Critical Section


Monday,  08/25/03  10:01 PM

I'm back.  Sorry I was gone.  I was, er, coding.  And stuff...Happy Birthday!

So - important news first - HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY to my wonderful daughter Alexis.  Ack, another pre-teen!

Happy Driver's LicenseAnd - more important news - HAPPY DRIVERS LICENSE to my wonderful daughter Jordan.  If you're driving in North Los Angeles, you've been warned :)

Last Saturday I took Alex and her friend Katherine to Six Flags Magic Mountain. 
They had a terrific time, and I had a great time watching them. 
(Also I got a chance to read a lot of Altered Carbon, which is really good.) 
Magic Mountain is big and is pretty much just a collection of really tall really fast really scary roller coasters, each taller and faster and scarier than the other.  The exact reason why being accelerated around and scared in a roller coaster is "fun" escapes me, but apparently it is; there were a bunch of people there. 
And incredibly a bunch of really fat, really ugly people
Why the guests at Magic Mountain this previous Saturday should have been SO fat and SO ugly, I cannot say, but it was a fact.  Strong evidence that Americans are overweight for sure. 
(And what a burden for the roller coaster designers!)
Map: Six Flags Magic Mountain
(click for larger map)

Want to know who's running for governor in California?  Chris Heilman provides a list...

If you think government isn't completely out of hand trying to take responsibility away from people, you aren't paying attention.  (Go directly to Bill Whittle's latest, Responsibility.)  Here's the latest incredible example, California lawmakers OK soda ban for some schools.  We have a $38B deficit and our lawmakers are worrying about this.  Man, I am not making this up, but I wish I was.  Help!

P.S. I recently learned than in Utah it is illegal to serve hamburgers medium rare.  Are you kidding me!  Clearly people over 30 should be dead  =0

The Motley Fool considers Tivo, and finds it worthy (based on being the leader in a big new market).  Interestingly they compare it to Netflix, which though a successful company I consider to be at the trailing edge.  On the other hand, "never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of DVDs...".

And check out this interesting article by Tivo founder Jim Barton, about how they use open source software like Linux.

This site is terrific!  Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics.  A detailed exposé of all the strange stuff that passes for reality in movies.  Reminds me of that great line: "It would cost less to send a man to Mars than to make a movie about it."  (Not to mention, in real life the physics would be better :)

Tomb Raider 2Tonight I tried to see Tomb Raider 2.  Had to walk out.  You would think watching Angelina Jolie bounce around would be entertaining enough, but you would be wrong.  This has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen the first half of.  People say the first Tomb Raider movie was worse, which is impressive, it is hard to believe anything could be worse.

Ever wonder why fireflies blink in unison?  Or crickets chirp?  Well, A New Science Looks at Things in Sync.  Cue the Police, "With one breath, with one flow, you will know, Synchronicity..."  [ via Ottmar Leibert ]

Speaking of Ottmar, he explains why he will not use a conventional copyright on his next album.

Mercury News reviews The Concert Companion, an off-the-shelf Sony Clie loaded with special software so that audience members at classical concerts can figure out what's going on in realtime. Wow, what a cool use for a PDA!

Nicholas Wade considers The End of Evolution.  "...the one safe prediction about the far future is that humans will be a lot further along in their evolution."   Hmmm...

GNXP wonders Why do Americans fear Nuclear Power?  I've wondered the same thing, many times.  In fact I'm puzzled why nuclear power isn't a favorite of "greens" everywhere.  There is some danger, sure, but on balance it is cleaner and less destructive of Earth's resources than any other source of entropy.

Oren's Laws of Microsoft

  1. You can always see them coming.
  2. They never get it right the first time.
  3. They never go away (unless the market is proven not to exist).

There's actually at least two counter-examples to (3): tax preparation software (they tried with TaxSaver and couldn't dent Intuit's share, so they gave up), and bill payment processing (they tried with Transpoint and couldn't dent CheckFree's share, so they gave up).

There's more, but I'll save it for later.  Thanks for making it all the way through :)

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