I had a request the other day for some more information on creating buttons without the use of images. Hopefully I can shed some more light on the process.

Not long ago, a group of 13 students from Middlebury College in Vermont purchased an old school bus and the equipment to convert it to use biofuel - to run the engine on some alternative to gasoline. In this case, they built it to run off of old cooking grease. That's right, used vegetable oil. The theory being that because most restaurant owners pay to have their used grease hauled away, they would happily allow a group of students such as this the chance to pump all they need. What do you know - the bus made the trip of 4500 miles from Vermont to Washington, powered mostly by used vegetable oil and the kindness of strangers' kitchens.

In the early 80s, three Texas counties opted out of the federal social security program. This does not mean that these counties stopped providing retirement benefits - in fact, the program apparently supplies not only retirement benefits at four times the rate of social security, but the program pays the premium on life and disability insurance as well.

Not long ago, I updated the format for the names of links. This wasn't terribly complex, but it does raise the question of how to deal with all those "old" pages. For instance, I see an increasing number of people hitting my page on The Angler Fish (now on the first page of results at Google!). Unfortunately, they are using the old URL to access it.

The other day, I mentioned that we bought some binoculars. They came in, and they are a nice enough set. But they don't really magnify much. Useful for the football game, perhaps. For viewing Mars? Not so good. But that's okay. A measly 7x when you're talking about an object that's still 35 million miles away just isn't going to work. Oh, you mean it looks like it's only 5 million miles away now? Shibby!

Not long ago, a teenager was arrested at Logan International Airport in Boston for what can only be described as a joke in poor taste. The teenager, you see, had seen fit to leave a profanity-laced note in his bag, which when found by TSA screeners, apparently caused no end of anxiety. Why? The note contained the word bomb.

It seems that the current fad is to buy, buy, buy. Everywhere there are houses that are bigger - though the yards are smaller, and often non-existent. Did you know that here in Charlotte we have townhomes that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Cars these days are either monstrous SUVs or pricey models from the upscale division of normal car manufacturers. Heck, even the normal cars see ever-increasing sticker prices.

The fun continues over at the ProjectNameProposals page. 20 names are currently up for consideration. Don't be intimidated, though. It seems that only a few names are really getting any lively discussion. The thing about the Wiki is that you don't really know what this means. Is anyone reading? Does anyone care?

Now that you've designed your blog, should you syndicate it? Syndication, while it sounds somewhat intimidating, really means nothing more than making your site available in a slightly different format so that it can be processed and read more efficiently. In the most basic sense, a web page itself is, in fact, syndication - you are providing data, and that data is wrapped in a formatting language (HTML/XHTML) that tells a browser how to display the data.

This week, we've got DHTML Lemmings (unfortunately offline)! Now this is impressive - the game Lemmings, apparently in its entirety, all online in your browser. Damn. In case you haven't played the original in a while (and who has?), you can find walkthroughs and other tips at The Lemmings Compendium. No longer updated, but still online. Thanks to rOD Begbie for the links.

In July of 2000, Mike Jackson wrote a piece for the Charlotte Business Journal about the impending arena vote. At the time, the referendum was a bit of a fantasy, as there was no such referendum on the horizon. As you may already know, the referendum ended badly for those in support of the arena.

The editorial includes several quotes from city councilwoman Lynn Wheeler. Some examples, you say? If the public is not allowed to vote, then we seriously erode the public's confidence in the elected officials and the process. Sounds pretty good, right? Sure it does. Then how does she explain this one? As a council we may have to make that decision ourselves. If there is confidence in the public, and the public is given an opportunity, where is there room for the council to make that decision themselves? The room is when they don't like what the public says.