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©2001 Andy J. W. Affleck
Saturday, September 22, 2001 PM)

Scientific American: A Precursor of RNA?

Scientists generally assume that life started in an "RNA world." But because four-carbon sugars like threose can be made from two identical two-carbon units, TNA or related polymers maybe developed more easily. Thus, TNA and its relatives could have been the precursors of RNA on primitive Earth.
(11:50 PM)

ResearchBuzz(11:44 PM)

( blogdex )

blogdex is a system built to harness the power of personal news, amalgamating and organizing personal news content into one navigable source, moving democratic media to the masses. at current, blogdex is focused on the referential information provided by personal content, namely using the timeliness of weblogs to find important and interesting content on the web.
(11:37 PM)

Apple's Silent Contribution

"Out thoughts are with those who were affected by the recent tragic events" says Apple's home page along with a link to the American Red Cross. Any statement like this from a company is usually either a show that there are really humans working there, or just a crass attempt at commercialism in disguise. In this case, there's more to the story.
(11:33 PM)

David Letterman, September 17, 2001:

And it's very simple... there is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous, because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.
(10:44 PM)

Moo! Last night Jack picked up a stuffed cow, walked over to Ann and announced "Moo!" to her. It was quite a scene! Now his words are "Abba" (his version of "Robin," our cat, which he uses for all animals), "meow" which is exactly what you think it is, and "addah" which he says whenever he drops something. We think it might be his attempt at "All done" but we're not sure.(10:25 PM)

James ( is probably my favorite band (my tastes in music is so eclectic that it is often hard to pin down, but more often than not, I return to James again and again). I first discovered them after they'd been around about 10 years with their CD Laid which I first listened to on my wife's birthday in 1995 when we were first dating. I just got the import of their new CD "Pleased to Meet You" and am 4 tracks in and love it so far despite what this review says. :) (10:20 PM)

Friday, September 21, 2001
Jon Stewart's opening monologue on the return of the Daily Show yesterday

The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center and now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that.
(11:19 PM)

Weblog Accessibility. This is a primer on making weblogs accessible. As I wrote yesterday, this is very important, especially since the idea behind weblogs is the sharing of information. Why would you want to restrict access to those ideas? I welcome any comments on the article so that I may improve it.(10:07 AM)

Thursday, September 20, 2001
Well, that's embarassing...
The most recent website that I've designed is now live. It's and is the central website in the Federal Government for disability-related information. Right now, the amount of information there is somewhat limited but in the coming weeks and months it will grow to become an incredible resource. It will let people put in their zip codes and find out what resources are availble in their communities and a great deal more.

In designing the site, I had to become an overnight expert on Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, spefically §1194.22 which covers the accessibility of websites. And I learned an enormous amount. I read through (in painstaking detail) the Web Access Initiative's (WAI) guidelines (the WCAG) and ran the site through every checker I could. And it checks out (though I am going to be calling one person who had trouble with the site using a JAWS browser for the visually impaired to see what he ran into and what I can fix.)

So, what's so embarassing? This site. I just checked it in lynx for grins and giggles and found that none of my images use ALT tags. I do not provide a way to skip the repetetive navigation on the left (it's fine visually but imagine if you were trying t read this page in an audio reader, you'd have to sit through those links every time you reloaded your page), and the little symbols after each blog entry which indicate a way to permenantly link back to an entry are nonsense in readers. You get the idea. My site is poor in the area of accessibility and I promise to fix that as soon as I can.

I also want to put out a call to other webloggers to do the same. The whole idea behind weblogging is to share ideas and start discussion (and shameless self promotion sometimes too :) and it is flat out wrong to make it so that disabled users have a hard time getting to those ideas and discussions. Now that I think of it, I'll put together a quick set of guidelines for webloggers to make their sites accessible... watch this space for more...(11:57 AM)

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company¨

...[S]end your personal message to the families of the firefighters, rescue workers and police officers who gave their lives to save others in the tragic events of September 11th.

This is one of the most wonderful things I have seen in a long time.(8:07 AM)

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
The Infinite Matrix. (9:05 PM)

The Infinite Matrix | Bruce Sterling | Schism Matrix Intro. Author Bruce Sterling has a weblog now. Cool!(9:04 PM)

Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Letterman Leads Talk Show Hosts Back on the Air(9:34 PM)

I'm working outside on the patio today because it is gorgeous outside and these birds keep swooping by. It seems like hundreds but it's probably more like 20-30. When they go by it's an amazing sound -- very powerful.

Is anyone else a bit freaked when they hear a plane going overhead? I'm not scared, I'm just so not used to the sound at all! Very weird.(5:36 PM)

Designing a Networked Learning Environment - A working paper. Huh. I had no idea that I was credited with this. I was a research assistant on the project. I guess I can now add a "Published Papers" section to my resume! (I just emailed them to change my name to Affleck in the listing to match with my current alias :)(5:32 PM)

Monday, September 17, 2001
A quiet day. Oh, there's lots interesting on the net today and you will find much of it in the links down the left of this page. I'm just not feeling inspired to read much of it or to comment on it. I think I got overloaded and need to take it easy. That and today was quite a busy day which has also added to my feeling a bit burned out. So, I may start blogging tons tomorrow or I may be silent for a few days. Call it a break from last week. I know I'm not the only one who needs it.(10:36 PM)

Internet Surpasses Its Original Goal(10:32 PM)

Sunday, September 16, 2001
I'm taking the rest of the day off from the News, from the Internet, from blogging, etc. It's beautiful out, we're going to brunch at Dave and Damon's house (and their dog Diva who is Jack's best friend in the world :) and then maybe we'll swing out by Walden Pond to just enjoy the day. Tonight we'll put Jack to bed and watch Band of Brothers (which is, so far, amazing). This week it will feel strange to watch it given the events but life is starting to return to normal and I'm glad for that. Anyway, it's gorgeous outside and I just need to be away from it all for a time. See you tomorrow!(11:34 AM)

The Search for Intelligent Life Online ( AM)

Scobleizer:Don't mess with these 45 words

What is America all about, anyway? I note that our most-cherished freedoms are freedom of speech and freedom to practice whatever religion you want (or no religion at all). That's right at the top of the American Bill of Rights.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Parse those words. They are the most powerful words ever written.

(10:28 AM)

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