Monday, May 7, 2007

Managing our tracks

Discovery Channel :: News - Earth :: Roadless Space Uneven Across U.S.

Excellent idea and first step. Map out where the roads are, where the people are, get rid of superfluous roads. Manage casual access by accessibility. Give back some of the earth to the rest of the world's inhabitants.

cheaper and better than work stations and networks for home and business?

Discovery Channel :: News - Technology :: Split-Screen Tech Doubles Computer Use

This is brilliant. I am all for technologies that cut the cost of computing and internet/knowledge access. Power to the peoples of the world.  Of course the pc producers are going to hate this..Microsoft, too. How do you charge a split screen running two instances of Windows?

Saturday, March 31, 2007 Big business Pornography defining future path of general entertainment?

High definition resolution, high volume transfer, "live" low latency interaction between viewers and actors. What more could a porn consumer want? How much are they willing to pay for the privilege of "being there"?

Live streaming with interaction creates a product that cannot be pirated. Copied and distributed versions are of less value because not live, not interactive. And yet there is no spatial limitation to the number of consumers as there is in concerts and festivals, so if you have the delivery hardware and bandwidth you could serve millions. Could be the wave of the future in general entertainment as well.


At, a live tool against piracy - page 2 | CNET

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The South, inheritor of aristocratic attitudes, drives US lust for war, according to Lawrence Velvel

It is fascinating that we as a nation, on the one hand, claim a moral superiority and mission to bring democracy and civilisation to the entire rest of the world, and on the other, are capable of atrocities of the sort that make us collectively shudder when we read of them in Darfur or deepest backwoods of India. We just block it out of our consciouness that many white people in the Southern States of the US treat other human beings viciously, as if they themselves were uncivilised barbarians and their victims rival tribes.

Velvel's position is that these behaviors and attitudes, imposed on US politics by the power of unified Southern block votes, are a substantial motor behind our wars of the past and the present.

Velvel on National Affairs: If You Want To Know Why We Keep Fighting Wars, Look No Further Than The South.

the ongoing story of the media industry's problems with p2p - one weapon: MediaDefender

What they do and how they do it. Ars Technica on MediaDefender, its tools, its evolution towards providing actual content to advertise rather than junk to "punish", and the difficulty of having to try to recruit new workers from the population who mostly uses p2p: college students.

Peer-to-peer poisoners: A tour of MediaDefender: Page 1

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blogging tool

I was looking around for some gidget sort of thing that would allow me to easily post to this blog without a lot of back and forth between Firefox tabs and cut and paste to make links. I found: | Helping Bloggers Succeed

As a Firefox extension, it gives you a very nice interface to blog from. A halfwindow below the page you are looking at, with an editor, blog list and other goodies.

Its professed interest is to help you earn money as a blogger, which goes against my ingrained preference to share when and where possible. But since they are willing to share their tool with me, I am delighted to leave a link back for other interested readers and bloggers.

Carnival of the Godless?

Black Sun Journal » Archives » Carnival of the Godless #62:

Interesting looking weblog for those interested in naturalism.

I take exception to the title, though. Sounds good, but a "Carnival" only makes sense in a framework of fasting in preparation for religious revelation. I don't like "Godless" much either. Why define oneself in negative terms?

This is part of what is so extremely difficult with being a naturalist- a great many weighty, vivid associative terms come from some religion or another.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

12 year old essay on wired mag by EFF founder

"The Economy of Ideas" by John Perry Barlow

Could have been written yesterday, right up to page 12. On 12 and 13 the guy has proved to be prophetic. Well worth the read. Says some of what I did just below, only far, far more eloquently. Plus more.

GigaTribe true p2p.

GigaTribe is a fascinating new addition to the filesharing world. Its a service that coordinates the linkage between your computer and others, but hosts no files, does not keep track of files exchanged. Even more interesting, you create your network of trusted file-sharers. That more or less prevents massive illegal file sharing- at least so far as I see at the moment. But does allow safe, private file sharing.

Powers that be won't like this. Wonder what happens.

more on the impact of the viacom-youtube court case

Investor's Business Daily thinks the results could impact internet social-sites across the board.

I think this is all fascinating from an anthropological point of view.

There exists a "product" that can be reproduced easily at low cost and given away with little to no cost. Electronic media. This product can be inexpensive to produce (your haiku on your blog) or extraordinarily expensive (hollywood special effects blockbuster), but the cost of production and size of product has little relation to the ease of sharing.

People are built to enjoy sharing, helping. Ordinary people with limited resources understand that they can have access to a lot more media if they will share what they have. So they do- see p2p. And thus listen to more music, watch more tv shows and movies and look at more porn than they ever would be able to if they had to pay for it all at standard retail.

People are also built to enjoy accumulation. "Business" are smaller groups of people working hard to limit and control access to the products they make so that they can receive money in exchange for the product. Works moderately well with physical objects (see brand piracy, garage sales) and not at all well with electronic media products (see pirate bay).

My bet is that in the great long run, the functional solution would be to distribute the electronic forms very inexpensively , and charge more expensively for physical versions and in-person experience. Ie, to hold a book in your hands you pay 6 bucks, to read online, $1. To watch as a download on your pc or tv, $1, to attend the movie theater and see it on the giant screen with a crazy crowd, $10.00. Why do p2p if the legal cost is minimal and p2p runs you the risk of viral infection or affronts your self-view as an honest person? And the physical object or personal attendance is not effortlessly reproducible, and thus "worth" more to the individual. It is physically and realistically limited.

I am not sure how to calculate profit earnings with this model. How do you estimate the number of people who would be willing to legally download a movie for $5.00 versus $1.00, and the associated numbers of people who would find it worth their while to go to the trouble of p2p sharing in each case. Would the same number of people in total be interested in that movie in both cases? At what price is the number of people interested in the object who are willing to pay for access the highest? And how does that revenue compare to revenue achieved by a higher price with a greater number of recipients opting for no-cost sharing?

That seems to me to be it- how to find the price that people are willing, as opposed to coercively obligated, to pay for the product that they understand is not physically limited in copies. A whole new world.

On the other hand, there is a great deal I don't understand going on here, so it is going to be very interesting to watch what happens.

Good for the gander is good for the goose?

Viacom listed a bunch of files Google/YouTube must take down because they belonged to Viacom. Google complied. Some of those files did not belong to Viacom and their "owners" are suing Viacom. This will be interesting to watch.

attempts to commercialize p2p-

an article about Skyrider- which puts ads into music video content supplied by labels to the p2p community. If I got that right.

Might be the future. Certainly a more intelligent approach than trying to prevent p2p sharing.

Who decides on copyright law- Supreme Court or Congress

Lawrence Lessig, Stanford professor of law, on why in his opinion the Supreme Court is making an error in taking on Viacom versus Google/YouTube.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

VARIANT GENES-IN-WAITING: Colorful caterpillars &tricky bits in evolution.

PZ Meyers at Seed Magazine. Random differences in gene code may pile up if they do no harm, but in effect lie in wait for an environmental difference to call them to action. And not just body form or function may be selected, but even the ability to be variable in a particular characteristic while growing up may be selected. Hot caterpillars grow up green, cool ones black.

read more | digg story

Friday, March 16, 2007

Religion and Spirituality

An interesting blog post by a computer scientist on his religion, his spirituality and the perceptions of other scientists he admires on those topics.

Also interesting, the long list of comments provoked by the post.

Of course, I had to throw in my 2 cents worth. It's fun as a minnow to race in and out among the really big fish..

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

House overturns Bush order on papers secrecy | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Brushing aside a veto threat, the House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to overturn a 2001 order by President George W. Bush that lets former presidents keep their papers secret indefinitely.

read more | digg story

Calling all rebels! Video game market opens wide | Technology | Reuters

There is, too, room for small interesting games, as the gaming population matures....

read more | digg story

Networks and agencies seek fine tuning on ads - International Herald Tribun

"The dirty secret is, people have been avoiding commercials, bad commercials in particular, for a very long time," said Paul Woolmington, founding partner of Naked Communications, an ad agency in New York. "We can't assume that because we push something at a consumer that the consumer is going to receive it." What? Somebody noticed?

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Open Platforms: Making the Small Mighty

Open source ideas of letting all the interested people help develop, plus the low cost of "collaborative infrastructures" are causing a revolution in it-based business.

read more | digg story

Vista's compatibility and acceptance problems

Older, but interesting article, when you consider how many Microsoft fans say the reason one could never bother with Linux is 'cause it's so hard to find drivers and hardware and applications that work.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Scientists wipe out a single memory in mice

"Drug can clear away one fearful memory while leaving another intact. A single, specific memory has been wiped from the brains of rats, leaving other recollections intact."

read more | digg story

my digg comment-

Ok. Lets look at this in combination with the work on using mental imaging techniques to identify what thoughts are present.- (nyt "Brain on the Stand")

So- government or mafia technicians will be able to identify if a particular memory or type of memory is present in a person's memory, and then be able to wipe out that memory by triggering recall while the proband is under the influence of this drug. Result- guilty memories cease to exist, evidence is gone accountablity and possibility of event reconstruction- gone.

Don't get me wrong. I think the positive uses are wonderful and greatly to be desired. But the drug is going to be like a chainsaw. Depends on what you do with it, and to whom.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

BBC NEWS | Health | Fruit flies provide liver hope

Now that we have figured out which cells fruit flies use to break down fat, and that they are similar to the ones in human livers, poor old drosophilia becomes a good creature model for studying fat metabolism, too.

read more | digg story

Americans abroad get an advocacy group in Congress

Finally someone to represent us 4 to 5 million US citizens who live overseas.

read more | digg story

Changes neuroscience may have on law

New York Times again. Long article to think about.

"....suggesting, in the words of the neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, that we have not free will but “free won’t.”"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I guess I'm pretty gu.

"Gu" from the Urban Dictionary: "geographically undesirable". Woah. What a concept- to be defined according to transportation access. What pressure from society! What a possiblity....think "hermit".

But still I see that it is not so well accepted, too many other gus out there. It's a guud thing, too.

Georgia schools moves closer to introducing classes based on the Bible.

ATLANTA - Georgia is poised to introduce two literature classes on the Bible in public schools next year, a move analysts say would make the state the first to take an explicit stance endorsing — and funding — biblical teachings.________________________scared now.

read more | digg story

Sometimes it costs you to do what's right. Even if you are a state.

NYT again. This time about choosing a teaching method, and the price of the freedom to choose.

I'd love to ride the Google-bus....

Google does transportation as well as search- NYT article.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Known unknowns: rats are capable of metacognition

A new study shows that rats are capable of checking their knowledge before a test, a skill previously thought to be exclusive to primates.

read more | digg story

Thursday, March 8, 2007

HP Sees Huge Linux Desktop Deals

According to CRN, HP is doing "massive," "multi-thousand unit" deals with Linux PCs and suggests Linux on the desktop/notebook may be close to a tipping point.____________________Life is getting very interesting for the linux folk and for MS. Be interesting to look back in 6 months. And a year. And 5. Wonder what will have developed or died.

read more | digg story

Monday, March 5, 2007

Experts: Let customers help brand your product - CNET

Smart marketers are letting consumers play with their brand message online, say experts at a Las Vegas advertising confab. The wisdom of the crowd applied to marketing... interesting


Ads creatively changed by consumers- without company oversight or manipulation- actually brilliant, if scary for the company. Perhaps a great deal of user change will be ridiculous or stupid, but none-the-less: first- the really good interesting versions will spread rapidly through user promotion, and second, any critcal version that catches users' attention sufficiently to spread is per definition information that the company needs to consider about its product. If it's a commonly experienced criticism, then it's a hint with a two-by-four about product improvement.

Cool, man.

read more | digg story

An Apple Tattoo In Wild Hogs Movie

"I know. Trademarked. But what are they gonna say? It’s in my skin b**ch!" How's that for a shot at the sue happy company...from a Disney movie no less.


so now we have trademark tattoo wars coming up?

read more | digg story

Why millions of missing bees are a national crisis

In the "War of the Worlds" the attacking force of a superior civilization was brought to its knees and defeated by organisms so small they (in O Wells construct) did not consider their effects; microbes.

Bees are rather larger than microbes. But also immensely effective in what they do. We humans have in the US built an enormous agricultural industry utilizing literally, the fruits of their labor. What are we going to do when they disappear?

But above all, why are they disappearing? Speculation abounds. Climate change, disease, parasites? We don't know, because we have not bothered to collect much information about this most useful insect. After all, they were nearly omnipresent, right? Why should that change?

Looks to me like we have finally found the weakest point in our web of interrelations to the natural world. Can we build or afford to use an artificial pollinator? I doubt it. Can we genetically modify bees to survive in the face of all the changes we make to their environment? Chemical changes, physical changes.

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" did not come as rapidly as she thought. But songbirds are fewer now. And who notices? But when the bees disappear we will notice. And think with true regret on the days of wine and honey in our land.

read more

The RIAA Wants to Destroy Internet Radio in the US

The Copyright Royalty Board decision on the royalties for to be paid by Internet Radio stations for streaming music during the years 2006-2010 was released to the participants in the proceeding today.

So does this lead to P2P "radio"? How does the RIAA control low-level segmented distribution? They seem to be forcing users in that direction.

read more | digg story

MIT puts entire curriculum at disposal of e-learners

This is utterly brilliant for mankind as a whole. First as an example. Second to enable any english-speaking person across the world with access to the internet to have access to cutting edge thought in a multitude of areas.Now when do the bellows start that we are enabling our economic and political competitors?

read more | digg story

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hanging out at the CDC

I have got the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality report on my Google reader, and while digging through for interesting stuff I ran across two reports that taken together were unexpected. You can find these articles over on the right under "shared items."

First, from September 15, 2006, there is an obesity report that shows that the percentage of adults over 20 yrs who are obese has had a definite and significant increase between 1995 and 2005. Rates have gone up across the board, including having suddenly 3 States in which 30% or above of the over 20's are obese. People are clearly getting fatter.

Second, from October 6, 2006, there is a QuickStats report showing that death rates from heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease dropped consistently between 2000 and 2005. The drops aren't huge, but they are definitely dropping. So people are dying of other things, instead, increasingly.

What do these things mean together? I am not sure. Maybe nothing. Maybe since most folk who die are 65+, those who are dying now haven't had much lifetime in the obese or just fat state, and the effects on mortality causes won't show up for a decade or two.

But still, I find the opposite directions of the two articles contrary to what I would have expected off the cuff, and so interesting. Are you more likely to die of something else as obesity increases? But I thought heart disease and cancer were strongly tied to obesity. Are people doing something else that changes what they die of, but does not interfere with gaining weight? Wierd.

A third article looks interesting in their context. From July 21, 2006, Trends in Strength Training --- United States, 1998--2004, shows that among people over 65, both men and women, the prevalence of some form of strength training increased.

So people are increasing "healthy" behaviors, they are dying more of things other than the big two, but they are still getting fatter.