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Colbert Round-Up: August 7, 2008

Why I won't buy an e-book

I find the Kindle appealling, but there are several reasons why I won't buy an ebook or an ebook reader.

1. Ebooks cost just as much as a physical book, but have none of the related manufacturing costs. This pisses me off. I realize that when we signed on for iTunes' price schemes that we acknowledge that the cost was close to the actual manufacturing cost. But still, why should a new hardcover ebook cost $25?

2. The ebook readers are ridiculously expensive. I'd pay $30 for one, maybe. I would not pay $300.

3. I can't lend an ebook to a friend.

4. I can't check an ebook out from the library.

5. I can't resell an ebook on Amazon or trade an ebook on Bookmooch.com. These are rights protected under the First Sale Doctrine for physical books, but these rights are lost in the ebook realm. It's far, far less value for the exact same cost.

But I wish I could buy ebooks and read them as cheaply as I'd like. It would be fantastic to not kill so many trees and waste so many resources to print books.

What do you think?

Felicia Day in The Legend of Neil

NSFW.

Neil is a gamer and an autoerotic asphyxiation enthusiast who combines his two hobbies in an intriguing way to transport himself into The Legend of Zelda. Felicia Day is a horny pixie. You've been warned.

August 06, 2008

Colbert Round-Up: August 6, 2008

Mamma Mia! -- the movie

Trying to see if this embedding code works.

From the creator of Sharkknife comes Seedless!

SEEDLESS - Online Comic!

Corey Lewis' Sharkknife is fun and all, but I vastly prefer his volleyball epic PENG!

Austrian man hurled off toilet by explosion of hailstones

Austrian Times – Home > Panorama > Toilet rained giant hailstones to fill building

An Austrian man is demanding substantial damages after he was blasted off the toilet when hundreds of thousands of hail stones exploded out of it.

Martin Bierbauer said: "I heard the pipes rumbling a bit, and suddenly hailstones the size of golf balls started exploding out of the toilet like it was a popcorn machine.

"There was an avalanche of ice that quickly filled the toilet, then the entire flat, and eventually the entire building."

"I ran down the stairs with the hailstones following me, and other residents did the same."

Another resident, Silvia Streit, said: "I grabbed a board and put it over the toilet, but the pressure was so great, I ended up sitting on the board as the hail flowed through the flat and down the stairs."

Photo gallery: The solar eclipse

Total solar eclipse of 2008 - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Another day, another batch of amazing photos.

Carlos Mencia steals from Cosby, ruins the joke

Carols Mencia Stealing From Cosby This Time

Watching this I'm struck by a few things:

* I love Cosby's "Himself" special from 1983. Man, I must have watched that fifty times when I was a kid. That and Eddie Murphy's "Delirious." They were formative and clever and shaped my understanding of the world.

* Sidenote: I was discussing sex ed the other day with my wife after reading a horrible article on abstinence education. We were both trying to remember how we were taught back in the day. My high school had no health class and my elementary school canceled the basic health class that had been offered because of giggling (seriously). I realized when talking to my lovely wife that all of my knowledge about sex had been reverse-engineered from stand-up comedy routines I'd watched as a kid, especially the late-night one. I vividly remember first learning what masturbation was from Billy fucking Connelly's routine on HBO. Huh.

* Carlos Mencia isn't funny. He's desperate. His joke-stealing is legendary.

* It's even worse here because the end message of Cosby's routine is "Hey, that's all right." Whereas Mencia ends the stolen bit by calling his wife a bitch.

Pepperbee's -- I get off on it!

Pepperbee's

Video is SFW but the words, the glorious words are very NSFW. Put on your headphones folks.

Zero Punctuation reviews Ninja Gaiden 2

The Daily Show -- The News Better Run

onegoodmove: The News Better Run

Two dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia

Two dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia

Essentially, they are genetically determined to be uncoordinated forever.

August 05, 2008

This is the saddest story I have ever read

The girl in the window - St. Petersburg Times

The most massive case of child neglect ever. It's completely heartbreaking.

First he saw the girl's eyes: dark and wide, unfocused, unblinking. She wasn't looking at him so much as through him.

She lay on a torn, moldy mattress on the floor. She was curled on her side, long legs tucked into her emaciated chest. Her ribs and collarbone jutted out; one skinny arm was slung over her face; her black hair was matted, crawling with lice. Insect bites, rashes and sores pocked her skin. Though she looked old enough to be in school, she was naked — except for a swollen diaper.

"The pile of dirty diapers in that room must have been 4 feet high," the detective said. "The glass in the window had been broken, and that child was just lying there, surrounded by her own excrement and bugs."

When he bent to lift her, she yelped like a lamb. "It felt like I was picking up a baby," Holste said. "I put her over my shoulder, and that diaper started leaking down my leg."

The girl didn't struggle. Holste asked, What's your name, honey? The girl didn't seem to hear.

He searched for clothes to dress her, but found only balled-up laundry, flecked with feces. He looked for a toy, a doll, a stuffed animal. "But the only ones I found were covered in maggots and roaches."

Colbert Round-Up: August 5, 2008

Three recent stolen elections and how they happened

Editorial Observer - A Tale of Three (Electronic Voting) Elections - Editorial - NYTimes.com

1. The 2002 Georgia Senate and Governor Races — Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was defeated for re-election and Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, was unseated. Polls had suggested that both men would win.

The votes were cast on Diebold A.T.M.-style machines. A whistle-blower who helped prepare the machines reported that secret “patches” — software intended to fix glitches — were installed late in the process without being certified by the state, as the law required.

The unexpected outcomes were likely because of heavy turnout by rural whites, prompted by a Confederate flag dispute, not faulty voting machines. Still, skeptics wonder if the patches contained malicious software that changed votes. Because the Diebold machines did not produce paper records, there is no way to put those doubts to rest.

Lesson: Electronic voting makes large-scale vote theft easy. A patch slipped onto voting machines or centralized vote tabulators can change an election’s outcome. Every piece of software must be scrutinized by neutral experts. If there is not enough time, election officials need a backup plan, such as conducting voting entirely on paper ballots.

Torchwood stars perform duet from Miss Saigon at SDCC

Torchwood 3rd Season Ramps Up for BBC1, BBC America | The Underwire from Wired.com

John "Captain Jack Harkness" Barrowman and Naoko "Toshio Sato" Mori acted opposite each other in Miss Saigon before being cast on Torchwood, so it's apropriate, sort of.

Rogue document hunters scouring Timbuktu for manuscript hoard

Africa's Literary Treasure Trove: The Rush to Save Timbuktu's Crumbling Manuscripts - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

This is so fucking Indiana Jones. I love it.

An astonishing project is underway in Timbuktu, Mali, one of the world's poorest countries. On the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, experts are opening an enchanted Aladdin's Cave, filled with hundreds of thousands of ancient documents.

The Ahmed Baba Library alone contains more than 20,000 manuscripts, including works on herbal medicine and mathematics, yellowed volumes of poetry, music and Islamic law. Some are adorned with gilded letters, while others are written in the language of the Tuareg tribes. The contents remain a mystery.

Manuscript hunters are now scouring the environs of Timbuktu, descending into dark, clay basements and climbing up into attics. Twenty-four family-owned collections have already been discovered in the area. Most of the works stem from the late Middle Ages, when Timbuktu was an important crossroads for caravans. It was home to gold merchants and scholars, and it even boasted a university with 20,000 students. The old saying "the treasures of wisdom are only to be found in Timbuktu" summed up the ancient city's appeal.

. . .

According to an employee at the Ahmed Baba Library, Mali was overrun by the French colonial army after 1880. "The French didn't want us to have the manuscripts, and they tried to steal them," says the library worker. The documents were hidden to protect them.

Kafka's secret porn stash to see the light of day

Franz Kafka’s porn brought out of the closet - Times Online

Even today, the pornography would be "on the top shelf", Dr Hawes said, noting that his American publisher did not want him to publish it at first. "These are not naughty postcards from the beach. They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark, with animals committing fellatio and girl-on-girl action... It's quite unpleasant."

"Academics have pretended it did not exist," Dr Hawes said. “The Kafka industry doesn’t want to know such things about its idol."

He added: "Perhaps Kafka's biographers simply don't like the idea that their literary idol was helped out in this... way in the vital early stages of his career... Of the world's authors, only Shakespeare generates more PhDs, more biographies, more coffee-table books... Everything Kafka wrote, every postcard he ever sent, every page of his diary... is regarded as a potential Ark of the Covenant... Yet no-one has ever shown his readers Kafka's porn."