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Last Updated 5/28/2004 by dickdiamond.com


Things That Go Blimp in the Night

This may be as close as we get on this Earth to the universal good.

I've also made a snapshot in case it ever goes away.


New Mac, Same as the Old Mac

Not to be inflammatory, but...

I don't know if anyone else keeps up with Bruce Sterling's blog, but his Mac just blew up, yet again. He says:

my digicam blew up my laptop.
I am now reduced to typing this on
a spare Wintel machine.


He doesn't explicitly blame the subject—Koolhaus architecture—but it seems to be implied.

But seriously, this is the third instance I've heard of in the last month of someone attempting to download images from a digital camera and having their Mac OSX install die on them. Typically the images are lost as well. This is also at least the eighth time in the last year I've heard a fairly famous writer complain (weakly) about their Mac cratering beyond easy recovery (Cory Doctorow has been through at least three Macs in that period).

I'm starting to get the impression that the only thing that has "improved" in OSX and the current gen of hardware is the typical Mac apologist's willingness to put up with massive, recurrent failure. That's pretty amazing considering how high that tolerance already had to be. I've given up asking why.


The Deadliest Things You've Never Heard Of

Yesterday, I forwarded around an e-mail to a bunch of people about Hashima/Gunkanjima Island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan. This rock reef, built up with coal tailings, was once the home and workplace of over 5000 people. My central point was this is an incredibly cool-looking place with a really interesting history, and no one has ever heard of it. This is possibly because the island is still owned by the Mitsubishi corporation, which apparently used forced (read: slave) labor to operate coal mines on the island prior to World War II. Even the people who were paid to work there weren't very happy about it. No one really knows how many people died in the mines, or in attempted escape, but one eyewitness said "four or five workers in fact died every month in accidents." The mines operated for over 80 years.

Today I come upon yet another forgotten disaster. In this case I'm talking about the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire of October 8, 1871, the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Even though over 1100 people died, you've never heard of this fire. Why? Because of a little event that occurred at the very same time 250 miles due south: The Great Chicago Fire!

What particularly struck me about this article was the last paragraph. Apparently not convinced that Mrs. O'Leary's cow could have sprinted 250 miles north (or south, I suppose) in a matter of minutes to kick over a second lantern, the author mentions this seemingly-bizarre theory:

For some the coincidence of two of America's most devastating fires igniting on the same day is too great. Although the ultra dry drought conditions are the official cause of the Peshtigo Fire, one theory speculates that a comet struck the earth in the area.

Two fires at the same time too much of a coincidence for you? Just throw in an extraterrestrial body! This sounds sort of ridiculous until you look at the map and realize Peshtigo is directly north of Chicago, exactly the trajectory you would expect for the breakup of a comet traveling perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic. If this is the case, we might consider ourselves lucky with a death toll of around 1500 for the day—these things have a nasty habit of bringing on ice ages and lopping trunks off the evolutionary tree. But you know, Occam's Razor still says to go with the drought theory.


Back on the Road 1985 Honda XL 350R

19 years
18,000 miles
3 states
5 license plates
4 insurance companies
3 driver's licenses
2 helmets
4 chains
2 handlebars
1 carburetor rebuild
6 lost keys

Still going.  










<-- April 2004


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Copyright 2004 by dickdiamond.com

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