Critical Section

Monday,  12/15/03  09:40 PM

John Rhys-Davis aka Gimli Son of GloinJohn Rhys-Davies, aka Gimli son of Gloin, comments on the parallels between LOTR and the present day.  He notes the differential birth rate between Muslims and Christians in Europe as a particular issue.  Check it out...

Kevin Kelly excerpts from Art + Fear:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.  All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.  His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on.  Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an “A”.  Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.  It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

[ via Ottmar Liebert ]

Wired ponders Next-Gen Flight: Sci Fi Scenarios.  "In the second century of flight, private companies will ferry tourists into space, personal flying machines will roam digital skyways and executive jets will make supersonic speed around the globe, aviation experts and scientists say."  Excellent.  The future is closer than you think.

Oh, by the way, SpaceX has their November update posted.  They continue to make excellent progress.  I love the way Elon Musk, their CEO, tells it like it is, good or bad.  That's one of the reasons Elon has been so successful, he doesn't lie to himself.

Joel Spolsky considers Biculturalism, the difference between Unix and Windows.  "What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers?  It comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful to non-programmers."  Joel is my hero, as regular readers know, but in this case I think he is not even wrong.  I'll have more to say about this later, but in the meantime please read it - it is well written as always - and decide for yourself.

Art of Unix ProgrammingThe stimulus for Joel's article was Eric Raymond's new book, The Art of Unix Programming, which [in the true spirit of open source] he has posted online.

CNet reports Apple hits 25 million iTunes downloads.  "Apple Computer has nearly doubled sales of digital music through its iTunes music store since launching a Windows-compatible version of its iTunes software in October."  They presently have an estimated 75% of the market for legal music downloads.  Wow.

About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?