Critical Section

Archive: March 23, 2004

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One Year Ago

Tuesday,  03/23/04  12:35 AM

I'm really liking my One Year Ago link (over there, on the right). 

A year ago today the Iraqi invasion was in full swing, Michael Moore accepted his Oscar, and Matt Webb wondered: "If you had to get rid of a planet, which one would it be?"


Fark, foosball, and me

Tuesday,  03/23/04  05:23 PM

A friend pointed out this picture on Fark.

That’s me at the 2001 PayPal Christmas Party, held at the Thomas Fogarty Winery in Portola Valley.  That’s Mountain View in the background, and South San Francisco Bay.  We brought our foosball table, because, well, that’s what we do.

PayPal foosball, Thomas Fogart winery

I do not remember those weird black men on the rods, but then, it was a winery :)

I had no idea this picture existed.  To see it in a Fark Photoshopping contest is unbelievable.  See where foosball can take you?


Global Economic Inequality

Tuesday,  03/23/04  05:46 PM

Sometimes a picture is worth much more than 1,000 words.  Take this one:

graph: global economic inequality

The Economist ran a great story recently about global economic inequality: More or Less Equal?  These graphs accompany the story.

The graph plots a circle for each country in the world.  The X axis is the current [1980] GDP per person, and the Y axis is the growth rate of the GDP per person.  Anyone looking at the top graph would conclude that the gap between rich countries and poor countries is getting larger; on average the rich are getting richer, faster.  But now look at the bottom graph, where the size of each country's population is reflected in the size of its circle.  China and India are poor, but their growth rate leads the world, and they are also the two most populous countries.  By considering population, now you might draw the opposite conclusion; that [on average] the poor are getting less poor, faster than the rich are getting richer. 

Now notice one more thing - the horizontal red line signifying 0% growth.  The countries below this line are not only poor, but they are getting poorer.  The large poor country at the lower left is Nigeria, a sad situation if there ever was one.  In fact for most of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa (beige shading) the standard of living is getting worse.  This is due to AIDS and politics and wars and poor leaders and many other factors.  Clearly the third world is separating; Southeast Asia is very different from Africa.

Anyway it is a great graph, very thought provoking.  Edward Tufte would love it.

© 2003-2017 Ole Eichhorn


Tuesday,  03/23/04  10:40 PM

If you're new to blogs, you may be interested in "All About Blogs" on The Daily Scan.
(also, Wired: Why RSS is Everywhere :)Phoenix wood sculpture

These wooden kinetic sculptures are absolutely amazing: Wood That Works.  Great website, too, with flash animations and movies.  I want one.  Really.  Actually I want to be able to make things like this, wouldn't that be cool!

Dave Winer remembers his cross-country trip a year ago.  I remember it too, for a different reason; right before he left I posted Tyranny of Email, which he was kind enough to link.  And he left that link at the top of his site all week as he traveled to the East Coast.  The resulting exposure got me slashdotted, and the rest is history.  Actually "Tyranny" remains far and away my most popular post.

I, robotThe I, Robot trailer is out.  Looks pretty cool.  Although it doesn't appear to have much to do with the Issac Asimov books, except for the "three laws" references.

In other news, Sony is setting up an Intelligent Robot lab.  I wonder if it costs more to build intelligent robots, or to make a movie about them?

Continuing with robot news, Wired reports Robots invade San Francisco.  "Over 400 robots rolled, walked, climbed and strutted their stuff at the first Robolympics."  Great stuff.  So when do you think the first robot will start a blog?

And in even more robot news, NASA announced that rover Opportunity is sitting on a beach.  "We think Opportunity is now parked on what was once the shoreline of a salty sea on Mars."

Pirate-Ninja Elf-Dwarf classification schemeTom Coates invents a new people classification system, the 2D Elf-Dwarf Pirate-Ninja scheme.  One axis measures style: "Ninja are skilled and proficient, elegant and silent, contained and constrained, honourable and spiritual.  Pirates are  loud and flamboyant, gregarious and unrestrained, life-loving and vigorous, passionate and strong."  The other classifies by method: "Elves are elegant and timeless, conceptual and refined, abstract and beautiful while Dwarves are practical and structural, hard-working and no-nonsense, down-to-earth smiths and makers."  What are you?

The red circle is me.  I think.

Speaking of classification (we were), is Sedna a planet?  Alan Stern has a great article in SpaceDaily which makes a convincing case for "yes".  He also proposed a very reasonable litmus test: "a planet is any body with enough gravitational mass to assume a spherical shape, but with too little mass to generate energy as a result of sustained nuclear fusion in its interior."  But I also like his daughter Kate's objection to more solar planets: "we will just have a mess on our hands when it comes time to name them all on tests."

Lore Sjöberg: The winner for most fun headline to add and/or remove commas from:

Video Games Make Kids Fat, Violent, Swedish Experts Say

Steve Largent was one of my favorite football players.  What's he doing now?  Running with wireless.

Scoble takes a look inside Buck's.  Yeah, I've been there.  One of those places which is famous for being famous, but not much else...

AlwaysOn says It's a good time to be an entrepreneur.  That's good to hear!  On the other hand, I'd say any time is a good time to be an entrepreneur :)

Ottmar's record industry executiveOttmar Liebert: A record company executive came to visit.  He had a new contract for me.  He smoked a fat cigar.  He was short, but powerful, and his hands and head were glowing.  I sent him away.

Adam Curry will be talking about "Personal TV networks" at BloggerCon II.  Boy, if that isn't the Next Big Thing.  (You have tried the RSS+Bittorrent experiment, right?)

Wal*Mart opened their online music store!  It looks ugly.  But they did what they always do, discount.  The bar has been lowered to $.88/track.

Cory Doctorow likes Shrook.  Yeah, it's my favorite RSS reader for Macs, too.  If you use a Mac and haven't tried Shrook, try it!

Ohio DUI license plateThis, I like.  If you are convicted of drunk driving in Ohio, you get a special license plate.  [ via Mark Frauenfelder ]



Understanding Engineers, Take 1

Tuesday,  03/23/04  11:48 PM

From my colleague Mark Wrenn, in the same vein as engineering conversions:

Two engineering students were crossing the campus.  One said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"

The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike.  She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The first engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."


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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
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
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
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
to space
where are the desktop apps?