Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tool turns English to code TRN 032305

Tool turns English to code TRN 032305: "Tool turns English to code"
Someone went to an awful lot of trouble with this April Fools joke: or went to even more trouble simulating one.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Geopolitics of Green Energy

As promised, Thomas Friedman on Geo-Greening (geo-politics of green energy)

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Geo-Greening by Example: "By doing nothing to lower U.S. oil consumption, we are financing both sides in the war on terrorism and strengthening the worst governments in the world. That is, we are financing the U.S. military with our tax dollars and we are financing the jihadists - and the Saudi, Sudanese and Iranian mosques and charities that support them - through our gasoline purchases. The oil boom is also entrenching the autocrats in Russia and Venezuela, which is becoming Castro's Cuba with oil. By doing nothing to reduce U.S. oil consumption we are also setting up a global competition with China for energy resources, including right on our doorstep in Canada and Venezuela. Don't kid yourself: China's foreign policy today is very simple - holding on to Taiwan and looking for oil.

Finally, by doing nothing to reduce U.S. oil consumption we are only hastening the climate change crisis, and the Bush officials who scoff at the science around this should hang their heads in shame. And it is only going to get worse the longer we do nothing. "

see also this ($2.95)

Ocean Power Fights Current Thinking

Ocean Power Fights Current Thinking:

This will be the first of several posts on alternative energy. I have a recurring fascination with this problem, and it has been rekindled by Thomas Friedman's trenchant discussions of the links between middle east terrorism and US energy policy.

"Recent advancements in the technology indicate that with a relatively small investment from the government, wave energy could soon compete with other renewable sources.

Wave energy systems place objects on the water's surface that generate energy by rising and falling with the waves. The wave energy in turn moves a buoy or cylinder up and down, which turns a generator that sends the electricity through an undersea cable to a power station on the shore.
In addition to having greater energy potential than other renewable sources, ocean energy is viewed as more aesthetically pleasing. Wave energy systems "have less visual impact" than offshore wind farms because they are partially submerged, according to Cliff Goudey, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Fisheries Engineering Research.
If testing programs succeed, ocean energy could become cost-competitive with wind energy in as little as four years, according to EPRI's Bedard. However, Bedard is doubtful that the current administration will have a sea change of opinion on ocean energy. "The administration is basically a coal and oil administration," Bedard says."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - Tech of the Week Detail

Zoom by Squinting Interesting idea. I wonder what users think?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Invention Is a Flower, Innovation Is a Weed

Invention Is a Flower, Innovation Is a Weed:
Bob Metcalfe begins his article with the question, "Why should you listen to me about innovation?"

Hey, I think the title alone is worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

AJAX analysis: interesting...but wrong.

The Man in Blue makes an interesting point
"While I am suitably impressed with the uses that have brought dynamic retrieval of data via JavaScript into the spotlight of late (Google Maps ... ummmm ... Google Suggest ... ummmm ...) I am yet to be persuaded that it will (or should) have a ground breaking effect upon the Web at large."

... I still see web applications as essentially different from web pages. Much like intranets, they don't have to play nice with other sites or standards (of the non-XHTML kind), because they are closed systems. Their aim is to complete a set task, not to hold linkable, publicly accessible information. When you send an e-mail, do you want its confirmation screen to be recorded in history for public posterity?

I think the essential characteristic defining the divide between an application and a web page is probably this public linkability. If the essence of your project is static information that should be available to a wider community (be it five friends or five continents), then it is most suited to a web page.
Interesting distinction...but I think its wrong. Mightn't you want be interested in a web app where the collaborative development of public links was a dynamic real time activity?

Indeed, I'm not sure I see the value of distinguishing between web apps and web pages. In 1992 I used to have the same problem distinguishing "multimedia" from "web stuff". I now realize the issue was one of communities of practice. Multimedia developers and new-fangled web developers were different people using different tools for different markets and different media. But that was a historical accident. They were actually trying to do the same things and acheive the same effects, and they eventually (I think, sort of) converged.

So what does that imply about when to use and not use AJAX? Um, I think that's pretty obvious--if you want non-disruptive time data exchange with the web browser, its the thing to use.

What's not so obvious is knowing what non-disruptive time data exchange with the web browser is good for. But I think we're getting some really interesting ideas...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Three Futures. Pick One.

Virtual Killing, Real Death

In Hunting, Tech Pushes Envelope of What's Ethical: "A San Antonio entrepreneur recently created an uproar with a Web site, , that aims to allow hunters to shoot exotic game animals or feral pigs on his private hunting ranch by remote control, with the click of a mouse, from anywhere in the world."
hmm, let's combine this with an article about missile-equipped Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
"The Predator was first used exclusively for reconnaissance missions, Vanzanten observed. He noted that unlike conventionally piloted aircraft, the UAV can remain airborne over a particular area for up to 20 hours.

Vanzanten also said that Hellfire-missile-packing Predators flew combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
or maybe something about Columbine...?

Saturday, March 05, 2005


From Tim Bray...

Giant Steps, Illustrated

Via the reliably-excellent Antipixel, this remarkable animation built around John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. Watching it, I feel like someone installed a window in the side of Coltrane’s head and I’m looking in. Don’t miss it.
I still think Music Visualization is a huge untapped opportunity for digital art and information visualization. (Insert plug for my Macroscope Manifesto here.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Becoming Transhuman, or, whatever happened to the inventor of Virtual Reality Markup Language.

Mark Pesce's Playful World
Becoming Transhuman, video, 72 minutes, 2001.

The first part of this unique video-essay is the best evocation I've ever seen of the fantastic voyage from big bang to death of the universe (including 2001, for example). The latter part is a unique forward-looking personal synthesis of mysticism and science. (and "forward-looking" is an understatement).

Altogether remarkable. This is what the web is for.

Using "found" audio and video sources, Becoming Transhuman is a narrative of what-we-are-becoming, broken into three sections: an affirmation of the positive dimension of human growth, a recognition of the darker side of human nature, and a contemplation of our ever-more-precarious position. It premiered in May 2001 at MINDSTATES.

To play the film, in Real format,
click the link appropriate to your speed:

Becoming Transhuman (DSL)
Becoming Transhuman (ISDN)
Becoming Transhuman (56K Modem)