Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fixing YouTube videos in Firefox by reinstalling Adobe Flash Player

If you upgrade to the latest (beta 10) version of Adobe Flash player, it fixes the problem of videos occasionally not playing in Firefox.

Here's how to do it:

From this link, run the flash uninstaller, and then get version 10 here go here and download flash beta 10.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Corporation. At the core of good and bad in the world today?

The Movie shown free below has won
26 International Awards and
10 Audience Choice Awards.

If the dominant institution of our time has been created in the image of a psychopath, who bears the moral responsibility for its actions? When measured against norms for individuals, many corporation are prototypical psychopaths:

Yet Corporations also do essential good for society. Corporate CEOs discuss how this is true, and what they do about it, because the Corporation is legally bound to put it's short-term financial well-being ahead of all else, including life, liberty and property of others.  The movie also discusses the benefits of having everything owned. 

The Corporation is today's dominant institution, creating great wealth but also great harm. This award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts and future of the modern business corporation and the increasing role it plays in society and our everyday lives:

Institutions can be monstrous, but be peopled with individuals who are benevolent as individuals. But in their institutional role, they are monsters, if the institution they work for is monstrous. Agree? Disagree? Comment!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Before there was Photoshop, before there was photography, there was artistry


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The future of the internet, without hype

A search engine that does simpler and easier what Google and WikiPedia cannot do, but humans need to have done. This is going to be the foundation for hundreds of future search engines. Freebase Parallax search page.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The difference between your life and a cartoon?

Who hasn't seen these "fatal" accidents befall one of their favorite cartoon characters?
  1. He falls out out of plane, but lands in a giant haystack and walks away with only minor injuries.
  2. A giant oncoming truck forces him to drive his car off a cliff, but he somehow falls out of the car, catches safely on a convenient tree branch, and watches the car explode in flames 300 feet below.
  3. His train derails at high speed and plunges into an icy river, and he's found with his arm in a funny position, but only scrapes and bruises otherwise.
  4. A flame thrower blasts him in the face at short range, but he only loses some hair and ends up covered in soot. Alternatively, his car is engulfed in flames, and he walks away unharmed.
  5. He's hit by a bus, but suffers only minor injuries.
  6. Of course, after suffering through a bunch of these, the happy ending has the character being given exactly one million dollars.
What do these six cartoon events have in common?

Even in a movie (like "Unbreakable") it's too unbelievable to see stuff like this happening to a real person, right? Hold on ...

The answer is they actually happened in real life, and although 37 people died in the various accidents, at least one person did survive each time.

But, most amazing of all ...

They didn't just happen, they all happened to the SAME man: Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher (what would a cartoon be without music?). And they happened exactly as described above.

Frane (pictured above at left) was born in 1929, and in January, 1962, his "luck" changed for the first time. He was riding a train (#3 below).

Real life events more amazing than any movie

Here's his amazing story, exactly following the cartoon events listed above:
  1. FELL OUT OF A PLANE: How? A DOOR blew out on a plane flying from Zagreb to Rijeka in 1963. While it was flying. At high speed. High above the earth. Etc., etc., etc. Twenty people were sucked out to a certain death, because, c'mon, how's he gonna survive that?
    Oh wait. That's exactly what happened. Only 19 people died, because, I kid you not, #20 was Frane, and he landed in a giant haystack and walked away.

  2. DROVE OFF A CLIFF: What can I say? The truck, the cliff, caught in the tree, the car exploding 300 feet below, all true. That's exactly what happened to him in 1996.

  3. TRAIN PLUNGED INTO RIVER: Yup, in 1962 nineteen people faced likely death when their moving train derailed and plunged into an icy river, but only eighteen died, because when they found #19, it was Frane. His arm was broken, but he had just a few scrapes and bruises otherwise.

  4. FLAMETHROWER IN FACE: As amazing as the others are, I know you've been asking, c'mon, a flamethrower? Okay, this was a car fire forced through air vents, but if that happened in YOUR face, I think you'd agree that "flamethrower" is a pretty good description. Happened to Frane in 1973. He lost most of his hair but had no other injuries.

    ENGULFED IN FLAMES: Of course, by this point in his life, flames in a car weren't that big a deal for Frane. Three years earlier his car was engulfed in flames from a faulty fuel pump. He escaped, and walked away unharmed.

  5. HIT BY A BUS: Yup, in 1995 he was hit by a city bus and suffered only minor injuries

  6. AN EVEN MILLION: In 2003, Frane won EXACTLY $1,000,000 dollars in the Croatian lottery. Almost like a heavenly award at that point!
World's luckiest man? Or unluckiest?

Considering what he's been through, surviving mortal terror without a heart attack is probably is among his greatest achievements.

"I know God was watching me over all these years," Frane said, and has reputedly refused to fly to Australia to air on a Doritos commercial, saying he "didn't want to test his luck."

Finally, for the big question: Good luck, or bad? We'll give Frane the final word. "I prefer to be called the world's luckiest man," he said, admitting that some people call him "The World's Unluckiest Man."

So, how's YOUR luck?

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Saturday morning breakfast cereal cartoons

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How many people has Yahoo! Answers killed?

It's a given if you give enough bad advice to enough people, you'll eventually be responsible for injuries and death.

So, my question is, how many people has Yahoo! Answers killed to date? People there give awful, completely uninformed advice, and then Yahoo! promotes the answers to get more traffic for Yahoo!

Here's one example of Yahoo! morons harming people and encouraging others to do the same. Really saddens me. I'm not talking about just a librarian's worst nightmare here.

Got more examples? Add your comments. While it's true people are responsible for themselves, we've all been fooled by bad advice at some point or other. Especially when we're vulnerable or distracted. Yahoo! Answers needs big, huge honking warning labels at LEAST.

And of course people giving excellent information are sometimes suspended without reason given, while racists get high rankings. Can you say "Game the system?" There is so much wrong with Yahoo! Answers it's hard to know where to start.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A better search engine than Google?

With all the buzz about Cuil, I feel I've just got to point out the obvious: If you're looking for great search results for popular search terms, be sure to search on Delicious.com as well as use the search function of Stumbleupon. Single keywords in Stumbleupon can produce very different results than Google. Delicious.com, if you didn't know, is a collection of the favorite sites of people who browse the web a lot. Alltop.com is a newer and somewhat similar site, in directory form. And if you have the Stumbleupon toolbar installed, some of your Google search results may be ranked by Stumbleupon rating, which is a big help at times.

Google's search results sometimes have a commercial bias that is rarer on Delicious. Once you get the feel for what you'll find on Delicious, you'll often appreciate the results you get by doing both a Google and a Delicious search, rather than just a Google search alone.

After Ballmer's recent explanation of Microsoft's non-strategy, makes you wonder if part of their reason for going after Yahoo! was to get resources like Delicious, which Yahoo! acquired at the end of 2005!

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