Critical Section

Archive: February 20, 2005

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Sunday,  02/20/05  09:39 AM

the Mac MiniOne of the things I missed blogging about last month was the new Mac Mini.  Man is it cool.  Have you seen one?  They're tiny.  Basically the size of a DVD drive.  Very nice, especially considering the $500 price.  I'm trying to figure out a good reason to buy one; I am working on a Mac development project...

Here's one thing you might be able to do with one; a concept for a Mac Mini A/V dock.  [ via Engadget, who also ran how to turn your Mini Mac into a media center. ]  There seems to be a theme to this speculation :)

Robert X. Cringley thinks the Mini Mac is all about movies.
He also ponders whetherthe iPod is the razor or the blade.

AppleHere's to the crazy ones :)  [ via Gerard VanderkLeun ]

I've been flying a bit lately, and I can totally recommend  This free site will tell you everything you need to know about every seat on every commercial airplane.

Seattle Library - designed by Rem KoolhaasThe Seattle PI has a nice article about their new Rem Koolhaas -designed library, and how he almost didn't get a chance to do it.  [ Thanks, Tom ]

cool DHTML clockIf you're an IE user, check out this cool clock!  Ah, the wonders of DHTML.  [ Thanks, Diane ]  (This illustrates both sides of the DHTML situation; you can do cool things with it, no question, but it is incompatible across browsers.)

What the heck was this?  Not quite the way to make a landing...  Could this be real?  It looks pretty real.



tsunami relief

Sunday,  02/20/05  10:21 AM

I still have a little link to the Amazon tsunami relief fund on my pages; the Katsushika Hokusai woodcut from 1831.  The fund currently stands at $15,751,953, from 190,768 individual donations.  Wow.  I'm sure there were people from many countries who contributed, but I'm also sure the vast majority of these donations came from U.S. citizens.  I think I'll leave it a bit longer...

This is kind of old news by now; there was a blog called Diplomad which chronicled the U.N.'s perfidity in taking credit for U.S. Tsunami relief.  (I say "was" because they're not blogging any more, although the site is still on the air.)  Anyway the U.N. defies parody; I can't wait until we finally stop funding this horrible excuse for graft.

L.T.Smash weighs in: The Dishonesty is breathtaking.

tsunami effect on seabedMeanwhile here's an interesting analysis of the effect of the tsunami on the Indian Ocean seabed.  More here.

Gerard Vanderleun ponders Rules?  In a Knife Fight?  "One gets the impression that the President and his core group would prefer it if Americans and the world began to think of the Iraq stage of the Terrorist War as a kind of Tsunami relief effort with guns."  This is always a problem; we fight "fair", some of our opponents do not.  But that's the difference between us and them, and why we must win.  We just don't want to lose who we are in the process.

And "who we are" is exemplified by that Amazon relief fund!


think green, think nuclear

Sunday,  02/20/05  04:42 PM

If you're a regular reader you know that I'm a green in wolf's clothing.  I think we must get better at preserving our environment and slowing our consumption of natural resources.  And I also think - gasp! - that nuclear power is the key to this.

clean nuclear energy		Wired magazine's February issue has a great article on this point of view: Nuclear Now!  You should read the whole thing, but here's a taste:

"In the years since [Three Mile Island] we've searched for alternatives, pouring billions of dollars into windmills, solar panels, and biofuels.  We've designed fantastically efficient lightbulbs, air conditioners, and refrigerators.  We've built enough gas-fired generators to bankrupt California.  But mainly, each year we hack 400 million more tons of coal out of Earth's crust than we did a quarter century before, light it on fire, and shoot the proceeds into the atmosphere.

"The consequences aren't pretty.  Burning coal and other fossil fuels is driving climate change, which is blamed for everything from western forest fires and Florida hurricanes to melting polar ice sheets and flooded Himalayan hamlets.  On top of that, coal-burning electric power plants have fouled the air with enough heavy metals and other noxious pollutants to cause 15,000 premature deaths annually in the US alone, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study.  Believe it or not, a coal-fired plant releases 100 times more radioactive material than an equivalent nuclear reactor - right into the air, too, not into some carefully guarded storage site.

"Burning hydrocarbons is a luxury that a planet with 6 billion energy-hungry souls can't afford.  There's only one sane, practical alternative: nuclear power.


The Wired article has an interesting sidebar: Green vs. Green, which discusses the current state of Green opposition to nuclear power.  I've always been amazed that people who are anti-fossil-fuel aren't pro-nuclear power, but perhaps there is an education gap.  Nuclear power is not even the same thing as nuclear energy.


(new yorker, 2/20/05)

Sunday,  02/20/05  06:40 PM

Do you get a discount if the light comes on in the store?


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