the baby name wizard is a neat visualization of baby name trends (which i spotted days ago on metafilter). i noticed a few trends: names that are popular today were unpopular in the 1960s, there are fewer names popular today, and the 60s names tend to start with vowels, Q, X and Z. i can't think of explanations for any of this, but the visuals make it appear to be more than mere coincidence. for example, compare "peter" and "patrick" with "oliver" and "owen" or "beth" and "becky" with "anna" and "abby." or just flip through the alphabet and watch which letters peak on the end(s) or the middle. hmm.


disemployed is reopen for job searches again. this time i'm focusing on small town jobs rather than the big search sites. i've also been starting with the general structure, which is pretty much done now. you can search jobs by keywords and locations, and subscribe to searches in the various XML formats or via email. now all it needs is the jobs. last time i started with the jobs, and the structure was sort of hacked together, so it was a lot of work to add more jobs. with a cleaner structure, it should be easier to add jobs now. that's the theory anyway. now it's time to see how it works in practice.


howard rheingold writes The results demonstrated that respondents were significantly more likely to vote for the candidate with whom their face had been morphed and then it might be possible for political candidates to juice up their persuasiveness in my household by morphing my driver's license photo into the image of their face. i suspect it will start with more general demographics, and very subtle morphing. commercials played in primarily hispanic voting precincts will make the candidate(s) appear slightly more hispanic. this practice will then continue to become more targeted and more blatant until someone catches it. i'm interested in a few questions: what year will this begin: 2008? 2012? or has it already begun? how long before the opposite is done (i.e. morphing an opponent's face ever so slightly with, say, hitler)? and how will voters react to this? surely if we were going to become upset enough about being manipulated by politicians to actually change our votes, we would have done so already, right?


immediately after the presidential election, john kerry started acting like a candidate i would want to vote for. i had already voted for him, but it was a compromise for me, not something i did with excitement. so when he started talking about issues like expanded health care coverage for children after the election, i wondered why. he was obviously trying to increase his viability for some future election, but if he thought health care or firing rumsfeld was a winning issue, why didn't he say so before he lost?

today i got an email from moveon that made it all clear to me. it turns out howard dean is almost certainly going to be the next chair of the democratic party, which was a wonderful surprise to me. this means dean will play a large role in determining who runs on the democratic ticket in future elections, which means he will have a lot of influence over john kerry's political future. also today, john kerry started pushing grassroots organizing of the democratic party, which sounds strikingly similar to what howard dean was talking about two weeks ago (and throughout his campaign). suddenly kerry looks like a cheap sellout who will exploit issues about which people care deeply solely for his own political gain. unless something convinces me i'm completely wrong about this, i'm not voting for john kerry again, even if his opponent is bush running for a third term.


yesterday the screen on my ibook went black. i restarted, and heard the sounds of a functional ibook, but no image on the screen. i expected i had just lost a recent $600 investment, but i used my other ibook to look for potential solutions to this problem, and quickly discovered that my ibook was one of a series with a known defect. i confirmed this with apple's support today and they are going to fix it free of charge. they originally told me that i had to drive thirty minutes to peoria to get this confirmed with an authorized apple service representative, but i thought i'd call the local apple store just to make sure, and sure enough, they are an authorized (though apparently unknown to apple) apple service representative. i am currently grabbing all of my important information off of the broken ibook, which i can only do because i had file sharing turned on. so i'm writing this both because it has worked out unexpectedly well so far, which makes a nice story, but also to encourage you to turn on file sharing on any macs you own, even if you never use it.


tiny mix tapes is a nice idea (pointed to by brad), but i've only read a few and i'm already wanting to point out what they so wrongfully neglected to include. i mean, how can you have a mix tape with a topic of I eat grapes by peeling off the skin and then I think about how the inside feels like an eyeball and not include the pixies' debaser, with the line slicing up eyeballs? oh the mix tape injustice...