On occasion, I fall so far behind that I simply have to do a great big “dump” of cools stuff, knowing full well that folks will blink at the stack and click away. It’s an itch. So here’s one of those periodic piles of semi-random items.
First off, from internet chatter, it appears that Danny Boyle's new film Sunshine is one more case of creeping ripoff... er, I mean uncanny similarity to my stuff. A few years ago, The Core blatantly grabbed scenes from my own EARTH and Paul Preuss’s Core. Now we have a “go to the Sun” sci fi epic.
All right, it’s actually part ripoff of SUNDIVER and part a remake of... “The Core”. Believe it or not. “'the Sun is going to die in 50 years, think of something, will you?'” says Cox. The “something” involves a "Q ball", the nucleus of a supersymmetric particle, getting itself lodged in the Sun. The hypothetical Q ball eats through normal matter, ripping apart the Sun's neutrons and protons and converting them into supersymmetric particles.” And let the arm-waving begin! Sunshine is released in the UK on April 5. The US release date is unknown at time of posting. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
Speaking of which... but this time with a smile... it appears that Scott Adams has unscientifically arrived at an indignation-addiction theory like mine. Maybe now it will get some attention....
PODCASTS!! I was interviewed on the topic of “Messages to ET” on the radio show CULTURE SHOCK of the BBC World Service.
David S. Levine of the Stanford Law School interviewed me on the continuing importance and relevance of The Transparent Society as the book approaches its tenth anniversary. Indeed, it is one of the only public policy tomes of the nineties still in print and still widely discussed.
Watch for a featured interview with me in a coming issue of DISCOVER MAGAZINE (one of the best zines of all time) on the topic of “what science and humanity are now able to perceive.”
One of my favorite worldchanging groups, Project Witness, is currently interviewing for SEVEN new staff positions... some in the US and some others requiring some (ahem) courage in overseas postings. In case any of you know someone interested in a career pushing the frontiers of transparency.
== AND NOW -- RANDOM CLIPPINGS THAT MIGHT INTEREST ==
As documentary filmmakers, Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine looked up to Michael Moore. Then they thttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifried to do a documentary of their own about him — and ran into the same sort of resistance Moore himself famously faces in his own films. The result is "Manufacturing Dissent," which turns the camera on the confrontational documentarian and examines some of his methods. Among their revelations in the movie, which had its world premiere Saturday night at the South by Southwest film festival: That Moore actually did speak with then-General Motors chairman Roger Smith, the evasive subject of his 1989 debut "Roger & Me," but chose to withhold that footage from the final cut.
But some media improve. MIT’s TECHNOLOGY REVIEW magazine (online) is now publishing science fiction. The debut story “Osama Phone Home” by David Marusek is clever and diverting.
Here’s some Top-level reposting of some items that you folks sent in during comments:
Regardinghttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif the topic of hemming in Bush’s expected PARDON TSUNAMI - here are Dept. of Justice guidelines for presidential pardons. Only remember, these just apply to regular criminals. Politcal pardons can (and often do) bypass such procedures.
Stefan pointed out that Halliburton is moving its HQ to Dubai. One of those rare stories that needs no comment, only chills... plus a litlle DBrin “I told you who was in charge.”
Hawker pointed to a howler, the outrageous 9:1 ratio by which the Justice Department has investigated low level Democratic office holders, compared to low-level GOP officials. The Krugman piece asks why Atty Gen Gonzales would need to fire eight US Prosecutors, if they were delivering that level of partisanship, already. I have an answer.
Try translating this tabulation into actual numbers of convictions. I will wager that the ration is far more even, triggering Gonzales’s unhappiness. But what can you do? Investigations can easily be politically driven. But convictions ought (for now at least) to be based upon actual facts presented in court. It takes some subtlety of thinking to realize that Krugman should have shown this ratio of convictions and revealed how the LOWER ratio there actually helps to prove partisan bias.
On later pondering, I realize that this is the GHOST AT THE BANQUET. Instead of harping on the eight prosecutors who were fired, we should be asking about the other eighty five! In order to keep their jobs, by this administration's standards, what kind of people are they?
Some non-political, science and engineering items.
Under a plan being considered by the British government, babies could be vaccinated with brain-altering chemicals to stop them getting hooked on drugs and cigarettes in later life. Newborns would have jabs which could prevent addiction to cocaine, heroin or tobacco. See my own unusual take on “addiction” and ponder why these folks may not be as smart as they think they are!
Robots that artificially evolve ways to communicate with one another have been demonstrated by Swiss researchers. The "genomes" of the bots that found food and avoided poison most efficiently were recombined, mimicking biological natural selection. "We saw colonies that used their lights to signal when they found food and others that used.
Called Superbots, these robots are made up of identical modular units that plug into one another to create robots that can stand, crawl, wiggle and roll. The robots are being developed mainly to carry out multiple complex tasks, such as assembly, inspection, maintenance, habitat construction, surface landing, and exploration in space and on planet surfaces. Perhaps their paramount feature is flexibility: The different modules can be connected to let a robot handle a variety of tasks, rather than have that robot dedicated to a single task.
Estonia plans to become the world's first country to allow voting in a national parliamentary election via the Internet.
You, or someone you love, may die because of a gene patent that should never have been granted in the first place. Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, it's only too real. In the United States, gene patents are now used to halt research, prevent medical testing and keep vital information from you and your doctors. Gene patents slow the pace of medical advance on deadly diseases. And they raise costs exorbitantly: A test for breast cancer that could be done for $1,000 now costs $3,000.
A new, cheap pill to treat malaria has been introduced, the first product of an innovative partnership between an international drug company and a medical charity.
Wow... GATTACA... The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), introduced into Congress on January 16, if passed, will become the first federal law to prevent employers from collecting genetic information on their employees. It would also outlaw genetic discrimination, preventing insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on a DNA test. Hint... this is NOT the solution. GATTACA shows that it will not work. The real solution is to ensure that insurance companies and CEOs are JUST as exposed, and thus have it in their interest to promote a tolerant society.
The world's smallest and thinnest RFID tags have been introduced by Hitachi, measuring just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters. The new "powder type" chips have a 128- for storing a unique 38 digit and could be worked into any product to assure theft of consumer goods would be practically impossible. These devices could also be used to identify and track people. For example, suppose you participated in some sort of protest or other organized activity. If police agencies sprinkled these tags around, every could be tracked and later identified at leisure, with powerful enough tag scanners.
The energy consumed by data center servers and related infrastructure equipment in the U.S. and worldwide doubled between 2000 and 2005, according to a new study. A jump in the volume of servers in data centers is accountable for 90 percent of the growth in power consumption.
Researchers at Purdue University have led development of a portable "tactical" biorefinery for the U.S. Army that turns a variety of waste streams into a mixture of ethanol and methane gas, which are burned in a modified diesel engine to produce electricity.
Couple mounts a camera and radar to catch speeders. Catch a police officer speeding. He sends the authorities to tell them he intends to press stalking charges against them. This is precisely what happens as the Age of Amateurs confronts the guild protection rackets of the professional protector caste. see: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BY2PRQ MISC ITEM: Does anyone know a web site that will log REMINDERS possibly even years in advance and email you reliably when the time comes? e.g. re recurring events like renewing your URL every five years or so? A hazard of modern life.
The U.S. 'Commercial Services' Trade Surplus Reached $100 Billion Last Year
General: The United States is more a seller than a buyer of services. As of 2005, the United States supplied about $190 billion of the world's $1160 billion in commercial services exports. (The United Kingdom is second at $60 billion; fast-rising India is eighth at $44 billion.) American statistics, a bit more up-to-date than the WTO's, show exports and royalties rising by $84 billion between 2001 and 2006. (From $156 billion to $240 billion.) Meanwhile, commercial-services imports rose by $66 billion, from $74 billion to $140 billion. Thus a $76 billion commercial-services trade surplus in 2001 grew to $100 billion by 2006.
Finding the Future: A Science Fiction Conversation is an independent documentary feature about science fiction, fandom, and the future. Apparently (I haven’t seen it yet) I am featured. See: http://www.findingthefuture.com/
Many of you will recall my article about how the events of 9/11 and Katrina illustrated the positive and negative possibilities of empowering (or hampering) citizen networked self-organization in a crisis. Now David Stephenson of Stephenson Strategies has encapsulated some of the same notions in an important paper about “Expecting the Unexpected: The Need for a Networked Terrorism and Disaster Response Strategy.”
I never thought anyone could make me feel sorry for one of those scammers, but I gotta tell you, it got pretty darn mean.
I believe in the multi-mind model of human beings. The part of obo who was tormented wasn't exactly homogolous with the scammer. The vengeance was only partial. Ah well. Still fascinating.
FINALLY: What, nobody has an informed opinion about when Apple OS Leopard will ship? Any other BATTERY experts out there who might want to read/critique a book on the suject? (Lots of history of cool stuff on science/engineering.)