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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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The Market is a Force for Human Good

All hail Jane Jacobs, who believed in market forces.

Jane Jacobs, 89: Urban crusader.

Her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, became a bible for neighbourhood organizers and what she termed the “foot people”.

It made the case against the utopian planning culture of the times — residential high-rise development, expressways through city hearts, slum clearances, and desolate downtowns.

She believed that residential and commercial activity should be in the same place, that the safest neighbourhoods teem with life, short winding streets are better than long straight ones, low-rise housing is better than impersonal towers, that a neighbourhood is where people talk to one another. She liked the small-scale.

Not everyone agreed. Her arch-critic, Lewis Mumford, called her vision “higgledy-piggledy unplanned casualness.”

Mrs. Jacobs was seen by many of her supporters — mistakenly — as left-wing. Not so.

Her views embraced the marketplace, supported privatization of utilities, frowned on subsidies, and detested the intrusions of government, big or small.

Nor was she right-wing.

In fact, she had no time for ideology.

On the Same Day, Live Birth Version

Longtime readers will remember my fascination with unrelated people who happen to die on the same day, being forever linked. Here's a twist on that: Katies Holems, the wife of Tom Cruise, psycho, and the person Cruise criticized for being treated for post-partum depression, Brooke Shields, had babies on the same day. The Contra Costa Times ruminates on possible play dates:

Who would've known that, the same day the patron saint of the drug-free manic became a father again, so would his arch-nemesis, the evil queen of mind-altered, postpartum depression-recovery.

Irony ... or mere coincidence?

While the world was atwitter over Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes having their daughter Tuesday, actress Brooke Shields gave birth to her second child, daughter Grier Hammond Henchy.

The baby weighed 7 pounds and measured 20 inches when delivered in Los Angeles. Shields and husband Chris Henchy already have a daughter, Rowan, who will be 3 next month.

Fun With Crap in the New York Times Stylesheet

I always like reading the stylesheets for websites-- they are windows into the attitude and personality of the site developer. To find a stylesheet, just right-click inside the window of any site and choose "View Source". Then do a search for "css". It's always in the head (or beginning) of the document. Here's the head for the New York Times (CSS file is in bold):

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<title>The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia</title>
<meta  http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"/>

<meta  http-equiv="Refresh" content="900"/>

<meta  http-equiv="Expires" content="0"/>

<meta  http-equiv="Pragma" content="no-cache"/>

<meta  name="robots" content="noarchive"/>

<meta  name="description" content="Find breaking news, multimedia, reviews & opinion on Washington, business, sports, movies, travel, books, jobs, education, real estate, cars & more."/>

<meta  name="keywords" content="null"/>


<link rel="alternate" TYPE="application/rss+xml" TITLE="RSS" HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/services/xml/rss/nyt/HomePage.xml"/>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/css/common/global.css" />
<style type="text/css">
@import url(http://graphics8.nytimes.com/css/home/screen/general.css);
<script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/js/Tacoda_AMS_DDC_Header.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/js/common/screen/DropDown.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/js/home/screen/common.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/js/common.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/js/fileit.js"></script>

Once you find the css file, copy/ paste the path into the browser window and see the code that controls how the site is laid out.

So I looked at the NYT stylesheet. Regular stuff-- it shows the author, the version, etc. At the bottom, though, is this:

/* move this crap to section front if needed, what a mess... - James

ul, ol {
padding-left: 0px;
margin-left: 18px;
_margin-left: 22px;


Judging from their recent redesign (including the extra-wide 980 pixel layout), not a mess at all.


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.