User-Centered URL Design touches on a meme I've noticed recently. I personally got frustrated with jakarta-struts and the fact that it required me to produce ugly URLs in my particular use-case. Russel has recently complained about ugly radio URLs.
The article references Tufte...
But despite the universality of URLs, we often forget that they're not just a handy way to address network resources. They're also valuable communication tools. They help orient users in your architecture, and can suggest whether other options are available.
In Edward Tufte's classic book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, he coins the term chartjunk to refer to needless visual flourishes that contribute nothing to the effectiveness of an information design in communicating to its audience. These days, our URLs are loaded down with something very similar: long strings of characters that exist only to satisfy some technical constraint, detracting from the effectiveness of our URLs as communication tools. Call it CMSjunk.