Critical Section

en vacance...

Saturday,  07/31/10  08:33 AM

the Coral Casino in MontecitoOn vacation in Montecito - yay! - and man I have a lot going on...  still recovering emotionally from my car accident Tuesday night (and haven't even recovered financially, ouch, indeed).  As usual when I am on vacation, things come to a head at work, and I end up working (!); maybe someday I'll master disconnecting from the real world, but I haven't yet.  And on another thread, we might buy a car for Alex today; it is the last day of the month, and hence we are dealing with a very motivated dealer :)

It's kind of sad to look at my home page and realize I still have my 2010 Tour de France posts linked, that already seems like weeks ago...

Meanwhile, let's make a filter pass...

A great article with a great point: Are you a social networking mutant?  On the generational differences in the usage of Facebook...  I have totally noticed this myself.  I am definitely in between, I think my approach to things like Facebook is "younger" than I am, possibly because I am philosophically interested at a meta level as well as directly interested in networking.  The line between one-on-one private interaction and one-to-many public is definitely blurring...

Google developing Facebook rival.  So be it, and good luck to them, but the network effect helping Facebook is so powerful.  Will Facebook ever be replaced?  I think... no.  They must stick to their knitting, but so far they have.

Totally true: Clive Thompson on the death of the phone call.  I, too, text way more than I used to, and call way less.  I actually text colleagues during the day all the time now, and am surprised when I encounter one who doesn't carry their cell with them.  Shirley and I text each other constantly in lieu of calling, too.  Don't know why it's better, but somehow, it is...

A Linux experiment gone horribly...perfect!  It is interesting to contemplate, would it be possible to live without Windows?  As I look at my usage of my laptop, the answer is "no"- I run Visual Studio, for example - but for much of what I do it could be done.  Email, surfing, and blogging are easily done on any platform, and [apparently] it is now possible to edit Word documents and use Excel spreadsheets and create Powerpoint presentations as well.  Windows is definitely under siege.

An interesting data point:  A couple of weeks ago we had a power failure which lasted a rare two hours, outlasting my UPS.  In consequence I had to reboot my webserver, which previous to that had been up 464 days without interruption.  It is a twelve-year-old Pentium II with 256MB of RAM, running RedHat Linux v7.  You are reading this site from that very machine right now :)

John Kerry's yachtIn re: John Kerry's tin ear (buying an expensive yacht from a foreign builder, and moving it to avoid taxes); my reaction is that maybe he isn't as dumb as I thought.  He is exactly as hypocritical as I thought.  Would he have been worse than Obama?  Yeah, probably, he would have had all the same liberalism but without the communication skills.

finding Aliens: follow the photosynthesisGood to know: How to find aliens: follow the photosynthesis.  If there is extraterrestrial life, it will have to get energy from somewhere, and radiation from stars is a likely source.  And conversion of that radiation will likely proceed via some kind of photosynthesis...  BTW for this reason it is far more probable to find alien "plants" on another planet than alien "animals"!

Related: a new take on the Fermi paradox.  (This is the observation that if alien life existed, we would have found it by now.)  Maybe we've found it already and don't know it, or maybe [as this link suggests] there are structural reasons why civilizations won't "find" each other...

Meanwhile: teams of physicists closing in on the God particle.  That is, they are starting to figure out where it is not.

Weird note: took me about five minutes to decide to capitalize God in the above note.  I figured in this usage, it is a proper noun :)

Scott "Dilbert" Adams with another great thought experiment: Startup Countries.  "My idea for today is that established nations could launch startup countries within their own borders, free of all the legacy restrictions in the parent country."  I love it.  Interesting to contemplate what kind of immigration laws would such a country have?

Apple's Magic TrackpadApple's Magic Trackpad, now available.  IMNSHO, a useful peripheral, but it does not herald the end of the mouse, nor anything that fundamental.  I do plan to get one :)  I've used trackpads for years on laptops, and find them reasonable mouse equivalents, but not sure they're actually better than mice when space is available.

I spend a lot of time playing with navigation devices, hoping to find one which makes navigation of digital slides easier.  Maybe this is it?  Must try and report...

Related: BlindType, the amazing virtual keyboard of the future.  The demo looks awesome, but will the shipping product match the promise of the demo?  I am weakening in my insistence on a physical keyboard; the iPhone has been *so* successful I'm concluding it is possible to get used to a virtual keyboard and love it.  Huh.

Stieg Larson ("the Girl who...") is Amazon's first Kindle Million Author.  He won't be the last!

eye-popping 3D street art - wow!This is way cool: eye-popping 3D street art.  Please click through to see these, amazing...

The Chinese can't figure out why we don't love their World's Fair.  Are we losing our ability to be impressed by the future?

ZooBorns: baby ostriches!ZooBorns of the week: baby ostriches!

So be it... and now, off to buy a Mini!  Please stay tuned...

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