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July 31, 2003

I am generally loathe to draw comparisons between information architects and the traditional kind, but here's a case where I thought the analogy was apt: "Think of it this way: Architects are spatial-problem solvers, and they may well come up with solutions that would never occur to you. Contractors, by contrast, are essentially expediters who are disinclined to go outside the box for answers."

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July 30, 2003

So the other day I read Vincent Canby's glowing obituary for Bob Hope in The New York Times. But there was something about it that struck me as not quite right. Wait a minute -- Vincent Canby, isn't he...? Yes, that's right.

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Then again, maybe Americans are fond of sodomy laws after all: A new Gallup Poll indicates a rising backlash against gay rights.

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July 28, 2003

New York City is ready to open the first public high school for GLBT students. Seems like a pretty bold move; maybe America's more ready for this than is apparent. Should be interesting to see what happens.

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Animators Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Office Space, some thing for MTV awhile back) and Don Hertzfeldt (Lily and Jim, Rejected) have put together a new touring animation festival called The Animation Show. Here's what's included (so far) and here's where they'll be.

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Scientists are debating whether the Hubble Space Telescope -- called by one "the single most important instrument ever made in astronomy" -- should be retired in 2010 as originally planned, or whether steps should be taken to extend its life.

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Other Nine Pillarses

And here I thought I was being all clever and original.

The Nine Pillars of Nosgoth: Mind, Dimension, Conflict, Nature, Energy, Time, States, Death, and Balance. This comes from an RPG called Legacy of Kain.

The Nine Pillars of Conservatism: Nationhood, Democracy, Liberty, The Rule of Law, Property, Tradition, Family, The Free Market, and Morality.

The Nine Pillars of Effective Ministry: Planning/Leadership Training, Evangelism/Assimilation, Worship, Stewardship, Christian Education, Small Group Life/Specialized Ministries, Youth Ministry, Missions, Facilities.

The Nine Pillars of Character: Citizenship, Honesty, Attitude of Gratitude, Responsibility, Always be Fair, Caring, Trustworthiness, Example, and Respect.

The Nine Pillars of Judgment: Apparently an architectural characteristic of the Tabernacle of Moses as described in the Bible.

The Nine Pillars for Creating a New Paradigm: A spiritual proposition, the precise nature of which remains unclear to me.

The Nine Pillars of Aikido: It's worth noting that opinions on the number of pillars Aikido has seem to vary widely -- I found other references to two, three, four, five, six, eight, and eleven pillars of Aikido. Six seems to be the most popular.

The Nine Pillars of Happiness: A science-fiction novel based on the Enneagram.

The Nine Pillars of Odinism: Odinism is the modern practice of the historical Norse religion. It has not one but two sets of nine pillars, the second being The Nine Pillars of Tradition.

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July 24, 2003

Dreamworks and George Lucas aren't the only ones aiming to topple Pixar as the king of computer-animated film -- IBM wants a shot too.

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Steven Johnson on Google: "They have the fanatical brand devotion of Apple, and the market dominance of Microsoft. That's a powerful combo, one you don't see very often."

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July 22, 2003

Slate columnist Rob Walker has some thoughts on Billboard's new "Top 25 Digital Downloads" chart. The volume of downloads (the legitimate, paid-for kind, that is) is so small that it wouldn't take much to game the system, as Walker points out: "A moderately influential Weblogger could probably pick a song at random from the current inventory, harangue his or her audience to buy it during a particular time period, and put in the Top 10."

That got me wondering if this chart could have a democratizing effect similar to that SoundScan had when it was introduced. SoundScan, a computerized system for tallying record sales based on actual inventory data, went online in 1991. Before that, record sales for the Billboard chart were basically calculated by calling up record store managers and asking "What's hot this week?" Seriously, they really did that. Anyway, when SoundScan was introduced, the Billboard chart was thrown into turmoil -- artists and genres formerly classified as having only niche appeal turned out to be outselling the alleged mainstream.

Following the smell of money, the record industry starting pouring resources into marketing to an even wider audience those formerly-niche artists that suddenly popped up on the charts: underground sensations like Metallica and Garth Brooks. So now I wonder if a strong showing on Billboard's new chart (via an online campaign much like, well, Howard Dean's) could push an indie artist onto the industry's radar, and ultimately into the mainstream.

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