The Moar You Know
Kids.net.au is now my favorite childrens encylopedia. Note the opening HTML comment :-)[read on...]
Here's to book-learning: Article Link
Robin Corner Shock Pose Generator
During the Silver Age of comics many Batman covers featured Robin freaking out in a bottom corner, often in the same pose, as if horrified and fascinated at the same time. The Robin Corner Shock Pose:[read on...]
But there was a problem. Robin only ever did this in Batman franchise comics, he was never around to be shocked by, Archie say. Now, for the first time, and thanks to the wonders of the internet history can be rewritten and Robin can gasp, elbow-in-air, at every page of every comic ever written. I give you; Robin Corner Shock Pose Generator:
Follow the link, upload or download an image and add Boy Wonder :-)
Banned in China
According to this proxy test strix.org.uk is now banned in China. Hooray! I'm a dissident!
Actually, this site is banned all over the world, from UAE to Boston. As many readers will be aware, Boston was recently a victim of a heinous plot to blow up the city, and everyone in it, using D batteries inside Mooninite Lite Brites. Police responded swiftly and decisively by blowing up a city traffic counter that treacherous actors unknown (in the transit department) had chained to a lamp post. So I understand why its necessary to take certain dangerous freedoms - such as reading this blog - away from the Boston public. I'm actually quite pleased to be Banned in Boston, even if only on municipal WiFi; it's a longstanding accolade of porn and progressive writing:
Boston was founded by Puritans in the early 17th century. Puritans held highly negative views regarding public exhibitions of sex. Boston's second major wave of immigrants, Irish Roman Catholics, also held conservative moral beliefs, particularly regarding sex.
In the late 19th century, American 'moral crusader' Anthony Comstock began a campaign to suppress "vice." He found widespread support in Boston, particularly among socially prominent and influential officials. Comstock was also known as the proponent of the Comstock Law, which prevented "obscene" materials from being delivered by the U.S. mail. Some critics have pointed out if the list of banned words were strictly enforced, then even the King James Version of the Bible would be unmailable.
Following Comstock's lead, Boston's city officials took it upon themselves to ban anything that they found to be salacious, inappropriate, or offensive. Aiding them in their efforts was a group of private citizens, the Boston Watch and Ward Society. Theatrical shows were run out of town, books were confiscated, and motion pictures were prevented from being shown; sometimes movies were stopped mid-showing, after an official had "seen enough". [Wikipedia Link]
As a regular user of the Net, it's often surprising to remember how repressive most countries continue to be. In Zimbabwe, my home country, homosexuality and all kinds of porn are still illegal due largely to the influence of the Catholic Church. The UK and US continue to have formal censorship boards for 'safeguarding public decency' that operate from guidelines laid down in the 1950's and '60s. The timing is important, these laws were created to enforce the patriarchy of a completely different culture than the one living under these laws today.
The UK Obscene Publications Acts of 1959 and 1964 inform the current British Board of Film Classification. Laws used to decide what the public should be allowed to see were laid down before the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s, before the gay rights movement of the 80s, before the contraceptive pill was developed and before the advent of multiculturalism.
Melonfarmers.org maintains a list of the boards recent decisions. A telling excerpt about the previous chairman of the board, concerning Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
James Ferman, newly appointed secretary of the BBFC, was very influenced by [sensationalist] advance publicity. He convinced himself that there was no way that the sustained terrorisation of a young woman could have a beneficial effect on the British public. Well, correction here. He was worried about the effect on the British working class. After the film had been shown, uncensored, to members of the British Film Institute at the London Film Festival, Ferman got up on stage and, thinking he was among friends, said,
"It's all right for you middle-class cineastes to see this film, but what would happen if a factory worker in Manchester happened to see it?"
When they heard this gaffe, the audience became hostile, and Ferman was visibly shocked. He never again referred to the true nature of his job as a censor - to stop working class people being stimulated by controversial films. [link]
This situation today is little different, both in the UK and the US, and it's quite odd. Perhaps I live in a bubble of liberal thought, surrounded by easygoing, progressive people. Perhaps the cultural mainstream really does want to be cosseted from the 'depravity' and 'moral decay' of filmmakers.
I doubt it though. I look on with spanner wielding glee at a generation being raised with the internet, exposed to every variety of sexual preference and behavior through the daily spam in their email. Encountering porn and 'social deviance' constantly though childhood. I think they'll turn out just fine, and I wonder what they'll make of the censorship their parents and grandparents pushed on each other.
Related: This Film is Not Yet Rated
Related: Confessions of a Censor
Video Search Queries
One of the coolest things about making tools is getting to see what other people use them for. My Google Video search thingy is now thoroughly redundant, but it was cool when I made it (Way back before GooTube, back when Google Video didn't yet have a feature for searching for video) it's still used, mostly for finding porn. I keep a log of searches, for my own statistical fiddling, some of the queries people (you! the public) make are pure gold. Some recent nuggets:
dress like a target
the eyes of the amaryllis
Blood thirsty hamsters
sex dog woman.video free
ugly sugar babes
girl turned into fish
monster orange vp
the birthday massacre
long haired freaky peolple hk
the internet is for porn
octopus eats shark
second loudest guitar
angry kid phone sex
jeff up and down
how to put on a tampon
dumbest dog you will ever see
flaming ball of death
heart surgery video
girl to fish in u.k 2006
guns dont kill people rabbit do
james my son age 3
what old people do for fun
hit him balls OR nuts
Soft-tissue mobilization, trigger-point release
crazy tractor guy
when mannequins attack
PAPUA NEW GUINEA people
great indian laughter vidoes
august burns red
bbc how do you solve a problem like maria
gay biker boot sperm
beyonce having sex
cry of the snow lion
most haunted french and saunders video
jesus will survive
screaming at cat funny
ron jeremy butter
alien big cat
make way for noddy
blonde walkl athletic track
holy grail Flagellants
scary car commercial
hug a grandad
elvis on trapeze
BOY EATS TEN CHICKENS
drug tested spider
3 foot ninja
my sister bogwashed me
damn you warm beer
Jehovahs Witnesses Exposed
lord of the broom
hippo and dog
tractor boy funny video
log drivers waltz
squirrel nut zipper
whats that smell
wanna be spider man
vatican sex video
And my favorite:
make me smile
Thinking of making a video, but can't pick a subject? This is what the people want (well, except for that one guy who searches for 'horse mating' and 'mating horses', over and over, day after day. Word up!). Note: there are some kickass potential band names in this list. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Burning Leg! *applause*[read on...]
Google AdSense has Golf Balls
Google AdSense has a testimonials page, these are usually very lame - often fictional quotes dreamed up by PR people, PR people posing as customers whacked on MDMA:
I'd like to thank Shady Company for a fantastic product, it's increased our revenue by 12,000% since an hour ago, and its such a pretty color. Whee! Look at the colors! The after-sales people are fantastic, I love you guys, I love you so much, I just want to touch your shirt... wow, thats so... amazing... your shirt... it feels so furry... wow.
Dr Martin Horseworthy, Nebraska
Sometimes they have a picture of a potato-looking goober to go next to it, so you'll know that someone this white and this bald may endorse the product. But this is Google and I'm interested to see some examples of ad placement they think work well without interfering too much with the site. Enter testimonials:
Check out golf-equipment-tips.com down the bottom. Things to notice:
The site does not exist, the domain is registered anonymously with Tucows, but that could mean anything. Hanzi dead link.
Google has a cache of a single page from December of last year, so the site did at one time exist, and it looked something like this:
The text ads on the left are AdSense, the text ads on the right are LinkSynergy ads. This is a clear breach of 'Wesley Atkins' AdSense agreement:
'General: You further agree not to display on any Serviced Page any non-Google content-targeted advertisement(s)'
LinkSynegry is a spyware related company and the number one result on Google for that name is a page on how to remove their hideous malware, so Mr. Atkins may not hold his site visitors in great regard. The content of the page is MaxFli's own marketing text, copied verbatim. There are links at the bottom to the rest of the pages which existed on the site, which together with the repetitive text make a good example of keyword stuffing, which Google frowns upon. AdSense policy prohibits 'Excessive, repetitive, or irrelevant keywords in the content or code of web pages.' This is the excessive repetitive kind.
I would wager that none of the other pages contain any real original or valuable content, or even a useful arrangement of content, the site was put up solely to host ads. This is verging on a blackhat site. Again, Adsense policy is that: 'No Google ad may be placed on pages published specifically for the purpose of showing ads, whether or not the page content is relevant.'
So... a spam site violating Google's policies and recommendations that did not even stay in business is Google's idea of a 'success story'. Hmmm... little oversight there.
I should note that I am a big fan of AdSense, I use it on several of my sites and it pays the hosting costs. I could use more intrusive placement to increase my CPM, but I don't need to, and y'all wouldn't like it. They're the only game in town as far as I'm concerned, which is why I stuck with them for the past two months while the ads were turned off (Google was sending me a postcard with a PIN number. They do that, be warned.) For comparison, I spent a year trying different ad layouts and formats from Amazon on a another site, referred them a bunch of people and... nothing, they acknowledged the traffic and that's it. Not one brass farthing. Lot of good that was. I do wonder about the quality of Google's services since they went public, they don't seem to be showing the innovation or commitment to 'Dont be Evil' that they used to. Oh well, still better than Yahoo :-) Thank you Adsense guys... I love you... can I touch your shirt...
UPDATE: April '07, Google have made a new testimonials page.[read on...]
Newspapers and My Ideal Spime
I was thinking about newspapers today. Ordinary, pervasive, everyday things. They're almost an icon of normalcy, like cars and houses boxes of milk, things real and tangible in a world increasingly driven by unreal and intangible things. The things that actually shape our lives at this point in time are not real at all: Emails, bands, ideologies, credit card transactions, voice and text from our cell phones. There's no substance or form to these, they're only nouns by convention. What is an email? A lot of microscopic fluctuations in a magnetic field on the surface of an aluminum disc? Bursted, multiplexed dance on the surface of a carrier wave, existing only instantaneously as it flies right across the globe, into space and back again. If you give it substance by printing it on paper is it still an email, or just the text of an email, a rendering, like a photograph can be a rendering of a face, but isn't the face itself? I don't know. It's doubtful that the otherworldly magic of our technology can be readily understood in the traditional nouns and verbs of human languages that have developed over millennia to communicate the realities of the physical world.[read on...]
That's why technology is still magic. The uncommon knowledge, jargon and whole technical languages used to work with computers are not very different to the forbidden knowledge of the occult and unintelligible incantation of spells that was widely believed to be the realm of magic not so very long ago. Witchcraft and black magic are still widely feared in much of the developing world by people educated and westernized enough to know better. I think for many ordinary people feeling of stigma and unknowability of the occult has been inherited by the technology.
A hacker writes a script to enter the CCTV system of a building on the other side of the world. He composes several verses in an esoteric language, written in a special, concise way, literally commanding mysterious and distant forces to summon an image of a faraway place into a piece of glass in front of him. The only difference between the hacker and a wizard chanting over a crystal ball is that the hacker actually has the power the wizard was imagined to have. The same is true of the geneticist mage creating plants and animals with supernatural properties, for the way the chemist mixes up drops and vials of things to make liquids that cure disease or make water safe to drink. It's all sorcery to most people. (continues after the jump)
A panel from xkcd, one of my favorite webcomics. Click to enlarge.[read on...]
Growers IP Review
The Councillor of the Exchequer has commanded a treasury-level review of the complicated mess that is the UK's intellectual property law, and you're invited to contribute. The Open Rights Group was asked to participate and have issued a call for evidence. If you have any war stories highlighting the failure of current system, please send them in.[read on...]
Happy Gray Tuesday
Today is Dean Gray Tuesday, a day for angst and the dowloading of free music. So for the next couple hours, I'll be getting to the spirit and sharing with you some illegal MP3s here or you can go to www.americanedit.org [read on...]
to find more mirrors of this years album.
Fuck Warner! Up the Revolution!
Customisable Google Logo
Logogle.com is a site which allows users to customise the google logo, like so:[read on...]
Its freaking genius. The ability to change the logo is so-so as far as cool things go, technically easy, not amazing. As a business idea its totally awesome, here we have a way to take advantage a neat little meme to harvest money from google, simply by putting ads in the same place google does, and charging them for their own adsense :-) or yahoo ads! And its hella good viral marketing, because it takes advantage of poeple's exhibitionism and hubris, they're going to work hard to drive people to your site to see 'their' logo. I absolutely love this site, for sheer chutzpah and business sense. Its technically boring but psychologically brilliant as a get-rich-quick scheme. I need to come up with some ideas like this.
BBC Documentaries as Torrents
NewNova.org has a huge listing of fresh documentaries. This is like finding bittorrent gold :-) Not that any of you good people would download an illegal BBC documentary of course... You'd buy a television, an then buy an ariel and a freeview box, and then pay a licence fee, which is used for god knows what. You wouldn't use the internet to get hold of something your tax money payed for...[read on...]
UPDATE: May 2007, newnova is no more, however there is now a huge array of downloadable BBC and Channel4 documentaries available on Google Video.
If that doesn't suit you Torrentz.com list over 600 files for the phrase 'BBC Documentary'.