173 Articles


15 years Ago

Copying != Stealing

Published by marco on

In a recent discussion about Bill Gates’ Letter to the HCC (Slashdot)[1], an unusually astute comment (Slashdot) was logged by 808140[2]. It put into clear terms the difference between copying software, media or other digital bits and the actual legal definition of stealing. Stealing means to deprive someone (the “owner”) of something to which they have purchased title. Making a digital copy of that “something” does not in any way deprive the owner of their property, so it can hardly be called stealing, can it?

“What [the... [More]”

16 years Ago

Glaciers advancing … run for your lives

Published by marco on

 Swiss wrap a glacierThe Real Junk Science by George Monbiot (AlterNet) covers a recent letter by a pillar of the scientific community (no, really, he apparently is … or was) in which he claims that most glaciers in Europe are, in fact, growing. Global warming naysayers have naturally taken this as “proof” that global warming is a sham dreamt up by fruity eco-socialists who want to ruin it for everybody.

Monbiot’s look into the validity of the claim takes him on a twisty path a myriad of citations, each building on the last without adding... [More]

The Poisonwood Bible − History Repeats Itself

Published by marco on

 The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Amazon) is a work of fiction about a baptist family from the American South who embark on a mission to the Congo in 1959. It tells the tale from the viewpoint of the minister’s four daughters with intermezzos told by the mother. The clash of cultures on social, political and military levels is exquisitely woven from these individual strands of experience. The political context is remarkably similar to that in which an amnesiac America has placed itself today, lending ever more... [More]

Teaching Science in America

Published by marco on

 Having Fun With Intelligent Design by David Morris (AlterNet) offers some good advice to teachers charged with spending time on alternative theories to evolution. The crux of the matter is that in two states so far, Pennsylvania and Kansas (big surprise there), teachers must address a theory of the world known as intelligent design. This is not religion; it is a pseudo-scientific justification for a God-like being.

“Intelligent design is not creationism per se. It holds that higher forms of life are so complex they must... [More]”

Censor yourself

Published by marco on

According to Your Handy Home Censorship Kit (AlterNet), there is now in America a purification device for the wicked emissions coming from Hollywood in the form of “[a] new device [that] allows consumers to cleanse their DVDs of sex, profanity and violence.”

Whoop-dee-doo. It’s called network television or basic cable; we’ve had it for decades. This brilliant technology is now also available for the home in the form of a ClearPlay DVD player:

“ that are designed to mute or skip over foul language, nudity,... [More]”

TV Shoes

Published by marco on

 Smart shoes decide on television time (New Scientist) covers yet another brilliant idea from Britain, in which a home’s television usage can be keyed to a counter in a pair of sneakers. As with many other things British, it has a totally lame, weird name that doesn’t make any sense to anyone outside of Britain: “Square Eyes”. I honestly have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

As with all kooky ideas that will never work, it starts from the best intentions: getting kids to both eat less and watch less TV.... [More]

Giant Steps (Flash)

Published by marco on

 Giant Steps by Michael Levy is a wonderful, fun 3d visual interpretation of John Coltrane’s musical classic. It’s a sign that Flash can used for something other than annoying ads that flicker, flash, make noise, hover around over the web page and find ways around our popup blockers.

Really cool, soothing stuff. Check it out.

Internet reality show

Published by marco on

 Every day people think of quirky new ideas for web sites. Usually, the site has a funny little Flash video or a game and the site itself is a one-hit-wonder of the 21st Century. There is invariably not enough bandwidth to go around and the site is laid low in minutes by stampeding hordes of attention span-deprived, insatiable internet users.

To avoid those problems, there are now sites based on much larger servers, like Blogger that don’t go down so easily: not even when they host a huge page... [More]

Public Service Announcement

Published by marco on

As some of you may have noticed, earthli News articles have become more sporadic and rarer over the last several weeks. This crisis arises not from any personal problems or lack of interest, but rather from a quite real dearth of news about which to complain.

The current events section has long thrived on the antics of a hapless administration led by a chimpanzee-like buffoon who consistently opted for the crass, wrong solution that gave new meaning to the term “short-sighted”.

In light of... [More]

Ben Tripp Stretches a Metaphor All to Hell

Published by marco on

Mr. Tripp likes to be provacative. He likes to be in-your-face. Put Down the Faggot: Requiem for 2004 by Ben Tripp (CounterPunch) is all that and a bag of chips.

Go on, read it. It’s short.

It’s the touching story of two small boys in Ireland who convince an even smaller boy to do something whereafter he’s “…blinded, shrieking for help, [and] covered from head to toe in a hideous stew of viscera and decay.”

Not a lot of end-of-the-year recaps include that kind of imagery. The final twist on the metaphor comes at the... [More]

The Future of Media

Published by marco on

Googlezon PassEPIC is an eight minute Flash film (English transcript), depicting a possible future for our media. It’s extrapolations of customized content aren’t far-fetched at all. Their hypothetical “Googlezon” that generates personalized news articles for each user is downright eerie.

Imagine a world where your Google News is combined with your personal preferences from Amazon. Imagine if you clicked a link for an article and it was generated on-the-fly based on various blogs and online papers that the... [More]

Monkeys and Spheres

Published by marco on

 Don’t believe in either one of them; it’s an intellectual plot. If you go to school in America today, there’s a chance that you’ll hear some interesting theories in your science classes.

The theory of evolution vs. creationism debate appears in the news every once in a while. Sophisticates like to scoff that Hiring Creationists to teach Biology is all the rage in podunk states that value God above logic. Those programs require equal time for all theories, regardless of whether they are based... [More]

My first hate mail!

Published by marco on

That’s right. is officially on the map with one hate mail. Without further ado, here’s the text of the mail (email left off to protect the sender)


It becomes obvious that your hate for other beliefs that differ from your own are filled with venom. I am in the military and returned from a deployment 1/02-12/02. I can see the fear of a coward in the vulgar language that you choose to describe your flawed opinion. You, George Soros, Hollywood Elite, and Michael Moore should... [More]

Team South Park Jumps the Shark

Published by marco on

’Team’ Spirit not for Everyone (SF Gate) is an interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park and the movie “Team America: World Police”. I haven’t seen the movie (yet), and I’ve heard it’s pretty funny. I’m a little confused by the interview here because they usually interview well. In this case, they did not. Let’s get a few things straight. They’re satirists and comedians, not political analysts. You can’t hold them to a standard of proof or thought that you would Noam Chomsky.... [More]

17 years Ago

Food for Thought

Published by marco on

I know I’ve seen this one before, but I got this via email and was kind of struck by some of these numbers (highlighted below).

If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following*:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both North and South (Does this include all of Europe? I think so…)
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be... [More]

Home Schooling and indoctrination

Published by marco on

In a discussion on Plastic about Baptists potentially removing their children from public school in droves, One thing I don’t understand about Plastic was rated ‘Brilliant’ for saying said that:

“What most parents are trying to get through homeschooling is not a better education but one that more closely fits their own ideology, even to the point of downright denial of facts and the censorship of ideas. For the sake of their ideology they exclude knowledge, which is a harm to the child.”

... [More]

Super cars

Published by marco on

 Koenigsegg is a Swedish supercar company that you’ve probably never heard of. They make the CCR1, the beautiful orange car to the left, which goes from 0-100km in 3.2 seconds and tops out at “395+ km/h (242+ mph)”. It reaches “806 HP at 5900 RPM” for maximum power output. Being European, it doesn’t even guzzle gas to the extreme amount you would expect — about normal for an American car (“13 l/100 km” (about 20MPG highway) — see A gallon of gas for info on Euro/US conversion). There are a lot... [More]

earthli reader rips Bush a new one

Published by marco on

 Long-time earthli News reader, Nico Michael, participated in the filming of a short political feature as told in Film lets N.Y.ers drop a dollar on President (NY Daily News). The “15-minute film” is sponsored by “a nonprofit group that distributes films promoting social causes and human rights” and simply shows people sending their opinions to the White House via public phone.

“This is the worst administration I’ve ever known,“ said Michael, a software developer who lives in the Village. “You’re leading the... [More]”

TV Turnoff week (19th − 25th April)

Published by marco on

It’s that time of year again. Slashdot has a story on it at The National TV Turn Off Week. The main site’s at TV Turnoff Network and is a spinoff of Adbusters. It’s a good idea and I’ve got just the challenge I need this week: the second season of 24 is playing 2 or 3 hours per week on a local German channel. I’ve watched the first 14 hours or so over the last 5 or 6 weeks. I don’t watch a lot of TV anyway — I’m debating what the significance of skipping 24 this week would be. I’m sure... [More]

A la Carte Cable

Published by marco on

The same busy little lobbyists who are doing their best to outlaw your Tivo are also hard at work preventing the Cable-TV consumer’s dream: A la Carte Cable. Sorry — No a la Carte Cable (Washington Post) explains that the same people are hard at work making sure your cable bill never, ever goes down.

What is “a La Carte Cable”? Imagine, if you would, a world in which you only pay for things you actually want and use. As a cable-consumer advocate put it: “When I go to the grocery store to buy a quart of milk,... [More]”

The merger to end all mergers

Published by marco on

According to several sources (check Google News), the Democrat and Republican parties have officially merged into one organization. The move was ostensibly made to cut down on administration and production costs and does not mean the two parties themselves cease to exist; it just means Kerry and Bush might be sharing the same TV studio when filming mud-slinging commercials.

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie explains:

“…this move has nothing to do with ideology — it’s simply a matter of good... [More]”

A gallon of gas

Published by marco on

The one real good side-effect of the invasion and take-over of Iraq was supposed to be a steady supply of oil to keep gas prices stable. Alas, Americans are feeling the pinch as gas prices hit an all-time record of $1.80 (national average). The Gas Price Crisis (White House.Org) is, as always, a highly non-reliable news source, but they did include a fake quote from Bush that caught my attention:

“Vice President Cheney and I know the oil industry inside and out. In fact, one of the reasons a near-majority of... [More]”

Decline of American Civilization, part XXXVIII

Published by marco on

I just want to remind people that every single second you wasted feeling outraged by Janet Jackson is time you can never get back. There are morons who are suing someone (I really haven’t the foggiest who they aim to lay low for their suffering) for being forced to see Janet Jackson’s nipple on Sunday. Their lawyer stated that “…[a]s a direct and proximate result of the broadcast of the acts, (Carlin) and millions of others saw the acts and were caused to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment... [More]”

Male contraceptives: why not?

Published by marco on

We’ve become used to seeing contraceptive solutions for women — there are no widely-used ingested male contraceptives. Though condoms are largely seen as a ‘male’ contraceptive, I think most reasonable people can see that they are equally as inconvenient for women. ’Are You Using Anything?’ (AlterNet) talks about a new “Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance”, an injectable contraceptive for men “developed by professor Sujoy K. Guha, an Indian researcher of biomedical engineering at the Indian... [More]”

Lenny Bruce pardon combats terrorism

Published by marco on

No Joke! 37 Years After Death Lenny Bruce Receives Pardon (NY Times) highlights two completely inadvertent examples of high comedy. Apparently, George Pataki has pardoned Lenny Bruce of his obscenity charge 37 years after his death. Unfortunately, that’s a little late to prevent the US government from having hounded a man to his death for having an unsanctioned sense of humor.

For those bits of high comedy, you have to read his announcement:

“Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties,... [More]”

18 years Ago

Beyond satire

Published by marco on

 KB toys has transcended any cynic’s wet dreams by offering a George Bush action figure. It’s not Bush in the oval office or gazing with steely resolve into the distance; it’s Bush dressed up as a fighter pilot and designated as an “Elite Force Aviator”.

Go to the link and read the text; it’s not a joke. A more fitting symbol of the deep illness of America society would be hard to find. A wonderful sign of the hope for American society would be if people boycotted KB toys because of this. I hope... [More]


Published by marco on

 I learned a new word today; it means “the study of flags”. I was pointed to a cool site by a Plastic post, New EU Logo Looks Like TV Test Pattern about an article pointing out EU may get new ‘bar-code’ logo on Ananova. The logo has not been accepted yet (nor is it likely to be, if you look to the left). The current logo is 12 stars in an circle (like a clock face) over a blue background. EU rejects call to change flag (also on Ananova) reports:

“All the ideas put forward at our meeting have been... [More]”

Top Thrill Dragster

Published by marco on

To Thrill Dragster Aerial View (Artist's Rendering)There’s a new world record holder for largest rollercoaster: the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio is “420 feet” (128 meters) high. It shoots up a “90 degree”, pure vertical climb into a 400 foot vertical drop that takes you from 0 to almost 120MpH (193KpH) in just “4 seconds”. The ride was manufactured by “Intamin AG of Wollerau, Switzerland”, and they say the Swiss are boring.

The whole thing is basically a long loop that has one end vertical. The cars are look like dragsters and each train... [More]

An Oscar for Gollum

Published by marco on

You may have heard rumblings recently about an Oscar of some sort being awarded to the actor that played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. You may have thought that it was ridiculous since the character is complete digitized; nothing of the actor himself remains. However, The Next Reel − December 18, 2002 on Green Cine has a very good (and long) article about the filming.

The last page, Gollum, contains a lengthy explanation of how this character was brought to the screen and... [More]

A Cog in the Service Industry

Published by marco on

 When you start reading Service Tension on Salon by Mary Elizabeth Williams, you find yourself agreeing with her. Her tales of “rude, pathological or clueless service people” resonate with our own experiences. It’s an article about what it’s like to exist in a world supported by service industry staff, and having to put up with it all. In many ways, I’m sure it sounds just like the kind of “you just can’t find good help these days” griping that’s accompanied the upper classes since the dawn of time.... [More]