Critical Section


Saturday,  06/21/03  12:30 PM

GNXP links an interesting paper from 1999: Sex Differences in the Distribution of Mental Ability.  Good reading if you're into this kind of stuff.  Makes the case that for humans, as for many other animals, it is to males' advantage to exhibit more variation than females.  Essentially males play a higher risk game for higher stakes; a male can have many more offspring than a female, but can also be more easily "shut out" of reproducing altogether.  [ via Razib ]

X & Y ChromosomeMales have a Y chromosome, of course, as well as an X, while women have only Xs.  This means Xs can "recombine" easily to form new mutations, but Ys cannot, as there is nothing to recombine with...  However we just noted increased variation is much to male's evolutionary advantage.  So what to do?  Well, how about recombining with itself?  This is apparently exactly what happens!

An interesting article by Sahar Akhtar in Salon argues that the Apple Music Store will hurt musical innovation, because it enables consumers to buy single songs.  In the album format artists can mix "commercial" works with more experimental pieces. 

This is a well-defended point of view, but I think overall the store will increase innovation, for several reasons.  First, while the store sells individual works, albums are also available and at a substantial discount (usually around 50%).  As long as at least half of the music on an album is interesting to a consumer, they will buy the album, and if less than half is interesting the album should never have existed anyway...  single hit albums have been the bane of the music industry for a long time.  Second, artists will release single works whenever they want, instead of batching them into a "commercial" album.  As people get to know an artist anything they release will be of interest, especially since people can preview the track without buying it.  Third, many more artists and styles will become available, instead of being funneled through the narrow commercial filter of a label.  Individual listeners will decide what they want to hear, instead of labels and radio stations paid by the labels.

{ I wonder what Ottmar Liebert would think...  actually I'm almost sure he would agree. }

head-mounted PVRThe other day I discussed Ottmar's musings about a handheld PAR (personal audio recorder).  Well, now we have a head-mounted PVR (personal video recorder); it records the last 30 seconds of video and audio you've encountered.  Why not?

Oddpost is now an RSS reader.  A very cool web-browser-based email client which is now an aggregator as well.  Check it out!

Tim Oren tells us more than we want to know about VC disclosures, IRRs, and the J-curve.  I don't understand it all, but what I do understand is that there is more to venture returns than a simple percentage :)

Andrew Anker on the New Platforms: "If Solaris is still a viable development platform, it's certainly not obvious from here."  Or from "my here", either, i.e. CTO of a software startup.

Honda has introduced a new crash-detection system for one of their vehicles.  Awesome.  The technology for caravans is converging!

Speaking of cars, Philip Greenspun muses on the Chinese Car.  "Within 10 to 20 years the Chinese will sell a car that is similar to today's rental car: 4 doors, 4 seats, air conditioner, radio, new but not fancy.  It will cost between $2000 and $3000."  Exactly.  But will it have caravan technology?

Fluorescent ZebrafishWant a new pet?  How about a genetically engineered zebrafish that glows in the dark?  I am not making this up...

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