honestly that wasn't intentional). By which I mean, it's easy to get into the black and stay there. Also, if you read the article closely, there's a mention of what I'm up to these days (the bit about the Lafayette project). More on that as things get less vague in the coming months. [via Gawker]

Tripod launches weblogs

You can now create your very own blog at Tripod. Too bad the, "ERROR: You must be a paid subscriber to access this feature." message only appears after you go through the account creation process and then click on the "blog builder" tool. Of course, if you read "Learn More" before starting -- which I didn't do because I was too curious to read and wanted to get started blogging right away -- you find out blogs are only available to paid subscribers. I wonder how it compares to Blog*Spot? [via Anil's links]

Taking choice too far?

An article in Fox News a few days ago by David Boaz, Democrats and the Right to Choose - What?, criticizes Democrats for not supporting "choice" more broadly, as if it's hypocritical to support individual freedoms in one instance and support the broader interests of society in the next. Boaz writes,

Whether or not you support the right to choose abortion, surely that is a more difficult issue, involving more lives and more complexities than the right to choose a school for your child, to use marijuana, or to own a gun. And yet many of the supporters of "a woman's right to choose" don't support a woman's right to make those choices.

While we're at it, I'd like the choice to yield to pedestrians when I'm driving and to pay for purchases at the store. Oh what? You say that I can't drive all high on marijuana, shooting off my gun, running down children (on their way to voucher schools of their mother's choosing) in the crosswalk? Drat. I was beginning to like libertarianism. [via Glenn]

Bush II is really Reagan Jr.

Sunday's New York Times Magazine has a really interesting article, Reagan's Son, the Radical Presidency of George W. Bush. The premise? Bush is no centrist and certainly no idiot. Author Bill Keller draws interesting comparisons between the two presidents. I hope this doesn't portend a 49 state sweep for Bush in 2004...

Apache and OS X

Apache Web-Serving with Mac OS X, Part 1 is the first in a three-part six-part series over at O'Reilly that will help you get started serving Web pages. Part 2 helps you configure CGI access, Part 3 takes a look at PHP, Part 4 is reader-asked questions, Part 5 is Apache and MySQL, and Part 6 is Apache modules. Wow, that's some good stuff. (Thanks Jason!)

Writing the fringe

Over at Write the Web, I answer the question, "Is the weblog community too introverted? Is that why you're having to stretch minds to get people thinking about the fringes [during your 'From the Margins of the Writable Web' presentation at the Emerging Technology Conferece]?"

The end of HTML?

Over at Boxes and Arrows, HTML's Time is Over. Let's Move On. by David Heller.

I don't see a long term future for HTML as an application development solution. It is a misapplied tool that was never meant to be used for anything other than distributed publishing.

An emotion-sensing robot

An article in Wired News that's particularly timely, at least for me, on robots that can sense emotion and the potential to use them on fields of battle to advise commanders.

On New Year's Eve I spent some time talking to a guy who was involved in similar work at the MIT Media Lab (not for war purposes though), and I've been thinking about the whole concept ever since. Of course, what I found irritating in this article was this statement, from a corporate communications officer at the Office of Naval Research:

Speaking as a former soldier, the last thing I would want is an artificial girlfriend by my side to nag me about how I am feeling while out in the battlefield.

Funny that he assumes the robot would be a woman, and would be nagging him rather than helping. Of course, I figured the robot would be a guy and be all buddy-buddy with the commander to give him a pep talk. I guess we all have gender biases.

Blog Tribe Social Network Mapping

A way-cool social network map of the blog tribe at Ryze. I love these maps.

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