|Sporadic Memes Archives
April 7, 2000:
CNET Wrap Up of Microsoft Verdict
March 15, 2000:
Yet Another Hard To Believe Laser Based Broadband Breakthrough: This idea uses light beams via fixed satellite positions.
Java Creator Bill Joy: Luddite?: Alarming anti tech screed from what can only be described as a shocking source.
Confirmed Luddite Jeremy Rifkin Warns Us About Excess Consumerism: No surprises here. Here's an excerpt from his newest book. Rifkin is the world's most notorious anti tech spokesman.
The Real End to Privacy?: Micro Air Vehicles (MAV): I can't believe how cool these things would be as toys. Just insert an electronic camera, maybe a cell phone connection, and allow operation from your desktop and fly fly fly. Oooh, I think there's a patent there.
Tech Advances Entwined with Porn Business: Review of a book of how technology changes the porn industry.
New Look at The Electronic Freedom Foundation: Nice history of the EFF. It hasn't been an easy road for the organization.
March 10, 2000:
Dying Broadcasters Seek Salvation in Digital TV Super Fast Wireless Net:If it works, broadcasters could use the digital spectrum to deliver an internet service 200 times as fast as a 56k modem. Story paints this as a last ditch effort for broadcasters to become modern.
Microbots Could Be The Future of War and Toys: These bots are being designed to counter hostage situations and enhance military sensors. These would also be very cool toys that operate as a network and move all over the place. It also reminds me of the Alan Moore comic heroine Toybox.
DNA Patents May Threaten Biotech Research: This is the dark side of genetic exploration: Where the profit motive either derails or badly influences valid research.
Horrifically Named PUIs Describe MS Bleeding Edge Vision Interface: Interesting story about how Microsoft researchers are using vision to improve the computer interface. Funny bit about how MS PR hates the acronym.
Bush Toadie and Red Herring Editor Explains the Virtues of Joy (Bill): RH editor believes that Bill Joy is real real smart.
March 3, 2000:
Great Piece on the Future of Biotech (Fortune)3/3: A very well written story about the next 40 or so years in biotech. Entertaining read. The magazine feature is slightly better in that its illustrated with photos of people who are the early benefactors of gene therapy.
Cool Sterling Fiction About 2035 Depression (Fortune): The usually competent Bruce Sterling treats us to a very tired future where everyone buys and people really can't even imagine a world without Capitalism.
February 27, 2000:
Revolutionary Magnetic Chips2/25/00: The Brits say they have developed chips based on magnetism that would hold much more data than traditional chips. They say the technology is four years to market.
Tales of the Battle Bots: Story appeared in the newest issue of Fast Company by way of Robot Wisdom.
Future Salman Rushdies Publish Online Anonymously: Afraid that you might be killed over what you write? The net allows anonymous publication of what you write. This sure would have come in handy when I wrote something my newspaper editors didn't like.
An Easier GUI for Linux?: Yet another attempt to make Unix look like the easy, friendly MAC interface.
Plus Salon Story: Here's the other story that appeared in Salon.
Possibly Frightening/Fruitful Engineered Cell Technology: Those evil scientists have figured out a way mix cell and chip technology. Soon, it will be alive.
Feb. 22, 2000
Slashdot Editor Tries Out Little "D" democracy: A very interesting piece about how one slashdot writer and/or editor is trying to stop his library from using those very flawed software filters. I found his argument to be logical and convincing. However, as he himself points out, the opposition is basing its opinions on something primal and emotional. And I'm guessing they probably don't read Slashdot.
James Fallows Piece on Working for Microsoft: Interestingly enough, he compares it to both a Japanese company and a military organization, without the killing, but with the tone and long term purpose.
Cool Infinite Clean Fuel Derived from Algae: Very cool story about how you could derive clean green hydrogen fuel from common algae. Not yet a sure thing though. Kind of like solar.
The Littlist ISPs Still Can Thrive: Smaller, regional ISPs can still survive and make a profit.
State of the Art Net Techniques Used by Porn Sites: As the article points out, the future of the internet can often be found on porn sites. Upside takes us where they think the future will be in a few years.
Feb. 17, 2000
Complete CNET Coverage of Hacker DOS News: Everything you wanted to know about the crisis.
February 14th, 2000:
Predicted AOL Sellout of Open Access Supporters Comes to Pass: As predicted here and many other places, AOL, now that it owns a cable company, could care less about Open Access. What this means in a society where policy is determined by wealthy contributors and not on the greatest good for the greatest number is that open access now faces an uphill battle. It will put local ISPS against cable and software behemoths. Good luck to those scrappy local isps, they will need it.
New Boston Technology Could Allow Broadband over Copper Wires (Not DSL apparently): Might be a new way for broadband to work over common copper wires.
Incredible Amount of Cool Stuff at Forbes ASAP: All of these articles are pretty interesting, if you're at all interested in the new economy.
Robotics and Genetics Combined: Headline says it all. Could help decipher gene functions more quickly.
Interesting Debunking of Engines of Creation: It's not written by the usual stuffy naysayers who are almost always wrong about what science can't do, but a former member of Drexler's Foresight Institute. He sounds like someone who's lost faith in his religion.
Jan. 11th throught January 18th:
Fictional Quantum State Experiment: You say you can't be in two places at
once. Well, at the quantum level you apparently can. More scary and wondrous stuff at
Pretty Good Wonko Slice Privacy Essay: Showing the world that Slashdot isn't the only weblog able to get big name writers, Wonko Slice features this essay on privacy written by a man whose fiction enters on matters of privacy.
National Journal Parody of Mega Mergers: From what I've read of the National Journal--a great political magazine if you can get your hands on it outside a library--I would never peg it for this whimsical look at the future.
Both January Issues of Wired and Discover Magazine are now Online: Great January issue from Wired where they let out all the stops. Good issue of Discover as well. Discover is becoming one of the best edited mags on the market.
Check Out Galaxy Online: It's two weeks late and the broadband stuff that's been promised isn't online yet, but it's off to a very good start. It's kind of like the Old Sci Fi Guards creates a portal.
Jan 1, 2000 through Jan. 10:
Blacklight Labs: Science Fact or Science Fiction?: One of the cooler science (?) stories that Ive read this year. It appeared in the Village Voice and was very interesting. It features a guy who claims that hes solved the Grand Unification Theorysomething that Times Man of the Century Einstein failed to doand hes got a slew of revolutionary products that go along with the theory. The guys got good credentials, of course the same could be said of the Unabomber. What was interesting were the very blunt putdowns between this guy and the man who would be the new Sagan, popular physics explainer Michio Kaku. I have never seen funnier putdowns traded between scientists. The Big Bang exists, smirks Kaku. Wheres that quantum time machine, countersmirks the Blacklight guy. This actually appeared a while ago, but its still the coolest story I've read in a while.
Gene Derived Glow in the Dark Water Pistols: The Beginning of Ribofunk?: There's a great book called Ribofunk written by the equally great writer Paul DiFilippo which is sort of cyberpunk meets biotech. In the book he imagines all kinds of weirdness that would come with genetic experimentation. Gangs who use their genes like troupe colors were among the coolest visions. So, you can imagine how I felt about a company that uses luminescent genes to create glow in the dark water pistols. The future is here and its gonna be really really weird.
New Tech Review Online: Technology Review pretty much puts out everything that you see in the magazine online. In fact, they primarily put out the good stuff. I guess you buy the mag out of posterity or habit. Some of the top stories are about how we might see the benefits of nanomedicine in our lifetimes and the other is an interview with our man Ray "Age of Spiritual Machines" Kurzweil.December 20, 1999:
Balanced Overview of Nan State o' the Art: Great story on what Nanotech can be and what it probably won't be. Makes the Nanotech story compelling, and also manages some digs at Eric Drexler's Foresight Institute. I don't agree with that position actually. Much of the practical work that has been done in nanotech and breathlessly reported in places like Slashdot and Wired has also appeared at Foresight. So Drexler has exagerated a bit. So what? That's called sellin' the product. And quite frankly, the implications of nan are staggering. For all intents and purposes, it is magic.
New Compression Breakthrough: A scientist thinks he can triple internet speeds just by changing how the math is calculated. Could bring us closer to television quality over net netlines, or at least a consistent Real Networks broadcast.Week of December 12th through December 19th:
Top Ten Science Stories of the Year: Stem Cell research is number one. Even though we're not really allowed to do it. I thought these were right on the mark. Includes the usual suspects in medicine, nan, etc.
Suck Slashdot Spoof Right on Target: If you've been reading Slashdot heavily like I have every day, then you realize that this is masterful. They mock everything. The manic defenseness of Linux devotees, the worship of Linus, and their obscure high science stories--which I always read and post here. Humorously enough, I read about the spoof in Slashdot itself. I guess they can take a joke.
Cute Lego Like Robot Constructed By NEC: As an answer to AIBO I suppose, you get this cute Lego like robot from NEC. I guess its not supposed to offend me. Hey, you know, I won't be offended by those Jeri Ryan (Borg Babe) android servants either. Really. I won't.
Speculation About Farming on Mars: This is an interesting piece that I found in Event Horizon, which sadly is kind of going out of business. So, you better read this now.
December 8, 1999:
Singularity Level Story about the Internet Through Power Lines: Slashdot alerted me to this story several days ago. It's very well written. For those of us who follow this kind of thing, this isn't new. What's new is that this guy in Texas has the money, backing and apparently the background to pull this off. It's nine pages so you will have to do a lot of clicking, but it's worth it. The story even picks industries that will vanish once the tech is perfected. The Singularilty, by the way, refers to a completely transformative technology, like a fuel derived from water or faster than light speed travel. If those stories appeared in your morning paper, then everything would change, and not necessarily for the better.
WTO Roundup: I thought there were a couple of good stories about the Battle of Seatle. One of the unlikely sources was Matt Drudge. I disagree about most of his viewpoints--e.g. I don't have a pathological hatred of President Cllinton--but he's catching on to globalization and that Big Media and their Big Rich Owners aren't, to quote, giving us both sides now. Too bad Matt isn't much of a writer. If Matt could write he'd probably be jon Katz, who wrote a great piece in Slashdot.
Breakthough on New CD Storage Technique: The high IQ folks at slashdot think this story should is old because it was reported on two months ago. The reason its important is because of details, details, and details. We learn about the Israeli/Russian collective, the various funders and most importantly the stunning capacity and its uses. By the way, not only are they talking 140 gigs per CD side, but they think they could possibly improve that by a factor of 10. Sometime back, a guy interviewed by Maximum PC said if you could improve memory significantly you could videotape your life. Looks like tomorrow is now.
I Fit The Profile: Frightening Jon Katz piece about FBI's profiling of potential high school killers. Apparently, if you have above average intelligence and resent authority you're in the group.
November 21 through 27:
Yahoo Interview with Science Fiction Idols: Actually, I never thought Yahoo was a magazine that I would find that interesting. But, apparently, when your valuation exceeds a billion or so, you can put some of that money back into the magazine. It shows. This Yahoo interview features seven science fiction writers, among them: Dan Simmons, Bruce Sterling, Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson and my hero Harlan Ellison, who probably shouldn't have been there but he's always entertaining. This is also online, in 11 sections or so, so prepare to click a lot. Interesting reading.
MSNBC/Feed Do Future Stuff Collaboration: Huge pieces on the future from Feed primarily, which get distributed through MSNBC. Everything from nanotech to future devices get covered. Ambitious, far-ranging and readable, even though I haven't read everything yet.
Scary Civil Liberties Stuff on the Horizon: There were a couple of scary items on the civil liberties front, which I discovered mostly on Slashdot. Lately, they've been using this face with a black slash across the mouth to communicate on censorship issues.The really frightening piece had to do with how the FBI just shut down some site of a New York based filmmaker without a warrant. The other had to do with the Draconian rules being proposed in Australia to censor the internet. (Slashdot) The slashdot piece makes the case As Below As Above, but I don't think that's necessarily the case at least as long as the new tech elites keep forking over those big contributions.
Shameless Self Promotion: Here are some of my best (self-defined) epinions. My review of Dogma is called Die Religion Die and my review of Walter Mosley's Blue Light is called The Blue Light Fades to Black.
Just in time for Bond: Chinese Plan for Internet War: According to Slashdot, this is a scary yet entertaining story about the extent of cyberwar.
Every Breath You Take, Part III: The American Civil Liberties Union thinks that the Echelon project--a worldwide eavesdropping service that listens in to everything faxed, spoken or emailed if you're not paranoid enough--and they intend to do something about it. How, who knows.
FCC Wimps, to cowardly to enforce open access upon cable, try a backdoor route for competition: Well the title says it all I think.
Week in Review: Oct. 31st through November 7th:
Slashdot Coverage of Microsoft Chaos Best: I thought the best coverage I saw of the Microsoft decision came from Slashdot. While they don't have "stories" per se they do have what has to be described as the best and smartest readership on the web. Wrap up stories from CNET, Wired and the Industry Standard were also good and comprehensive. Even though Slashdot was the first site to post the actual decision, at least by my count.
New Energy Source: Brilliant combination of both hydrogen fuel cells and nanotubes could produce new energy source.
Week in Review. Oct. 24 through Oct. 30, 1999:
Calling Jeremy Rifkin: Private Company Begins Process to Start Patenting Genome: I guess the pertinent question is whether or not the patent is retroactive. To play media grok critic, I thought the BBC story was the best one out of several that I had seen on the Internet. The BBC quoted Bad Boy Geneticist (Im parahrasing Wired) Craig Vertner who explained that this was just an initial step and that his company has already found some exciting things. The general tone of the stories I read say that this is something that we should be worried about. I agree.
Every Breath You Take, Part Two. Another version of this story appeared in Slashdot several days ago, but apparently the federal government can send somebody outside your door and monitor all the signals from your computer. So much for PGP. Someone doth protest too much about encryption methinks.
Space Research Leads to Possible Healing Agent of Light: Yet another example of where space technology yields wondrous results here on terra firma.
How to Get The Girls: Simply put, one of the best written pieces I've ever read on the internet. I don't know if Slashdot ever plans to anthologize their pieces, but this is publishable. It's elegant. It's funny. It's also something that you very seldom get on the net: It's mature.
Tech Mags Weighed and Reviewed: Can't tell your Wireds from Biz 2.0z from your Red Herrings? Well just read this handy dandy guide and find out.
Week in Review Oct. 17 through Oct. 23, 1999:
Blind Arab Hackers Run Amok: Fascinating story about blind Arab hackers who, considering that theyre both sightless, did some amazing things with computer systems. In fact, their hacks seem to be beyond belief. If you showed me their exploits in a movie, then I would not take you seriously. Whats also interesting is that theres a political element to their hacking. The first time Ive seen hacking done from the hand of the oppressed. Its definitely a different kind of hacking.
Travel Plans To The Red Planet: Zubrin, in case you didnt know, is probably the most famous public proponent of sending people to Mars dirty and cheap. Here he talks about his philosophy and ideas. There are even some quotes by James Cameron (arguably the best science fiction director on Earth despite Titantic) who is using Zubrin as a consultant as he creates his own Mars movie.
Born to Be Borg: Aspiring English chap aspires to become the Borg. Talks about past and future implants. Dreams of stitching wearable computing under the skin.
Nanotech Stories in CNET: Nice collection of nanotech stories in CNET Thursday.
Artificial Chromosome Is Highlight of This Weeks New New Scientists Stories: The usual lot of interesting and cutting edge stories.
Oct. 14, 1999:
Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make: Completely horrifying story about how scientists can create sensors the size of dust motes. Write up your own nightmare here. First link has diagram, second link here takes you to MSNBC story.
Your Seeing Eye Cat: Wild, somewhat ethically troubling hi sci story about how scientists were able to tap into and decode the neural impulses of a cat. I suppose if I were, say, Evil, you could miniaturize the transmitter and use your cat as a spy or even a virtual reality ride. Just strap on the VR goggles and watch kitty eat a bird. Yep. That would be wrong said the writer wondering how he could patent that idea Priceline style...
Those Scary Lucent Guys Help Invent Portable Electric Paper Which Could Turn Shirts Into Billboards: Theoretically, I guess my shirt with the obscene message could be altered now and then. Aesthetically, a world changer. Imagine everyone as a walking billboard.
Arthur Clarke sez Cold Fusion is Real and Offers other predictions: The man who gave us the idea of Satellites scans out an interesting timeline for the next 100 years. He is a firm believer in cold fusion and thinks it will be a revolutionary source of energy. And if cold fusion is real that prediction is a safe bet.
Oct. 8, 1999:
Shameless, No Doubt Satan Inspired VR Sex Suit To Be On Sale Next Year I Wonder If The Suit comes in An Extra Large?: Teledildonics, a somehow very appropriately silly sounding word which roughly means sex with the aid of machines, is coming to your town. You can wear the suit. You can feel someone on the other end of a modem or a high speed T1 line touch you when you wear the suit. Oh yes, there's only the slight risk of being electrocuted via power surge while you're in the suit. But what a way to go. What a way to go.
Intriguing Tale of Super Hackers and the Tough Lawman (Soon to Be Played by Tom Selleck) Who Brought The Less Astute of Them Down: Yet another MSNBC story about very competent hackers and the elite tech cops who go after them. Best Quote: "These arent the kind of guys who go into the 7-11 and then stare directly at the camera." What's also intriguing is that some of these guys got away. Neuromancer lives.
Screw Mars: Take Me ToThe Brown Dwarf, Size of Several Hundred Earths--and with a crust, possibly--or Have Light Sail, Will Travel 3 Trillion Miles: I hate to keep using words like "stunning" and "astonishing" and "astounding" but hey, if the adjective fits. Simply a stunning, astonishing, and astounding story here. Do you know anything about Brown Dwarfs? From what I've read they're about the size of suns and they might be habitable. And they're huge. They would have the area of several hundred Earths. You could do some serious traveling. Or maybe its already inhabited. Maybe that's where the Mayans went or that's where the Alien Grays hang out. Back in the early 80's there was a feeling floating around that our star had a twin floating around that would orbit real close sometime and cause all kinds of chaos like dinosaur extinctions and such. Or maybe the inhabitants set their own orbit like the Founders in Deep Space Nine or the folks who run the Spin Dizzy's in James Blish's City of Stars Who knew. Gotta learn more about this. Will somebody please point Hubble in the right direction? .
Oct. 5, 1999:
New CD Rom Revolutionizes Storage at 140 Gig: Astounding story about how a new CD Rom Tech allows for 140 Gig of memory. Equally astounding is that the technology might be on the market within a year and that there might be applications for Ram and Floppy Disk Memory.
HAL Like Neural Network Based Voice Recognition Might Be Reality: If this is true, then the kind of voice recog that we see in Trek could be coming to a computer near you. Not only did it outperform the leading software but for the first time it beat a human being. Ramifications not only for speaking software but neural networks.
Sept. 30, 1999:
Can Weird Looking Roto Plane Contraption Actually Fly?: Hey, see for yourself.
That's Venture Capitalist Bond, Venture Capitalist James Bond: CIA sponsors venture capitalist fund. No promises that potential partners won't be killed by School of Americas grads or assassinated by lone gunman. (Yeah I know Bond worked for the British just cut me slack here...)
Sept 29th, 1999:
Science Fiction Creates Science Once Again: Nasa's new robotic helpful--which will flit around cartoon style in weightless conditions--is borrowed from the Stars Wars Light Saber training scene. Very cool
Dark Side of Sneakers: You know, Robert Redford played a white hat hacker who was paid to break into people's establishments so that crackers couldn't. Nowadays, according to this story, Clint Eastwood would have to replace Redford in Sneakers 2 and there would a scene where Clint finds the would-be cracker's house, pays him a call, asks "Do You Feel Lucky, Punk? Do Ya?" Amazing story that has all kinds of cool fictional potential.
Term "Plastic Plants" Takes on New Meaning: Those darn scientists have done it again. They've built plants that produce plastic. More weird, slightly disconcerting stuff from the future.The week in review: September 21 through 25
Hey Kids, Build Your Own Chemical Based, Derived Computer: Well, not exactly, but if you read that MIT technology Interview with that guy who wants to build computers chemically there were two developments this week--separate from what the MIT guy is working on apparently. One plan involve DNA and the other The other liquid computer story has to do with a plan by Russian scientists to use chemical reactions and the other is about a US team that's apparently built a prototype.
Comparison Between Cable and DSL: Salon strikes again with this story about what are there relative strengths and weaknesses.
Expert Urges NASA to Privatize: The space foundation tells NASA where to get off. They have a cool web site too. Why don't one of these new net billionaires step up with some cash and change the world. They're all science fictional anyway.
Sept. 14, 1999:
Coders of the World Unite!: There's an interesting piece in Salon--where the Left gets a fair hearing at least--written by a commie, uh, "Marxist" person who thinks that the Open Source movement will do more to destabilize our imperialist regime more than any KGB plot. His argument makes sense to me. You can say what you want about Open Source but you can't say any of its practitioners need or want to make a trillion dollars in their lifetime.
Russian Hackers Break Into Pentagon Computers Thus Stretching The Limit For Improbable Bond Plotlines Or "Destroy Goldeneye!": "Cyberwar is here" is what the clearly jittery Pentagon official said in this story. Feels like a Bond plotline. But where is Goldfinger? Or is Dr. Evil merely routing the attacks through the old Soviet Union to target somebody obvious just like Blofelt trying to initiate a war in You Only Live Twice Watch the skies for further news.
Superior Stuff in Tech Review this month and most of its online: Usually I always urge everybody to go out and buy the usually superior MIT Technology Review, but theyve placed a lot of their stuff online for free so why bother? Great story about how a scientist wants to build the next great computer with chemistry. Plus lots of other great features.
In the "Dare You Call it Science Fiction" Department: learn how to build your own bacteria: Leading chem/gen guy says hes figured out how to build life at the level of bacteria. Story suggests that would quickly lead to the design of higher organisms. Build your own Pamela Lee or Bjork. More thrilling and scary stuff at the frontier of science.
Silly CBS Show Now and Then Body Transplant premise Not So Silly: Theres this new CBS show that features John Goodmans brain being placed into a supermans body. This story suggests that isnt such a silly premise. Story revolves around that guy who did the gruesome experiments where he attempted to put another monkeys brain on top of another monkeys body which you might have seen on Discover several times or more.
Interesting Tech Web Interview with "Doug Rushkoff: Cyberia author speculates that new technology probably means designing new ways of teaching. It seems to be his own theory of how things should change according to cybertech. He doesnt seem to be relying on the Old School of Deconstructing and/or Destroying School theorists like John Holt, Paul Goodman, Ivan Illich and that Paolo Friere guy whose name I probably misspelled. Still interesting though.
Sept 10, 1999:
Youngstown Ohio Engineer Creates Equivalent of Perpetual Motion Machine: These guys say they've created the Water Engine, the mcguffin of some lackluster TNT movie. It's non polluting, consumes no fossil fuels, and get this, it's only by product is cold air. So, let me get this straight: You live in a desert and you have a power generator and an air conditioner? Geez, get me one. From the story, it sounds like an airborne version of OTEC--popularized in the Marshall Savage book "The Millenial Project"--or ocean thermal energy conversion, except you would use air. I just hope the inventor watches his back. I think they shot that Water Engine guy in the movie and buried the patent.
I was so excited about this I called up one of the engineers at the company and asked if it was real. He claims they have a working prototype.
We shall see.
More Dirt on Founder of Struggling Microworkz: The resume of Rick Latman isn't pretty. You can't accuse the writers here of being prissy centrist mainstream journalist types The article pretty much calls this guy a liar and a cheat.
Excellent Media Grok Roundup at Industry Standard: Media Grok, if you haven't read it before, rounds up several stories a day and compares them. Great smorgasboard of stories involving everything from the coverage of the NSA/Microsoft stories to the new pop music fights poverty website.
.Sept. 8, 1999:
Microsoft and the NSA: Separated at Birth?: There's still some dispute as to whether the National Security Agency (They're deservedly shown to be the bad guys in most spy movies that you see.) actually had their pals Microsoft build in a backdoor. To defend Microsoft, how do you say no to the NSA? You probably don't if you like your plane to land correctly. Scary stuff. Not that I have anything to hide from Big Brother. I love Big Brother. So should you.
Jeremy Rifkin and Prominent Biotech Guy get into it at testy European Conference on Future Genetics: Wired has several pieces on the ARS Electronica conference on the future of Biotech.
Speilberg May Direct Last Kubrick vehicle and would probably do better job: Kubrick had been working on AI for years and whispers have been spoken about it for years. It's based on a Brian Aldiss short story. I have to admit that when they finally republished the short story in Wired some months back I wasn't that impressed. But who knows what Speilberg could do for the project.
July 27, 1999:
Industry Standard Fingers New Powers That Be: This is an excellent profile of all the new and powerful net lobbying groups that are being organized in Washington. So you can find out the names of your new masters. Oddly enough, even though ATT and AOL are on opposite sides on some of the lobbies, they're working together on some of the others. Talk about your strange bedfellows.
Salon Interviews World's Only Trotskyite, Libertarian, Cyberpunk Humorist: Stories like this strengthen my belief that the internet is superior to trad media. When was the last time your daily paper profiled a Marxist in a positive way on the front page? Or if they did, to paraphrase the old Monty Python joke, did they make sure to ridicule them? I, quite frankly, had never heard of this writer. I now intend to get some of his stuff.
Revolutionary Thin Solar Cells: Thin, inexpensive solar cells could change everything and it looks as if these inventors have come up with the real thing.Reform Party Might Be For Real: Since Ventura was successful, there's hope that a Third Party might emerge in the country. And yes Virginia, politics affects science.
Dvorak calls new Ibook "Sissified": Hilarious putdown of those "effeminate" Ibooks. He's right. Manly laptops should be jetblack and shouldn't cry.
July 19-21, 1999:
AOL vs. Microsoft To the Death!: AOL, using former Netscape employees, has a plan to put it to those guys in Redmond. Dream on fellas. You will never defeat the Master. For soon, Gog and Magog will...Oh, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. You can read all about it in that Revelations deal.
Internet Life Not Quite So Cool: New website tells you just how terrible life is working for net firms. Apparently, they hold out those stock options like fresh bait as you're tricked into temporary and Hellish Indentured Servitude.
Black Hole Sun Here On Earth?: Drudge, God help me, is the founder of this link. Apparently, this here ion collision deal might accidently create a minature black hole, plus other completely terrible things.
Biological Computers Might be Reality Within Decades: The coolest story of the last week, maybe forever, is the story of a working chemical computer. Kirby's Mother Box might finally come to pass. Wristwatch Crays. And since they're based on organic matter they might even develop something approaching consciousness...
July 14-15, 1999:
Would You Kill For Your MTV?: Futurist Scenario by writer staged in 2004 that predicts deadly rioting over cable access. Dare you call it science fiction?
When Martial Law Comes To Town: Some people in Congress seriously considers Mad Max Worst Case scenarios of Y2K. Quotes rabid anti-Clinton crowd and overall story carries just a touch of paranoia.
CMU To Test Real Worldly Universal Translator: The universal translator might actually be a reality for Earth, anyway.
July 12 -13, 1999:
See Scary Forbes Twilight Zone Lit Picture of This Year's Internet Movers and Shakers: Scary stuff. Even that wild haired Critical Path Guy looks intimidating and mystical.
Incisive and Favorable Review of New Deal's OS That You Can Store on a Floppy or Two: Very favorable impression on the New Deal Os, which is microscopically small compared to your average Microsoft offering. Writer says the software could revive 286s and other aging machines.
"Official" BS Degree in Science Fiction Now Available: You can now get an official degree in science fiction and science at some obscure university of Her Majesty's. I wonder if I can get my sites on the sylabus?
Yet Another Article on Windows Alternatives: Here's another piece about alternatives to Windows.
Favorable Initial Reactions to Genre Shows Harsh Realms and GvsE: The reviews are in the coax of the day section of Ain't It Cool News.
Scientific American's Piece on Future of Computing: Detailed piece on what the future of the computer will look like. Takes a deep look inside something called the "Oxygen Project".
July 9, 1999:
Just read today's Wired: www.wirednews.com
July 8, 1999:
More news on Moller Aircar, artificial spines, plus more: This is a weekly roundup of science stories from a Brit newspaper. It features a profile of new vehicles including Moller Aircar and cheaper space vehicles that are being tested. Also, stunning story about how artificially grown spine restores almost full mobility in rats.
Thoughtful Piece on Third Voice Pros and Cons: If you're a little nervous about what you think people are posting on your site via Third Voice, then check out this somewhat reassuring Salon Piece. There's also some information about a competitor called Gooey.
English Rules Info Future: Excellent Feed story about how English will become even more dominant in the future because of its influence on code. Story didn't address question of more powerful translation software however.
Geeks Shrugged? Columnist Katz dreams of unionized hacks: Katz talks to a reader who dreams of organizing the ones who keep the machines running. Source says he got his metaphor from Dune's Spice. I think he should pick up a book by Ayn Rand called "Atlas Shrugged".
Story Profile on one McKesson's Robots in Utah: This is a story about one of McKesson Automated Healthcare's mechanized robots in Utah. Story reads like a press release. Automated is a local Pittsburgh company.
July 7, 1999:
Broadband War Hits Up In Congress: There is a bill in congress that would open up the cable lines the same way that phone lines have been opened up. In case you're not aware, the reason why the internet is such a smashing success is that there's real competition between ISP's. If not, all websites would be owned by AT&T and would probably cost $10,000 a month to operate and you would look at their sites the same way that you make a long distance call: Very Carefully.
Instant Messages Are Apparently Next Big Thing: I really wasn't aware of what a pivotal technology this was until I read this article.
July 6, 1999:
MIT's Great Story on Biotech Ag Is Online: I reviewed this article one or two weeks ago when the magazine came out. You can read about it now online. In case you don't read every word I write, and I suppose there are a few people out there like that, I praised the story for its critical, real world approach to this question.
Silly Sliders Show Might Have Basis in Fact: Turns out that Sliders and that Spock with Goatee episode Trek may have some foundation in fact. Fascinating, no pun intended, story about possible hidden dimensions.
July 1, 1999:
Purdue University Rethinks Chips 3-Dimensionally and Gets Really Really Small: Those scientists have done it again. Turns out if you think "vertical" when laying down those substrates, you can make chips with more transisters and smaller to boot. Yet another breathless computer breakthrough which probably won't hit our desktops for another ten years or so, but it's cool to think about.
Profile of ambitious Linux Only Company: Salon, which has been on a roll these last several days, turns out another good piece on an aspiring hardware maker who just wants to use Linux. That Big Time IPO money must be doing them some good.
Nice Collection of Tech Stories from Across The Pond Which Includes Yet Another Silicon Pirates Review: The headlines says it all people, which means I wrote it overly long. I need to go back to Headline School.
June 30, 1999:
CNN/Time Gives Schizo, Oddly Contradictory, Sometimes Sensationalist View of "Hacker Menace": These are actually several stories in one. What's funny about them is that they sort of comment on the weaknesses of the other stories. Teenaged kids, self-defined as hackers, in one story claim that all news organizations want to do is scare people about hacking--which these stories sort of do. They even mention the alleged James Bond Style hacking of a British Military satellite--widely debunked and never verified--as part of The Evil That Hackers Do. While Emmanual Goldstein, editer of 2600, blames media outlets for simply allowing anybody to define themselves as hackers. Funny enough, these "hacker kids" profiled in one story are pretty much self defined. You can't really figure out if they are what they say. Do they design worms or download scripts or can they hack into firewalls 50 different ways or can they even handle Red Hat? Who knows? Hey, I'm a hacker too. Interview me naive Time Reporter. Sure, I can't operate Excel but if we're self defining...I'm also a handsome red haired zillionaire with blue eyes to die for..! Those complaints, cited, interesting reading nonetheless.
Do You Want Fries With That Software...Or else!!! Salon visits Surreal Microsoft Retail Outlet in San Francisco: Friendly responsive Microsoft employees? Are the end times near?
Stop Presses: Cheap Computers not made well and Owner Not Fount of Decency: Turns out, and don't die of cardiac arrest when I tell you this, those cheap computers that are selling under several hundred dollars are not well made. Who woulda thought?
Salon Interviews Hilarious Cyberpunk God Rudy Rucker Who Talks About His Weird New Book: For those of who worship the cyberpunks, then this interview is for you. It correctly points out that Rudy Rucker, moreso than his Burning Chrome peers, is very very funny. This story represents the kind of cool reporting that used to appear in the Old Wired before it got commercial and directionless.
June 29 1999:
Silk Works As Inexpensive Bullet Proof Vest: Can't afford those expensive bullet proof vests for those dangerous weekend paramilitary jaunts? Then try silk. No, I have no idea how you would get one of these things.
Intel Wants to Rule World: Intel, aside from getting into the ISP business, might also start selling their own white boxes. Since I am in the white box business, I find this very disturbing. I'm guessing I won't be able to beat the Intel price on boxes. Yep. This is a fair business.
To The Moon and Beyond: Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin thinks that low Earth orbits and vacations on the Moon are feasible. The article outlines this and other dreams, as well as rethinks the path chosen by the government since we still don't have any of that cool Hugo Gernsback Continuum like stuff to play with.
You'll Never Take Me Alive Michigan Internet Censors: The state of Michigan wants to apply a "harmful to minors" standard, favored by such noted zealot loons like Jerry Falwell--presumably so that he can stop those Lilith Fair Witches in their tracks--to the internet. My other site, Majic12, has dirty words and pictures of "nekkid" women, sure some of them are cubist naked woman but censors are notoriously bad art critics. The site also has some very sexually explict fiction. It's a felony in Michigan to allow any minor under 18 access to any "sexually explicit material". So I guess I'm a criminal. I'm dangerous. Breakin' the law, Breakin the Law as the Judas Preist song goes. The ACLU, oh thank the Lord for them so to speak since I'm an agnostic, is challenging it.
Wintel Marriage Occasionally Turns Into Jerry Springer Episode: Apparently, Microsoft and Intel aren't always the most harmonious of couples. From this story, where one party sez stick to software while the other sez stick to chips, I found myself siding with Andy Grove and Intel. Rare is the day when I don't have a Windows crash. I've never had any trouble with my Pentium.
Stop The Presses: Glacially Paced Newspaper Publishers Get Slight Sense That This Here Internet Thang Might Be Somethin': Publishers have got the case of some kind of Post Freudian Portal Envy. Turns out that the internet is not tantamount to the CB or the Beta VCR standard, thinks your average turn of the century publisher (photographed reading that new Henry James novel)--generally awarded his or her competence as a news gatherer by inheritance. (You wouldn't want an intelligent writer running a paper...What are you, a commie?) Quick: Let's do something in five or six years.
Ben The Rat and his Indestructible Robot Arm: In quite a serious development, scientists (Norm and John I think) were able to get a mouse to activate a robotic arm. Followed to its logical conclusion, both Christopher Reeves and Stephen Hawking may walk again and the more outlandish X Men characters will seem more reasonable.
Japanese Develop Tiny Anime-like Robot: It's true. There's even a picture. Yes, I read it at Robot Wisdom.
E-conomy Drives the Country's Wealth or God Bless Bill Gates: It turns out that Microsoft and Amazon and all those silly internet valuations are driving the economy for the better.
June 22, 1999Nixon And Gates: Separated at Birth?(Interactive Week, Newslinx): Now firmly entrenched in that uncomfortable category of Nixon Emulator, Microsoft apparently had something of an enemies list. Instead of siccing the IRS on you though, Microsoft would withhold rights to their precious code. More Hardball from Bill and the boys. What a shock. I can't wait for Anthony Michael Hall to grimace, twitch and rock during his cinematic deposition.
On a related note: Industry Standard sums up all worthwhile stories on and about Forbes newest list of Richest Americans: I suppose if I didn't have to work for a living I could try to do what Media Grok does everyday. Unfortunately, I have six imaginary children to feed and I have to work a real job. Those pansies at Media Grok, however, can sit around all day with their Pythonesque "buttered scones and tea" and compare several media outlets coverage on one singular story. Yesterday, it was that Forbes richest people on the face of the planet item.
Online Journalism Not So Easy (Boston Phoenix): Robot Wisdom picked out this fine story about the costliness of net journalism and questions why there arent more Salon and Slates on this Earth. The story also gives you lead on some other excellent sites.
Dvorak Writes Great Review of Pirates (PC Mag): Yet another great piece about the greatest film of all time ,Pirates of Silicon Valley. Dvorak delivers as usual. Was also alerted to this by Robot Wisdom.
Industry Standard Lists 21 most influential net citizens: Greenspan makes the list and so does that Tim Berners-Lee fella. But there are some surprises.
June 21, 1999
We Must Stop This Evil Internet Gambling Even Though We Know We Can't (Wired): This is an oddly schizo story in that the advocates of banning net gambling freely concede that there is no technological way to get away with it. One critic compares there planned effort to that of failed prohibition. A correct call if I may say so myself. And now that I own a website I guess I can.
Open Source Guru Eric Raymond Preaches to Microsoft: The leader of the Open Source movement goes to Redmond to preach the gospel to a group that wishes he and Linux were never ever born. Will the Microsofties learn anything? And if so, who will play Eric Raymond in the no doubt emotionally off putting TNT telefilm?
Good Upside Review of Gates/Jobs Telefilm (Upside): Speaking of emotionally off- putting TNT Telefilms, I personally enjoyed it. I know some things are true and some things probably aren't. Hey, it's tv. The Upside review points out the two extreme characterizations: one, Woz as saint and Ballmer as Buffoon. You would think that Ballmer, now our country's fourth richest man and Harvard grad, would be a bit more than some balding guy with a soused frat boy mentality. But I guess not. I'm thinking of inviting Steve to my "kegger". It's on tv, so it must be true.
June 18, 1999Girl Builds Really Small Train That Literally Fits On Head of Pin: This is yet another fascinating story about nanotechnology, or engineering at a very small level. Apparently, scientist Viola Vogel is creating a monorail out of microtubules and proteins. According to the article it would solve one of the problems of nantech: How Do You Go About Moving the Very Small? Yet another great New Scientist article.
Killer Computer Viruses Learning to Evolve and Grow: The growth and complexity of computer viruses is more than just luck, it's darn near evolutionary, sez MSNBC article.
Hey, I'm only worth $40 billion of course I have to allegedly harass women : Sleazy, yet quite entertaining story about the nation's Third Richest Man's involvement in a lawsuit that alleges he has a pattern of harassing married women. By the way my other title for this: So, Im worth $40 billion and I still have to work hard to get girls?
June 17, 1999
Preview of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs films not exactly flattering: The original Silicon Valley Bad Boys get the Turner treatment this Sunday night. The reviewer in this story said the history wasn't quite right, but at times the essence was captured.
Design of Biomolecular Computer shown at MIT: Someone just built a working model of a biomolecular computer and presented what looks like a Lego Set model (Highly advanced no doubt) at an ongoing high falutin' tech conference at MIT. Is this the face of nanotech?
2001 scribe Arthur C. Clarke talks about Religion, Future: Arthur C. Clarke sat down for a rare interview with Free Inquiry. Even though he's got to be three or four hundred years old, he's still lucid. Click above to read more.
June 16, 1999
Build a Better Sabre Tooth Today: Think that life would be just a bit more interesting if only there were wild raptors around or a Wooly mammoth or two?Well, The Scientists (I believe they're called Norm and Jim) say that they have the technology to do that and it could be used to save endangered species.
FCC Chief Sucks Up Big To Cable Elite: William Kennard, current FCC Chief, condemned the recent decision by local Oregon officials to demand that Big Mammoth At&T open their big fat broadband cable pipes to area ISPs. Of course, he condemned it in classic slippery Clinton style, saying that national policy should set the standard. What he didn't say is what that policy could be. It might be that if push came to shove he'd push for open access for all. Personally, that's what I'm hoping. Without open access AT&T/TCI will make the internet as dull as cable is now...Where I'm lucky to catch a video on my "music" channel.
Preview of Chris Carter's VR Series Harsh Realms: Harsh Realms is nothing like the comic that inspired it, but, hey, this is Chris Carter. Where the comic, in theory, dealt in a number of virtual worlds, Carter is going to set the series in a wargame like virtual world. So, if you watched Matrix over and over like I did, this series just might be for you. Or it might be Millenium 2, who knows.
June 15, 1999
Cable companies have the tech to handle other ISPs Big cable just can't be trusted. GTE, a phone company that owns cable companies was able to hook up alternative ISPs just fine. Companies like AOL, who you might have a hard time feeling sympathetic toward, and other smaller ISPs want cable companies to abide the same rule that telephone companies have to abide by.
When Greenspan Speaks...Alan Greenspan, who sort of really runs the United States economy in case you didn't know, believes that the politicians should ease up on regulations of hi tech companies. From this story I guess I had a hard time figuring out what regulations. Those silly internet censorship laws that Congress keeps trying to pass?
Star Trek vs. Star Wars: The Final Battle Good natured science fiction writer David Brin has a few bones to pick with George Lucas and the potentially undemocratic substructure of his universe.