Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

What country is the top beer producer? Somehow, it’s China, which pumped out 17.1 percent of the world’s suds in 2003.

I guess there’s no better indicator of a booming economy than the output of brewed barley and hops.

The global beer-brewin’ lineup:

1. China
2. United States
3. Germany
4. Brazil
5. Russia
6. Mexico
7. Japan

This is the third post in less than a week that involves beer. This, from someone who doesn’t even particularly care for the stuff anymore.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 11:02pm
Category: General
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spell my name
Britney and her fandom are a match made in heaven. Judging from a sample Google log of the various misspellings of “Britney Spears” entered every day, they appear to be at least as stupid as she is.

I mean, if you love her so damned much, don’t you think you should learn to avoid typing out “brotney spears”?

(Thanks to Tian for the pic)

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 10:36pm
Category: Celebrity, Internet
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The November run to the White House is looking like another tight one, so both sides are looking for every edge they can find to reach all voting persuasions: Democrats, Republicans and undecideds. The obvious medium? Television, of course. But where on TV? On the shows each voter group favors, thereby giving campaign ads their most effective timeslots.

Let’s see what shows click with which political bent, as determined by research by Interactive Media Worldwide:

For Republicans:
“Everybody Loves Raymond”
“The Amazing Race”
“8 Simple Rules”
“Last Comic Standing”
“Without A Trace”

For Democrats:
“Will & Grace”
“Extreme Makeover”
“Judging Amy”
“For Love or Money”
“Crossing Jordan”

For undecideds:
“My Wife and Kids”
“Fear Factor”
“CSI: Miami”
“Who Wants to Marry My Dad?”

Hmmm… So basically, all three groups have one thing in common: All the shows they like suck. Suck hard.

Maybe the radicals are right: The two-party system is an illusion.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 10:12pm
Category: Politics, TV
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You’d have to be blind, or at least blind drunk, to not see how Clear Channel has built a classic vertical integration monopoly. After consolidating a sizable chunk of the radio spectrum, they established ownership in scores of entertainment venues (including Tampa’s Ford Amphitheatre), live-event production and promotion services, and advertising channels. All combined, this gives them a start-to-end control over the lion’s share of major concerts and non-league sporting events in the U.S.

There are perils in getting so sprawled out, though. Among them: Leaving yourself open to anti-trust lawsuits, not in the obvious radio industry, but in the almost-sideline business of motocross sport promotion.

“Clear Channel declaring victory in connection with Judge Kennelly’s ruling on Jam Sports’ antitrust case is like John Wayne Gacy saying he was exuberant he wasn’t also charged with rape,” Jerry Mickelson, the Chicago promoter who brought the suit, said in a telephone interview. “The record will show that Clear Channel’s strategy was to crush, kill and destroy Jam Sports, and their conduct, as shown by the evidence in this case, rivals that of Enron, MCI and Adelphia.”

Clear Channel, the scourge of the airwaves, being done in by a piddling lawsuit over dirt bikes? You never can tell. Remember, they nailed Al Capone on tax evasion; this seems an apt comparison.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 09:33pm
Category: Media
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moon unit
Speaking of Google (yet again; it’s been a Googlish day here at PopStat), they’re making some pretty bold future plans. Out-of-this-world plans, in fact.

The Google Copernicus Hosting Environment and Experiment in Search Engineering is looking for some intrepid software developers. Wanna relocate Moonside? Email them your resume.

They’ll have to compromise their obsession with fraction-of-a-second page load times when they operate from Luna. The distance between Earth and its satellite is about 1 lightsecond, so any transmission between them has a built-in delay.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 08:44pm
Category: Comedy, Internet
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For those of you who couldn’t get enough of all those Olympics-inspired Google logos, all 14 of them are stored here.

It’s nice that they went so gung-ho over the Games, but a different logo each day… Seems like overkill. I have a nasty suspicion that this is where all that IPO money went.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 08:12pm
Category: Internet
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The 2004 World Cup of Hockey (excuse me — the 2004 Toyota World Cup of Hockey; what can you do…). On ESPN/ESPN2 for most of the next two weeks.

I’m all set, thanks.

I’d love to be able to take off a few weekday afternoons and catch the 1PM games. That’s not going to happen, unfortunately. But I’ll take all I can get during the evenings and weekends.

I’d like to link to the local paper‘s great full-page color package for the World Cup, which ran yesterday. However, inexplicably, there’s no trace of it online.

I’m sure plenty of NHL fans are drinking in this tournament with the possibility of a lockout in September in mind. Personally, I’m not looking at it that way; I’m still optimistic about a CBA being forged in time. Regardless, all that matters right now is what’s on the ice.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 07:43pm
Category: Hockey
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Google has once again loaded me up with some Gmail invitations. Because I’ve already doled out as many to my friends as they want, I’m going to release 2 of them into the wild.

But I’m going to make you blog-reading monkeys dance for your precious Gmail addresses. So here are the rules; if you don’t follow them to the letter, you don’t get no Gmail no-how (read that line again before you send me a whiney plea, which will summarily be disregarded):

1. Write down the funniest joke you know, in the form of an entry on your blog.
2. Trackback that entry to this post (trackback URL: http://www.populationstatistic.com/archives/2004/08/31/gmail-invite-make-me-laugh/trackback/); or, if your blog is set up to do it, pingback that entry to this post.
3. Cross your fingers.

That’s it. Obviously, you need to have a blog of your own, with trackback or pingback capability, to enter your joke. If you don’t have that, you can’t play.

If you’re so hungry for a Gmail account that this inspires you to start up a blog, more power to you! Also, if you already have a blog but no trackback, you can set up that capability with a free HaloScan account.

Feel free to enter as many times as you want. This means, of course, that you’ll have to make multiple joke posts on your blog, and have each one trackbacked or pingbacked here. It’s your blog space, not mine!

The two best jokes will win. I decide which are the two best. If you think you have some insight to what I think is funny (and not funny), perhaps from reading this blog, you might have a leg up on the competition. Maybe. Pitch your jokes wisely.

All jokes must be trackbacked or pingbacked here by this Friday, September 3rd, at midnight EST time. I’ll announce the two winners on that following Monday, September 6th.

Let me repeat: ONLY TRACKBACKS OR PINGBACKS FROM JOKE-TELLING POSTS ON OTHER BLOGS WILL COUNT. So don’t leave a comment with a joke, and don’t email me with a joke. Those entries will be disregarded, and you’ll have wasted your time.

Now go ahead, make me laugh for your Gmail!

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 11:54am
Category: Internet
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Monday, August 30, 2021

RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) is what all the cool kids are using to power their way through the Web. Uber-geeks use RSS readers to get the lowdown on hundreds of websites in only a few minutes.

In fact, some hardcore users are so hooked on their readers that they won’t even look at a website unless it’s got an RSS (or comparable XML, Atom or similar) feed. Which begs the question: Is a website fully-functional if it doesn’t sport a web feed? More to the point for the cutting edge of Web content creation, is a blog truly a blog if it doesn’t have a feed?

Granted, a blog, conceptually, is nothing more than a web page (most likely maintained via some sort of content mangement system). But while I’m interested in what these bloggers have to say, without an RSS feed, I’m unlikely to visit their blogs again, unless I happen upon them linked from someplace else. My mode of interaction with the Internet has changed so drastically over the last 2 years that, without a feed, they’re barely on my radar screen. Which raises the question: at this point, is it a blog if it doesn’t come in RSS? I’m tempted to say no.

Obviously, Greg Gershman at Blogdigger is biased, as his whole business model depends on the promotion of Web syndication feeds. But his view is shared by plenty of others.

Personally, I’ve only dabbled with newsreaders, and don’t find them to particularly enhance my online time. But others consider them indispensible. Any thoughts out there?

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/30/2004 11:56pm
Category: Bloggin'
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Sometimes I feel kinda old at 33. But I can take solace in the fact that I’m younger than the Internet, which turns the ripe old age of 35 this October. (The official date is October 29th, when UCLA will have an anniversary celebration; save the date!)

This nice timeline graphic shows off some impressive milestones in Net history, including:

1979 - Birth of emoticons.
1980 - First virus-induced crash.
1985 - First domain name (symbolics.com) registered.
1994 - First spam email and banner ad.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over three decades of cyber-fun, especially considering that the commercial World Wide Web has been around (depending on how you define it) for only about ten years. It really illustrates how young the whole medium still is (but not as young as me!).

Six degrees of separation time: I got to meet one of the fathers of the Internet. When I was working for Luntz, Suleiman & Associates a few years back, I talked a few times with Len Kleinrock, who was then looking for help in launching his Nomadix venture. While Vin Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee get the most mention as Internet pioneers, Kleinrock’s role in developing it was just as crucial.

Len’s a nice guy, sort of the typical absent-minded professor type. He even related to me the story of the first-ever message sent via the Net, which caused the whole system (then confined to just two computers) to crash midway through. One additional tidbit: The two computers involved were actually in the same room, connected to one another by a cable.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/30/2004 11:38pm
Category: Internet
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e to the c
When your school’s international notoriety makes the front page of the New York Times, you’ve just gotta respond.

Just remember, there’s no such thing as bad press:

[Eckerd College President] Eastman saw a positive side. He said higher education colleagues across the nation congratulated him for getting Eckerd recognized as the leader in overseas studies and for creating a new policy on the issue.

But some chafed at knowing a national audience was learning about past missteps. Others seemed to be in denial. Some alumni from the 1970s called and sent e-mails to Eastman insisting they had never misbehaved like that while in college.

“Is that so?” he asked them. “I’ve heard a little bit differently about your class.”

Great closing quote by the Prez. I can’t comment specifically on the Classes of the ’70s, but I know that by the time I got there in ’89, there was nothing tame about Eckerd’s campus life. Let’s just say that, even discounting whatever happened before or after enrollment, there’s plenty of blackmail material to make EC grads of that era think twice before running for office.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/30/2004 10:29pm
Category: Florida Livin'
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It’s 25 years into the future, unfortunately. This, despite the best efforts of NASA, Moller International and Boeing’s Phantom Works division.

At this point, it doesn’t matter. All that stuff — flying cars, Moon condos, teleportation — is part of our old future. It was supposed to be here when the year 2000 rolled around. That didn’t happen, so it would be anticlimactic now.

By the way: Is it even possible to mention the concept of flying cars without “The Jetsons” coming up?

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/30/2004 10:15pm
Category: Pop Culture, Tech
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My friend Kirby tipped me off about a billboard in Tampa that’s hawking something called “Booty Beer”.

I haven’t seen the billboard myself, and haven’t had a chance to grill Kirb for more information. However, a quicky web search uncovered Buccaneer Brewing Co. as a likely candidate. Their product tagline says it all: “A little booty in every bottle”.

Admittedly, it’s not the definition of “booty” that I had in mind. But I’m sure the brewers are well aware of the double entendre related to another word for pirate treasure. If nothing else, they’re hoping for a high volume in novelty sales.

Buccaneer Lager (or Buccaneer Beer, or whatever) is due to flow in November, making it even more likely that it’s being preceded by plenty of advertising. Targeting the Tampa Bay area with a Buccaneer-monikered brew also makes a lot of sense, given the built-in fanbase of the Tampa Bay Bucs (and secondarily, the annual Gasparilla celebration). Football and beer just plain go together! So much so, in fact, that unless Buccaneer Brewing has an agreement in place with the local NFL club, they could be risking a legal tussle. While there’s an ample amount of Bay area businesses that have adopted the Buccaneer name, many for decades, the football team could persuasively argue that a beer product is closely enough related to their core business and customer base that it would constitute infringement on their trademarks. Again, Buccaneer Brewing would be smart to take care of this ahead of time, rather than going in blind (and perhaps counting on it’s headquarters being in the Bahamas as some sort of protection).

UPDATE (9/1/04): As Matt informed me in the feedback (and Kirby earlier related to me on the phone), I missed the mark: There is indeed a Bootie Beer, and it looks like it’s more in the spirit I originally envisioned. It’s all in the spelling.

I’d look deeper into the Bootie brew, but I don’t feel like struggling through the annoying Flash site. I imagine I can fill in the blanks, sight unseen.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/30/2004 05:16pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Florida Livin', Football
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Sunday, August 29, 2021

eau de SUV
If you’re going to drive a gas-guzzling behemoth, you might as well smell like one: Hummer Fragrance for Men, $52 a pop, coming this fall.

I appreciate the truck-inspired design of the bottle. But in keeping with the spirit of its fuel-inefficient namesake, wouldn’t a more appropriate container be, like, 50 times the size of the one above, while still holding the same 2 ounces of liquid?

I’m sure that blend of thyme, fir, cardamom and sandalwood will have the chicks crawling all over your dashboard. The marketing taglines are coming at me hard and fast:

“Wear Hummer to get a hummer.”
“Hummer. For himmer.”
“Sport your utility.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 11:54pm
Category: General
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The Athens Olympiad is over, and as has been the case since the end of the Cold War, the United States won the medal count (not exactly handily, but respectably enough).

U-S-A! U-S-A!

But it’s kind of boring having America come out on top every four years. And the U.S. wasn’t the only federation competing in Athens. So, inspired by Noumenon’s mid-Games speculation, here’s the revised medal totals, adding up the results of all the current European Union member states:

Gold Silver Bronze TOT
EU 88 102 107 297
USA 35 39 29 103
Russia 27 27 38 92
China 32 17 14 63
Australia 17 16 16 49

Clearly, the Euros are the true winners!

Yeah, yeah, I know. If the EU actually had a unified team, it wouldn’t have as many athletes competing, etc. etc. But hey, why claim to be a superstate when you still field separate Olympic teams? Either unify under the EU flag, or else let the U.S. enter 50 teams.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 10:27pm
Category: Sports
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A quick snapshot of me-time magazines I’ll be reading over the next month (so far):

- GQ
- Esquire
- Clear
- Wired

Notice how the September GQ dwarfs the other three. Fall marks the start of the fashion season, so GQ plumps up accordingly. It’s sick to think how much money Conde is making just from that one issue.

Clear was an impulse buy, an extremely pretty mag with a translucent cover wrap and gorgeously slick, heavy bond paper that really shows off the interior color. I’m surprised it’s got such a relatively low cover price ($7); I guess the ad rates allow it.

This is far from the total magazine consumption I’ll be doing this month; it’s more like the appetizer. Between work and play, my eyeballs will glide across too many pages to count. But the first wave is always exciting.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 09:20pm
Category: Publishing
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most amusing
What is it about email spam that inspires creative output? Is it its sheer ubiquity? Its charm, patently false but still containing a grain of enticement?

Even though we’re probably better off not acknowledging it at all, spam has already launched a couple of artsy endeavours. That meme continues with Spamusement!, Steven Frank’s outlet for some poorly-drawn (by his own admission) interpretations of spam comment lines.

Personally, I think his stab at “An iPod is waiting for you” missed the mark. I envision something more like an anthropomorphized iPod, leaning with arm extended on a streetlamp somewhere, impatiently drumming its fingers. I’d draw it, but I’m not much of an artiste; maybe some guy in an iPod costume could pose for me.

With all the filters on my email accounts at home and at work, I don’t get very much spam, so I probably don’t have enough raw material to forge art from it. Others aren’t quite so deprived.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 08:58pm
Category: Internet, iPod
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on which to poop
I just spent the past couple of hours watching “The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog”.

Laughed my ass off, as expected. If anything, this DVD exceeds expectations; just about every Triumph appearance from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” is on here (although I know it’s not definitively complete). My only gripe is the odd way they arranged the content: For some reason, they present a sort of highlight lineup of seven segments, then shunt the rest of the clips into the Extras menu. It doesn’t make any sense, because, for instance, the first two Westminster Dog Show segments are in the main lineup, but the third one is placed in the “More Poop” tabs. Go figure.

My thorough enjoyment of the disc made up for the hassle in trying to locate a copy. I could have just ordered it online, but I wanted it now, not a week from now. So here’s where I went:

- Target. The closest and most convenient discounter in my neighborhood. They were either sold out, or weren’t carrying it at all. Bummer.

- Walmart. My first-ever visit to Walmart! No, not really; but it certainly felt like it, because I don’t think I’ve stepped inside one more than twice in the last five years (and never visited it very much in my entire lifetime).

How is this possible in today’s America? I’m certainly not averse to dropping cash at one of these monstro-marts (see above). I guess I live in one of the rare patches of land where there is no Walmart location that’s particularly convenient for me; this store is in a part of town that I never normally frequent, and so it’s just not someplace I need to visit. I haven’t felt deprived over it, believe me.

It was about what I expected for a Saturday afternoon: Choked with people pushing their carts full of crap into each other. I thought this location was, at some point, the largest Walmart in Florida. If that ever was the case, it no longer is; but it’s still pretty sprawling. Not sprawling enough to hold a copy of the Triumph DVD, though! Foiled again, and feeling mildly pissed that I wasted my time.

It was late Saturday afternoon by now, so I was screwed: No Triumph for me until today at…

- Best Buy. Jackpot! Found the disc here, discounted even. I should have gone to Best Buy first; the only reason I didn’t was that I had hoped to avoid crossing the bridge into Tampa to get there (it’s the closest one to me, factoring in Pinellas traffic).

Interesting sidenote: The $5.99-bargain DVD display was dominated, in my eye, by about 50 copies of Apt Pupil. I almost bought a copy, motivated by equal doses of curiosity and pity. But I’d never seen the flick (always meant to), and I couldn’t recall the critical acclaim for it, or lack thereof. So I passed.

And then I came home, got about 90 minutes of sun, then fired up the DVD player. Fun-fun!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 08:23pm
Category: Comedy, Movies, TV
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For the record: There is no official color for the mesh on nets used in U.S. Tennis Association play, suprisingly enough.

According to the official 2004 USTA regulations (otherwise known as Friend at Court), various other elements of the game have exacting specifications. This includes the types and makes of ball (revised annually), the types of playing surfaces, and even the strap and band of the net:

(Page 7) The net shall be fully extended so that it completely fills the space between the two net posts and it must be of sufficiently small mesh to ensure that a ball cannot pass through it. The height of the net shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) at the centre, where it shall be held down tightly by a strap. A band shall cover the cord or metal cable and the top of the net. The strap and band shall be completely white.

- The maximum diameter of the cord or metal cable shall be one-third inch (0.8 cm).
- The maximum width of the strap shall be 2 inches (5 cm).
- The band shall be between 2 inches (5 cm) and 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) deep on each side.

So the strap and band must be completely white, and the mesh must be small enough to not allow a ball to pass through. But actual color specifications for the mesh aren’t mentioned, leaving it wide open. I know I’ve seen darker-colored mesh during tournament matches, but don’t recall specific consistency.

Why no codified color for the mesh? It could be due to the USTA’s provisions for advertising:

(Page 38) 1. Advertising is permitted on the net as long as it is placed on the part of the net that is within 3 feet (0.914 m) from the net posts and is produced in such a way that it does not interfere with the vision of the players or the playing conditions…

4. Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) above, any advertising, marks or material placed on the net or placed at the back and sides of the court, or on the court surface outside the lines may not contain white or yellow or other light colours that may interfere with the vision of the players or the playing conditions.

Ad placement on the mesh obviously would negate any officially-defined color scheme, so I guess the USTA doesn’t bother with it. The prohibition of white or yellow is the extent of it, and since those colors wouldn’t show up very well on a mesh (especially on television), I doubt advertisers would want to use them anyway. I don’t recall seeing any ads on the mesh, but then I rarely watch tennis.

The inspiration for this? My friend JC just called asking for this information, in hopes of settling a bet. I think he lost, or at best pushed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 12:33pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Sports
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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Imagine my surprise when my Technorati stats revealed that the one and only, cold-blooded Jason at Negro, Please tossed me some linkage yesterday!

I have my iPod obsession and the NY Times to thank for attracting this attention.

This is no slight to the regular core of cyber-buddies who regularly link to, comment on and just plain visit this site; as always, it’s mucho appreciado. But from what I can discern — and maybe others have a better grip on the blogosphere food chain than I do — Jason is among the more famous bloggers out there. So this is indeed a hallowed moment.

I’m a bit jealous of Negro, Please’s graphical design elements, especially the level meters and the track-cutting DJ. Less so of the text fields, but that’s just me. I’m not crazy about the TypeKey requirement for leaving a comment, but I suspect that it’s necessary due to the expected flack the blog’s name attracts.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/28/2004 06:44pm
Category: Bloggin', iPod
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The majority of you won’t care, but I’ve made a few little cosmetic changes here this afternoon. Primary ones involved the links on the left, both adding some in and placing several of those rad-cool blog buttons to serve as link markers (I’ve long shunned those skinny little images, and still think it’s too easy to go overboard with them, but they work in small doses).

Lots more tinkering ahead, both visible and (mostly) invisible. I’m on no particular deadline here, so it’ll get done when it gets done.

I did want to give a shout-out to the resources that helped me with this latest round of refinement:

- Taylor McKnight and his big ol’ blog button collection, especially appreciated for the relative consistency of design.

- Chami/HTML-Kit’s FavIcon Generator, which made it ridiculously simple to create a favicon for this blog (if you’re reading this on IE, you may or may not be able to see it to the left of the URL in the address bar; if you’re reading this on a Mozilla-based browser, you likely can see it).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/28/2004 06:17pm
Category: Bloggin'
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