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  • Freakonomics
    swimming pool in about 10 years I learned more than I ever thought I could learn about crack dealing from an economics book The authors mentioned a few times that their book and Levitt s work as an economist really didn t have an underlying theme They were right but they do have an underlying style presenting everyday issues usually those ignored by traditional academics in straightforward economic analyses Not only does it showcase examples of the other side of things but it teaches you to think that way in everyday life The writing is clear light and often humorous It gets a bit long at times such as the baby names section but it s not too bad The entire book is relatively short I recommend this as an audiobook for a long car ride It s interesting enough to appeal to almost everyone it won t put you to sleep and you can pause it when it prompts conversation with others in the car Because it s more of an isn t that interesting book it does not have much value for repeated reading so it s perfect to rent as an audiobook to hear once This is

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/135 (2016-04-30)
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  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    what I can render on my computer Ideally there should also be an independent plot so the movie is something more than Things that Happened Between Episode II and Episode IV The Movie Accomplishing all of this would probably take three or four hours Lucas accomplishes this in 180 minutes Well he accomplishes most of this He doesn t accomplish the independent plot Thus there is little to say about the movie It s much darker than the previous ones You already know the ending Anakin goes to the dark side Thus the only questions remaining are 1 why 2 who kills Mace Windu and 3 how does Padmé die All are resolved satisfactorily and there are no big surprises If Lucas had been thinking ahead he should have cut some of the horrible dialog petting scenes from Episode II and appended the first scene of Episode III to that movie That would have broken Episode II at a more logical place and given him a bit of extra time to develop a plot for this movie Watch this movie but if you don t like Star Wars enough to go to a midnight showing you can afford to wait until the weekend Or until you feel like going to a movie Yoda Yoda s there With a light saber And he kills things Gollum Gollum is also there Which is a little odd He s supposed to be a Lord of the Rings character When you watch the movie see if you can pick out the scenes where one of the characters turns briefly into Gollum Jar Jar Binks I think he s in approximately two shots He doesn t say anything the entire movie which is good On the other hand he doesn t die a death so

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/134 (2016-04-30)
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  • What is a blog?
    it doesn t turn HTTP into a broadcast protocol Pinging Apparently when Jason posts to his blog it automatically notifies some blog aggregation sites to attract the casual blog browser This could also be done with an RSS polling system or simply an email notification How is this different from any other type of aggregation and syndication And why did bloggers steal the word ping Nerds rightfully stole it from sonar which probably rightfully stole it from tennis or the ancient Greeks or Monty Python Don t fragment the nerd community further and try to steal our words We already stole net from fishermen only to have it stolen again by Microsoft Trackback Jason says Many blog entries are about other blog entries In these cases a trackback to the original post inserts a new comment pointing to the new article Sounds like automatic link spamming to me and it s nothing that a simple threaded discussion system like Slashdot comments couldn t accomplish far more effectively Permalinks Permanent links to each piece of content Of course Every site has this CNN com displays stories on its front page but each story has its own dedicated URL Jason says that permalinks must be human readable URLs that will continue to be reliable even after the passage of years and software infrastructures Given the nature of websites yes blogs are still websites like the rest of us I don t see how a permalink is guaranteed to be any more permanent than any other link Software designers change their mind constantly sites are frequently abandoned and webmasters stop paying the bill eventually Blogrolling Many blogs maintain a list of links of other blogs they read Yes Most websites link to other websites of interest We ve been doing this quite effectively for a decade We call them links There don t appear to be any consistent implementation differences between blogs and other websites either So what exactly is a blog Attitude Blog webmasters often use circular definitions For example a blog is a website that labels itself as a blog A blogger is someone who writes in a blog They ve even invented outrageous new words such as blogosphere to make them sound incredibly important It seems that the only concrete attribute of a blog is that its authors must honestly believe that they re part of a new revolution that s changing the world and making mass media obsolete But I sure don t see it happening Jason and many blog authors cite Howard Dean s campaign as a major accomplishment of blogs Well if blogs are so great why was Howard Dean destroyed so early in the campaign Anyone who thinks that blogs could possibly have a major impact on a US Presidential election has a painfully inaccurate perception of the US population and the dynamics of an election Bloggers often refer to some revolution in which blogs are replacing mainstream media journalists Michael Crichton popularized a vision among

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/133 (2016-04-30)
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  • Sega reveals upcoming console
    virtual reality Press photo of the Sega Uranus According to Sega Uranus will have eight 128 bit CPUs each running at 7 6 GHz with 32 GB of RAM consuming 1 21 jigawatts of electricity The console will have built in WiMAX wireless networking twelve Gigabit Ethernet ports and the ability to use up to 382 Bluetooth controllers Audio and video output is offered through seventeen dual link DVI connectors and a Creative X Audio optical link Earlier this week Microsoft announced the specifications of the upcoming Xbox 360 console By comparison the 360 is vastly underpowered Microsoft is demonstrating its power to innovate with the Xbox 360 said Bill Gates in response to the Uranus specifications We are confident that we can bring a competitive solution to the market A spokesman from Sony declined to comment on Uranus but a press release states that the PS3 s Cell processor will have more computational power than every personal computer supercomputer and computing cluster in existence today It will be released in early 2006 as a video game console for under 400 In a statement Nintendo of America claimed that its upcoming Revolution would not have supercomputer class power We feel

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/132 (2016-04-30)
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  • Weezer - Make Believe
    touch of humor The new Make Believe is downright awful There s no catchy emotion or humor I ll run through the tracks 1 Beverly Hills They chose this to be the first radio single It s Rivers ranting like a spoiled teenager about how hard it is to grow up in Beverly Hills with boring power chords and chorus shouting in the background This song is worthless and it s certainly not radio friendly which will hopefully seal this album s fate 2 Perfect Situation The chorus doesn t contain any words Instead it s just a generic ooooh hooow repeatedly and the verses are boring The melody is somewhat catchy but it s too slow and dull to be interesting 3 This Is Such A Pity Yes it is It s mildly catchy but the background music sounds like late 80 s bad synthesizer demos and they include an annoying falsetto accompaniment 4 Hold Me Hold me Hold me Another slow boring song with dull lyrics and music 5 Peace Another slow boring song with a generic ooooh ooooh ooooh hooow chorus You ve already heard this song a hundred times 6 We Are All On Drugs When you re out with your friends in your new Mercedes Benz and you re ON DRUGS This is actually the first line of this song which I think is trying to convince people that being ON DRUGS is bad But that conflicts slightly with Hash Pipe a few years ago This is just horrible At least when other bands tackle this subject they find creative and interesting metaphors like in Master of Puppets Knowing Rivers he ll probably choose this as the next radio single 7 The Damage In Your Heart This is moderately upbeat but it s as boring

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/131 (2016-04-30)
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  • How to Drive, Part I: Blocking the Intersection
    with a Do Not sign But it s never legal to block an intersection these signs are intended to be placed where this is frequently a problem to remind drivers of this law What exactly is blocking the intersection Ah This is the part that nobody remembers Here I m the green car I m trying to turn left but the other lane is full of stopped cars in heavy traffic none of the red cars are moving The blue cars are at fault here they should not have pulled up into the intersection if they couldn t move through it if the cars in front of them weren t moving Because of their impatience and desire to move forward 10 feet further to wait I can t turn left and all of the poor yellow cars behind me have to wait unnecessarily Thanks a lot The impatience of the blue cars has gained them nothing but has caused worse traffic in my lane And yes they re blocking the intersection But there s another way to do it The traffic light has just switched The red cars all stopped from heavy traffic ahead of them have just received a

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/130 (2016-04-30)
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  • Finding your second apartment (Part II)
    need to wash it before the stain sets it s pretty nice Kitchen and bathroom Sausage Look at the counter space in the kitchen and the pantry or wherever you would be putting your groceries would you feel safe putting food there Would you get weird things coming through those holes chewed in the wood Even if you don t currently see any bugs and you really shouldn t be aware of the places that may be problems later Ask if there s a history of a seasonal problem with ants ladybugs moths etc Tiffany Turn on the water to check the pressure and how long it takes to get hot Flush the toilet to see how long it takes to refill That toilet sound can be really annoying when it lasts an hour Marco See how much prep surface area you have in the kitchen I forgot to do this and my kitchen doesn t contain a single countertop Oops Cupboards and shelves are also nice to have Outlets Sausage Check where the electrical outlets phone jacks and cable connections are If the only phone jack is in the kitchen you ll either be stringing an Ethernet cable across doorways and hanging a modem on the wall or getting cable internet access Ditto with the cable hookup in the bathroom or bedroom if you d rather your TV be in the living room on a wall that will have to be devoid of furniture if you want to get around your apartment without bruised shins or in a weird corner where you wouldn t have space for a couch desk chair in front of it The layout of my prior apartment was a pain in the neck my roommate and I shared a DSL subscription with the only useful telephone jack on the wall in the kitchen which meant we had to run cords along the kitchen ceiling to his room and along the contour of the wall to the bathroom and back to get to my room Marco If you don t mind making a bunch of tiny holes get a cable staple gun at Home Depot for about 30 Nothing in my apartment is in a convenient place so instead the landlord will have to deal with a few stapled wires along every wall and above every doorway Oh well Location Dan Is it somewhere you ll come back to during the day What s within walking distance Would you really walk it frequently enough to use it The going rate for a parking space here is significantly more than 100 a month Some are advertised for as much as 200 This adds a lot to rent if you need a car On the other hand if your apartment comes with a parking space that you can rent out it might subtract a lot from rent Of course you may need to check on whether you d be allowed to rent out the parking space Marco Check

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/129 (2016-04-30)
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  • Insuring your laptop
    a sales pitch taught to them by their superiors These plans often don t in fact cover accidental damage Read the fine print next time you re offered one You ll be surprised how often the salespeople are simply wrong What can you do if you actually want that coverage A single impact in the wrong spot can crack the screen s LCD That s bad 1000 bad And if you spill coffee or soda into the keyboard it goes right into all of the critical components corrodes their circuit boards and kills your computer That s also around 1000 bad What if you live in a place with a lot of winter snow and ice and you re afraid of slipping while carrying your laptop bag What if you move your computer many times per day and you re scared of dropping it What if you frequently drink coffee near your computer What if you re simply uncoordinated Don t buy the stupid Best Buy protection plan that may not protect you during the next 2 years for 300 Instead call your insurance company It doesn t matter which insurance company really but it makes things a lot easier if you have car insurance and homeowner s or renter s insurance from the same one By the way I strongly recommend getting these Because State Farm offers discounts if you have multiple policies I added renter s insurance to my existing car insurance policy for about 7 more per month Ask your insurance agent for a personal computer policy These generally cover everything except individual component failures under normal usage which are conveniently covered by most manufacturer s warranties for at least a year I got a 2500 policy on my Powerbook for about 58 per year that s

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/128 (2016-04-30)
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