Monday, August 29, 2005

Slashdot has a link to a BBC story about Alfredo Romero and his new fleet of Open Source tourist vehicles in Spain.

One thing of note is that he's referring to the cars as Blobjects, a reference to the term coined by Bruce Sterling.

But also noticeable is what may be one of the best quotes regarding the suitability of going with open source:

"With proprietary software, innovation comes from the people in marketing. But with open source, innovation comes from the guy who is really in the market."
When Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom returned home to Indiana, he brought his flight suit with him. His family contends he rescued it from the trash, a claim NASA denies.

In any case, his widow Betty lent the suit to the then-privately run Astronauts Hall of Fame in 1989. But when the U.S. Government took over the museum, they refused to return the suit, saying it was government property.

Now Amanda Meyer, a 15 year old high school student, has taken up the cause of the spacesuit. She thinks the suit should be displayed in the Gus Grissom Memorial, a museum in the astronaut's hometown of Mitchell, Indiana. She's launched a web site, including online petition, and written to many government agencies.

She is hoping the government will loan the spacesuit to the Grissom Memorial, allowing it to be displayed there. The government says it will review the request later this year. It should also be pointed out that the Grissom Memorial hasn't made the request itself, and obvious step which is needed before the spacesuit could be moved.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Our guest on August 20 was Kurt Opshal from the EFF. The topic was Bloggers' Rights, which is becoming increasingly important given the diverse use of blogs by a growing number of people.

- Listen to the Interview -
The Washington Post is reporting that an unknown library is suing the Justice Department, challenging the FBI's demands for the library's records. The name of the library and the details of the complaint are secret because the USA Patriot Act prohibits the public disclosure of that information.

Remember when Alberto Gonzales stated the FBI had never asked for library records? During Senate testimony last April he said the Justice Dept. "has no interest in rummaging through the library records or medical records of Americans".

But that provision is separate from the one that governs the kind of letter used in the Connecticut case. Justice and FBI officials have repeatedly declined to say how many times such letters have been served on any kind of institution, including libraries.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A bakery in Yakutia, a former Soviet republic, is making biscuit/cookies inspired by video games, such as Quake, Counter Strike, and The Sims. Yummy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Have you been wanting to turn your cell phone into a personal massage device? Of course you have! Phonepurr is a new, free piece of software allows you to turn your phone into a vibrator! Not only that, but now you can send those good vibrations to your (hopefully very close) friends via SMS.
The familiar black and white VW Beetles used by the Best-Buy owned Geek Squad will have to change their paint jobs after receiving a ticket from the CHP for too closely resembling a police vehicle. The company is reportedly in the process of repainting its 150 VW vehicles.

Monday, August 22, 2005

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Salon is going to auction off The Well, one of the oldest online communities. I wonder if, in the future, there will be preservation societies for such virtual communities. I'm not sure of the purpose of these future old towns, but I also can't help but think that this sale represents something lost. Something greater than its present size would indicate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Human brain cells have been grown artificially in the laboratory by a team of scientists at Edinburgh University. This is the first time embryonic stem cells have been turned into stable nerve cells used by the brain.

While this is a long, long way from doing anything remotely like "growing a brain", being able to grow these cells may be able to help in the future treatment and/or prevention of diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Chip Davis and Chris Pullen are 18 and 19 years old, respectively. The St. Joseph, Missouri teens thought it would be a nifty idea to use eBay to auction off a week of their time. In addition to the potential for Big Bucks, it offered a chance to travel and meet new people.

They were disappointed the auction raised only $5000.

They were more disappointed the winner lived in St. Joseph.

They were very very disappointed when they find out the winner was mom.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Our guest last week was John "J.Walt" Adamczyk, a digital performance artist who creates his art in real time, often improvising to music. Quite interesting and very beautiful.

- Listen to the Interview -
Tyrone D. McMillian of Troy NY thought he could escape from police and led them on a high-speed chase through several towns before he was caught. What convinced him that he could get away? His leet skillz at playing Grand Theft Auto and other video games.

"I was crazy. I've been playing a lot of 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'NASCAR' on PlayStation, I thought I could get away."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

In South Korea, a 28 year old man died of heart failure after a 50-hour gaming session, where he reportedly left his computer only to go to the bathroom and take brief naps. He reportedly left his job recently so he could devote more time to games.
While investigating ways to clean up toxic waste sites, researchers at the University of Massachusetts have found that Geobacter bacteria (which uses metal, rather than oxygen, for respiration) excrete nanowires which can conduct electricity. The composition (and thus the properties) of these nanowires is still unknown, but it appears the bacteria "may organize to form minipower grids in the soil by linking up via the nanowires."
Dixons, a U.K. retailer which started in 1937 as a photo studio, is going to stop stocking 35mm cameras because of the growing popularity of digital cameras. Last year, digital cameras outsold 35mm cameras by a 5:1 ratio. This year it is expected to be 15:1. The store will continue to stock 35mm film.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Colorado is banning new teenage drivers from talking on cell phones while they're driving. The law only affects teens who have restricted licences, which requires an adult driver in the car when the teen is driving. Also, talking on the cell phone can't be the only reason the driver was pulled over. Now, when can we get this for adults?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Right-wing extremist James Dobson has compared embryonic stem cell research with Nazi experiments during World War 2. This is a disgusting comparison and really goes to the immoral nature of Mr. Dobson's agenda. Time for Godwin's Law to kick in.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

An interesting piece in today's Daily Breeze about how the city of Gardena is making a bundle of money off the red-light cameras installed at several intersections in the city.
Our guest on July 30th was Brian Ban of Siggraph 2005.

- Listen to the interview -

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

We were jinxed in July and unfortunately lost our July 23 recording of Megan Cunningham, author of Art of the Documentary, yet another beautifully done book on Peachpit Press. Definitely worth a look. For goodness sake, she interviewed Ken Burns, Errol Morris, and Larry Silk! Wonderful insights into the art and craft of documentary films.