The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit (porsupah) wrote,
The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit
porsupah

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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."
Tags: abramoff, ca rail, funny pets, general zinni, kiba, phil zimmerman, tom delay, wolves in the walls, zfone
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