Ask Jeeves: What’s a Fresnel lens?. (Wow — Ask Jeeves how long their URLs need to be!)

Today’s update should be nice and long, to take you into the weekend, and to make up for yesterday’s period of slack.

ALE clone is an open source version of Warcraft II — but you have to provide the data files from the original game. Before I spend much time messing with it, does anyone happen to know if the Mac data files will work? (Or if it will build under LinuxPPC at all?)

In other gaming news, it’s the nethack-cow patch. This puts cows into Nethack, along with the rare group form, the cowhive. (If you don’t get this, don’t worry; it’s in that obscure corner where geek humor starts to boil over into nerd-dom.)

Ever wanted to play with the Oop! software from Microserfs? This looks pretty close. Hella cool idea, by the way.

Some miscellaneous Linux bits: the Grey Lady takes on What is Linux? The PPC port has made the big time, apparently; congrats to them. Also, K-Tel (yes, the cheesy music compilation people) is apparently more valuable when their servers run Red Hat. (Curiously, the story doesn’t mention what they’re shifting from…and I can’t get any info from Netcraft, as they’ve apparently already switched. Finally, ESR got a write up in the Irish Times a couple of weeks ago.

The FDA approved irradiation of most meat (chicken was already approved; now the list includes beef, pork, and lamb). I think the name is going to be a big stumbling block to consumer acceptable, which is really too bad.

I really like some of Jon Katz’s writing, and the Hellmouth stuff he’s been doing over at /. is great. Planet Gattaca, on the other hand, shows that he’s not really up to the challenge of writing about biotechnology in a responsible way.

In other biotech news, Monsanto’s getting sued by a coalition lead by Jeremy Rifkin. It’s good to see that Rifkin’s still managing to avoid honest work…

I’ll also note that the sucessful and lauded lawsuits aganist the tobacco industry seem to have made this type of politically motivated lawsuit more and more popular. The gun industry is apparently next on the chopping block, and Dan is considering purchasing a firearm as a form of protest (he hasn’t said the two events are related; I’m reading between the lines a bit, and I’m sure I’ll hear about it if I’m wrong). Maybe I’ll pick up some Monsanto stock as a similar kind of thing…

Dan also had a rant up about digital movie projection, which is apparently nifty — except Roger Ebert says thumbs down. (Personally, I trust Dan.)

While I’m engaging in ‘blog naval gazing, I’ll point out the Medley had a ass-kickin’-name-takin’ update today. Also, my dog wants to be on the radio mentions the version of Sugar High from Empire Records featuring a female part (Renee Zellenger?) during the guitar bits. I picked up the movie soundtrack just for that song, and was also quite disappointed that that’s not the version it contains. I’d also dig a pointer to an mp3, if anybody has one.

And a little bit of ‘blog cross-over (transbloging?): Sexual fantasies increase pain tolerance. I’m really curious to see what Debra makes of this article, especially the theory about pain and emotional stimulus. (And sorry if I’m steppin’ on your toes and all…)

One more ‘adult’ item: JuicyMango is looking for the Geek next door:

Attention female engineers, programmers, administrative assistants, and other women working for high tech companies in Silicon Valley:

You’ve heard of “the girl next door.” I’m on the lookout for Silicon Valley’s Geeks Next Door! If you’re a smart, sophisticated, attractive women working at a high tech company in Silicon Valley — and you’ve dreamed of showing off nude or in lingerie on the Internet — let’s talk!

Not quite sure what to make of that, so I’ll just leave it be.

And I’ll finish up with a link I swipped from Jorn: A long but fascinating Seattle/WTO diary. This is probably in the top five of the many, many personal accounts I’ve read:

I can’t extend enough praise to the National Lawyer’s Guild, which sent dozens of legal observers to Seattle to record incidents of police brutality and advise demonstrators on how to act after being arrested. On Denny Street that morning I met Marge Buckley, a lawyer from Los Angeles. She was wearing a white t-shirt with “NLG Legal Observer” printed across the front and was furiously writing notes on a pad. Buckley said she had filled several notepads on Tuesday with tales of unwarranted shootings, gassings and beatings.

“Look!” Buckley said, as we trotted down the sidewalk to catch up with the marchers who had abandoned Denny Street, seeking another entry point into city center. “How weird. The people are obeying traffic signals on their way to a civil disobedience action.” A few moments later I lost track of Buckley, when the police, including a group mounted on horses, encircled the marchers at Rainier Square. I slipped through the line just as the Seattle police sergeant yelled, “Gas!” Someone later said she had been arrested.

I’m surprised about the organization of the direct action groups (or at least how the organization is described). They’re much more centralized than I would have predicted. I mean, haven’t these people read their Heinlein?

Anybody have anything to say about freeservers.com? The Foopster says they look okay; I’m considering moving Genehack there, but I still haven’t made up my mind about the ad requirement.

Well, you knew it was coming: very, very preliminary evidence linking coffee consumption and cancer. Oh well, there’s still Penguin Mints, right?

On the heels of the human chromosome 22 sequence comes the sequences of Arabidopsis chrosomes 2 and 4. (Arabidopsis is a commonly used model organism used to study plants.)

Finally, a couple items of personal note. First, I think (assuming it all went well) I have an ICQ number: 57685922. If anybody out there uses the service, feel free to add me. I don’t know how heavily I’ll be using it, but I’m more likely to stick with it if there are other people I ‘know’ already there.

Second: The Wife got a speeding ticket on the way home from work tonight. This was the exchange that ensued after she got in the door, when we found out she’d been written up for 11 mph over the limit — which bumped her out of the 1-10 mph over limit/$60 bracket and into the 11-20 mph over limit/$100 bracket:

The Wife: Next time I get pulled over for speeding, I’m asking to see the radar. Of course, I said that last time, too.
Me: The optiminal solution would seem to be not needing to ask to see the radar.
The Wife: Go to hell.

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