Critical Section

Archive: June 16, 2004

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Wednesday,  06/16/04  11:55 PM

I don't want to talk about the Lakers, okay?  They were blown out, Detroit deserved to win, and so be it.  Just shows you never know what's going to happen, that's why they play the game.  All I can say is "Go Dodgers!"

Anne LauvergeonAnne Lauvergeon could be the most important woman in the world.  Who is she?  Fortune calls her "the Queen of Nukes".  She's head of French nuclear giant Areva.  "Areva believes that nuclear power is poised to make a comeback.  'You can't have a solution to growing global energy demands without nuclear power,' says Anne Lauvergeon, Areva's 44-year-old chief executive."  With all the emphasis being given to the world's oil supply and rising oil prices, you have to believe this.  And the French are way out in front; currently 75% of their electricity is generated from atomic energy, vs. just 20% in the U.S.  (By the way, are you surprised it is as high as 20%?  Me, too!)

This is interesting; the Scientist reports G8 backs HIV vaccine plan.  "The world's leading industrial powers have given their support to a US proposal for an international alliance to accelerate HIV vaccine research.  Working groups from 15 countries and UN agencies have already drafted elements of the strategic plan.  'The Human Genome Project has served as a model'."  Interesting to see if this project gains traction, and whether it is ultimately successful.

Philip Greenspun reports on an MIT workshop he attended on technology for community building.  "The elephant in the room that nobody wanted to talk about was education.  The non-profit world likes to think about affordable housing, leadership development, better health care, specialized training, etc.  If everyone in a poor neighborhood were educated to the standard of the average Harvard graduate all of the other problems would be solved."  So I disagree with this, because I think the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about is IQ.  You can't take random poor people and educate them to the standard of the average Harvard graduate, because they aren't smart enough.  And you can't make them smarter.  The problem is harder than education.

Here in the U.S. one thing we're good at is making millionaires.  "The 2004 World Wealth Report shows that the world's millionaires grew in number and accumulated wealth, with the largest gains being made in the United States.  The fact that the US had more millionaires than anywhere else probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, but there are some real gems within the report for those espousing Europe's progressive 'tax the rich' philosophy."  Please note, this is not a zero-sum situation; there is no implication that these people are taking wealth from the poor.  [ via Glenn Reynolds ]

The WP reports N. Korea to Resume Nuclear Talks.  More six-way talks, in which the U.S. hopes to influence China to influence NK.  Let's hope it works.  [ via Citizen Smash ]

In the Boo Hoo department, the judge presiding over the SCO Group lawsuit against IBM has denied a crucial motion filed by SCO to have the case treated as a contract dispute.  This means they'll have to make their case as a copyright violation, which legal experts agree will be more difficult.  In related news SCO reported poor financial results with revenue down 52% and a $15M loss.

This Wonderful LifeThis is amazing!  This Wonderful Life is a completely computer-generated movie short by Liam Kemp, with unbelievable facial expressions and emotion.  This was done by one guy on one computer.  You can see that it is only a matter of time before it will be impossible to tell computer-generated people from real ones.  [ via Robert Scoble ]

Joel Spolsky has once again pounded the nail through the wood with his latest rant, How Microsoft Lost the API War.  "Microsoft's crown strategic jewel, the Windows API, is lost.  The cornerstone of Microsoft's monopoly power and incredibly profitable Windows and Office franchises, which account for virtually all of Microsoft's income and covers up a huge array of unprofitable or marginally profitable product lines, the Windows API is no longer of much interest to developers."  He doesn't think much of .NET or Longhorn, and explains why these strategic initiatives are going to hurt Microsoft in the future.  Anyway read it and see if you don't find his logic compelling...

It will be interesting to watch this in the blogosphere - it has already been posted on slashdot - I predict a sort of net-wide "YEEES" followed by rebuttal from Microsoft.  I'm waiting to read Robert Scoble's reaction.

iPod-FM bumper stickerCult of Mac reports on an iPod user who's broadcasting with an iTrip, and who has a bumper sticker advertising the fact, so nearby cars can listen in.  My own experience with an iTrip was pretty negative; I doubt this will actually be a good listening experience for the neighboring drivers.  Still, it is a cool idea.

Eric Sink continues his series on the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.  Today we have #12, the Law of Line Extension.  "It is a mistake to take the name of one product and apply it to another.  Companies do this often, but it basically never works.  We think that the power of the brand will help sell the new product.  Instead, the brand itself is tarnished."  This law is violated so often it's incredible.

Mozilla FirefoxThere's been quite a buzz around Firefox, a Mozilla-based web browser which was just upgraded.  I'm trying it now.  I must say it's nice - probably the nicest browser I've used - but it just seems a tad bit slower than IE.  Especially when launching.  Stay tuned for more...

Mark Pilgrim linked this interesting self-assessment quiz.  "The Clean Sweep Program is a checklist of 100 items which, when completed, give one complete personal freedom.  These 100 items are grouped in 4 areas of life with 25 in each group: Physical Environment, Well-being, Money, and Relationships."  So be it.


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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
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
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?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained