Critical Section

Archive: October 25, 2004

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Monday,  10/25/04  09:38 PM

Randall Parker of FuturePundit observes that the Bush and Clinton administrations differ in their styles of lying.  "The Clinton Administration, personifying the very outgoing and brazen nature of its leader, was willing to lie in detail in public.  By contrast, the Bush Administration prefers to make its lies to the public in the form of simpler summary conclusions which seem aimed at shutting off discussion by providing little to discuss."  Is it lying if you don't know you're wrong?  Lying is all about intent.

Today Google's market cap passed Yahoo's.  I don't know why, but this makes me sad, and not because I didn't buy any of their stock (I tried, but bid too low).  This is pure market froth.

sea dragonWow, look at this gallery of Sea Dragons.  "Sea Dragons are arguably the most spectacular and mysterious of all ocean fish.  Though close relatives of sea horses, sea dragons have larger bodies and leaf-like appendages which enable them to hide among floating seaweed or kelp beds."  Unbelievable, nature does it again.  Evolution or Intelligent Design?  [ via Mark Frauenfelder ]

Anita Sharp: Legends.  "It was almost like a collective epiphany, when nearly everyone in the audience realized we weren't just watching a legendary entertainer or seeing an enjoyable show.  Instead, we were in the presence of genius...  After the concert, my amazed 12-year-old son said, 'Whoever missed seeing that, missed life'."  There is something transforming about seeing great artists in concert, a tide that raises all boats.  I'm not particularly a Dolly Parton fan or a Brian Wilson fan, but I know exactly what Anita means.

Cool blog: lactoso the intolerant.  Samples:

RustboyRustboy - "is a short film project which started out as a hobby but has become my full-time job due to private funding.  Rustboy (the character) started life many years ago as a simple 2D image produced as a proposed short story illustration.  He has changed in appearance since then, but it was the starting point for Rustboy as he appears today in all his 3D glory."  Looks really excellent, check it out.

CelestiaCelestia - "is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit."  Yay, space travel!

Hmmm... Looks like the Treo 650 won't support WiFi.  Oh, well.  If not the 650, then the 700.  It is only a matter of time.

RoadRunner flash UIHave you ever seen the RoadRunner browser UI?  Really cool!  All flash, and nicely done.  Seemed reasonably fast, too.  Probably the nicest example of a GUI done in a browser I've ever seen.

This is an example of the kind of serendipitous stuff you find when exploring referral logs.  Yippee.

Antipixel: Unjustified.  "When we hit the justification button in our word processors, what we really want to activate is that “make it look like a book” function in the generally vain hope that some of the gravitas of a well-set page will instantly be transferred to whatever we’ve written."  [ via Tom Coates ]

Chris Farmer emailed about the Journey Through the Center of the Earth: "Imagine two gravity-powered, frictionless trains.  One travels straight through the Earth's center to a station directly opposite the starting place.  The other slants, arriving at a station only a few thousand miles away.  If both trains leave at once, which arrives first?"  Yes, you do have enough information to answer the question.  I love it.

I wonder if this would apply to wormholes through space, too?  Did you see where Stephen Hawking lost his bet with John Preskill?  Looks like black holes don't destroy information, just reorganize it.  So they're "fuzzy".  Now, do they have holes through them?

This is just too cool: the Granular Matter Homepage.  "The key feature of a granular gas (making it fundamentally different from any standard gas) is its tendency to spontaneously separate into dense and dilute regions."  These movies really look like they're playing backward; how can this be?  Has anyone told the thermodynamics police?  Because they're definitely breaking the law :)

granular erruptions


autumn chores

Monday,  10/25/04  10:51 PM

Another terrific New Yorker cover:

"autumn chores" - New Yorker cover 10-25-04

I wish I enjoyed the inside of this issue as much.

It seems the editors have decided there is a chance Bush might win, and they've taken it upon themselves to mount a blazing attack.  They're largely preaching to the choir, since most of their readers are pretty liberal, but as a guest in the congregation I wish they'd relent.  It isn't the message - I have no problem with people supporting Kerry or bashing Bush - but the tone; over the course of the summer the New Yorker has become more and more shrill, now ending in a high-pitched whine.


twistable turnable man

Monday,  10/25/04  10:56 PM

Tonight my daughter Megan read to me from Shel Silverstein's terrific A Light in the Attic.  One of our favorites is "twistable turnable man":

He's the Twistable Turnable Squeezable Pullable
Stretchable Foldable Man.
He can crawl in your pocket or fit your locket
Or screw himself into a twenty-volt socket,
Or stretch himself up to the steeple or taller,
Or squeeze himself into a thimble or smaller,
Yes he can, course he can,
He's the Twistable Turnable Squeezable Pullable
Stretchable Shrinkable Man.
And he lives a passable life
With his Squeezable Lovable Kissable Hugable
Pullable Tugable Wife.
And they have two twistable kids
Who bend up the way that they did.
twistable turnable manAnd they turn and they stretch
Just as much as they can
For this Bendable Foldable
Easily moldable
Buy-what you're-soldable
Washable Mendable
Highly Dependable
Buyable Saleable
Always available
Bounceable Shakeable
Almost unbreakable
Twistable Turnable Man.

Somehow, this put me in a mind of John Kerry :)


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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