- New York Times: Who’s on the Line? Increasingly, Caller ID Is Duped
Telemarketers are faking Caller ID information with apparent impunity, so that people believe that the IRS or the FBI is calling. (Just like spam!) The FTC has just filed their first complaint against a company for doing that. The FCC wouldn't comment as to what they're doing about it.
- Wikipedia: List of nicknames of United States presidents
John Tyler, Rutherford B. Hayes, Warren G. Harding, and Richard Nixon are the only former U.S. presidents who did not have a (non-derisory) nickname as president. ("Tricky Dick," for instance, doesn't make the cut.) President Obama does not yet have a nickname and, given how unusual his name is, I suspect he won't get one. The heyday of nicknames was the early 20th century, when a few popular given names reigned supreme—when three friends are all named "Michael," nicknaming is inevitable. The most popular names today are far less common than a century ago, making nicknames linguistically unnecessary.
- The Atlantic: What If the Law Required Campaign Contributions to Be Kept Secret?
If the process of collecting, tallying, and refunding campaign contributions was turned over to a blind trust, the effect on politics could be quite positive. Lawrence Lessig argues that it would become implausible to buy influence.
- W3C: Personal names around the world
The World Wide Web Consortium has put together this great document about how people's names differ globally, and the implications of those differences on website and database development. I've long preferred simply providing a "name" field—none of this "first name" "last name" business—and this reassures me that this is the right path. Even folks not interested in website development would find the first half of this pretty interesting.
- ConceivablyTech: IE Falls Below 40% Market Share For The First Time Since 1998
The last time so few people used Internet Explorer, they were on version 4.0. This is a great sign of healthy competition in the browser market, something that really didn't exist after IE4 until just a few years ago.
- Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Center
This is a great little web app from Gallup, albeit one trapped in Flash without an API and lacking the ability to link to any data within it. They've got presidential approval data going back to Truman. Interestingly, Obama's popularity thus far mirrors most closely that of Reagan.