Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dance Your Cares Away

A Fraggle Rock movie is in the works. Release date undetermined.

Digital Distribution Wars

The "webisodes" of Battlestar Galactica created more traffic to the Sci-Fi Channel's web site than the show generates viewers. But NBC says they are only promotional material, in spite of the approximately 20 minutes of new footage they contain. As promotional material, the writers don't get residuals for their use (and presumably, neither do the actors, though nobody seems to be talking about them). This naturally doesn't sit well with the writers' guild, and a fight is a-brewing. The online world is coming, but corporate forces either can't face it or want to mercilessly exploit it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Science, Large and Small

Sounding like the plot of an old B-movie or an episode of Doctor Who, radioactive snails are turning up in southern Spain near the site of a plane crash that spread plutonium over the area.

A while ago I wrote about the giant storm on Jupiter that was a little brother to the Great Red Spot. Well, the smaller storm has changed from white to red, which may be a sign of strengthening.

Spread the Word, Baby Needs a Bigger Monitor

As a computer programmer by trade, I chose to believe that a larger monitor would indeed increase my productivity.

Watching the Watchers

Republicans point out that the Federal deficit is the lowest it has been in four years. Democrats counter that it is still nearly $250 billion dollars large.

China has been pointed to as a likely source of cyber-attacks on U.S. government computers. (Consider the source on this one.)

The final depressing story from our government involves a new revision to our space policy. The policy now states that the U.S. is not interested in any treaty that limits the deployment of weapons in space. Sigh.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Counterpunch (remember to consider the source readers) has a story on how outsourcing of manufacturing has lead to the decline of the middle class and how the touted "new economy" is even easier to outsource than the old one was. The article is somewhat flawed in that it baselines its statistics in 2001, which is the year the "Internet bubble" burst. That said, I find his points about free trade and the decline in salaries in the Information Technology fields to be accurate. He gives pretty good coverage to the whole range of issues, from H1-B visas to the loss of manufacturing leading to the loss of engineering.

It seems there are pressures on America's supremacy in the science and engineering fields all over the place. And most of them are being generated by us. We have an apparently increasingly dysfunctional primary education system. Corporations are optimized for short term growth without a care to employees, product, or customer as a primary economic factor. The technological and economic power of larger, less free countries is on the rise. Will we continue to sustain ourselves in spite of these pressures, or will we give way to someone else?

Three Hundred Million Americans

As the march of time continues, less and less of the stuff I learned in grade and high school is true. This time, we see that America's population has continued to increase from the 250 million that I learned it was and is poised to hit 300 million soon. There is no word in the story on when the Soylent factories will go into operation, but the issue was almost alluded to.

Watching the Watchers

Some quick hits from the past couple of weeks this morning. Robert Cringely explores why the new anti-on-line-gambling bill won't work and will erode Americans' privacy. President Bush continues to claim power for the executive branch that is outside the bounds of tradition and possibly even the law. And finally it appears that Jon Stewart is right, the news media are doing a disservice to the country. Apparently The Daily Show has as much substantive coverage of the news as those other "real" shows.

Oh, and one from the foreign office, Iran has considered nucs before.

Virtual Newsreaders

The television news media seems to be somewhat aware that the general population doesn't consider them to be doing a good job. That makes a system that combines search and scan of internet news stories with video game technology to create a virtual news report both interesting and scary. It even searches blogs to generate pundit commentary.
One can imaging a world where this technology advances sufficiently to replace actual newscasts. This would put the world of the news back into the hands of the print sources, where in theory there is enough time and space to explore all the necessary details to create a proper context for the story. On the other hand, it further removes the video news media from the responsibility of actually doing real reporting. We will see what the landscape looks like in forty years.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Evil Dead: The Musical

Sometimes the news is too wierd even for me. Evil Dead is not the kind of movie one thinks of when one thinks stage conversions. And a musical? What kind of songs will it feature? Well, there's "Do the Necronomicon" for one. Also, "Hail to the King" and "Look Who's Evil Now." I'm not even sure what to say about this, but without The Chin is it really Evil Dead?