Critical Section


Monday,  12/27/04  10:18 PM

The Ole filter makes a pass...

It just keeps on raining here!  This is the rainiest winter I can remember for a long time.  Good thing, too, we need the water.  It really feels like winter with the wind howling and rain lashing the roof.

Sumatra earthquake (click for animation)Big news right now of course is the massive 8.9 earthquake off Sumatra, which unleased Tsunamis all over the Indian Ocean.  (Click on the picture for an animated version; the USGS has more info.)  Apparently 26,000 people have died.  That is about 10 times the number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks; mother nature puts humans to shame in her capability for destruction.

Xeni Jardin has been linking up a storm [literally] on BoingBoing; click through for more blogospheric coverage.

Interestingly, this happened exactly a year after the massive earthquakes which devistated Iran.  That killed over 20,000 people too, although is was a "mere" 6.5 magnitude, 100 times less energy than the Sumatra quake.

Yesterday's news about astroid 2004 MN4 having a probability of 1/45 of hitting Earth has been revised twice, first to 1/37, and then to 1/56,000.  Somehow I'm not reassured :)

Clifford May writes We have met the enemy, and he isn't us.  And in a similar vien, you may enjoy Norman Podhoretz' World War IV (from August).

Osama bin Laden (or someone pretending to be him) has released a video urging Iraqi Muslims not to vote in the upcoming elections.  So this is a tangible measure of our progress; this terrorist leader has been reduced from ranting about killing millions to begging people not to vote.  [ via LGF ]  The same thing is happening in Palestine.  Wow.

Meanwhile, in another triumph for democracy, Viktor Yushchenko has won the new elections in Ukrane.  "'It has happened,' said Mr. Yushchenko, his face still disfigured from dioxin poisoning this fall for which he has blamed his adversaries in the government. 'Today we are turning a page of lies, censorship and violence.'  Ahead, he said, lay a 'new epoch of a new great democracy.'"  Excellent.

Michael Moore and beached whaleThis is amazing; Yahoo reports Drug firms issue memos on Michael Moore.  "The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that at least six drug companies have released internal communications telling employees to be wary of filmmaker Michael Moore...  Moore has now set his sights on the health care industry, including insurance companies, HMOs, the Food and Drug Administration, and drug companies."  What's even better than the story is that is is accompanied by two pictures, one of Michael Moore, and the other of a beached whale.  I am not making this up; I'm laughing uncontrollably as a type the photo caption "Michael Moore and beached whale".  Who says the AP doesn't have a sense of humor?

GC_emeritus considers the bell curve for doctors.  "What you tend to find is a bell curve: a handful of teams with disturbingly poor outcomes for their patients, a handful with remarkably good results, and a great undistinguished middle."  This doesn't surprise me in the least; you find the same in every field of human endeavor.  The article goes on to draw a strong correlation between doctors' performance in medical school and later success.  Which has implications for affimative action, of course.

the iPhone (mockup)AlwaysOn carries an interesting interview of Steve Jobs by WSJ's Walt Mossberg.  My favorite part is at the end: "Mossberg: What's your favorite thing you've not done?  Jobs: PDA."  I do think Apple could make an awesome smart phone - think of a Treo crossed with an iPod...  (the pic is a mockup; click for larger view.)

I received some interesting email regarding my post on alternative entropy, thanks!  Reaction was about evenly split between people who agree with me and people who don't.  The contra view was more interesting, with the main objection being the safety of nuclear power plants.  (Not the disposal of radioactive wastes, which seems like the biggest objection to me.)

Check out this flash animation:

A continuous fractal-like sequence zooms through a series of paintings.  This is a cool idea, and could be done with virtually any sequence of pictures whatsoever.  [ via Cory Doctorow ]
zoomquilt 1 zoomquilt 2 zoomquilt 3 zoomquilt 4

Fortune: Why there's no escaping the blog.  Resistance is futile :)

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