Critical Section

Archive: October 23, 2004

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(new yorker, 9/5/2004)

Saturday,  10/23/04  08:33 AM

wine course

me, too.


Journey through the center of the Earth, part 2

Saturday,  10/23/04  08:46 AM

Remember this thought experiment?

Imagine a perfectly straight hole drilled through the Earth, passing directly through the center.  Now imaging falling into this hole.  What would happen?

The answer is - you would fall straight down, passing the center of the Earth, and emerge on the other side.  As you fall toward the center the force of gravity diminishes, at the center the force is zero, and as you swing out the other side gravity increases.  So you swing back and forth through the hole, and depending on air resistance and friction (hitting the sides of the hole :) you'd finally settle in the center.

gravity - journey through the center of the earthLiron Shapira has written a cool little program which models gravity; if you download this program and run it, you can simulate this case pretty easily.  Very cool.

(Liron, I hope you don't mind that I posted your program; it appears Angelfire no longer allows EXE downloads.)

[ Later: Liron emailed to provide this updated link.  Thanks! ]

With this program you can also model another interesting thought experiment:

Imagine a train which goes on a perfectly straight track between two cities.  Perfectly straight, as in, through a tunnel drilled into the earth (to compensate for the Earth's curvature between the two cities).  What would happen?gravity - journey through a tunnel between two cities

The surprising answer is - the train would be powered by gravity down into the tunnel, reaching maximum speed halfway between the two cities, and would then slow down just as it reached the other side.  Neglecting air resistance and friction, the train would not need any other source of power to travel between the two cities.

As far as I know, this phenomenon has never been exploited for actual travel.



APIII Presentations

Saturday,  10/23/04  01:21 PM

A little blog cross-linking; my company Aperio attended the 2004 "Advancing Practice, instruction, and Innovation through Informatics" conference held October 6-8 in Pittsburgh.  We've posted a couple of the presentations we gave:

Algorithmic Processing of Virtual Slides

by Dr. Allen Olson

Pattern Recognition with VQ

by, er, me

For your edification and enjoyment...


Saturday,  10/23/04  01:44 PM

Mary Joe Foley: A Q&A with Joel on (Microsoft) Software.  "Maybe Google is to Microsoft what Microsoft was to IBM...  It will be interesting to see if Google will wake up and open themselves to developers."  Yeah, this is the Joel on Software Joel.  Great stuff, please read it.  [ via Scoble ]

Still catching up, I meant to link the excellent series by Kevin Laws about Sillywood.  "Silicon Valley and Hollywood Are Not That Different.":

Bonks the nails on the heads, IMHO.

In fact Silicon Valley and Hollywood are intersecting, consider Tivo and Netflix.

Apollo 11 lunar landing QTVRWant to see something really cool?  Check this out; Quicktime VR of the 1969 Apollo 11 landing.  I especially love the way they incorporated Neil Armstrong's voice back to Houston mission control.  Gives you that spooky "you are there" feeling.  [ via Cult of Mac ]

And this is soo cool.  Stereoscopic text.  So that's how they do it.  [ via Matt Webb ]

Are you wearing one of those little yellow bands?  Oh, good, you are.  What a terrific marketing campaign; it incorporates a good cause, with a great spokesperson, with an easily recognizable token.  As Anita Sharp notes, "there's nothing cooler right now than doing good."livestrong wristband

It was really cool watching the Olympics, and seeing how many athletes were wearing them, from all over the world.  Excellent.

John Fogerty - Deju Vu All Over AgainAfter I read Glenn Reynolds' note about John Fogerty's new album,Déjà vu All Over Again, I bought it immediately.  This is the cool thing about iTunes, instant gratification.  Oh, and the music?  Excellent.  My favorite track is "Nobody's Here Anymore", which could have been recorded by CCR 30 years ago.  Well, except for the lyrics: he's got the latest software, he's got the latest hardware too...World's coolest clock

Did you see this?  The world's coolest digital analog clock, by Inga Sempe.  I want one!  But apparently this is a one-off work of art, not a product.  Yet.  [ via Book of Joe ]



Saturday,  10/23/04  09:45 PM

Fenway Park 1919 - 2004Check out this phenomenal ad by Nike, for the Boston Red Sox; Fenway Park, 1919 - 2004.  [ via Rogers Cadenhead ]  Yeah, the Sox won tonight; hardly a stellar game, but fun anyway.  Still, you have to figure the Cardinals have the edge, right?

Want to get Mark Cuban's attention?  He tells you how!

John Battelle notes: Point-To TV.  "You don't want to make 'Must See TV' - you want to make 'Must Point To TV'."  Interesting.

Citizen Smash on Teresa Heinz Kerry: Grace.

Which reminds me; I used to race sailboats, and there was a guy who sailed with his wife.  Her name was Grace, and their boat was named Graceful.  Then they had some problems and divorced, so the next season he sailed with a different crew.  He renamed his boat Graceless :)

arctic flowerarctic lakeCheck out these amazing photos from the Arctic Refuge Project, by Subhankar Banerjee.  Breathtaking!  [ via Ottmar Liebert ]

cubist canyonOne of the cool things I did this summer was to see Ottmar Liebert in concert, at the Canyon Club.  If you ever have a chance to see him, take it; he and Luna Negra are absolutely wonderful live.  I managed to snap some shots with my Treo.  I like the one at the right, serendipitous distortion.

IEEE spectrum has an interesting story about the Huygens probe to be launched from the Cassini spacecraft: Titan Calling.  "How a Swedish engineer saved a once-in-a-lifetime mission to Saturn's mysterious moon."

Sims2 sim playing Sims1This is pretty cool; the sims in Sims 2 can play Sims 1 on their computers.  [ via Cory Doctorow ]  So you know what I'm thinking; yeah, this is cool, but what if they could play Sims 2?

Apparently the new version of Virtual PC runs Windows XP really well on a Mac.  I'll have to check it out.  No word on how it runs on a Sims' Mac :)

Wired has an interesting story: All Bio Systems are Go.  "If an influential group of researchers has its way, techniques used to analyze interconnected systems will provide a better understanding of the most complex network of all: the human body."  How cool is it that there is a field called systems biology?

left brain / right brain conflictA classic left brain / right brain conflict: check out the chart at right.  You're supposed to say the colors, not the words.  Youch.  Apparently if you turn this upside down it is much easier, what do you think?  (only recommended if you have a laptop :)  [ via Sam Ruby ]

Microsoft announces a desktop search tool of their own.  Yawn.  It will be slow, and hence, useless.

I wonder how long it will be before my Treo does VoIP over WiFi?  You know it will happen.  In 2005?  In 2006?  You'd have to say, surely by 2007, right?  At that point, where does it leave the cellular companies?  They will be wireless ISPs.  Have you tried Vonage?  It works, okay; really really.  And it costs $25/month for unlimited calling in the U.S.  I have DSL, which means my Vonage VoIP goes over the same wires that used to carry analog POTS.  So at this point, where does it leave the phone companies?  The Treo 650They will be wired ISPs.  Finally, consider video-on-demand.  Tivo's CEO says the future of Tivo is broadband video, not broadcast video.  So if you have a cable modem, your video will be broadband video, over the same wires that used to carry broadcast video.  So at that point, where does it leave the cable companies?  They will be ISPs, too.  Yep, the entire telecom industry are going to end up as ISPs.

The Treo 650 arrives Monday.  It does Bluetooth, but it does not do VoIP.  Yet.



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this date in:
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