Reuters reports on an interview Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi Prime Minister, regarding US withdrawal: '"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." Asked if he supported Obama's ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for. "Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."'
Have a generous armload of Tor Books for free, including Old Man's War by John Scalzi, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, and more, in HTML, PDF, and Mobi formats.
worthyadvisor noticed a most cool scientific site: PeriodicVideos. The front page is a simple periodic table, laid out in the usual way - but each element links to a short (2-3 minutes or so) video, with university staff talking about just what that element looks like, its history, uses, and so forth, in a refreshingly informal way. Highly recommended. (And I absolutely adore the hair of the prof 23s into Ti =:)
Now here's quite an impressive example of haute couture meeting furrydom.. even if Thierry Mugler may not have realised it. =:) It's called "Chimère". You'll really want to see the full size image to appreciate it properly - but isn't it a minor tweak or two from an outstanding draconic costume?
Quite a pleasant addition to my camera repertoire - using the SpaceNavigator, I can change my orientation and position independently of the camera perspective. Moving around and flying with it will take a little practice, but at first glance, it does indeed seem to work quite nicely. Noticed a small bug: if you're purely wandering around or flying using it, rather than keyboard navigation, it'll wind up thinking you're idle, and put you into "Away" mode - as happened while I was flying. =:D
An intriguing introduction to George Dyson's "Engineers' Dreams", leading in with a brief excerpt from the story:
Only one third of a search engine is devoted to fulfilling search requests. The other two thirds are divided between crawling (sending a host of single-minded digital organisms out to gather information) and indexing (building data structures from the results). Ed's job was to balance the resulting loads. When Ed examined the traffic, he realized that Google was doing more than mapping the digital universe. Google doesn’t merely link or point to data. It moves data around. Data that are associated frequently by search requests are locally replicated—establishing physical proximity, in the real universe, that is manifested computationally as proximity in time. Google was more than a map. Google was becoming something else..
Speaking of whom, given Google's high - even if not perfect, with around 1-2 per thousand spam "messages" trapped turning out to be genuine - success rate in identifying spam, I've finally turned off my own spam filters, though Mail will continue to put in its contribution to the effort. (The spam I'm seeing in Gmail is only that addressed to me - if I set it to allow everything addressed to ringtail.com, regardless of username, the volume rises dramatically, on the order of a couple thousand per day. As is, it's more around 20-30) Whilst I'd still prefer to handle my own mail, rather than letting a large entity like Google do so, I'll happily concede they do a very good job indeed, and for no charge, with no inserted advertising or mailshots. (Which, of course, makes me think TANSTAAFL. Yet pepemapache can attest otherwise =:)
thrifthorror is normally a place for the weird and wonderfully awful crap one can sometimes find in thrift stores - but this entry was different. She's highlighted a few "bonus items" - notes found within purchases. They're only ephemera, mostly, but the final example is rather terribly poignant.
Note that this photo is a photograph, not a rendering or artistic interpretation, taken by Cassini, showing Saturn eclipsing the Sun. I'm told the locality is actually colder than atomicat's stomping grounds.