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!)

redditor vs. alien

A long time back, exhausted of all creativity, I called upon redditAll readers to submit plot ideas for the reddit logo.

Quite a few of them turned into an epic logo storyline that lasted a couple weeks.

The top story on reddit at the moment is titled "Predator vs Alien (pic)". It doesn't have anything to do with today's movie opening.

But this must have reminded one of our users, bobcat, of the plot suggestion I got that featured "redditor vs. alien" -- the reddit alien and a redditor (presumably in cartoon-form) would duel it out in the logo.

bobcat tried to get some submissions with this self post, but the anti-custom-reddit-logo-conspiracy must have all activated their auto down-voting scripts. So we're going to try again with this one now that it's "official"...

searching for the bill of rights

I wanted to refresh my memory about my favorite amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights (the 3rd -- you'll never see British troops being quartered in my home!). So I did what most people do, typed a simple Google query:
bill of rights US
Top search result?
USINFO - Error 404 - Page Not Found
usinfo.state.gov UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. ... USINFO delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture....
usinfo.state.gov/pub/ - 19k
U.S. Bill of Rights not found? I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised...

consumerist confirms the holiday cheer at starbucks is indeed a pr stunt

I was startled when I saw this ad campaign around New York, but I never bumped into any "Gingerbread Gentlemen".

Now Consumerist confirms that all that holiday cheer was in fact bought with the promise of a free drink. Clever public relations campaign? Or an extra serving of cynicism for Starbucks-haters?

Maybe I'm just bitter I didn't get bought a free drink. Guess I should start going to Starbucks now...

xkcd and reddit team up to do a little more than just distract you from work

Got a non-profit you think needs a nice end-of-the-year bump from reddit? Perhaps, you've heard of reddit, it's the self-described strongest supporter of Mister Splashy Pants. And to get Greenpeace to name a whale Mister Splashy Pants is no simple task.

A couple weeks ago, some redditors voiced their desire to go a step further and do some more good. The community had also recently helped an elderly woman after she got ripped off my a cruise line, so feelings of generosity and goodwill were at an all-time high for the Internet. Like always, we just tried to facilitate our community's awesomeness and then get out of the way.

Oh, and did I mention that our friends at xkcd, Randall and Davean, are teaming up with us for this fundraiser? We'll have some worthwhile giveaways (see announcement) for a bunch of donors. With our geek powers combined...

Deadline for the non-profit voting is 10pm (Eastern GMT-5) Wednesday the 19th. Submit or vote now.

Donations will open up at noon (Eastern GMT-5) on Thursday the 20th. If you'd like some real-life karma, or just know a few geeks who'd appreciate some nerd-schwag, please pass this along. Thanks.