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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
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The (only) developer at earthli.com.

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2414 Articles
99 Comments

19 years Ago

Flash Toys

Published on in Fun

Have you ever played with one of those soundboards? The kind that lets you hit a bunch of buttons and start to mix sounds together, all layered on top of each other? Well, here’s a special one that uses only Samuel L. Jackson movie quotes. I find it quite cathartic.

The other toy is an animation of a skeleton that lets you control the animation yourself. Not really useful, but it’s an amazing bit of work in Flash.

A corporate Christmas

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Boeing isn’t doing as badly as their massive layoffs (90,000) would lead you to believe. Sure, Lockheed Martin got the HUGE Joint Strike Fighter contract a few weeks ago, but Boeing’s lining up some pretty sweet deals for itself as well, which include:

<q>The plan to lease 100 converted Boeing 767 air refueling aircraft for a period of 10 years has all the hallmarks of an even bigger boondoggle. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the lease plan would cost $22 billion, while... [More]

Globalization

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Chomsky gave another (long) talk in India on November 10, 2001 (found at FrontLine − The Hindu). In it, he discusses globalization, Western hegemony, militarization of space, state-supported corporations and other topics he’s discussed before. Some will be familiar, but most of the material is discussed in considerable depth and there is even the spark of occasional emotion (instead of the jaded seeming-complacency that some find so off-putting about him). There’s much focus on the current... [More]

Are you a terrorist?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The Moscow Times published Global Eye — A Thirsty Evil that asks the question everyone should consider:

<q>‘40 to 50 countries’ targeted for possible “U.S. action,” according to America’s securely-located vice president, Dick “Chicken Hawk” Cheney.</q>

They propose a simple test:

<q>Have you ever gone out for a beer and bought a Stella Artois instead of a Bud? Then you, my friend, have engaged in a conspiracy to cause “adverse effects” to the economy of the United States. And that makes... [More]

Photo Albums 2.1 re-opens

Published on in earthli.com

The Photo Albums have re-opened with many new features, including nested albums, comments, enhanced security, an explorer, an updated calendar and better navigation for browsing sets of pictures.

dur’s Quake site converted

Published on in earthli.com

Rewrote the Quake site to use the earthli settings. Much re-organization, but no new content. The original quake style sheet is now available as an earthli color scheme − ‘Quake’.

King George

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Looks like the war on terror will need some modifications to the U.S. court system to remove inconveniences that might result in a not-guilty verdict. Enter military tribunals.

<q>The tribunals Mr. Bush envisions are a breathtaking departure from due process. He alone will decide who should come before these courts. The military prosecutors and judges who determine the fate of defendants will all report to him as commander in chief. Cases can be heard in secret. Hearsay, and evidence that... [More]

Ban this, ban that

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Lynne Cheney, the Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife is doing her part for the war effort. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which she founded, has come out with a report (PDF Format) called Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It, which contains over 100 quotes from university professors which are deemed unpatriotic. There’s an article called Conservatives Denounce Dissent at Common Dreams and a discussion at Plastic (once... [More]

Happy Thanksgiving

Published on in earthli.com

I’ve caved in to user demand (that’s right, 1 user) and gone seasonal again. Enjoy the Thanksgiving theme. (if you don’t use [default] colors, then choose it from the settings menus.)

Why does the “war on terror” need spin?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Basically, if this ‘War on Terror’ is so simple, why the need for spin? AlterNet published Why Bush Needs to Spin the War. The basic issues of current events are being dictated to us in a fashion suitable for kindergartners. How many people are sick of the word ‘evildoers’? In the same vein, The Newsday has an opinion piece discussing the increasing involvement of ad execs and Hollywood in the PR campaign for this war.

From the Online Journal comes a piece called The Greatest Sedition is... [More]

Stop Using IE

Published on in Technology

There are two announcements from the last couple of days that nicely dovetail. The first is form Microsoft:

Microsoft has admitted (though not very publicly) that IE has another easily-exploitable hole in its cookie security that allows:

<q>A malicious web site with a malformed URL could read the contents of a user’s cookie which might contain personal information. In addition, it is possible to alter the contents of the cookie. This URL could be hosted on a web page or contained in an HTML... [More]

Separation of business and government

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

SFGate reports that a federal appeals court has determined that the $5 Billion punitive damages levied against Exxon for the Valdez disaster are “excessive”.

<q>Exxon, which later merged with Mobil, argued that it shouldn’t have to pay any punitive damages. The oil giant said it learned its lesson and spent more than $3 billion cleaning up the Prince William Sound area and to settle federal and state lawsuits. … R.J. Kopchak, 52, a fisherman in Cordova near the oil spill, said there are no... [More]

Collect them all

Published on in Fun

Here’s some new products (12) that are both excellent Christmas presents and a sound investment. Are they real? Are they fake? You figure it out.

Chew before swallowing

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Mark Morford, of SF Gate has published Evil Evildoers of Evil: How to feel calmly patriotic and yet not be slightly reassured by Bush & Co..

<q>There is more than one way to respond to the horror of Sept. 11. And there is more than one kind of patriotism. We forget this. … Pro-America does not mean pro-war. Or pro-Bush. Or anti-Afghanistan. Or pro-little-flags-on-SUV-antennas. … It means thinking independently and getting better informed and filtering your news very carefully and realizing... [More]

God’s mixed-up priorities

Published on in Fun

SatireWire published So Now God Takes an Interest In Answering New York’s Prayers? about the apparent uneven attention paid to the doling out of miracles in the NY area.

MS Passport holes

Published on in Technology

Wired reports that there’s a relatively gaping hole in the Microsoft’s Passport service. This service holds all of a user’s personal information and can also hold credit card and financial information. It’s being touted as a keyring for the Internet, kept secure by Microsoft. If you have a HotMail account, you have a PassPort (it may or may not have your credit card information, though). However:

<q>In a demonstration of the exploit earlier this week, Slemko sent Wired News a specially crafted... [More]

That’s not Nostradamus!

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

<q>In the year of the new century and nine months, From the sky will come a great King of Terror… The sky will burn at forty-five degrees. Fire approaches the great new city…</q>

<q>In the city of york there will be a great collapse, two twin brothers torn apart by chaos while the fortress falls the great leader will succumb.</q>

<q>Third big war will begin when the big city is burning</q>

I’ve found a page debunking this Nostradamus quatrain being sent around. Apparently, it originated... [More]

Islam needs reform (and we need <em>real discourse)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Salman Rushdie (yes, that one) writes Yes, This is About Islam, also in the New York Times. It talks about the need for reform in the Muslim world, particularly because those speaking most stridently for Islam are ignorant proponents of a “cluster of customs, opinions and prejudices…” rather than true religious leaders.

<q>An Iraqi writer quotes an earlier Iraqi satirist: “The disease that is in us, is from us.” A British Muslim writes, “Islam has become its own enemy.” A Lebanese friend,... [More]

Spin and Secrets

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Here’s a scary article from Thomas Friedman on the New York Times. He discusses how the U.S. needs to spin the war better because there’s too much dissent.

<q>[A] month into the war in Afghanistan, the hand-wringing has already begun over how long this might last. Let’s all take a deep breath and repeat after me: Give war a chance. This is Afghanistan we’re talking about. Check the map. It’s far away.</q>

So, the government isn’t doing enough to convince of the righteousness of the cause. In... [More]

New ‘stimulus’ bills

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Common Dreams published The One-Eyed Man, discussing the recent enormous “economic stimulus” bill passed this week. The article is so named because:

<q>to really understand legislation you have to look for the clause giving special consideration to one-eyed bearded men with a limp &#8212; that is, you have to look for the provision that turns a bill ostensibly serving a public purpose into a giveaway for some special interest.</q>

For more information on the bill, see Operation Enduring... [More]

earthli Settings fixed (again)

Published on in earthli.com

[default] options added to earthli settings, which will use the default at all times, and changes for holidays ;-). Also fixed some bugs in the cookie that only Mozilla-based browsers detected.

Jass Manual converted

Published on in earthli.com

The Jass Manual has been converted to use the new settings.

Think. Question. Analyze.

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Former U.S. secretary of labor, Robert Reich, published How to Be Tough on Terrorism on AlterNet. He recommends a more reasoned approach, avoiding the far-right or far-left fanaticism that has polarized political discussion recently.

<q>The right dismisses this [U.S.] sordid history as irrelevant to the current crisis and accuses anyone on the left who dwells on it as “blaming America” for terrorism. Both sides are wrong: the left for suggesting that this history should make us any less... [More]

License(s) to kill (but not to talk)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Common Dreams reports that the CIA has been approved to use targeted kills (assasinations for those of you not versed in doublespeak) again for the first time (ahem) since 1975, when they last made a horrendous mess of trying to kill Castro (who is still alive for those playing catch-up).

<q>The US defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confirmed reports of such a move yesterday by telling CNN that the US would be acting in self-defence in carrying out such missions. … Mr Rumsfeld said: “It is... [More]

Who the hell is mailing Anthrax?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

A lot of media attention is given to the connection between the Anthrax letters and the 9/11 attack. Why the silence on right-wing terrorism? on the World Socialist Web Site discusses the very real possibility that the Anthrax attacks are from domestic sources.

<q>If the anthrax attacks had taken place before September 11, the prime suspects would have been anti-abortion zealots or right-wing militia fanatics seeking to avenge the execution of Timothy McVeigh.</q>

Since the U.S. has no... [More]

Happy Halloween

Published on in earthli.com

earthli gets into the Halloween spirit with a new default theme (select Halloween from the settings menus if you have set a different default theme).

Photo Albums have a new home

Published on in earthli.com

The new Photo Albums are working and all existing photos are browsable. Soon you’ll be able to add pictures again.

Spreading some dis-information

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The NY Times writes No News Is Good News, another article about media management in the U.S. It discusses the efforts to keep Bin Laden off of network television, with the transparent excuse that he might be sending coded messages to his ‘troops’, as well as the bending of public sentiment to keep up support for the war by encouraging a ‘with us or against us’ mentality:

<q>Even so, America’s New War, as CNN has branded it, is already whipping up one of the cold war’s most self-destructive... [More]

Potpourri (Information Overload)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve read a lot of longer articles and papers recently, filling in history that somehow got left out of the standard U.S. curriculum (pretty much the whole 20th century). It’s a bit of an information overload. There’s a (semi-)interesting read on First Monday about separating fact from dogma and propaganda and the success of newspaper, television and community news services in that regard.

On to the information overload.

On September 18, Noam Chomsky gave another talk at MIT, recapping many... [More]

From Pilger to Powell

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Browsing the archives at CounterPunch turned up more interesting material. For a bit of levity, here’s The New Newspeak with some terms and definitions for today’s world. An article called Sex not Bombs is view of the situation I haven’t seen yet.

A John Pilger article from the 15th of October seriously derides the war in Afghanistan from a British point of view and takes to task our leaders for not reflecting the people’s views (also available at Pilger’s site):

<q>“Moreover, with every bomb... [More]