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: One of the cool things about Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt is it's like a better-written version of the stories I make up for my civilizations in FreeCiv.

: Phrase I just thought up (political or science-popularization book title?): The Rational Hoedown

: Photo wire roundup: (Is there a photo wire whose photos don't go bad after a month?)

Bonus: Mike Popovic sent in a new cute animal mascot.

: Cute political-animal mascot: Todd Fahrner's newborn son Carl.

: If I Make My Query Look Like The Semantic Web, The Semantic Web Will Exist! Search Requests:


: If First Monday had a sub-magazine on copyright issues, that sub-magazine could be called First Sale.

: I greatly improved the <title>s of NewsBruiser CGIs (examples: single-entry view, multi-entry view, search results). Pretty cool, but not, I think, cool enough to do a new release for. Get it from CVS if you must have it.

Incidentally, I think this is the first self-referential NewsBruiser entry ever posted (I could be wrong).

: Mencken once wrote "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." Kevin and I were sorely tempted yesterday, when a long freighter slid across the bay in view of our windows. There was talk of heading out on a schooner with cutlasses between our teeth, boarding the vessel and seizing its precious cargo of shipping containers. This plan was rendered unfeasible by the fact that our cutlasses would be useless against the guns no doubt on board, not to mention the fact that our conquered vessel would be cornered in the bay, easy pickings for the US Navy. We considered various alternate plans, including:

Frustration grew. How could we gain the thril of cutthroat piracy without undergoing any actual risk? That's when inspiration struck, and a business model was born. Instead of becoming pirates ourselves, we are leveraging our experience with collaborative software and becoming pirate consultants, developing enterprise class solutions for collaborative piracy. Our new company, walktheplank.net, will help pirates work together to pillage more effectively, and reduce time-to-loot.

How can Kevin and I be so cavalier about piracy, a vile crime and a scourge upon international trade? As always, I blame society. The culture in which I was raised referred to "piracy" as a relatively innocuous crime, something you committed by making a backup copy of a Lode Runner disk. How could I but equate the storming of ships and the seizing of cargo with such actions? Perhaps the next generation can be saved, but the experience has rendered me completely amoral.


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