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GOOG - 2008-02-26

I loved the articles that were linked to on Google Finance for GOOG (Google)... right before the stock fell off a cliff. Secret to its success indeed...

(Context: GOOG was valued at 718 in December... and at 504 yesterday. As you can see, it's at 451 at the time I took this screenshot.)

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Link one:
Sign BWE.tv's Petition to Save Friday Night Lights

Link two:

Link three:

If you're not a fan, you should definitely check it out. Episodes are available, for free, online:

Finally, if you are a fan, go buy the DVDs. The show's too good to lose.
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It discusses the screen, the battery, even the OS.

Interesting quote about that:

"Amazon decided that the Kindle would run a modified version of the Linux 2.6.10 kernel. One of the modifications added support for execute in place (XIP), which allows faster and more efficient memory usage. In compliance with Linux licensing, Amazon has made the modified source code freely available."

I wonder under what circumstances it allows for said "faster and more efficient memory usage". Hmmm.
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Heh, nice press release:

"Carbon Footprint," "Environmentally Friendly" and "Green." Have you considered these words when it comes to your reading material?

Winnipeg, Canada, February 19, 2008 --(PR.com)-- We're encouraged to buy, use and dispose with the environment in mind. While it's easy to recognize the negative impact of excess packaging and chemical content in many of the products we purchase, it's not so easy when it comes to books, magazines and newspapers.

We do have alternatives other than paper for our reading material. Many books, newspapers and magazines are created electronically. No trees are cut to produce them. No ink is used to put the words on the page. No fossil fuel is used to run presses or trucks to move the books around the country. Heated storage facilities are not required to warehouse e-books as they remain within your computer.

March 9-15th, 2008 is Read An E-Book Week. The week is set aside to educate consumers about reading electronic books and other reading material. E-books are delivered to the end user electronically. They are read on devices such as the new Sony portable reader or Amazon's Kindle. They are destroyed with the push of a delete button, without ever taking up room in a landfill.

It takes 24 trees to produce a ton of printing paper, the type normally used for books, 12 trees are harvested for a ton of newsprint. Up to 35% of books printed for consumers (down from nearly 60% several years ago) are never read. They are used for window dressing in book stores, and eventually returned to the publisher for disposal in landfills. Given that a mature tree can produce as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year, a serious alternative to paper books, magazines and newspapers needs to be considered. That alternative is e-books.

Before purchasing your next paper book, magazine or newspaper, consider your carbon footprint commitment. Read electronically.

Read An E-Book Week, March 9-15, 2008. For more information please visit www.domokos.com/readebookweek.html
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For those of you that haven't heard, a crazy person attacked and killed a female pyschologist in her office on the UES, cutting her up with a butcher knife and then attacking two other people before fleeing.

The police released a sketch of him:
Therapist Attack

They were unable to identify him, as the killer's face didn't show up in any of the standard databases of known criminals. However, thanks to my connections, I was able to run the face through another database which quickly found a match:

Oh Bill, how far you've fallen...
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If there's anyone who hasn't been convinced by the past-odd years worth of elections that maybe, just maybe, our system of electing presidents is sub-optimal, raise your hands. For anyone else, there's an interesting article in Salon.com here:

The end result of that, though, is that it says that what seems like the best form of voting available is the same one that the Olympics and Hot or Not use - Range Voting. Read the very, very, very thorough website on it here:

I haven't read enough to be confident that it's correct, but the article and site are interesting regardless.
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In honor of Black History Month, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about what Martin Luther King Jr. meant to all of us. Here, thoughts from my girlfriend's 5 year old daughter:

"Martin Luther King Jr was a very bad man. He didn't let other people go near the water fountains when they were thirsty. For this he was thrown in jail and shot. And this is the reason why we don't eat cake on his birthday. He is also not really a king."

A moment of silence, please, for a very bad man.
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Good article in the NY Time's "The Fifth Down" blog:

The Game Comes to the Rescue, and Oh, What a Game It Was
By Will Leitch

PHOENIX – Anyone reading this space over the last week probably noticed that my first trip to the Super Bowl was leaving me disillusioned. It was all so overwhelming, a celebration of everything that is wrong with the world of sports. Shameless hucksters, over-hyped “storylines,” endless gimmickry and schtick, “the fine folks at Nextel now bring you the newest hit from ‘American Idol’s’ Paula Abdul.” The N.F.L.’s showcase event was putting the ugliest public face on its sport, a distancing and antiseptic mishmash of corporate back scratching. It was sometimes difficult to remember why we were all here in the first place.

Fortunately, the league had a trump card, the one that not even Sen. Arlen Specter could ruin: The game itself. After all the hype and sturm und drang, Super Bowl Week had no choice but to end with an actual athletic competition. And wouldn’t you know it: It was likely the most thrilling game millions of fans have ever seen.

The particulars of the game have been discussed ad infinitum elsewhere, though one hopes the otherworldly determination of the Giants pass rush is not lost in the justified eagerness to crown Eli Manning the next New York sports hero. (Honestly, Manning was so amazing in the fourth quarter that, when he was interviewed after the game, I half expected his voice to drop four octaves and for him to start swaggering like Robert Goulet. So dominating and epic was his performance that it was a mild disappointment to discover, once the helmet was off, that he was still the same guy.)

The purpose the game served for me, and I suspect for many others, was to renew my faith. It’s very easy to sit idly by and lob stinkbombs – no matter how justifiable those stinkbombs might be – while forgetting that, through it all, this is about the kinetic thrill that only sports can provide. The sense that if you look away for so much as a second, you might miss something unprecedented, unimaginable, a supernova that happens so suddenly that it surprises even those who provide it. No matter how much anyone tries to package and polish a product, that product, ultimately, must stand on its own. And boy, did that product ever stand on its own in Glendale last night. When Manning escaped (how? HOW?!) that obvious sack and then completed his wounded duck by apparently gluing it to the head of wide receiver David Tyree, I was not a social critic of sports, anguished about the loss of sports innocence and the fear that the joy the games provided us all as children had been lost. I was, for lack of a better word, a loon: I was leaping into the air, bouncing off walls, slapping hands with anyone I could find, lunging at every possible opportunity to express the raw fever. And I’m not even a Giants fan.

It was sports at its absolute best: Random, unimaginable, insane. Not even a Patriots fan could deny it, though, just for the record, I’d wait a week or so to press them on the issue.

After the euphoria faded, or at least the swelling went down, I returned to my hotel around 10 p.m. Phoenix time. I was fully expecting rabid, screaming, inebriated Giants fans hooting, hollering and generally making life difficult for the beleaguered hotel staff. Instead, I was greeted by a lobby full of G-Men, slumped in chairs, slack-jawed and staring off into space, trying to make some sense of the magic they’d witnessed. Out in the parking lot, two preteen boys, both wearing Jeremy Shockey jerseys, tossed a football back and forth. One dropped back, shuffling his feet, bobbing, waiting, broadcasting in that preteen, high-pitched way, “Manning … back to pass … sees Plaxico and throws …” His pass went bouncing harmlessly into the path of a returning limo, whose driver stopped and gave an amused wave. The boy’s friend picked up the ball, jumped into the air and yelped, “TOUCHDOWN!!!!”

Like most people here, I’d spent most of this week so sick of football that I couldn’t wait for the actual Super Bowl to come and leave already. I was foolish to think anything as peripheral as money could ruin something as pure, visceral and cleansing as sports. I don’t know about you, but September can’t get here soon enough. Let’s do this again.
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Strahan sacks BradyBy now, I'm sure you all know that the Giants won Superbowl 42, defeating the undefeated Patriots to shock the world. It was so unlikely that even most Giants fans didn't believe they could win. (I did - so much so that I bet on the game, first time ever in my life to do something like that. It wasn't a huge sum, but it was symbolic for me - I knew they had it in them. Simple as that.) Even after the fact, sports writers blamed the Patriots' bad play on the loss, saying they had more to do with their own loss than the Giants did. But the Giants have been underdogs most of the season, and I bet even that's ok with them - they've suffered at the hands of the media all year, and they just keep on fighting. Now, they've fought themselves into the title of world champions.

I'm happy they won. I guess so are a lot of New Yorkers. It's been 17 long years, people.

The great thing is that the Giants did it with so many rookies starting - and they have the chance, next year, to have an even better year.

I'm proud of the Giants - they played with more heart tonight, and over the past few games, than they have for years. They deserved this win, regardless of what any critics or sportswriters might say. To hell with them. You did good.

Oh my...

Feb. 1st, 2008 05:50 pm
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The Navy has had a successful test fire of its first rail gun prototype.

If you don't know what a rail gun is, it basically fires a solid projectile using magnets, at very high velocity. These projectiles contain no explosive; they are simply fired so fast that the impact completely destroys the target, in theory.

The initial tests were at around 10,000 megajoules, and fired these projectiles at over 5,000 miles per hour. There are videos and more details here:


The amazing thing, though, is the way the projectiles leave a firey trail in their wake, as far as I can tell essentially igniting the air they pass through with the sheer heat of friction. It makes the AIR BURN, people. *drool*
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My first stab at a Kindle review, posted to BlackPlanet.com:

It's a bit simplistic and doesn't go into detail because it's not aimed at my "core" audience - you guys, nerds. There are plenty of nerds on BP, but that wasn't a targeted post just at the nerds or anything. (Don't take offense, but let's be realistic - if you're reading my LJ, you're probably a nerd. ;) )

We'll see how the discussion goes over there. And now, we'll see how it goes right here too. ;)

So - anyone have an Amazon Kindle out there? According to Steve Jobs, no one even reads any more, unless it's the track name of their favorite mp3.

Anyways, I just got mine a week ago, after being back-ordered for a month, and I have to say - as someone who loves to read, it really is a great little device. If you're not up on the latest news, the Kindle ( http://www.kindle.com/ ) is an e-book reader. It uses the new e-ink technology, which works sort of like (and looks a lot like) an Etch-a-Sketch. What it means, though, is that it's not hard on your eyes like a normal screen - it reads almost like a real printed page. (And in some ways it is - it uses magnetic ink to basically "print" on the screen.)

It also comes with free unlimited wireless service, Amazon's WhisperNet, which is basically just Sprint's EVDO service rebranded and for free. What it means, though, is that you can browse Amazon's catalog of books from anywhere, and download new books (or try a free sample of the first chapter or two) anytime. The first book I downloaded was Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father, and it literally took around 10 seconds to download it. (My next book was Neil Gaiman's Interworld, because, let's face it, I'm a nerd.)

As a book reader, it really is cool - I can carry the equivalent of 200 books in my backpack, all the time. While I haven't taken the plunge, you can subscribe to the New York Times and other newspapers and magazines and get them automatically delivered as soon as they are released. The convenience can't be beat.

The wireless features mean that if you want, you can use the web browser that's included - and it works, but it's slow, and the screen is black and white. It's not bad for looking something up quickly, but honestly is a little painful. If the browser was as fast as the internet connection, though, it'd be great.

It also has a dictionary built-in, so when you find a word you don't know, you can look it up while you're reading and then go right back to the story. It's got a few hidden features, like Minesweeper, and apparently has experimental tie-ins with Google Maps so you can see where you are on the map at any given time and look for nearby restaurants or coffee shops or whatever. But really, that's mostly fluff.

The Kindle is good at one thing - getting and reading books. If you like to read books, it's a great device. If you don't, it's pointless and all the free internet access in the world won't make it worthwhile.
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When it comes down to it, past policy, past anything else, despite the fact that he's a politician, Obama makes me feel something inside my blackened, shriveled husk of a heart - hope. I haven't felt that about politics for, well... actually I never have before. Not like this. I know he's imperfect and a politician and probably mostly full of shit, but man, just once it'd be nice to have someone who at least makes you believe - even if only for a moment - that maybe things can be better. Not just "less horrible" but that it's really possible to make things good.

I dunno. Watch it, it's not his best ever, but it's still fairly stirring.
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terrell_cryNow if there's a smile on my face
It's only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that's quite a different subject

But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
'Cause really I'm sad, Oh I'm sadder than sad
Well I'm hurt and I want you so bad
Like a clown I appear to be glad ooh yeah

Well they're some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there's no one around
Oh yeah, baby baby, oh yeah baby baby

romoNow if I appear to be carefree
It's only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don't let my show convince you
That I've been happy since you
'Cause I need to go, oh I need you so
Look I'm hurt and I want you to know
For others I put on a show ...


Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in a lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there's no one around, oh yeah, baby baby
Now if there's a smile on my face
Don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don't let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don't care
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The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yolk of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.

And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.

So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

For most of this country’s history, we in the African American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scapegoating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country’s ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.

That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.

The stories that give me such hope don’t happen in the spotlight. They don’t happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect. Let me give you an example of one of those stories.

There is a young, 23-year-old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She’s been working to organize a mostly African American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.

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I cannot tell you how happy it made me that the Giants finally beat those assholes down in Dallas.
grown men weeping behind the cut... )
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Witness... Nanny Sod-Off:

...the November 22nd entry in The Superest. How does it work? Each say someone comes up with a super-hero designed to defeat the one from the day before. That's it! It's awesome. Go.

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Test your "Traveler IQ" by seeing how quickly and accurately you can find various cities and pieces of geography and such.


They have different variations on the game at the link above. One of the more interesting ones shows you pictures of a place, building, whatever - and then you have to find it on a map. I've embedded the basic world geography version below.
embed after the cut... )
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I know that he never had a chance, but I'm still disappointed that he dropped out.

November 2010

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