Critical Section


Sunday,  10/05/03  10:56 PM

This weekend's bloglines...

National Post editorial: Stopping Iran's Nuclear Quest.  "Short of full-scale war, the Western powers must do all they can -- together -- to make it clear to the ayatollahs that they will not be permitted to build or possess nuclear weapons.  And if the West cannot present a united front, then the Americans -- again -- will have to take the lonely lead."  I agree completely.  Why wait until Iran is another North Korea?  [ via LGF; Charles notes "Ever have one of those dreams where you're standing on a train track, watching as a locomotive speeds toward you, but unable to move or do anything to save yourself?" ]

The WP is Opening a Window on North Korea's Horrors, and it isn't pretty.

In California Votin' Jack Ganssle considers the problems with electronic voting machines.  His suggestion: Let's get the mob involved.  Not really, but he points out that gaming machines are heavily audited, and fraud is rare.  "If a gaming auditor certified voting machines, elections wouldn't be so much of a, uh, crap-shoot."

The Washington Times notes Furor over Dane's breeding comment; Aarhus University professor Helmuth Nyborg suggested governments practice selective breeding among humans to prevent the cognitive decline of the human race.  "'Intelligence is hereditary,' said Professor Helmuth Nyborg, the dean of the Psychology Institute at Aarhus University.  'The 15 to 20 percent of those at the lower levels of society -- those who are not able to manage even the simplest tasks and often not their children -- should be dissuaded from having children.  The fact is that they are having more children and the intelligent ones are having fewer.'"  So, do I agree with this?  Well, maybe.  Although his view has been distorted in the reporting, note he uses "dissuaded" rather than any stronger term.  I would agree with his views at this strength; non-compulsory incentives like more government financial support would be a good thing.  (The opposite of programs like AFDC, which reward people for having children.)   [ via Alexander Beaujean ]

alien eggInteresting article on Wired, In Search of Planets and Life.  There may not be other life in our solar system, but it seems wildly improbably that there's no other life, period.  A great test case for natural selection :)

ZDNet UK interviews Craig Silverstein, Google's CTO: Boldly Googling into the future.  "'When search grows up, it will look like Star Trek: you talk into the air ('Computer! What's the situation down on the planet?') and the computer processes your question, figures out its context, figures out what response you're looking for, searches a giant database in who-knows-how-many languages, translates/analyses/summarizes all the results, and presents them back to you in a pleasant voice.'"  Anyone want to guess when this will be reality?  Ten years?  Twenty?  There isn't any doubt this will happen, right?

Dave Winer: The Rule of Win-Win.  "The Rule of Win-Win says that by choosing to participate in the Web, I can promote my own interests, but I must acknowledge the existence of others and their interests."  Essentially, you link to me and I'll link to you.

Have you been reading all these articles about the demise of email?  Essentially because of the flood of spam, some argue email's utility is limited.  I disagree, and so does Naval.  "Email is the ultimate network effect, and we're all locked in."  Of course.

If you are drowning in spam, try Matador.  It works.  Really really.

Hornik wonders how you would actually mail someone about Viagra.  Or what if you really were Nigerian?

DVD logoAre you Waiting for DVDs, the Sequel?  "Now that DVDs are almost 7 years old, which is an eternity in the consumer electronics world, what comes next?"  Well, how about online distribution...  It is here, and seems to be taking over.  Along with Tivo and its brethren, every day now there's an article about some cable company with a video-on-demand service.  I think media "hardcopy" is so 1900s.

Comcast launches service to fight Tivo.  [ via PVRblog ]

The real battle will be over the format for online video.  CNet wonders: DivX is ready for its sequel. Is Hollywood?  DivX is certainly the most prevalent compression technology for movies today, but is isn't really the "MP3 of video"; the quality is too far below even "broadcast", let alone "DVD".  (MP3 for audio "tipped" when MP3's quality was roughly equivalent to CD's.)  Perhaps Microsoft Media Player 9 or Quicktime will grab the ring.

[ Later: I think DVD players which can play DivX-encoded video are a transitional technology, analogous to CD players which can play discs with MP3s.  The real market will be iPod-like video players, and Tivo-like home entertainment boxes. ]

In case you're wondering Which TiVo is the Right One for You, Raffi Krikorian on O'Reilly has nice survey.

Philips is trying to improve the DVD, with dual layer DVD+R technology that allows 8.5GB to be stored per disk.

Oh, and the EFF has a great survey: Unintended Consequences, Five Years under the DMCA.

Ottmar wants flip-flops to go with his Yamamoto suit.  N.B. He plays barefoot...

Kotter halloween costumeThe world's greatest Halloween costumes.  Welcome back, Kotter.  Now that's scary.

Is it just me, or did Halloween start too early this year?  I guess it is just me.  One minute it's summer, the next minute it's Halloween.  And then it's Christmas...Neiman Marcus His and Hers Robots

Wondering what to get that special couple for Christmas?  How about His and Hers Robots, from Neiman Marcus...  Only $400K.

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