27 April 2010

Another bob

Busy, busy, so another miscellaneous post, but have a post planned for Thursday about abstract vs. concrete models, library science and Topic Maps which should be interesting. Until then ;

Science

Oil Slick satellite image : A satellite  image of the oil slick that has been spreading after the oil-rig disaster last week.

The improbability pump : A great review of two books at the same time by Jerry Coyne (professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, and author of the book and favorite blog "Why evolution is true") pointing out the absurdities of two opposing poles of science ; Richard Dawkins "Greatest Show on Earth" which I've reviewed before, and Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini's "What Darwin got wrong" (this last book has taken a severe beating amongst people in the field, and this review is no exception).

Against nature : A damn good takedown on women's issues, of what it means to be for or against nature, for what it means to be for or against female choices in an absurdly male focused world.

Technology

Maiana : Public Topic Maps voyeurism. Sexy and tasty.

Australia pushes net censorship in Washington : I live in a strange country that thinks that censorship in any way or form is something that can be democratically defended. Needless to say, most Australians who care about this issue are not amused.

My next toy : I swear, once time and money and life and the will to go on returns, I'll get this little puppy and stream all my digital media goodness through it. Although. Hmm. No video support. If this thing only had video support! Can you hear me, Western Digital?!

Philosophy and art

A.C. Grayling responds : Grayling is a British philosopher that I truly admire, both for his knowledge and engagement with society, but I also love his humour and low-key observations. Here he responds to Gray, his arch-nemesis of sorts, who did a review of Graylings latest book. If all rebuttals were this grand.

A Designer Universe? : Veering off onto the curb with this scientific view of the cosmological argument, by Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin. "Either you mean something definite by a God, a designer, or you don't. If you don't, then what are we talking about?" Brilliant.

Godessey : Artist Lynne Naylor new exhibition looks stunning.

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17 March 2010

And another one

Here follows another tidbit collection as life and things have heated up and is stealing my time. First a couple of techies, then a few sciency ones, and lastly politicals ;

Hanvon multitouch tablet : Pure, unrefined lust!

Introduction to neural nets : Back in the early 90's I was doing neural nets, cumulative histographical analysis and other hard-core funky techniques working on real-time video motion detection for high-security systems. Good old days.

Kilroy was here : Patrick Durusau is showing no end to his delightful writing, and I'm loving it. This post here is about how librarians have been there, done that. I feel I need to follow this one up properly in a couple of days, though, as I don't feel that that is the whole picture. Sure they've done some of it, but the people whodunnit are a few good eggs in a large, large basket of indifferent eggs; the library sectors' general cowardice / conservative notions coupled with a wide-spread lack of technology knowledge means "done it" truly means "haven't done it, only sniffed it."

ZTM Topic Maps : This project has been shrouded in mystery and undocumented hysteria for many, many years. I first heard about it back in my early days of Topic Maps, and I'm happy to see it turning into a real project. Looks good, too.

Memory and the Hippocampus : How are we doing picking our brains? What is neuroscience up to these days, especially with memory and, yes, the hippocampus, my favorite body part.

Global climate change, and flogging : A brilliant short video. "The anti-science crowd isn’t satisfied with merely spreading disinformation about climate scientists."

A bat is not a bug : Tim Lambert expose "The Australian" newspaper for the anti-science pile of rubbish it is.

You can't handle the truth : A more scientific look at the dangers and impact of drugs.

Science vs. religion : A hilarious cartoon poke!

Scientology insider's nightmare childhood : "A former Scientologist who says she was a 'child slave' and alleges she saw a six-year-old boy chained up in a ship's hold is disappointed the Senate has blocked a full inquiry into the religious organisation." What's up with this country? I thought I had arrived at a good place? (But then, I've written about Australian politics before, the ultimate oxymoron)

'We are adding balance' : The sad state of education and science creeping into the corners of the USA.

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10 March 2010

Tidbits

My blog entries tries to be slightly more than just links and boring commentary to the stuff linked to, but I also realize I have a life and a job which demands a lot of my time. But every day there's always one other thing I wish to talk about, yet another tab open in my browser as I stumble around the net like a blind mole looking for a grapevine in a volcano, but most of the time those things are perhaps not extensively mind blowing enough to trigger my bloggoreah to go into a full post.

So, I'm starting a new thing. As my tabs fill up and my browsers slugs down, at some point I'll just decide to post the tabs with a slight commentary, dumping them all ontp the blog, and I'm starting as of ... now ;

How to Write Great Copy for the Web : My good friend Donna Spencer (nee Maurer), the Godess of UX, just released her second book about writing for the Inter-tubes (ie. the Internet, the web), which I hear is super-good. And when it's Donna, it's always good. Can't wait to get my dirty hands on it!

Schlepping From One Data Silo to Another : I'm delighted to see Patrick Durusau (one of the smartest people I know, with a beard to match it) finally start a blog. I've been whinging at him for a long time to do so, and this blog post is the reason why; he's preaching the gospel. Just like words are nothing or very little without a context (those things we usually call 'sentences'), data silos are nothing but bunkers until they are opened up, and become fountains.

The communities manifesto : Good stuff, although shouldn't this one have been made, like, years ago?

Minards' Napoleon : This amazing demonstration of the powerful ProtoVis JavaScript visualisation toolkit, is an adaption of another famous visualisation of Napoleon's catastrophic descent on Moskow.

The New Ten Commandments : A decalogue for the modern world : An updated take on what is purported to be the best thing since sliced bread (well, given sliced bread was invented early last century, that's an expression from the oxymoronic bin), the "backbone" of what many thinks have laid the foundations of the modern world (which isn't true, but that's a blog post in its own right for later) Also in this vein, Christopher Hitchens has a funny but good piece of late on the Ten Commandments as well.

Dear James Randi : As a skeptic myself, this is hilarious! Beware of language not fit for people who's got a problem with anatomy and calling things for what they are, like, uh, vagina's. And do check out other writings on the McSweeney website; really good stuff all around, another hidden treasure.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast : Sometimes we need to take a step back and think about the words and contexts we are using. Do you know what 'culture' means when people say it?

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24 September 2007

Misc updates and twigs

A number of smaller updates ;

  • My daughter Grace (7) today won 3rd place in the Australian Eisteddfod singing competition (8 and under, musical) with a clever rendition of "Castle on a cloud" from Les Miserables. Clever girl. Update: She also won 70m and came 3rd in 100m running in the "8 and under" category for the whole of Belconnen (district of Canberra) athletics carnival two weeks ago (how's that for an "update"), which means she's off to the state / territory games in November. Exciting stuff.


  • Some of my Flickr pictures were selected for the Schmap Canberra Guides;


  • Happy Rhodes just released a new album, her first in almost 10 years!! A MySpace website has been put up with samples. I love this stuff!
  • Stuff I'm committed to these days ;
    • An article (or essay) about user-centered design in the software life-cycle, including testing (user testing, application testing, functional testing, user-acceptance testing, and variations of these) before, during and after critical decisions and how to manage the implications.
    • Release the latest version of xSiteable (huh? That thing still exists? Apparently.) which is more like a clever XSLT templating system than a Topic Maps engine by itself.
    • Update my website, including better synchronizing between website and blogs. Yeah, should have done it ages ago.
  • Do you know I have actual plans for how to win the 20 million USD Google "get first to the Moon" competition? :)
  • I'm currently laying pavers in our backyard these days, and in two months I'll start building my very own house-centric recyclable low-energy air-condition system. Being a software engineer can do that to people.

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