Creating an Elegant Web Layout in Photoshop Tutorial from [Re]

February 27, 2010

That ain’t workin’
That’s the way you do it
You make your website
With the Photoshop
with apologies to Dire Straits

There are a lot of sources for information on using your Photoshop skills to create an impressive website. Here’s one that I think combines a great design sense with a patient, intelligent, step-by-step approach.

But this is just a small sample of the great material you find on the [Re] site. Sections on Search Engine Optimization, Aesthetics, Graphics, Inspiration and many more Tutorials are available. Go there to learn or to be inspired. Highly recommended site!

Sick, Nervous, Discouraged. Then, 18 Bottles Later: “I am Feeling Fine.”

February 21, 2010

This is a leading hack.
This is a leading hack.

Order us a case of what Mrs. Cora Love, 3722 S. Wigger Street, Marion, Ind is drinking. . .

OK, Now He’s Just Piling On! George Orwell on American coloured comic books, Part 3

February 21, 2010

“On the front page there is a picture of of what is either an ape-like lunatic, or an actual ape dressed up as a man, strangling a woman so realistically that her tongue is sticking four inches out of her mouth.”

Here is the splash page (left) that George Orwell is referring to from Hangman Comics #8, Fall 1943, pencils and inks by Bob Fujitani. Click on images for larger size. This issue includes “The Case of the Python’s Curse” also referred to by Orwell.

We’ve covered this repeat offender’s anti-comics rants before, here and here.

“A correspondent has sent me a copy of one the disgusting American ‘comics’ which I referred to a few weeks ago. The two main stories in it are about a beautiful creature called the Hangman, who has a green face, and, like so many characters in American strips, can fly. On the front page there is a picture of of what is either an ape-like lunatic, or an actual ape dressed up as a man, strangling a woman so realistically that her tongue is sticking four inches out of her mouth. Another item is a python looping itself around a man’s neck and then hanging him by suspending itself over a balustrade. Another is a man jumping out of a skyscraper window and hitting the pavement with a splash. There is much else of  the same kind. . . Certainly I would keep these things out of children’s hands if possible. But I would not be in favour of actually prohibiting their sale. The precedent is too dangerous.”

Excerpt from As I Please 67, Tribune, 27 December 1946

George Orwell knocks American Comic Books Again, Nov. 22, 1946

February 20, 2010

“. . .and platinum blondes are raped, or very nearly, by steel robots and fifty-foot dinosaurs?”

George Orwell had already trashed American comic books, a year earlier, as filled with “Magic and Sadism”.  Now he’s back to take another swing at the funny books. Ah, lay off, George, you big English bully! But much as he seems to despise them as sub-literate and borderline immoral, Orwell finds evidence in comic books for some of our better qualities too.

“English children are still Americanised by way of the films. but it would no longer be generally claimed that American books are  the best ones for children. Who, without misgivings, would bring up a child on the coloured ‘comics’ in which sinister professors manufacture atomic bombs in underground laboratories while Superman whizzes through the clouds, the machine-gun bullets bouncing off his chest like peas, and platinum blondes are raped, or very nearly, by steel robots and fifty-foot dinosaurs? It is a far cry from Superman to the Bible and the woodpile.”

Comparing children’s literature like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Women and Black Beauty to the post-war comic book, Orwell explains,

“The society described in the one is subdued, bookish, and home-loving, while the other tells of a crazy world of bandits, gold mines, duels, drunkeness and gambling hells; but in both one can detect an underlying confidence in the future, a sense of freedom and opportunity.”

Excerpts from Orwell’s essay Riding Down From Bangor, Tribune, 22 November 1946

Wasabi-scented Smoke Alarm for the Deaf

February 20, 2010

Here’s a Japanese product that initially sounds weird but actually makes a lot of sense: a smoke alarm for the deaf with an alert that’s based on smell.

When this alarm senses smoke it emits allyl isothiocyanate, the chemical compound that powers horseradish, mustard, and wasabi.

Certainly sounds like a good way to get someone’s attention quickly, as anyone who has overindulged in H, M, or W will agree. But wait, there’s more! This scent alarm will even rouse people from sleep!

This new alarm was co-developed by Kobe-based fire extinguisher company Air Water Safety Service and Seems, a bioventure in Tokyo. For the complete story on CNET, go here.

Great Group of FREE high-quality WordPress themes

February 20, 2010

From the good folks at Smashing Downloads
13 Awesome Collections of Free WordPress Themes

And check out their selection of free web site templates
20 Useful resources to Download Free Website Templates

The Day Jazz Died in Harlem? – New York Times book review

February 20, 2010

“Some people still scratch their heads, for example, about why jazz in Harlem went off the boil. The answer is more than 60 years old, and Fletcher tells the story well: It was the Police Department’s temporary closing of the Savoy in 1943, and the subsequent Harlem riots that year — ignited by a white cop’s shooting of a black soldier, but foreshadowed by a growing frustration with institutional racism in the wartime economy. These events ruined many businesses along 125th Street and made white customers stay away; club owners sought surer business downtown, and that was the end of a scene.”

All Hopped Up and Ready to Go; Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77 by Tony Fletcher, reviewed by Ben Ratliff, New York Times Sunday Book review

James Arthur Ray “Spirit Warrior” Misled Public About His Wealth?

February 20, 2010

“Many participants have said Ray chided them for wanting to leave, even as people were vomiting, getting burned by hot rocks and lying unconscious on the ground.”

— by Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press Writer

James Arthur Ray in 2008

  • Tells Fortune magazine that his goal is $21 million a year
  • Claims to be “not aware” of any limits to his financial success

James Arthur Ray in 2009

  • Claims an estimated $10 million in revenue
  • $1,000,000+ advance for book, “Harmonic Wealth” a New York Times Bestseller, May 2008

James Arthur Ray in 2010

  • Held on $5 million dollar bond for manslaughter charges for the deaths of three people in a “Spirit Warrior” sweat lodge therapy session
  • Faces 12 1/2 years for  each death
  • Has a net worth of negative $4.2 million
  • Has liabilities of more than $8.5 million — and you have to love this —
  • “much of which was unexplained in a statement of net worth.”

Dog’s Amazing Hearing from Bark magazine

February 7, 2010

Even during the quiet hours of the night, the world is a noisy place for dogs, who can hear the high-frequency pulse of the crystal resonator used in digital alarm clocks and the bodily vibrations of termites in the walls.

Bark, Feb./March 2010

New Treatment Options for Dogs with Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors?

February 4, 2010

Katie Drummond reports on AOL News that a gene for obsessive-compulsive disorder may have been located in certain dog breeds.

My initial reactions are these: 1.) The concept that a gene “causes” a behavior is, at best, an over-simplification (see Richard Dawkins, et. al). So Ms. Drummond’s lede follows the incorrect pattern of most science writing on this subject. 2.) Surely there exists a more pleasant, more flattering photo of Katie Drummond (left). And 3.) I didn’t know that AOL was still around. Amazing.

But I am a huge fan of Dr. Nicholas Dodman and a long-time subscriber to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University’s newsletter Your Dog. If you’re serious about keeping up to date on issues of canine health and training there is simply no better monthly newsletter out there.

What this really means is now that a relationship between the existence of this gene and the obsessive-compulsive behavior in some breeds has been identified it will open up more treatment options. And the possibility that this link may lead to a similar finding in the human genome.

This is, potentially, a breakthrough achievement and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that it comes from Dr. Dodman and his colleagues at the Cummings School.

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