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I Scream, You Scream…

The Wacky World of Japanese Ice Cream: “Having succeeded globally with cars, electronics and even fashion, it was only natural the Japanese turned their hand to trying to surpass the West with one of its favorite culinary delights – ice cream.” Mainichi Daily News [via Red Rock Eaters]

Has to be mostly for export, as Westerners who have lived there assure me ice cream is not big in Japan, possibly because of the high prevalence of lactose-intolerance among the Japanese people. Several people independently have described to me their addiction to the exquisite shaved ice concoctions the Japanese appear to prefer.

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Anemone of the Smart People

“In their explorations of artificial life, … Media Lab researchers have created what they call ‘Public Anemone,’ a sea creature that responds to stimuli like touch, motion and light. Near the tentacle creature are clumps of fiber optic wires that pull in if you touch them, just like an ordinary sea anemone.

Is this good artificial intelligence or good programming? ‘Is there a difference?’ responds Scott Senften, chair of Siggraph’s Emerging Technologies Exhibition.

This year’s exhibition was a meditation on human-machine interaction, as researchers from around the world demonstrated three kinds of projects: robots, machines that enhanced one or more of the five senses, and explorations of virtual reality.” Wired

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Toying With Musical Instruments

“If traditional concert performances leave you sighing for more, you can look forward to an opera where musicians squeeze squishy embroidered balls, play soundless violins and bang on glowing bugs with antennae.

These hyper-instruments were developed by Tod Machover of MIT’s Media Lab in an attempt to break free of conventional musical instrument design. Building on technologies developed for Machover’s groundbreaking Brain Opera, these music toys enable children to engage in sophisticated listening, performing and composing activities normally accessible only after years of study.” Wired

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If you use Outlook for email and have installed the security patch, you’ll discover that all of a sudden you are unable to receive any executable files as email attachments. Yes, I know they can propagate malicious code, but there are still reasons you might want to receive an executable from a trusted source. I discovered this in attempting to send code from one of my email accounts to another. The security update also blocks me from receiving .url files linking to webpages. Here’s a discussion of possible remedies, which range from simply changing the extension of the attachment before sending it; compressing your attachment into a zip file; using any of several downloadable utilities to restore control over which types of files you are willing to receive; to a registry edit that disables the “level 1” security fix on a per-filetype basis. Opening Attachments Blocked by the Microsoft Outlook E-mail Security Update:

‘The Outlook E-Mail Security Update (included in Office 2000 Service Pack 2) and Outlook 2002 block access to .exe, .com and other “dangerous” files. See Attachment Security for a list of the affected file types. You cannot open these files from Outlook, nor can you use Outlook to save them to your system. If you try to forward a message containing an .exe file, Outlook does not include the attachment in the forwarded message.

So what do you do when you receive an .exe file and must find a way to open it? There are several methods, depending on your version of Outlook.’

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Small donors show up U.S. aid

It doesn’t look pretty: The United States ranks last among the world’s 28 top foreign aid donor countries, and its foreign assistance levels have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years, according to a United Nations report released this week.

The United Nations Human Development Report 2002, a wide-ranging report that includes both fascinating country statistics and a questionable development ranking of 137 nations, puts the United States well below Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan and even Spain and Portugal on the list of the biggest foreign aid donor countries relative to the size of their economies.” Miami Herald [thanks to Julie Ferguson]

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The Climes They Are A-Changin’

“Not to suspect that a dirty little word lies at the center of the controversy spawned by the most recent Bush administration document on climate change. In the June EPA policy paper “Climate Action Report 2002,” the government admitted that climate change is not only real but getting worse, that human activities are the most likely cause, and that the negative consequences are real and dangerous, a clear and present threat. This dirty little word may have been the reason conservative leaders have privately pressed to have EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman fired from her position—for producing a document that provides the most realistic, scientifically accurate picture of the problem available from current research. This dirty little word may be the main reason President Bush is eternally trying to distance himself from this itchy environmental problem, this foreign cause touted by Russians, Europeans, and Japanese. The word: liability.

In terms of scale, the climate change issue will make any sort of environmental liability lawsuit filed in national or international courts to date seem like tarts and gingerbread.” Village Voice

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GPS sparks boundary wars

“Thanks to the military’s Global Positioning System, border disputes — common in the nation’s frontier days — are making a comeback. The system, launched in the 1980s, is a cluster of 24 satellites, designed for targeting weapons and tracking troops. But in recent years it has revolutionized land surveys, making it easier and cheaper for even the smallest municipalities to pinpoint their boundaries.” MSNBC

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If you use Outlook for email and have installed the security patch, you’ll discover that all of a sudden you are unable to receive any executable files as email attachments. Yes, I know they can propagate malicious code, but there are still reasons you might want to receive an executable from a trusted source. I discovered this in attempting to send code from one of my email accounts to another. The security update also blocks me from receiving .url files linking to webpages. Here’s a discussion of possible remedies, which range from simply changing the extension of the attachment before sending it; compressing your attachment into a zip file; using any of several downloadable utilities to restore control over which types of files you are willing to receive; to a registry edit that disables the “level 1” security fix on a per-filetype basis. Opening Attachments Blocked by the Microsoft Outlook E-mail Security Update:

‘The Outlook E-Mail Security Update (included in Office 2000 Service Pack 2) and Outlook 2002 block access to .exe, .com and other “dangerous” files. See Attachment Security for a list of the affected file types. You cannot open these files from Outlook, nor can you use Outlook to save them to your system. If you try to forward a message containing an .exe file, Outlook does not include the attachment in the forwarded message.

So what do you do when you receive an .exe file and must find a way to open it? There are several methods, depending on your version of Outlook.’