Critical Section


Saturday,  01/01/05  10:59 PM

First filter pass of the new year...

I've noticed an interesting and sad phenomenon.  I subscribe to a CNN headline feed, and in this feed are a whole series of items titled "Tsunami death toll tops xx,xxx".  Monday xx,xxx was 30,000, then 50,000, and so on all week with increasingly larger values until it is now 150,000.  That's incomprehensible.  The closest I can come is 1½ Rose Bowls, but that doesn't even do it justice.

Sadly but not surprisingly, mainstream media are spending as much time on blaming and scorekeeping the relief effort as they are on the disaster itself.  Jesse Walker on CNN: "It's one thing to know intellectually the limitations of TV news.  It's another to see those limits so starkly after being used to the depth of the Net...  What was really astonishing was to remember that 14 years earlier, when the first Gulf War was underway, CNN was the amazing new innovation, not the dinosaur in the rear-view mirror."  [ via Glenn Reynolds ]

BTW, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes no warning system could have helped:  "It was 65 minutes after the seismic event before the possibility of a tsunami in the Indian Ocean was recognized.  By that time, it would have traveled over 500 miles."  [ via Command Post ]

Mark Cuban thinks we should cancel the Presidential inauguration.  I don't.

Vince Young touchdownAnd speaking of Rose Bowls, great game today.  Wow.  I had kvetched about Michigan vs. Texas (I still think it should have been Cal, even though they lost miserably to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl), but they gave us a great game.  And it followed hard on the heels of the Capital One Bowl, which featured Iowa defeating LSU on the last play of the game.  Two games in a row decided on the last play as time expires, it doesn't get any better.  Especially while eating Shirley's guacamole and chili!

New Scientist has the top ten science stories of 2004.  They have #1 as "the mysterious SETI signal" (in September), which is ridiculous; clearly the Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity were the top story, and remain so as they approach one year of roaming around on Mars.

NASA have assembled a terrific flashback of rover images and information, organized with Flash.  Check it out!  And if you've never watched this movie of the rovers' landing, do so now.  I think it was my favorite video of 2004:

(click for larger pics)

Cassini might be the story of 2005; it just took some amazing pictures of Saturn's icy moon Iapetus.  Oh, and here are cool pictures from another Saturnian moon, Dione, which has had a tough life judging from its craters.

Chris Anderson says recommendations rule!  Yes, they do.  They are "an essential element in realizing the potential of the Long Tail: providing recommendations to help others venture confidently down the Tail into what would otherwise be a bewildering array of choices."  So keep reading my blog, and you'll get my recommendations :)

And if you want others', check out Fluxblog.  (Currently they're recommending Anchorman, which is not long tail content, really, but you get the idea.)

Oh, and this is pretty cool; the long tail of blogging.  Shows you an excerpt from a blog, and if you like it you can click through, if you don't, you can cycle to an excerpt from another blog.  Interesting concept and a great way to randomly find new blogs.  Since it's based on "pings" to blo.gs, it shows blogs from different world regions at different times of the day.  [ via Dave Winer ]

New Years in LisbonCheck this out - New Year's panoramas from around the world, in QTVR.  Pictured at right, New Years in Lisbon!

With Macworld on the horizon, do you think we'll see an iPhone?

CNet suggests iPod beats satellite radio any day.  It's that "long tail" content...  Don't you want your Internet TV?  I do, but maybe not on my iPod, just on my Tivo.  And certainly not on my Treo :)

ViewSonic WMA100 media adapterI'm actually on the hunt for a 802.11g video receiver.  I want to stream movies from my PC to my TV, using wireless.  Basically an Airport Extreme, but for video... it is probably just too early.  There are a lot of competitors (Tom's Hardware reviewed  the ViewSonic WMA100 and the Linksys WMA11B, and were underwhelmed), any suggestions?

I am now down to 14 saved items in my RSS reader.  I'm starting the year clean, with virtually no "to be linked" items.  I wish I was also starting with no "to be done" items, but, well, you can't have everything.  At least it's only Saturday; aren't you glad we have a Sunday tomorrow instead of a Monday?


For those of you keeping score at home, My New Year's Resolution was not kept.  I'd had brief bursts of progress but threw all the gains away this last week, and overall made no progress in the two months since.  Not sure where that leaves me; I still want to lose some weight, but I guess simply writing about it doesn't get it done.

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