tagesschau.de hat einen interessanten Artikel über das Tourismusgebiet Kumgang in Nordkorea, wo Südkoreaner Urlaub in den Bergen des eigentlich verfeindeten Nachbarn machen können.

Streng abgeschottet von der Zivilbevölkerung, natürlich.

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Fred ‘08 Shirt

Wow, one of the US presidential candidates has a whole store full of Fred merchandise. I totally want a Fred shirt. Or what about a Fred cap (that incidentally comes with a fancy star-sprangled banner on the back, what more could you ask for, really? :) )?

I am still considering buying something (but international shipping may be expensive :( ) because over here in Germany nobody will think I am trying to send a political message when in fact I just dig the shirt.

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Apparently, you can (legally) buy cans of Uranium Ore on Amazon.

Uranium Ore Still looking for a Christmas Present?

Is it just me, or is that really a little strange to buy something like this off the internet? But then again, the same seller also offers Rosswell soil samples, so what can you expect.

One of the customer reviews with two out of five stars is really funny:

I bought a can of this about 4.5 billion years ago, give or take a few million years, but when I went to use it today I noticed only half of it was still in the can. I swear I put the lid on tight. I'd give it more stars if it came in a better package.

Oh, sweet science! :)

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Librivox.org, a public domain audiobook project, has a copy of Mark Twain's fabulous essay "The Aweful German Language" in which he pleasurably depicts the pitfalls and oddities of the German language. The summary reads:

If you’ve ever studied German (and maybe even if you haven’t), you’re likely to find this short essay to be hilarious. Published as Appendix D from Twain’s 1880 book A Tramp Abroad, this comedic gem outlines the pitfalls one will encounter when trying to wrap one’s mind around the torturous German cases, adjective endings, noun genders, and verb placement. (Summary by Kara)

Incidentally, the audiobook is read by a German, which adds to its hilarity. (And I hereby admit to probably having a similar accent, so yeah...)

By the way: Don't take the poor Mark Twain too literally. German really isn't that bad! :)

Link to the audiobook (the page also has a link to add it to iTunes with one click).

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Douglas Karr at the Marketing Technology blog has an interesting post about the web servers the election candidates for the U.S. in 2008 run.

Hillary runs Windows 2003, for example, while Guiliani trusts his website to a CentOS+Apache install. An exception seem to be Barrack Obama and C. Todd, who are the only ones to run FreeBSD on their webservers.

The percentage difference between Linux/Apache (48%) and Windows/IIS (43%), seems to reflect the Internet not too badly (which is about 50% Apache vs. 35% IIS), but when you look at the two parties, there is a much more clear bias:

It’s fascinating to me that the Dems are predominantly Open Source… except for Hillary Clinton and the Republicans are predominantly Microsoft with the exception of Ron Paul, Jim Gilmore, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

I wonder what makes Republican candidates go so strongly for closed source products, but I'll leave this up to your speculations ;) .

When I look at the hosting companies, I don't recognize many names -- only one came to sight: Republican candidate Jim Gilmore gets his Linux box from 1&1 Internet, Inc., a subsidiary of 1 und 1, one of Germany's largest internet companies who have big facilities in my university town Karlsruhe. /me waves from here.

Will this knowledge influence where the average geek's makes their cross on the ballot? Probably (or rather, hopefully) not. Yet it is interesting to see what technologies the candidates trust into. Now I'd only like to find out which browser they are using. But this will likely remain unresolved forever...

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This BoingBoing TV video is exactly the right thing for an average Friday afternoon:

The "Internextperts" Gabe and Max answer "you're questions" (sic) about teh Internets. But remember: Not all of you can have it, since "the Internet is not an unlimited resource like gasoline or fishes" ;)

Maybe a little bit silly but sooo hilarious :)

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Rumor has just recently hit the blogosphere that Google's GMail was to introduce clickable and colored tags for emails. Today apparently my account was added to the test group (or was it generally released? I don't know).

I think I like the feature, since it has also become a one-click operation now to remove a tag from a mail; a feature that comes in very handy when you accidentally mis-tag a mail and want to fix it quickly:

GMail: Clickable Tags

That being said, now Google only has to come up with a faster way to actually assign tags to emails. For me, neither the dropdown list in the single mail view nor checking a bunch of mails and then using the dropdown list in the mail list view are particularly appealing ways of categorizing emails. While it is not too tedious or unbearable, there may be quicker ways to achieve this. One idea would be suggesting a handful of existing tags in the mail view (addable with one click), judging by the similarity of the current mail to the ones that you have previously tagged with a particular tag. This would have the charm of being both fast for the user and also suggesting classification of emails into categories, even from people who have never sent you a mail before and before you have even thought about making a filter rule to auto-tag similar emails. (And I just made this up off the top of my head, so please feel free to yell at me in the comments if you dislike my suggestion).

By the way, the CSS for the tags seems to render them too low (see the screenshot), with the Firefox 3 nightlies. I wonder if this is a Firefox rendering issue or a bug in the CSS Google uses.

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Funny: According to German news magazine tagesschau.de, the CNN weather forecast still draws a thick border between the former German Democratic Republic and West Germany:

CNN Europe: West Germany and the GDR

Of course, we really can't expect them to update their maps within 17 years after a major political event.

The screenshot is an actual screenshot from today, but meanwhile, CNN has acknowledged the "recent" developments in world history and removed the obsolete border. Luckily, you can't zoom in any further -- otherwise we'd likely find the Berlin Wall intact and well-guarded ;) .

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Today, I received my first MySpace invitation spam ever, featuring some text along the lines of:

Hi gorgeous i loved your profile you want to have great time... blah, blah...

Sadly for her, I am not a MySpace member and probably never will, but when I almost hit the "Report Spam" button, I realized that myspace has a proactive approach against spam from their members (also described in their privacy policy). The end of the mail reads:

If you want to block any emails from MySpace members in the future, you can click here: http://www1.myspace.com/... Or send a single blank email with the subject line "BLOCK" to: privacy (at) myspace (dot) com You can also block future email or direct any other inquiries by regular postal mail to: MySpace, Inc. 8391 Beverly Blvd. #349 Los Angeles, CA 90048 USA

After making sure the mail was not a phishing attack, I went to the provided link and put my address on MySpace's block list and now I am fairly confident this first invitation spam message will also have been my last.

As they tend to live off the sharing of private data, social networking sites almost never deserve praise for something they do privacy-related. This, I believe, is a notable exception.

(Note: A double opt-in system would be even better, yet that would defeat the purpose of "inviting one's friends" into a social network, who have not opted into the network (yet) by definition.)

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See, people, I am not that bad ;) I am just 58 percent geek: 58% Geek

(Yet I need to say "did you ever solve a complex computer problem while in the shower" is a mean catch question and a geek dead giveaway that I stepped right into ;) )

(Thanks for the link, Kai!)

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