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Tuesday, October 31, 2000
Exorcism
Some interesting happenings in the world of Exorcism. In a recent study that highlights the bendability of memory and perception, psychologists were able to convince normally skeptical people that they had experienced a possession at some point in their life. As if marking the occasion, the 1973 classic film, The Exorcist was recently re-released, and pyschologists expect a rash of new possessions. Also, it seems the old rite of exorcism is gaining new respect. I read the book by William Peter Blatty a while back, and was suprised at just how detailed the psychological aspect of the story was. By the end of the book, I still was unsure of whether or not the possession was caused by psychological influences or some supernatural power. In fact, the rite of exorcism was shown to be a very scientific method and I was duly impressed with the novel's objective study. However, the book does not quite capture the pea-soup-projectile-vomit themes too well :-)
posted by tallman 6:08:16 PM .: link


 

Monday, October 30, 2000
The Unspeakable Horrors of Flash
Usability "expert" Jacob Nielsen recently published Flash: 99% Bad, an arcticle that reminds me of Dack's Flash Is Evil article published over a year ago. Dack has also done an informal Usability Test pitting HTML vs Flash. Go and read about the unspeakable horrors of Flash. Then read Kottke's response to the Flash Usability Challenge in which he makes several good points about Flash and its good uses.

In my opinion, there are two types of sites that can work with Flash:
Personal sites - Visitors to a personal site are not as goal oriented as they normally would be (at, say, an e-tailer for example). Flash won't necissarily make a personal site better, I just think its more acceptable on a personal page where I'm not looking to perform any specific tasks. Flash software isn't very cheap either, making it less viable to a personal site developer.
Graphic Design sites - Graphic Designers all but need Flash so that they can show... well, their designs. Flash offers a good compression for the kind of graphics and animation that a Graphic Design site would entail. Again, Flash makes their site less usable, but it is acceptable since it is showcasing what they are selling (graphic design).
posted by tallman 1:20:50 PM .: link


 

Friday, October 27, 2000
Terror Behind the Walls
I recently visited Eastern State Penitentiary's haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls. It was a pretty good haunted house; my only complaint is that there were way too many people walking through with me (thus I saw many of the people in front of me get scared). The creepiest part, however, was simply walking down the dark corridors of the old, decaying site, looking into the cells and seeing only darkness. At the end of the tour, there was a small museum showing the far more interesting history of the old penitentiary.

Eastern State Penitentiary was built in the 1820s under the Quaker philosophy of reform through solitude and reflection, and has held the likes of Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Covering around 11 acres in Philadelphia, it has become a Historic Site. From the moment he arrived until the moment he left, the prisoner would see no one. The furniture of the 8x12 cell consisted of a mattress and a bible. "...Silence, solitude, the bible, never a moment of human contact, never a voice heard at a distance, the dead world of a living tomb..." In the end, the solitary confinement of Eastern State ended up driving most of its inmates insane, until 1903 when the idea of complete isolation was abandoned. By the time Eastern State was closed in 1971, it had become just another old, crowded prison with the usual share of brutality, riots, hunger strikes, escapes, suicides, and scandals. I think a regular guided tour and commentary would be scarier than the haunted house was...
posted by tallman 10:34:14 AM .: link


 

Thursday, October 26, 2000
A Fucked Company
How'd you like to work with these people? No? Too bad, you already are.
posted by tallman 8:58:32 PM .: link


 
Back in Black
In trying to sift through the issues of the upcoming presidential election, I've found that both candidates are truly obnoxious. What criteria should I base my decision on, especially when they are no doubt lying their butts off? This year, I think I'll give my vote to the candidate with the hottest daughters. Sadly, this criteria could actually be used with a clear conscience.
posted by tallman 8:55:38 PM .: link


 

Monday, October 23, 2000
The Fake News
It doesn't quite reach the satirical brilliance of The Onion's fake news stories, but BBSpot provides a veritable plethora of humerous news stories, many of which are more technology related than other news spoofs... Take, for instance, a recent article: Priceline Offers Name Your Own Price Prostitutes or Pope, Protestants Open Source Bible. They've got some good Polls as well.
posted by tallman 12:47:17 PM .: link


 

Friday, October 20, 2000
Universal Myth
Joseph Campbell's influential The Hero With a Thousand Faces defines the "Universal Myth," a structure which underlies stories told all over the world since the beginning of recorded history. This page discusses how Campbell's blueprint for "The Hero's Journey" was used by George Lucas in making Star Wars (the page also discusses Campbell's influence on The Matrix). This interesting article and other influences and origins of Star Wars mythology can be found on this Star Wars Origins site. Another interesting site for the futuristic myths produced by science fiction is The New Mythology; there's lots of discussion and a ton of links (references include Star Wars, Dune, Asimov, Enders Game, and more!)
posted by tallman 12:59:12 PM .: link


 

Thursday, October 19, 2000
Tandem Insanity
Those who are familiar with Kaedrin's Tandem Stories might get a kick out of XMark's Interactive Stories. You can continue the stories already there and you can even start your own story! He's also got some links to other kickin' interactive story sites.

BTW, I've begun to archive this weblog so you can see all the posts since its inception.
posted by tallman 2:05:49 PM .: link


 

Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Rebel Yell
Kaedrin has just been given the "Rebel Rebel Yell" award, complete with spiffy graphic on the right. The award comes from Michman's Rebel Rebel Star Wars Fansite. For quite some time now, Michman has woven an interstellar tapestry of adventure, romance and a few guffaws for generations of Star Wars Role-Playing Gamers. Check it out, I'm also being interviewed by Michman for inclusion in his Tie Interviewer section (Sneak Peak).

More things people do while stuck in traffic (Contributed by Spencer via the infamous Kaedrin Discussion Forum) :
  • Picking their teeth
  • Cleaning out ear wax
  • Picking nose
  • Balancing checkbook
  • Getting dressed

posted by tallman 1:01:13 PM .: link


 

Tuesday, October 17, 2000
Nirvana on the Freeway
Another interesting article concerning traffic congestion suggests that certain traffic densities "transform the whole mess into a state of crystalline harmony". However, this state is extremely sensitive, which probably explains why I have never witnessed said "crystalline harmony" in traffic.

I know this whole traffic jam situation seems hopeless, but this guy claims there is hope and he goes into fairly deep detail about the whole situation. This article is excellent, and I even tried some of his "solutions" and they appeared to get me to my destination quicker than usual, though I really fail to see how my driving can affect the people in front of me (though I can see that the people behind me are in a state of uniform movement, which is pretty damn cool).

Some things I noticed people doing in their cars while waiting at the Tollbooths of the PA Turnpike:
  • Playing with something hanging off their rearview mirror
  • Dancing retardedly to their stupid music (wich is being played way to loud)
  • Reading a novel
  • Washing off their windshield
  • Picking their nose (my personal favourite)
So the next time you get stuck in traffic and feel the compulsive need to pick your nose, remember, people can see through your windows. Then pick your nose anyway.
posted by tallman 2:00:36 PM .: link


 

Monday, October 16, 2000
Traffic Week
Since I have been spending the better part of my recent life stuck in traffic, I've become intrigued with the ebb and flow of stop and go. "Scientists said they are closer to comprehending the birth of the universe than the daily tie-ups along Interstate 66." Joy. It doesn't help that the road system is not being expanded to handle the increased volume (ie. more cars, no new roads). Then again, some say the problem is congestion, not lack of roads (more lanes means more congestion)... Not to mention that roads, specifically in the northeast, are in a constant state of (dis)repair due to increasing volume and the extremes of weather. More joy.
posted by tallman 9:51:16 AM .: link


 

Friday, October 13, 2000
Mindfucked
Most people are aware that scientists are bright guys. Wery intelligent, they are. But faster-than-light light? This is insanity (, max - 'or maybe its genius')! Apparently scientists have figured out a way to have light exit a box before it even enters. Mindbending shite. I need a drink.

BTW, Amazon is back to its old bloated self. Damn.
posted by tallman 8:44:33 AM .: link


 

Wednesday, October 11, 2000
Amazon
What happened at amazon.com? It seems that they are attempting to rid themselves of excess images on their "welcome" page (and they reduced the number of nested tables as well). The page is now down to 63,972 bytes total; thats down from 97,779 bytes at mid-summer. The page is still bloated and it needs some more work, but its a step in the right direction. I'm not sure it actually happened.
posted by tallman 4:50:25 PM .: link


 
Monolithic Joy
http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/ hosts 4 excellent Stanley Kubrick sites, including an awesome HTML version of the printed program for Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I recently acquired the 2001: A Space Odyssey DVD. As usual, I watched it with my jaw dropped for most of the movie.
posted by tallman 12:56:39 PM .: link


 

Tuesday, October 10, 2000
Poles Apart
Rinkworks' Reader Polls is a treasure trove of interesting and sometimes funny polls. A Sampling:

Which of the following words is the most intrinsically funny?
What do you believe concerning time travel?
Have you ever been on the Internet?

I am definitely interested in doing regular polls here at Kaedrin, but I have yet to find a good free service to use... Speaking of polls, go check out 4degreez.com's Famous People Recognition Survey. Its probably one of the best polls I've ever seen. Four chose an extremely diverse group of famous people and historical figures, ranging from well known to highly obscure. Only about 150 people have taken the poll, but some of the results are astounding (for instance, 7 people did not know who Jesus was!?!).
posted by tallman 12:48:25 PM .: link


 
The Nerddom that is Star Wars
Check out this humerous look at the deleted scenes of the Star Wars Trilogy. Wery spiffy. Especially cool is the Wampa ice creature subplot that was dropped from Empire. A more comprehensive source for the deleted scenes from the Trilogy can be found here. I'm still looking for the scene in The Phantom Menace where R2 has a conspicuous"Intel Inside" sticker showing...
posted by tallman 12:11:18 AM .: link


 

Friday, October 06, 2000
Light the Lamp
Lets go Flyers! Hockey season doth rock, and the Flyers won their season opener 6-3. Young Justin Williams looked mighty impressive, but rookies have a way of starting strong and dropping off fast. The Flyers themselves looked ok, but they were still making a bunch of stupid mistakes that could have cost them the game. I predict that they will get clobbered by Boston on Saturday (by a score of 5-1).
posted by tallman 9:14:05 AM .: link


 

Thursday, October 05, 2000
E-Quilled!
Tallmania hath been e-quilled by Kaedrin regular and court advisor, grenville! Go check out the E-Quill Web Toolbar (IE 5+ for PC only) and comment the hell out of any website. Its a tremendously usefull tool for constructive criticism or commentary and I'd welcome any comments on Kaedrin (or whatever you want!) I found out about E-Quill from Kottke.org and he's recently posted a bunch of his visitor's comments.
posted by tallman 9:22:32 AM .: link


 

Monday, October 02, 2000
I have eaten this brain, and I want to chat about it.
This is an interesting parody of Amazon.com aimed towards Zombies who would like to choose from a wide array of brains to eat "because some brains are just naturally better, juicier, and formerly smarter than others." Some people have too much time on their hands. Now, if you'll excuse me, Oprah's brain just arrived in the mail. Mmmm, celebrity brain... ahhhgglaaaahhhggg...
posted by tallman 1:37:10 PM .: link


 

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