Critical Section

Archive: April 16, 2017

Easter!

Sunday,  04/16/17  01:29 PM

 

Happy Easter!
may you spend it peacefully with your family and those you love

 

 

space-ing out

Sunday,  04/16/17  04:39 PM

Happy Easter everyone, hope you're having a nice day.  I slept in, watched Amstel Gold (congratulations, Phillipe!, wow), and have been working away here quietly, awaiting the familial invasion a bit later.

While I was out not blogging there was a bunch of stuff that happened in and around space, so I thought I'd space out a little bit...

National Geographic: colonizing MarsNot least among the interesting space stuff, National Geographic published a phenomenal supplement on the subject of colonizing Mars.  Check it out in case you're thinking of going there :)

Astonishing video from NASA/JPL: Four days at Saturn.  Wow.  Yes, you must watch it full screen.

UranusFrom NASA: the Shakespearean Moons of Uranus.  I think sometimes Jupiter and Saturn get all the press, but Uranus is actually pretty amazing.  It has 27 [known] moons, including Oberon and Titania, which are larger than all of Saturn's moons other than Titan.  And Uranus does have rings like Saturn, and does have a bright spot like Jupiter.

Titan's methane lakesAnd speaking of Titan, it has liquid lakes! - but they're filled with methane, not water.  And yeah, they could support some weird "life".

If any more were needed: Another good reason to sail the seas of Titan.  (life!)

But just so you know: We're probably imagining aliens wrong.

I thought the aliens in Arrival were pretty cool.  From Stephen Wolfram: How might the Alien spacecraft work?

NASA's New Horizons set to explore the Kuiper Belt.  Cool!  This is an encore performance for the space probe, after having sent those incredibly detailed pictures of Pluto.  Onward!

Juno enters orbit around JupiterMeanwhile, after 1.7B miles, Juno nails its Jupiter orbit to within ten miles.  Pretty good shot :)  The burn time was 35 minutes, and it was off by one second.

Sadly: Juno was a success - but there is precious little coming after it.  "The party is just about over. NASA, and more particularly the Obama administration, have failed to invest in future planetary science missions."  It is my sense that like a lot of the Obama administration, NASA substituted PR for accomplishment.

Andoria - NASA's second favorite Star Trek planet (but it's a moon)From NASA: Top 10 Star Trek planets chosen by our scientists.  This would be cute if there were manned launches taking place every few months, but since we are now relying on Russian rockets to visit the ISS, it's pathetic.  I think NASA thinks we don't know the difference between what they should be doing and Star Trek.

PS their #1 was Vulcan, showing a shallow familiarity with the Star Trek universe...

PPS their #2 was Andoria, a good choice, but a moon, not a planet...

NASA fantasy: a moon-orbiting spaceportSee now this is just sad: NASA just unveiled plans for its moon-orbiting spaceport.  What moon-orbiting spaceport?  There is NO plan to create a moon-orbiting spaceport, and in fact, no plan to create a rocket capable of reaching the moon from Earth.  Our tax dollars at work play.  Sad.

Apropos, from science fiction author chrishanger: Stupidity on Space.  "... if you genuinely care about Earth’s ecology, moving into space is the best possible solution.His blog has become a favorite of mine...

SpaceX to Mars!Meanwhile, there is hope: Elon Musk and SpaceX announce details of plan to colonize Mars.  In seven years!

Teslarati: the challenges involved in a mission to Mars.  News you may be able to use :)

Earth in high def, viewed from the ISSCloser to home (well, depending on where you live :), here's an ultra high def view of Earth, from the ISS.  Most definitely best full screen on a huge monitor.

RIP: John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, dies at 95.

Parenthetically, I thought Missing Figures was one of the best movies I've seen recently... and Glenn was apparently accurately portrayed.


And finally, here we have the USS Enterprise in mind-blowing detail.  To boldly go everywhere.  Will we be alive to see it?  I hope so!

USS Enterprise - click to enbiggen
(click to enbiggen amazingly)

 

 
 

Archive: April 16, 2016

filter pass

Saturday,  04/16/16  10:27 PM

the Kepler space telescope - is okay!Woah, 10 days since my last filter pass!  What happened?  Nothing in particular, I've just been ... busy?  I guess.  The days go by.  Anyway here's a catchup... because [as you know] it's all happening...

In case you were worried: NASA's Kepler space telescope is back in good health.  Whew.

Clive Thompson: The new site.  In case you were a fan of his Collision Detection, or especially if you weren't.  Check it out!

It's funny to read about someone who thinks Moveable Type is legacy, when I started blogging, there was no Moveable Type, in fact, Blogger had just come out.  I had to write my own CMS, and it's still running.  Also, I had to walk in the snow to school, uphill both ways :)

From October, Heather MacDonald testifies before the Senate: The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism.  "The most poisonous claim in the dominant narrative is that our criminal justice system is a product and a source of racial inequity."  In which once again we see that correlation does not imply causality.

space shuttle Challenger 30 year anniversaryThirty years ago (!) - space shuttle Challenger explodes, killing all seven astronauts aboard.  For me this was totally a "remember where you were when you heard it" event.

Scott "Dilbert" Adams ponders a presidential persuasion pardon.  "Let’s say Donald Trump promises that when he gets elected President he will pardon Hillary Clinton of any future convictions regarding her email server situation."  An interesting what-if, but I don't read him that way.

Dumb dumb dumb dumb: PayPal withdraws from North Carolina because of new LGBT discrimination law.  The law is pretty benign - requiring each sex to use bathrooms for their sex - but everyone sure is jumping on this bandwagon.  This is nothing but virtue signaling, but it sure is compelling.

Meanwhile: Chariot launches, an Uber-like service for women only.  No word about how they will treat men who "present" as women.

One down: Panama papers scandal brings down Iceland's prime minister.  Wow.  Wonder who's next?

I use a tool called WordFence to protect eyesFinder's website (which is running WordPress); check out this post on the WordFence blog about how the Panama papers got exposed.

the next big sport: first-person drone racingThe latest sport?  First-person drone racing descends upon Wembley Stadium.  Wow.  And meanwhile, ESPN is trying to make drone racing a mainstream sport.  Well why not?  Better than poker :)

The thing that will be really cool?  First-person drone racing ... in virtual reality!

AR/VR business modelsApropos: the reality of AR/VR business models.  A great survey.  Personally I think VR content creation will be like making movies ... a huge business.  (With many of the same people and players.)

Related: How virtual reality is looking to reawaken the joy of arcades.  Might even get me back into one :)

Major League Baseball approves wearable tech for in-game use.  Specific products for now, but it's a slippery slope.

The three things Apple needs to do to unlock the potential of Touch Id.  I totally agree with the first thing: use Touch Id to override web passwords.  It is such a pain to remember (and recover) passwords on every site; how great would it be if authenticating yourself on your phone was all you had to do?

The headline is clickbait but the article is better: a survey of the challenges that Yahoo faces, as it explores the sale of its core business.  Not a pretty picture.  How the mighty have fallen...  I thought Marissa Mayer had a chance to turn them around, but apparently she did not.

I remember when I was at Intuit, in 1999, that Yahoo was THE online service, the Internet challenger to non-Internet AOL.  That was a long time ago, and in all that time Yahoo has steadily declined.

the Tesla Model 3As Tesla Model 3 preorders approach 400,000: If you built it, they will come.  "Prior to the Model 3 event, the rhetoric you still routinely heard was ... that Tesla is a niche product, a 'Valley-thing.' These pre-order numbers destroy that notion. It’s still up to Tesla to execute on the plan, but at least right now, that plan is clearly working."  This is most definitely starting to look like genuine disruption.

the new (!) Tesla Model SOh, and: Tesla unveils new Model S design.  Wow for everyone, and Sigh for me.  The number of reasons to upgrade to a brand new one keep growing. 

Teslarati explores the details behind the Tesla Model S update.  Interestingly, they've got a "normal" center console now, standard.

the Bazooka canoliWrapping up, here we have The Bazooka, a huge super Canoli filled with 50 normal canolis.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you imagined :)

 

 
 

Archive: April 19, 2015

Sunday,  04/19/15  10:14 PM

mobile worldThe Ole filter makes a pass ... curiously, it's not all happening, very little seems to be going on for some reason...

I have been self-analyzing myself, watching me not preorder an Apple Watch.  I just don't want one.  Maybe I don't think the learning curve on how to use another device is worth it, or maybe ... I just don't want one.  Huh.

New Horizons: PlutoNASA captures first color image of Pluto.  "The New Horizons probe, which is bearing down on Pluto, has captured its first color image of the distant dwarf planet."  Excellent.  It's truly amazing that we can launch satellites so far away and retrieve images from them.  It takes 4.6 hours for a photon to travel from the spacecraft back to Earth!

Star Wars VII - trailer IIA new trailer for the new Star Wars movie is up, and it looks ... great.  Cannot wait to see it, although I guess we all will; it is schedules to be released on December 18.  I love the way the Internet is trying to reverse engineer the plot from the trailer teases.

BB-8 the rolling droidOh, and remember the little round droid BB-8 introduced in the first teaser trailer?  Apparently it really exists!  Wow, what cool technology.  Sort of Segway-ish.  I would have thought actually building it would have been harder slash more expensive than just generating it on a computer screen, but surely it's more fun this way.

the crab camAnd here we have the crab cam.  Of course...

 
 

Archive: April 10, 2014

Political correctness run amuck

Thursday,  04/10/14  10:04 PM

I've been watching the whole Mozilla / Brendan Eich thing with great interest.  Seems to me we've reached a new low in the political discourse of the United States, that a CEO could be forced to resign because of his alleged political views.

You know the story; Brendan Eich, a legendary software developer (creator of JavaScript while at Netscape) and a founder and longtime Mozilla employee, was promoted to its CEO.  Mozilla is of course the company behind the Firefox web browser and other open source projects.  Shortly after his promotion news broke that back in 2008 he had contributed $1,000 to support California's Proposition 8, which specified that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."  (Voters passed the amendment but it was overturned by a court in 2010 as unconstitutional.)  This was translated into "Eich is anti-gay", there was a sizeable uproar including companies redirecting users who surfed with Firefox to special anti-Eich pages, and after a couple of weeks Eich chose to resign rather than fight.

Voltaire: I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say itA new low.

You may know, I'm an ardent libertarian, and to me the salient point is not whether Eich is anti-gay (turns out, he's not) or anti-same-sex-marriage (turn's out, he's not anymore*), but whether the prevailing political winds should determine whether someone is fit to be an executive of a company.  We should defend people's right to have whatever view they want, especially on something as controversial as same-sex-marriage, even if we disagree with them.  We should not shut down public discussion of such issues by forcing a prevailing view.  And we especially should not confuse an individual's personal views with their fitness and performance as an executive of a company.

Lest you think this is an isolated example, there have been serious suggestions that other executives who have contributed to unpopular / un-politically-correct initiatives be "purged".  That's pretty scary, don't you think?

I think we should support different points of view and open debate, especially since the political winds can shift so quickly.  While support for same-sex-marriage is now pretty strong, it wasn't too long ago that it was "politically correct" to have an opposite view.  Consider the matter of abortion, which is not yet settled.  Having either a pro-life or pro-choice view is okay for a CEO, today.  But what about in five years?  What if one of these positions "wins"?  Should we then criticize or censure the people who had an opposite view today?

Pretty scary.

* BTW many notable public figures have changed their mind about same-sex-marriage, including President Obama. 

 

Thursday,  04/10/14  10:51 PM

Minion!Multithread city over here, I have been courting investors, coding, team-building, and assembling a sales plan all at once.  And I need help, so I've also been making Minions =)

Biggest news the last couple of days has been heartbleed, the webserver bug (in OpenSSL) which is so bad it has it's own name (and logo).  Server admins all over the world are scrambling to apply patches, and users everywhere are changing passwords.  Crap.  So, does this refute Linus's Law?  (That with many eyes, all bugs are shallow.)  Nope. 

Land Rover's virtual transparent hoodThink Visual Search is flying under the radar?  No such luck.  Facebook's face identification project is accurate 97.25% of the time.  That's amazing.  And Twitter adds photo tagging.  It isn't automatic - yet - but imagine how cool when it will be.  Won't be long, check this out: Impala lands on Android to herd more cat pictures.  And there are applications like this: transparent Land Rover hoodOnward!

Seth Godin: Not even one note.  "We opt for more instead of better.  Better is better than more."

Cancellara just ahead of Boonen in the 2014 Tour of FlandersI've been remiss in my cycling commentary, which for some of you is just fine and others a travesty.  We're in the middle of the "classics" season, and next Sunday is the most classic classic, Paris-Roubaix, featuring a head-to-head battle between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen.  In the last ten years Boonen has won four times, Cancellara three, including last year.  My money's on the Swiss time machine; he looked pretty amazing winning the Tour of Flanders last weekend...  (That's him leading Boonen in the Ronde.)

Office for iPad: it's here!So, Microsoft have announced Office for the iPad, or rather, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  Early reviews have been uniformly positive and the products are already very popular though some pundits seem to feel this is only for business customers.  No, it is nothing less that a grand repositioning of the company away from desktop toward mobile; a great move, IMNSHO.  Good for Satya Nadella: Who are you, and what have you done with Microsoft's CEO?

Meanwhile, Microsoft's OS Chief Terry Myerson does not get it, per this interview with Mary Jo Foley.  "How the Windows experience spans these form factors and is familiar across them - that's what we need to deliver if we're going to delight people in the whole ecosystem."  That's old school thinking; I predict he will be gone soon...

Amazon's Fire TVMeanwhile, Amazon launches FireTV, their answer to AppleTV, Roku, and Chromecast.  Coolest differentiator is the voice-controlled remote, which apparently actually works.  That would be cool.

Oh, and they also launched Dash, which is a combination barcode scanner and voice recorder to help you order from Amazon Fresh.  Quite interesting.  I could see this making a difference in convenience...

finding flight 370 ... the depth of the problemSo, we still haven't found Malaysia Flight 370 :( despite an incredible effort.  At this point the most likely scenario all along seems the only scenario; the plane had trouble and crashed into the ocean.  The Washington Post created this illustration of how difficult it's going to be to find it.  It's not going to be easy to find the black box at the bottom of the ocean, as this illustration shows.

esr: Zero Marginal Thinking (Jeremy Rifkin gets it all wrong).  A thorough fisking.  Whew!

You, too, can be a Glasshole! (On April 15, one day only)Do you want to be a Glasshole, too?  On April 15 - for one day only (tax day!) - Google will sell one to anyone.  A mere $1,500 and you too can take pictures by winking.  Go for it!

And finally: how to flirt, according to science.  A big key is maintaining eye contact.  So Glass is great for flirting :)

 
 

Archive: April 24, 2013

 

Archive: April 20, 2012

Zeno's paradox

Friday,  04/20/12  10:39 AM

 

at 53 I feel like this has been going on for a while
so far it hasn't caught me yet :)

 

 
 

Archive: April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Sunday,  04/24/11  10:39 AM

Happy Easter everyone!  Hope you spend it peacefully and happily with those you love.  We are having a family gathering - the first since Shirley's Mom passed away - and while she's gone she will not be forgotten, and I'm looking forward to it.

Does anyone understand the relationship between Easter, bunnies, eggs, and Christ?  Just wondering...

 

Happy Easter too

Sunday,  04/24/11  09:58 PM

A good day with a good time had by all...

My Easter bunnies, Meg and Alex :)

 
 

Archive: April 23, 2010

ran out of brain

Friday,  04/23/10  04:44 PM

Auguste Rodin - The ThinkerYesterday night the weirdest thing happened to me; I ran out of brain.  It was getting late, I was driving on the freeway, and I ran out of gas.  Just ... ran out.  I had previously noticed I was running low, my gas gauge was working, the little warning light came on and so on, but somehow my brain ignored all that and the laws of physics took over.  If you drive long enough without putting gas in your car, it will come to a spluttering stop.  I was on I-5 at the time, going about 80, with traffic everywhere, so pulling onto the shoulder was an adventure.  Once there I called AAA and 45 rather nerve-wracking minutes later a nice tow truck driver saved me.  It was bad but it could have been worse.

Just shows, I am overloading my brain.  Too many things competing for cycles and really basic stuff gets pushed out.  I need to kill some threads, and focus.  Time to go out to dinner, have a nice glass bottle of wine, and get some perspective.  Fortunately I am riding a century tomorrow - the Wildflower Ride, up in Paso Robles - and that will be good think time; three hours driving there, six hours riding, and three hours driving back.  With great music playing all through.  I have to get some of my brain back.

 

Friday,  04/23/10  04:51 PM

my brain is full... you have been warnedAs noted, my brain is full, but I will try to make a filter pass anyway, on a Friday afternoon no less.  You have been warned.

how to name a volcano :)Put down all sharp objects and hot liquids, and then let The Oatmeal explain how to name a volcano.

Yesterday Facebook announced that they've expanded their API, to include "the Open Graph".  Which is open in the sense that anyone can use it, but closed in the sense that it belongs to Facebook.  Scoble is right to comment on Facebook's ambition, this is big.  So, should I add 'Like' buttons to my blog?  (And thereby allow you to auto-link posts into your Facebook?)  Huh.  I'm thinking 'no', but I'm still thinking...

Earth Day - windmills!It is Earth Day, 2010.  And the Big Picture celebrates with a big spread, interposing "good" and "bad" pictures of humans and their effect on Earth.  I especially like the pictures of windmills, which are delightfully ambiguous in their green-ness; sure, clean power in some sense, but definitely a nonzero impact on the environment.

pianist plays iPad for encoreIt had to happen: Pianist plays concert encore on iPad.  Wow.  I guess the lack of physical keyboard doesn't affect everyone :)

Meanwhile, here is Eric Raymond's take:  "The iPad is the ultimate Steve Jobs device – so hypnotic that not only do people buy one without knowing what it’s good for, they keep feeling like they ought to use it even when they have better alternatives for everything it does."  He doesn't think it will be successful, but he's been wrong before...

non-stopping trainA train that never stops at stations.  Pretty cool, operates on the same principle as the newer style of ski lift, where the chairs come off the main cable for loading and unloading, allowing the cable to move much faster.  Probably impractical but an ingenious idea.

Okay, that's it, now my brain is really full.  See you Sunday.

 
 

Archive: April 24, 2009

Friday,  04/24/09  04:59 PM

(Blogging after dinner #1 and before dinner #2.  Final approach for the Wildflower :)

Don't know why but I feel listless.  (What does that even mean, literally "without lists"?)  I've been eating and drinking and had some good meetings and got some things done, and overall nothing bad happened, but, well, blah.  So be it, sometimes that happens.

My excellent experiment with Tweetdeck is over.  I like the app, I don't mind the CPU and memory it hogs, but following twitter all day just isn't my thing.  I can just feel the brain cells oozing out of my head :)

If you know what I mean, or even if you don't, you'll enjoy this: explaining twitterspeak to others.

Where does our power come from? Hopefully, nuclear reactors...Inhabitat kicks off their Energy 101 series by asking where does our power come from?  ("First thing I remember, was asking poppa where...")

MySpace has a new CEO, Owen van Natta, a former Facebook exec.  This sounds promising: "One person close to the situation described the firing of DeWolfe and the hiring of Van Natta as resembling “retarded drunk people riding bumper cars.”"  Great theater, even if it doesn't result in better products.  Personally I think Facebook is taking a random walk down product lane; I find it noticeably less interesting now than six months ago.  Perhaps MySpace will fill the void, we'll see...

Good news!  Ford loses $1.4B.  This quarter.  No really, that is lower than expected, and much better than GM and Chrysler...

Pork, Inc.: The Airport for Nobody.  Disgusting.

ZooBorns: baby Guinea HogsZooBorns of the day: baby Guinea Hogs (not to be confused with Guinea Pigs, mind you, nor with John Murtha...)

Okay, on with dinner #2, and then sleep, and then riding...

 
 

Archive: April 24, 2008

Thursday,  04/24/08  10:33 PM

Man, I ate and drank too much tonight (Osso Buco paired with Ampelos Pinot Noir, if you must know; I am beginning to think all Pinots from Santa Rita Hills are fantastic!), and feel bone lazy as a result.  I guess I could just go to sleep.  But wait, first, it's all happening...

Actually before launching into a pass on the blogosphere, I should tell you that my ongoing disaster with hard drives in my laptop has come to a head.  You may remember I was desperately seeking sympathy when my new 250GB drive failed, and I have been running on my old 100GB ever since, putting off the inevitable recovery session.  Every time I boot Windows wants to check my hard drive because something is screwed up, and today whatever that is has escalated into badness.  So tomorrow I get to reattempt the recovery and move back to my 250GB drive.  Oh, goody.  Definitely not something to try late at night, especially if you are feeling bone lazy :)

Stephen HawkingWired: Hawking: Unintelligent life is likely on other planets.  "Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has been thinking a lot about the cosmic question, 'Are we alone?' The answer is probably not, he says."  However the probability of intelligent life is low, "'Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare,' he then quickly added: 'Some would say it has yet to occur on earth.'"  And some would say there was intelligent life on Earth, but it is becoming increasingly rare...

From Tim Oren: Go as a Business Metaphor.  "The whole board is the available market. The stones played down are investment and expense to go after the market. A space surrounded is the net margin achieved by a product or company (the group). Too little space, and you're squeezed out of the market. Too much margin, and you are inviting competition to jump into your space."  I've never played Go, but I can appreciate the metaphor.  It is interesting to contemplate as we watch Microsoft try to buy Yahoo, and Google, and Apple...  what is their strategy?

the Sarah Connor chroniclesYou won't believe this, but there is a TV show I care about - the Sarah Connor Chronicles.  I thought this show was pretty excellent.  Apparently it will come back for a second season.  Yay.  You might say it was not terminated :)

Having you been following this?  Amateur Hour over at Twitter.  The back story is that Twitter has been down lately, or almost down, or half down, or something like that, and the techno-cognoscenti who use it are up in arms.  The CTO has left (quit or pushed, who knows) and the VP/Engineering has left, and things are unsettled.  Underlying all this is the unappreciated root cause; Twitter is written in Ruby, which is slow and doesn't scale.  As Twitter has grown, this has become a problem.  There is a rewrite in their future if they want to stay alive...

Cat 5 wedding ringsThis is pretty cool: Cat 5 wedding rings.  ("to help nerds couple".)  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize that "it all" is so much more than you thought...

 

 

 

 
 

Archive: April 24, 2007

 

Archive: April 24, 2006

 

Archive: April 24, 2005

 

Archive: April 20, 2004

Tuesday,  04/20/04  10:25 PM

Terry Heaton reports the recent South Korean elections were decided by citizen-powered news.  "The liberal Uri Party swept into power [April 15] in the National Assembly elections, ending 44 years of conservative rule in the country.  What you'll likely NOT read is that this was accomplished largely through the steady efforts of a New Media entity that fought the conservative press in South Korea.  OhMyNews! is an Internet-based media company that took on the giants and won in its bid for influence.  In so doing, it has involved young people in the political process in record numbers and turned the whole culture on its ear.  It's a wake-up call for traditional media everywhere."  [ via Bill Hobbs ]  In this connection, it is worth pointing out that South Korea has the highest per-capita broadband penetration of any country, as well as the highest average hours-spent-surfing.

Josh Marshall can't figure out why the latest polls have Bush gaining on Kerry, despite, as he puts it "two or three weeks when the news for his White House has been universally and profoundly bad - principally because of the uptick in fighting in Iraq, but also because of the 9/11 business."  It's really quite simple.  War is the right issue.  As long as "war news" dominates the headlines, Bush will win.

Einstein probe launchEinstein is off!  The Gravity Probe B satellite designed to test general relativity has been successfully launched into space.  Excellent.

The article notes: "Mission controllers grounded the probe for 24 hours due to uncertainty about flight software during the countdown on Monday."  Ah yes, the software release control problem :)

I'm not sure what to make of this: Schwarzenegger promises California 'Hydrogen Highway' by 2010.  "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an order Tuesday for California to have a network of stations offering the pollution-free hydrogen fuel up and down the state within six years."  Interesting.

Rafe Needleman contemplates Skype economics.  Skype is a new P2P voice-over-IP offering; unlike Vonage it uses your computer rather than a 'phone as the handset, and also unlike Vonage it is free rather than $30+ per month.  On both counts it seems like a worse business.  We'll see, but I think Skype will go the way of Kazaa (Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom's previous venture); a wildly popular app which does not lead to a commercial success.

conformateurDo you know what this is?  Mark Frauenfelder asks the question.  It seems the prevailing theory is that it is a "conformateur"; a device for measuring the shape of a person's head by poking little holes in a piece of paper fastened in the oval clip shown hinged open, for the purpose of making a form-fitting hat.  To me it looks like a Riven linking book holder :)

CCTV headquartersGoing Dutch - in style.  Slate features Rem Koolhaas, "the most influential architect of the last decade."  The picture at right depicts the CCTV headquarters building, in Bejing.  Awesome - sculpture you can work inside!

A medical mood ring: "MIT mechanical engineers Harry Asada and Phillip Shaltis have developed a 'ring sensor' that monitors the wearer’s temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen level.  The battery-powered ring contains a wireless link that can transmit vital signs to a cell phone or computer, allowing a caregiver to determine remotely whether a patient needs assistance."  This is the future, and it's here now.

Wired reports Science Women Get Cinematic Boost.  Two new movies in preparation chronicle the lives of Rosalind Franklin, the under-publicized third hero of the discovery of DNA, and Hedy Lamarr, the Hollywood pinup who filed a patent on spread-spectrum technology.  Wow.

The NYTimes: Studios Rush to Cash in on DVD Boom.  "Between January and mid-March this year, Americans spent $1.78 billion at the box office.  But in the same period they spent $4.8 billion - more than $3 billion more - to buy and rent DVD's and videocassettes."  Which suggests there's a market for video-on-demand...  [ via Dave Winer ]

scissors in X-rayYahoo: "An X-ray showing a 17 centimeter (6.7 inches) pair of surgical scissors in the abdomen of 69-year-old Pat Skinner in Sydney, Australia.  Mrs Skinner had an operation at St.George hospital in Sydney's south in May 2001, but continued to suffer intense pain and it was only when she insisted on an x-ray 18 months later that she discovered the scissors inside."

BW wonders Can .Mac withstand the G-force?  Essentially this is the editors' suggestion that Apple abandon their .mac service in favor of a co-branded offering of Google's new email service.  This isn't a horrible idea, but why do the BW editors continuously try to run Apple?  They periodically admire Steve Jobs for doing a great job, but they can't help trying to run it themselves, anyway.

Apple powerbooks		Apple just made their G4 powerbooks faster and lower the prices, too.  They recently reported a strong quarter led by sales of the new mini iPods.  They must be doing something right :)

In Search Boosters for your PC BW admires X1.  I, too, feel X1 is a good thing; if you're not using it to search your Outlook folders and hard drives, you should be.

Interesting article on InfoWorld: Can email be saved?  Six pundits give their solutions to the problem of spam.

 
 

Archive: April 24, 2003

Thursday,  04/24/03  06:31 PM

Mao with maskThe Economist: SARS: China's Chernobyl?  The latest issue has several great articles about the virus.

FuturePundit: What should be done about SARS.  Really excellent analysis.

CNN reports North Korea admits having nukes.  "North Korea's representative Li Gun pulled aside U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly on Wednesday and told him 'blatantly and boldly' that the country has at least one nuclear weapon, one official said.  Gun asked, 'Now what are you going to do about it?'"  Very interesting.  They must be quite frustrated with the U.S.' calm and restrained reaction to their bleating.

Steven Den Beste thinks this puts pressure on China, not the U.S...  Interesting.

From Cory Doctorow: Metacrap.  Cory is one of those people who consistently says things I'm thinking myself, only better.  The problems with metadata:

  1. People lie.
  2. People are lazy.
  3. People are stupid.
  4. People don't know themselves.
  5. Schemas aren't neutral.
  6. Metrics influence results.
  7. There's more than one way to describe something.

Take that, all you people who think XML and SOAP will make interconnectivity painless.

I can't wait until Dave understands trackback.  Hopefully he'll explain it and then I can finally get it, too.  { Yeah, you know me, I always assume if I don't get something, there's nothing to get... }

Russell Beattie edits the seven habits of the anti-blogger.  Cool.

Karlin Livingston reports William Gibson is ending his blog.  Interestingly, he feels blogging is incompatible with writing novels.  Meanwhile I've been under the delusion that blogging was helpful for writing nonfiction, although I must admit my progress on Unnatural Selection so far is a counter-example.

The Onion is back in form: New Fox Reality Show to Determine Ruler of Iraq.  They are much funnier when they're, uh, trying to be funny.

It isn't often that a website name makes me laugh out loud, but this one did: The Prime Number Shitting Bear.  Or, in its native Finnish: Alkulukuja Paskova Karhu.  Don't you just love the Internet?  I am not making this up.

 
 

Home
Archive
flight
About Me
W=UH
Email
RSS   OPML

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Lying
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
Confidence
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
entertainment
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
resolved
to space
notebooks
where are the desktop apps?