Critical Section

Tuesday,  04/13/04  10:45 PM

Whew, missed a day, again.  I must work less so I can blog more :)

I have a bunch of links here with Iraq- and Bush- and Kerry- related stuff; Condi Rice, polls, commentary from both sides, even alternative histories and Miss USA.  And President Bush's press conference and reaction.  But you know what?  I'm going to bag it all.  It's important, sure, but you don't need to get that news from me.  I do have a meta-observation: It seems like the polarization in the U.S. is getting sharper all the time.  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention - or maybe we weren't "at war" - but I just don't remember this level of acrimony and negativism in the last presidential election.  I wish both sides would spend more time on the future, and less on the past.  Whether you believe Bush is doing a great job or a horrible job, whether you believe we should have invaded Iraq or not, whether you believe the tax cut was helpful or horrible, it is what it is.  Bush is president.  We did invade Iraq, and are occupying it right now.  We did enact the tax cut.  So my question for both candidates and both parties is: given that it is what it is, what are your plans?

This is so cool: The NYTimes reports With Tiny Brain Implants, Just Thinking May Make it So.  "Cyberkinetics Inc., a medical device company, plans to implant a tiny chip in the brains of five paralyzed people in an effort to enable them to operate a computer by thought alone.  The Food and Drug Administration has given approval for a clinical trial of the implants."  Excellent.

I wonder if someday I'll be able to blog just by thinking.  Now that's scary :)

micro-hydroelectric power systemsYou know what's great about Slashdot?  You get some awfully interesting discussions.  Like this one: "I live out in the middle of nowhere, and I lose power at the drop of a hat.  My house is right next to the Susquehanna river, and all the kinetic energy going past my house makes me just want to go off grid.  What would be a good, unobtrusive way to generate electricity from a high volume/low speed body of water?  I think maybe a miniature version of one of the recent submerged tidal generators might work...  Does anyone have some suggestions on how I might go about this project?"  I have no idea myself, but it was fun reading all the responses and discussion...  One approach is shown at left.

VC legend Vinod Khosla discovers the microlending economy of India: Tiny Loans have Big Impact on Poor.  The economics of microlending are pretty cool.  Just like on eBay, a built-in reputation system is critical to ensuring the benevolent outcome of a prisoner's dilemma, and both lenders and borrowers benefit.  [ via Cory Doctorow ]

Adam Curry has nothing to report.  From the Guerrilla News Network.  I wonder how soon GNN will be publishing daily using an RSS feed?  Seriously.

Speaking of free media (we were), Ed Felton has developed the Grand Unified Theory of Filesharing.  "The Grand Unified Theory explains the [disparate] study results by breaking down the users of filesharing into two subpopulations, the Free-riders and Samplers."  The free-riders are young and filesharing reduces their CD buying, while samplers are older and filesharing increases their CD buying.  This actually makes a lot of sense to me.

Oh, and PCWorld has Step-by-Step: Turn Your PC into a Personal Video Recorder.  Somehow, given that I have a Tivo, I have no desire to do this.  I can't see the upside.  Now if I could use it to "tune" programs from GNN, that would matter :)  [ via Matt Haughey ]

Finally, RSS reader NewsGator now has a Media Center Edition.  You need a Media Center PC to use it, but if you had one, it would be cool.  Somehow I don't think this is the way to get video to Aunt Tilly, or even GNN to me.

bald eagle chicksThis one is for Steph: Scientists aid eagles with bird-and-switch.  "The story began as it ended Friday, off the east side of Catalina Island with wildlife ecologist Peter Sharpe dangling from a Kevlar rope 200 feet above the Pacific Ocean.  His mission: to revive the population of bald eagles on the island.  Two months ago, Sharpe snatched 11 eggs from the nests of five breeding pairs of eagles.  On Friday, he attempted to return two young eaglets to the cliff-side nests."  Some guys will do anything to pick up cute chicks.

mini-cooperThe BBC reports a man was cited for driving his mini-cooper 2,100 mph in a Brussels suburb.  Man, those cute little cars are fast :)  [ via BigWig ]

Dave Winer suggests search engines change the unit of the web from a page to a post, presumably by indexing RSS feeds.  You would think Google might be doing this already, especially after their acquisition of Blogger, but they haven't - yet.

Steve Gillmor thinks we're at the RSS Tipping Point.  Could be.  "If it's going to be true, it is true."  [ via Robert Scoble ]

I'm not a big moviegoer, but I have to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I just keep reading great things about it.  And I loved Being John Malkovich, another bizarre masterpiece from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.  Who ever would have guessed Jim Carrey would end up doing "real" movies?

goathead thorns aka "puncturevine"Robert reports on a seasonal menace in L.A.: goathead thorns, aka puncturevine.  "Puncturevine is just one of the myriad natural hazards living in SoCal.  With all the mudslides, forest fires, earthquakes, impending fire ant and killer bee fun...  well, some days it's almost too scary to leave the house.  Almost."  Yeah, almost.  But not quite.

this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
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
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
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
New Yorker covers
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
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained