Critical Section

Sunday,  08/24/08  11:11 PM

Continuing the "Goodbye Beijing" theme from this morning, I'm about to watch the Olympics closing ceremony...  might be a bit anticlimactic, but then I wasn't expecting the opening ceremony to be that great, and it WOWed me.  Stay tuned for a full report :)

Today I added to my collection of full-text feeds, but with a twist.  There are some aggregation sites whose feeds link to landing pages on the aggregation site, rather than to the aggregated content.  Digg and Techmeme are both examples of this.  So I implemented filters for these feeds, which pass through the feeds largely unchanged but change the links to point directly to the aggregated content.  So now I can use Digg and Techmeme as indexes without having to click through the sites...  yay.

Myst!I am so excited about this: Myst returns on the iPhone.  (I assume it will work on my iToy as well.)  Can you remember the first time you played Myst?  I can - definitely - it was on an old Mac 6100 (the first PowerPC Mac!), at a time when CD-based games were amazing.  The graphics!  The sound!  The innovative animation!  It was really eye-opening...  and I can't wait to experience it again.

EVO n800cSo here's an interesting thing; while spelunking through old blog posts I found this one celebrating my old Compaq Evo laptop.  What's weird is that this post is from June 2003, more than five years ago, and to a first order the specs on that laptop are the same as my laptop today:  2MHz processor, 1.5GB RAM, 60GB hard drive, 100Mb ethernet, 802.11g WiFi, 15" screen at 1400x1050x32.  So PC technology has really stopped moving.  Sure I have a dual-core machine today (2x1.8MHz), with more RAM (2GB), more hard drive space (100GB), Gb ethernet, and 802.11n WiFi, but those are incremental improvements.  Interesting, especially considering the progress made in the previous five years, between 1998 and 2003.

The NYTimes thinks we've reached a turning point for touch screens.  Well, maybe.  I admit they are great for smartphones (like the Centro and more famously the iPhone), but I'm not sure about desktops or even laptops.  I can remember using a light pen, back in the day, and finding it very fatiguing.  And other than the "pinch to zoom" gesture, are they really that useful?

Easter Island observatoryThis is really cool: ten ancient observatories spied from space.  You'll see Stonehenge and Machu Picchu, but the weirdest/coolest to me is Easter Island: "Hundreds of stone statues called moai ring Chile's Easter Island in the remote Pacific Ocean. Almost all face inland, perhaps keeping watch over agricultural villages. But seven of the statues, located at an inland site known as Aku Akivi, gaze out over the ocean to a point on the horizon where the sun sets during the equinox."  That's awesome!

visualizing four dimensionsAs you think back in time to the days of the Easter Islanders, you might find yourself seeing in four dimensions.  ScienceNews links a series of videos which try to explain how you can visualize four dimensions using our three, by analogy to a "flatlander" visualizing three dimensions using only two.  Weird stuff, but pretty cool...

Astrobiology considers the possibility of Life on Titan.  "Titan, the sixth and largest moon of the planet Saturn, is thought to be made largely of ice. Some of that ice may melt during meteor impacts or in underground processes, producing “ice volcanoes” that emit a “lava” containing ammonia mixed with water.  Could tholins formed in Titan’s atmosphere react with liquid water temporarily exposed by meteor impacts or ice volcanoes to produce potentially probiotic complex organic molecules - before the water freezes?"  I can't wait to find out personally when I visit Titan myself :)

space shuttle bed for kidsTen pieces of unusually cool furniture for kids.  Wow, that's just about all I can say.  I would definitely have loved to have a Space Shuttle bed when I was a kid.  In fact, I wouldn't mind having one now, the better to dream of visiting Titan...

Yandex vs Google.  May the best engine win!

Want to speed up Firefox?  Try this.  It worked for me!  [ via razib, who reports "it worked for me" ]



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Correlation vs. Causality
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On Blame
Try, or Try Not
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On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
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how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
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your cat for my car
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introducing eyesFinder
to space
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still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained