Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More Routine Miracles... and dangers...

Oh, if only we were still a daring and imaginative people! One of you (fhydra) offered this wondrous news about the warm water geysers of Enceladus, recently, but I had to headline it here at the top level, in case even ONE of you missed it in the news..

Oh, and while we’re checking that out, there’s Titan with its parafin seashores along a gasoline sea.
This sort of thing should have us packing brave ‘nauts into spaceships as fast as we can turn out new models from an assembly line! Who would have imagined that we would become a nation and world of cowards?

More cool stuff: The swarming behavior of ants, bees, termites, and other social insects has implications far beyond the hive. Swarm intelligence — the collective behavior of independent agents, each responding to local stimuli without supervision — can be used to understand and model phenomena as diverse as blood clotting, highway traffic patterns, gene expression, and immune responses, to name just a few.
(Thanks Cobey Shaver)

Britain and France recently announced a plan to use a new tax on airline tickets to fund future development aid funding.

Stealth sharks to patrol the high seas NewScientist.com news service Mar. 1, 2006 ** Engineers funded by the US military have created a neural implant designed to enable a shark's brain signals to be manipulated remotely, controlling the animal's movements, and perhaps even decoding what it is feeling. The Pentagon hopes to exploit sharks' natural ability to glide quietly through the water, sense delicate electrical gradients...

Nanotube networks conjured on crystals NewScientist.com news service Mar. 1, 2006 *** The key to instantly assembling intricate networks of nanotubes has been discovered by scientists armed with some of the most sophisticated microscopes in the world. The phenomenon may some day help material scientists manufacture nano-circuits that channel electrons through tiny tunnels instead of along silicon wires, which have to be etched...

3D plasma shapes created in thin air NewScientist.com News Feb. 27, 2006*** The night sky could soon be lit up with gigantic three dimensional ads, thanks to a Japanese laser display that creates glowing images in thin air. The display uses an ionization effect which occurs when a beam of laser light is focused to a point in air....

Want some other causes for optimism? Well, here’s one. Having been chastened by the voters of California for his earlier, misguided swing toward neocon madness, our Guv Ahnold is now listening to his smart (and beautiful) wife again. One result? California is hyping up incentives for solar energy, in a big way. So much so that VCs are pouring capital into getting us what this planet desperately needs. Affordable photovoltaic rooftops. Given the sheer amount of urban surface area that’s currently wasted, it’s clear that no other possibility could make as much difference -- positive for the Earth and civilization... and negative for our troglodyte Masters. Hence, with the USA mired in a dark age, at least there’s California! Up the revolution. I went outside and ran the bear flag up our 30 foot flagpole.

(Of the 50 states, three have some legal basis to claim a right of secession. Hawaii was independent for 700 years, Texas for seven years, and California for seven weeks. Anyone remember or care to quote the liberation anthem sung by the rock group the Dead Kennedys?) (Oh but the hilarious PAIN in recent weeks, hearing our prexy tout renewable energy while savaging every endeavor aimed at achieving it!)

Now some utterly flaming optimism - Marc Prensky’s book: "Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning" : How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids For 21st Century Success -- and How You Can Help! Yipes. The title alone gives him away as a modernist.

* A fascinating concept from idea-impressario John Brockman: What We Believe but Cannot Prove : Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty.

finally... balancing with a little contrarian gloom...

* How hard is it to build your own weapon of mass destruction? We take a crash course in supervirus engineering to find out.

Speaking of "singularities and nightmares....


Xactiphyn said...

Anyone remember or care to quote the liberation anthem sung by the rock group the Dead Kennedys?)

I played this all the time back when Jerry Brown was running for president. I still (almost) remember the Jerry chanting "one-eight hundred-something something something-eleven twelve" we added to the compilation tape. The same tape had the Sister's of Mercy's Vision Thing for Bush.


I am governor Jerry Brown
My aura smiles and never frowns
Soon I will be president...
Carter power will soon go away
I will be Fuhrer one day
I will command all of you
Your kids will meditate in school

California Uber alles
California Uber alles
Uber alles California
Uber alles California

Zen fascists will control you
Hundred percent natural
You will jog for the master race
And always wear the happy face
Close your eyes, can't happen here
Big Bro' on white horse is near
The hippies won't come back you say
Mellow out or you will pay

California Uber alles…
Uber alles California…

Now It Is 1984
Knock knock at your front door
It's the suede denim secret police
They have come for your uncool niece
Come quietly to the camp
You'd look nice as a drawstring lamp
Don't you worry, it's only a shower
For your clothes here's a pretty flower
Die on organic poison gas
Serpent's egg's already hatched
You will croak, you little clown
When you mess with President Brown

California Uber alles…
Uber alles California

Rob Perkins said...

I want an affordable photovoltaic rooftop. My neighborhood's CC&R's even permit them...

...but it would have to be sensitive to UV! Too many clouds half the year here for them to work off the visible spectrum...

Anonymous said...

Cowards is right! Unfortunately.

"It's not a miracle that we went to the moon but that we have not gone back . . . " or so it goes.

Cassini (as well as the current Mars rovers) are an unbelievable triumph.


FSJL said...

Er, Dr Brin, there is one other state with a legitimate claim to secession, the former Republic of Vermont.

Anonymous said...

A bioterrorist doesn't need a DNA assembler. All one needs is some West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes and a professional sports organization, which, like a giant mosquito, sucks the lifeblood out of a city's budget so that funding is cut for public health measures to control mosquitoes. This weapon, of course, is a binary, relying on a compliant city council and sports-mad citizens, both of which, unfortunately, are readily available.

Tony Fisk said...

The only true cowards are your supposed masters, who can only view the harsh universe through the filter of a comforting book, and we all know that story.

Your only true master is the inertia of due process, which cannot advocate a revolution without reviewing the lessons of history, and we all know *that* story, too!

The best way to endure the ache is to see how others are enduring it. Check out how 'NASA' night went at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference here
"Scientists were also angry that the budget did not seem to reflect the priorities set by the science community. The priority argument was primarily cited by the advocates of the Europa mission. Bob Pappalardo would not sit down until he got Cleave to acknowledge that Europa is the consensus highest priority of the planetary science community."

Didn't seem to be much cowardice there!

Speaking of Jerry Brown, I think this quote seems appropriate to the discussion:
"I will 'Protect the Earth, Serve the People and Explore the Universe.' campaign slogan in 1980 presidential primary campaign.

(Oh, wikipedia is a wondrous thing!)

Like a lot of people, I await the next wave of solar roof technology with interest. (I did a brief check a few months ago and concluded it just wasn't economically viable, yet)
However, I do have a niggling worry that some mischievious submarine beast will emerge from an oil dark sea to swallow the initiative with threats of extortion. And the first shots of the 'sunshine rebellion' will have been exchanged.

Tony Fisk said...

On the topic of cool things, anybody care for simvirus?

Based on what computing power this required, dna synthesizers might be a ways off in producing a viable uber-Brown virus...

Hmm! Does anyone remember 'What's so bad about feeling good'? (How grand to be a toucan!)

Anonymous said...

Angry scientists confront NASA officials at the 37th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference:


One researcher added: "I hope you sense the mood of the audience and reason with us."


Don Quijote said...

Now some utterly flaming optimism - Marc Prensky’s book: "Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning" : How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids For 21st Century Success -- and How You Can Help! Yipes. The title alone gives him away as a modernist.

Thw word "huckster" comes to mind.

The title alone gives him away as a snake oil salesman.

If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Cinicism is a commodity in great shortage.

Anonymous said...

What, like the book "Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Pop Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter"?

Somehow I doubt that there will ever be a shortage of cynicism.

David Brin said...

Right, Doug. It is stunning how followers of dim ideas seem not only to miss how dim they are, but also manage to convince themselves that they INVENTED the dismal notions.

When I lived in Paris, my wife was a postdoc at a university there. I recall watching in amazement as the so-called "individualist" French students came and went... ALL of them abso-freaking-lutely weraing black. Every last one of them... except for the rare nonconformist with a colored scarf. Later, this plague of cynicism chic spread to the states... though even now it's not THAT bad.

Still, how many guys do you know, who act like they INVENTED black leather, or cynicism?

Ah, the curled lip and the put-down sneer that we all remember from grade school and Jr High and High School, any time we expressed enthusiasm. Express a scintilla of optimism and can-do and ambition, and there were always the SOBs ready to mock.

They had no fresh ideas of their own. But were great at putting down the ambition of others. Two reasons, the one they ASSERTED and the truthful one.

"It's all screwed up and futile," was the rationalization "so why bother?"

The deeper reason? Pure laziness mixed with utter terror. Cynics don't see the world better than ambitious world-changers. They see it through glasses tinted with utter cowardice of even trying.

We risk failure. We TRY. Even though Yoda says we should not. But he's an evil elf and someday Luke will hunt him down. After restoring the Republic. Yeah!

Anonymous said...

In re: black as a fashion accessory: I am reminded of an exchange between two characters in one of the White Wolf Games rulebooks. In a section discussing the most modern Tradition of the Mages in Mage: the Awakening, one of the older Orphans is asking a newbie why he's dressed in black. The newbie stumbles through the expected speech about the color symbolizing his new identity, his alienation from contemporary society, etc.

The older one looks at him. "Really? Myself, I wear black because I think it looks good on me."

As for the videogame treatise, I believe I read either this report or one similar about a year ago. It stated that playing many modern videogames can vastly increase the spatial memory and reasoning ability of the player. I was unsure about that, until I started playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and realized that after a fairly short time, I knew the layout of the entire state of San Andreas, could find shortcuts to get just about anywhere, and could find the coolest jumps to take with a nitrous-equipped vehicle (hint: when you find the shack in the desert with the boardwalk next to it, go get the car that looks like an old Chevelle, get it outfitted with nitrous, and take a run down that boardwalk. You should clear the river that feeds the reservoir, most of the time...).

Anonymous said...

Uhm... yeah, about that whole "California is the best" thing, I can think of maybe 49 other states that are hoping for the day that the People's Republic of California either sinks into the ocean, or at least secedes from the US so we can build a wall of razor-wire around it and keep it from spreading. Sincerely, Californicators are notorious for fleeing that crappy state (because they can't afford to live there anymore, usually) and then turning any place they settle into a hideous clone of it. It's like a bad 50s-era anti-communist movie come to life.

Addressing your specific point, though: if somebody came up with a way I could roof my house in solar cells for under a thousand dollars, I would do that in a heartbeat.

And, to end on a positive note, I wouldn't be too worried about "civilians can build weapons of mass destruction too". That has been the case for a very long time. You can cook up low-grade ricin or napalm using a few easily-acquired ingredients and kitchen utensils, and have been able to since at least 1950. Terrorists have, for the most part, stuck with macho stuff that goes BOOM, and is even MORE easily-acquired. The only exception I can think of offhand is the Aum cult, and they had quite a few failures before their half-assed nerve-gas attack on a Japanese subway.

Terrorists with bio-weapons are pretty far down my list of stuff to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's always been this way, but especially lately, it feels like the future's torn between these two possibilities, one the bright shiny future of cool stuff, the other a crappy petty world of fundamentalists, global warming, oil exhaustion, etc, etc. The real future will probably be somewhere in-between, but a lot of the time, it feels like the sucky future's winning.

Anonymous said...

"People's Republic of California"

What a load of tiresome, ignorant, Talk Radio crankery.

* * *

You can, for $1,000 or so, outfit your house with a minimal solar power outfit, providing enough juice to run your fridge, a few lights, and a radio. In other words, it will keep your house livable during power outages. The equivalent of an emergency generator that won't run out of fuel.

Anonymous said...

Here's something interesting . . .

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is pursing an important Federal lawsuit designed to end the United States Air Force's continuing violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The defendants are the Air Force and Michael Wynne, Secretary of the Air Force.

The suit seeks to counter attempts, which have persisted for more than a decade, to impose Evangelical Christian beliefs and practices on Academy Cadets."


Anonymous said...

And the Missouri legislature installs Christianity ...


David Brin said...

This stuff (below) is just too rich not to post, at least here at the comment level, even though it will pretty much end commentary on this posting. It is a lengthy though partial transcript of the roast-comedy-speech given by Sen. Barack Obama at the recent Gridiron Clum dinner (Thanks to the Chicago Tribune).

Of course there are many levels. The humor itself. Tne enjoyment of seeing a bright young American genius at work. And seeing certain people writhe uncomfortably, wishing they were elsewhere...

I hope this comes through okay.


Obama on Bush, Bush on Obama

It turns out that Sen. Barack Obama not only has impeccable timing and creative writers, but the freshman Democratic senator from Illinois who has arrived in Washington to exceedingly great expectations among leaders of a party desperately in need of new leaders also can sing.

And when Obama had a chance in the spotlight tonight at the annual dinner of The Gridiron Club to poke some fun at the Bush administration, lampoon Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting mishap and even take a few pokes at himself and his own party, he rolled it all out with extraordinary ease. He unloosed a song to boot, sung to the tune of "If I Only Had a Brain,'' with the punch-line landing on John McCain.

Obama's standup was a hard act to follow. Ask President Bush, who closed the four-hour, white-tie dinner in a ballroom of a Washington hotel with a few jokes of his own but seemed at a loss for return fire.

"Sen. Obama, I want to do a joke on you,'' Bush said. "But doing a joke on you is like doing a joke on the Pope. Give me something to work with… Mispronounce something.''

Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife, also followed Obama with a de rigeur Republican response, noting with a sense of irony that the senator had "emerged'' from his "shell."

"There is one good thing about speaking this late,'' she said. "All the hunting jokes have been used up.''

Most of them were used up by Obama, who opened with a show of pleasure for the "extravaganza'' of the evening, attended by Bush, Cheney, half the Cabinet, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and a cast of media stars at a perenially private, "Closed Press'' event.

"Men in tails. Women in gowns,'' Obama marveled. "An orchestra playing, as folks reminisce about the good old days. Kind of like dinner at the Kerrys.

"Nice to see you, Mr. President and Mrs. Bush,'' Obama said to the president seated to his right and first lady to his left. "I think it takes a great spirit for the president, who we all know is an early riser, to sit here until midnight and hear himself lampooned, when he could be back at the White House enjoying a quiet, peaceful night, watching TV and approving secret wiretaps.''

Wielding a script for which Democratic political consultant David Axelrod bears a great amount of credit, Obama noted the absence of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "You know, the president promised a muscular foreign policy. And anyone who's seen the Condi Rice workout tapes knows he means business.

"The truth is, I'm terrified to be here,'' he said. "Not because you're such a tough audience, but because they're serving drinks. I'm standing about 30 yards from the vice president, and I'm a lawyer. The only thing that could make this more dangerous is if he considered me a friend.

"Mr. vice president, I know you came here expecting to be a target, which, it turns out, may prove easier for you than shooting at one,'' said Obama, having fun with Cheney's recent accidental shooting and wounding of Texas attorney Harry Whittington on a quail-hunting trip in Texas. "But I do want to thank you. For years, we Democrats have succeeded in doing little more than shooting ourselves in the foot.

"You've taught us a valuable lesson,'' Obama told Cheney. "Aim higher.''

Cheney found himself pulling at his eyeglasses to wipe tears of laughter at times, though the president seemed to find less ready humor in Obama's remarks. Obama honed in on Cheney.

"There's probably only one person more sick of these jokes than you, and that's your wife,'' Obama continued, hammering on the accident which took the vice president's office nearly a day to publicly reveal.

"It's an honor to share this stage with Lynne Cheney – a great personage in her own right,'' Obama said. "Scholar. Author. A few years ago, she wrote a book called, Telling the Truth, or as they call it in the vice president's office, Telling the truth – 24 hours later.

"This appearance is really the capstone of an incredible 18 months,'' Obama said, turning to his own brief career in the U.S. Senate. "I've been very blessed. Keynote speaker at the Democratic convention. The cover of Newsweek. My book made the best-seller list. I just won a Grammy for reading it on tape. And I've had the chance to speak not once but twice before the Gridiron Club.

"Really, what else is there to do?'' he asked. "Well, I guess I could pass a law or something.

"About that book, some folks thought it was a little presumptuous to write an autobiography at the age of 33,'' the senator said. "But people seemed to like it. So now I'm working on volume two – the Senate months. My remarkable journey from 99th in seniority to 98th.

"Believe me, when you're the last guy to ask questions at every committee hearing, you have plenty of time to collect your thoughts,'' he said. "Especially when Joe Biden's on the committee.

"I'll tell you, that Grammy was a big surprise. I thought, for sure Jack Abramoff would win for his rendition of 'It's hard Out Here for a Pimp.' (And with that line for the indicted lobbyist, Obama drew a good sound belly laugh from Bush, who of course maintains that he doesn't know Abramoff.)

"This whole ethics thing has been an adventure,'' said Obama, cast by his party to help seek ethical reforms in the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal. "I was really excited when they asked me to be the lead Democratic spokesman. But I don't know. Turns out, it's a little like being given the Kryptonite concession at a Superman convention. I mean, how did I know it was a freshman hazing? Maybe I can explain it this way:''

And with that introduction, the band struck up a familiar refrain from The Wizard of Oz, and Obama proceeded to sing from the podium, with a steady, unflinching, and even in-tune delivery of a song about the senator from Arizona with a reputation as a maverick and potential Republican candidate for president in 2008 with whom Obama recently shared a rough-edged exchange of letters:

"I'm aspiring to greatness, but somehow I feel weightless.
A freshman's sad refrain.
I could be a great uniter, making ethics rules much tighter,
If I only had McCain.

"I could bring us all together, no storm we couldn't weather.
We'd feel each other's pain.
Red and blue wouldn't matter, party differences would shatter,
If I only had McCain.

"Oh why is it so hard, for honest men of good will to agree.
If we ever found a way to strike a deal, would we survive… politically?

"When a wide-eyed young idealist confronts a seasoned realist,
there's bound to be some strain.
With the game barely started, I'd be feeling less downhearted,
If I only had McCain.

"Still I hope for the better, though I may rewrite my letter,
cause I gotta have McCain.''

Obama offered an unnecessary apology for his solo peformance: "Needless to say, my Grammy was in the spoken word category.

"I should say that I really do get along well with Sen. McCain,'' Obama told the reporters and editors filling the hotel ballroom. "But as you know, not everyone in politics does. Because of his superstar status, his virtuous image, the kind of hero worship treatment he gets from all of 'you, some of my colleagues call John a prima dona. Me? I call him a role model.

"Think of it as affirmative action,'' he said. "Why should the white guys be the only ones who are overhyped?''

The night was incomplete without a mention of Valerie Plame, the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by members of the Bush administration, prompting a federal prosecutor's investigation that has led to the indictment and resignation of Cheney's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

"By the way, before I forget,'' Obama told the audience. "Raise your hand if Karl Rove didn't tell you about Valerie Plame.

"Some folks say you've lost your investigative intensity,'' Obama said. "You were a little slow to question the weapons of mass destruction. Maybe got a little used on that whole Valerie Plame thing. But, by God, you brought Dick Cheney to justice, and the world's better off for it.

"Or, at least Gridiron speakers and late-night comedians were better off for it.''

Turning for not quite equal time on his party, Obama said: "You know, the Gridiron Club is an aging institution with a long, proud history, known today primarily for providing a forum for jokes.

"To some,'' he said, "that may sound like the Democratic Party.

"You hear this constant refrain from our critics that Democrats don't stand for anything. That's really unfair,'' he said. "We do stand for anything.

"Some folks say the answer for the Democratic Party is to stop being so calculating and start standing up for principle,'' he said. "In fact (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid's appointed a task force to study this option.

"The Republicans have been poking fun at Democrats for not being united behind a single voice in our party,'' Obama said. "I think that's unfair, and it smacks a little of sexism. And just because the leading voice in our party is a strong-willed, outspoken liberal woman with a famous husband does not mean the Democrats are adrift…. And I, for one, want to thank Barbra Streisand for her great leadership.

"I'm sick of people attacking Democrats as being out of touch, saying we lose elections because we're all a bunch of snobby intellectuals who can't speak the common man's language,'' he said.

"I mean, what kind of a supercilious argument is that?

"Take John Edwards. He's leading a new war on poverty – from his Chapel Hill estate. And he's educating us. I had no idea there was so much poverty in New Hampshire.''

(Cheney's glasses were starting to come off again.)

"Speaking of New Hampshire, a lot of speculation that that 2008 campaign could come down to Sen. McCain and Hillary Clinton. The thing I don't think people realize is how much John and Hillary have in common. They're both very smart. Both very hard-working. And they're both hated by Republicans.''

(Both Bush and Cheney seemed to alight on that line.)

"I mean, wow, it really has been a rough period for you, Mr. President,'' Obama said. "I missed the Oscars, so when I picked up the paper the next morning and saw Crash in the headlines, I just assumed it was another Bush poll story.

"And how about that ports deal?'' he added, with a reference to the attempted takeover of several U.S. port operations by an Arab firm and a shot at Bush's experience with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.. "I feel for you, sir. It's tough getting trapped in a storm, when no one comes to help.''

"And then there's the flap about global warming,'' Obama said. "You know, the Bush administration's been a little skeptical about the whole concept of global warming. It's actually not the warming part they question. It's the globe…. The president was so excited about Tom Friedman's book, The World is Flat. As soon as he saw the title, he said, 'You see? I was right.'''

"But when people say the administration is hostile to science, that's really a bad rap. Just last week, they asked for a hundred million dollars for the NIH to fund new research into leech therapy.

"I was told that this dinner is off the record,'' Obama said, moving on to the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic eavesdropping in search for terrorists. "No taping or recording of this event, unless, of course, secretly authorize by the president. I completely trust the president with that authority, by the way. But just out of an abundance of caution, and not implying anything, I've asked my staff to conduct all phone conversations in the Kenyan dialect of Luo.

"Truth is, this domestic spying has all kinds of useful applications for homeland security,'' he said. "And I have a suggestion in this regard, Mr. President: you can spy on the Weather Channel, and find out when big storms are coming.

"You all watch the winter Olympics?'' he asked. "I'm sure a lot of us in politics were following that figure skating, because we can identify with performers who spin wildly and sometimes fall on their butts… I also enjoyed that biathlon, where they ski and shoot at the same time…

"Probably not your sport, Mr. Vice President.''

Obama closed with obligatory praise for the work of the free press that served as host for his humor, something echoed by Lynne Cheney as well – for Bush's part, he closed with a few jokes about improving his relations with the press, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plan to amend the First Amendment. Instead of a free press, Bush said Rumsfeld was looking at "free checking.''

But Obama also closed with thanks for all the celebrity he has found during his brief tenure here.

"Most of all, I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you've given me in anticipation of a successful career,'' he said. "When I actually do something, we'll let you know.''

Anonymous said...



Tony Fisk said...

Hilarious, *and* insightful!
I think Obama summed it up in one line: 'Aim higher!', and it sounds like he intends to. (If they let him out after that occasion...will he the first recipient of a presidential pardon, d'you think?)

Black is fashionable in Melbourne (not so much in Sydney), and I am wearing a black jumper as I type this! The 'curled lip and mocking put down', when applied in *small* doses, can actually be effective CITOKATE. At low levels, it can just be a gentle reminder to be prepared to defend your stance...'cos if you can't stand this, try not to be around when the likes of Obama take the gloves off! (not that he comes across as a cynic)

jonathan said:
"...many modern videogames can vastly increase the spatial memory and reasoning ability of the player. ...I started playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and realized that ... I knew the layout of the entire state of San Andreas,"

This relates to one line of research into 3-D user interfaces, which places the onus of navigation on the user's visual cortex. You build an internal spatial map of your environment as you work. All the display needs to show in detail is where you currently are in your thoughts, with perhaps a little trail leading back to the entrance.

This seems at odds with the massive moo that 'longhorn' supposedly requires just to say 'hello world'.

Thoughts of Windows leads immediately to thoughts of Linux and open source (it does for me, at least!), which sort of leads back to cool stuff in the form of the 'open mobile', which has been gathering pace for a while now, and has now got a mention in New Scientist

Tony Fisk said...

OOh! Groklaw pointed this out, and it's worth a mention:

Bound By Law: a comic book about...intellectual property and films!! (complete with creepy legal host and superheroes)

Issued under CC, of course!

To be put next to your copy of "Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning"?

Anonymous said...

A Brinnish prognostication -- citizens invited to be the eyes behind security video cameras -- comes true.

Anonymous said...

@ Stefan

"What a load of tiresome, ignorant, Talk Radio crankery."

Well, I'll give you that with a couple of caveats.

"Tiresome": The term "Californicators" wasn't coined because Californians decided to STAY HOME and have babies.

"Ignorant": I lived there for the awfullest years of my life, and have lived elsewhere since. I think I know whereof I speak.

"Talk radio crankery": You got me on that one, I don't know from crank radio talkery, I don't have the patience to listen to it very often. It could be as you suggest.

I would ask you to consider that these memes don't get started in a vacuum. "One-size-fits-all" politics are how wars get started, after all.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why everyone's so enamoured with solar power from their rooftops. Photovoltaic cells have such low efficiency - compared to the really efficient way to turn sunlight into electricity: Stirling engines with parabolic dishes. (They are installing these in California at present, which may have been mentioned on here, so apologies if I'm repeating old excitement).
California will have 500 MW of this type of power in the next few years from the Mojave, and 300 MW from near San Diego. Makes rooftops seem superfluous...