Saturday, March 24, 2007

Some Analysis on What Makes the Outcasts Tick

Being a nerd myself (I've got a 'blog don't I? And a no-content one at that!), I enjoy coming across these types of articles. First is a psychologist showing that for many fans of heavy metal it's not the satan content, but the complex political and social issues expoused in the music. I'm sure it's a little about the music too, but that's neither here nor there. The other one is a bit more targeted at IT types, but it makes a point worth considering: creativity is helped by having some constraints. And it uses Dungeons & Dragons as the example.

Patently Rediculous

Computer science students will be shocked (and those with homework assignments may be relieved) to learn that the linked list has been patented. So if you are in violation of the patent, be prepared to pay some license fees.

Quote of the Moment

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end. --Stephen Hawking.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Bill Gates Makes Headlines

The legal fight between Microsoft and AT&T has the potential to dramatically change the landscape for software patents. And it really, really needs to happen.

Of course, Bill Gates is also a big proponent of increasing the caps on foreign skilled labor in the U.S. This practice was loved by Big Business even before outsourcing, and Ars Technica has a nice summary with rebuttal of Mr. Gates's latest arguments.

Watching the Watchers

In a report that shocks nobody who has actually been paying attention, we now have confirmation that the Patriot Act lead directly to abuse of the ability to secretly obtain personal information about U.S. citizens by the FBI to the point of possible violations of the law.

Things That Make You Go Poof

Solid state LASERs are quickly approaching militarily useful power levels. This is a big deal because the electrically powered LASERs are much easier to deal with than chemical LASERs which currently hold the power output records.

While less sci-fi leaning, the other weapon news from the last couple of weeks is probably more significant. The U.S. government has selected a design for the next generation of nuclear warheads. Because current warheads are quickly aging to the point where the half life of tritium will affect their yeild, watch in the coming decade for them to be refurbished or replaced with new devices.

This Just in, Boys Like to Look at Porn

In what will surely be a surprise to parents everywhere and men nowhere, young teen boys have a tendency to watch explicit media. Don't worry ma'am, not your little boy.

Let the Lights Shine

In an effort to decrease overall power use, Australia has enacted new effency standards that would essentially outlaw incandescent light bulbs. California has a similar proposal that would specifically outlaw incandescent bulbs, but they may want to rethink the bill to address efficiency rather than specific products because GE has announced incandescent bulbs that rival the power savings of fluorescent lamps. Supposedly, they will cost less too. That would make me happy, as I much prefer the light from an incandescent bulb to that of a fluorescent one. (I have both in my house.)