Sunday, August 29, 2004

Hubble Short Film

NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute have made an IMAX film. From the description, it would seem to be an updating of the Eames "Powers of Ten" film -- a personal favorite.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Planetary Society: AIM FOR MARS

The Planetary Society has a statement in response to the report released by the American Presidential Commission on Space Exploration Policy.

The following segment of the statement is of interest:

Although the Commission supported international cooperation, it commented only on it as a business proposition -- "tapping into the global marketplace." Specifically, it said the United States should first make unilateral decisions on expectations and milestones and then determine "what the United States is willing to cede [to others]." We prefer a true partnership approach in which American intellectual, cultural, and political leadership builds a world-wide constituency for the extraordinary vision of humans from Earth traveling to another world "in peace, for all mankind." Europe, Russia, Japan and several international organizations have been developing their own approaches for such a goal, and we urge they be brought into the planning as quickly as possible in order to make this a true international partnership. China, upon becoming only the third nation to orbit a human, is already asserting that lunar exploration is a real goal for them. We recommend that all of these potential partners should be brought into the international planning.

Obviously, issues such as Iraq are not the only areas in which the current American administration believe they can and should act unilaterally. Unilateralism seems to be part of their essential philosophy.

In Canada, articulation of a space policy, or a technological vision for the future, has not been a high priority for any of the political parties.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Cassini's Phoebe Encounter

I am incredibly disappointed that the hi-res images of Phoebe
taken by Cassini did NOT reveal that Phoebe is actually an alien starship parked in orbit around Saturn. Too bad. However, the Cassini mission is only just beginning the reconnaissance of Saturn, and it is still possible that a monolith may be found on Iapetus.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Anomalocaris Homepage

From The Anomalocaris Homepage:

Over half a billion years ago, the great Cambrian diversification of life generated the majority of animal phyla that live in the world today. Among the results were the world's first great predators: Anomalocaris and related genera of large, active, swimming, visual hunters with spiny grasping appendages and weird, circular mouths lined with teeth. They include some of the largest known Cambrian animals, and their presence implies a complex ecosystem present in the early Phanerozoic.

What is most interesting about this alien-looking monstrosity are the "spiny grasping appendages" on either side of the circular tooth lined mouth. This is a body form that screams "cthulhoid".

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

New Heinlein Novel

Spider Robinson's Diary for 12 April, 2004 makes reference to the novel "Variable Star" which will be forthcoming from Tor books sometime in '05 or '06. Spider will be writing this book based on Robert Heinlein's plot outline, character sketches, and notes.

Wallpaper from Hubble

Wallpaper from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Caffeine Content

Caffeinated beverages are an important optimization tool that is familiar to everyone in systems-related professions. Unlike tools that optimize hardware or code, however, caffeine optimizes the human end of the decision loop.

The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for daily intake is around 400 milligrams -- or around 5 Jolt colas and a coffee.


Sunday, May 23, 2004

Bus Plunges

Michael Skeet originally spoke of this site months (years?) ago.


Updated 2007 May -- The original link doesn't work any more but here is an update:
Mew Bus Plunge compilation

Google Search Results

Friday, May 21, 2004

The History of UNIX

Thanks to Anton Aylward for bringing this discussion to my attention.

This is a link to an essay by Andy Tanenbaum, developer of MINIX. This discussion specifically relates to a recent (probably manufactured) controversy regarding the authorship of Linux.

There is a follow up article from the Linuxinsider web site which presents related comments by Richard Stallman -- Accusatory Report Deliberately Confuses.