Towse: views from the hill

January 31, 2007

[URL] midomi

Filed under: media,music,URL — Towse @ 6:26 am


Oh, my. Whither next, Web 2.0?

“Our mission is to build the most comprehensive database of searchable music. You can contribute to the database by singing in midomi’s online recording studio in any language or genre. The next time anyone searches for that song, your performance might be the top result!”

Oh, my.

[a nod, I suppose, is due the Tech Chronicles at]

Thanks a lot, guys.


January 30, 2007

[URL] Index of artists and architects

Filed under: architecture,art,history,URL — Towse @ 8:36 pm

Index of artists and architects. Digital Imaging Project: Art historical images of European and North American architecture and sculpture from classical Greek to Post-modern.

Not just European and North American anymore. Also includes images from Vietnam and Cambodia.

Mary Ann Sullivan, Bluffton University, has pulled together more than 13,000 images. Index. Monthly featured site. More.

RIP Barbaro

Filed under: misc — Towse @ 6:14 am

I was the kid who followed the Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont.

I was the kid who read horse stories.

I was the kid who grew up to know who Russell Baze was and why I should care.

I was the kid who talked Dad, sweetheart that he was, into buying a certain brand of pipe tobacco so I could choose the best name for a Derby winner’s colt or filly and win it for my very own.

(and I promised him that should I win I’d somehow be able to feed the critter, exercise it, take care of it …)

He indulged me each year for a few months while the contest ran.

Sure, Sal. Maybe sure, you’ll win the pony. I’ll smoke whatever pipe tobacco I need to smoke to get the chits you need to enter the contest to get your Derby winner’s foal.

I learned they’d put Barbaro down while we were out on the road today, listening to the news in the car.

I didn’t burst into tears. Honest I didn’t. I’m grown up now, you know.


I didn’t burst into tears until tonight when I saw Asha‘s clip.

Damn. OK?

Just damn. Just … damn.

[URL] Senses of Cinema

Filed under: media,URL — Towse @ 12:09 am

Senses of Cinema: an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema.

Articles, festival reports, DVD reviews, book reviews, links, lists.

The great directors archive is stashed full of information, as is the annotations for films screening at the Melbourne Cinémathèque.


Comments on David Lynch’s Eraserhead by Catherine S. Cox.

Alfred Hitchcock by Ken Mogg
Hitchcockian articles in Senses

[found while I was looking for something Hitchcockian ...]

January 29, 2007

Mash-ups: Jefferson Airplane mashed with Star Trek

Filed under: media,music — Towse @ 11:19 pm

We had some discussion about mash-ups a while back.

Came across a good example today: Jefferson Airplane mashed with Star Trek.

Feed your head.

[repurposed from a post earlier today at sfist]

January 27, 2007

Welcome to Web 2.0

Filed under: app,webstuff — Towse @ 8:12 pm

Web 2.0 List Of Web 2.0 Application Links

January 26, 2007

[URL] An elementary dictionary of the English language. By Joseph E. Worcester, LL. D.

Filed under: books,history,information,URL,wordstuff — Towse @ 10:20 pm

From the Making of America collection comes a link to An elementary dictionary of the English language. By Joseph E. Worcester, LL. D. (1865).

I love old dictionaries. The actual wordstuff for this one begins at page 31, after all the frontal matter regarding pronunciation and all that.

Seeing how a word was used in 1865 gives one a glimpse at how the current day definition evolved. Some words in Worcester’s dictionary have evolved beyond recognition. Some no longer exist.

e.g. p 168 (lacerable – lapful)

laconism – pithy phrase or expression
Lady-Day – 25th March. The Annunciation.
laic- a layman; — opposed to clergyman.
lamantine – an animal; manatee or sea-cow.
lambative – a medicine taken by licking
laniate – to tear in pieces; to lacerate
lanuginous – downy; covered with soft thin hair

Some of those words are still in use today, although perhaps not in as common use as they were 142 years ago. “lanuginous” was used in the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals.

Fun stuff, words.

Ten (well, thirty) Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Filed under: blog,books,history — Towse @ 7:19 pm

from Dr. Judith Reisman’s site: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries (31 May 2005). Reisman lifted the article whole cloth from Human Events: the national conservative weekly.

A description of the scoring method and a list of the people on the nominating committee are given. The top ten books are described in detail.

The books?

  1. The Communist Manifesto Authors: Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
  2. Mein Kampf Author: Adolf Hitler
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao Author: Mao Zedong
  4. The Kinsey Report Author: Alfred Kinsey
  5. Democracy and Education Author: John Dewey
  6. Das Kapital Author: Karl Marx
  7. The Feminine Mystique Author: Betty Friedan
  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy Author: Auguste Comte
  9. Beyond Good and Evil Author: Freidrich Nietzsche
  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money Author: John Maynard Keynes

    Also included on the list:

  11. The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich
  12. What Is To Be Done by V.I. Lenin
  13. Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno
  14. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
  15. Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner
  16. Reflections on Violence by Georges Sorel
  17. The Promise of American Life by Herbert Croly
  18. Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin
  19. Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault
  20. Soviet Communism: A New Civilization by Sidney and Beatrice Webb
  21. Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead
  22. Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader
  23. Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  24. Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci
  25. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  26. Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
  27. Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
  28. The Greening of America by Charles Reich
  29. The Limits to Growth by Club of Rome
  30. Descent of Man by Charles Darwin

Six of these titles I’ve never heard of: Gramsci, Webb, Croly, Sorel, Adorno, Comte. (Yes, I’m sure not knowing Comte brands me jejune. Alas, that I am.) Five I read as part of the two-year Humanities series in college: Nietzsche, Fanon, JSM, Marx and Marx & Engels. Others I read on my own, including Carson, Skinner, Ehrlich, Reich.

Of the thirty titles listed, I’ve read (if memory serves) twelve, maybe thirteen. Those unread? Well, doesn’t this list make you want to go out and read those you’ve missed, and reread those you have only a hazy memory of?

I came across this list today from a mention in John Baker’s blog where he adds the comment, They turn out to be books that have a point of view different to the panel of conservatives who selected them. No surprises.

If I were to list what I thought were the “most harmful” books, of course the “most harmful” books would be those written by people with a viewpoint that I find poisonous. No surprises indeed.

My list of books would differ in many respects.

I’m having a problem coming up with a list of “harmful” books. Yes, millions of copies of Mein Kampf were published in Hitler’s Germany, but was the book itself the cause of Hitler’s Germany? How closely did the Soviet Union apparatchiks adhere to the dictums of Marx and Engels and Lenin? Would Communist China have never existed if the little red book had not been published?

My list of harmful books would include:

  • [FICTION] The Turner Diaries by Dr. William Luther Pierce (under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald). Pierce is a white supremacist. This is his ode to the fictional day in the glorious future when the white race will exterminate the vermin who are not white and will rule the world. Yippy ky yay.
  • [FICTION] The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion — purported to be true, btw, by not just a few folks.
  • [FICTION] The Left Behind series by Jerry B Jenkins/Tim LaHaye

What books do you think are “harmful”? Besides the Tom Swift series, I mean.

[note: I wandered over to John Baker’s blog from a post at This Thing Of Ours. Thanks for the headsup!]

[PODCAST] Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Filed under: podcast,San Francisco — Towse @ 6:51 pm

The Chron has added a new podcast this week: Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Almost every day, The Chronicle hears from readers (and some non-readers). Most of these comments — voicemail, email and letters — don’t make it into our letters column. But they can be unusually passionate, irate, confounding and creative.

We listen to them and read them, and we think some of the more interesting and unusual ones are worth sharing. So, today, we’re starting a new feature to showcase these communications. It’s called, “Correct Me If I’m Wrong.”

First up: Pilotless Drone


I think that guy needs to get himself thither, over to misc.writing, where he can unleash some of his pissed-offed-ness on people other than the sorry person whose job it is to listen to these sorts of voice messages.

Check out the other podcasts at the Chron site.

[gleaned from Romenesko]

[URL] MIT OpenCourseWare

Filed under: information,URL — Towse @ 12:02 am

Found a link to this site from someone I know who is working through the Japanese language course and thinks highly of the experience.

MIT OpenCourseWare is

a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.


  • Is a publication of MIT course materials
  • Does not require any registration
  • Is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity
  • Does not provide access to MIT faculty

Japanese, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, French, tralala come under “Foreign Languages and Literatures” as do classes about cultures and texts written in those languages such as “A Passage to India: Introduction to Modern Indian Culture and Society,” “Twentieth and Twentyfirst-Century Spanish American Literature,” “East Asian Cultures: From Zen to Pop.”

The Chinese I class, f’rex, includes a downloadable textbook and other study materials. The course assumes you know absolutely NOTHING about the language.

The purpose of this course is to develop:

  • Basic conversational abilities (pronunciation, fundamental grammatical patterns, common vocabulary, and standard usage)
  • Basic reading and writing skills (in both the traditional character set and the simplified)
  • An understanding of the language learning process so that you are able to continue studying effectively on your own.

Or you could take Introduction to Aerospace Engineering and Design, Computational Cognitive Science, Urban Design Politics, or Special Seminar in Applied Probability and Stochastic Processes.

The list of Readings for Bestsellers: Detective Fiction changes each time the class is given but the Fall 2006 session uses the following books:

  • Doyle, Arthur Conan. Six Great Sherlock Holmes Stories. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1992. ISBN: 0468270556.
  • Nabokov, Vladimir. Pale Fire. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1999. ISBN: 0679723420.
  • Poe, Edgar Allen. Tales of Terror and Detection. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1995. ISBN: 0486287440.
  • Cain, James M. The Postman Always Rings Twice. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN: 0679723250.
  • Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN: 0679722645.
  • Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. New York, NY: Berkley Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 0425200477.
  • Weber, K. J. Five Minute Mysteries. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 1989. ISBN: 0894716905.
  • Sobol, D. J. Two Minute Mysteries. New York, NY: Scholastic, 1991. ISBN: 0590447874.
  • Browning, Robert. My Last Duchess and Other Poems. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1993. ISBN: 0486277836.
  • Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1991. ISBN: 0486268772.

The world is my oyster and MIT Open Courseware is a pearl.

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