A scientist, testing a formula on Univac recently, was amazed to see the computing system stop, then automatically type the reproof: “You’re trying to divide by zero.” A quick check proved that Univac, as always, was right.
Click to image to read more. 1956 … good times.
Sheril has just announced that Barak Obama has answered fourteen questions posed by the Science Debate 2008 team. I haven’t had a chance to read his responses yet, so wander on over yourself to see what he has to say.
With the recent tragic loss of over 150 lives in Madrid, the following strikes me …
American Airlines deliberately flew two planes 58 times in December that it knew had broken parts and thus could be unsafe in certain situations. For this – and improper drug and alcohol testing – the FAA fined the company $7.1M. That, frankly, is ridiculous.
American should have been put out of business. Yes, air travel is safer than any other form of travel, but when accidents happen they can, and do, have large death tolls. If a company puts its customers at risk, that company should not be allowed operate. It is really that simple.
(Incidentally, both the Madrid disaster and the AA incident involved MD-80 series aircraft.)
I have a large digital music collection. Every file is correctly tagged and album art is both embedded in the file and available as a jpg in the album folder. All of that took about four straight days to do over the summer using MediaMonkey (which I now also use to sync my collection with my iPod Classic). Unfortunately, I have some DRMed music bought from the iTunes store and have to use iTunes to get them onto the iPod. But here’s what gets me – every time I transfer the DRMed tracks over, iTunes not only screws up the album art on the DRMed tracks, but also screws with the album art of other non-DRMed music. I then have to get MediaMonkey to repair the database on the iPod, a process that takes close to an hour.
Seriously Apple … iTunes has to be the worse media-management program ever. Its memory footprint is obnoxious, it is prone to seizing up, and it buggers up album art.
If you haven’t tried MediaMonkey, do so. It’s made my life a heck of a lot easier.
It’s been a few years (2002, probably) since I used a Linux box regularly. Yesterday I dual-booted my laptop with Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” and everything works flawlessly. So now I’m asking – what are the essential software packages I should install? Utilities, games, whatever … make a recommendation. I’d be particularly interested in hearing about a good blogging client.
1985 – The Internet’s Domain Name System is created.
1989 – The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer comes into force.
Netscape has finally been taken off life-support. Born in October 1994, yet stunted in its growth since the late 90’s, the browser is set to finally expire on February 1st. It spawned Mozilla and thus ultimately Firefox. Please observe a moment of silence.
Apologies for the BLINK tag in the title. It seemed apt. Sayeth The Book of Mozilla (12:10):
And the beast shall come forth surrounded by a roiling cloud of vengeance. The house of the unbelievers shall be razed and they shall be scorched to the earth. Their tags shall blink until the end of days.
Presidential debates are largely meaningless. Simpleminded questions posed by simpleminded moderators who actively prevent candidates from answering in any sort of nuanced manner (were they able). In short, a microcosm of American political discourse in which snark and soundbite dominate substance every time.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could hear candidates answer questions on issues that we as scientists – and concerned public – care about? Wouldn’t it be great if we could have candidates devote an extended debate to such issues, a debate in which the environment, medicine & health, and science & technology policy would be discussed in a meaningful manner? Wouldn’t it be even better if such a debate was hosted by scientists rather than media hacks?
A grass-roots movement, Sciencedebate 2008, is attempting to make such a debate a reality. With backing from such notable biologists as David Baltimore, Niles Eldredge, Simon Levin, and Stuart Pimm (and many others across all fields) the movement is calling for just such a public debate:
A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology
Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we, the undersigned, call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Medicine and Health, and Science and Technology Policy.
You too can join this movement and add your voice. I did.
This is so cool. A one-millimeter long spider (Cenotextricella simoni) encased in amber gets "digitally dissected" using Very High Resolution X-Ray Computed Tomography. The paper is online in Zootaxa 1623:47-53 but requires a subscription.
Over at Page 3.14, there’s a post where us old farts reminisce about computing when we were young ’uns. I’m quoted as saying
"My first computer was a ZX81 (Timex/Sinclair here in the US). Had 1k of memory. Taught myself assembly.
In high school and college, virtually everything was hand written. Didn’t even use a calculator until college (wasn’t allowed in high school – I remember log tables!)"
Below the fold, I give some more reminiscences. Gentle reader, feel free to add your memories as comments.
A few months ago I predicted this would happen. I saw the interface in action over the Summer and, boy, was I impressed. Now you can have all the fun without the phone. Pity it’s only 16G though.
So I was watching Adult Swim last night (Futurama x2 followed by The Family Guy) and they were running a cool visualization by Aaron Koblin of the air traffic over the US.
There is more at Koblin’s site.
Now, I need to go and watch tonight’s episodes!