why we can't trust the french

Here's proof that the bear lobby is much stronger than anyone is willing to say. I took this photo in a Paris subway station: The title of this event is Bêtes et Hommes which my translator says means "Animals and Men" -- so why the picture of a bear?!

Now, I'm no zoologist, but I know there are plenty of other animals they could have used for this advertisement. Why not put the friendly silhouette of a hippopotamus*, or the awkward outline of a giraffe?

But instead the French caved to the bear sympathizers. This kind of blatant pandering to the Ursidae family would never be tolerated here in the U.S.

Don't look for any help from us,
Jacques, when the bears storm your cities and pillage your croissants. You brought it on yourself.

And now, a poorly voiced-over montage of Colbert:

*OK, so the hippo actually one of the most dangerous animals to humans (excluding the mosquito, which would be a lame choice for an animals poster). Don't tell the bears -- if you thought they were a threat to our country now, just wait until they found that out.

reddit & xkcd fundraiser pulls in 3K for EFF

In case you missed it from our dev blog:
I definitely learned a few things about fundraising strategies that I'll be sure to employ for next year, but we're still quite pleased with the attention and funding you all were able to give EFF. Within a little over a week (and well after you no doubt emptied your coffers for Ron Paul and Kucinich) you donated $3045.51 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

This was admittedly a very last minute project, coming right on the heels of one redditor's self post. I'm aiming to do it again next year and with some proper planning, make it an even greater success. Along the way, I got some great suggestions and feedback from you, some of which we were able to implement as we went along (such as the awarding methods).

Speaking of which, if you were one of our top 10 donors or one of our first 50, you've been notified by me. If you still haven't gotten an email, don't fret, we're randomly selecting another 40 to win signed xkcd comics.

With some help from the postal service, I should be mailing out prizes next week.

Thanks again to all of you who participated, either by submitting/voting on a non-profit, telling a friend, donating, or doing all three while upgrading to dual-boot bsd.

Lastly, this couldn't have been pulled off without the generous contribution of xkcd -- I trust Randall's hand hasn't been sprained from all the signatures.

posted by alexis [kn0thing]

the world loses a hero

And the yeti still hasn't been found.

Sir Edmund Hillary died yesterday. Just last week I'd learned from a game of Trivial Pursuit that he was allegedly searching for proof of the abominable snowman on his Himalayan ascent.

Photographic evidence of the yeti:

But he'll be remembered for being the first to reach the summit of Mt Everest, solidifying the international reputation of Kiwis as badass outdoorsy folks. Until his death, he continued to do remarkable fundraising and humanitarian work for the people of the Himalayas.

News of his death quickly climbed (sorry, I couldn't help it) the reddit front page and the redditor who submitted it, ninzee, messaged me to suggest a special logo doodle. It was a great idea -- fortunately the alien isn't nearly as acrophobic as me.

May your legacy live on, Sir Edmund Hillary.

it must be a sign

One of the many joys of traveling for me has always been foreign signage. Maybe someone can shed some light on what someone was thinking when he/she made this sign. And if you're ever visiting Tikal, you'll want to see the Mayan ruins and all, but be sure to find this sign. So I get the first one, something about not bringing a mace/club with you through doorways that are too small -- it could be misinterpreted by the inhabitants. The third one is also pretty straightforward, don't doodle on the artifacts. Fine.

But the one in the middle must forbid defecating in the wells? Potable water is way more fun. That, or don't sit on the artifacts. But I'd like to believe it's the former. Maybe that's why I'm not an archaeologist. Running around Tikal with my Indy fedora and whip didn't convince many people either...

I still think we'd all be better off taking sign design cues from Guatemala.

a new redditor is born

OK, well, that's not necessarily true, but the world could probably use another geek baby.
Jeremy pointed me toward a comment on reddit yesterday that was from an interesting photo collection of start-to-finish pregnancy -- with triplets.

A redditor named brobak commented:
You know, I couldn't make this up if I tried. I am actually sitting in the hospital delivery room, with my wife. She's been in labor since 5am. Its...10:42pm as i write this. I hopped the hospital wifi, because there's not much for me to do now that she's on the epidural and resting(and yes, I am that much of a nerd that i'd actually post to reddit while in labor and delivery). She's stalled out at 8cm, and we're waiting for the petocin to kick in and see if we can push her over the edge to pushin' time.

We've only got a single in there, so she wasn't nearly that large, but i tell ya, its a hell of an experience. Here's hoping we can finish this up tonight. Wish me luck reddit.
It was a momentous day; the first time a baby was born live on reddit. Probably.

Either way, the response from the community was overwhelmingly positive and laced with a few good jokes.

We got an update from brobak later that night:
EDIT: Just wanted to post a follow up briefly. My son was born at 4:27am on the 8th. After 23 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing, they decided that it wasnt happenening and went to a c-section. It worked out fine, and the kid came out fine, and in good shape. needless to say we're exhausted, but I did want to post a follow up and thank you all for your support. Thank you.
Success! A healthy mommy and baby brobak probably missed today's reddit logo getting some well-earned rest, but hopefully a few other redditors noticed the little babe in blue.

Apparently hospitals here in the States do this kind of newborn sex identification with little hats? I would use nail polish "B" or "G" like on a pet turtle, but that's just me.

Congratulations once again. It's a shame we don't sell reddit baby-tees or I'd send them one for baby brobak. Oh well, hopefully the logo will do. One day, when baby brobak is old enough, he's going to be really confused by all this :-)

2008 will be the year of poetic spam

Here's my obligatory New Year's greeting. I had a rather prophetic start to this year involving a spammer named Ираида, which I believe translates into eer-ey-ee-dah (Russian for "the spam bard"). I interpreted this to mean that all the spam we'll be getting in 2008 will be in iambic pentameter or haikus.

to a mortgage endowment.
I have contacted various
the documentation

playtime can create
successful children. Above all,
help them excel.

very beginning of
and author of
The superficial emptiness

"we should all buy and read" starbucked

OK, so I've taken P. J. O'Rourke's quote out of context. Nonetheless, it's indeed in his recent New York Times book review, Venti Capitalists. His critique of Starbucked takes a few unorthodox paternalistic turns, but you can't dispute his apparent fondness for the author, Taylor Clark.

Instead of giving an unabashedly positive review (I couldn't help myself) he starts out chiding Clark for some rather random things:
Clark makes much of Starbucks’s discovery that it could put one store close to another and both could thrive. But you can line a street with fire hydrants and dogs will use them all; that’s not necessarily a recipe for wealth, especially if you try to charge the dogs.
Should his analogy lead us to believe that going to Starbucks is like pissing in public? Maybe he's not far off. Nonetheless, the dogs keep paying -- a lot.

Now, Mr. O'Rourke may trivialize the success Starbucks has had with cannibalization, but as far as I know, it was a rather novel (and fruitful) strategy. The company may not have been the first to actively cannibalize its own stores, but it certainly did so with unprecedented success.

Another fun-fact from Clark's book was recounted in his recent Slate article "Don't Fear Starbucks: Why the franchise actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses." And it even made it onto the front page of reddit. Looks like you're about to get the reddit bump, Mr. Clark.

kiwis in danger, but not going without a fight

There are a few key take-aways from this recent IHT article, "New Zealand trying to save the kiwi".

First, New Zealand is trying to save the kiwi. See, you didn't even have to read the article to learn that.

Second, the article doesn't expand on how this will affect Fogbugz -- FogCreek (maker of FogBugz) founder Joel Spolsky has yet to comment on the matter. Third, the kiwi may be the result of cruel dare some creator was taking, but it's not to be taken lightly. The article cites some pretty compelling evidence of the ill-tempered nature of the kiwi:
Some kiwis are more aggressive than others.

"Some of them will charge right up to you and kick you on the leg before rushing off into the undergrowth," McLennan said. "There's plenty of footage around of kiwis chasing possums and kicking them and beating them up."
Maybe they had it coming...

(thanks, Liz!)