Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here's a new concern of a different sort over MySpace and such sites... Our government may use them to mass harvest personal information. Via IrelandOnline:

"Online snooping set to move up a gear
10/06/2006 - 11:51:40

A US government spy agency is funding research into the “mass harvesting” of information that people post about themselves on websites like MySpace, it has been claimed.

The New Scientist said the National Security Agency, under fire recently over reports it tracked millions of American citizens’ phone calls, had backed a study on how advances in internet technology could make mining such “social networking” sites more useful.

The magazine said tens of millions of users of such web spaces could be vulnerable to online snooping.

The New Scientist article.


And here's another from New Scientist-- an oldie -- protection of civil liberties for Britons, or another invasive attempt at a sort of 'total informatio awareness' program? -- 'DNA database "should include every citizen"':

The inventor of DNA fingerprinting believes every citizen's genetic information should be stored on the UK national register. This would solve the problem of some individuals being listed even if they have been cleared of committing a crime.

"If we're all on the database, we're all in exactly the same boat - the issue of discrimination disappears," says Alec Jeffreys of the University of Leicester, UK...

Jeffreys says a complete national database should be controlled by an independent body and be limited to storing DNA information that only permits an identification - it should not carry DNA data that could be used to infer appearance, or susceptibility to disease."


The DNA in the UK issue is a tad different, but it's related; the sad thing is, I think a lot of us have had the attitude for some years that "the government" or corporations are already doing this sort of information gathering and using it to make more money or to seat themselves more securely in control. "They've" got the means. Why not do it? What oversight?

Self censorship is in style again. Yee-ha.


Searching: For other songs by Remy Zero besides that one they used on Smallville.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

comics 8

Eddie Campbell interview over at Powell's (Ink Q&A):

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

speculation wild on groovy viking teeth

Discovery News has an article about the recent discovery of modified teeth in young Viking men:

(pic outlinks to

"Caroline Arcini of Sweden's National Heritage Board analyzed 557 skeletons of men, women and children from between 800 and 1050 A.D. They discovered that 22 of the men bore deep, horizontal grooves across the upper front teeth.
"'The marks are traces of deliberate dental modifications ... they are so well-made that most likely they were filed by a person of great skill,' Arcini wrote in the current issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

"Traces of teeth mutilation have been found in all parts of the world except Europe, with the practice reaching its peak from 700 to 1400 A.D., during the height of the Viking Age."

The speculation on why they did this is still all over the place... from marks indicating "pain resistance" (and therefore ferocity!) to marks of slavery (a sort of branding), according to the article.

Here's a closer look at what you're dealing with:

Ribbed for your, um, terror.

red rain, alien strain?

From Popular Science:

"As bizarre as it may seem, the sample jars brimming with cloudy, reddish rainwater in Godfrey Louis’s laboratory in southern India may hold, well, aliens. In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples—water taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis’s home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001—contain microbes from outer space."

voting like it matters

Why is H.R. 63 still in committee? Shouldn't we be making this one a priority, instead of the "gay marriage ban" amendment that's front and center in the Senate at the moment? (Excellent bit of media distraction, that has turned out to be -- nobody's very interested in why we've been paying Somalian warlords to keep out the Sharia law bunch, esepcially now that our warlords {and former enemies} have failed to hold Mogadishu??)

From Thomas:

Title: To treat the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in the same manner as any legal public holiday for purposes of Federal employment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 1/4/2005) Cosponsors (109)
Related Bills: S.1130
Latest Major Action: 1/4/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Government Reform.


H.R. 63 would mean, among other things, that when you're waiting in line to vote, you're not losing wages.


Where are our priorities?

An obvious answer is that the most powerful of our corporate-funded overlords in the legislative branch aren't really all that interested in helping more people get out to vote. But what does it matter if the voting process itself is broken?

links: rfids, tech, etc.

Note to self -- quick roundup and reminders:

Pegasus Librarian -- and a short article with links to "catalogs that are doing cool things".

Sukhdev's World

Tame the Web, of course.

LibraryCrunch -- and a plan aware of 'technolust' isn't self-defeating.

HigherEd Blog Con, much is pertinent.

"Free Range Librarian" on tech trends at last ALA

Monday, June 05, 2006

comics 7

Just got around to reading Bone Vol. 1 by Jeff Smith. I really liked it. The drawings are tight and fun and funny, and full of great little surprises. The characters have secrets which keep you interested and add depth (like, the connection between Granny Ben and the Dragon -- a connection to Rose by Smith and Charles Vess...). The story has a few gaps which leave me rubbing my chin -- not points of suspense, mind, but gaps like why are Phony Bone and Co. trying to go back to Boneville when he was exiled from town to begin with and they know that they can't go back? Maybe that's something that's answered in a later volume or something. But I liked it.

You need to read Promethea again. It's a manual for using your own imagination... tells you how you might use it better than you now do. It's a primer for magickal practice, too.

One more thing, re: Superman. Just watched all 4 of the old movies. Superman 3 and Superman 4 hurt to watch. I remembered loving them as a kid. What happened? How did we go from General Zod to Nuclear Man?

And speaking of Zod... I dearly love Ian McKellen, but I always felt that Terence Stamp would have been much better as Magneto (in the X-Men movies). Stamp would have brought that zealousy and righteousness to the role that we saw expressed in Jim Lee's Magneto. McKellen is very good, but makes a Magneto I never really believed in -- the betrayer, the petty villain. Stamp's would have been a Malcolm X figure. And while we're at it, can we just undo this last X-Men movie? Can somebody please just do it over, better? Like Bryan Singer or somebody? Thanks, if so.

no insularity

This blog is molting. Note the slight shift of subtitle.
It's not meant for anyone so much as it's offered up for anyone who wants to read it.
It's still mostly about libraries, technology, media, magick, and comics. But you won't be surprised if it strays into the decidedly off-topic (because everything's interconnected, right?).


Listening: Drive By Truckers: Puttin' People on the Moon
Busy: abusing my illusions.

vikings 1

Learning about Viking Age archaeology now -- just getting into it. York (or Jorvik, as it was known) yeilded a very rich site at Coppergate during the 1970s -- and that site also turned up features and artifacts dating back to the Angle's occupation (famously, the helmet), and a Roman garrison town.

But now I'm excited about the 1960s finds in Newfoundland, because a Swedish scientist has recently found a dental connection between Vikings and New World natives -- apparent ritual carving of the teeth.

This implies more than mere encounter. Some intimacy, mutual understanding, and communication may have existed between the two cultures for such a ritual act to be appropriated.

Sources to follow:

Canadian Parks historical site info for L'anse aux Meadows:

Vikings in America:

UNESCO World Heritage site for L'anse aux Meadows:

York's Viking Age from the York Archaeological Trust:

Viking Age Timeline:

Virtual Tour of Ribblehead Farm in Yorkshire from BBC (.wrl):