26 Oct

links for 2009-10-26

  • "Imagine if there were an easy way for digital media to be preserved indefinitely for nearly no cost. What gems might future hobbyists and historians uncover, digging through an infinitely large pile of images at a point when they become publicly available? Especially if the tagging systems of social networks like Facebook travel along with them? The Second Dark Ages (that of pre-Internet information gathering) has come to an end. We’re discovering, every day, works of cultural art from a time before the possibility of cataloguing existed. We’ve yet to build a system to allow such discoveries more easily in the future – but it will come. The picture you take on your iPhone today may be of the next Roosevelt or Lincoln – or, God forbid, the next Frank or Hitler. But we’ll only know if that picture can be re-considered in 100 years."
  • "It may not be a bad thing that almost no one in foreign policy circles is proposing anything new. Foreign policy is not modern dance; tried and true may be better than avant-garde and visionary. Still, in today’s world, marked by unparalleled threats and characterized by a striking division between elite ideas and broad public opinion, it’s hard to believe that America’s way forward is a return to the past."
  • Dealing with floats.
  • "If people want to argue for belief in God based on observation of the world instead of personal revelation, it’s difficult to get around this unpleasant truth – observations don’t imply that the world was made for us. We appear to have formed – poorly, I might add – from other species onto a difficult planet that is constantly trying to kill us in one way or another. We are a tiny speck in a universe that is vastly, mindbogglingly big. (I mean, you might it’s a long commute to work, but that’s just peanuts to space.)"
  • "Earlier today a pending non-provisional utility patent application assigned to Apple Computer published. This application, US Patent Application 20090265214, is titled Advertisement in Operating System, and covers exactly what the title implies; namely an operating system that is capable of displaying a variety of advertisements to users. "
  • "Still, the idea that the typical American’s retirement basically depends on the stock market is utterly wrong; that’s only true for a small elite."
  • "This is the mess that is left when a star explodes. The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. The filaments are not only tremendously complex, but appear to have less mass than expelled in the original supernova and a higher speed than expected from a free explosion. The above image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is presented in three colors chosen for scientific interest. The Crab Nebula spans about 10 light-years. In the nebula's very center lies a pulsar: a neutron star as massive as the Sun but with only the size of a small town. The Crab Pulsar rotates about 30 times each second. " Very pretty.

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