Monday, February 28, 2005

Taking the web back...

I have been using Firefox for a few months and I highly recommend it. In addition to its neat and simple interface and the vindictive, spitting-in-the-face-of-the-giants feeling everytime it opens with that "unrecognizable to windows" icon in the corner, it has also changed the way that I use the internet.

First, the tabbed browsing feature is beyond nifty (if you've been using netscape you already know that) BUT it is also highly customizable. I've built a .torrent file search engine (which I believe was actually written by Smash aka Ben Guild) right into the search bar at the top. That's kind of neat. The best though, is the Adblock plugin.

I read the NYtimes online sometimes, but often open the news stories in print format because the ads right in the middle of the story text are so distracting. Additionally, I live in Leverett, which, as a town, voted against getting a cable infrastructure. So, excluding my housemates, I am one of I think five people in the world who have satellite internet. Satellite internet is great as long as it is not cloudy, raining or snowing (at least on the south-facing side of the house) and no one else in your room, your home, or the hemisphere happens to be using the internet at the same time as you.

If all of those conditions are not met, then its almost maddeningly slow, even, beyond sluggish. It is sloth.

So, I don't want to spend an extra 20 minutes waiting for content which I don't even want to see to load - namely, ads. This would be true on a fast computer as well. Because ads are just plain annoying.

Enter the magical Adblock. It erases advertisements right off of webpages. Sometimes it leaves a blank gap, but often the space is just filled in with page content as if the ad never existed! What a neat trick!

There's a neat tutorial on how to use Adblock here.
I first heard about this on the great news site, Digg.


PT Demographics

Phantasytour is (mainly) a phish message board - here is a breakdown
on phish fans who both use the internet and are fothcoming in their

PT Stats

Be sure to check out the many possible ways to classify a "newb"

Top 100 Cogsci Works of the millenium

Judges panel was small but with varied interests, and anyone could nominate:


File Under: Bright Ideas

Little red cards. Everyone would receive five per year, and, since everyone had five, everyone would know and respect the meaning of the cards. They would be reserved for distribution at key moments. For example, last Thursday, I would have gladly used my first card of 2005.

Medeski and Martin left the stage leaving only Wood out there with his standup bass. The lights went from green to purple. Most of the audience stood on tiptoe, to pick out each soft note. Except the two guys next to me...they were spending the bass solo discussing base...ball. In front of them, some girl wearing too much green eye shadow was attempting to kiss some dude who was trying to ignore her....

Why - why couldn't we all just listen to the music? Take three hours off from perpetuating the small dramatic events which give our lives momentum and just listen to the music??

I was trying to hear the notes, or at least absorb the general melody of the solo, but it would meld in with the conversation next to me in a kind of binocular rivalry of the ears - with one fading into the other and back again...D D G A Arod dude, ....C D D G....

If only I had my cards. I can picture them now - universally distributed and respected by all; five per year. Little red cards reading "Shut up."

When I told Greg about this idea, he told me that some guy with whom he went to school was in the habit of carrying around one yellow and one red card in his two back pockets, and would regularly card people who were doing anything that did not agree with him, such as - Greg said - wearing purple sweatpants in the dining hall. He then illustrated this on the sidewalk by lunging forward, eyes closed, one hand in the air, muttering "that's a yellow card," then shaking his head with his eyes closed.

See that works, but only for one eccentric guy (who, turns out, besides the funny carding thing was actually "kind of a bastard") - the advantage of the shutup cards is that they work for everyone. There would be no one who would not understand - the guy next to you at the Mexican place explaining his thesis topic to his date would have to smile and nod as you handed him his card; the girl at the bar, carded in mid-sentence while discussing her plans for a haircut in the near future, would get mad temporarily but only until she remembered how she herself had carded her mother only hours before for beginning the "I want grandchildren before I die" routine. People who speak loudly in public about nothing would suddenly realize how annoying they are, as one-fifth of someone's yearly allotment was used on them almost daily.

Yes, if we only had "shutup" cards, life would be beautiful. And quieter.

Scientific Frontiers

As with any article, don't skip the references!

The Need for Double-Strength Placebos


To quote Laura, who sent me this:


Sunday, February 27, 2005

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