Archive: April 23, 2019
Archive: April 23, 2018
Archive: April 16, 2017
may you spend it peacefully with your family and those you love
Happy Easter everyone, hope you're having a nice day. I slept in, watched Amstel Gold (congratulations, Phillipe!, wow), and have been working away here quietly, awaiting the familial invasion a bit later.
While I was out not blogging there was a bunch of stuff that happened in and around space, so I thought I'd space out a little bit...
Not least among the interesting space stuff, National Geographic published a phenomenal supplement on the subject of colonizing Mars. Check it out in case you're thinking of going there :)
Astonishing video from NASA/JPL: Four days at Saturn. Wow. Yes, you must watch it full screen.
From NASA: the Shakespearean Moons of Uranus. I think sometimes Jupiter and Saturn get all the press, but Uranus is actually pretty amazing. It has 27 [known] moons, including Oberon and Titania, which are larger than all of Saturn's moons other than Titan. And Uranus does have rings like Saturn, and does have a bright spot like Jupiter.
And speaking of Titan, it has liquid lakes! - but they're filled with methane, not water. And yeah, they could support some weird "life".
If any more were needed: Another good reason to sail the seas of Titan. (life!)
But just so you know: We're probably imagining aliens wrong.
I thought the aliens in Arrival were pretty cool. From Stephen Wolfram: How might the Alien spacecraft work?
NASA's New Horizons set to explore the Kuiper Belt. Cool! This is an encore performance for the space probe, after having sent those incredibly detailed pictures of Pluto. Onward!
Meanwhile, after 1.7B miles, Juno nails its Jupiter orbit to within ten miles. Pretty good shot :) The burn time was 35 minutes, and it was off by one second.
Sadly: Juno was a success - but there is precious little coming after it. "The party is just about over. NASA, and more particularly the Obama administration, have failed to invest in future planetary science missions." It is my sense that like a lot of the Obama administration, NASA substituted PR for accomplishment.
From NASA: Top 10 Star Trek planets chosen by our scientists. This would be cute if there were manned launches taking place every few months, but since we are now relying on Russian rockets to visit the ISS, it's pathetic. I think NASA thinks we don't know the difference between what they should be doing and Star Trek.
PS their #1 was Vulcan, showing a shallow familiarity with the Star Trek universe...
PPS their #2 was Andoria, a good choice, but a moon, not a planet...
See now this is just sad: NASA just unveiled plans for its moon-orbiting spaceport. What moon-orbiting spaceport? There is NO plan to create a moon-orbiting spaceport, and in fact, no plan to create a rocket capable of reaching the moon from Earth. Our tax dollars at
work play. Sad.
Apropos, from science fiction author chrishanger: Stupidity on Space. "... if you genuinely care about Earth’s ecology, moving into space is the best possible solution." His blog has become a favorite of mine...
Meanwhile, there is hope: Elon Musk and SpaceX announce details of plan to colonize Mars. In seven years!
Teslarati: the challenges involved in a mission to Mars. News you may be able to use :)
Closer to home (well, depending on where you live :), here's an ultra high def view of Earth, from the ISS. Most definitely best full screen on a huge monitor.
RIP: John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, dies at 95.
Parenthetically, I thought Missing Figures was one of the best movies I've seen recently... and Glenn was apparently accurately portrayed.
And finally, here we have the USS Enterprise in mind-blowing detail. To boldly go everywhere. Will we be alive to see it? I hope so!
(click to enbiggen amazingly)
Archive: April 16, 2016
Woah, 10 days since my last filter pass! What happened? Nothing in particular, I've just been ... busy? I guess. The days go by. Anyway here's a catchup... because [as you know] it's all happening...
In case you were worried: NASA's Kepler space telescope is back in good health. Whew.
Clive Thompson: The new site. In case you were a fan of his Collision Detection, or especially if you weren't. Check it out!
It's funny to read about someone who thinks Moveable Type is legacy, when I started blogging, there was no Moveable Type, in fact, Blogger had just come out. I had to write my own CMS, and it's still running. Also, I had to walk in the snow to school, uphill both ways :)
From October, Heather MacDonald testifies before the Senate: The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism. "The most poisonous claim in the dominant narrative is that our criminal justice system is a product and a source of racial inequity." In which once again we see that correlation does not imply causality.
Thirty years ago (!) - space shuttle Challenger explodes, killing all seven astronauts aboard. For me this was totally a "remember where you were when you heard it" event.
Scott "Dilbert" Adams ponders a presidential persuasion pardon. "Let’s say Donald Trump promises that when he gets elected President he will pardon Hillary Clinton of any future convictions regarding her email server situation." An interesting what-if, but I don't read him that way.
Dumb dumb dumb dumb: PayPal withdraws from North Carolina because of new LGBT discrimination law. The law is pretty benign - requiring each sex to use bathrooms for their sex - but everyone sure is jumping on this bandwagon. This is nothing but virtue signaling, but it sure is compelling.
Meanwhile: Chariot launches, an Uber-like service for women only. No word about how they will treat men who "present" as women.
One down: Panama papers scandal brings down Iceland's prime minister. Wow. Wonder who's next?
I use a tool called WordFence to protect eyesFinder's website (which is running WordPress); check out this post on the WordFence blog about how the Panama papers got exposed.
The latest sport? First-person drone racing descends upon Wembley Stadium. Wow. And meanwhile, ESPN is trying to make drone racing a mainstream sport. Well why not? Better than poker :)
The thing that will be really cool? First-person drone racing ... in virtual reality!
Apropos: the reality of AR/VR business models. A great survey. Personally I think VR content creation will be like making movies ... a huge business. (With many of the same people and players.)
Related: How virtual reality is looking to reawaken the joy of arcades. Might even get me back into one :)
Major League Baseball approves wearable tech for in-game use. Specific products for now, but it's a slippery slope.
The three things Apple needs to do to unlock the potential of Touch Id. I totally agree with the first thing: use Touch Id to override web passwords. It is such a pain to remember (and recover) passwords on every site; how great would it be if authenticating yourself on your phone was all you had to do?
The headline is clickbait but the article is better: a survey of the challenges that Yahoo faces, as it explores the sale of its core business. Not a pretty picture. How the mighty have fallen... I thought Marissa Mayer had a chance to turn them around, but apparently she did not.
I remember when I was at Intuit, in 1999, that Yahoo was THE online service, the Internet challenger to non-Internet AOL. That was a long time ago, and in all that time Yahoo has steadily declined.
As Tesla Model 3 preorders approach 400,000: If you built it, they will come. "Prior to the Model 3 event, the rhetoric you still routinely heard was ... that Tesla is a niche product, a 'Valley-thing.' These pre-order numbers destroy that notion. It’s still up to Tesla to execute on the plan, but at least right now, that plan is clearly working." This is most definitely starting to look like genuine disruption.
Oh, and: Tesla unveils new Model S design. Wow for everyone, and Sigh for me. The number of reasons to upgrade to a brand new one keep growing.
Teslarati explores the details behind the Tesla Model S update. Interestingly, they've got a "normal" center console now, standard.
Wrapping up, here we have The Bazooka, a huge super Canoli filled with 50 normal canolis. Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you imagined :)
Archive: April 19, 2015
The Ole filter makes a pass ... curiously, it's not all happening, very little seems to be going on for some reason...
I have been self-analyzing myself, watching me not preorder an Apple Watch. I just don't want one. Maybe I don't think the learning curve on how to use another device is worth it, or maybe ... I just don't want one. Huh.
NASA captures first color image of Pluto. "The New Horizons probe, which is bearing down on Pluto, has captured its first color image of the distant dwarf planet." Excellent. It's truly amazing that we can launch satellites so far away and retrieve images from them. It takes 4.6 hours for a photon to travel from the spacecraft back to Earth!
A new trailer for the new Star Wars movie is up, and it looks ... great. Cannot wait to see it, although I guess we all will; it is schedules to be released on December 18. I love the way the Internet is trying to reverse engineer the plot from the trailer teases.
Oh, and remember the little round droid BB-8 introduced in the first teaser trailer? Apparently it really exists! Wow, what cool technology. Sort of Segway-ish. I would have thought actually building it would have been harder slash more expensive than just generating it on a computer screen, but surely it's more fun this way.
And here we have the crab cam. Of course...
Archive: April 10, 2014
I've been watching the whole Mozilla / Brendan Eich thing with great interest. Seems to me we've reached a new low in the political discourse of the United States, that a CEO could be forced to resign because of his alleged political views.
A new low.
You may know, I'm an ardent libertarian, and to me the salient point is not whether Eich is anti-gay (turns out, he's not) or anti-same-sex-marriage (turn's out, he's not anymore*), but whether the prevailing political winds should determine whether someone is fit to be an executive of a company. We should defend people's right to have whatever view they want, especially on something as controversial as same-sex-marriage, even if we disagree with them. We should not shut down public discussion of such issues by forcing a prevailing view. And we especially should not confuse an individual's personal views with their fitness and performance as an executive of a company.
Lest you think this is an isolated example, there have been serious suggestions that other executives who have contributed to unpopular / un-politically-correct initiatives be "purged". That's pretty scary, don't you think?
I think we should support different points of view and open debate, especially since the political winds can shift so quickly. While support for same-sex-marriage is now pretty strong, it wasn't too long ago that it was "politically correct" to have an opposite view. Consider the matter of abortion, which is not yet settled. Having either a pro-life or pro-choice view is okay for a CEO, today. But what about in five years? What if one of these positions "wins"? Should we then criticize or censure the people who had an opposite view today?
* BTW many notable public figures have changed their mind about same-sex-marriage, including President Obama.
Multithread city over here, I have been courting investors, coding, team-building, and assembling a sales plan all at once. And I need help, so I've also been making Minions =)
Biggest news the last couple of days has been heartbleed, the webserver bug (in OpenSSL) which is so bad it has it's own name (and logo). Server admins all over the world are scrambling to apply patches, and users everywhere are changing passwords. Crap. So, does this refute Linus's Law? (That with many eyes, all bugs are shallow.) Nope.
Think Visual Search is flying under the radar? No such luck. Facebook's face identification project is accurate 97.25% of the time. That's amazing. And Twitter adds photo tagging. It isn't automatic - yet - but imagine how cool when it will be. Won't be long, check this out: Impala lands on Android to herd more cat pictures. And there are applications like this: transparent Land Rover hood. Onward!
Seth Godin: Not even one note. "We opt for more instead of better. Better is better than more."
I've been remiss in my cycling commentary, which for some of you is just fine and others a travesty. We're in the middle of the "classics" season, and next Sunday is the most classic classic, Paris-Roubaix, featuring a head-to-head battle between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen. In the last ten years Boonen has won four times, Cancellara three, including last year. My money's on the Swiss time machine; he looked pretty amazing winning the Tour of Flanders last weekend... (That's him leading Boonen in the Ronde.)
So, Microsoft have announced Office for the iPad, or rather, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Early reviews have been uniformly positive and the products are already very popular though some pundits seem to feel this is only for business customers. No, it is nothing less that a grand repositioning of the company away from desktop toward mobile; a great move, IMNSHO. Good for Satya Nadella: Who are you, and what have you done with Microsoft's CEO?
Meanwhile, Microsoft's OS Chief Terry Myerson does not get it, per this interview with Mary Jo Foley. "How the Windows experience spans these form factors and is familiar across them - that's what we need to deliver if we're going to delight people in the whole ecosystem." That's old school thinking; I predict he will be gone soon...
Meanwhile, Amazon launches FireTV, their answer to AppleTV, Roku, and Chromecast. Coolest differentiator is the voice-controlled remote, which apparently actually works. That would be cool.
Oh, and they also launched Dash, which is a combination barcode scanner and voice recorder to help you order from Amazon Fresh. Quite interesting. I could see this making a difference in convenience...
So, we still haven't found Malaysia Flight 370 :( despite an incredible effort. At this point the most likely scenario all along seems the only scenario; the plane had trouble and crashed into the ocean. The Washington Post created this illustration of how difficult it's going to be to find it. It's not going to be easy to find the black box at the bottom of the ocean, as this illustration shows.
esr: Zero Marginal Thinking (Jeremy Rifkin gets it all wrong). A thorough fisking. Whew!
Do you want to be a Glasshole, too? On April 15 - for one day only (tax day!) - Google will sell one to anyone. A mere $1,500 and you too can take pictures by winking. Go for it!
And finally: how to flirt, according to science. A big key is maintaining eye contact. So Glass is great for flirting :)
Archive: April 23, 2013
Archive: April 20, 2012
at 53 I feel like this has been going on for a while
so far it hasn't caught me yet :)
Archive: April 23, 2011
I get to be home for a week before heading out on the road again, and get to hang out quietly at home today, and blog...
Dave Winer: I need to learn jQuery. Yeah, me too.
The box-office power of Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' baffles insiders. Ha! And I love it that on Rotten Tomatoes the critics give it 13%, but the audience gives it 82%. There is a lesson here somewhere...
PS let's hope Part 1 makes enough money to enable Parts 2 & 3 to be made!
Real life Atlas Shrugged: Obama to Boeing: drop dead. "We can't allow any one company to be too successful..." Scary!
The 50th anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth! Wow. Not quite as influential as Atlas Shrugged, but almost... definitely on my top ten. "... when I got to Milo getting lost in The Doldrums where he found a watchdog named Tock, it was probably already too late for me..." Same!
PS in the eighties there was a band called "Talk Talk", and I was so disappointed when I found out they weren't named "Tock Tock". A missed opportunity for punishment :)
Here we have the ugliest couches in the world. Reminds me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we can all agree on ugly.
Man, Philippe Gilbert is having quite a Spring, as he takes Liege-Bastogne-Liege to go with earlier wins in Fleche Wallonne and Amsel Gold. Chapeau!
Have a great weekend! I'm planning to (gasp!) sit by the pool, work on my tan, and read...
Running this picture of TP52 Azzura just because:
Some things just make me happy, and this is one of them :)
Archive: April 23, 2010
Yesterday night the weirdest thing happened to me; I ran out of brain. It was getting late, I was driving on the freeway, and I ran out of gas. Just ... ran out. I had previously noticed I was running low, my gas gauge was working, the little warning light came on and so on, but somehow my brain ignored all that and the laws of physics took over. If you drive long enough without putting gas in your car, it will come to a spluttering stop. I was on I-5 at the time, going about 80, with traffic everywhere, so pulling onto the shoulder was an adventure. Once there I called AAA and 45 rather nerve-wracking minutes later a nice tow truck driver saved me. It was bad but it could have been worse.
Just shows, I am overloading my brain. Too many things competing for cycles and really basic stuff gets pushed out. I need to kill some threads, and focus. Time to go out to dinner, have a nice
glass bottle of wine, and get some perspective. Fortunately I am riding a century tomorrow - the Wildflower Ride, up in Paso Robles - and that will be good think time; three hours driving there, six hours riding, and three hours driving back. With great music playing all through. I have to get some of my brain back.
As noted, my brain is full, but I will try to make a filter pass anyway, on a Friday afternoon no less. You have been warned.
Put down all sharp objects and hot liquids, and then let The Oatmeal explain how to name a volcano.
Yesterday Facebook announced that they've expanded their API, to include "the Open Graph". Which is open in the sense that anyone can use it, but closed in the sense that it belongs to Facebook. Scoble is right to comment on Facebook's ambition, this is big. So, should I add 'Like' buttons to my blog? (And thereby allow you to auto-link posts into your Facebook?) Huh. I'm thinking 'no', but I'm still thinking...
It is Earth Day, 2010. And the Big Picture celebrates with a big spread, interposing "good" and "bad" pictures of humans and their effect on Earth. I especially like the pictures of windmills, which are delightfully ambiguous in their green-ness; sure, clean power in some sense, but definitely a nonzero impact on the environment.
It had to happen: Pianist plays concert encore on iPad. Wow. I guess the lack of physical keyboard doesn't affect everyone :)
Meanwhile, here is Eric Raymond's take: "The iPad is the ultimate Steve Jobs device – so hypnotic that not only do people buy one without knowing what it’s good for, they keep feeling like they ought to use it even when they have better alternatives for everything it does." He doesn't think it will be successful, but he's been wrong before...
A train that never stops at stations. Pretty cool, operates on the same principle as the newer style of ski lift, where the chairs come off the main cable for loading and unloading, allowing the cable to move much faster. Probably impractical but an ingenious idea.
Okay, that's it, now my brain is really full. See you Sunday.
Archive: April 23, 2009
I'm getting ready for riding in the Wildflower Century this Saturday, pretty excited about it, actually. It isn't necessarily a hard century - no century is easy, but this one has "only" 6,000' of climbing, which is pretty reasonable - but this ride has the reputation of being amazingly beautiful; all on back roads with little traffic, rolling hills, great weather, and of course wildflowers! (Yes I will be bringing my camera as usual so please stay tuned...)
One of the cool tools for getting ready for a long ride on a course you don't know is Google Earth. You can see the lay of the land, where there are cities and towns, how far the checkpoints are from each other, the kinds of roads, and of course check out the climbs and descents. Here's a view of this ride, from high above in the virtual air:
Creston is East of Paso Robles, pretty much in the middle of nowhere; this is a view looking South into the mountains. There are hardly any towns anywhere in there; who knew there was so much open land between I5 and California 101? It does look like there is plenty of up and down even if there aren't any fierce summits.
And yippee the weather looks like it is going to cooperate also. So now I just have to eat a lot tomorrow - as much as possible, protein and carbs - and get enough sleep. Oh yeah, sleep... well first a little blogging, and then sleep :)
Hi blog readers, what's up? I hope you had a nice day... I did, was able to finish some stuff, and that always feels good... and got in a nice hard ride, "Malibu CC" in 1:58, so that felt good (more Wildflower prep), and had a rather startling revelation about myself which was scary but now that I've had time to absorb, good. More on that when I'm less scared :)
Okay, onward, make a filter pass we shall, eh?
So, about Tweetdeck. First, it's a nice app. Although the fact that it is written in Air makes it a resource pig, it performs just fine (of course, it isn't exactly compute bound). I must tell you, using a desktop app for Twittering doesn't make the tweets any more interesting. Maybe I'm just following the wrong group, but the signal to noise remains perilously close to zero. However there was a weird and unexpected silver lining: Tweetdeck is a great Facebook client!
Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror): "I hate meta-discussion so much. Podcasts about podcasts. Blogging about blogging. Stack Overflow posts about Stack Overflow. KILL ME NOW"
Me (@OleEichhorn): "Not to mention tweets about meta-discussions"
Today I had to send a fax - a 53 page fax - and it was weird... I have a phone line wired into my docking station (from 100 years ago) and so I selected Fax as my printer, and poof it "just worked", but the whole experience was like watching a black and white movie. Listening to the phone ring, and the modems little beeping and whistling, man, it was like something from my childhood :) And then of course it took over an hour to send. But it did work, whew, so I guess I shouldn't complain...
My daughter Meg is practicing a dance for school based on Michael Jackson's Thriller, which of course meant I listened to it again, and I must tell you it doesn't really hold up for me. Not like CCR's Cosmo's Factory, which is older and cornier and yet somehow fresher still. Or maybe less tied to a time; Thriller seems so "disco" and that seems so "80s". I still like Billie Jean, always my favorite from that album, but I can't say overall it's one of my favorites...
From Kottke: RIP, Geocities. Man, I remember Geocities, in fact I had a Geocities page at one time. Wow, what a blast from the past. Interesting to be reminded that Yahoo paid $3.5B for Geocities in 1999; hard to say they got their money's worth, eh?
I see where some are saying Facebook supplanted Geocities, but that's not right, and even MySpace was pretty different. I think blogging supplanted personal websites, and so Blogger and Typepad and Wordpress and LiveJournal are the real successors...
Apropos: here we have the top 15 web properties of 1999. AOL was #1, with Microsoft and Yahoo at #2 and #3, so that's not a surprise. But some of the names are history, like Go, and Excite, and Lycos, and AltaVista, and Snap, and Xoom, and ... Geocities ...
According to Fred Wilson A second market is emerging. This is a market for private equity, lying somewhere between an acquisition and an IPO as a potential exit for startup founders and early investors. Huh, interesting. I don't know enough to have an opinion about whether he's right, but it would be cool...
Here we have a giant windmill. I know, I know, you're thinking it's big, but check it out, it is BIG.
Not a ZooBorn, but baby of the day: a [frozen] baby mammoth! WOW. And that is not photoshopped, that is a Nenets boy petting the little guy. Presumably it was woollier when it was alive.
I must say " baby Mammoth" reminds me of George Carlin and "jumbo shrimp" :)
Archive: April 23, 2008
The latest issue of The Economist has a nice special report on Mobility, starting with this article: Nomads at Last. It is a pretty interesting survey, kind of a sociological perspective on the impact of new technologies like mobile phones, blackberries, texting, WiFi, etc. on the way people live and work. In the beginning computers kind of isolated us, but now they are making us more social. Many people are "always on", and the line between work and home life has blurred beyond all recognition. This is certainly true for me, I am a poster child for this kind of nomadability.
Today I received an email from a friend, sent from her smartphone while in the dentist's chair. Talk about always on :)
So Clinton not only won Pennsylvania, she won convincingly, with a 10-point margin. At this point, having won all the "big" states, you'd have to say she has a good claim on being more electable than Obama. In fact if you include Florida and Michigan (and their votes will count in the general election), Clinton has a great claim to being the Democratic candidate. Fascinating. This is looking like a world-class choke on Obama's part.
And now who do McCain supporters root for? It is becoming apparent that Clinton would be the stronger candidate in the general election, despite what head-to-head polls may say; she has won all the big states like California, Texas, Florida, and [now] Pennsylvania which a Democrat must win in order to win overall. Furthermore it is also becoming apparent that Obama's weaknesses runs deep; a head-to-head debate with McCain could be gruesome. I guess we root for Obama, although it feels unsporting. I hate to precelebrate, but this is looking like a world-class choke on the Democrats part.
Parenthetically, not everyone is happy about this state of affairs; in particular the NYTimes, which has become disgustingly partisan for Obama, is spinning furiously. Ann Althouse reports on the moving goalposts: "The news is not that she won big, but that it's bad that she won." I'll just note that Clinton is currently the Junior Senator from New York.
[Update: Looks like maybe Obama has to win Indiana. And it looks like maybe he won't...]
One of the really weird things in the software development job market is how many foreign professionals there are, compared to just a few "native" Americans. When I post a software development position I get a ton of resumes with Indian and Chinese names, and many Eastern European ones. Only seldom do I get Sally Jones. This situation is not a problem - my company Aperio is a virtual United Nations of different nationalities, and it works great (in fact it kind of spices things up :) The problem is that many of these foreign engineers need an H1B visa in order to work in the U.S., and the number of these visas is capped. In fact it is capped way too low, in a bogus effort to "protect" U.S. workers. Fortunately this situation is recognized (Congress doing its best to lose the global talent war), and is now being addressed (House Republicans move to increase H1B visa quota). Stay tuned...
The Weekly Standard: 24 Hours on the 'Big Stick'. "Landing on an aircraft carrier was the most fun I'd ever had with my trousers on. And the 24 hours that I spent aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt--the "Big Stick"--were an equally unalloyed pleasure. I love big, moving machinery. And machinery doesn't get any bigger, or more moving, than a U.S.-flagged nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that's longer than the Empire State Building is tall and possesses four acres of flight deck. This four acres, if it were a nation, would have the fifth or sixth largest airforce in the world--86 fixed wing aircraft plus helicopters." I love this quote from a CPO: "These are the same kids, who, back on land, have their hats bumped to one side and their pants around their knees, hanging out on corners. And here they're in charge of $35 million airplanes." There is a lesson in there somewhere...
Another bogus non-story exposed: Upconverting HDMI DVD players: Fact vs. fiction. The bottom line is that if you have a good HDTV, it can upconvert just as well if not better than DVD players. The whole upconvert thing is a ruse to unload all the HD-DVD players nobody wants anymore.
Can you muster up any enthusiasm for Microsoft's Mesh? Me, either. It should be interesting, it could be interesting, but somehow I feel without having investigated at all that it won't be interesting. Microsoft hasn't done anything cool for a long time. Making it seem even less interesting: "A hundred of Ozzie's engineers have been working on Mesh for the past two years". Nothing that takes one hundred engineers two years to build is worth building!
Wrapping up, check out this gorgeous sun canopy designed by Christoph Klemmt.
Just beautiful. What is it about Italian designers?
They seem to be able to make ordinary stuff extraordinary.
Archive: April 23, 2007
Archive: April 23, 2006
Archive: April 23, 2005
Archive: April 20, 2004
Terry Heaton reports the recent South Korean elections were decided by citizen-powered news. "The liberal Uri Party swept into power [April 15] in the National Assembly elections, ending 44 years of conservative rule in the country. What you'll likely NOT read is that this was accomplished largely through the steady efforts of a New Media entity that fought the conservative press in South Korea. OhMyNews! is an Internet-based media company that took on the giants and won in its bid for influence. In so doing, it has involved young people in the political process in record numbers and turned the whole culture on its ear. It's a wake-up call for traditional media everywhere." [ via Bill Hobbs ] In this connection, it is worth pointing out that South Korea has the highest per-capita broadband penetration of any country, as well as the highest average hours-spent-surfing.
Josh Marshall can't figure out why the latest polls have Bush gaining on Kerry, despite, as he puts it "two or three weeks when the news for his White House has been universally and profoundly bad - principally because of the uptick in fighting in Iraq, but also because of the 9/11 business." It's really quite simple. War is the right issue. As long as "war news" dominates the headlines, Bush will win.
Einstein is off! The Gravity Probe B satellite designed to test general relativity has been successfully launched into space. Excellent.
The article notes: "Mission controllers grounded the probe for 24 hours due to uncertainty about flight software during the countdown on Monday." Ah yes, the software release control problem :)
I'm not sure what to make of this: Schwarzenegger promises California 'Hydrogen Highway' by 2010. "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an order Tuesday for California to have a network of stations offering the pollution-free hydrogen fuel up and down the state within six years." Interesting.
Rafe Needleman contemplates Skype economics. Skype is a new P2P voice-over-IP offering; unlike Vonage it uses your computer rather than a 'phone as the handset, and also unlike Vonage it is free rather than $30+ per month. On both counts it seems like a worse business. We'll see, but I think Skype will go the way of Kazaa (Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom's previous venture); a wildly popular app which does not lead to a commercial success.
Do you know what this is? Mark Frauenfelder asks the question. It seems the prevailing theory is that it is a "conformateur"; a device for measuring the shape of a person's head by poking little holes in a piece of paper fastened in the oval clip shown hinged open, for the purpose of making a form-fitting hat. To me it looks like a Riven linking book holder :)
Going Dutch - in style. Slate features Rem Koolhaas, "the most influential architect of the last decade." The picture at right depicts the CCTV headquarters building, in Bejing. Awesome - sculpture you can work inside!
A medical mood ring: "MIT mechanical engineers Harry Asada and Phillip Shaltis have developed a 'ring sensor' that monitors the wearer’s temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen level. The battery-powered ring contains a wireless link that can transmit vital signs to a cell phone or computer, allowing a caregiver to determine remotely whether a patient needs assistance." This is the future, and it's here now.
Wired reports Science Women Get Cinematic Boost. Two new movies in preparation chronicle the lives of Rosalind Franklin, the under-publicized third hero of the discovery of DNA, and Hedy Lamarr, the Hollywood pinup who filed a patent on spread-spectrum technology. Wow.
The NYTimes: Studios Rush to Cash in on DVD Boom. "Between January and mid-March this year, Americans spent $1.78 billion at the box office. But in the same period they spent $4.8 billion - more than $3 billion more - to buy and rent DVD's and videocassettes." Which suggests there's a market for video-on-demand... [ via Dave Winer ]
Yahoo: "An X-ray showing a 17 centimeter (6.7 inches) pair of surgical scissors in the abdomen of 69-year-old Pat Skinner in Sydney, Australia. Mrs Skinner had an operation at St.George hospital in Sydney's south in May 2001, but continued to suffer intense pain and it was only when she insisted on an x-ray 18 months later that she discovered the scissors inside."
BW wonders Can .Mac withstand the G-force? Essentially this is the editors' suggestion that Apple abandon their .mac service in favor of a co-branded offering of Google's new email service. This isn't a horrible idea, but why do the BW editors continuously try to run Apple? They periodically admire Steve Jobs for doing a great job, but they can't help trying to run it themselves, anyway.
Apple just made their G4 powerbooks faster and lower the prices, too. They recently reported a strong quarter led by sales of the new mini iPods. They must be doing something right :)
In Search Boosters for your PC BW admires X1. I, too, feel X1 is a good thing; if you're not using it to search your Outlook folders and hard drives, you should be.
Interesting article on InfoWorld: Can email be saved? Six pundits give their solutions to the problem of spam.
Archive: April 23, 2003
I took my daughter Megan and her friend Ally to Legoland today; nothing like spending the day with two cute little five-year-olds. Really fun.
The great thing about Legoland is that the target demographic is little kids. So you have millions of little kids and their parents. The teen thing is missing - no rap, no tattoos, no piercings, no rudeness. Just people having fun with their kids. I enjoyed being around other people, which is kind of odd for me.
I would link to Legoland's site, but it sucks. Hard. First, it only works in Windows IE. I mean, really. Next, it requires flash. The pages are heavy and overdesigned. And the information / fluff ratio approaches zero. There are some Quicktime 3D movies, but they don't really work and they open in teeny un-resizeable windows. A usability "don't".
I did have a brief thought - hmmm... this is a tourist place. Wonder if there are any visitors from China or Hong Kong? I didn't see any masks. That could still happen, though.
Check out Peking Duck - lots of great posting. Man, China is really flipped upside down by SARS. They've even quarantined a hospital in Bejing... Today's SARSWatch: 4288 cases, and 251 deaths.
CNN reports North Korea says 'War any moment'. This is while trilateral talks between the U.S., North Korea, and China are taking place. Their style of negotiation is a little unconventional - threaten disaster, and hope this gives them leverage. I don't think it will work. As usual, Cox & Forkum illustrate beautifully...
From Jason Kottke:
Scene: The Open Source Cafe.
Man: Waiter, there's a fly in my soup.
Waiter: Sir, it's not a bug, it's a feature.
Pretty hard to argue with this list, from Acidman. Well, I do kind of like soccer, and I am conflicted about gun control.
This is really old, but I just tripped over it: Steve Sailer interviews Steven Pinker. I love it that the hereditability of human nature can be discussed in a UPI press release. Of course, I'm sure both were accused of racism or political incorrectness, or something. Read it and decide for yourself!
Finally, I direct your attention to The Fish Wars. Be sure to see the Complete Fish Taxonomy. My favorite is the Far Side Fish :)
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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
where are the desktop apps?