John Rhys-Davies, aka Gimli son of Gloin, comments on the parallels between LOTR and the present day. He notes the differential birth rate between Muslims and Christians in Europe as a particular issue. Check it out...
Kevin Kelly excerpts from Art + Fear:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
[ via Ottmar Liebert ]
Wired ponders Next-Gen Flight: Sci Fi Scenarios. "In the second century of flight, private companies will ferry tourists into space, personal flying machines will roam digital skyways and executive jets will make supersonic speed around the globe, aviation experts and scientists say." Excellent. The future is closer than you think.
Oh, by the way, SpaceX has their November update posted. They continue to make excellent progress. I love the way Elon Musk, their CEO, tells it like it is, good or bad. That's one of the reasons Elon has been so successful, he doesn't lie to himself.
Joel Spolsky considers Biculturalism, the difference between Unix and Windows. "What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers? It comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful to non-programmers." Joel is my hero, as regular readers know, but in this case I think he is not even wrong. I'll have more to say about this later, but in the meantime please read it - it is well written as always - and decide for yourself.
The stimulus for Joel's article was Eric Raymond's new book, The Art of Unix Programming, which [in the true spirit of open source] he has posted online.
CNet reports Apple hits 25 million iTunes downloads. "Apple Computer has nearly doubled sales of digital music through its iTunes music store since launching a Windows-compatible version of its iTunes software in October." They presently have an estimated 75% of the market for legal music downloads. Wow.