Critical Section

Archive: February 19, 2008

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Tuesday,  02/19/08  10:55 PM

Sometimes you get a chance to meet someone in meatspace after having been longtime friends in cyberspace, and so it was for me tonight as I met Josh Newman, film producer, and self-aggrandizer extraordinaire, over a skirt steak at the Border Grill.  It was really fun, and I found him to be much the same as I expected (with perhaps 112% less egotism :).  Cool.

Robin TrowerI've found my musical taste moves in waves; just now I have found myself listening with pleasure to Robin Trower.  I have loved his music forever, but go for long periods where I don't listen to it anymore.  Then tonight driving I came upon Man of the World at random, cranked it, loved it, and switched to an all-Trower set.  I'm listening to it now - that guitar is wailing - can you pick it up in the way I blog?

An oldie but goodie: Paul Graham's Six principles for making new things.  "Here it is: I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly."  A most excellent schema for innovation.  Of these, I think (e) and (f) are crucial; more projects get derailed by over-ambition than anything else.

This is delightfully recursive: TechCrunch asks Will YouNoodle predict its own inevitable failure?  The startup business version of the Epiminides Paradox!  ("This sentence is false.")

Stanford Linear AcceleratorWired posted a nice pictorial tour of the Stanford Linear Accelerator.  Classic big science!  Isn't it amusing that to detect really small things you need to make really big things?

Clive Thompson asks the question: Why do Beluga whales enjoy the clarinet note G?  That's an excellent question!  Easier to answer is the related question, why do I read Clive's blog; he links some really interesting stuff!

And here's another; did you know Hiccups due to our fish ancestry, a post about a cool new book Your inner Fish.  "Spasms in our diaphragms, hiccups are triggered by electric signals generated in the brain stem. Amphibian brain stems emit similar signals, which control the regular motion of their gills. Our brain stems, inherited from amphibian ancestors, still spurt out odd signals producing hiccups that are, according to Shubin, essentially the same phenomenon as gill breathing."  See, understanding evolution helps us answer the hard questions.

I've probably over-covered this now, but ArsTechnica piles on With HD DVD dead, Blu-ray's next threat is digital downloads.  Meanwhile Wired wonders Is Apple Ready to Bust a Blu-ray Move?  It is an interesting question; in some sense Apple's iTunes Movie Rentals are Blu-Ray's biggest competition, but I don't think Apple benefits from not supporting Blu-Ray; probably this comes down to something simple, like whether their customers want it.  Speaking for myself, I have no desire to have a Blu-Ray drive on my laptop.  What would I do with it?  Watch movies?

my original 5GB iPodSpeaking of old technology (like optical media :), I have two original 5GB iPods, the very first ones that started it all, and I've decided to sell one on eBay.  You, too, can own a piece of history...  operators are standing by.  Maybe I'll even throw in a little Robin Trower :)

I haven't sold anything on eBay recently, and I must say that website is getting awfully crufty.  I've always liked eBay because I am a gadget guy; I buy the next newest thing and then sell the last newest thing.  Over the years the site has gotten harder and harder to use, with a million little nickel and dime "features".  Someone should design an eBay-lite which front-ends the website but eliminates all the cruft.  At this point, it is too hard to use.

InfoWorld has a "save Windows XP campaign".  I am not making this up.  And I hope they are successful; I plan to stick with XP until something better comes along, and I do not define "something better" as Vista.  Microsoft have announced they are going to stop selling XP on June 30, but I doubt very much they'll stick to this.

Meanwhile Microsoft has released XP SP3 RC2 for public beta.  This is much more interesting to me than Vista SP1 :)  Although I must say, I like trying betas of things I use, but not operating systems.  Installation and fallback take too long.


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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
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Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
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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
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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
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world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?