Critical Section

Sunday,  08/31/03  11:52 PM

In the wake of the Challenger disaster, CNN reports that Experts suggest extreme measures for NASA.  I suggest something really extreme: disband NASA, support commercial development of space as much as possible, and watch what happens.

But NASA keeps on ticking; they have plans for a light orbital plane to replace the space shuttle.  And this appears to have strong public support; "The survey found that 81 percent of Americans consider space exploration very important or somewhat important to the country's future."

Okay, so here's a cool idea: the idea a day site, "where ideas are free".  There are already 1109 ideas out there.  No RSS feed, but I've bookmarked it...  [ via Andrerib ]

Revolve - the bible for teenage girlsAnd here's an off-the-wall idea: a bible especially for teenage girls.  From the marketing pitch, "it's quite likely you'll see teen girls sporting the newest, hippest Bible this summer - from the beach to the mall, this magazine-style Bible is the most innovative concept in Bible publishing in the last twenty years."  Are you kidding me?  And no, I am not making this up.  [ via godless, who headlines her post "this is not the Onion"... ]

Yippee, another great book series coming to the silver screen.  This fall Russell Crowe becomes Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander, the initial episode of Patrick O'Brian's fantastic Aubrey-Maturin series.  If you haven't read the books, start now, that way you'll have read the first one by the time the movie comes out...

We're used to talking about the "brain drain" from Africa - smart young Africans go to school elsewhere, and stay there - but the Economist writes about the "brawn drain".  Interesting.  The markets for everything are becoming global, including skilled people.  [ via razib ]

bromine and raisinetteI found 101-365 in my referral log, and I like it!  Check it out, I mean bromine and raisinette, you can't really top that, can you?  (Bromine is bad stuff, but Chris' raisinette appears to be perhaps equally poisonous :)

Yesterday I linked a review of the new Archos Mediabox, and I wondered about an iPod A/V.  Well, here's the rumor.  If Apple could sell Quicktime-encoded downloadable movies through the iTunes store, they'd be able to print money.  And it would be time to short Blockbuster.

spider webThis is cool: Scientists Crack Secret Strength of Silk.  Spider silk is one of the most amazing things.  Aside from the material itself, which is amazingly strong and light, the 3D structure in which it is organized is amazing.  The elasticity of spider silk is actually a property of the way it is spun, not the material; essentially there are tiny "coils" of silk like beads on a string which act as springs.  And then there are the webs themselves, which have some amazing topological properties.  Richard Dawkins goes into some depth about spider silk in his terrific book Climbing Mount Improbable, check it out if you're interested in learning more.

Microsoft has an endless stream of great downloads available, monitorable with this RSS feed.  Of course 99% of them are uninteresting to any one user, but the other 1% are great.  Like this one, Inside the Microsoft .NET Framework.  If you've ever said "I don't get .NET", then this is for you.  Dr. GUI takes you on a magic tour through the .NET kingdom, with zero marketing BS.  Warning, it is 94MB, broadbanders only.

weapon of choicestick-figure ninjaAnd here we have - the stick-figure ninja!  Awesome flash animation, check it out.  A perfect stick-figure copy of this Fatboy Slim video, featuring Christopher Walkin.  (it is cool, too...)  [ via Bigwig ]

Want to read or share old Apple anecdotes?  Then visit the Apple Computer History Weblog.  { This is one of those things where I'm just glad it's out there.  I won't visit it often or bookmark it, but Google will know about it, and one of these days I'll be looking for something and poof!, there it is... }

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Correlation vs. Causality
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Unnatural Selection
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where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained