Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oil Painting: Old Tech Art; New Tech Artists

"Oil paintings" puts me in mind of Rembrandt, Velasquez, Goya, and other artists of the past (Baroque, in this case). It's easy to think that contemporary artists, who may not go for Baroque, don't use old-fashioned media like oil paint.

But, oil-based paints are used today: and not just by artists with a 'retro' style.
  • " Paintings in Oil / It Began As A Painting A Day Blog by Neil Hollingsworth"
    Today's post, " Bowl of Bulbs No. 2," is a still life of light bulbs in a glass bow.
  • " ALLA PRIMA PAINTING / painting from life in one sitting"
    This blogger seems to post about once a month, with a painting and a quote
  • " Playful Painter / Paintings by Gautam Rao"
    The artists writes, "I’m an artist living in Indianapolis, Indiana. In this blog, I post new paintings regularly. My goal is to challenge myself, and to seek the extraordinary in everyday life.
    "All paintings are oil on masonite."

I saw some videos, too, on that last blog.

Photographers Blog, Too

If you're a serious photographer, and spend time online, you proabably know about these already. But, I take my photography fairly seriously, and I spend almost-rediculous amounts of time on line, and I hadn't run into these, so these may be worth posting:
  • "Photography BLOG," "film - digital - global - personal" The home page is mostly camera reviews
  • "The Wedding Photography Blog" I'm not sure what this site is about. The home page had some very well-done photos: black-and-white and subdued color. They included a landscape, an interior, and two photos that was taken at a wedding.
  • "Niebrugge Images - Photo Blog / A photo blog featuring outdoor, travel and nature photos." Not just another vacation-photo blog. "Professional photographer Ron Niebrugge and his wife and business partner Janine will cover all type of issues, opinions and experiences" - and excellent photos

Nothing to Say,
But That Hasn't Stopped Me Before

No entries yesterday: Sorry about that.

I didn't have the Internet connections I thought I'd have.

And today, what I have is very slow. That should be different by tonight.

Thanks for your patience! The lemming should be back, fairly soon.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Myanmar / Burma: a Burmese Perspective

"Get Involved in the Struggle to Free Burma!" is the advice of "," consisting of The U.S. branch's website includes a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, signed by over two dozen Hollywood celebrities (Cher didn't make the cut, it seems).

The knowledge that two egg cartons' worth of Hollywood big shots signed a letter doesn't impress me as much as it might.

A detail in the letter jumped out at me, though. It says that "according to the United Nations expert on human rights in Burma, the ruling military regime has burned down or otherwise destroyed over 3,000 villages in eastern Burma, forcing over 1 million and a half people to flee their homes."

That doesn't sound good.

Myanmar / Burma: a Buddhist Perspective

The "Buddhist Channel" has "Breaking News of Current Situation Inside Burma!" on now (September 28, 2007 about 10 pm Central time USA). One article is "Situation in Burma on Friday, September 28, 2007 (hour by hour account from 11.00 am to 5.20 pm)." (Those times are Burmese Standard time, (GMT +6:30 hours).) As the title says, it's an account, in reverse chronological order, of what's happened today in Burma AKA Myanmar.

Myanmar / Burma: Offline

Myanmar/Burma, a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) cut public access to the Internet recently. Today, I think. A military junta has been running Myanmar/Burma for lately.

"Apathetic Lemming of the North" isn't political. It's about blogs, bloggers, the blogosphere, and parts of the Web that interest me.

But when a country's leadership cuts public access to the Internet, I get interested.

The ruling junta in Myanmar/Burma wants people to call their holding "Myanmar," but I'll be different, and call it "Burma." At least, until the people there want to re-name it. It's their country, after all.

Back to Burma. Other ASEAN members "expressed 'revulsion' and told the junta 'to exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution.' Officials in neighboring Thailand said airplanes were on standby to evacuate ASEAN nationals in case the condition deteriorated."

ASEAN's goal is to
  1. Accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region
  2. Promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law....
That could explain their strongly-worded statement. Cutting people off from the Internet isn't the best way to promote growth and social progress. It's bad for business, too.

The Myanmar/Burma situation isn't too good right now. This week, so far, the junta has killed between 10 and 200 people, including Kenji Nagai, a Japanese journalist, and occupied Buddhist monasteries.

I try to be tolerant of other cultures' ways of doing things, but this behavior seems to be over the top.

Two posts here yesterday dealt with Burma: I hope the people I linked to in those are still online. And alive.

Meanwhile, today's headlines about Myanmar/Burma don't look good.Back to something I said before in this post. "Apathetic Lemming of the North" isn't political. But, when a military junta cuts Internet access to its subjects, I get interested.

Burma or Myanmar, the Place Needs Help

"Show support for Myanmar Democracy Movement" has an idea for showing support for the people in Burma.

Sorry. A military junta decided they'd rather call the country "Myanmar."

Whatever you call the country, the place is a mess and could use some help.

UPDATE - LATER September 28, 2007

"Macellarius Est Blog For Burma" is a new blog. Quoting the prologue: "Watching the events unfolding in Burma, I cannot help but write this letter, to the people of Burma and the rest of the world, for the sake of peace and democracy. Let the fruits of liberty be shared."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Here's that Post Against Child Abuse

Earlier today, I posted "Coming Soon: A Post Against Child Abuse," about another blogger's upcoming post.

His Halloween blog has the against-child-abuse now: "1000+ Blogging Against Abuse: Stop Child Abuse."

This one is more detailed than most, a sort of mini-course in what the problem is, with an impressive list of links to interested organizations.

Another Blog About Child Abuse

...and a pretty good one.

"Bloggers Unite to Stop Abuse" is a recent first-time father's view of child abuse, and what to do about it.

There's Trouble All Over, but Darfur and Burma/Myanmar Stand out

"Bloggers Unite? - Burma and Darfur" discusses BlogCatalog's efforts to unite bloggers in a stand against abuse, and focuses on two very troubled places: Burma and Darfur. Burma, now going under the alias of Myanmar, got in the news recently. We're more familiar with Darfur, but not much has been done.

There's more at the post linked above.

Child Abuse Exists: Do Something!
A Specific Suggestion

"Blogging For Hope. Reduce Abuse For Our Children’s Sakes." had an unusual effect on me.

I'm changing "Apathetic Lemming of the North." Specifically, I'm adding a news ticker what displays any current Amber Alerts. The code for this is from "Code Amber." I chose the USA code: Code Amber has a ticker for Canada, too.

"End Child Prostitution:"
One of the Better Ideas I've Heard Today

"End child prostitution! Now" is a sort of heads-up, with a link to an organization working "to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children."

Drug Abuse and Addiction,
and an Informative Post

"drug abuse & Addiction" addresses a more familiar sort of abuse. The message seems to be that addiction is a physical, medical, matter, not one involving character.

This has been said before, but that doesn't mean it can't be said again. Drug addiction is, after all, still very much a problem.

Fibromyalgia and Abuse: No Joke

At first, I thought this might be a joke. Now, I don't think so.

"The Hurt That Keeps On Hurting" asserts that physical, sexual or emotional abuse can be a trigger for fibromyalgia, a very unpleasant arthritic condition.
Updated May 16, 2008

The comment added today is a commercial message: one which I do not have time to evaluate.

My decision to leave it in place is not an endorsement.

Nor does my decision indicate a reversal of my policy on spam.

Coming Soon: A Post Against Child Abuse

Coming soon, to a monitor near you! That's what the author of "Halloween Costumes and Halloween Masks," a Halloween blog, promises.

Stop Abuse of: Hockey Fans?!

"Blogging Against Abuse: The Hockey Fan" has an interesting premise: that hockey players are a dying breed, and abused by lack of fan magazines.

Stop Abuse of Innocent Bloggers?

Here's something that's a change from the usual 'stop the abuse' pleas:

"Fight Spam not Blogs / 11 Reasons against nofollow" - this is a thoughtful post.

"Blog Against Abuse," It's Here

"Stop the Abuse" may not be the first down-with-abuse post posted, but it's the first I read.

I'll be back, from time to time today, with more abusive blogs "Blog Against Abuse" post micro-reviews, as well as the usual miscellaneous looks at the blogosphere.

Short People: Overlooked No More

Today, all over the globe, bloggers in the Bloggers Unite program's "Blog Against Abuse" event are raising awareness of pet and animal abuse. Others are doing their part in ending the abuse of the elderly, women, children, and other groups.

I'll be discussing a group of people who are often overlooked: short people.

True: this particular "abuse" issue falls short of the seriousness of the other forms of abuse I mentioned; but it is real.

First, what's short, and what's not?

The average woman in America is 64 inches tall. That's five feet, four inches, or about 162.5 centimeters.
Only 5% are five feet (152.5 centimeters) tall or shorter.

The average man in America is 70 inches tall: That's five feet, ten inches, or about 177 centimeters.
Only 5% of men are five feet, four and a half inches (165 centimeters) tall or shorter.

The average American man's eyes are about five feet six inches (roughly 167.6 centimeters) off the floor.

I've seen other numbers given as average for America, but all are around these values.

So what?

Almost everything we use is designed for people, often men, who are at least as tall as average.

"Eye level" peepholes in doors are often about five and a half feet off the floor: roughly six inches above an average woman's eye level. With the exception of a few specialized devices like the Super Wide Angle DoorScope, people whose eyes aren't at the right height have to be athletic or ingenious to see through the peepholes. Sometimes both.

And, for five percent of American women, those "eye level" peepholes are half a foot or more above the top of their heads.

You may have heard of the studies that show a positive relationship between height and success in business: particularly in leadership positions. And, tall people seem to enjoy more social success.

I think the studies are true enough, but I'm not particularly upset by their findings. But then, I'm not upset because the prejudices and preferences of this society mean that I never had a chance to be a male model.

Some roles, like being a supermodel or a CEO, rely on the way human beings react to each other. It's useless, at best, to make believe that we human beings aren't what we are.

The lower to the ground you live,
the more interesting it gets.

However, short people are overlooked in many practical, everyday ways.

If you think I'm taking all this personally, you're perceptive. I was five feet, eight inches tall before hip replacements (and maybe age) took me down an inch. That's close to the national average.

However, since I grew up in a mostly-Scandinavian community, where guys six feet tall or more weren't all that uncommon, I got used to looking many people straight in the collar.

My wife is five feet tall, 152.5 centimeters: Well below average in America, but close to average in Japan (at least, back in 1948: things have changed since then.). I used to joke that we might find life a little easier, over in Japan.

In the quarter-century of our marriage, I've had ample opportunity to see what it's like in the lower 5th percentile of height.

People down there have two choices when sitting in a normal chair: let their feet swing in the air, or sit with their back in its proper position, their knees well onto the seat, and their toes pointing up.

Climbing onto a chair or stool to look out the peephole is a routine. Or, as an alternative, shouting through the door in an effort to guess the identify of whoever is out there.

Buying clothing isn't easy. I think women have a harder time with this, since most women's wear seems to be designed for someone six feet tall who weighs 98 pounds. Children's' clothing and shoes are an option, for fit if not style.

When my wife and I get groceries, she hasn't always waited for me to catch up with her. I've seen her do a sort of reverse-basketball-dunk, getting packages from upper shelves.

At home, she, and the daughter of ours who is the same height, have been known to climb the lower cabinets and use the counter as a walkway, to access the upper kitchen cabinets. (Please! No flame about this! My culinary skills are marginal at best: My wife really doesn't want me working in the kitchen.)

This doesn't sound like "abuse," but consider this what your life would be like, if
  • You lived in a world where counters were at elbow level or above
  • The peephole in your apartment's door was well above the top of your head
  • The only chairs that fit you were in an elementary school's classroom
  • Clothing that fits you is mostly in the children's section
That's where about seven million women, and about as many men, in America live.

I've focused on American culture and people, because that's what I'm familiar with. I do not know what it's like, living in the bottom five percent in other cultures.

What to do?

Although I list a couple of spots online that deal with "heightism," I don't suggest that you join or support some sort of "shrimps of the world, arise!" group.

I want you to do something harder: think; and maybe change the way you think.
  • The next time you decide where a peephole goes, remember: tall people can bend down. Its harder for a short person to lift their eyes.
  • If you design equipment or furniture, keep the shrimps in mind.
  • Do you look down on short people? Do you
    • Refer to them as something like "shrimps?" Think! Is that respectful? (I know: I used that term myself.)
    • Assume that someone who's shorter than you are is less mature than you are? Less intelligent? Less capable? You could be wrong.
  • Have you ever seen someone shorter than you are during school hours and asked, "why aren't you in school?" My wife was asked that. She was in her twenties at the time.
I know: several of those examples only apply to designers and construction workers. Odds are that you aren't in that line of work. But, you might know someone who is.

And, you might be an architect, you might install doors as part of your work, and you might design the furnishings we all use.

Come on, is this really important?

Maybe not.

But consider this story.

Jane and John Doe are a young couple. Jane is five feet tall, a fifth-percentile American woman. John is a fiftieth-percentile American man, at five feet ten inches.

The two of them had spent a year or two living in apartments. Jane was tired of reaching the peephole to see if the knock at the door was the plumber, or that creep from 319.

Jane had to trust John's judgment about the house they bought. Let's say she's a high-power corporate lawyer, or a starship captain: or come up with your own explanation.

The description of the place was good, and John assured Jane that the cabinets were at a practical height.

That included the one with glass doors, the one with a top shelf at eye level.

The picture below is of that "eye level" shelf: seen from John's eye level. That's Jane, reaching up to the "eye level" shelf.

As promised, here are a couple of relevant links.Instead of crying out against "heightism," though, I'd rather that you do something harder: think about yourself, and the world we live in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Don't Look Down on Short People

I'm "Blogging for Hope" for a special cause today. Check back later: I'm adding posts as the day goes on.
She's five feet tall in a five-foot-ten world. So what? Check back later today, and find out.

Procrastination a Problem?

"20 Procrastination Hacks" is a list of 20 techniques that, taken singly or in combination, can help you stop procrastinating.

They look like practical, common-sense approaches. You're encouraged to experiment: If one doesn't work, another one (or two) may.

I'm told that I procrastinate now and again. Maybe I should try one of those techniques myself. I'll do it! Tomorrow.

A Pretty Good Idea Page for Webmasters

"10 links for a cool website" has a title that's fairly accurate.

There are 10 links, all right, but the "Color Trends and palettes on" is more of a collection of color pallet samples than a discussion of color trends. Maybe I missed something there.

"40 CSS layouts on" is a link that lives up to its promise a bit better.

The last link, "Learn about SEO on" is okay, if you want to buy an ebook for "only $79." I think you'd be better off, getting involved in an online community like, and looking around the discussion threads for opinions and observations on the subject.(1)

"10 links for a cool website" is a fairly good place to go for ideas, but not the best place to start if you're looking for something like tutorials.

(1)(Actually, BlogCatalog has had a few discussions on that subject recently. Yes, I'm biased: I'm a member, and think BlogCatalog is great.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Blog Against Abuse," Two Days to Go

In two days, on Thursday, September 27, around the world, the "Blog Against Abuse" event will begin.

"Blog Against Abuse" is part of the "Bloggers Unite" program, started by BlogCatalog, an online community.

Blogs, including this one, will discuss some form of abuse, and how to stop it. We're "Blogging for a Cause." Sounds like a real happening.

Read more.

Fascinating AI Text Analysis, or Weird PC Project? Either Way, Looks Interesting

"BookBlog: The Gender Genie" wants you to help them out. Apparently there's a plurality of genies. First, "complete our demographic survey. Your participation is much appreciated. Thanks!"

Apparently, there's software that can presumably "predict the gender of an author."

Sounds fascinating. The Gender Genie also invites you to read more at the BookBlog, The New York Times, and The Guardian. I'm not sure what the editorial stand of those publications is, regarding alleged differences between "genders." Odd: when I was growing up, people had "sexes," not "genders." Maybe "gender" is nice, and "sex" is naughty now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Learn About Mid-19th Century Americans

"The Living History Society of Minnesota, Inc." has the goal of educating us about civilian life in Minnesota in the mid-19th century Americans.

Sounds like a great website for people who dream of living in the Civil War / War Between the States era.

Seriously: this looks interesting for a history buff.

U. of M. "Living" - More Than Just
"Silverfish and Firebrats in Homes"

"University of Minnesota Extension - Living" discusses living in Minnesota: not the sort of thing you read in Chamber of Commerce announcements, but advice about food, housing and neighborhoods, and clothing.

"Firebrats" isn't a typo, by the way.

It looks practical and sensible. There's even something, a level or so in, about grilling safety.

The Greatest Generation: Minnesota Style

"In Their Words: Stories of Minnesota's Greatest Generation" in a set of web pages done by the Minnesota Historical Society. It's a pretty good look at the Depression, World War II, and the post-war boom, using material from the Minnesota Historical Society's collection.

Considering current world events, the look at Minnesotans during World War II might be of particular interest.

"Blog Against Abuse," Three Days to Go

Three days from now, on September 27, "Blog Against Abuse" will be launched around the world.

"Blog Against Abuse" is an event in the "Bloggers Unite" program, started by the BlogCatalog online community.

Blogs, including this one, will discuss some form of abuse, and how to stop it. We're blogging for hope. Sounds frightfully socially-conscious, doesn't it?

Read more.

Glass Floors: A New Perspective on Windows

"Glass Floor [Pics]" at

People visiting the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, the the CN Tower in Toronto, and the observation deck of Sky Tower in Auckland, obviously enjoy looking down, past their feet, through the floor, to an array of glass, steel, concrete, and other hard materials tens of yards below.

I'd probably enjoy the experience, myself, but wouldn't recommend it to someone with vertigo troubles.

The caption above the first photo reads, "The view through the glass floor in the Spinnaker Tower" - and that's the only caption I saw. Judging from what's below the floors in the dozen-plus photos, they weren't all taken at the same place.

The page is worth a look, though.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Blog Against Abuse," the Countdown Continues

Four days from now, "Blog Against Abuse" will be launched around the world.

Read more.

Japan: Home of Arita porcelain, cherry blossoms, and Pachinko

"Pachinko" tells you as much as you may want to know about one of Japan's favorite pastimes. The up-ended relatives of the pinball machine gather in pachinko parlors, whose decor seems to be an oriental equivalent of a Nevada casino's.

Things to Do in Tokyo

If you're planning a trip to Japan, "Owen's Travel Notes - Things to do in Tokyo"" would be a pretty good place to start planning.

It's more than a suggested itinerary. Owen W O'Sullivan shares what I'd say are pretty standard pieces of advice, starting with what to wear. What impressed me were the carefully chosen links mixed in with the text.

Transparent Frogs and Other Japanese Innovations

Japan, known for giving the world sushi, whose advertising slogan seems to be "you can never have too much neon," and where the world's first fuel-cell-powered robot was designed, has done it again.

Scientists in Hiroshima have developed the first transparent frog.

No joke.

Actually, it's the frogs' skin that's transparent, making it possible to observe what's going on inside without hurting the frog.

They've also got glow-in-the-dark frogs.

Again, no joke. In both cases, the frogs were developed to make medical research easier.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

World's Worst Construction Mistakes: Maybe

"World’s Worst Construction Mistakes" may not be the absolutely worst in the world.

But none of the photos show something you'd want to be billed for.

My favorite is a security camera whose lens is up close and personal with the back of a display or television monitor.

"Blog Against Abuse"
The Countdown Has Begun

Five days from now, "Blog Against Abuse" will be launched around the world.

Bloggers Unite (Blogging for Hope) is a project by an online community, BlogCatalog. "In 5 Days, on September 27th, 1,000s of Bloggers will Unite and Blog for Hope in the Blogging Against Abuse Challenge."

Something that impressed me about this project is that each participant chooses a particular form of abuse to blog about.

There's a discussion group on Blog Catalog where you can learn more about "Blog Against Abuse:"

Top 10 Inventions of the Middle Ages -That's Right: Middle Ages

"Top 10 Inventions of the Middle Ages" actually slops over into the early Renaissance, but this is still a good reality check.

I still run into comments about the "Dark Ages" that followed the fall of the Roman Empire.

Although those centuries in Europe wouldn't be one of my favorite eras to be in, it was hardly the dreary expanse of ignorance and superstition (and no espresso machines!) that we hear and read about.

On the contrary, faced with the challenge of getting things done without the support provided by the Roman Empire, Europeans developed efficient technologies like heavy plows, the hourglass, and the blast furnace.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: An Engineer's Approach

"Why Engineers Don’t Write Recipe Books," a case in point.

The recipe is for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The final instruction is "Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table, allowing the product to come to equilibrium."one.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Farnsworth House: It's Not Practical, and
That's Not the Point

"Farnsworth House" is dedicated to The Farnsworth House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's proof that you can design and build a monumentally impractical house, and be considered a genius.

The Farnsworth House is that glass-walled wonder, built in 1951, that inspired jokes like, "I bought one of those new houses. To get undressed, I have to stand in front of a window."

This house, one of the most famous examples of Modernist architecture, is a real work of art. The website explains why we should pay attention to the place: "Transcending any traditional domestic function or program, the importance of the house lies rather in the absolute purity and consistency of its architectural idea."

I like the looks of it, myself, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Skyway Retreat

"Skyway Retreat / Lake Superior, MN," shows what happens when part of the Minneapolis Skyway system gets transplanted to a spot near Lake Superior.

(from City Desk Studio, used w/o permission)

It looks a little like an industrial-strength version of the Farnsworth House.

The skyway used is the one that used to be over 5th street, between JC Penny's and Powers department stores in downtown Minneapolis.

This is either sculpture, architecture, or something else.

I think it looks good, and may be a better idea than cutting the skyway up for scrap.

Another Writing Blog: Nearly Nothing but Novels

" Nearly nothing but novels / My impressions of fiction, including crime fiction: I point out authors and books that I feel deserve more attention...."

These aren't your usual book reviews. Thursday's post included a personal look at translations, mistranslation, and more of the "World" in World Wide Web.

Groups in BlogCatalog: Promising

A favorite online community of mine, BlogCatalog ( has added "groups" to its features.

Groups, member-defined clusters of users with similar interests, aren't anything new generally, of course. But, they're a new feature on BlogCatalog: introduced this weeks.

One of the groups I've joined, "Writers and Writing" should make it easier for the more serious writers (professional and 'creative') to put our heads together.

Another, "Blogging History / A place for professional historians, amateur historians, and history buffs to talk about history and blogging" probably isn't for everyone, but looks good to me.

Of course, you'd have to be a member of BlogCatalog to participate.

Which is about as un-subtle a plug as you're likely to see here, today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Funny and Cute

"How a cat tells you if your feet stink ...," a series of four photos of a cat: presumably investigating, then reacting to, someone's shoe.

Amaze Your Friends As You Repel Pepper

"Pepper Trick / Amaze your friend with your power over cracked pepper in water" - a party trick, and potentially a good science class demonstration. It's a short, narrated video, about a minute long.

Giant Mutant Banana-Lamb of Liverpool

"Super Lamb Banana."

It's a sculpture, yellow, that looks like a dog but is supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek warning against the perils of genetic engineering.

I think.

It was painted pink for a while, for some sort of charity.

Good Writing Advice

"Why Web Writing is Different / Writing Effective Web Based Marketing Copy:" good advice from a professional writer. First of three linked pages.

If you're getting started writing for Web pages, this is a good place to start. Not a bad review for experienced writers, either.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't Know What to Say?

Here's what you do:
  • Memorize all 82 facts at "Trivia about products, advertising, and inventions."
  • Then, when conversation lags at a party, turn to the person next to you and say, "Americans spent over $360 million in 1982 to avoid having bad breath"
  • If that doesn't liven things up, try, "IBM's motto is 'Think.'
  • Keep going: one of those nuggets of knowledge is sure to be a hit!
Or not, but it's fun reading.

Can't Remember that Code?

"Commonly Used HTML Codes" could help. It's one of many code glossaries and tutorials on the Web.

This one gives the code, and an example of the code at work, in a simple, easy-to-read, and copy, format.

Good resource for bloggers, and webmasters with twitchy memories.

Congressional Approval at Record Low:
Maybe This is Why

Sorry, this isn't the most upbeat post on "Apathetic Lemming of the North."

No wonder Congressional approval was 18% last month, according to a Gallup Poll. A page on listed what the 500 or so employees of a company had been up to.

Some of the best news in the list was that only 7 had been arrested for fraud, and a mere 3 had done time for assault.

If this were a private-sector company, it would be in serious trouble. Since it's the American Congress: it still doesn't look good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BrowserShots: Test Browser/OS Appearance, Free

" Test your web design in different browsers" is a free online service that I wish I'd known about before developing my last website.

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Back to BrowserShots.

It's simple: copy and paste, or key in, your URL, check off the browsers/operating system combinations you want checked, click "submit," and wait to see what your page looks like in that system.

One thing: I'd suggest not selecting too many combinations at once. It takes the site a while to get the display ready. Quite a while.

I didn't discover this myself. BrowserShots was recommended in a BlogCatalog discussion thread, "Do you preview your site in different browsers?"

Good Advice for Bloggers

"27 Tips for Building a Kick-Ass Blog" - as we say here in Minnesota, I've seen worse.

The blogger who wrote this, Ahmed Bilal, knows what he's talking about. I particularly appreciated the observation that "it's bloody hard work" to make and maintain a blog.

Being the sort of fellow I am, I don't appreciate some of the language in this post, but the advice is well worth reading.

Promoting Your Blog: A Good Discussion

"Utilizing A Thread to Get Some Traffic," on, with some pretty good ideas.

It also gives a good impression of what discussions in online communities can be like.

Finally, there's some professional advice there: mine. ;)

One Wash Basin, Two Small Dogs

This seems to be the morning for "cute." Here's a before-after pair of photos, no text, of two small dogs, before and after a bath.

The Daily Zits

"The Funnies - Zits" on "ArcaMax Publishing - Family Friendly News & Fun." Our #3 daughter told me about this.

Looking Up: the Helix Nebula

"Hubble Site - Image Gallery: The Helix Nebula" - a remarkable photo, a remarkable subject.

Vancouver's New Orpheum Theatre, 1927+

"Orpheum Theatre - 3/13 Wurlitzer (original installation)." Photos of the old New Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, with some information about the theater and its mighty Wurlitzer.

A Baby Laughs

"Baby laughing hysterically over paper" featuring the video "Ethan Laughing (Short Clip)." "If this doesn't make you laugh then you have a heart of stone."

This is one seriously cute video. Enjoy.

Norman Rockwell, American Artist

Since it's Constitution Day, or was when I started on this post, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at a very American artist, Norman Rockwell.

While I was going through college, I learned that Norman Rockwell wasn't much of an artist. He couldn't be. Much of his work was cover art for the "Saturday Evening Post," and so created his pictures to fit a narrow range of conditions. Each had to
  • Fit the shape of the Post cover
  • Leave room for the magazine's title and other cover information
  • Conform to a list of subjects determined by the magazine publisher
Obviously, this couldn't be real art. Real art was the gushing forth of the artist's deepest personal feelings and desires, in whatever the artist wanted to use as a medium.

(Many people who believed that also believed that haiku was real art. How, I don't know.)

Besides, common people liked Rockwell's art. And they still do. No serious artist, of course, could possibly be appreciated by the hoi polloi. And certainly wouldn't be appreciated enough for some of the masses to buy copies of his work.

Commercial Rockwell art sites and pages:(I haven't checked these out, and so can't vouch for their bona fides.)

Later in his career, Norman Rockwell chose poverty and racism and integration as subjects for his paintings, and was recognized as a serious painter.

There are some decent collections of information about Rockwell online:

Constitution Day, USA,

Constitution Day, September 17, 2007.

Two hundred twenty years ago today, 39 people put their lives on the line by signing the document that spells out how America's government works, and what rights and responsibilities, we and our representatives have.

It's not perfect, but it's the best we've got.

So, here's to the oldest, and the shortest, national constitution in the world.

Check out "Constitution Day."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Online Communities: an Event

"Sociable Mentions For Helpful BlogCatalog Members" shows how online communities can work. A disclaimer, though: I'm biased.

I think is a top-rate community. It's not the technical aspects of it, although it's well-supported that way. It's the people who form the community.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater: the Movie

Well, not right now. The webmaster of "Etérea" tells us that there was so much demand for the computer graphics movie of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, that the site ran out of bandwidth. I hope the movies are available soon. The still pictures on the site are promising.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Copyscape: Very Good Tool Against Content Thieves

One of the better tools for content creators who have had their work stolen is Copyscape. You'll learn more at my post, "Plagiarism-Finder Site: Copyscape" (August 9, 2007), or better yet, go directly to Copyscape.

The member whose posts were stolen suggested clicking on the "Plagiarism" section, for guidance on how to protect your blogs.

Update, same day.

"Someone is publishing my posts ditto" is a discussion thread on, with some potentially useful links.

More Theft of Intellectual Property

Here we go again. This isn't my favorite topic, but I'll post something like when someone steals another's intellectual property.

The creative agent in this case is a blogger who maintains these blogs:Some of her content seems to have been copied and republished as "Cooking Tips" at

UPDATE 1:30 am September 17, 2007.

It looks like is shut down. Here's what I found, when I checked the URL a few minutes ago:

"Cooking Tips

"Sorry, no posts matched your criteria."

There's a discussion thread at, following this situation: "Calling out a loser...."

I appreciate that there are people out there who believe that as long as they steal something, it's okay, since everything's free on the Web. Or, they believe,it ought to be.

I don't agree.

It should be simple commons sense. A writer works to produce a blog post, an article, or anything else that someone might want to read. Another person comes along, copies the post, displays it, either as his or her own work, or (occasionally) with some sort of attribution. Without the author's knowledge or permission.

At best,it's tacky behavior, something like copying test answers.

At worst, it's robbing the writer of income. Quit a few writers, myself included, write with hopes of making money. Often, the money comes through advertising on the writer's website or blog.

When someone else copies the writer's work and posts it elsewhere, that deflects traffic from the writer, to the thief.

Related posts, on Intellectual Property Rights

Is Blogging Worse that Transfats?

"Blogging: Worse than transfats?" asks a vital question: "Is Blogging bad for your health?"

The next sentence shows the author's stance. "Millions of people spend hours inside their homes, slaving over a heated laptop battery reposting creating content that they hope someone will read and enjoy and maybe even Digg or Stumble."

The (spoof) PSA pamphlet in this post is worth a look. Especially if you could use a chuckle.

Travelogue Travel Blog

"Wonders of Terengganu, Malaysia / Get for all of information about Terengganu, attraction, places of interest, 12 wonders of Terengganu, reason to visit island and beach, good for honeymoon, transportation, sightseeing, info gateway for all of visitors to Terengganu."

And, when you scroll past the advertising, a video, photos, and text that sounds a bit like a travel brochure. Also, a very brief introduction to the Malay language. Further back, the "Sekayu Waterfall & Nature Park" had a couple of nice snapshot-style photos.

Pretty good, and for someone with my budget, a good way to visit Malaysia.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Blue Blog About Ocean Devotion

"The Right Blue Recounting a lifetime of ocean devotion" - a multi-author blog that's "a memoir of those thousands of dives -- with pictures!"

Today's post, "What a wreck!" takes a personal approach to the experience of diving in shipwrecks: 'real' ones, and those created by scuttling ships to provide habitats for reef-dwellers and diving spots for people.

There's some deep philosophizing in that post.

Sorry. That's the last play on words I'll make. Today. In this blog.

artblog - All Lower Case, But Worth Seeing

"artblog" is one of those blogs about art that I can respect. The photos are good quality, and the author makes no pretense of impartiality. It's a good, opinionated, upbeat but not gushy(the parts I read in detail), and with some level of knowledge and critical skill.

What really impressed me was that I could imagine paying to have some of the pieces shown, instead of paying to have them hauled away. Not that I've got the budget for either.

Guthrie House, in Chile

Another page with pictures, and not much else. In this case, it's the Guthrie House in Chile. The style is Modern, or a near cousin, the architects are Felipe Assadi and Francisca Pulido, and the pictures are impressive.

I'm not sure I'd want to live there, but the place is impressive. Even imposing.

Indoor Ski Resort in Dubai

"Pista de esqui en Dubai (27 fotos)" (I think that means something like "Ski Track in Dubai (27 photos)) - but I could be wrong.)

My Spanish is rusty, at best, and that might not be Spanish.

Never mind that: Those photos are worth looking at. Ski resorts are fairly common, here in Minnesota. Not surprising, since water is a mineral for several months out of the year. In Dubai, it's a different story.

The ski resort isn't a particularly large one, but it's all there, including a ski lift. My hat's off to the people who imagined, designed, and built it.

In my opinion, this shows how the perils of overcrowding are overrated. It's not being "crowded" that's a problem: it's what can be done with the available space.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Frank Lloyd Wright Newsblog

"">The Frank Lloyd Wright Newsblog" is a good resource for Frank Lloyd Wright fans. And, it seems to be written by someone with enthusiasm about and knowledge of Wright's work.

As a bonus, there's a well-developed link page of Wright sites.

New York City: Public Restrooms, 9/11, and Nightclubs

"Bridge and Tunnel Club Blog" is a thoroughly opinionated multi-author blog about architecture and public works (I think) in the New York City area. They do recognize a world outside the Big Apple, on the website's home page,

Filtering, Censorship, and Dealing With It

I'm being serious again.

Earlier today, I read "Censorware is Outta Control! (Calling all CyberWarriors)."

The title of that September 12, 2007, post is a little over-the-top, and so is the content of some of the blogs mentioned in the post.

However, anyone whose blog is more controversial than pocket lint should read "Censorware is Outta Control!"

The important point is that software like SurfControl, SonicWALL, Barracuda, SmartFilterWhere, and Contact SafeSurf can be set to keep people from seeing 'bad' sites and blogs. It's called 'filering' or 'censoring,' depending on your point of view.

There have been problems with these services from day one.

Some use keywords to distinguish between naughty and nice sites. I read, years ago, of one service that with a 'kid safe' filter that let some porn through, while blocking a fan page about Patrick Stewart's role in "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Others rely on black lists and white lists, where 'good' and 'bad' sites are identified by human beings. In theory, this system should, over time, reliably identify acceptable and unacceptable sites.

Black list / white list systems have a flaw, though, especially when they act on input from people who don't work for the filter service.

That's the system presumably used by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) state-run ISP, Etisalat. Etisalat, the only ISP in the UAE, blocked because someone complained about the blog's nudity. The punchline is that the blog contained no images, nude or otherwise.

On another continent, is having problems, too. It, and some other blogs and sites which do not approve of Islam, and/or the jihad against the west, have been labeled as "violence/hate/racism" sites, or given a similar label. If I were a Muslim, I wouldn't enjoy reading them, but 1389 Blog, at least, doesn't seem to fit the "violence/hate/racism" designation.

But, someone thought so, and so they were blacklisted. Once labeled as racist, hate-filled, violent sites, the site owner can try to have the site re-labeled as "media," or "political advocacy," or a similarly appropriate term.

Then, after a while, the 'bad site' label may get stuck back on, and the cycle begins anew.

I don't agree with many of the blacklisted sites, but I'm no fan of censorship, either.

Bloggers and webmasters can, with a bit of work, deal with blacklisting. The "Censorware is Outta Control!" post lists these censorware test pages: the 1389 Blog post gives some how-2 advice which I'd suggest reading.

"We Are Ellis Island"
Not a Bad Idea

"We Are Ellis Island" is a site maintained by Save Ellis Island, Inc., Arrow (that shirt company) and Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation. You know what PVH is, if you're more interested in fashion than I am.

Save Ellis Island is a "non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding to restore, and put to beneficial reuse, the deteriorated buildings on Ellis Island."

Sounds like a good idea. The site is a fund-raiser, but the photos are well-selected, and they seem to be collecting Ellis Island stories.

With a little poking around, you should be able to find the stories they have already.

Update, September 14, 2007, 11:50 pm Central USA

A comment by Bill W. directed me to "The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc." "that has been raising money and restoring buildings on Ellis Island and also restored the Statue of Liberty in 1986 for the centennial."

Bill W. pointed out that "We are Ellis Island" seems to be in fund-raising competition with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

I'm glad that Bill W. wrote. I certainly don't want to slight any worthy organization.

Unhappily, I don't have time to sort this out tonight.

Does anyone have information about organizations which are involved in the restoration of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty?

Thanks in advance.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A New Spin on Skyscrapers: Literally

Speaking of plumbing: How are the architects going to get utilities and power to the rotating floors of Sheikh Mejren bin Sultan’s incredible turbine towers? "Skyscraper Goes On A Spin At Dubai" has some pictures of this, ah, innovative project.

Rubber Ceilings and Unintended Consequences

And you think you have problems! "Russian 3D ceilings" shows what happens when the suspended ceiling of a Russian residence catches, and holds, what must have been a massive leak upstairs.

Some of the same photos also show up at "Warped Domesticity."

Chicago Architecture and Miscellaneous Relevance:
A Blog

" ArchitectureChicago PLUS A daily blog on architecture in Chicago, with a supplement of other topics cultural and political...." Miscellaneous Relevance

Today's post is "Farnsworth Saved From Drowning - Documentary Debuts Tonight" If you haven't a clue why this is important, except to Farnsworth, it's about Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House.

Yesterday's is "Chicago Streetscene - Voyagers," which is a photo of part of a crowd. That's all.

The September 11th post is "Emerging Chicago Architecture on CAF October 6 tour."

Preceeding posts include " No Escape(s) for The Palmer House," "Marsha White joins Marshall Fields Protesters" (what they're protesting, I haven't a clue), and "Tigerman, Wimer, Kerwin and the 2016 Olympics - late additions to the September calendar."

A Blogging Blog for Bloggers

"Blogging Blog Blogging for the love of it"

This looks like a fun blog.

The first few posts include talk-up of
  • OneWebDay (September 22) modeled on Earth Day
  • Blog Action Day (October 15) "bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment." Everyone!
  • The W Magical List of Women Bloggers
  • Female Bloggers Getting Harassed
  • No Integrity for Some Bloggers
The last item is about the very debatable practice of paid reviews.

In the sidebar is my personal favorite: "blogging for a cause / Bloggers Unite / blogging for hope," BlogCatalog's online campaign to stop abuse. What makes the BlogCatalog campaign stand out is that the specific kind of abuse to be addressed is left up to the individual. As someone who isn't "everyone," I find that refreshing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why Every Artist Needs a Blog

Kristin Royce's "Artist Blogs: Why Every Artist Needs a Blog How having an artist blog can help you sell more art" discusses artists, exposure, and blogs.

A caution, for those artists who disdain such vulgarities as commercialism, and cast contemptuous glances on those who would stoop to such depths as actually selling one of their precious creations.

This post is for artists who want to sell their work.

It's About Architecture
It's Very Artistic
And it's from New York CIty

Yes, those are LEGO ® people in the September 12 post's photos.

"A Daily Dose of Architecture (Almost) daily architectural musings from New York City" is a bit more, I think the word is artistic, than I prefer, but it's a well-illustrated blog.

The September 9 post, "Jihad Pop" (I'm not making this up) includes this excerpt from statement from the "artist's statement:"

"Jihad Pop exists as a means to explore how issues of identity and associations define themselves. Where do I belong when past associations of both family and lifestyle breakdown and begin to form new negotiations based on personal values. The personal symbols that I have acquired through my own values play out simultaneously with symbols of Islamic religion and death as a symbol of struggle. The meeting of these two words ‘jihad’ and ‘pop’ is the marriage of this exploration of identity and the simultaneous broadcast of imagery of violence, conflict and migration."

Now, by contemporary definitions, that's art!

The images in the September 9 post were quite impressive. "Interior Courtyard 2, 2006, from the series Jihad Pop Progression 5" reminded me of the landscapes of Theodore Geisel.

"architechnophilia" - Architecture for the Twitchy

If the author of " architechnophilia" is serious about the description of him and his blog ("This is my obsession....architecture!! Seen through my perverse eyes. Architecture is my fetish!") he needs help.

However, the blog is a wonderful collection of photographs, diagrams, renderings, and links about architecture. I would have preferred a little more detail on each post, but the wild variety of material more than makes up for a lack of depth.

Viewing the blog is a little like viewing an art gallery from the back seat of a racing motorcycle.

Art News Blog: Blogging on Art since 2004

"Art News Blog" "a selection of visual art news, art reviews and art related stories online"

The most recent posts were
  • "Emily Patrick Exhibition"
    ("I love painters that can make any subject a good painting. They can make a dead rat or a sack of potatoes look good because they are not relying on the subject to create the work of art.")
  • "World's Largest Photo"
    ("I love the fact that my little digital camera with 7 mega pixels fits in my pocket and can be taken anywhere, but I don't think a giant jet air craft hangar sized camera will ever be very popular!")
  • "Business Manager Frank Dunphy"
    ("Frank Dunphy talked a little about the infamous diamond encrusted skull and the $100 million price tag.")
  • "10th International Istanbul Biennial in Turkey"
    ("The curator for the event this year is Hou Hanru. It has been called "Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary: Optimism in the Age of Global War", which wouldn't look out of place on a peace protester's banner.")
That last item sounds, like, relevant. Here's part of what an associated Turkey art essay has to say: "In this age of global wars and globalization of liberal capitalism, it is not impossible but also necessary to revitalize the debate on modernization and modernity and put forward activist proposals to improve social progress. Today, modernization should be carried out in diverse models, relevant to local conditions and ideals, and in the negotiations between individual localities and the ‘global’. In other words, a bottom-up, truly democratic project of modernization and modernity that is based on the respect of individual rights and humanist values is necessary to bring Turkish society out of its contradiction. And this is also true of the global situation in transition." Like, it's the most.

Art News Blog has archives going back to 2004

Widgets - One Blogger's Opinion

"10 Best Widgets For Your Blog." The title says it all.

Like everything else, entries in Ryan's Top 10 could be disputed.

For example, I wouldn't want to put Technorati Link Count on a blog, because my blogs are new, and don't have impressive numbers. Yet.

MyBlogLog’s Recent Readers is interesting to MyBlogLoggers, not so much to everyone else. (I use the equivalent BlogCatalog widget, because that's my online hangout.)

PollDaddy seems to duplicate Blogger's poll feature, and BlinkxIt, a video search-and-display widget, is something I wouldn't put on one of my blogs. I mean to say, have you seen some of the videos out there?!

But that's nitpicking. I happen to like Google Map Widget, and someone else might want one of the things I've mentioned as non-starters. The point is, "10 Best..." is a good widget-review resource.

YGeUp Blog Directory Strikes Again

"YGeUp Blog Directory's" latest entries are on display at "Links added to YgetUp’s Blog Directory."

There's more about the YGeUp Directory in the YGeUp Blog, "A blog about a blog directory."

Technophobes! This Blog's for You!

I don't usually use so many exclamation marks, but the blog title, "A Technophobes Guide to the Internet!," forced my hand.

With an exclamation mark in the title, I felt I had to out-emphasize it, just to make my post title stand out.

Nonsense aside, "A Technophobes Guide to the Internet!" describes itself as "a ONE STOP online resource for freelance writers and bloggers who want to be a success on the Internet."

More to the point, it's a site for technophobes.

If you don't know a subscript tag from a router, this blog might be right for you.

Quoting the blog's author, "I don't attempt to explain anything, just write what my meager understanding of these things is, which would fit on the back of a postage stamp!

"I think for technophobes like me it may be a slightly more user friendly approach to introducing these 'tools' to those afraid to read about them on IT literate sites."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

YGeUp Blog Directory - Opening Now

For bloggers, this is a chance to get in on the ground floor of a blog directory.

Or, for blog readers, this is a chance to see which bloggers are on-the-ball enough to get in on the ground floor of a blog directory.

"YGeUp Blog Directory A directory for blogs" is, more to the point, a directory of blogs. And a very new one, at that.

I've submitted my blogs on this new venture, and I suspect that others will be, too. The site owner said, "There will never be a fee for this listing!"

Good thing, too. Maybe I'm suspicious, but I prefer directories, and reviews that weren't paid for by someone. Maybe it's my old sixties experience re-asserting itself.

Blogs About School, More or Less

In America, at least, the school year either has started, or is bearing down on students-to-be like a mudslide.

In recognition of this reality, here are some school-related blogs:
  • "Bowllan's Blog" on School Library Journal - "Get the buzz about libraries, learning and technology" - or so they say.
  • "ePALS SchoolBlogTM lets you manage a safe, protected place on the Internet that enables collaboration and participation among teachers, students and parents." Not a bad idea
  • "NeverEndingSearch" on School Library Journal "My sweet digital natives, their information spaces, and trying to Yoda" I'll let you figure that out.
  • "school library blog" the most recent posts are "The Digestive System," "Mad Libs Online," "Reading Online," and "Human Body Quiz."
Have a good school year!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's Not Just About Avacados

"Healthy Living for People and Planet Earth" isn't the sort of new-age-and-love-beads sixties holdout that the title might suggest. Not that I'd think that, of course.

Will Taft covers a broad range of topics for healthy living. The most recent entry is about avocados, but there's more to the blog than than.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Home Decor Ideas by Wendy Lee

"Home Decor Ideas by Wendy Lee" - don't let today's post fool you. The blog really is about interior design. "Japanese Decors," "Chinese Home Decors," and "Contemporary Office Decor" were the three posts before that.

Why "Apathetic Lemming of the North?"

Several people either asked me why I chose "Apathetic Lemming of the North" as this blog's name, or told me that it didn't make sense. They were more polite about it, but that's the gist of what they said.

I made a quick explanation, in "Rise of Apathetic Lemming of the North," the first post in this blog. It wasn't very complete, since I was eager to go out an find interesting blogs to blog about.

Now, it's time to go back and do a more polished job.

Lemmings are rodents that are so stupid, they blindly follow their leaders in mass suicides. At least, that's what 'everybody knows.' The facts are a little more complicated. ("Why We Should Always Question.." is a pretty good place to start, if you're looking for the lemming behind the lens.)

The suicidally stupid lemmings of contemporary folklore led to the rodents' name being applied to classes of people.

"Lemming" meant "narrow-minded, biased fans" in the 1980s. Fans of wrestling's WWF were the first to carry the label, but it spread.

I remember it being used as a label for those who didn't agree with people in the anti-war movement at least as far back as the 1970s. "Lemming" still seems to mean "easily-led dupe who doesn't agree with me" to this day, as its use in at least one comment dated October 21, 2006, demonstrates.

Apathy, of course, was anathema to the anguished campus activists of the sixties and seventies. The cultural pressure to care: deeply, passionately, hysterically, led to the slogan "Apathy is Rampant, But Who Cares?" I still treasure the sight of those words, emblazoned upon a bumper sticker.

That's where I come in.

I'm apathetic. I must be. I think that
  • The spotted owl will flourish, as long as there are virgin ponderosa pine forests and K-Mart signs for them to nest in.
  • It's not necessary to retrofit everyone's home with wheelchair ramps and/or elevators to upper floors (I'm not making this up: it could have become a plank in one party's platform)
  • Protecting union members from plutocratic oppressors who tear bread from the bleeding lips of the starving masses isn't quite the issue that it was a century ago
What is considered important, and what's not, in America seems to be determined in the coastal cultures. Since my priorities don't even come close to the stereotype Starbucks-frequenting, Armani-wearing, New York Times reader, I must be "apathetic."

I can live with that.

Lemmings are stupid, easily led people. I've learned that they're people who are so dull and boring as to actually work for a living. It may even be a mainstream word by now, as this blog name hints: "Smart Lemming (manage your career or it will manage you)."

Given that a "lemming" is someone who is so un-Timothy-Leary-like as to not "turn on, tune in, drop out," and has been known to have a job, I must be a lemming.

I can live with that, too.

So, I'm an "Apathetic Lemming."

I thought "of the North" is pretty obvious. Minnesota was as far north as America got, before Alaska became a state, and my home state is still the most northerly of the contiguous states, thanks to that surveyors' hiccup, up by Lake of the Woods.

When I started this blog, I decided to have some of my qualities reflected in the name. "Apathetic Lemming" appealed to me.

Then I discovered that there were quite a few "Apathetic Lemmings" out there: although I submit that none were as apathetically lemming-like as I am.

"Apatheticest Ultra-Lemming" sounded silly, so I called this blog "Apathetic Lemming of the North," instead.

Been Deleted From a Forum?
You're Not Alone

" Science Forum NEWS Room ........ allegedly" is what happened when a member of a science forum got fed up with moderators deleting / banning members whose opinions the didn't like.

This is a wake-up call to those who haven't noticed that the rules have changed.

In the good old days, editorial boards of prestigious journals could decide who got published, and who didn't.
  • If they didn't like an article's ideas, they could not publish it: and it wouldn't get read.
  • If they liked the ideas, but the article was written by someone who simply wasn't the proper sort, they could wait until one of the proper people wrote a similar article, and publish that (based on actual event)
Nice setup, while it lasted.

Now, one of those absolute outsiders can set up a website or blog of their own. And, if their ideas are worthwhile, the new site might outshine the proper, established set of experts.

I am willing to put up with the occasional weird opinion and fraudulent fact in "the marketplace of ideas," if it means that people are free to discuss ideas that don't conform to what established 'experts' would like to be true.

I'm getting off my soapbox now: the next post will be quite harmless.

One Post, Three Opinions:
Triple Op Ed With One Click

"Celebrate Today, or You're a Bigot!" is a post of mine, on another blog. You won't see this sort of self-advertising too often here, but this is a special occasion.

The post is about a "Muslim Day" celebration with wonderfully bad timing. I should warn you, I do have an opinion about this.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Personal Blog From the Suburbs: a BurbBlog?

" Suburbian Queen," is maintained by "Jamie ... Wife & Mom of 2 ... To live & learn" So far, she's up to 16 R.O.F. (Rules of Fabulousness). R.O.F. #16 is "Erase the words 'I can't' from your vocabulary." There's non-R.O.F. content, too.

Smog Blogs, About Pollution and/or
Environmental Concerns

Kermit would love these green blogs or posts, each and every one dedicated to the premise, 'the greener, the better.'

Clear, Effective Writing: Good Advice

John Wesley's "The Art of Writing: 10 Tips from the Masters" is a very good micro-course in how to write effectively. "Whether you like it or not, your ability to exchange ideas, collaborate with others, and ultimately succeed, hinges on the ability to write effectively."

Mog Blogs: Blogs For, About, and (Sort of) By Cats

Blogs about cats, and some allegedly by cats:

Frog Blogs: Blogs and Posts About Frogs

I found frogs underrepresented in the blogosphere. Until that damp day comes, when croaks and ribbits resound among the domains, frog-lovers everywhere will have to settle this sort of frogosphere:

Blogs For, About, and (Sort of) By Dogs

This week I realized that "Apathetic Lemming of the North" had been unintentionally ignoring a very important sort of blog: blogs about dogs.

So, to correct this situation:
  • Dogster: For the Love of Dog Blog "The Dogster Dog Blog is committed to tracking every story related to all foods recalls. You can count on us to keep you completely in the nose of every detail."
  • Bosco Dog Blog "...A Dog's Life in the City of Minneapolis, MN & now... Austin, TX"
  • A Dog Blog tales of two dogs, and their battle against canine cancer and megaesophagus. Bubba and Pinche and gone, now, but the blog continues, with stories from other dog owners, and information about these diseases
  • Celebrity Dog Blog for those whose day isn't complete without seeing pictures of Jessica Simpson and Daisy, Mischa Barton and Charlie, and other celebrities with their dogs
  • Dog Gone Blog "handling out opinions like they Were kibble"
  • Funny Dog Pics the title says it all

Wikipedia Worries? Good Advice for Bloggers

"How Any Blogger Can Beat Wikipedia" points out that no blogger can compete with Wikipedia.

The 5-point list of advice (between 1 and 3 paragraphs per point) shows that being the biggest encyclopedia in the world isn't the only option. After all, how many people actually read an encyclopedia? Aside from me?

Instant Online Thesis Machine

"Welcome to Thesis Builder & Online Outliner" "will help you draft a clear thesis statement for your persuasive essay."

I came up with,

"Persuasive Thesis Statement on badgers as pets:

"Even though bad reputation, badgers: the most popular pet in the world because replacement door mats and furry, delightful, animals."

I don't think that this is going to be a threat to traditional scholarship.

On the other hand, it's good for producing fractured English.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Coffee and Cream and Performance Art

A three-minute video, "Coffee Art," "The art of Coffe and Cream," demonstrates that coffee, cream, and (chocolate?!) in a coffee mug can be formed into rabbits, butterflies, and flowers. I counted nine cups, each with a different picture, about three quarters of the way through.

A Spiritual Dog Blog

"Pawhealer," "A Spiritual Dog Blog" - "This is the journey of our dog pack family ; Orbit who the senior member, Pinky (Pink Pinkerton) the adolescent, the new baby, Daisy Girl, that Bad Dog Chico ...then there is me....A 50 somethin' single woman, just tryin' to find my way."

I mentioned this blog, in passing, in a post about another blog, on August 18. Apparently, that post was insulting, so I'm trying to make up for it today.

That's "Pawhealer," "A Spiritual Dog Blog."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Scholastic Toy Blog

"The Art and Craft of Toy Design," "a blog for two classes at the Parsons New School for Design, "Making Wireless Plush Toys" and "Toy Concept Development and Design."

A Serious Toy Blog

" Toy Blog- News and Trends in Toy Industry and Toy Stocks" is a serious look at toys and the toy industry.

This Will Lead You to an Alternative Toy Maker

Although China is a leading manufacturer of toys, some parents may prefer to follow their own lead, and buy toys from an American manufacturer. Channel Craft's online catalog has a pretty good selection. I wish I had an excuse to buy GUILLOWS Balsa Wood Airplanes. The model they show reminds me of a rubber-band-powered wonder I had, long ago.

I know: it's not a blog. But those toys looked like too much fun to pass by without comment.

Technical Information for Non-Technicians

Paul Salmon's "Technically Easy," "Making the World of Technology Easy to Understand." This blog looks like a good resource, although the search function isn't as easy to find as I'd like. The "Search" box is in the right sidebar, below the blogger's profile.

Recent entries are, "What is a Device Driver?" "How to Organize Your Digital Photos," "Understanding Digital Camera Features," and "Digital Camera Memory Cards." There's more non-digital-photography content, further back.

A List of Lists for Bloggers

Bloggers like traffic, most people like lists. So, here's a list of lists of blogging advice for bloggers:"Patience," in my opinion, should have been all these lists. In the last half-century, I've noticed that being able, and willing, to tough out unpleasant episodes, and wait while a plan unfolds, is a valuable trait

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

And Now, for Something Completely Different: A Blog About Beer

Presenting: "," "One man’s obsession with a cellar full of beer."

Note: Man. Not frat boy. This blog is fun to read, and to view, but the author takes his beer seriously. As well he should.

Futuristic Buildings

A few buildings that look like they're not of this time:

Five Strange Buildings

Five photos of "Strange Soviet Buildings," with explanatory text.

It's amazing how old-fashioned some futuristic designs are, today.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Not a Plaster Saint

Today is the 10th anniversary of Mother Teresa of Calcutta's death. The milestone passed without the wave of attention that the news gave Princess Dianna's death, again. Which is just as well. Quite a bit of the news articles missed the point of Mother Teresa's life and faith. So did many blogs.

Here are some that didn't:Related post on this topic:

Widget Woes?

Mike Davidson's "How To Keep Widgets From Slowing Down Sites: WEDJE" might solve the problem of hanging widgets.

You know the problem: You've got a widget from Acme Widget, and pages with your Acme Widget take too long to load, or don't load at all.

On the other hand, WEDJE is something I haven't tried yet. I learned about it over at, though: and quite a few of those folks know what they're doing.

Return of the Sploggers

"Splog" came up in another BlogCatalog discussion thread recently, "What Is Your Definition Of 'Splog'."

Comparing today's "splog" discussion with what I came up with in July ("Sploggers: Intellectual Property Thieves (July 28, 2007)), the term "splog" may be one that's evolving rapidly.

For bloggers who don't want to offend, it's a good discussion to read.

Related posts on Apathetic Lemming of the North:

"Mary Quite Contrary:" a Comic About Family and Fantasy

"Mary Quite Contrary" "Growing up has never been so surreal." A blog, and a comic strip: "Mary Quite Contrary" is a fictionalized account of a family's experiences, starting several years ago.

Specifically, our family. Our oldest daughter started the comic over on Comic Genesis, and maintains that collection as an archive. I think it's great: but I'm biased.

Kowloon, in Hong Kong: Capitol of Cramped

"and you think you’re cramped?," with photos and text, shows Kwoloon before its destruction in the mid-nineties, along with a brief history.

For a time, before it was evacuated and demolished, Kwoloon was presumably the most densely populated spot on Earth.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"All the Myriad Ways" - Tribute or Violation?

"All The Myriad Ways" is both a moderately typo-free copy of Larry Niven's short story, and, as far as I can tell, a violation of intellectual property rights. The short story was published first in 1971, in a collection of short stories of the same name. The collection is out of print, but currently available at, in the Del Rey 1985 edition.

The person who copied Mr. Niven's story was good enough to retain the original title, and give Larry Niven credit as author. It would have been more of a tribute, if the copier had proofed the story and fixed the typos.

A somewhat more respectful (at least) website devoted to Larry Niven's work is "Known Space: The Future Worlds of Larry Niven."

(What follows is a sort of mini-rant. Feel free to ignore it.)

I'll admit I'm biased. I like copyright, patents, and residuals. The latter is something that I may be more concerned about than some actors. Ray Bolger, American entertainer, supposedly said, when asked if he had gotten any residuals from his role as Scarecrow in the 1939 "Wizard of Oz," "No, just immortality. I'll settle for that."

I see his point.

As if to demonstrate an inverse relationship between scholarship and eloquence, a learned judge laid this syntactic egg. The judge in question is Alex Kozinski, U.S. 9th Circuit Judge, with whom Circuit Judges O'Scannlain and Kleinfeld join, in not agreeing with the decision in the case of "VANNA WHITE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC."

"Creativity is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it's supposed to nurture." (from The Unofficial Judge Alex Kozinski Site.)

I wish the judge had been a better writer. He's actually got a point, relevant to the apparently nut-house case that came before the bar, involving Vana White and a robot that she claimed had taken her identity.

You can't make this stuff up.

Even though a brilliant actor/singer/dancer decided that a sort of immortality was a fair trade-off for no residuals, and Vanna White got a review of her strange claim, I think that intellectual property rights are important.

I wouldn't go as far as some, insisting on approval and payment for use of terms like "Coca Cola ®," "Superman ®," and "Kleenex ®," providing that the terms were acknowledged to be registered trademarks.

But I would like to see authors, and their estates, get the income they deserve for creating works like "The Lord of the Rings," "Ulysses," and "Love Story."

Related posts on Apathetic Lemming of the North:

Abu Dhabi's Performing Arts Center: Really Strange

I hope that whoever unleashed architect Zaha Hadid on the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre understood the possible consequences.

The blog post "Exhibition Highlights: Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre model," and "dezeen" design magazine's "More images of Hadid’s Emirates centre" show a beautiful (my opinion), and distinctly non-traditional piece of sculpture that doubles as a building.

The thing's style reminds me of the alien technology of "Earth: Final Conflict" (1997-2002), which probably means that it's a style that emerged while I was distracted by a hairpin bend in my career path.

Art + Technology = 800,000 USD Desktop

Tekenstein's "US$ 800,000 Desktop" shows what happens when a creative employee discovers hundreds of chips being scrapped as part of an upgrade.

I wonder if the processors were functional before being encased in a desk.
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