Thursday, June 21, 2007

Safari 3 beta

The Apple Safari 3 beta has some very useful features. Including two I just found out about: "Reopen last closed window" and "reopen all windows from last session".

These are both things I've been wishing for many times. Closing a window by mistake and then trying to remember where it came from. Or needing to reboot and having several windows open which I'm not done with. Great stuff to be able to salvage those.

The Inline Find is great too. Often in the past it has been quite difficult to spot one highlighted word on a complex page, this is much improved now.
One odd detail about the beta though: when I write in a new address in the address bar, the old address is still sitting under it, making it near impossible to read what I'm writing. The text is on top of each other. That surely is a bug? Does others have this too, on Windows? Mac?

Oh, one more bug: this has been true of Safari for at least a year: when I click on a link in Eudora (mail app), a new Safari window opens just as I wish... but it opens behind all the other windows! Very odd, and I have not found a setting which can change it. Using "Expose" I can quickly find the new window, but it's still irritating. And no, it does not help to set it to open in a new tab, then it uses a window sitting in the dock! Very weird. Does anybody have a solution?


It's a trifecta! This one is one I've been meaning to post for a few days now. So we might as well make a trilogy out of it:
One more about women:

To the women amongst my readers: Do you mind getting looked at/admired?
It seems some do, and some don't. And some seem in a split mind about it. For example my older sister said it was a relief to get middle-aged, because the men weren't paying so much attention anymore. On the other hand, she also said to our young pretty cousin: "enjoy the admiration while you can, it won't last forever."

And if the "depends", what does it depend upon? Respect? Intensity? Duration? His appearance? How he "feels"?


Following up on both hugging and on women:

Another thing I envy women is their generally much more relaxed relationship with physical touching.

One more from Pascal:
"Hugs should be covered by health insurances. We'll probably never know how valuable they are to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Newborns cannot survive without them, that much is certain."

It's true. My mom once talked about a woman friend of the family who liked to hug my bigger brother when he was a kid. And my mom had asked her why she did not hug me also. And she said: "oh no, I wouldn't dare!" So I was a bit intense and kept people at a distance. (Not that I was not and am not a loving person, I am.) (Then again, Dubya says the same thing. :) So I did not get hugged. And I think I shot myself in the foot with that one. I am certain I would be a calmer and happier person if that had been different.


Pascal mumbled:
"There is definitely some special aesthetic about a woman's body. About a man's body too, but it's different, more powerful, less delicate... a different style, another kind of attractiveness.
And I'd have a hard time telling whether I prefer the former because or regardless of my being a hetero guy."

Once in a bus I saw an adrogynous person, and wondered about the gender. And then a very pretty woman walked on the bus, and I found myself thinking: if the person looks much at her, the person is a woman. And the person looked muchly. And then I got a look at her hands and I got confirmed that she was indeed female.

IOW, women admire pretty women at least as much as men. And they can do it more openly because they are not perceived as being as threatening as men often are.

It's my belief that the design of the woman does have some universal aesthetic which has nothing to do with sex. Like a beautiful tree or sunset, or animal, or car.
Hannah replied...
I usually like looking at women. However, I do occasionally wonder where the line is between just appreciating the sight and wondering if I might just like women. Weird...

Eolake continued...
I think there is a natural attraction between all people, regardless of age and gender. And the body, being what it is, will try to interpret that in a sexual way. I think the best way is to take that in a relaxed way and not worry too much about it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Humor is not optional

Just a quick word in favor of Entourage.
Excellent show, very addictive and very funny.

And one of the new brand of TV shows with the admirable quality that they can be watched as either a drama, a soap, or a comedy. The humor is there, but it's not being pushed in your face with gratuitous jokes and laugh tracks.

I have come to the conclusion that humor in art is not an optional extra. There should be no "genre" called comedy. A film, book, play, or TV show without humor is like a person without it: it can function, but a vital ingredient is missing. It will not be whole. Humor is perspective on life, it is the ability to see the absurdity of this world. Without it we are victims, and we needn't be.

Alcohol and legality

I am wondering, why is alcohol legal and most other drugs illegal in almost any country in the world? In fact when people say "drugs" most people don't include alcohol in that, which is ridiculous, it is a very powerful drug.

Please note, I am not interested in whether it should be illegal. It is clear that legality of a drug has very little impact on how widespread its use is.

It is beyond debate that alcohol is very, very harmful. It kills hundreds of thousands every year, it is extremely addictive, and it has a huge part in stimulating violent and anti-social behavior.

In other words it is clear that the reason it is legal is not that it is less harmful than other drugs in general. So why is it?

Is it simply that a "critical mass" of the population find it impossible to stay off alcohol and for that reason a ban simply does not work? The failed prohibition of the nineteen-twenties in the USA is evidence for that. If not, I don't know. There must be some psychological reason, or at least a social one.

Featured comments:

ttl said...

It's not so much a question of why alcohol is legal (with the exception of a few years, it has always been that), but rather why produces such as hashish and heroin are not.

The idea of forbidding the use of hashish and heroin came from the U.S. Other countries gradually followed suit. For the full story, read Harry Browne's excellent article Free from the Nightmare of Prohibition.

Anonymous said...

Alcohol is actually a pretty safe substance, as far as drugs go. Furthermore, a lot of beverages which include alcohol are actually good for you. One can consume amounts of alcohol small enough not to cause the ills (liver disease or just drunkenness) while still getting the benefits.

Cannabis, on the other hand, does cause harm without causing any benefits. Unless you call a clouded brain a benefit. Same with most of the other illegal drugs, they usually do a lot more harm than good, even in small doses.

But that's not what you're asking, of course. The "why" is really quite simple, too. If it hadn't been for good old brewers and distillers, the human race probably wouldn't have survived the dark ages. Water was often disease-ridden, especially in cities, and so beer and wine were safer alternatives. Not to mention that beer is actually quite nutritious.

After thousands of years of use, it would be very hard to get rid of it. Maybe even impossible. Widespread use of other drugs, such as cannabis and large quantities of nicotine, are a much more recent phenomenon.

Addendum: I'm not commenting on the medicinal use of any drug. Heroine, cocaine, cannabis, morphine and whatnot DO benefit certain people in a medicinal way. Just not the general population. At least I hope that most of us don't need any of that stuff.

Pascal (an MD) added:

"One can consume amounts of alcohol small enough not to cause the ills (liver disease or just drunkenness) while still getting the benefits."

Perfectly correct, medically speaking. The real problem with alcohol is that, in case of abuse, it can become as addictive and harmful as heroin itself, an official hard drug. Far worse that hash.
Marijuana also has medical uses and benefits in small moderate amounts. (Sorry to contradict you Anon, but it's a fact. I know my job.) But it bears the stigma of "drugs". Ironically, not only did some well-known poisons become medical substances (under the right dosage and indication), but narcotic drugs too:
-Morphin for pain relief. No comment. Its addictive power is still a problem and warrants mandatory precautions, but it's still irreplaceable.
-Opium was simply the first means for general anesthesia.
-Cocaine. It is known for its local complications on the nasal septum. These are due to an intense effect of local vaso-constriction. Basically, if you sniff coke too much, your nose tissues will get deprived from blood and die out. But for local surgery, and once again rationally employed, it's hugely useful.
End of the scientific lecture already, class dismissed. Let's move on.

It's always a matter of how you use it, and how reasonably. Not that one could try everything and anything out of course (some nasty stuff is all risk anyway), but pleasure is an intrinsic part of life. Even guilty pleasure. Strict rigorists are emotional amputees, and usually endure the heavy consequences on their psyche.

I'm currently working on reducing my "addiction" to chocolate, before I start getting fat or having dental problems. After all, I have inocuous substitutes available. Like the love and laughter of small children. "Consume without moderation"! :-)))

Interesting historical perspective on alcohol use, thanks for posting it.

"Unless you call a clouded brain a benefit."

(hehe) It's all a matter of point of view. Living in Lebanon, I reach the same result regarding the national and political situation, through natural means like meditation. Mondo relaxing, dude. ;-)

Some other "drugs" are of widespread use in some parts of the world. Experience proves that in such cases, imposing its eradication by law is utopic until the mentalities change. Too many people chew coca in Bolivia, or suck on the qat around the Red Sea (Yemen, Somalia...). One might as well put out a law against masturbation, daydreaming, or eyeing passing beauties.

I fully agree with Terry. The TOBAL attitude (There Oughtta Be A Law) is simply idiotic. You can (and should) forbid unconsented second-hand smoking in public places. But you can't just make the stuff illegal nationwide, "even in the privacy of your own home and when when no children are present", like some anti-sodomy laws in the USA. A bad response to a bad habit. I see France, where smoking is steadily receding. It's by an all-out effort on changing the MENTALITIES. First, they increase the taxes a little, every year. Anybody who was considering quitting gets a higher incentive, the others just pay more and don't complain very much. (All prices increase anyway, just moreso for smokes.) Second, everything is done to ensure that one isn't forcibly exposed to a rude smoker. I a more polite era, they were considerate, and asked themselves (and others) whether it would be a bother. Today, the loss of such etiquette made a law necessary. [Don't visit Lebanon if you're allergic to common daily rudeness, trust me.] And finally, anybody who's trying to quit receives all the medical support avilable, and social security take a good part of the expenses in charge. After all, it would have to pay for the secondary illnesses anyway, which is far more costly, socially as well as financially.

I foresee (and hope for) a time where smoking becomes seriously marginal. But I do not expect to see this behavior eradicated. And to be honest, as much as I heartily hate smoking, I don't think I WANT to see it eradicated. A reasonable amount of unreasonableness is a necessary ingredient to the best possible world.

I'm more worried about the future of alcohol consumption. Drinking and driving is already very difficult to fight, even with maximal legal intimidation. (Now THAT's necessary there.) But anything's possible, if we "give Time some time".

Finally, I find great interest in the approach of Holland: they chose not to outlaw narcotic drugs, but to control its use in a legal frame. I fully approve. First instant benefit: like with the ending of Prohibition, the mafias lose their (very) juicy monopole, and can be pursued with the tranquil collaboration of the product users. The quality of the substance is protected as well, thanks to regulations. Moonshine was as much of a calamity as clandestine abortions (relatively speaking).
The same should be done about similar cases like prostitution. Its worst evil by far is the consequent human slavery.

A world with absolutely zero evil would probably be one of the greatest evils imaginable.
Just ask the Soviet paradise... :-P

The paper anniversary of a Ricoh

I know things are moving fast in the digital age, but this is ridiculous.

Another how-to

"How to get out of a car without showing your knickers".

1: Pretty funny.
2: Nice model.
3: Are they serious?
4: Who worries about this stuff?
5: If this catches on, what is the British tabloid Daily Sport going to use for front page pictures?
6: Man, the videos on this site load fast. On YouTube they are usually slower than playback, but here they load in like 20% of playback time.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I don't know who took it.
Apart from saturation, I think it is not manipulated, just a very lucky/skilled straight photograph of a rainbow, but with a super-wide-angle lens so you can see the whole thing.


This wiki thing is a fantastic invention, seriously.
New to me: WikiHow.

MacBook, super-light portable, and iPhone/iPod

Apple has just speedbumped the MacBook. Does this mean we will not get a two-pound Apple portable this year?
On the other hand, I don't think such a creature would replace the MacBook, seeing as it would surely be a lot more expensive. At least twice the price I'm sure.

By the way, interestingly the iPhone will have much higher battery life than projected. And the surface will be optical glass instead of plastic. This is excellent news. The first black iPods were extremely prone to getting scratched, even if you were very careful about it. That's really below par and marred such a wonderful design.
Oh, one more note about the iPod design: I wish the buttons and scroll wheel were not flush with the surface, it makes it hard to operate without looking at it.

Recaf coffee

"Do you have any decaf coffee?"
"No. I've got recaff. It's the same mild, pale taste of decaf, but with the caffeine put back in."
- Ideal
(Good English comedy show)

Hugging tutorial

Hugging tutorial.
How to show affection without losing your manliness.

Don't be anonymous

Guys, please notice that you don't have to have a Blogger account to not be anonymous when you make comments. You simply select the "other" button and write in your name or nick name.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Batman cuts loose

I had to scan this comic book cover myself, the ones I can find online is another version... I wonder if this cover was not released in the US? (Too bloody?)
If you have been reading Batman you will probably think that it's a trick cover, one of those designed to sell comics by letting the reader think the comic contains something it doesn't... because no Batman comic can be as violent as this cover hints at.
If you thought The Dark Knight was violent...
Holy cow.
In this comic, issue 5 of "All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder" by Frank Miller and Jim Lee, there is a scene where Batman interrupts a rape in progress (well, it hasn't started yet. Blood, sure, but no sex please), and then kicks six shades of living shit out of the three would-be rapists. Seriously, there are broken limbs and livid blood all over the place. Then the relieved woman overhears a plea for an ambulance and instead kicks the guy in the nuts. Very hard. Then Batman instructs her to find a cab and to not call the police or an ambulance for the seriously injured perpetrators but to leave them lying in the dark alley. He wants them to suffer and feel the injuries for the rest of their lives...

This is a DC comic book? Wow, not in Kansas anymore.

I am sure many people who share my generally liberal constitution will be horrified. But I think it's good. Because this is a Batman in an alternative universe, and he is not presented as a lofty do-gooder, but a dangerous and borderline insane vigilante. And let's face it, somebody who would dress up as a bat and use every night to seek revenge for the murder of his parents would not exactly be a stable individual.

Also this presents us with human "justice" as it normally is: bloody rage. A wish to hurt somebody who hurt you. Nobody on this planet is trying to rehabilitate any criminals. We want revenge.
Of course it is wrong, violence begets violence begets violence. And if it is "justified", that makes no difference.
We need to see this as it is, only then can we change it.

"Santa Baby" and sex

"Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt. It's a good version, though I think the studio version is even better, slower and sexier. Actually sorta like Kylie Minoque's version.

Funny though, while Kylie sure has the moves and the looks, I don't buy her as a sex kitten. I just don't think sex is that important to her, she does not emanate it. Eartha Kitt, yes indeed. Madonna, yes. Mae West, o my gawd, she lived and breathed sex. But Kylie? No, I don't think so. I think her sex kitten persona is put on like a suit for artistic and commercial reasons. (I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I just find it interesting.)

It's funny how people can emanate things. Some people, it gentleness, some it's tension, some it's intelligence or awareness, some it's... anything. Some it's sex. For example I was sitting in a tiny hotel lobby (barely room for the desk and two chairs, really) in Copenhagen once, waiting for a friend of mine to come off duty as desk clerk at 11 at night.
I was there, he was there, and his replacement was there. And down the stairs came an Asian woman who clearly was a... lady of the night. Absolutely stunning woman. And not only that, she just oozed sex. From the moment her feet first appeared on the top of the stairs until after she left (after having paid a phone bill with notes pulled from a big bundle of very large bills) the room was just swimming in sex. She was all any of us could think about or talk about after she left. Just hypnotic, we were like rabbits in headlights.
That is a powerful influence. And I have no doubt personally that this is not just visual, olfactory and sound. I think this is an actual energy which goes way beyond the normal five senses.

Breakfast Club and dancing

Lo the dancing scene from The Breakfast Club.

I've just watched this classic film again, and I was about to rip this scene for you, when I realized I was probably not the only fan of it... and indeed not. It was already there on YouTube, of course.

I don't know why there are not more dancing scenes in movies, they are often favorite parts for many, including me. (Just witness the brief dancing scene in Pulp Fiction.)

I love what Molly Ringwald is doing here. I'm amazed at what some girls can do with a little movement, just a universe of aesthetics packed in there. And this dance here, I am not sure how it's happening, but it's like she is in the air 4/5 of the time. Gravity-defying.