Critical Section

Archive: August 12, 2005

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conservation of ignorance

Friday,  08/12/05  07:22 PM

"conservation of ignorance" - Eric ArtmanFrom Bob Peoples, relayed by my friend Eric Artman:

I believe in the law of conservation of ignorance.  That is, the more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know.  The learned ignorance replaces unlearned ignorance, but the total amount of ignorance remains constant.

I think not knowing is ignorance, but knowing you don't know is knowledge, not ignorance, so it isn't really correct.  It's a great thought, though...

By the way, Eric is a terrific artist, check out his work...  the piece at right isn't really entitled "conservation of ignorance" - or at least I don't think it is - but maybe it should be:

This drawing is inspired by mathematics and chemistry. I was inspired to create this drawing after pondering what brilliance was coursing through Erwin Schrödinger's mind when he conceived of the wave equations.


patently absurd

Friday,  08/12/05  07:58 PM

Richard Stallman blasts patent absurdity, and deftly contrasts copyrights and patents:

Consider the novel Les Misérables, written by Hugo.  Because he wrote it, the copyright belonged only to him.  He did not have to fear that some stranger could sue him for copyright infringement and win.  That was impossible, because copyright covers only the details of a work of authorship, and only restricts copying.  Hugo had not copied Les Misérables, so he was not in danger.  Patents work differently.  They cover ideas - each patent is a monopoly on practising some idea, which is described in the patent itself."

[ via Cory Doctorow, who titled his post "Software patents are bad for coders like literary patents would be bad for writers." ]  Exactly!

Got it?  Copyrights = goodPatents = bad.  All software patents are bad, all the time.  Always.

I'm telling you, Everybody Loves Eric Raymond is my favorite comic right now; check out web comic patents.  The hits keep on coming...

Everybody Loves Eric Raymond - web comic patents


Friday,  08/12/05  08:49 PM

The Ole filter makes another pass...

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has made it off the ground!  "The MRO was carried into space on an Atlas V rocket and is now on a nearly seven-month journey to Mars. The launch had been delayed 24 hours after engineers saw an anomalous reading in the hydrogen propellant loading system on the Atlas V. There was insufficient time in the launch window to fully investigate the reading."  Excellent.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter high resolution cameraDigitalCameraInfo has a great story about the 40,000 x 20,000 pixel camera on board the MRO.  That's almost the resolution of the ScanScope instruments made by my company Aperio.  (We can go up to 120,000 x 80,000 pixels, but we use a line-scan camera, so it is a different process altogether.)  [ via Engadget ]

SpaceX hits a rough patch: SpaceX Private Rocket Shifts to Island Launch.  "After spending an estimated $7 million on its Vandenberg Air Force Base facilities, the private rocket company is being told to get out of its Complex 3 West launch site [at Vandenberg AFB]."  There are two sides to every story, but it is hard to imagine what the other side of this story could be.  Anyway never bet against Elon Musk.

Ever wonder what happens to all those white doves that are released on "peaceful" occasions?  Slate explains.  I didn't know doves were pigeons, and I didn't know cooked pigeons were squab.  I love squabs - medium rare, with a nice red wine reduction sauce.

the world in the iPod...Der Spigel: the World in the iPod.  "The microchip that runs Apple's popular music player is made in India, Taiwan, China and Silicon Valley.  Is this an example of how globalization works to everyone's benefit -- or a sign that the world economy is about to roll over America?"  The former, of course, dummy! 

Don't worry about America's competitiveness because of lower labor costs elsewhere, worry about it because of liability and patent costs here at home...

Speaking of the iPod, Andrew Grumet compares the iPod Mini to the Creative Zen Micro.  "Overall: iPod wins."  What I found interesting is that on features and everything else it was a push, yet Andrew clearly liked the iPod better.  Yes, Virginia, design is important.

Oh and by the way, Doom has been ported to the iPod.  Thank goodness.  It isn't a real computer until it runs Doom :)


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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