Wagging the Dog with Nick Berg

An extensive overview of the various Lee Harvey Oswald Nick Berg conspiracy theories:

Nick Berg's Killing: 50 Fishy Circumstances, Contradictory Claims, and Videotape Anomalies.

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historical maps

I went to see an interesting talk by David Rumsey on friday (the Long Now Foundation has a lecture series; sounds like a lot of other neat stuff is coming up too.)

Rumsey has a collection of 10,000+ historical maps scanned in at extremely high resolution, and has been doing a lot of really cool stuff with them, like taking old maps, correcting their scale to match up with reality, and letting you crossfade between old and modern maps of the same area; placing the maps on a globe and letting you zoom in from space; combining the maps with topographical data and letting you fly through 3D scenes; and all kinds of stuff. Not only is there a vast amount of data on his site, there are also really cool visualization tools.

If you're running Windows, you should check out his site, because it looks like there's some really cool stuff in there.

It's a shame I can't get any of it to work!

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He's got four ways of accessing the data, the idea being, give people a taste of it with simple tools, and let them download the more complicated tools once they realize that the data is useful to them. Good plan, except I can't get any of it to work:

  • The JavaScript-based browser says it should work with Mozilla, but it doesn't for me on Linux, even when I turn off Privoxy and enable popup-window-spamming.

  • For the first time in almost six years, I downloaded and installed the Java runtime on my machine, only to find that his Java client doesn't work either. It appeared to download an entire second copy of the Java runtime, along with an application. However, this application doesn't run in a browser, it only works if you launch it with a Windows .exe, and WINE doesn't like it. So no luck there.

  • The "GIS Browser" Java applet does some crazy thing, but one that doesn't involve actually showing maps or anything. It lets me draw circles. Oooh, circles.

  • The "Collections Ticker" Flash dingus does work, and seems to be a functional entry-point to the JavaScript-based browser, but you can't really browse from there, since there doesn't seem to be any way to search by name. So that lets me see (and zoom around in) certain maps selected at random, but nothing intentional.

Moral: if you insist on having a UI that is more complex than the typical web page, Flash (sucktastic though it is) is probably still the most portable way to do it.

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you WON'T look like a DORK!

EyeBlog, or "Quit lookin' at me!" -- camera-glasses that can tell when someone is staring at the ridiculous gargoyle contraption on your face, and record video only when you're being stared at.
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her milkshake brings all the bombs to the yard

Colombian Smuggles Grenade in Vagina, Three Killed

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - A woman hid a grenade in her vagina and smuggled it into a Colombian prison, where it exploded and killed three inmates and injured 15 on Tuesday, prison authorities said.

The woman delivered the grenade during a visit to the all-male Villa Hermosa prison in the city of Cali and inmates were fooling around with it when it went off, said prison spokeswoman Lina Maria Hoyos, adding that guards were not allowed to inspect female visitors' genitals and that the woman had left the prison without being caught.

Colombia's jails are notoriously violent and anarchic. In some prisons, powerful inmates are heavily armed, invite prostitutes for visits and order their meals from restaurants.

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