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Archive: February 15, 2003

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Saturday,  02/15/03  11:17 AM

"The U.N. Security Council is sometimes dismissed as a 'debating society', but that's an insult to debaters everywhere" - from Stalemate, great article by Fred Kaplan in Slate.  It seems clear that the U.N. will not do anything more aggressive than send in more inspectors, so the ball is now squarely in Bush's court.

It was horrible that five people died in the Anthrax poisonings of late 2001 following the 9-11 attacks.  So what do we do about it?  We sue the government, of course.  Sheesh.  The U.S. need tort reform rather badly.  Hey, let's sue lawmakers to get it!

Here's a great paper exploring "the Case against Intellectual Monopoly", i.e. would innovation take place if there were no patents or copyrights.  It is dense reading but really thought-provoking stuff.  Personally I think patents and other social devices for establishing intellectual property stifle innovation (possibly a heretical view for the CTO of a small biomedical company with substantial IP to take :).  They certainly violate W=UH, being both U and H.

You guys probably know, there is no Robert X. Cringley; he's a placeholder for guest technology columnists on PBS.  But he sure writes well, anyway :)  His latest: Sunset, the pending demise of Sun, and how they could avoid it (by merging with Sony to revolutionize TV, no less).

 

Saturday,  02/15/03  02:30 PM

In case you think the U.S. is being "hasty" about Iraq, consider the sixteen previous U.N. Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq.  Of course it is clear that Iraq is violating the seventeenth (U.N. resolution 1441) as well.  The U.N. can keep passing resolutions 'till the cows come home, and nothing will change.  Now, is the U.S. bluffing about taking independent action if the U.N. does not?  We'll see.  [Later: the NYTimes agrees.]

Here's an interesting new blog, IraqWar.info.  No apparent bias, yet.

There is now an axisofweasels.com (of course).  So, I actually think this whole thing is unfair to weasels, who are cute little mammals, and pretty courageous ("Weasels are persistent and fearless hunters").

Gene Expression has an interesting post noting that Stanford and MIT have joined the University of Michigan's court battle to continue their "race-conscious admissions policies".  As an alum I'm glad Caltech has stayed out of this.  Caltech's entering freshman class is only 260 people, so unlike larger schools like MIT and Stanford they can't squander places on people who are not qualified, regardless of their race or anything else.  How can "race-conscious admissions policies" be considered anything but racist?

It is also notable that the grade inflation infecting The Ivies has not hit Caltech; a B is still good and an A is still rare.

Scoble is back on the air with a bunch of stuff from his week at Microsoft.  Start here, with the photo of Windows 2003 Server being built by a room full of servers (each build takes 5 hours).

Who says Microsoft can't innovate?  Check out the Penny Black project, investigating sender-pays email schemes.  IMHO such a scheme will be standard and will eliminate much spam (although not all; we still have junk snail mail, even though snail mail uses a sender-pays scheme).

Another convert: Ernie the Attorney reports "Tivo Changed My Life".  Ernie is a serious guy.  How many commercial products have serious people writing that they've changed their life?

 

Saturday,  02/15/03  09:10 PM

Race 2 of the 2003 America's Cup is in the books, with Alinghi barely winning to take a 2-0 lead.  Terrific racing!

Pic 1: race 2 leg 5: tacking duel!
AC 2003 race 2 leg 5: tacking duel
Pic 2: race 2 leg 6: rolled over!
AC 2003 race 2 leg 6: rolled over!
Pic 3: race 2 leg 6: tight blanket
AC 2003 race 2 leg 6: tight blanket
Pic 4: race 2: finish!
AC 2003 race 2: finish

After an even start and close 1st weather leg which gave Alinghi a tiny lead at the first weather mark, TNZ blew by on the first run to lead by 30 sec at the leeward mark.  A nice tacking duel on the second weather leg allowed Alinghi to close to 20 sec.  Alinghi closed still more on the second download by sailing lower.  The third weather leg featured a terrific 33-tack duel, in which TNZ extended slightly by protecting the favored left (pic 1).  Alinghi covered TNZ like a blanket on the next run, finally driving over the top (pic 2 - I love the way they model the wind shadows).  TNZ jibed back over and sat on Alinghi all the way to the finish (pic 3), but Alinghi held on to win by 7 seconds (pic 4).  Awesome racing.  Man.

Again I recommend Virtual Spectator to anyone with an interest in sailing or 3D software.  You can actually see more than you would watching TV; any camera angle is available, and you get realtime telemetry from both boats.  And they have something which would make Tivo even cooler - the ability to watch faster than realtime.

 
 

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