Critical Section


Monday,  05/03/04  10:40 PM

Corrine du Toit takes a wonderful high-level view of the war on terror.  "What makes the War on Terror(ism) unique from the War against Communism, is that it is not a battle of one or more nation states against one or more other nation states.  It is about random populations of people who share an ideological perspective, and wish to impose that perspective on their resident nation state, and the rest of the world."  If you're wondering "what are we doing in Iraq", here's the answer.

SailrocketThis unusual sailboat is "Sailrocket"; a one-tack wonder designed specifically to break the world sail speed record of 46 knots.  "SailRocket comprises a full length weather hull with minimal drag due to a huge hollow in the middle allowing the hull to sit on just two planing surfaces when traveling at high speed.  The pilot sits in the cockpit right at the back of the hull and there is a foil, inclined to port forward.  The crossbeam extends forward to port and has a tiny bullet shaped float at the end of it on which the mast sits.  At high speed the boat will fly its leeward hull - the opposite of a conventional catamaran - and only the two planing surfaces on the weather hull will remain in the water."  Very cool.

Maldives coral - growing back!BigWig notes a real-world example of natural selection in action, as Maldives nurses its coral reefs back to life.  Apparently 70% of the coral in the Maldive Islands was wiped out by El Nino in 1998.  Now the coral is growing back - five times faster than normal.  "The pace of coral regrowth shouldn't come as much of a surprise.  There's not a lot of competitive pressure from other individuals when 70% of a population is wiped out.  The fact that the new corals seem more heat-tolerant should have been expected as well - anyone familiar with the idea of natural selection should've been able to predict that the children of the obviously more heat-tolerant surviving corals would dominate the next generation."  Excellent.

Global warming is back in the news with the imminent release of The Day after Tomorrow.  FuturePundit notes All Warming In United States Since 1975 May Be Due To Aircraft Contrails.  "NASA scientists have found that cirrus clouds, formed by contrails from aircraft engine exhaust, are capable of increasing average surface temperatures enough to account for a warming trend in the United States that occurred between 1975 and 1994."  Fascinating.

I think the real solution to global warming - and to the world's entropy problems - is to continue developing nuclear power plants.  But what do I know.

This is interesting, but I'm not sure what conclusions to draw: a table of U.S. states, average IQs, average incomes, and whether they voted for Bush or Gore in 2000.  [ via razib ]

I'm going to find some population growth data, and we can play the extrapolation game...

Seth Goldstein opines on Google vs. Wall Street.  "What I saw was the end of a certain kind of investment banking innocence."  The Google auction of shares is definitely going to shake things up.

Wired has an interesting article about Walt Mossberg, the WSJ's tech columnist: The Kingmaker of Personal Tech.  I like Walt's columns; I guess most people do, which is why he's successful.  He seems to have retained the common point of view.  His balanced and insightful reporting combines with the WSJ pulpit he occupies to make him very influential. I was at Intuit when Walt criticized TurboTax for it's intrusive registration process, and it really made waves.  Then-CEO Bill Harris literally called Walt to discuss his criticism.

Keep an eye on this: BBC introduces flexible TV with online trial.  "Later this month, the BBC will launch a pilot project that could lead to all television programmes being made available on the Internet.  Viewers will be able to scan an online guide and download any show."  Of course.  [ via Dave Winer ]

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