Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Steven Turner, who is responsible for the absolutely fantastic Analog web log analyzer is the proud father of brand-new Nathan. I wish the very best for the entire Turner family.
New Scientist has an article about Claytronics, also called programmable matter or Synthetic Reality. From what I understand, it's essentially nanodust which can programmatically be "molded" into three dimensional objects. Very cool and more than a little scary. The NS article suggests using it as a kind of remote representation of one's self (think of a very realistic conference call), but I can think of dozens, hundreds, thousands of other possibilities, not all of which are warm and fuzzy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ack! Cosmos 1 is missing!!!

6/22/05 Update: Yup, indeed she's a goner.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lots happening this week regarding public broadcasting and its funding. Anything I post will not necessarily be in chronological order.

It seems the guy Kenneth Y. Tomlinson secretly hired to monitor Bill Moyers is an extreme right winger who worked for 20 years at the American Conservative Union, "the nation's oldest conservative lobbying organization".

Mr. Tomlinson is reportedly rushing through the appointment of Patricia Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, as the new president of CPB.

Monday, June 13, 2005

It seems MSN has banned the words "Democracy" and "freedom" for China users of its free blogging service Spaces. Anyone who attempts to input either of these words is prompted with an error message aying "This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

In Florida, Springstead High School principal Susan Duval is the latest person to use Mary Schmich's famous "...Wasted on the Young" column (you know, the "Wear Sunscreen" one) without attribution. I suspect this will happen every couple of years. In 2002 the same "speech" was attributed to Kurt Vonnegut's 1997 commencement address at MIT . But of course he wasn't there and the words weren't his. They belong to Ms. Schmich.

Most notable about this year's incident is Ms. Duval's excuse: She didn't mean to plagiarize. Excuse me? Here's an English lesson she apparently missed: When you block and copy paragraphs worth of text off the Internet and then use them in a public speech, without mentioning the source, your in trouble. When asked if a similar action by a student would be acceptable, her reply was reportedly "Was I turning this in for a grade? No". Well, there you go. It's not about right and wrong, it's about the grade.

Lastly, how is it that while preparing for a commencement address Ms. Duval just happens to come across one of the Internet's most infamous examples? Could it be she was actually searching for other commencement addresses from which she could harvest text and ideas? It seems Ms. Duval actually believes she wasn't plagiarizing since she didn't know who's words she was using. Hmmm, what an interesting notion. Perhaps it's technically correct. She is currently being investigated by the school district.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

With funding from the MPAA, the Los Angeles Police Dept. is installing surveillance cameras intended to catch sellers of pirated DVDs. Four cameras on buildings in Los Angeles' downtown fashion district are already operational, with six more scheduled to be installed in coming weeks, according to Police Chief William Bratton. The department reportedly hopes to expand the system if it is successful.