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March 15, 2003


Two great sites for reality checks and referencing when someone's forwarded you the latest E-mail scam or myth:

  • Spinsanity is a nonpartisan site that cuts through spin, lies and misleading rhetoric. Great stuff.
  • The venerable "Snopes" site, also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, fact check just about every forwarded E-mail and rumor circulating.

March 13, 2003


That CD never knew what hit it. Pretty lights, though.

March 11, 2003

Grammar Grudge

I can't stand it when people write "per say." Hate, hate, hate it. Makes me want to claw my eyes out.

Brushed Metal Safari

That sounds like a bad album title, doesn't it?

So there are a bunch of browser choices available for Mac users these days: Mozilla, Camino (nee Chimera -- my favorite), OmniWeb, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (of course), and Apple's own public beta Safari. Safari is a bit of an odd duck in that the browser window has a brushed metal appearance, in apparent contravention of Apple's own Human Interface Guidelines:

This window style has been designed specifically for use by -- and is therefore best suited to -- applications that provide an interface for a digital peripheral, such as a camera, or an interface for managing data shared with digital peripherals, such as the Address Book application.

This appearance may also be appropriate for applications that strive to re-create a familiar physical device?the Calculator application, for example. Avoid using the textured window appearance in applications or utilities that are unrelated to digital peripherals or to the data associated with these devices.

A quick Googling shows that User Interface geeks are not terribly thrilled.

There are a couple of benign reasons for Apple to have done this. Steven Fisher, a Camino developer, suggests, "Looking at all the pre-Safari metal apps (iTunes, Calculator, Sherlock, iCal, iChat, iPhoto, Address Book, etc, etc) it's fairly obvious what they share in common: They're all applications that don't follow the a document model. Any data they access is stored in either a database or in an external device. Exactly like web browsers have always been." So the problem's with the guidelines themselves, which he figures that Apple will correct.

But explanation two -- which requires a flight of fancy -- might be that some hotshot might be puttering around in Apple's basements on a tablet web browser or PC....

At any rate, I still prefer Camino to Safari, although I'm using Mozilla more and more. But I wish all web browsers let you right-click on a word and go straight to Google with it, like Safari...

March 10, 2003

I covet that T-shirt

Though, admittedly, one shouldn't wear this unless one is a member of the club.

March 3, 2003

Simply gorgeous

Amazingly beautiful microscopic pictures of snowflakes. Here's a small teaser -- it's the close-ups that are mesmerizingly beautiful. Take a bunch of these, string them together as a screen saver, and you'd have a bloody nifty meditation tool. Nature is wonderfully made.

March 2, 2003

A Darker Side of Faith

Unlike many of my fellow liberals, I haven't been terribly concerned about President Bush's deeply conservative religious inclinations. (Attorney General Ashcroft's, on the other hand, give me the screaming willies.) He and I have different interpretations of what Christianity calls us to -- especially reagarding social justice in the here-and-now world. But having deeply held, even fundamentalist, religious beliefs isn't an automatic warning bell for me. It's what you do with those beliefs, and what the content of those personal beliefs implies about how you'll govern.

Here's one of my tests: Do you recognize that Americans come from all faiths -- Protestant, Catholic, pagan, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist or none at all? If you disagree with those faiths, can you still respect and defend the right of people to follow them?

Bush gets the language right sometimes. He said in his March 30, 2002, radio address, "Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all." And he told the 2002 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting that

Baptists have had an extraordinary influence on American history. They were among the earliest champions of religious tolerance and freedom. Baptists have long upheld the ideal of a free church in a free state. And from the beginning, they believed that forcing a person to worship against his will violated the principles of both Christianity and civility.... And Baptists understood the deep truth of what Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "The church is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state."

He also tells the Southern Baptists, "Yet, you have never believed in separating religious faith from political life. Baptists believe as America's founders did: that religious faith is the moral anchor of American life." For people outside the Judeo-Christian majority, this is more unsettling -- but it's an honest statement of belief that doesn't necessarily mean a threat -- just a disagreement.

But actions frequently speak louder than words. I just read Howard Fineman's latest cover story for Newsweek. (Fineman seems to "get" Bush's psychology; see also my previously-linked entry.) Just when I'm fantasizing asking Bush how he reconciles his unshakeable faith in Christ with the need to defend all Americans' right to faith, I stumble over this paragraph:

The Bush campaign conducted its more-controversial outreach below radar, via letters and e-mail. Only once was it forced to reach out in a raw public way. After John McCain won the New Hampshire primary, Bush made his infamous visit to South Carolina's Bob Jones University, the ultrafundamentalist and officially anti-Roman Catholic school. Strategists were opaque in public, unapologetic behind the scenes. "We had to send a message -- fast -- and sending him there was the only way to do it," said one top Bush operative at the time. "It was a risk we had to take." Bush won.

Suddenly I feel like I know the answer, without having to ask.