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Archive: June 2, 2003

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Monday,  06/02/03  07:24 AM

Three spacecraft launch toward Mars this month.  Excellent!

The media are constantly casting missions to Mars as "trying to discover life".  It would be cool if there is or was "life" on Mars - very exciting scientifically, and very unlikely, by the way - but there is so much more to learn.  Someday the Earth's resources will be exhausted, and if humans are still around we're going to have to colonize space.  Mars is the first best place to figure out what that will take.

Personally I think this type of mission is extremely important, much more so than any of the space shuttle missions.  (I suppose we did learn a lot from the space station.)  The knowledge / cost ratio of unmanned probes is several orders of magnitude higher than manned missions.

CNet: Computers replace petri dishes in biological labs.  Also microscopes :)

Echo's footNewScientist: Gecko tape will stick you to the ceiling.  It is really cool the way Geckos can climb glass.  What a terrific adaptation.

The always interesting Bruce Tognazzini gives a Quiz on Fitt's Law.  Anyone interested in user interface design should check this out.  (Actually anyone interested in UI design should bookmark AskTOG!)  Oh, by the way, "Fitts's Law: The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target."


Monday,  06/02/03  09:30 PM

World Health Organization: SARS: status of the outbreak and lessons for the immediate future [PDF, via SARS Watch].  Lots of great info.  Currently 8,221 people have been infected by SARS and 735 have died.  Related: Salon reports that Hepatitis C has become a major problem in third-world countries.

iMacApple's design guru Jonathan Ivie has been named "Designer of the Year" by the London Design Museum.  Cool.

Wow.  John Dvorak has started a blog - sort of.  He's guest blogger on Boing Boing this week, which means he'll be doing a "mini-blog" down the right side.  All the more reason to visit Boing Boing...  John has historically been anti-blog, but he often takes an early "anti" position on anything to be controversial, then embraces it later once it becomes mainstream.

Joel Spolsky thinks the browser wars are restarting:  "Where it gets interesting, is, approximately, today, because, for the first time, the Mozilla Firebird browser has finally caught up with Internet Explorer."  But Andrew Leonard disagrees:  "And so, the browser wars end, again, not with a bang, but with a plea bargain."  Who's right?  Well, in some ways they both are.  Mozilla and its offspring are going to continue to improve and multiply, and provide a better experience for experienced users.  IE is going to remain "the standard" (looks like AOL will continue to use it as well) for newbies.  And bloggers will continue to have something to write about :)

AMD's Opteron's are now available, and workstations using them are starting to appear.  Let's see, faster and cheaper than a 32-bit Xeon, faster and way cheaper than a 64-bit Itanium (for 32-bit applications).  Seems like this would find a market, eh?


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