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I attended a conference last weekend in the aptly named Downers Grove, out in the suburban doughnut of strip malls and car dealerships that surrounds the city of Chicago and buffers it against the redneck sea. I used to live in the northern part of this doughnut, in a town called Glenview, next to a big naval air station. But the naval base has since been eaten by little starter mansions, and I…


Calm the Fuck Down

Dave Winer this morning:

Driving through Bush Country, looking Jewish with Massachusetts plates on my Lexus, I felt really self-conscious. 51 percent of the electorate looked the other way and re-elected a President who started a war with a far-away country that was no threat to the US. Why do people like me feel so scared of what this country…



I live these days as a permanent houseguest of my friend S., a stern-looking, white haired Russian Pushkinist. S. grew up as an expatriate in Czechoslovakia before making his way to Germany and then the United States.

In 1994, when the Republican Revolution took place, and there was much gnashing of teeth at Jesse Helms becoming chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, I remembering a…


Source Code for Language Guesser

I have made the source code for the Languid language guesser available in a module called, astonishingly, Language::Guess. Enjoy.

Documentation is forthcoming.

Thanks to everyone who tried out the language guesser, and thereby helped me debug it. I have added multiple language…


Election Day

Everyone is excited about the election, and websites are progressively going down under the traffic. From a technical point of view, this is amazing - it's 2004, and serving local cached copies of the same text file to millions of people should not be a challenge, particularly if you have some inkling that Nov. 2 could be a high-traffic date for your site.

Idle Words vows to stay up! <…

Idle Words

brevity is for the weak

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

Every Damn Thing

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Maciej Cegłowski


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