Name Marco Von Ballmoos
Member since
Email [hidden]
Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco

The (only) developer at earthli.com.


2438 Articles

19 years Ago

Go along to get along

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The latest Adbusters issue has Intimidation discussing the Orwellian clampdown that is taking shape in Western society today.

“The supposedly immovable object called citizens’ rights met an irresistible force called “preventative justice.” And it got crushed. … The program isn’t to break bones, but to set limits − what we can say, endorse, speak up against”

More and more we hear the story of the man who was detained for hours or days because he made another person “nervous”. That nervous... [More]

Drive right or left?

Published on in Fun

 Which side of the road do they drive on? explains exactly that. It covers, in fascinating detail, which countries of the world drive on which side of the road. The map to the left is from the site and shows right-driving countries in yellow and left-driving countries in red. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of surface area, though:

“Having often encountered the implicit assumption that everyone but England and some of her colonies drive on the right side of the road, I compiled … a quick... [More]”

Silicon, Hummers and the Environment

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

So, how’s the environment been doing lately? With which side of the war on the environment has the U.S. decided to cast its lot? Well, the new Hummer is out. It’s got a 6.0 V8 engine. What kind of fuel economy does it get? Well, that’s a good question. Here’s the answer found on the official Hummer site (emphasis added).

“Because it is a class 3 truck, a type of vehicle that is often classified as a work truck, the EPA does not rate the mileage.. Typically, work trucks site and idle while... [More]”


Published on in Quotes

Lifted from Network (IMDB).

“You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here, you’re beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do. Why, whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs. In God’s name, you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion.”
“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are... [More]”

New Theme Set − Colors

Published on in earthli.com

earthli’s themes have been separated into sets and the theme selector has been updated to make it easier to choose the best theme for you.

Forums become earthli News

Published on in earthli.com

The earthli Forums are officially closed. Their content has been moved into earthli News, which is built with the same technology as the Albums and the Recipes, yielding a single shared earthli user for all sites. There is also better searching, print previews, a draft/published mode for contributors and a better date-oriented layout for easier browsing.

Bank Charge

Published on in Fun

This is an actual letter sent to a Bank in the US. The Bank thought it
amusing enough to publish in the New York times.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing the cheque with which I endeavored
to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations some three nanoseconds
must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque, and the arrival in
my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the
automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I
admit,... [More]

Please Listen Closely…

Published on in Fun

…as our menu has changed. Try this phone number:


for a fun look at Enron’s current phone menu. Somehow, it just seems funnier on the phone.

Visual C++ Warning #4786

Published on in Programming

The March 2002 issue of Windows Developer Journal has a tech tip that anyone who uses the STL with Visual C++ has been waiting for. If you’ve tried this, then you’ve likely gotten warning #4786, which tells you that the fully-qualified name of the class you are using is too long to fit into the debug information and will be truncated to 255 characters.

The reason behind this error is pretty stupid. You see, a while ago, I had a cross-platform project that compiled in Visual C++ 6.0 on Windows... [More]

War on Drugs = Support Terrorism

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

 In a glorious case of turnabout-is-fair-play, the Libertarian Party has launched its own ad campaign, similar in style to the one launched by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) that equates buying drugs with supporting terrorism. One of the ads (PDF document), featuring the haggard visage of the U.S. drug czar (who is highly in favor of punitive controls of drugs − i.e. continuing the drug war) with the caption:

<q>This week, I had lunch with the President, testified before... [More]

Palmer Raids and Bolsheviks

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The Smithsonian Magazine ran Crackdown! (abstract only, sorry) in their February 2002 issue, talking about the red scares in 1919 and 1920. Though they don’t make an explicit connection to today’s situation, the timing of the article makes the implication clear: if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. (I know, sooo melodramatic).

<q> Invoking the wartime Espionage Act of 1917 and the 1918 Sedition Act, Palmer sought to flush out “Reds” and socialist supporters remotely... [More]

Best Holograms Ever

Published on in Technology

 The Hologram Revolution in the February 2002 Discover Magazine (halfway down the page) reports on a new technique pioneered by a Frenchman, Yves Gentet, that produces the most stunning, realistic, high-resolution holograms you’ve ever seen.

It’s a pity they included only the small picture, because the larger one in the magazine is impressive. In the smaller one here, you can, to some degree, see the depth that is represented in the hologram, and you can kind of see that the frame is no... [More]

Big Business gets Bigger

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Media Mergers

Mega Media Merger Mania on AlterNet covers a February 19th federal court ruling that deregulates the media industry even further. Two rules were struck down:

<q>The first is a 60-year old Federal Communications Commission rule that limits the number of broadcast TV stations a single company can own. The cap is currently set so that a single company cannot reach more than 35 percent of the national TV audience. The second FCC rule prevented a company from owning both a cable... [More]

Olympics 2002 Wrap-up

Published on in Sports


So, now that we’ve all learned how to become Olympic champions (eat at McDonald’s, drink Budweiser and chug Zoloft, which, by the way, shouldn’t be a surprising sponsor of the Olympics, since Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use). Mark Morford reports in Numerous Mormons On Prozac that Utah has twice the national average in anti-depressant usage.

<q>Other states with high antidepressant use were Maine and Oregon. Utah’s rate of antidepressant use was twice the rate of... [More]

More Bugs in Outlook and IE

Published on in Technology

Here are two pieces of news from The Register that dovetail nicely. Three new MS security holes − two nasty describes 3 new bugs in Microsoft’s products.

The first bug affects all recent versions of SQL Server 2000, Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 and could give access to the local hard drive to an attacker. The attacker would have to know the name of the file and would receive only read privileges. This is a relatively mild attack, but since most people install to default folders, it... [More]

What is .NET?

Published on in Programming

Ars Technica is running a great article called Microsoft .Net aims to demystify .NET and clear up some of the misunderstandings and deliberate obfuscations surrounding it.

“In a remarkable feat of journalistic sleight-of-hand, thousands of column inches in many “reputable” on-line publications have talked at length about .NET whilst remaining largely ignorant of its nature, purpose, and implementation. Ask what .NET is, and you’ll receive a wide range of answers, few of them accurate, all of... [More]”

Chomsky on Drugs and Terror

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Alternet has a quick interview with Noam Chomsky called Noam Chomsky on the Drug-Terror Link. Several questions are asked about the U.S. government’s latest attempts to link drugs with terror. He reminds us that, in fact, the connection is there, but mostly that the U.S. has been a huge proponent of drug operations throughout the world since World War II.

<q>Terrorism is now being used and has been used pretty much the same way communism was used. If you want to press some agenda, you play the... [More]

Axis of Evil

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The “Axis of Evil” described by George Bush in his first State of the Union has been received differently throughout the world. Those nations that were included in it were surprised to be singled out, considering several countries the U.S. is allied with are far worse proponents of terror than they are. Just not the good kind of terror. The kind the U.S. is willing to support. Are you listening, Iran? Also, if you might have ICBM capabilities, then your evil existence justifies (no it doesn’t)... [More]

Throw the Olympics

Published on in Sports

In a little-reported press conference before the Olympics, SatireWire reports that Bush Asks Non-U.S. Olympians to Unite…

<q> … We have a problem because the enemies of justice, the enemies of liberty and prosperity, would like nothing more than to see America’s weaknesses exploited. They would like nothing more than to celebrate our humiliation on the international stage that is the Olympics. You must not let this happen. You must help us strike another blow against the forces of tyranny... [More]

You are a terrorist

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

So I’m sitting there reading the morning paper the other day, flipping through the sports section. Suddenly, right after the page listing the lovely adult stars that are coming to a club near me, I see a half-page ad letting me know that if I use drugs, I’m funding terrorism. I quickly checked to make sure which drugs they’re talking about and, luckily, the pack of cigarettes and bottle of scotch I’d been steadily working my way through weren’t on the list.

What was on the list, you ask? I... [More]

Be Inc. (finally) fights back

Published on in Technology

The U.S. Justice Department settled their case with Microsoft, in which they found that while Microsoft is a monopoly and has been for over a decade, the U.S. unfortunately has too much growth and economy riding on their stock (recall that the announcement of the finding of fact against Microsoft in 2000 precipitated the bursting of the dot-com bubble), so they decided to let them keep doing what they’re doing, with nary a nod to the thousands of companies either gobbled up, run out of business... [More]

Bomb front moving in

Published on in Fun

SatireWire announces that the FBI to Issue 5-Day Terror Forecasts…, which should add some level of organization to dealing with terror. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft stated:

<q>We in law enforcement are duty-bound to report inherent danger, so we will continue to alert the public to serious threats,“ said Ashcroft. “But we also understand how frustrating it is to organize a family picnic or corporate event, only to have it washed out by the late-breaking specter of impending doom. So... [More]

Still in Hiding

Published on in Fun

Mark Fiore of the SF Gate makes cartoons in Flash. He’s got one from February 6, 2002 called Lair that depicts the possible hiding location of the most sought after man in America.

Spelling Test

Published on in Fun

This isn’t really humor, per se, but it’s a sort of game.

In this age of hastily-typed emails, chat messages and online posts, we’re exposed more and more often to the grammatical shortcomings of others as well as common spelling errors. Mindy McAdams has published an excellent spelling test for American English.

<q>I compiled a list from many sources and edited it to 50 commonly misspelled words, making my choices based on my 11 years of experience as a copy editor. … The spellings... [More]

You Know You’ve Lived in New York Too Long

Published on in Fun

  1. You get very annoyed with out-of-towners who think the subway is unsafe.
  2. You actively avoid bars that people from the outer boroughs frequent.
  3. You figure that a date costs at least $200.
  4. You have not seen a bank teller in several years, because your idea of going to the bank is using the ATM at your corner deli.
  5. You haven’t smelled grass clippings in over a year.
  6. You haven’t “called shotgun” in a long, long time.
  7. You think that New Jersey seems really far away.
  8. You plot the Barney’s Warehouse... [More]

Osama confesses?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

DAWN published an interview with Osama Bin Laden, given on November 9, 2001. In it, he declares:

<q>I wish to declare that if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as deterrent.</q>

The Telegraph has an analysis of a video that has been circulating for the last few weeks in Islamicist circles. I can’t tell from the quotes if this is the same interview of not. A lot of the quotes match up, but the... [More]


Published on in Fun

There’s an email making the rounds that ponders the significance of the number 11. A guy ‘Dave’ posted a very funny response; the kind of response everyone should have to this kind of message.

Original Letter

  • The date of the attack: 9/11 − 9 + 1 + 1 = 11
  • September 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11
  • After September 11th there are 111 days left to the end of the year.
  • 119 is the area code to Iraq/Iran. 1 + 1 + 9 = 11
  • Twin Towers − standing side by side, looks like the number 11... [More]

King Ashcroft?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

It’s only the Constitution by Nat Hentoff on AlterNet provides more details on John Ashcroft’s plain for domestic vigilance. One of the more interesting provisions is “roving wiretaps”:

<q> … a single warrant for a suspect’s telephone must include any and all types of phones he or she uses in any and all locations, including pay phones. If a suspect uses a relative’s phone or your phone, that owner becomes part of the investigative database. So does anyone using the same pay phone or any pay... [More]

Linux − Asia’s OS

Published on in Technology

It seems granting full partner trading status to China isn’t going to be the boon Microsoft expected. As a provision of gaining status, China has agreed to crack down on piracy, and, in particular, to stop using pirated software and operating systems in government agencies. Microsoft saw this as an opening for massive profits from newly-licensed software from a large established user base. The Register published Red Flag Linux beats out Windows in Beijing, pointing out a Gartner Group document, ... [More]

Swiss Double-Gold!

Published on in Sports

CNN/Sports Illustrated has the latest on Simon Ammann in Gold Again…. Switzerland has changed gears in the winter Olympics from the ski hills to the ski-jumping hills. Simon Ammann comes out of nowhere to take both of the individual events in the ski-jump, the K90 and the k120.

<q>The 20-year-old Swiss, who looks as if he could pass for 14, joined Finland’s Matti Nykanen as the only jumpers to win events on both hills in the same Winter Olympics. Nykanen did it in Calgary in 1988. …... [More]