Thursday, December 30, 2004

Pittsburgh Tech (Today's Cool Stuff)

The new issue of Wired is very impressive. It features a big cover article about Richard Branson, the man who might bring private space flight to the world. While I usually find privatization schemes to be of questionable merit, this is one that I can get behind. Anything that improves competition and choice is usually a good thing. The question is: will the American government let them go into space. And if he took his plans to Britain, then would they let them do it? I no longer know what my Evil Country will do.

There's also a very good profile
on the guy who invented Bittorrent, which is where I download all my perfectly legal files and/or porn really quickly. The story makes it sound like a brand new broadcasting medium. I always thought that you needed something like perfect compression to do that (allowing broadband downloads allowable through dialup using better math or something), but I guess Torrent is close enough. I can attest that it is faster and all the files I've downloaded seem to work, something I couldn't claim with Emule, for example. There's also a story about something called the Shadow Internet. Boy, did William Gibson call it...

There's also a story that hits closer to home in the Wired Magazine archives about Intelligent Design, or, as the title of the story states,
The Plot to Kill Evolution. There's a lawsuit by some crazy parents here in Pennsylvania that apparently want their kids taught science and not faith. Our own 12th Century Senator Rick Santorum has already ghosted a piece in support of ID. (No wonder he wants to homeschool. You wouldn't want any harmful science to get in the way of learnin'.) Chris Mooney, probably the best science blogger out there, has commented on this. And so has the worldclass blogger at Pittsblog. Good for them.

Links N' Stuff

Quantum teleportation doesn't mean teleportion of people, but it could mean quantum communication--which could lead to the teleportation of people. Just have to build that quantum communication receiver...

The Steam Engine Car

Tiny Biofueled Cars...One Day They Will Eat People

How Craigslist Takes Away Ad Revenue From Newspapers (I used to have something up called five dollar classifieds but why bother...? Can't say I would lose any sleep if corporate media newspapers went under. Any press that allows fascist governments to rule unquestioned and unchallenged deserve to die...)

Cory Doctorow Reams Out Wired Management. No comment from Boing Boing Poster and Wired staffer Xeni Jardin (who's hot!).

Best Line:


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Notable Pittsburgh Bloggers

Update: Ales Rarus is out. I just find his prattling about the nuances about his fantasy belief system to be really uninteresting. He also doesn't write about science, unless he's denouncing it. He'll still be found in link collections. But his site is just about as interesting as someone who writes about Hobbits everyday or the Great Pumpkin, which is to say not interesting at all.

To fill the void, I've added Bizz Bang Buzz, whose writer is actually attempting to do four blogs. I can state without hesistation that what's he's trying to do isn't easy. It might also be time to admit that lawyers make really good bloggers. Just the way it is

I took a look through just about every blog that was listed over there at the Pittsburgh Webloggers site. I wanted to link to every site that I thought would be worth looking at on a daily basis. There were some blogs I left out because they simply didn't post enough or I didn't think they were interesting or because they were just starting and had only one or two posts (Jam Sandwich I'm talking to you.) There were also sites that I had trouble initially looking at because their site link was apparently their RSS or Atom feed and I don't have a newreader and I was kind of in a hurry. So, I'll try to rectify that when I have a few hours this weekend. (My Bad.) And for some reasons I didn't like any of the sports blogs, especially about the Phillies...(yeech.).

I posted all of those blogs that I thought to be interesting, readable and updated frequently here over at a page
I call Link Collections. I didn't say it was a poetic name.

I'll take another look at these sites in several months.

I'm posting these sites on the main page because I think they're interesting enough to read every single day. Obviously, my politics are left of center (to say the least) so there aren't a lot of conservative sites out there but there are a few that are noteworthy. I might also add that most of the sites are liberal sites. I really think that the Internet trends left in that sense. If you're not a rich guy, then this is the place to make your voice heard. Where else would we go...Talk Radio...?

So here's my top slightly more than a dozen Pittsburgh blogs.

0Madgeworld: I actually was more impressed by the design than the content here. But it's a very impressive design. I feel like I'm entering another world, a particularly kitschy period of the 50s perhaps, redolent of toys and mannequins. Content wise, it's strictly personal diary stuff, almost like it's being whispered...

A Green Conservatism: I'm not entirely sure what this guy is up to but it's interesting.

Ales Rarus: This is also a conservative site, but interesting. It's kinda religious.

Anklebiter: Yet another deep thinker. Definite high brow type.

D Young.: A really talented African American blogger who stunned me with his design skill. That's an incredible graphic on his screen. My only complaint is that I think the fonts are too tiny. But then again I'm old and I'm getting older.

Danny Boy: A site about design. Talented writer.

Forward Retreat: This is a very intimidating arts site. Incredibly well educated.

Grassroots Pa: This is as close to Frontpage as you're going to get in Pittsburgh. Very right wing. But I think they're good at what they do. Evil though that may be...

Inner Bitch: This is a site run by two geek women. I really love all the sci fi and comics stuff that they do. They also seem to be establishing themselves as the social nexus of the Pittsburgh blogosphere. Kneel before them I guess...

Innocence Blog: A very important blog that I thought I was going to get a lot of stories out of, but they're affiliated with the Post Gazette so no go. If memory serves, I think it's being run by former PG staffer Bill Moushey, one of the most talented investigative reporters I've ever seen. This is why, of our two corporate media papers, I've always found the PG to be the decent one. It's kind of like being the decent business party that nonetheless allows fascism to flourish but there is a difference...

Photosuperstar: I've already stolen some of his pics and I plan to steal many more.

Pittsblog: I suppose if the Instapundit was a decent man with decent politics then he would write this blog. I think it's the best blog in Pittsburgh.

Teacher, Wordsmith, Madman: This person would probably be 2nd or third best. He's clearly a professional writer. He's wide ranging and interesting. He has a style and he's worked on it.

This Isn't Writing, It's Typing: The title is taken from a notorious comment that Truman Capote made about Kerouac's "On the Road". The writer runs a premier freelance writing shop that never got back to me. I was bitter. Of course, now that I know that he aspires to be the Pittsburgh Instapundit (he even links to Postrel and others of the notorious neconned crew...) I could see where he wouldn't like my politics much. Yet he's a very good wordsmith. Thoughtful, interesting.

You can find the rest of the blogs that I thought were worth taking a look at over at the
Link Collections. I even categorized them a bit.

And you can read all of them over at
Pittsburgh Webloggers and make your own choices.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Origin Statement for Three Rivers Online

THE FUTURE OF NOW: So why Three Rivers Online? I think the more appropriate question is "Why Not?" If I wanted to start an alternative print weekly then I would need about 8 million dollars. If I wanted to start my own online weekly, comfortable in the knowledge that I could do everything to start, I figured my costs would be about several hundred a month, as long as I don't go over 600000 hits a month or 20000 hits per day. Then I'm probably looking at more. Who knows. The point is that here in 2003 I could give it a try. So why the Hell not.

You might also, if you were a bit of a devil's advocate, argue who needs a new alternative press. We've got Pittsburgh Indy Media. Heck, I think they're a swell bunch of kids and I plan to steal stories from them constantly. Yet, and I guess I'm a stickler for this: You have to pay writers something. It doesn't have to be a lot. If I make a whopping $12 grand a year from this I'll be happy.

I just think that you have to pay people, something, anything, in order for the progressive community to get the info it needs. Who's the Indy Media person covering the city or county councils? There are some things that you can't do for free. Again, somebody like a Soros or the Hollywood Community could fund 12 of these papers in swing states, with modest staffs of five to seven people for about 100 million and pay salaries for ten years, but until then...Let's try to build something for ourselves. This is my attempt. Let a thousand online papers bloom, just in time for November 2004.

Some initial ground rules: We'll be on all of the time. There should be something new in all of the sections every single day. Also, since we're online I won't be shy about linking to everything in sight and acting as things on the Net are a big deal. Because, guess what, if you're an online paper everything on the net is a Big Deal. This is our medium. It matters if it's taxed obsessively or priced out of the ordinary consumer's hands. Our progressive theory, by the way, is that you can push your radical progressive agenda (over the next year or so that will include a new president who can talk) as long as you have lots and lots of small ads from small businesses. Please note the Pittsburgh Five Dollar Classifieds Section. There's actually the far outside chance that I could get rich from this but I doubt it. (Update: I've just discovered Craigslist. Five dollars classified is dead. All classifieds might be dead. Not good. Then again, I'm not basing my stuff on what the corporate media does so I'll live...I'll build a new model for new times.)

As for our reporting philosophy, I'm looking for opinionated perspective pieces, backed up by supporting links. The shorter version of our journalism philosophy: columnists with teeth. Teeth usually will be defined as supporting links. I do know that the American Left needs a credible, rigorous press of its own. Let's build it together

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas From Riverbend!

I brazenly stole that from Tom Tomorrow.

And here's a Christmas Wish from Riverbend:

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas Wishlist...I have to make this fast. No electricity for three days in a row (well, unless you count that glorious hour we got 3 days ago...). Generators on gasoline are hardly working at all. Generators on diesel fuel aren't faring much better- most will only work for 3 or 4 straight hours then they have to be turned off to rest. Ok- what is the typical Iraqi Christmas wishlist (I won't list 'peace', 'security' and 'freedom' - Christmas miracles are exclusive to Charles Dickens), let's see:

1. 20 liters of gasoline
2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
3. Kerosene for the heaters
4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
5. Landmine detectors
6. Running water
7. Thuraya satellite phones (the mobile phone services are really, really bad of late)
8. Portable diesel generators (for the whole family to enjoy!)
9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries (you can never go wrong with a fancy flashlight)
10. Scented candles (it shows you care- but you're also practical)

When Santa delivers please make sure he is wearing a bullet-proof vest and helmet. He should also politely ring the doorbell or knock, as a more subtle entry might bring him face to face with an AK-47. With the current fuel shortage, reindeer and a sleigh are highly practical- but Rudolph should be left behind as the flashing red nose might create a bomb scare (we're all a little jumpy lately). By the way, until further notice, please send any emails to as I'm having some minor problems with the other accounts.
posted by river @ 3:57 PM

Fundamentalist Christians Don't Like Jews: Why Did You Vote for Them?

And by the way: He obviously doesn't get the point: We know who killed Christ. Your retribution is at hand...Thank God for Jews who routinely don't question their vote for right wing Christian fundamentalists.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Purpose of Red Light District

It's primarily financial. I also like naked girls. Although, even that might get boring after awhile. I might look for more stylish nudes.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

And no w I'm testing my atom feed...

I don't think it's working.

A Word From Our Sponsors...

I now plan to focus everything I've got on It's an attempt to start an online paper here in Pittsburgh. I get tired just thinking about all the work I'll have to do, all the calls I have to make, all the ads I have to create, and all the sections I'll have to fill.

That means that, essentially, and will be sites where I mostly just link to stuff. Oddly enough, they'll be more material to see at all the sites because I'll be dumping a lot of stuff from Three Rivers Online.

Anyway, I wish to thank my dozen or so readers. I truly think that Three Rivers Online offers a bigger future and a better reading experience.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Strategies for the New Resistance: Seccession.

Perhaps you've seen this flag. I think the man behind it is probably joking.

On the other hand, I sincerely hope that the people behind Move On California are quite serious. I support them. There has to be a more vigorous way to show our dissent other than voting for Democrats who won't even fight for our votes. I can't think of anything more serious than seccession. I might add that I'm willing to fight and die for things I actually believe in, as opposed to slaughtering Iraqi civilians for fossil fuels. It's aggressive. And it puts the right on the defensive. To use the crudely inappropriate football metaphor that our Moron in Chief uses to describe the War on Terror, we get to take it to them. We get to ask what's so great about the United States? You clearly don't give a fuck about us. We don't even have basic healthcare. We get to say that if you criminalize stem cell research or a woman's right to choose, then we're out of here. I've emailed those Move On folks and I'm not clear if they've thought of the ballot initiative. I guess there's a question of legality and this is where you would need some leadership with some balls that would say: "You just try and stop us from taking this vote and you'll have a civil war on your hands." And for some strange reason I could imagine Arnold mouthing those words. Offer him a shot at being the King of Cascadia or something, or vote someone in who has the guts to move for radical change. Time it for the 2006 Gubernatorial elections. Condition it's adoption based on the choice issue or approval of transparency in the voting process.

If California could pull this off, then the rest of us could follow. We could create a Canadian Union. I'm ready for a radical change. How about you? This is what the new country might look like:

Again, I'm not sure where the MoveOn folks are at in terms of a constitution or the ballot initiative. But, again borrowing from Oliver Willis' Brand Democrat theme, here's how you could brand progressive change.