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"I am the world crier, & this is my dangerous career...

I am the one to call your bluff, & this is my climate."

—Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972)

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Saturday, March 4, 2000

ZDNet: News: Intuit scrambles to plug Quicken leaks
"A design quirk in some e-commerce Web sites allows
sensitive information that consumers provide about their
personal habits, tastes or finances to be attached to Web
page location codes used by third parties such as
ad-placement companies. In the case of Intuit (Nasdaq:
INTU), both a mortgage calculator and a
credit-assessment feature on its Quicken site collect
information from customers regarding income, assets and
debt, and then send the data to DoubleClick Inc.
(Nasdaq: DCLK), a company that sells and places
advertising on Web sites. DoubleClick says it doesn't
keep any of the data it receives."

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From BBC News: Satellite snaps a mighty sandstorm The satellite photo shows a giant sandstorm the size of Spain, off the west African coast. "Such storms, combined with rising warm air,
can lift dust 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) above
the desert and then out over the Atlantic. The
dust can reach right across the ocean to the
Caribbean where local weather forecasters
sometimes have to issue air pollution alerts."

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From Wired: A Ralph Nader Plan That 'Sucks'

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Join me here?


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Friday, March 3, 2000

From CNN.com: A timeline of mass shootings in the U.S., prompted by the latest killing rampage by a Philadelphia man reportedly motivated by racial hatred.

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From CNN.com: US - Death row inmate whose lawyer slept at trial to stay in jail. Calvin Burdine's murder conviction had been thrown out because his lawyer had allegedly slept through long segments of his trial. The state of Texas missed a deadline to file an appeal and on Wednesday a federal judge ordered him released. The Texas AG called the missed deadline for a new trial a "regrettable mistake." But he said the error does not justify "releasing a convicted murderer." Two days later, an appeals court has agreed and is blocking his release. Texas Gov. George W. Bush says, "He's a really violent person. I hope he gets retried soon."

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Consider Mr. Death, a fascinating documentary by Errol Morris and its subject Fred Leuchter Jr. Leuchter, an engineer from Malden, Mass., was a self-taught expert on methods of execution and a consultant to a variety of states with the death penalty. In 1988, he was commissioned by Ernst Zündel, a neo-Nazi being prosecuted in a highly-publicized trial in Canada for publishing literature claiming that the Holocaust had never occurred, to conduct a forensic investigation into the Nazi use of poison gas in the WWII death camps. He claimed to have "proven" that the Holocaust had never happened by failing to find traces of poisonous substances in brick and mortar samples he had obtained illegally from the walls of the Auschwitz gas chambers. "The Leuchter Report is out there in dozens of languages, and I would dare say in millions of copies. We will not go down in history as being a nation of genocidal maniacs. We will not. We can, with historical truth, detoxify a poisoned planet," said Zündel.


And while we're on the subject of Holocaust deniers, Salon updates us on British author and Hitler apologist David Irving's libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt, the Emory University professor of history who has called Irving "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." Irving argues on his own behalf and the presiding judge has given him considerable leeway in presenting his case so as not to present the appearance of putting a person with no legal experience at a disadvantage. Irving thus gets massive exposure for his insidious arguments. To assist Lipstadt in her case, the Israeli government this week decided to release over 600 pages of Adolph Eichmann's memoirs. Holocaust survivors attending the trial to bear witness are concerned about how much easier it will be for such Hitler apologists to plant seeds of doubt after the last survivors of the Final Solution are gone.


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From Wired: "France Agog, Aghast Over Echelon", the US- and UK-run surveillance network that can allegedly intercept email, faxes, and phone conversations. This article is full of links to extensive earlier coverage of the Echelon phenomenon, which is becoming a major acute irritant to chronically tense Anglo-French relations.

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Kenyon College examines the rave scene: electronic dance music, its various sub-genres and styles. "As we dance into the next millennium, we must not forget our past. It is my hope that ravers, DJ's, music critics, students, and anyone else interested in electronic dance music will be able to use this site to learn more about the sounds and subcultures that have provided the style and soundtrack to the end of the 20th century."

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Tuesday, February 29, 2000

The major question is whether this is merely a tactical move: Austria's Haider Resigns; Opponents Skeptical
'Asked if he still hoped to be chancellor one day, he replied: ``I do not exclude it.''

In Austria, Die Presse newspaper said Haider's decision was a shrewd move to distance himself from
unpopular government decisions such as planned tax increases and to position himself for the next election,
due within four years.

The opposition Social Democrats dismissed the resignation as a sham. ``It is quite clear that Haider is only
giving up his office but will continue to set the tone,'' said new Social Democratic leader Alfred
Gusenbauer.

``He sees that this government is unpopular so he seeks the first opportunity to ditch responsibility,
formally, to distance himself from this government. Everything that has been said indicates he will continue
to keep the party on a short leash."'

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UPDATE! Tentative publication date for the fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament, is set. My son and I spent several months of bedtimes reading the first three aloud together. Haven't you got someone with whom you might be doing that?

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Newest issue of Phil Agre's occasional notes and recommendations from the Red Rock Eater news service:
"In talking to all these people, I was endlessly struck by the chasm
between the telephone world and the computer world. Everyone in the
telephone world had superficial training and good manners; everyone
in the computer world had deep training and a bracing arrogance.
And with the sole exception of the one technical guy in the bowels
of Sprint, neither side exhibited the slightest comprehension of its
connection to the other. Hey, everyone: the telephone world and the
computer world are merging! This merger, it would seem, is not just
a technical matter."

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From Medley: "One of Queen Elizabeth's cooks was fired for making remarks about poisoning
her and wondering where to buy cyanide." And I read somewhere today that, when the police came to help the Queen remove her personal effects from the Palace during that fire several years ago, she found one of them standing before an open dresser drawer in her personal bedchamber about ready to knick some of her knickers until he was aware of her standing there watching him.

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Monday, February 28, 2000

Boy Bands and Girl Vixens - All you need to know about the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.  by David Plotz [Slate]

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Random Access Memory: "an experiment in collective recollection."

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From Atlantic Unbound: Welcome to the Word Police Academy "The Word Police are looking for a few good people. As a
certified Word Police officer, you will be entitled to issue
Grammar Citations when you see or hear crimes against
the language. To be inducted into the force, you must
pass a Word Police Academy exam.

The Word Police Force has many divisions and squads.
The current entrance exam is for the Pronoun Patrol.
Coming soon: the entrance exam for Who Wants to
Marry a Word Police Officer? Just kidding!" [I passed the exam, despite any grammatical errors your finding in this blog...]

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Eugenics Archive: "materials from the
Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, which was
the center of American eugenics research from 1910-1940.
In the Archive you will see numerous reports, articles,
charts, and pedigrees that were considered scientific
"facts" in their day. It is important to remind yourself that
the vast majority of eugenics work has been completely
discredited. In the final analysis, the eugenic description of
human life reflected political and social prejudices, rather
than scientific facts."

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