Burning the non-wicker Man: I don't know if I got around to mentioning Current TV's "TV Free Burning Man" podcasts, even though the only thinly tolerable remake of The Wicker Man came out right before the Burning Man festival. Current TV is a tiny little cable station, only shown in a handful of places, that specializes in podcasts, and they sent a team out to Black Rock City to do a daily 6 to 8 minute podcast from this year's Burning Man festival. They finally got the last of the episodes up on their website, and you know what? If you have ever wondered what Burning Man is? Or more importantly, if you think you "get" Burning Man but you're not sure? What you've got up on that site is roughly an hour's worth of broadcast, and if you watch it, then you will truly "get" Burning Man, because they do get it. As someone who Burned about 7 years ago, and who had massive nostalgia attacks watching their podcasts, let me tell you flat out that no broadcast journalists I've seen yet have understood the point of Burning Man as much as this team does, nor have the few print journalists who've tried done it as much justice.
Told You So about the Secret CIA Prisons: When the White House went after the whistleblowers on the CIA's very illegal secret torture facilities all over the former Warsaw Pact, I told you that the fact that they were going after somebody for leaking it was, in fact, itself a leak. Now, it wasn't much of a leak. Amateur plane-spotters had long, long ago used their worldwide-web databases to track the tailfin numbers of the CIA's front-company planes, and we knew where those planes were leaving from, when, with whom, and where they were ending up. But I argued at the time that the minute that George Bush complained that the whistleblowers had endangered national security by exposing a secret program, that was the secret program's first official acknowledgement. When I said this, several people claimed that no, it was nothing of the sort: he could have meant that it was endangering national security to claim this whether it was true or not. I said that was incompatible with the way he was saying it. Doubtless some of you thought that was "part of the coverup" or somehow proof of his competence or subtlety. Do you still think so now, that, this week, he's announced that they shut down the secret prisons in the Warsaw Pact countries that the CIA was running, praised the CIA for using "rough questioning" techniques on those prisoners, and that he's now transfered them all to our gulag at Guantanamo Bay?
A Good Weekend to Play Auto Assault: Since I hear that City of Heroes/City of Villains' "double-XP" weekend was a huge successful "draw them back in" event, the team on Auto Assault have decided to do their own loyalty-reward event. They're not doubling XP gain, though. Frankly, that would be silly. Especially after Update 2, which simplified the heck out of the first roughly 8 or 9 levels of the game and gives out about 4 or 5 levels' worth of free XP; if you ever thought leveling was hard in Auto Assault, well, for one thing you blow my mind, but for another, try it again. So what are they doing instead of doubling the XP? Doubling the "loot" dropped by NPCs. So not only will everybody who plays between noon Friday and noon Monday (US Central time) make in-game money like a bandit, your odds of getting an "uber" weapon or chassis or whatever to help you level up with or to help you in tournaments just doubled.