January 15, 2009
Gallery of flash preloaders
When Macromedia Flash burst on the scene last century it ushered in a new world of online interactivity. It also introduced us all to the preloader...those little mini-animations that helped keep us entertained as we waited percentage point by percentage point for the flash movie to finish loading.
The vast majority of preloaders were non-descript and boring, but once in a while a preloader was above the pale.
January 11, 2009
Is disputing God false advertising?
Earlier this month buses starting appearing around the UK with ads bearing this provocative message...
""There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.""
The ads are the brainchild of British comedienne Ariane Sherine, who says she got tired of seeing religious ads that threaten non-believers with eternal damnation. Volunteers quickly kicked in the £140,000 cost, and the signs started popping up on buses and in tube stations from Glasgow to London.
Not surprisingly, many religious groups have taken offense to the ads(*), and this is where things get interesting. A number of groups have filed formal complaints with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority, saying that an ad denying God's existence amounts to false advertising. (Atheists have been saying the same thing about religious ads for years, but evidently they never went through the formal complaint process).
Even though the ASA is not an official government agency, it holds significant influence in British society. Many organizations, such as municipal transit companies, will not accept ads that are not approved by the ASA. Which means the ASA, if it decides to act on the complaints, may end up having to make an official ruling on God's existence. The Telegraph newspaper's website has a story and video on the whole thing.
By the way, atheist bus ads appears to be a growing movement around the world. The official Atheist Bus website is tracking the latest developments.
(*) In fairness, it needs to be said that many religious groups do not object to the signs, saying that they welcome the public thinking about God's place in their lives.
The spread of steroids in baseball
OK, I admit it, this one pushes all of my buttons...baseball, data analysis, visualization, and illegal drug use...but nevertheless you too may be interested in orgnet.com's analysis of the spread of steroids in Major League Baseball.
Using information from the 2007 Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball, orgnet.com graphed all of the players mentioned to see the inter-relationships among steroid users, dealers, and team-mates.