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Here's a sample episode (33MB, 6m30) of a new pure-CG anime, Funny Pets. Not furry as such, unfortunately, but reminiscent of what might happen with some bored Toy Story animators wanting to exercise a bit more of their darker side of humor. ^_^

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Does anyone know if there's a story behind 0r0ch1's distinctive markings? I'm curious, but can't seem to find anything one way or the other. No matter. ^_^

KIBA might be a new anime to keep an eye on. The first episode concludes with something of a taste of El Hazard, having opened in a somewhat distopian cityscape.

General Zinni, former commander of US Central Command, lays out his views on Bush's decisions on Iraq, in a recent Meet the Press; the transcript begins with the show's other guest that day, Senator McCain.

I've not tested it out, as I don't use VoIP (I don't use phones, unless necessary), but Phil Zimmermann's Zfone looks like being a worthwhile addition to your existing client: "The Zfone software detects when the call starts, and initiates a cryptographic key agreement between the two parties, and then proceeds to encrypt and decrypt the voice packets on the fly." It's available as a beta for Tiger and Linux, with Windows coming later this month.

Clerks 2, August 18.

So this is the proposed high-speed rail link between not-really-Northern-but-we'll-call-it-that California and SoCal; it would run from the Bay and Sacramento, with the main direction running down the Central Valley, through Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Palmdale Airport, before heading westwards into Burbank, through the LA basin, and down through Escondido into San Diego. As ever, the big question is funding, with nothing in Schwartzenegger's recent budgetary plan for the project.

Here's quite an interesting look at some of the fun Messrs DeLay, Abramoff, and others had in recent years in the Marianas.

The Wolves in the Walls sounds like a show worth seeing, if you're anywhere near Glasgow, and later, London. "[It] is fired by Gaiman's obsession with parents who get sealed off from their children, and his fascination with secret lives. A small girl hears gnawings inside her house, and knows that wolves are in the walls. Her family don't believe her, until the lupine invaders take over: the humans scarper, but our heroine ingeniously suggests that they could live in the interstices of their own home - until they, too, are ready to come out of the walls."

And also from Glasgow today, word of study into using space elevators to propel food and equipment to the indigenous Clangers moon, using a slingshot effect to cast the goods towards the receiver.


In a War of Words, Famed Encyclopedia Defends Its Turf
At Britannica, Comparisons to an Online Upstart Are Bad Work of 'Nature'
By SARAH ELLISON
Wall Street Journal
March 24, 2006; Page A1

The venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica is launching an unusual public
war to defend itself against a scientific article that argued it's
scarcely better than a free-for-all Web upstart.

On Dec. 15, the scientific journal Nature ran a two-page "special
report" titled "Internet encyclopedias go head to head." It compared the
accuracy of science entries for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and
the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Founded in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britannica is painstakingly
compiled by a collection of scholars and other experts around the world.
Wikipedia came to life in California five years ago under a
"user-generated" model: That is, anyone who wants to can contribute, or
change, an entry.

The Nature report, published in the journal's news section, said there
was not much difference between the two. For every four errors in
Wikipedia, Britannica had three. "Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in
terms of the accuracy of its science entries," the study concluded.

The article was immediately cited by dozens of newswires, papers and
magazines around the world. Leslie H. Gelb, former president of the
Council on Foreign Relations and a member of Britannica's editorial
board, said he first heard about the article from his son-in-law, who
taunted him, saying, "Your Britannica is no different from Wikipedia,"
Mr. Gelb recalls. "He was tormenting me."

Now, Britannica's editors are firing back with a strongly worded open
letter demanding that Nature retract its article and a 7,000-word
rebuttal on its Web site. Executives at Britannica say the letter will
appear in half-page ads in The Times of London, the New York Times and
the Chicago Tribune as early as Monday. The letter says that Nature's
study "was so poorly carried out and its findings so error-laden that it
was completely without validity." The letter was emailed Wednesday to
roughly 5,000 librarians, school-district administrators and curriculum
coordinators.

The editors of Nature, a leading scientific publication based in London,
posted a lengthy response to Britannica's open letter yesterday on its
Web site, defending its article and concluding: "We do not intend to
retract our article." The report carried six bylines, and used as its
basis critiques from 50 reviewers who are "independent scholars" in
various scientific fields. Nature is owned by closely held Verlagsgruppe
Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH of Germany.

The scrape comes as Encyclopaedia Britannica, once a household staple,
has struggled to maintain its relevance in a world of free search
engines and online research tools. The company, which stopped selling
encyclopedias door to door in 1996 in the U.S. and Canada, is part of
Luxembourg-based Encyclopaedia Britannica Holding SA. Today, only a
third of its profits come from its print encyclopedias. The rest is made
up in online subscriptions and other ventures.

In its past two meetings, the Britannica board discussed the possibility
of making its online content mainly free. "We've been arguing about it
and here this thing comes along," Mr. Gelb says.

In the 42 entries examined in each publication, Nature said it found 162
problems in Wikipedia and 123 in Britannica. Among the alleged errors:
Britannica spelled the name of an Italian town where the ancient
mathematician Pythagoras lived for part of his life as Crotone. It's
Crotona, according to Nature. Britannica said a cloud was formed by
"supersaturation." Nature's reviewer said simple "saturation" would have
been more accurate. In an entry on lipids, Nature had no qualm with
Wikipedia's entries but said Britannica failed to mention "saturated"
and "unsaturated" fats, and used "outdated nomenclature."

Britannica rejected these and other findings. Crotone, it said, is the
"proper modern spelling." Saturation, it argued, is a "transitional
stage" leading up to supersaturation. As for the entry on lipids,
Britannica objected to Nature reviewing only a 350-word excerpt of its
6,000-word entry on the subject. Although it did acknowledge some
errors, Britannica claimed that they were minor and far fewer than those
in Wikipedia.

"This is about reputation," says Theodore Pappas, Britannica's executive
editor. "It's about the trust we've enjoyed for 238 years." In its
response to Nature, Britannica deployed a team of 30 staff members and
outside scholars that spent six weeks going over each alleged error.

Nature says that Britannica has taken issue with fewer than half of the
points its reviewers raised, and that both Wikipedia and Britannica have
made some corrections to entries since the publication of the article.
Tom Panelas, Britannica's director of corporate communications, said in
an email: "A number of the reviewers made suggestions worth considering,
and in some cases we thought they were worth taking."

In an entry on famed physicist Hans Bethe, for instance, Britannica said
the German-born scientist was dismissed from an early academic post in
1933. The Nature reviewer thought the entry should have explained that
his mother was Jewish, and counted the lack of Nazi-era perspective as
an error.

The suggestion "seemed reasonable to us, so we added that, but there was
no inaccuracy in our article," Mr. Panelas says. He added that some of
Nature's reviewers suggested changes that were already in Britannica's
editorial pipeline, "but it doesn't mean those changes were a response
to Nature."

The day the Nature article appeared, Britannica asked Nature for more
data on its study. A week later, Nature sent Britannica a document
explaining how the study was carried out, and a summary of all the
disputed entries on both sides. But Britannica wanted more --
specifically, the raw survey data so Britannica could assess Nature's
findings. Jim Giles, the lead reporter on the piece, declined, saying
that doing so would compromise the anonymity of Nature's reviewers.

Mr. Gelb and others on the editorial board see more than Britannica's
reputation at stake. "I have no problem with there being a Wikipedia,
and people wanting to use it," says Mr. Gelb, "as long as people don't
think it is in and of itself serious scholarship."

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says the site does have a serious
editorial process. "You don't need to be credentialed expert to be a
reasonable one," he says. The site operates on what he calls an
accountability model as opposed to a gatekeeper model.

Roughly 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers contribute to Wikipedia on a regular
basis and thousands more make occasional contributions, Mr. Wales says.
According to the site, on Feb. 27, 2006, Wikipedia surpassed one million
registered users. In its own entry on Wikipedia, the Web site concedes
that there has been "controversy over its reliability."

Last fall, John Seigenthaler Sr., a former editor of the Tennessean
newspaper who had worked as an assistant to Attorney General Robert
Kennedy in the early 1960s, discovered that his biography on Wikipedia
had been altered to include a reference that linked him to the
assassinations of Mr. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. Mr. Seigenthaler
wrote an op-ed piece in USA Today assailing Wikipedia, and the site
altered its user-registration rules to attempt to prevent what Mr. Wales
calls "vandalism" on the site.

Mr. Wales says he was "pleased" with Nature's study, but adds, "It's
hardly true we're as good as Britannica." He says he was glad Nature
chose to compare science-related themes "because on history and the
social sciences, we're much weaker." In other areas -- including
computer science and the history of "Star Trek," he says, Wikipedia is
"way better."
 
 
 
 
 
 
Funny Pets was just scary xD

I'd love to see Wolves in the Walls. Neil Gaiman is love. <3
*giggle* It's a fairly bizarrely dark show - maybe not to the extent of Jam (oh, now there were some mindtrips..), but.. surprisingly so. Wanna try it on an anime newbie sometime? :->

Definitely, WitW does sound rather good. I'll have to poke around and see if they've got a schedule worked out yet for London or elsewhere. Rather a pity they didn't have any photos in the article.. wonder if they'll draw on Dave McKean's style? (I take it you saw Mirrormask, ne?)
I remember Jam when it was Blue Jam on Radio One. It was goddamn creepy xD I liked Mr Lizard though (that was Mark Heap, wasn't it?) and the little girl cleaning up the body, that was funny.

I haven't seen Mirrormask yet :( Amusingly, HMV seem to have a Mirrormask/Labyrinth/Dark Crystal boxset available for preorder though! ^.^
Aaah, that box! I was all excited about that a few weeks ago, and then saw the due date for it.. *sigh* (Which, AIR, matched Mirrormask's UK DVD release date; it's out already on R1 DVD, though) Brilliant idea, though. Wish my birthday was around then!

Definitely, catch Mirrormask. It's almost overwhelmingly visually rich, with so much to absorb of the world and its inhabitants - and they actually managed to bring McKean's style to life.

Ah, I've got to watch Howl again. ^_^ (Gods, when was the last time any Miyazaki was shown on the "basic" channels? Even the BBC's all but forsaken the entire genre, it seems)
Spirited Away was on the Sky movie channels all over Christmas, but that's the closest I've seen it get. When I rule the world, Studio Ghibli films will replace all children's television! :D
I'll admit I've not looked into it, but is ZFone any different from Phil Zimmerman's previous foray into secure VoIP, PGPFone? That was around back in the days of PGP5, I think, and PGP encrypted VoIP streams. Worked reasonably well even over a 56k modem.
The key is that Zfone's an add-on, not a client itself - so you continue using whatever client you prefer, just with Zfone sitting there, as he puts it, as a "bump in the wire". I noticed it didn't make any mention of Skype's compatibility, though - which, AIUI, does include some relatively modest encryption - probably enough to deter the casual WiFi observer.

I think I might've actually tried PGPfone. ^_^ Wasn't that served from some MIT box? ISTR it did work quite well, though it did drag my PB5300c down. Not that that was too difficult.. ^_^;

I'm still a bit surprised decent encryption isn't an everyday, routine part of all email, IM, and VoIP.
It looks to me like all of the errors cited in the EB were pretty minor ones. The only thing that seemed remotely important was the Crotone/Crotona issue. Using an outdated placename could have the potential to get you into trouble. But the rest of it just seemed like nitpicking.
Hey Porsupah, you seem to have a knack for finding neat animation - I don't suppose you've got a repository of old animation kicking around? I've been trying to get copies of some late 80s/early 90s independent animated shorts, but eMule's not carrying them, and the few BitTorrent places I know of only have recent stuff. So I'm clutching at straws here! I'm looking for stuff like "Screen Play" by Barry Purves, "Snookles", Mark Baker's shorts ("Hill Farm", "Jolly Roger", "The Village"), and Raimund Krumme's "Ropedancer" (aka "Seiltanzer"), amongst others.
*grin* Unfortunately, I can't immediately help with those, but I'll keep an eye out (cue Dark Crystal) for such. Sadly, the way of the online world, whether the more immediate BT or the more latent eMule, does rather skew towards the more recent.

If only net.publishing were more mature.. the iTMS is a landmark step in the right direction (even if shackled by some moderate, needless DRM), but the principle could - and will - extend so much further, where a store's stock isn't limited by the size contained by its walls, nor its trade confined to its location. But even as the music industry's still trying to come to terms with electronic publishing, so video remains at a nascent stage. (Better than the print world, I suppose, which is prominently holding fingers in ears and waiting for it to all just go away)
Bah. Yet another video you've linked to that I can't play on my poor old G4 Powerbook because that mp4 codec simply flattens it. Sniff. I guess 867Mhz wasn't going to be good enough forever...
Eep! True, I've not checked recent files for older system compatibility, and H.264 is a bit more demanding on decode (a lot more on encoding.. don't use exhaustive ME on an H.264 mencoder compression unless you've got time to spare =:). I'll check it on Ocelot (400MHz rev.A PBG4) on the morrow, when I get the monitor hooked up to it; I'm setting a smaller "plain" MPEG-4 version encoding in the meantime.

And you know the underlit keyboard calls to you.. =:)

(When did those come in? Not the rev.A, I know, not the rev.B, I think.. maybe the rev.C? I know I thought it a nifty idea as soon as I saw it)

Ah, here we go. ^_^ 26MB, and still good quality.
Don't mind my complaining too much. ;^) It's just sort of a humbling to see my computer choking on things it just has no prayer of succeeding at.

I'm really ill-inclined to upgrade at the moment, as I *do* have a 1.67ghz final-rev 15" Powerbook at work, and as nice as it is, well, videos like this gobble up 60% of the CPU on it, which sort of implies that the G4 just isn't going to cut it anymore. (That video just isn't that big, resolutionwise.) I did recommend the same system highly to a certain coati that has lots of legacy software he'll want to keep running for the next few years as it's a really nice system and it's the fastest PowerPC laptop there will ever be. (I've never liked the Aluminum 15"ers until this final rev. The higher-res screen makes all the difference.) However my personal criteria for buying a machine dictates a roughly a 4x CPU speed jump before coughing up money, and a last rev Al, no matter how nice, doesn't qualify.

I could go for the MacBook Pro I suppose, but, well, no. Maybe after a few hardware revs it'll be OK, but the ones I've been working with at the office taste distinctly half-baked. :^b (Odd considering how easily they could serve as ad-hoc EasyBake ovens.)
I was all ready to go for a 1440x900 17" PBG4, when the last series was announced - 1680x1050 is an absolute dream. Still a bit odd seeing things like Ocelot's 1024x768 (let alone Mouse's 800x600!) appear as a comparatively modest window in Chicken of the VNC.. ^_^ I'd say that revision may be my favorite PowerBook of all, beating out the Wallstreet, which I'd nonetheless hold up as a fine example of industrial aesthetics.

Now, well.. there's still no 17" MBP, but true, you'd still have to see a good price on a PBG4, or have some other particular requirement, such as a need for a PPC system, to make one worthwhile over a MBP.

It's interesting to see how the MPC7447A and Core Duo compare directly - one of the few areas there was a real advantage, per clock (rather than having two cores) was in video playback, curiously. I'd certainly like to be able to play 1080p video, but 720p is already a bit beyond Hyzenthlay's abilities. Ah well. It's not often a day goes by without me thinking what a wonderful system it is, regardless, both in performance, general utility, and sheer elegance.

I wonder if there's ever a bargain to be had on Wallstreet CPU upgrades on eBay? I wouldn't mind plopping a G4 in, but it's hardly worth spending lots of money on, given the bus and GPU remain the same. But it's still in good condition (though the hinges don't feel as tight as they should - but it hardly ever goes mobile any more anyway). Reminds me, I should check who it was - pbparts, maybe - who offered individual keycaps, as Bunny's space bar lost its little securing hooks a while back, just before the last contract started up, so fluent typing on it's now a little less so. ^_^;
I'm still vaguely annoyed that Apple and IBM just couldn't get along. It's really pretty obvious in retrospect that the issues with getting a portable G5 were political and financial, not technical. All those public statements Apple was making (very early in the G5's product lifecycle) about a G5 in a laptop being "The Mother of All Thermal Challenges" were designed to shame IBM and serve as an excuse for switching to Intel should IBM refuse to design a laptop CPU for them for "free". Which is of course what happened.

(I don't linkage handy, but I've read some pretty interesting descriptions of the diabolical games Apple likes playing with its parts suppliers.)

Ah, well. Not that the "Core Duo" is a bad CPU, but the G5 is just *so* sexy. R.I.P., I guess.
So basically McCain's an apologist toadie. I knew this one. And people will still vote for the fucker anyway, should he run.
People only have to read Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator" to know that a space elelator (as Baby Plucky Duck would say) is a baaaad idea.

Elelator go down the hooooole!
I like the "flood plain" on the high speed rail map where they know they need a connection to the Bay Area but just can't seem to figure out how ... :)

Oh well ... if they build it, I'll try it.