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Al Hirshfeld, 99, Dies; He Drew Broadway

“To be the subject of a Hirschfeld drawing endowed one with a special cachet. To find the word ‘Nina,’ the name of his daughter, hidden several times in the lines of his caricatures, was a weekend pastime for millions of readers. Next to his signature he put the number of ‘Ninas’ in his drawings, creating a sort of pleasurable Sunday game for his admirers.” –Al Hirshfeld, 99, Dies; He Drew…

A Century of Sucking

“30 August 2001 was the 100th anniversary of Hubert Cecil Booth’s patent of the first working vacuum cleaner. To celebrate, explore our Potted History of the Vacuum Cleaner, or find out more Fascinating Vacuum Facts, all illustrated with historic cleaners from the Science Museum’s collections.” –A Century of SuckingScience Museum [UK])

A Plan for Spam

“I think it’s possible to stop spam, and that content-based filters are the way to do it. The Achilles heel of the spammers is their message. They can circumvent any other barrier you set up. They have so far, at least. But they have to deliver their message, whatever it is. If we can write software that recognizes their messages, there is no way they can get around that.” Paul…

One Tone Isn't Enough

“It happens to everyone – you accidentally cut someone off or do something bone-headed unintentionally… wouldn’t it be nice to have a conciliatory tone to indicate that you’re aware that you screwed up, and are willing to admit it?” jzb –One Tone Isn’t EnoughDissociated Presszilla)

DMCA: Ma Bell Would Be Proud

“Not so many decades ago, you couldn’t buy or legitimately connect your own phone or other telecom equipment to the public telephone network in the United States…. Virtually everything related to telephone communications had to be leased from the local monopoly phone company, which also performed all installations and maintenance. Remarkably, it was even prohibited to attach shoulder rests or any other gadgets to phone handsets…” –DMCA: Ma Bell Would…

India: Hole in the Wall

Minimally Invasive Education: “This is a system of education where you assume that children know how to put two and two together on their own. So you stand aside and intervene only if you see them going in a direction that might lead into a blind alley.” Sugata Mitra put a computer with a high-seed Internet access into the wall of a filthy slum. Almost instantly, slum children were using…