The Big Think

January 27, 2004

Big Music’s Worst Move Yet

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:06 pm

via businessweek:The RIAA’s newest legal assault on file swappers is pushing them to encrypted networks, where the damage could become catastrophic


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:04 am

via the New York Post: Morgan Spurlock goes on the McDonald’s Diet in his new documentary “Super Size Me” (appearing at Sundance). Spurlock ate three meals a day at McDonalds and documented the results. By the fourth week he looked like this.
“None of us imagined he could deteriorate this badly – he looked terrible. The liver test was the most shocking thing – it became very, very abnormal.”

Not surprisingly, Spurlock has steered clear of the Golden Arches since filming wrapped.”

January 26, 2004

Funny Signs

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:13 pm

Found online. Nice

Aliens Cause Global Warming

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 6:48 pm

That arresting title is from Michael Crichton’s (yes, that one) January 2003 Caltech lecture on science and politics. I thought it was going to be a dull read, but it was fascinating. No, Mr. Crichton doesn’t believe in aliens, but he does assert that the disease of willing-to-believe-anything that has long infected vast swaths of the populace has come to the small community of Science. An incredible essay.

Free Shrimp

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:01 am

Somebody tell me this is a joke. If NASA finds evidence of an ocean on Mars, America gets a free Jumbo Shrimp!
And they say commerce and science can’t mix.

January 25, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 5:37 pm

I spent several hours today downtown at the Austin Hilton attending a meeting for South by Southwest volunteers. Instead of paying the $500-odd dollars to attend the massive annual tradeshow, I decided to volunteer to work 50 hours during the 10 day conference. Boy am I glad I did. I’ve already done some serious networking meeting other creative producer-types. Video producers, audio people, film folks, you name it, it’s represented in this group of volunteers. Truthfully, unless there was some conference that I absolutely had to attend, I’d rather volunteer and work some hours here and there. I think I’ll get a much better idea of what goes on during the conference and get to know some great people, rather than just “networking” in that plastic, here’s-my-business-card-let’s-have-lunch kind of way.
Even bumped into the director of the documentary I crewed on last year.
The show is March 11th through the 21st. Here’s the website. If you’re interested in volunteering, they have another general meeting on Wednesday the 28th. See info here.

From the website:
The conference portion of SXSW Film has been described as a four-day crash course on guerilla filmmaking and marketing. The Festival has gained international acclaim for the quality of its programming with a special emphasis on emerging talents who bask in being included in the company of the cinematic greats whose work we regularly present.

Spirit Memory

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:25 pm

via nasa:“We have a vehicle that is stable in power and thermal, and we have a working hypothesis we have confirmed,” Theisinger said. By commanding Spirit each morning into a mode that avoids using flash memory, engineers plan to get it to communicate at a higher data rate, to diagnose the root cause of the problem and develop ways to restore as much functioning as possible.

No Internet for YOU!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:33 am

Castro’s Cuba has begun denying access to the internet for its citizens. They will begin charging Cuban’s the equivalent of a month’s income for an hour of internet access, effectively shutting down their citizen’s access through financial means. Cuba says that only certain scientists and government officials will have approved access.

January 24, 2004

Opportunity Calls

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:42 pm

NASA’s Opportunity rover has successfully landed on Mars and is sending strong signals.

Radio Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 7:37 pm

Radiolover is a Mac OS X program for automatically recording selected MP3 streams (such as “Morning Edition”) over the internet. Very cool.

It Speaks

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 5:30 pm

Great news from NASA tonight. The space agency has regained positive control of the Spirit lander by putting it into what is called a “cripple mode”. Cripple mode is an operating mode where the rover does just one thing: communicate with NASA. It bypasses as much of the onboard hardware and software (and the flash-memory storage chips) and just talks to the orbiting Mars Observer (which then relays to Earth). If NASA can just get connected to the lander in this way, it can then diagnose and solve the problem. They will probably end up uploading a new set of software that either corrects the previous software fault or routes around failed hardware. YAY!

Two Rings to Rule Them All

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:14 am

Yet another comparison between Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This one focuses on Howard Shore’s masterful score and has some great one-liner’s to boot.
To wit:
You don’t ask whether an elf could kill an oliphaunt, or even what an oliphaunt is; you go along with the premise. It is the same in opera. The premise is that performers trained as opera singers are going to assume action-hero roles. Squint a little and it’s all fine
Perhaps what angered Tolkien most was that Wagner wrote a sixteen-hour mythic opera and then, at the end, blew up the foundations of myth.

*UPDATE* D’oh! I forgot the link. Thanks Giles.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:26 am

We had a wonderful time at the Austin Symphony last night. The guest pianist (Jon Kimura Parker) played Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (you may know one of the variations as the main theme to “Somewhere in Time”). The orchestra also played Dvorak’s Symphony No.6 In D Major, Op. 60 and the Overture from Wagner’s Rienzi. When he was finished with the Rachmaninoff, Parker played a medley of Billy Joel as an encore. I kid you not. It was great. I could just hear the 9′ German Steinway’s thoughts after he finished pounding out Angry Young Man: “huh?!? What was THAT?”.
A great night of music.

Why I’m a Dog Person

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:42 am

Because when they’re alone at home, dogs don’t do this.

January 23, 2004

Cheap Mac Games

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:02 pm

MacPlay is offering some of their best games for only $4 each. Check it out. (thanks Patrick)


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:12 pm

Some say we ought to stop space exploration until we solve our problems at home. The real question is how many of these problems can we solve with less than 1 percent of the federal budget? To say that we should wait to explore space until we solve all our problems is to say we’re not going to do it at all.
Timothy Ferris, Author, quoted in The Palm Beach Daily News

Conservative estimates are for every dollar the U.S. government spends on the space program, it receives $7 back in the form of corporate and personal income taxes from increased jobs and economic growth.
Steven Stiefel, Sand Mountain Reporte

Water, Water, Everywhere

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:03 pm

Well, okay, not everywhere, but the European Space Agency’s Mars Orbiter has confirmed the presence of H20 in the form of water ice on the Red Planet. This news is potentially huge and very exciting for space nuts. It means several things.
First, water ice is proof that there was once an ocean on the planet (something that we were almost sure of due to the presence of what look like old river basins and seacoasts).
Second, on Earth scientists have discovered that wherever there’s water there’s life. If this is a universal constant (given enough time and energy in any given system), then we may be able to detect fossilized life on Mars. Heck, if there’s still water there, there may still be life nestled away under a rock somewhere on the surface-although the presence of so much iron oxide and peroxides in the surface soil (what makes the red planet red), makes it unlikely that we’ll turn over a rock and see a martian scorpion scuttle away.
Third, water – even water in the form of ice- is of enormous value to future space exploration. Water contains two very precious things to the mass-limited astronaut: hydrogen (for use as fuel) and oxygen (to breathe). It’s a relatively easy thing to crack water into component parts here on Earth. Fuel cells-type devices do it all the time. If we know the location of caches of water on the surface of Mars, future manned missions will be able to extract air and fuel from the surface instead of carting their supplies all the way from Earth.
Bob Zubrin is doing backflips today.
So that’s the current news. Combine that with the news that Spirit has started talking to us again, and Opportunity is getting ready to land, and it’s turned out to be a good space news day.

The Dean Scream

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:42 pm

Dave Winer has an excellent post about the Dean Scream here.
…it’s time for the press to let us have an election, or maybe it’s time for us to have an election without them.

January 22, 2004

Spirit Not Sending Data

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:12 pm

via yahoo: NASA’s Spirit rover has stopped sending data back to earth. Uh oh.

We Are Not Stupid

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:35 am

An Australian website has a great post from a New Yorker about the vast swath of red states in the middle of the country and what we think of GWB. These states are known (not very nicely) to many New Yorkers as “flyover country”.
…if Western nations have come to the point where 500 deaths is an unbearable war-time loss, then we should also say we are no longer prepared to fight wars, because about the same number of soldiers die every year, in peacetime.

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