Critical Section

Archive: November 11, 2003

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Tuesday,  11/11/03  11:11 PM

strongest solar flareSun produces monster solar flare.  The biggest one ever recorded, topping a week of wild solar activity ("well above X20").  What's going on out there?

Doc notes: "I'm always amazed, though I shouldn't be, when I talk politics with people who get all their news from newspapers, radio and TV."  I know exactly what he means.  People who've been spoon-fed liberal piffle.  We're so lucky to have the blogosphere!

So, we have another "man vs. machine" chess match coming up; Garry Kasparov is taking on X3D Fritz.  Wired reports Rage Against the (Chess) Machine.  "'For years, it was seen as inevitable that computers would get stronger and dominate,' he said.  'But humans are getting smarter about playing them.'"  Very interesting.  Of all the really strong machine players, Fritz is rumored to be the most "human-like".  I wonder when a machine will play chess in a manner which is indistinguishable from top human players?  (Sort of a Turing Test in the limited domain of chess.)

Rubik's cube solving Lego robotAnd speaking of machines playing games, here's a robot which solves Rubik's cube - built from Lego!  There are [at least] three amazing technologies here - the gripping/twisting mechanics, the color recognition, and the algorithm for solving the puzzle.  Incredible!

The Grinch Who Stole Linux, by Scott Lazar.  I love it!  [ via Cory Doctorow ]  "But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that their bank account was two sizes too small."  That, and the fact that the civil tort system in the U.S. is a disaster.

Sony "video pod"Hey, the Sony "video pod" is out! - in Japan.  I wonder how large the market for these devices is going to be...  clearly smaller than the market for music players, I would think, based on their higher price and the fact fewer people will want to watch video remotely.

Alan Taylor's daughter has A life where TiVo has always existed.  "She gets quite confused when we are watching a non-TiVo TV...  we have to explain that 'this TV is broken'."  Man, when I was a little kid we didn't even have a TV.  Future Shock indeed!

John Patrick ponders The Future of Long Distance.  "Yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried two stories, that appeared as unrelated, but which I believe are actually part of the same overall picture.  One was about number portability and the other about WiFi roaming."  If you thought the music industry is in trouble (they are), what about the telcom companies?

Ars Technica released the definitive Panther review.  They like it but find it isn't perfect.

goofy grapeLore Sjöberg remembers Goofy Grape!  "Clearly the standards for goofiness have fallen in the last three decades.  I've seen goofier garbage disposal drain line adapters."  Man, I used to love this stuff...

Scott Guthrie offers a fascinating look at what it takes to be a keynote speaker at a big conference like the Microsoft PDC.  "Keynote demos are always 'fun' events, and are great at creating a lot of stress in a compressed period of time."  Spare laptops, "demo buddies", practice, timing tests, stage handlers, makeup, more practice, and poof, you're on!

Chris Maunder shares a great, balanced overview of the PDC.  [ via Robert Scoble ]

dull shoesOh, and here we have the dullest blog in the world.  I am not making this up.


Measuring Infinity

Tuesday,  11/11/03  11:47 PM

measuring infinity

To Infinity and Beyond

The New Yorker [hardcopy dated November 3, 2004] contains a review by Jim Holt of David Foster Wallace's new book: "Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity".  The review is accompanied by the the drawing above, which I think is just terrific.  How best to capture the elusive nature of Georg Cantor's infinite series of infinities?


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Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
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how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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your cat for my car
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world population map
no joy in Baker
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exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
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where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained