Critical Section


Monday,  01/14/08  08:40 PM

I am [temporarily] back on my old hard drive.  What's that, you didn't know I had a new hard drive?  Well, I do, er, did.  Therein lies a story worthy of a blog post, but this isn't it.  Anyway I am back on my old drive so if my prose seems dated, well, you'll know why :)

With Apple poised to announce movie rentals tomorrow, everyone is talking about DRM, or lack thereof.  Wired notes DRM is dead, but watermarks rise from its ashes.  "Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks.  At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser."  This makes so much sense to me, because unlike stronger DRM there is no burden on the ordinary user.  Do what you want, just don't steal.

nuclear cooling towersIf you're a regular around here, you know I'm a big fan of nuclear power.  Perhaps we have started seeing the light?  "Most of France's electricity has been generated by nuclear power for years, and now Great Britain is again looking to atomic energy. Why can't we increase nuclear output in this country?"  Uh, good question, and: "The answer is, of course, irrational opposition by environmentalists. They screech about greenhouse gas emissions from gas- and coal-fired electric plants but, with a few exceptions, they fanatically resist the most reasonable alternative: nuclear power."  [ via Instapundit ]

BTW, FuturePundit had posted a nice checkpoint: Future of Nuclear Power Surveyed.  "Thanks partly to large government incentives and to market forces that have pushed the price of other electric plant fuels (especially natural gas) to historic heights, the prospect of starting a new nuclear reactor in this country for the first time in 30 years has become increasingly likely."  Let's hope so.  I notice this is not an issue discussed by our Presidential candidates, despite the fact that energy (entropy) is likely to become a major problem during their term.

One more from Randall Parker: Saudis see peak oil within two decades.  Interestingly in this post from April 2006 he writes "so then $80 per barrel oil is not out of the question".  I guess not; it has recently passed $100 and isn't coming down anytime soon.  "Maybe $200 per barrel oil is possible.  But for how long?  Such a price would cause a deep worldwide recession."  Personally I think it is going to happen, but the recession will be averted by alternative sources of energy, since it won't happen all at once.  Sources like, um, nuclear power.

A binary black hole 18 billion times the mass of the sun.  "OJ287 is thought to be a binary black hole in the centre of a distant galaxy.  Both black holes are very heavy -- one equivalent to some 18 billion times the mass of the Sun, while the other weighs in at a mere 100 million times the mass of the Sun."  Whoa.  That's the kind of thing you can understand intellectually but I honestly have no feel for it.  Too big, too weird.  [ via Slashdot ]

fun with Tesla coilsThis picture is worth a thousand words, maybe two thousand.  Apparently this is an Australian Tesla coil enthusiast; every once in a while you get a reminder that Australians are, well, a little different.  I am not making this up.  [ via BoingBoing ]

Mark Pilgrim on the persistence of memory.  I have the same phenomenon...

Harbin ice festival 2007Finally, I link this every year: the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, courtesy of R. Todd King.  The things that can be done with ice, and lighting...  It gets more awesome and beautiful every year, check out these pictures!
Harbin ice festival

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