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

The (only) developer at earthli.com.


2439 Articles

19 years Ago

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]

Enron Economics

Published on in Fun

<p class=“notes” align=“center”>Received via email.</p><table><tr><td class=“label”>Feudalism</td><td>You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.</td></tr><tr><td class=“label”>Fascism</td><td>You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.</td></tr><tr><td class=“label”>Communism</td><td>You have two cows. Your neighbors help take care of them and you share the milk.</td></tr><tr><td class=“label”>Totalitarianism</td><td>You have... [More]

Cheney’s Not Talking

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The New York Times published Cheney Is Set to Battle Congress…, which covers statements he made in a series of interviews over the weekend. Apparently, he feels that, as a public servant, with the public paying his salary, when he has meetings with other public officers (Secretary of Energy, for instance) about public energy policy, Congress has no right to know about it. In fact:

<q>We’ve seen it in cases like this before, where it’s demanded that presidents cough up and compromise on... [More]

Tobacco vs. Marijuana

Published on in Fun

 The Sunday, January 27, 2002 Doonesbury brings back Buttsy at a ‘Sin Lobby’ party and introduces a new character, “Mr. Jay”.

Australia, the Perennial Outcast

Published on in Fun

 SatireWire has breaking news that Australia Gets Drunk…, which details Australia’s drunken journey from the South Pacific to the North Atlantic.

<q>After what witnesses described as an all night blinder during which it kept droning on about how it was always being bloody ignored by the whole bloody world and would bloody well stand to do something about it, Australia this morning woke up to find itself in the middle of the North Atlantic.</q>

Tricked-out Segway

Published on in Fun

Thinking about getting a Segway, but worried that your friends won’t think it’s cool enough? Is replacing your fat-piped, tinted-windowed, one-foot-high-spoilered, ground-effected, neon-lit, decaled Honda Civic with a vanilla electric scooter that’s good for the environment just too much to take? Worry no more, now you can have the sweetest wheels around and save the planet. Where Are My Pants? offers the Segway − Type R (Don’t worry, it’s got NOS).

National ID System Woes

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Newhouse News Service published Database Flaws Could Hamper Any National ID System… by Margie Wylie about the data-integrity problems that existing large databases contain. For example, the large database used to generate credit reports is rife with errors:

<q> … A 1998 study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 29 percent of credit reports contain serious errors — for example, false delinquencies — that could cause credit to be denied. Some 20 percent of credit... [More]

Creepy Picture

Published on in Fun

Here’s a picture of some alley or back of a house somewhere. In order to get the full effect, you have to really examine the picture. In particular, look at the mattress and the rubber hose on the floor…is this a drug den? Who knows? Is that a person in the doorway, reaching for something on the floor? Who knows? But, if you wait at least 30 seconds, the creepiness will reveal itself.

Marijuana and Methamphetamines

Published on in Miscellaneous

The New Scientist has a Marijuana Special Report that covers Decriminalization, Addictiveness and affects on memory.

<q>Most people think of marijuana users as dreamers with the attention span of a gnat and no memory worth the name. Wrong. The picture emerging from psychology labs is that there is at most a kernel of truth in this stereotype, while some studies find no evidence of even subtle mental impairment in heavy users. And even those that do are open to a range of interpretations —... [More]

Real or Fake?

Published on in Fun

Sometimes, you just can’t tell. This quiz, called Playboy.com’s Breast Test II was received via email and converted to web format (to avoid sending around an Excel document).

The claimed average number correct is about 12.5, but a small (12 people) sampling of friends averaged much higher at ~17.1. On average, women (10, 17, 19,19,19,19) scored 17.17 and men (16,16,17,17,18,18) scored 17. However, women had a median score of 19 and men still scored 17. Men win for consistency, but women seem... [More]

Xiao Xiao 7 (karate Flash)

Published on in Fun

Some of you may remember the Flash animation of a martial arts movie in 2D (Xiao Xiao I?). The latest in the series is Xiao Xiao 7 and is in 3D with considerably higher production values. The shootout near the end is pretty amazing.

The home page for this Flash artist also has an interactive game that is another, ‘how the heck is that done in Flash?’ kind of game. It’s also in 3D and follows the TimeCop style of gameplay. The whole page is in some non-Western character set, but the game is... [More]

Somalia ‘93

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The reviews of Black Hawk Down seem to be uniformly good. The film purports to document the downing of a helicopter (or two?) during the U.S. invasion intervention aid effort in Somalia in 1993. The movie begs research because Hollywood covering such a story, especially now with the word “terrorist” as ready to spring from the mouths of officials as “communist” was from Joe McCarthy’s, seems ripe for misinterpretation, if not deliberate obfuscation of fact. Also, recent reports indicate that,... [More]

earthli Recipes opens!

Published on in earthli.com

A brand-new application has arrived for earthli.com. earthli Recipes lets users publish, print, sort and comment on recipes.

Industrious Clock

Published on in Fun

Here’s an interesting use of Flash animation to make a new style of digital clock. Check out the Industrious Clock by Yugo Nakamura.

Ashcroft against FOIA

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Alternet published The Day Ashcroft Foiled the FOIA about one of the more disturbing actions of the U.S. Attorney General. On October 12th, 2001:

<q>In a memo that slipped beneath the political radar, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft vigorously urged federal agencies to resist most Freedom of Information Act requests made by American citizens. … When coupled with President Bush’s Nov. 1 executive order that allows him to seal all presidential records since 1980, the effect is positively... [More]

Sklyarov out, Johansen In

Published on in Technology

Dmitry Sklyarov has escaped sacrifice on the altar of the DMCA. He is the programmer for the Russian software firm Elcomsoft that cracked the pitiful copy-protection on the Adobe E-Book Reader in order to allow users to make backups of books they bought. After an initial outcry, Adobe dropped the case, but the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued the first case to prosecute for violating the DMCA.

He was eventually released 5 months later and spent the holidays at home, in Russia. However, the O’Reilly... [More]

A War Mentality

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Mark Morford has a new article, Everyday Mundane Warmongering… talking about how easy it is to forget that there’s a war going on. The bombing continues in Afghanistan (and Iraq). The Phillipines has edged out Somalia, Iraq and Yemen as the next likely target of American attack. Apparently, the increase in military funding there wasn’t sufficient to hold back the rebels, so away we go.

<q>So now we simply forget about the war, accept its nagging everpresence, like getting used to a bad... [More]

Quiz on Bush’s First Year

Published on in Fun

This is “topical” humor, so it could go in Current Events, but let’s leave that as dour and depressing as possible. AlterNet has Bush’s First Year: A Quiz by Daniel Kurtzman. It’s a 23 question quiz about events in the U.S.‘s first year under the second Bush. It’s hard to get them all correct.

Since he published the quiz as text-only and gave the answer key at the end, I’ve produced an interactive version that grades the test for you afterwards. It’s the same quiz, so I highly recommend using... [More]

Deliberate Myths

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Plastic.com has a discussion called The Power of a Good Myth referring to a Yahoo News article called Facts Find Sept. 11 Myths Misleading. The article touches on the interesting phenomenon of “if you say it, it’s true” kind of myths that crop up.

For example:

<q>After Sept. 11, says Laura Bush, divorce is down, weddings are up and “families have come together.‘’ … In fact, fewer folks are taking vows and more are splitting up, says the available data, and hounds are twice as likely as... [More]

Broadband and Copyright Woes

Published on in Technology

Cryptome published Coming Soon: Hollywood Versus the Internet recently, detailing the players involved in the Hollings bill (also called the SSSCA), which has been submitted to Congress. The bill basically involves making it a felony to produce an information device that does not have government-approved hardware DRM (Digital Rights Management) built into it.

A few years ago, Napster scared the hell out of the recording industry and Hollywood is moving to ensure that they get a jump on the... [More]


Published on in Fun

SatireWire announced that a Surprise Settlement Evenly Splits Microsoft… into two pieces, but not separated into ‘operating systems’ and ‘applications’, as previously proposed, but into ‘software’ and ‘patches’.

<q>Critics immediately charged that the settlement — which overrides a previous agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice — does nothing to diminish Microsoft’s standing as the world’s most powerful software company. But industry analysts argued that providing patches for... [More]

Trustworthy Computing

Published on in Technology

CNN has Gates Orders ‘Trustworthy Computing’ announcing yet another Microsoft initiative that claims to put user’s security concerns first. After the spate of problems reported in Microsoft software (Windows Update, Windows Media Player, numerous IE security holes and the UP&P XP hole), its not surprising to see Gates himself come forward to say he’s going to put a stop to it. But is it more than just lip service this time? Probably not.

Counterpane’s latest Crypto-Gram (January 15, 2002)... [More]

U.S. Domestic Air Travel

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The Chicago Sun Times reports in New bag checks to begin Friday that “each of the 3.8 million pieces of checked luggage on U.S. domestic flights every day will have to be screened for explosives”.

Unfortunately, with only 2 days to go, there is no indication yet of what the actual implementation of this bag-check is going to be. One of the proposed methods involves using expensive bomb-screening machines that are in extremely short supply. Couple the new law requiring that each bag be checked... [More]

Enron, UNOCAL, Cheney & Afghanistan

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Tom Turnipseed writes A Creeping Collapse in Credibility… for CounterPunch about the Bush administration’s entanglements in oil policy. Dick Cheney is especially suspect, since:

<q> … [He] was then CEO of Haliburton Corporation, a pipeline services vendor based in Texas. Gushed Cheney in 1998, “I can’t think of a time when we’ve had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It’s almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight. The good Lord... [More]

Fast Food Frenzy

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Mark Morford writes Supersizing Your Afterlife about the death of Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas.

<q>Because isn’t it funny in a sad and ironic sort of way how we as a culture wouldn’t care much to openly weep over the diligent and hard-working (and long- dead) founders of say, Philip Morris or Dow Chemical, but when it’s a gentle old fatherly type who’s on TV all the time espousing tasty foodstuffs that just so happen to inflict millions and kill thousands and it’s all couched in homespun... [More]

Archives Added to Oz’s Autobiography

Published on in earthli.com

Oz has added over 30 new (old) pictures to his Autobiography album. There are a lot of pictures from his early years.

Switzerland 2001 Album Opens

Published on in earthli.com

There are over 130 new pictures in Kath & Marco’s Switzerland 2001 album. There are albums for Pilatus, San Bernardino, Ermes’ Family Trip, Werner & Ekhlas’ House and the 1st of August.

Get Your War On (Cont.)

Published on in Fun

MNFTIU is back with 4 more pages of getting your war on. The link is to page 3, but pages 4-6 are available at the top of the page. On page 4, you’ll find such gems as:

<q>Man! I like a good stiff Operation Enduring Freedom as much as the next guy, but I’ve reached my limits of understanding! All of a sudden my fucking mailman is a Hero on the Front Lines in the War Against Terror? My daughter wants to sell cookies to help the people my nephew’s been sent to fucking bomb? I’m supposed to help... [More]

New hydro-power turbine

Published on in Technology

 Common Dreams published New Turbine Can Extract Energy from Flowing Water. Alexander Gorlov, who worked on the Aswan Dam in Egypt is currently testing the new design that could provide a cheaper, less invasive form of hydro-power than that provided by dams.

<q> … Gorlov’s turbines have other advantages, proponents say: When they generate electricity, you can’t see them, you can’t hear them, and they’re virtually disruption-free.</q>


Published on in Technology

Have you ever seen those ASCII pictures that look like they took forever to create? There’s a tool called MosASCII that makes it easy to construct them in HTML, in full color.

I made the earthli globe into ASCII art. It’s easy.

In other ASCII art news, The Register reports in Ever wanted to see Star Wars in Telnet? that a “whacked Dutch hardware geek” called Sten has converted Star Wars into 13,935 frames of Telnet action. As the title of the article suggests, you simply must check it out if... [More]