Have you seen the Outhouse Springs billboards? I've been seeing them in the Charlotte area for a while now. I also saw them in Charleston (SC) when we were there in July for the 4th. But I never could remember to look up the company. Surely these things weren't real. Slogans like "We're #1, not #2" and "People Love Us, but They Won't Shake our Hands" - no way would someone even try to pull that off.

Speaking of ethics - the Internet certainly isn't the only place we're faced with such decisions.

The last two days, I've talked about Internet Ethics. I don't know that there's much more that I can say on that side of the subject. However, today's technology does offer one more avenue to address, this time from the other side of the equation. That avenue is prevention.

Yesterday, I wrote about the ethics of screen scraping, specifically as it relates to David Thomson's Tapestry. Speaking of which, David also spoke out on the same subject.

I was having a conversation with Tony Sumrall about the ethics of publishing a feed of comic strips. Since the syndicates themselves have decided against sending comics by email (at least decided against doing it for free), do we have the right to grab the image URL from their pages and create a feed of those URLs? Let's look and see.

From the comics.com terms of use: For purposes of this Agreement, the use of any UM Materials on any other web site or networked computer environment is prohibited.

In Florida, members of a class action suit against Microsoft stand to gain vouchers (towards the purchase of Microsoft products, no less) valued at a whopping $5-12 per product. Gee, that was worth it. $12? If you can sign up online or elsewhere that doesn't require much effort and not do anything else, then a $12 check would be nice. But if you have to take more than 5 minutes, it's a waste. Especially since you have to go out and buy more Microsoft products - products which typically cost a great deal more than $5-12.

Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for governor of California.

Jerry Springer thought of a return to politics (he was already the mayor of Cincinnati in the 1970s). He has currently decided against it.

Ronald Reagan was not only the governor of California, he was the 40th president of the United States. Sonny Bono became a US Congressman. Fred Grandy (that's Gopher from the Love Boat, folks) was a Representative for the State of Iowa. Heck, even Ben Jones (that's Cooter from the Dukes of Hazzard) served two terms in Congress for the state of Georgia. Crazy Cooter - a Congressman!

Andy Warhol once said "every person will be world-famous for fifteen minutes". This phrase was truly prophetic. Some 20 years before The Real World, and 30 years before Survivor and Fear Factor, well before we ever heard of Darva Conger, Regis Philbin or Simon Cowell, this eccentric artist predicted it all.

Credit cards, checks and debit cards allow the tracking of our every movement.

Many grocery stores have customer loyalty cards which exist more to track our purchases than offer us savings. Think about it - who would offer you discounts if they didn't get anything out of it? Sure, there's a bit of loyalty, which means it's not a complete lie - but the true advantage comes in finding out what you are purchasing, how much you'll pay for it, when you like to purchase and how often you make purchases.

These days we see the selling of naming rights on sports venues, there are ads on the floors of supermarkets, athletes have fast food for their official restaurants, a computer geek can rent space on his chest, a film student can give away space on hers and people in London are apparently advertising on their foreheads.

Mentions of state budgets recently talk about deficits in the billions of dollars. Heard the other day on the radio that California alone is looking at a $38 billion shortfall. Airlines are losing billions of dollars a quarter. The US national debt is nearing $7 trillion.

An article in the local paper mentions Bernie Ebbers' $400 million loan from his former employer, Worldcom. Yes, that Worldcom. Is it no wonder that they're in the toilet? They loan someone $400 million for stuff like a yacht building company and a 500,000 acre ranch (that's five hundred thousand, folks) and no one notices?

Customers ask for your assistance with issue X. You disrupt your life to make things work for them and do your best to present a smiling face all the while. You fix issue X and conveniently, since you're there, they decide to ask about issues Y and Z. Of course, this comes as a complete surprise to you.

Are people just morons?