Play Ethic

Being grown up means responsibility, demands on our time, buckling under the pressure of the corporate world, and becoming slaves to the work ethic. There isn’t any time for play. Why can’t we PLAY every day? Why can’t it just be a part of everything we do?

It can. When I was younger, I think I had a pretty good grasp of the Play Ethic. I worked, but the work made me happy and left me fulfilled. I was more creative and inspired. Then I, right along side my fellow drones, got sucked into the vortex of the work ethic…I hopped on the treadmill of monotony and drudgery. Well, I want off!

With all of the awesome technology at our fingertips, we should all be freed up to express ourselves creatively, to live spontaneously, to PLAY.

I stumbled across an article by author Pat Kane a while back that completely defines the concept that has been tumbling around in my own head. He’s in the process of writing a book, The Play Ethic: Living Creatively in the New Century, which is due out in 2004.

The play ethic is about having the confidence to be spontaneous, creative and empathetic across every area of you life - in relationships, in the community, in your cultural life, as well as paid employment. It's about placing yourself, your passions and enthusiasms at the centre of your world.

Sounds good to me!

The article is pretty long, but well worth the read. So, please do so. Then let me know what you think.

(And, x, enjoy your PLAY. Write something in the sand.)


Whuffie as a Complimentary Currency

Co-Published on Unbillable Hours

Steven Coffman wrote, in response to my post on whuffie and subjectivity, the following:

Hey, outside of sci-fi, people are already using something like Whuffie in the real world. One of the main people behind the Euro, an economist by the name of Bernard Lietaer has been researching "complimentary currencies" which include sorts of "favor cash", (some of which are completely different than whuffie, like frequent flyer miles). There's an interview you might want to check out:


I think Whuffie works better as a complimentary currency, rather than as a complete replacement, in a world w[h]ere scarcity does still exist.

I think Steven's definitely on the right track, that Whuffie represents a great tool to supplement an objective, hard cash economy. One question he had asked, and that I don't have the answer to, is whether, in barter economies (which takes us back to the days of the pre-Colombian Native Americans and the Fertile Crescent-era Mediterraneans), such as Potlatch and such, would there be something that would supplement trade when dealing with scarce resources. I'm not sure of the answer, myself, and I think that someone would have to be into anthropological economics to know it, but it's a good question. If you have the answer, please comment.

I think Steven points to another, presently relevant manner in which whuffie could be used in our society. In my day-to-day life, I'm a lawyer. Most of my cases involve divorce or disputes over wills, but I do some contract law as well (and, in fact, contract law figures into matrimonial and estate law quite often). Whuffie could be a great asset in contract negotiations. When dealing with someone who has a low reputation for honesty or fair dealing, I know - or should know - to have a lot of safety measures in the contract in order to protect against the negative effects of a breach of contract. Similarly, a low "whuffie" for honesty would alter with whom I would agree to enter into a contract. I'm risk adverse. I'm not going to encourage a breach.

I think the supplemental value of whuffie is, like Nick was pointing out with regard to epinions, in the way it encourages or discourages people to commit to risk, whether financial or romantic or otherwise. I know lawyers, in fact, have been working on a way to make it relevant when dealing with judges (i.e., judges with low reputations for courtesy, fair interpretation of the law, and the like are not recommended for tenure {a life appointment} in my state by the Bar Association). What would be interesting is if whuffie takes off as a concept for evaluating contractual partners, and moves into other areas. Imagine my reputation - my whuffie - as an element considered when I seek out employment. Imagine it as a factor for college applications. The honorable get into Harvard and the dishonorable go to East Newark Vo-Tech? It, initially, doesn't seem fair, until I consider the fact that I had to work - to interact with others - to get my reputation.

What other supplemental uses of reputation economics exist? Should we expect developments that point to their use, beyond rating books and movies on Epinions and Amazon?



Over on the Whuffie blog (yes, there is such a thing; no, I did not have anything to do with it; and yes, I am immensely flattered), there's a guest-blogger writing good, scholarly critical analysis of the economics of the Bitchun Society, the world in which my novel is set.


He makes a good point. The problem (OK, a problem) with Whuffie is that it lacks a lot of the critical stuff that makes up the fundamentals of democratic infrastructure, like protection for minority opinions. Some of that is elided by the lack of scarcity in the novel: it's hard to be a well-and-truly oppressed minority when every material want is answered in plenty, but the social effect of the normative pressure of Whuffie is ultimately highly corrosive

It's always pleasant to come back from a night of football (way to go, Parcells!), drinkin' and stinkin' and find out I made a much more reputable blog than mine. Thanks, Cory. Much obliged. (BoingBoing Link). I don't think you should be immensely flattered; you wrote a wonderfully fun novel.

For those interested in the discussion, check it out here.


King Croesus and Reputation Beyond Death

Co-Published on Unbillable Hours

In Persia, well before the time of Christ, well before Julius Caesar, and long, long before any of us, lived a king named Croesus. Croesus ruled the Kingdom of Lydia, part of the Persian Empire. It came to pass that Solon of Athens, a wise thinker, was traveling through Lydia. Croesus heard this, and had Solon brought to his palace in Sardis, in what is now Western Turkey, just south of the Dardanelles.

I thought of that story, told by Herodotus in his History of the Persian Wars, when X asked me to guest-post on his "Whuffie" blog.

Croesus sized up Solon, and thought for a moment before asking Solon who he thought was the happiest man on Earth. It was the Classical Era. To them, Earth meant the land that bordered the Aegean down to the Fertile Crescent, now Iraq, and Persia, now Iran, and east to Libya and Morocco, then known as Carthage. Solon told him that he thought that Tellus of Athens was the happiest man on Earth, for he had a large, happy family, moderate wealth, and had died well during combat.

Croesus, a rather wealthy king, was disappointed with Solon’s answer. He thought that, given his wealth, Croesus himself should be the happiest man on earth.

Croesus asked Solon who, in his opinion, was the second happiest person on Earth, after Tellus of Athens. Solon thought again, and answered that Cleobis and Bito were the next happiest people. Cleobis and Bito, Solon explained, were beloved sons of their parents. One day, their mother needed to get to a temple for a festival honoring Hera. Because the oxen were in the fields with the father of Cleobis and Bito, the boys hitched themselves to their mother's cart and pulled her to the temple. There, the worshippers saw the devotion of the two boys, and had a great feast in their honor. The gods saw this too, Solon explained, and in homage to the boys' devotion, put them in a deep sleep at the end of the feast. Cleobis and Bito never awoke from that deep sleep, as the gods had taken them from the Earth. They would never know sorrow, Solon explained, or betrayal, or want. They were happy because the gods had preserved them in the greatness of their youth.

This drove Croesus mad, as Herodotus noted.

When Solon had thus assigned these youths the second place, Croesus broke in angrily, "What, stranger of Athens, is my happiness, then, so utterly set at nought by thee, that thou dost not even put me on a level with private men?"

Thus, Solon realized that Croesus did not understand happiness as he did. He finally explained to Croesus why he was not counting him as happy along with Cleobis, Bito, and Tellus of Athens.

For thyself, oh! Croesus, I see that thou art wonderfully rich, and art the lord of many nations; but with respect to that whereon thou questionest me, I have no answer to give, until I hear that thou hast closed thy life happily. For assuredly he who possesses great store of riches is no nearer happiness than he who has what suffices for his daily needs, unless it so hap that luck attend upon him, and so he continue in the enjoyment of all his good things to the end of life. For many of the wealthiest men have been unfavoured of fortune, and many whose means were moderate have had excellent luck. Men of the former class excel those of the latter but in two respects; these last excel the former in many. The wealthy man is better able to content his desires, and to bear up against a sudden buffet of calamity. The other has less ability to withstand these evils (from which, however, his good luck keeps him clear), but he enjoys all these following blessings: he is whole of limb, a stranger to disease, free from misfortune, happy in his children, and comely to look upon. If, in addition to all this, he end his life well, he is of a truth the man of whom thou art in search, the man who may rightly be termed happy. Call him, however, until he die, not happy but fortunate. Scarcely, indeed, can any man unite all these advantages: as there is no country which contains within it all that it needs, but each, while it possesses some things, lacks others, and the best country is that which contains the most; so no single human being is complete in every respect- something is always lacking. He who unites the greatest number of advantages, and retaining them to the day of his death, then dies peaceably, that man alone, sire, is, in my judgment, entitled to bear the name of 'happy.' But in every matter it behoves us to mark well the end: for oftentimes God gives men a gleam of happiness, and then plunges them into ruin."

Herodotus, History of the Persian Wars, Book 7

Reputation, in a sense, is a lot like the happiness Solon spoke of in Herodotus' Histories. It is fleeting, and the full measure of reputation that we possess is not known until after death.

This is precisely the problem presented to us in Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. In Doctorow's novel, I find myself dealing with the concept of "Whuffie" as a commodity based on reputation. However, the reputation spoken of is fleeting. It is the same sort of reputation that Croesus would have sought. I am of a mind to assume that Doctorow recognized this by giving this reputation-based economy a comic element.

So what, then, do we make of the fleeting, changing, commodifiable reputation system put forward by Doctorow? It is a system that I find fascinating, despite Herodotus' classical refutation. First off, it seems logical to deal with the elements of this reputation economy in a manner that was not refuted by Herodotus. What is recognized by both Doctorow and Herodotus is that, because I am measured by the final quanta of reputation I possess, it behoves me – at every moment of my life – to preserve and do my best to improve the reputation I possess at all moments of my life. In every action, I must remember to be that which garners myself the reputation I desire at the end of my life.

I won't even begin to address the implications that are raised by the fact that Herodotus points out that the second happiest people in the world were snuffed out by the gods. Perhaps I should not work too hard to improve my reputation.

Herodotus and Doctorow differ significantly with regard to another issue concerning reputation. Herodotus' version of reputation was based on the "objective." It was based on the glory of the gods (at least in the Hellenic system). So long as one believed that the gods were pleased, it was reasonably verifiable that one’s reputation would improve accordingly. Within a religion, a belief that satisfies the divine is effectively a true belief.

Outside of religion, when beliefs are dealt with in a social context, as was done in Doctorow’s novel, reputation is inherently subjective. So long as my reputation is tied only to the beliefs held by others, it is no more verifiable or objective than the opinion polls used by major media to address political issues. It is based on the moods, whims, and ideals held by a diverse group, namely, the world around me.

The subjectivity of reputation poses the central problem dealt with by Doctorow’s protagonist, Julius. Julius' reputation swings up and down the scale throughout the novel based on the wrongheaded conclusions of others concerning his involvement in the various projects in Disney World and in his adversary’s attempt to take over part of the park.

This is how you hit bottom. You wake up in your friend's hotel room and you power up your handheld and it won't log on. You press the call-button for the elevator and it gives you an angry buzz in return. You take the stairs to the lobby and no one looks at you as they jostle past you.
You become a non-person.
Scared. I trembled when I ascended the stairs to Dan's room, when I knocked at his door, louder and harder than I meant, a panicked banging.
Dan answered the door and I saw his eyes go to his HUD, back to me. "Jesus," he said.
I sat on the edge of my bed, head in my hands.
"What?" I said, what happened, what happened to me?
"You're out of the ad-hoc," he said. "You're out of Whuffie. You're bottomed-out," he said.

Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Chapter 9

The danger, pointed out in this passage from Doctorow's novel, in having a completely subjective, reputation-based economy is that it is quite possible for someone like me to be made an outsider from the economy due to actions for which I had no responsibility. Granted, similar problems exist in a cash-based economy. The market could bottom out, as we all certainly know, and I could be left with stock in… nothing. Still, there are objective factors, along with the subjective ones that move the market, that justify such occurrences. With a reputation economy, the threat of being ostracized unfairly is very real, and very much free from the protections of objectivity. Thus, this points to a problem with such a system. I do not think it is a problem that would defeat the system, as a general concept, but it is one that may justify eschewing it as a device for commerce.

The subjective nature of reputation is an interesting issue that goes beyond Herodotus. It is one that troubles modern politicians and entertainers, sometimes rightly, and sometimes wrongly. It's for this reason that I think X's website, and Doctorow's novel, are such interesting topics of discussion. Reputation is a matter that merits consideration, because it is a value that, subjectively, has massive impact on our life -- and on the lives of the ancients.

FOR REFERENCES, GO TO http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/herodotus-creususandsolon.html

unbillable reputation

Hi, folks. I thought I would give a brief introduction to myself before my first post. I'm TPB, host of Unbillable Hours. The gracious host of this site is off gallivanting in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, and asked me to do some sort effort to shock, titillate, and mystify you. I'm a lawyer, so titillation isn't exactly my forte, but I'll do my best. I'm also a long-time student of Jesuits, though, and that means that I'm burdened with what is likely an asinine interest in the classical world (pre-Middle Ages). So, you'll have to endure my view on reputation, and whuffie, through the eyes of men and women that died long before the days of Charlemagne and Barbarossa.


Misunderstanding Micropayments - Scott McCloud

I must compose an article for my college paper tonight, so Epinions must wait for tomorrow. To tide you over, here's Scott McCloud's defense of micropayments, specifically the BitPass system McCloud uses. McCloud is a visionary, and I foresee a spot for him in the Internet history books of the next half-century.

I'm a regular McCloud reader (especially his Morning Improv), but props for the particular article are due to Fimoculous.


Deep whuffie

Epinions surpasses Amazon in building a reputation economy for consumers. It takes the "I like this reviewer" scheme deeper by spreading your preferences to those who prefer you.

If you consistently appreciate one reviewer's advice, you can "trust" them, bringing their reviews to the tops of pages. As Epinions explains, when you trust reviewers, their reviews rise for those who trust you. Epinions calls this a "web of trust." When paired with the usual case-by-case ratings of reviews, the web of trust pulls forward excellent reviews.

You can examine my web of trust. Epinions also provides a block list visible only to the user. Viewing the web of trust, though, leads you down a trail to killer reviewers, folks who post thorough analyses.

The reputation economy translates into dollars and cents through Epinion's Eroyalties program. Eroyalties are based on other members' ratings, not on purchases based on ratings, so reviewers' goals are detail, fairness, and relevance. No one gets buttered up.

Read more on Epinions tomorrow evening. Meanwhile, visit my blog Broken Hammock.

x takes a vacation

Noted man of mystery, might, and intrigue will perusing the northwest floatsom amongst the granulated shores of the salty seas. Thus, guest bloggers will be taking the helm, donuts firmly in hand. Check out TBP of UnbilliableHours.com and Nick from Yuma, I mean from Broken Hammock who will both no doubt both shock, titillate and mystify.

I wanted to get like 15 guest bloggers, kinda of a "Guest Mob" but I did not have the time. Next time.

PS My kids and I, watched a MIG 17 do some nighttime flybys with afterburner. It was AWWSOME! Visions of Chuck Yager, Russian rocket scientists, and the whole 1950's vibe were so clear. The specs on these retro delights boggle the mind, 711 MPH!


I need a Googlizer

A computer that listens for audio cues in the office and auto Googles answers verbally or via hovering holographic image. Someone please invent this. It could be handy.
It amazes me how I have phone conversations and can refrence anything while on line via Google. But how to function whne not infront of a computer?

I guess as we wind down the year we should have the top 10 best tech of 03.


Swarms Hunt Things that Go Bang

This blurb from Express News tells of bees, rats, and ferrets that hunt out explosives and nuclear items. Hmmnnn. Cool. How about genetically modified creatures enhanced cyborganically with nano-technology? Better yet, how do you nuero-network with a bug or creature and control them with your palmtop? This would be huge for nurseries and petshops. Imagine remote control fish and gerbils. Or cross polinating directly from the hive?See what happens when you get a creative hopped up on sci-tech smack?


The Sequal To Down and Out...Kinda

Author Cory Doctorow waxes philosophic about "leaving places behind" after a book is done to describe his no sequel policy, when hypeing the debut of a "free" short story now available to read at Salon. Claiming it is not a sequel but a "novelette-length followup" set in the same place as the book...okay whatever, how long do you think it took Lichtenstien to stop painting abstracts and stick to what was in demand?

It talks about whuffie, deadheading, and sub-vocalization and is called Truncat.

Let's hear what you think.
(warning: must watch advertisment or subscribe.)

The American's Creed

While I am feeling all patriotic and such, thanks to my friends post below, I thought I would post this historical document:

The American's Creed by William Tyler Page

"I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

"I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."

-- Written 1917, accepted by the United States House of Representatives on April 3, 1918.

Patriotic Whuffie

This soldiers story of homecoming is a good reminder of the mundane struggle and personal family sacrifice that the majority of men and women in the service have contributed to our freedoms. Stories like this and the ones of heroism, ultimate sacrifice remind us of what we have in the US.
Knowing a little about those who care for you with their lives is the least you can do. I dare you to read this short homecoming account without shedding a tear.

Also contribute some whuffie by buying him a beer to welcome him home. We did.


Bio tech Sea Sponge

I like it when either the medical community or the science community, who often exhibits a "God" complex, has their bubble deflated by reality. (Of course the legal community is exempt.)
It is especially cool when these strokes come from nature. The newly discovered "Euplectella" has been found by Bell laboratories to contain ultra fine fibers that could be superior to current fiberoptic technologies.

..."We can draw it on paper and think about engineering it but we're in the stone age compared to nature."


Too bad this didn't come out before Qwest layed miles of the stuff all over the country, eh?

| Full CNN story here or the ABC story here

Josh Wolfe promises us that there will be breaking news at his blog soon about this. So keep your eyes out for a followup.


Ray Bradbury

Happy 83rd Birthday!

Brief Bio
The Distopianism of Farenheit 451.

Mr.Bradbury's literature inspired me to both read and write as a child, but more importantly to dream.


Synthetic "Weed" Good for You?

Or at least for alzheimer patients according to this story from Science Daily. Hmmmnn...what is next...maybe...synthetic crack? One other thing, the people who I've known who use marijuana...they never seem to be able to remember anything. Is there a connection?
Via Macromedia News

Skynet: The Rise of the Machines Begins

According to the NewScientist:
"The US Air Force's Global Hawk became the first pilotless aeroplane to be given permission to fly routinely in civilian airspace on Thursday."

While opponants of the program are assured that the drones are unarmed, factoids like this don't seem to appease:

"The first (crash) was during the plane's development, when someone accidentally tested the self-destruct program. As a result the plane flew to a pre-programmed, remote location and nose-dived into ground as its operators looked on helplessly."


And then there is this tidbit:

"Pentagon data on the number of crashes per hours flown show that the Global Hawk has a crash rate 50 times higher than the F-16 fighter.."

I am not all anti military or anything. I just question the wisdom of new technology being tested over public airspace.

Via John Robb

Corporate Snooping or Brand Management?

In follow up to the follow up and post below. I noticed in my traffic stats that this site had over 200 hits from a domain called Nameprotect.com. Since the searches cost for same day service and they appear to all be done in one day I estimate between $150,00 and $225,000 was spent on this service by someone. Which along with the stated client list of entities like MasterCard International, Microsoft and PepsiCo, Inc, inturn would point to a corporate entity. This is a good example of why Americans should be concerned about both privacy and copyright legislation. Why my server should be "heated up", for posting e-pinions on a non-comercial blog is beyond reason. But that is what it has come to. Corporations are trying to control speech. Not because they are "inherantly evil be nature" as some claim, but because Americans have failed to stand up and "fight for their right to party." I cannot help to wonder if I can expect a rash of cease and desist letters citing something as ubiquitous as links to corporate sites as the offense. Which is exactly the problem, people should have the ability to express ther opinions publicly without fear of "brand dogger" reprisal.

Voting Taking Over Corporate Brands?

In follow up to the post below I found this: Buy a taco, buy a vote at TacoBell®.
At first I thought it had to be a hoax. But appears to be legit. Unless the site was hacked. Polling to promote sales of corporate products? Is this legal? Sheer marketing genius. Maybe the financially screwed California could place various police/fire/DMV in koisks in Pizza Huts®, Kentucky Fried Chiken® and McDonalds® inplace of costly facilities, cutting down on utilities, building and maintainance costs?

(Note: The fear of corporate reprisals from brand dogginglegal departments for use of the logo is nullified by the fact that this is "political satire".)


Good editorial about our NikeIBMTacoBellVerizon Nation

Check out the editorial by Andrew Zolli at Z-Blog a very well thought commentary on the state of corporate branding.


• "McSqaud Cars"
• Corporate America's failure to respect public domain and their misuse of copyright.
• The idea that the "down with The Man" subversives are failing to do anything but annoy and be counter productive.
• Approaching "sane commercialism" with both respect for communities and corporate investment, through dialogue and partnership.

While the conclusion could have been stronger, there is a lot here, including thoughts about corporate identity not bisecting society, but that it has become American culture.

I also liked the use of the term "brandscape". Read it and discuss.
(Second post down- sorry they are z-missing the z-permalinks.)

Wireless Projection the Future of How We Say Things?

A slightly under-mentioned developing technology is the world of projectors. Previously relagated to disjointed slideshows on sagging and dangerous screens in darkened rooms where embarassed presenters make excuses for failing equipment, these units have become affordable, reliable, easy to use, and able to be viewed under brights ligths in the last few years. Now with the addition of wireless remoting from your PDA to numbers of netwroked projectors, we have a new powerful communication tool. Learn more from a Flash presentation at boxlite.com

While both these tools are familiar items, think about the "adaptive media" approach that claims the future of mass communication is through easy edit interactive video imagery that was mentioned on this blog here.

Facial Recog SCRAPPED!

The Tampa Bay Police have decided to scrap the controversial facial recognition program that after two years has not resulted in one positive ID.


Mama's Future: Clothes that stay clean.

Forbes/Wolf "guest blogger" Steve Waite brings us up to date on the latest aquisition of the sagging textile giant Burlington Indsutries. Wilbur Ross had a bidding war with investment partners Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger and won. The post notes that while some might wonder why they would pay top dollar for a bankrupt company, the fact is they own considerable intrest in a newly patented nanotech textile. "The Game is Afoot!"

My thoughts:

• Will clothes that stay clean, severely hurt the cleaning detergent, dry cleaning and laundry and washing machine industries? What do they turn to to innovate? Door to door service? Nano-soap? How about closets that are washing machines?

• "Really small stuff "as As. Prof Amy Moll at the BSU engineering labs like to call nanothech, makes me wonder about a future filled with abundant unseen powerful technology not built by human hands and it's meaning, for my children and their children?

• What type of dangers will be looming on this horizon? Imagine a bag of nano-crap accidentally falling into the wrong hands, like and ant or wasp colony? Or how criminals will exploit the "tiny tech"? Like nano-bots that collect and store micro particles of gold jewelery from crowded trainstations and sports events.

• I do have to comment on the new-tech neoprene cotton combo business shirts I own; they are awsome. No more feeling like I am in a straight jacket. Now if they could just stay clean and email me whne they should be retired. (Guys have a hard time knowing when clothing should be replaced, our theory "When it begins to dissolve, replace." Of course that would only apply to non-metrosexuals.)


Everyone Should Have Their Own Crucible

This great "do-it-yourself" link to building a propane-fired home foundry which the author intends to use in constructing a working metal lathe.  Reminded me of a set of 1950's do-it-yourself books I bought. I had stopped at an old weathered home somewhere outside Seattle that was having a yardsale. Hoping to score some retro tidbit or rare find. As there was nothing but junk and old clothes, was on my way out, when one of the two elderly sisters explained they were trying to come up with a morgage payment. I felt so bad for these two elderly women who had been so sweet in offerring me cookies and lemonade. So I bought the books for more than I think they cost new. None the less, as no good deed is left unrewarded, I have found in them a time machine that takes me back to a classic handyman Americana, to a time where men did things themselves, and women fed them. The books are filled with detailed step by step directions on how to build and repair things from flower boxes and bookshelves to submarines and entire summer cabins. (litigation was obviously not a big concern.) I have friends who have this ethic instilled in them from their WW2 tough enterprising fathers, who's slogan is "if you can't make it yourself, you don't need it." My point in all this is this: today, we do not have the time or patience, we let someone from China or Mexico do it for us. If a tool breaks we throw it away. Is it possible the convergance of technologies, could create and empower a new league of extraordinary gentleman, who gain knowledge and access to materials through the internet, a kind of high tech uber-handyman, who inhabit a garage or shop hopped up on wi-fi and intel processing power? Tethered by doped social networks to knowledge bases and human assets that are themselves amalgums of accelerated knowledge? If you don't buy into that, it is still really cool to think about melting things in your own garage.
link via Linkfilter
UPDATE: Read this bit of garage-tech lore via BoingBoing

Boron-doped N-type Diamond Semiconductors?

Wired is running this story on the new synthetic diamond industry. While the jewelry industry is concerned, what this means to the semiconductor industry is the next step in computing. The idea is Moore's law tells us processors get hotter and hotter as they go faster. At some point silicon chips will liquify. Hi quanity low cost synthetic diamonds resolve this issue. While the charm of the Wired read touches on the seemingly fictional cloak and dagger elements of the diamond industry, what is important is the fact that the US is failing to invest.

Dean Kamens I-bot

While this is billed as an advanced stair climbing wheel chair, I cannot help but to think exoskeleton. (But that is because I am always thinking exoskeleton. Exactly.)

There Goes the Gene Pool

Leave it to China to charge right in and start messing around with mixing people bits and animal bits. Maybe Jimmy Stewart really will talk to a giant rabbit named Harvey. (After we flash bake his memories into his clone.) | Full story from the WP

The best part of the story is hearing the ethics discussions among a people who have serious human rights issues. And you think fear and ignorance fueled by racial hatred is bad now, try genetic racism.

Speaking of you heard it here first: I predict Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the first celeb cloned. But only so he can run for governor of Texas and NYC simultaneously.

Listen while you swim

Recent graduate Sam James invents a cool MP3 player for swimmers. Appears to clip to a pair of normal goggles.

I am not sure about this. While I can see how athletes would welcome a little audio stimulation after hours doing laps, I think I would get too disoriented. It is just like skiing (I know how 80's of me "Spread Eagle ,Dude." That hurts.) Skiing is best done in the quiet. With only a serene swishing of the trees and racing wind batting your brow. Although I will admit to some sweet runs on Seattle Ridge while listening to on my MP3 player.


Imagineering Social Robots

Popular Science gives us this great read on the work of developer David Hanson and his humanlike robotic faces. He claims there has been a lack of innovation in the area of lifelike facial robotics due to social and psycological stigmas. He claims his success has to do with creativily persuing really life like features, and while others have avoided the complexities of human behavior, he embraces it as the benchmark for truly sucessful robotics. The idea being that once we are emotionally attached to a robot is when they will become truly useful to us. He also happens to be a Phillip K. Dick Sci-Fi buff who used to work for Disney. The article quotes leading MIT roboticist Rodney Brooks who suggests "The coming robotics revolution will change the fundamental nature of our society."


Retinal Scanning of Mr.Cowburger

According to the Wyoming Star Tribune, in an attempt to control quarantines and transfer information to huge databases Mr.Cowburger now gets his eyes scanned.

And in the next SAR-like outbreak will demand people get scanned too, right?

Supervision Or Snoopervision?

Big Brother tests the waters in America.

This USAToday story talks of 15,000 micro cameras in your local public school. While it is argued this could have prevented school voilence tragedies like Columbine, one would have to ask, could this not add to the pressures that caused it?

Some choice quotes:

''It helps honest people be more honest..''

[protect =spy on]

"Almost anywhere they go these days, Americans are on camera: at work, on the road, at public events. Why should schools be different?"


''prevented a lot of things from happening''


Frighteningly vague.

".. cameras, which were installed over the past three years, can be an unblinking eye supporting teachers in disputes"

What about students?

"..critics should relax."

[control the thought]

I remember when they put intercoms in the schools. It was considered high tech. It was there for the protection of the teachers and the students. Really it just expanded the authoritarian role of the faculty. There was no stigma worse than having your name called over the intercom.

This is wrong. If my school put these things in the classrooms, I would pull my kids out.

Dear faculty, you can have your cameras in the classrooms if we can have ours in your lounges and your homes. No? I guess "all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others".

Pattern Recognition review: "Spot On" from the Sceptered Isle

British MT Blogger Matthew Whitaker promises to start adding some of those reviews as he is soon to be a free agent on his way back to school.
But in the meanwhile gives us this link to a past review of Futurist William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition". Well written. I still want to see his review of Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom.

Also see Social Text's femfatal Adina Levin's review of Cory Doctorow's Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom on her blog. While she gives it high marks ,(as everyone), for it's portrayal of futuristic social implications of wired life, she claims Cory's high speed writing detracts from the richness of the book. I have to say I agree. The book, though quite eloquent in places almost seems like a draft. As if there is more locked in behind the chapters and characters. But maybe that is sequel stuff.


A Local Segway Dealership In Your Area?

According to Segway makers the first official Segway showroom will be opening in southern California.

"We are delighted that people in San Diego will be able to try out the Segway HT and learn about its environmental and economic benefits in an atmosphere devoted to the acceptance of alternative fuels and transportation options," said Doug Field, Senior Vice President of Operations and Product Development, for Segway.

Also check out the trailer for the new Jack Black/Ben Stiller flick "Envy". (Which has a brief Segway cameo)


Dean Kamon's Segway Vs. Clive Sinclairs C5

The latest buzz on the innovative human transport system known as Segway is it seems to be growing in popularity both by the public and by those using them, there has been a lame and rash outbreak of state, county, and city legislation to ban them before they even hit the street. Fueled mostly by fear of the unknown, this will likely be reversed as the power of this technology plods forward with progress. ( I say "Garn!" to the snakey naysayers who stand in the way of progress.)

Visit the newly bloggrolled Segway News to hear the latest

And then there is this This from the BBC about the maker of a human transport dud threatening to challenge the Segway. I wish Sinclair luck, as competition has a way of spurring on good ideas.


Body Monitor Wear

A kind of wearable Mood Stats for the body, wirelessly networked for monitoring, storing, and processing caloric intake, activity levels, and sleep habits.
I think this is a great tool that could have a host of uses, the question is will it be lowcost and widely available?

by way of K10K

No real title just kind of spacing out and rambling on...

While getting power from blood isn't exactly new (dracula) and human batteries aren't new either (Matrix), actaully getting electrical current from a human body is quite novel. According to the story you could power 1000 watts or enough to power a lightbulb.
Based on this hand cranked charger for a Sony Play Station Game Boy, my question is could you reverse engineer this to increase a person's energy level by adding a hand crank charger to them? More seriously though a plugin port where one could draw temporary or low amounts of currency could be pretty handy.

New Social Networking Tool

This San Francisco based startup claims that while the service is free, they intend on making revenue from job listings and feature placement through their online social networking tool Tribe. Stating it is a "friend of a friend of a friend" refferal system, the site, in beta, does little to explain the details of how it works (unless you register first). However, A list blog BoingBoing writer, Cory Doctorow, claims it is not quite the "meat market" Friendster has become and gives it good marks. Developing...

Respecting the Keepers of the Bean

'Fourbucks vandalized?
While Starbucks is a little over the top with their over caffinated legal defense of the Starbucks precious brand, kids today ougtha have enough respect to let a guy get a decent over priced cup of coffee from a corporate monstor who under pays foriegn labor for thier high quality java beans! It has gone too far I tell you. (I am a grumpy old man.) Back in my day we didn't organize "protests" by shutting down coffee shops, we showed our decent towards corporate greed by going into the woods and drinking cheap beer until we passed out! Growing our hair out and wearing bellbottems!


I Feel Nothing Buttons

Or "touchless" interactive holograms that are claimed will be soon used for "public information kiosks with eye-popping video images" and ATMs. . and we thought pop-up ads on our computers were bad.
HoloTouch a new startup claims this will be used as a hygenic interface to control cell phones and medical equipment and should be appearing in New York soon.

Via Slashdot


Just clipped this new blog called "relevant/irrelevant: I decide"
Simple to the point and it crack-a-me-up.


Food for thought

When I commented about McDonalds selling you a flashbaked memory of a HappyMeal via wirless server to your neural net, I wasn't aware scientists were already working on simulated food.
| Read more here
Via the not offline Futurismic

"Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" review (minor spoilers)

The first Terminator movie was a phenom with underground appeal to the likes of cult classics like Road Warrior and Mad Max. But T2 with it's advanced effects and action put it on the level of summer blockbusters like Total Recall and True Lies. People of all ages left the theatre with their minds blown do to the wowser effects and creepy dark plot. Young folks identified with Edward Furlong's character John Connor , and women liked the new GI Jane version of Sara Conner played by Beauty and the Beast series Linda Hamilton. A tough act to follow.
The third episode in the saga, did not really try. Because of this I think the public and the industry tucked it aside in the flood of summer hits. However, this was good follow up the first two movies and successfully held on to the T1's cult vibe, and T2's dark sci-fi plotline. However, with a title like the Rise of the machines they could have spent a little more time expounding on that.
While T3 did not exactly display the effects advances of T2 and more recent Matrix. It has some ground breaking action scenes and fun bylines and humorous cornball breaks akin to "I'll Be back". (I won't bore you with the true account, amidst my travels, of a dinner eaten at a Denny's, in the Negro section of a big city, where my loose lipped company slid his chair back and loudly proclaimed "I'll Be Black".)
I think fans of books like Down and Out and movies like Brazil, should not be frightened by the commercialism of a "big" movie like this. The "poor performance" in the box office may be more closely tied to a weak ad campaign, as the only ads I saw for it were the new 2003 T3 edition of the Dodge Dakota! The highlight of the entire movie was this, the fact when I saw the first movie, it was entirely fantasy, but this movie with the history of the take over of machines and the internet "Skynet" and it's early Red Planet style kill robots are far to real and plausible and seemed like fiction imitating real life.
The Terminatrix played by Kristanna Loken wasn't as creepy as the jail cell morphing robo cop T-1000 unit in T2 nor did the film convince me that the T-X model was that superior to the T-1000, after all it couldn't even handle a common military supercolider. Although the fax by voice through her cell phone to hack the internet was novel. Nick Stahl who played John Connor actually did a pretty good job, at first I was disappointed that they didn't just get Edward Furlong, but his replacement was deep and complex enough, even for a young unknown, to pull it off. The other major critisism, is what happens in many time travel movies; the temptation in a sequel to keep going back and rewriting history. As in Back to the Future.

I give this movie an A- for the thought provoking plotline, and classic entertainment. Even though James Cameron, who gave the film a thumbs up, did not direct this one, Jonathan Mostow did a good job of making something worth seeing that has a Planet of the Apes style humanity verses evil message. While I am sure the big action is most complimented by the bigscreen, Terminator fans will be just as happy waiting for the rental. Would I by the DVD? Yes and I don't own the other two.

Now the question is will Arnie go for the governorship? I think he will. 1) The making of T3 seems like a good ending to his movie career. 2) Why go on Leno to announce your not running. 3) California has history with movie star governors.
The next question is he qualified? While I am sure having a lot of fame and money is good experience for a governor, the failure of Planet Hollywood may not be a good indicator of his expertise. We will have to wait and see how he plans on addressing 28 billion in debt.

PS Cannot get me for infringment cuz' it is political satire ha-ha!

Ole Eichhorn newly Blogrolled

You may want to visit Critical Section a blog scored from our vacationing and advertising it friend Tim Oren over at DueDiligence.
A self proclaimed Theist/Darwinist, Ole's writing is good and his subjects are many of the same you will see around here, (although he is much smarter and an acomplished developer.) The downside is the layout of his blog is hard to follow as there are only occasional post headings, and no comments. Since he crams so many ideas into one post it would be hard to use the permalinks. Not to mention light green on light blue creates inviso links on my laptop.

Minor design flaws aside, Critical Section has some great links like PVRBlog for those of you who have been following PVR's (Tivo) and up to date news like this link to former MP3.com owner's new venture Lindows who are selling complete computers now at $169. (Sans monitor)

Sony's Video Glasses

Several years ago I had read with excitement an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about a Washington company who was in the process of mass producing eyeglasses that were a video headset. They claimed they would be on the market in no time, at $120 a piece and promised they would replace the standard tv monitor. Of course you can imagine my surprise when years later nothing seemed to materialize. I did a CD rom project for a national virtual reality company selling software to the educational community, and they seemed fine with mounting these giant orange on a toothpick headsets on unsuspecting school children. Alas enter the Sony GlassTron. Which I can only guess was an aquistion of the company mentioned in the newspaper. While the glasses appears to be a flop in that they are not very functional for $500, the subsequent upgrades may take on yet. I think the name has got to go. It makes me think spotless dishes. A good name should be HedTech, Eye-TV, E-shades or ViewCog or something. | Full review Here
Via the newly bloggrolled Ole Eichhorn's Critical Section


Your Phone Says You Need Milk

Check to see if you're out of butter by looking in your fridge with your cell phone. According to the ElectricNews that is the plan.

Thought 1: An entire "life network" of cameras, from your work cubicle to your garage. Obsesive Compulsives would have a hay day. Or possibly a whole new generation of young people would be transformed by this technology into obsessives?

Thought 2: If we think distracted drivers are bad now, wait until they are looking at their phones as they meander down the road.

Thought 3: VC folk, invest in any company who is developing video camera detection equipment. "Camera Free" will be the new marketing phrase.

Thought 4: A new never ending paradox/ reality entertainment venue: web pages that shows video feeds of people looking at their "life networks" on cell cameras. Or web pages that show video feeds of people online looking at video feeds of people looking at their "life networks" on cell cameras. Or...well you get the point.

Thought 5: Must stop thinking about camera phones. (Also hoping that people who smoke weed aren't reading this blog.)

Terraforming Mars Marching On?

This story from Scienceagogo on high test earth micro-organisms that could potentially thrive on Mars is just a little jolting. What could the implications of seeding life on an other planet be? What if some freakish mutation proliferates and eats our kids a thousand years from now? Okay, so I am paranoid. It just seems like a big step to be spreading bacteria and small organisms about on various planets Johnny Appleseed style. Hey why not use it to store our trash and nuclear waste too? (a joke) But I guess if we were able to make Mars inhabitable it would be a worthwhile endevour. Speaking of which I must plug one of my fav sci-fi flicks: Red Planet with Val Kilmer. The freaking robot dog is the same creepy that the machines gave me in T3 (another under valued sci-fi movie) Okay another less techy and more situational sci-fi fav is Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid and Ben Vareen.

(10 shot' claims that T3 is not her kind of movie, and I have to agree it is a "guy movie" but I don't think it is a total chick flop.)

Home Decor goes Wi-Fi

Although Jakob Dylan may want some royalties, Wallflower is a wireless picture frame that slideshows photos served from your computer.
While it seems to be developmental and the $500+ price tag is not exactly a bargain. I love the idea. They need to be REAL big and cheap and use OLED technology.
Via Blogdex

Blogroll Update

While Blogger has been updating and fixing it's API, it has reaped havoc on the Whuffie template. Disappearing post titles last week, and upload files in the wrong directories, and the loss of some of those on the blogroll and link section. If you were one of them lemme know. We will put you back. (To blogger's credit Blog Control was fast, prompt, & courteous.)

Be sure to check out some of the newly 'rolled:

Jean Chu | Hiving
ABerkeleyy area blogger who has a nice clean site and is a keen photographer.
(Not to mention here 'bitchun blog name)

Phillip M. Tarrone | flashenabled
A great techno gadget blog. Clean and informative.

Josh Wolfe | Forbes & Wolfe

"...An insider's blog on the science, markets, and undiscovered trends of nanotech.
A must-read companion to the Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report." (I guess forbes doesn't post at least I have not seen anything from him yet.)

neuroprosthesis blog

"Science news related to biomorphic robots, android and humanoid robot helpers, cyborgs, brain mapping, neural implants, bionic organs, prosthetic limbs, spinal cord regeneration with a goal to alleviate movement disorders and related disabilities. "
Great nicely done news blog with a great bunch of links. (The home site needs work though, white lettering on black background is so hard to read.)

Roland Piquepaille | Technology Trends

"How new technologies are modifying our way of life." Nicely done, well written, often politically left blog.

Erik & Mark Baard | The Baard
"Reporting on Science and Society"

Again, nicely done, well written, often politically left blog. (But what do you expect from Boston author's who have published with Village Voice and plastic.com?)

Favorite Blog quote

"I don't think people who own birds should be allowed to shop at donut stores"

Pirates of the Caribbean Review (No spoliers)

While I went to the movie with low expectations based on a few of the reviews I had heard, I was confident that Johnny Dep would at least be entertaining as he has in most of the movies I have seen him in. I was not disappointed. I had thought that maybe Dep would not be in the whole movie or something lame like that (Okay I am still smarting from Jody Foster in Return From Witch Mountain) But it was defiantly a Dep movie. All the hub-ub about his eye make up and dark portrayal of a pirate was trumped though. Maybe if he would have taken a hit of a bong or something. While there was that magical feel of classic Disney movies it was very light and brief in a bedknobs and broomsticksy way, and I did find myself thinking the movie to be a bit a long a few times. Dep did a great job as a Pirate Captain and injected needed levity in a movie about a ship piloted by hundreds of undead skeleton pirates. They would have done well to add a Bob Hope type of character for more levity. (But that is just me missing Bob Hope and his Pirate'capades) The special affects were outstanding, moonlight revealing skeletal bones as characters dashed about it's beams. The plot line was intelligent, there were some good laughs, and the adventure was emmersive. Worth seeing on the big screen. Don't take kids that are younger than 8. Would I buy the DVD? Sure.

Overall I give it a B+. Had they lowered the death count and made it more accessible for children and added a funny character or two, (say Will Farrel or Chris Rock) It could have been an A list made for the whole family Disney epic.


Disney In Trouble?

Okay Euro Disney, who has not been doing well even after a second park opened recently in Paris. The double tanking venture is now looking to "Big Mama in USA" to bail them out. Perhaps it is time for an ad-hoc comittee to come in and re-imagineer the place? | More from the Evening Standard

Wireless liquid level sensing

While I wouldn't exactly qualify this as "what the world needs next is.." material, it is an interesting use of RFID technology. (ultimately a deadbeat waiter will just ignore the sensor indicator to talk to the hostess anyway.) Iglassware from Mitsubishi Electronics
Via DueDiligence Via Ole Eichhorn


DNA in Your Fingerprints

Something PreCrime might use? A new patented way of extracting 10 "nanograms" of DNA from a print in 15 minutes positively identifying anyone. This article explains in more detail and goes on to mention privacy issues and genetic profiling. | Read UPI story here


Neurotypists - Secretaries of the future?

The keyboard is one more level of abstraction between us and our computers... why not just skip the keyboard and enter commands directly from your brain? Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are the subject of research at a number of different universities, including the University of Rochester, Colorado State University, Helsinki University of Technology and Brown University. Most human research has been done using skullcaps or electrodes on the scalp. However, Cyberkinetics, a Massachusetts-based company, plans to retrofit a few brains with internal electrodes if FDA approval goes through. They plan to start their neural-electrode implant research next year.

via Wired News


Hamburglar among tomorrows technology leaders?

Nick Douglas comments below and submitted this link about fast food giant McDonald's using handheld PDA's to take orders. (Thanks for the link.) While I commented on his blog "Broken Hammock" about the futuristic notion of flash baking the memory of a junkfood binge via wireless internet I less hypothetically see this as a possible test marketing for cell phone orders. I also think the article he posted is worthy of note for the description of how much software, databasing and investment Micky D's has. I never realized how high tech my burgers were (Yes '10 shot, cow meat). While it would seem if McDonalds is suffering financially, maybe they are over thinking and part of the pain is IT over-investment.
But then again maybe they are setting a new paradigm for food consumption? Without question if McDonalds is experimenting with Wi-Fi, it makes everyone else stand up and notice.


Back to Medieval Times

I have always heard that the pagans claim that science will always lead us back to what they already knew. Indeed here is a case where high tech meets the dark ages.

Introducing the amazing Catapult watch!

While my first thoughts were about kids in school, I can see many an Office Space watching cubicle dwelling corporate fellow busily firing away at unknown castles and henchman.


Bio lightning rods of Walt Disney

A Giraffe was killed by an electro-magnetic surge known as lighting at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Full ABC story

Make It Bletter?

Make It Bletter?
About 7 posts down I was whining about no official digital replacement for a post card.
While I have yet to see one there is now a blog/newsletter delivered ala html form subscription style called a "bletter". The real feature is for those who publish an html newsletter and a plain text one; bletter wraps that into one time saving javascript. It has an RSS feed, but it makes me wonder if this isn't the start of a new hybrid of spam. You think people complain about Google being cluttered with blog mem now...
demo here

via John Robb


Phone help should know thier technology

In follow up to 10 Shots' post about nanospeak being marketing muscle, Dockers is now stocking stain resistant nano pants.
Nouveau parlez De France
Newspeak from France
I admit on July 4th I forgave the country of France for the whole Iraq flap after thinking about and being reinspired by their binding gift of the Statue of Liberty. Call me a hapless romantic. But those of you who said the Americans were dolts for their Freedom Fries terminolgy should know the dung flows both ways. According to this CNN report in a bout of anti American sentiment the French want to do away with the term "e-mail" and replace it with "Courriel" a hybrid of "courrier electronique".
Next they will want to change "spam" to "Pate'".
Jour de noir!
Local Tech:
Click here for a fair review of Crucial Technology's "Gizmo" 128Meg USB Flash drive (a division of Micron Semiconductor Product here in Boise, Idaho.) These things are said to replace the floppy drive as soon as consumers figure out what a USB is. While I have seen them lining the shelves at Circuit City, I have to say they are not very stylish. They all look like one of those promos you mail order hundreds of with your company logo on them. If these things are supposed to house your important info shouldn't they light up and tell you how much space is left and be housed in a cool titanium and hardwood casemod? None the less while the reviewer is hard on them for being at the upper end of the $30 to $50 dollar range for these mini portable memory sticks, I have to say very good things about Crucial. Solid service and support. I once ordered some RAM for dirt cheap from them got it overnight, and they supported it as I installed it. See if you get that with the foreign competition. (Okay I am biased.)
Disposable DVD's?
Disney's home video division is planning on marketing DVD's that expire after 12 to 48 hours. They are claiming this will serve the consumer dismay with paying late fees. Michael D. Eisner says "I think it probably won't work," and although his peers say he is just being cynical. I have to agree. The nuttiest claim is that although one would think our landfills would fill up with "nonbiodegradable polymers" they are claiming that people would use less fuel returning to the video store. Whatever.| Read the full NYT story here

Tiny Laptop?

Tiny Laptop?

John Robb is back and you should check out his take on the new Sony PDA which ships at a high $700, yet appears to be a mini laptop. This thing has the industry abuzz claiming it is one of the most innovative design and engineering feats of it's time. ( Although Jeremy of Futurismic is not so stoked. I am still jonesin' for treo600 unless I have to pay nearly $700 for one.)

Giant First Class Ski Boot

Giant First Class Ski Boot

Nippon Airways (ANA) has re-invented first class seating. The sleeper is sweet, and the Smorgasbord of tech will entertain to be sure, but the design...I just can't help but to think "ski boot". | more

Via the recently blogrolled Berkeley centric Jean Chu of "hiving" ('tis nicely done, well written in a zen sort of way.)


Electric Snowflakes

As in the case of many a science site I visit great discoveries have little information about the potential uses of the stated discoveries. That said, this site has very detailed explanation of how electricity forms a variety of shapes with ice crystals and some great photos. | Cal Tech Snow Crystal Site

Disney Postcard-O-Rama!

Disney Postcard-O-Rama!
(It just occurred to me while email replaces "snail mail" there is no official digital equivalent of a post card. I guess they have them but nothing mainstream or as functional as email that I know of. This is what I get for posting at 3:00 am)

This large catalogue of Disney postcards will excite and nostalgify even the most avid Disney expat. Includes photo cards and illustrations from before 1960 to the present. Thumbnail galleries click to full size. (a little slow if you are not on a speedy connection.)

via J-Walk


Somebody's Watching Me....

Well, this will freak you right out. Read this most excellent article. Big Brother not just pretending to watch you, but really watching you. I'm talking about the Pentagon's new pet project called CTS (Combat Zones That See). The cameras have always been there, scattered about every major city in the country. But, now they've developed a way to pull together all of that information from all of those existing sources into one major storehouse of data. Of course they're pushing the notion of how valuable it will be for protecting our soldiers in Bagdad. Come on now! I think a more likely use will be Homeland Spying, I mean Homeland Security. This is pretty creepy indeed.

"(CTS) is pretty creepy. And the creepiest part about it is that it's not all that sophisticated," said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the privacy-rights proponent Electronic Frontier Foundation.


TeraScale SneakerNet

Pinging someone's whuffie doesn't take much bandwidth, but what about flash-baking an entire life-experience over the network?

Moving a megabyte is so easy using the internet that my cell phone can do it with tolerable efficiency. However, today megabytes crop up in droves... is the internet always quicker? (and cheaper?) What might be expected in the forseeable future? ACM Queue has an interesting conversation about large scale data storage and transfer...
The phone bill, at the rate Microsoft pays, is about $1 per gigabyte sent and about $1 per gigabyte received—about $2,000 per terabyte. It's the same hassle for me whether I send it via the Internet or an overnight package with a computer.
Quite the interesting read, for anyone interested in data management and related things.

The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion
(I get tons of referrers coming to this site from hauntedmansion.com)
Disney fans will be excited about the new movie based on the Disney theme park which was also used as a location in the book Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom. (Which inspired this blog for those of you who don't know.) Follow this link for a trailer. Eddie Murphy is in it and there is a definite "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" feel, which I happen to love. IMO It would not have been a good choice to make a dark horror movie like they did with the Batman movies. | Follow this link to view a video trailer.
Via BoingBoing.net

Speaking of Disney movies based on them park attractions, anyone seen "Pirates of Caribbean"? I enjoy that Jonny Dep. He is so brooding and bohemian. Edward Scissor hands is an all-time classic.


Death Casting

This story from CNN talks about Hindu's who cannot attend cremations, who now can watch them live over the web.
A smart death care industry fella' would be all over this, broadcasting a funeral is the next best thing to being there. Although I can sense a morbid Truman Show thang' with Grandpa's dying breath streamed live from the hospital. That would be going a little far.


Wanting ET to Phone Home

It never ceases to amaze me to learn what people are willing to spend their money on. In this case, $24.95 to send a message to 5 stars during the "Cosmic Call". The digitized broadcast that took place on Saturday was sent out from, you guessed it, "Mission Control" in Roswell, New Mexico (with the dish being place in the Ukraine). Apparently 90,000 people opted to shell out the 25 bucks to send their message - 90,000 very stupid people.


The war of information

This article from the Bostin Globe has a great point about keeping an eye on those who keep an eye on 'tings. However, I am one who hopes for a system where holding office is a temporary place of honor, integrity, and public works, not a place where you lose all privacy and live under a microscope. That said Technology has the opportunity to disrupt the balance of power held in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, especially when that government has control of information and the people do not. The proper response to camera's pointing at the private sector is to point them at the public sector as well. Hopefully those with a brain will see that the line between public and private would be forever ruined and scrap the whole notion altogether. However, until then we fight fire with fire.

UPDATE: I was recently informed that I was (among other names) "subversive". A visitor claimed this post was "rabble rousing", and frosted me with other common partisan blogs. In response let me simply state; This blog is not a forum for political discourse or opinion, while my opinions will surely color my writing, I take great pains to focus on sci-tech subject matter. Much of today's technology and science is by nature "subversive" but I have no political agenda with this site. I leave you with this:

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both. (Not my writing, but that of the 4th president of the united states James Madison.)


Happy Birthday America

Through the smoke and spin of world politics few have remembered the gift of freedom that has been represented in my home America. America is not merely geographic place, though there are many memorable visages of beauty, nor is it a book of rules, though our Constitution is precious article, and niether does it tout itself as the only way, for America is a group of people with one common idea, celebrated and despised on forign soils, that idea is the people, and the people are the idea. Let us not forget amongst our lowly banging on the drums of politics, amongst the divisive tools of partisanship, or among the toils of day to day commerce and endevour, of this great heritage purchased by those who choose to defend you, speak for you, and work for you.
This great heritage defined by freedom, and expressed in speech of all kinds, from art, to blogs, to email is enjoyed by individuals. Not according to race, sex, creed, or kind but to all who own precious citizenship. Let not national debate, decent, or apathy destroy our love, our self respect, or ideals. On this day July 4th 2003, we face a future of uncertainty, with dynamic changes in technology that increasingly both empower and alter the common man and those that govern him, let us face that future without cowerdice or fear, but with responsiblity to the generations which shall follow. Let us not move forward in division, but in the unity which has been present in all great known human acheivements.
Today I remember the great gift of our lady liberty from France whose friendship is now in question. (To whom I hold no mallice) At the entrance to freedom she still remains a symbol of hope. What a perfect symbol a gift from afar. From the indian immigrant who starts a shop to send her children to college, to the native wealthy executive who gives of his fortune to do the right thing, May God bless you America, each and every one of you. Happy Birthday.

From the owner of this blog. (If you want to know more read this pleasant reminder of who we are.)



(Photo is student Zach Clark showing computer monitors displaying very small things from the donated BSU Atomic Force Microscope during open house.)
I went to the NanoTech seminar yesterday and will post short and long versions of my notes and a summary. I have to mention Amy Moll the Assistant Professor of the Dept. Of Engineering who I met at the "open house" that kicked off UGIM '03 Microelectronics Symposium on Sunday. She is a very creative thinker and gave us a great tour and showed us some of the research being done. BSU would be smart to take real good care of her and pay her well.

Also the "comments" have been down thanks to Blogger and their kookie ways, but thanks to the ever kind hearted and hard working Mike they are working again.


Congratulations Roger you birthed a baby boy!

See people! This is where all this bio mania will lead us; down a slippery creepy slope. According to the BBC, scientists are postulating that soon men could cary children in an embryonic womb. Who are these scientists? Why? While transplanting a womb for a mother has obvious benefits, what could possibly be gained for a male? Aside from exit hole issues, there is a whole host of other things men are not equipped with. Would this become another selfish trend like single celebrities who adopt Taiwanese children? | Full BBC story here

Code name: Falcon

Code name: Falcon
(Falcon:Force Application and Launch from the Continental US-Isn't that Falcus?)
This DARPA program is developing space weapons that can launch from inside "Consus" (Continental US to those who aren't up on military tech speak.) The best part of the article is where they suggest that a single titanium rod dropped from space could create tremendous shock waves and penatrate 70 feet into solid rock. This would be used for deep bunker busting. | Full story here
Via Drudge


The Next Bomb

The 90's gave us dot.com bombs. Up next, nano bombs?

Nanotechnology is here! Or is it?

Don't Tread On Me Ware

Don't Tread On Me Ware
(I admit I am on a local tech kick but there is no particular reason.) University of Idaho students have developed a new way to prevent or severely limit hackers. The new software componant called CipherSmith soon to be engineered internally on a computer chip makes the hacker defend themselves against the potentially lethel software. The chip is also said to make it very difficult to hack into a network, requiring expensive equipment, luck, and hours and hours of coding. CipherSmith is set to debut at Technology IV in Spokane, Washington on Tuesday, a showcase for new developments.


Download A Joint and a Waffle?

Is it posible that nano and bio tech will reveal the hidden secrets of the brain, opening the door for a change in the drug trade/controlled substance world? Imagine if legalization of Marijuana became irrelavant, as digital THC algorythms were available for download on the net and played back through a pair of headphones? LSD, Cocaine, Heroine and other drugs? While this would be a detriment to healthy society, drug trafficers might be the ones hurt the most. Legislation would have to be enacted to stop such "stoner" software. Mind altering "Hardware" would have to be carefully regulated. It could happen. See this digital drug known as the Voodoo Machine.
Via The Accordion Guy

Calling All Nerds

Calling All Nerds
Open house at 4:00pm on Sunday at Boise State University at the engineering and technology building at 1375 University Drive. Come and learn about the components that go into MP3 players and talking Elmo dolls. This open house is the start of an international gathering of semi-conductor and micro/nano electronic researchers. 300 or so participants from 38 universities Monday through Wednesday. The three day sympsonium costs $70-$325 And claims to present next generation tech like micro-spacecraft for deep space missions and chip sized "electronic noses".
For more info go to UGIM 03 (cross posted at idahoMP3.com)


Cannon Ball Run: Clone Style

(Update on Idaho Gem Clone post)
It seems that of the five known competing cloners, no one is disputing the sucess of the Moscow, Idaho group from University of Idaho who are now awaiting their 3rd cloned "horse".
However, while the Italians have been silent as of late, the Austin Texas group from A&M U is brushing aside the accomplishments of the Idaho underdog and purporting to be the first to breed a quarter horse. Read more here
Cloners are desperate to fund their expensive habit. A bit of a bio gold rush if you will. While there of plenty of fools in a hurry to part with their dollars, I think many are still smarting from the tech industries wacking. Keep an eye on the Idaho group. We Idahoans are oft under estimated, and are a studious and disciplined group. Not only was the TV invented in Idaho, but the recent nuclear and chemical detection devices being employed publically came from here in the spud state.



A brief reprieve on my ban on posts about robots. It is not so much the robot that I find appealing as the idea of a self powered machine using it's kill for fuel. Very Stephen Kingish.

| Full wired story here | Slugbot site


Nanotechnology Luncheon

A forum on developing a productive enviroment for nano-tech ventures will be held in Boise, Idaho on July 2th at the DoubleTree Riverside noon to 3:15. Speakers will include Micron Technologies Research VP Mark Durcan, Lyman Frost from INEEL, Amy Moll from Boise State University, and Scot Ritchie from Positron Systems Inc.
$50 inlcudes lunch. To register call (208) 472-5230 or go to Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.


The Birth of A PDA

Congratulations it's a baby Zire. 10 shot gave birth to a baby 6 oz. Palm Zire. Claims she has been doing away with dead tree snippets all day.

I gave her my resources for "educating" that little whipper snapper:

For the spiritually minded: decent free bible software at olivetree.com


Qvadis E-books library

A library of books for your handheld. (As 10shot's sister points out can be helpful while waiting for the doctor.)

250 or so titles just in the Sci-Fi section. Including HG Wells books: The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and the Invisible Man
and others from authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs.

These are .prc files which I assume work with any reader on Palm OS.

While it is a huge library, that even includes a rating system and search, the titles don't include the author names up front and sometimes have little or no info. But beggars shant not be choosers. This library has very open-sourcy feel as there are original works mixed in with the classics. Many of the books were tediously copied by an assortment of whuffie deserving transcriptionists.

Also check out their large list of e-book source links that includes links to the commercial fictionwise.com and the Gutenberg Opensource project:

Qvadis Internet Library of Links

Add on: For those of you who have always wanted to learn Morse code get this free tutor ware.


Principle 21: "Perform hazardous operations at very high speed."

A Russian scientist Genrich Altshuller developed a group of "power laws" that when applied to industrial design created huge advancements. Of course he was promptly jailed. Apparently big companies today have picked up these ideas and are running with them.

Now if TRIZ could just fix the comments on this blog.
| Read article | Learn more about TRIZ
via Walker Web Watch


Latent Inner Rain Man

(Blogging and breakfast don't mix. My brain is not sure which releases more dopamine: food or information...I am so conflicted.)
"humming antidepression helmets and math-enhancing ''hair dryers'' on their heads.." a quote from Lawrence Osborne's NYT article. (This is 4 pager story, not that long but I am wondering if the internet is enabling a "Kevin Costner" syndrome of longer news stories than usual.)
The article speaks of research being done on magnetising the brain which somehow creates enhanced thought processes. (You really must try sleeping in on a Sunday morning and eating Chinese food for breakfast.) Researcher Allan Snyder thinks that it may be we all have an inner 'Rain Man' in us waiting to be electromagnetically released. Wow! That could be...mind blowing? Of course there are those of us who always operate in an enhanced mode..like me. Note the artwork I posted my cat drawing without EMT, instead I substituted hot mustard. (Let's see a CAT scan of the mindnumbing, nasal passage clearing; 'horseradish rush'.)
also note this quote from:
rof. Vilayanur Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California at San Diego
"We're at the same stage in brain research that biology was in the 19th century. We know almost nothing about the mind." Proving my theory, mentioned in the post below about neuroeconomics, that the interior of the mind is much more uncharted than they would like us to believe. (Thanks 'Honey for the Mongolian Beef it was so much better than the McGriddle I was dreading.)

Big Brother Hangin' Out at Wal-Mart

Big Brother Hangin' Out at Wal-Mart
Apparently Wal-Mart and Gillette have teamed up to try out some products imbedded with RFID tracking. The RFID chip provides a hopped up bar code for products that contains a lot more information. They also have read/write capability so that information can be added to them.

The original article by Mary Starrett makes the case for all privacy loving shoppers to throw up their arms in protest and start emailing their Congressional Representatives.

I don't know. I pretty much think we're all being tracked and monitored anyway. Quite frankly it doesn't really bother me. So, they know I've purchase a razor - big deal. Someone could rummage through my garbage can and learn what I'm buying too.

When I shop on Amazon.com, they know what I've purchased before, what I've looked at, and offer up selections for future purchases. I like the tailored on-line shopping experience. What's the difference?

Maybe if I was engaged in some kind of freaky, clandestine shopping, I'd be a little more concerned. I just don't care. Am I just apathetic or completely naive?


White Man Speak with Forked Tongue

(Posting with trepidation.) While this entirely grosses me out it seems on topic, considering the extreme body mod' mentioned in Down'. (see reversable dog-leg knee joints) Also the idea that kids used to grow thier hair long as self expression and now have moved to permanant alterations like tattoos and peircing seems to be fair futuristic topic de jour.
I saw a story long ago about 'californicators implanting bolts in their skulls to attach plastic and metal mohawks but I couldn't find anything in the 'Googlinator. (I did find Metrophage By Richard Karney) I remember living in Seattle and having doctors, nurses, execs, and libriarians commenting on the novelty of the fact I had no peircings or body art. So I am guessing regional and culteral views on this will vary. Don't cut your tongue you might regret it..wait that is teenager for "DO cut your tongue..." Go ahead and do this it is your option, I hope it ages with you." Is that better? I am practicing for my kids who have not yet hit their teens. | Tongue splitting story here


Salam Pax UPDATE (for those of you who missed it.)

The Iraqi Blogger known as Salam Pax (Peace, Peace) who mesmerized the blogoshpere with his insight, humor, humanity, and good taste in American music, had been the subject of many a challenge to his legitmacy. Many questioned who this blogger was, and what his motives were. Some claimed he was with the CIA, others Hamas, and yet others Mossad. It turns out that Salam Pax was legitamately identified as non other than an Iraqi intrepeter for Peter Maass a writer for the New York Times.
| Full Story | Salam's brief confirmation

Neuroeconomics: Another researcher cash cow?

Neuroeconomics: Another researcher cash cow?
Picked up this NYT story from TBP at unbillable'. It is about scientists studying brain response while making economic transactions. While I think study of human behavior is a great way for society to work out problems, I am skeptical about authorative brain studies and their conclusions. For example; the whole left brain/right brain theory has been adopted through some research programs and a number of books as fact. But if you look into it's opponents, there is still too much we do not know about the brain. There are even those who claim it is pseudoscience or psychoheresy. Today's power construct uses science to control people. Labels are a great way to to categorize and thus control them. Unfortunately, people are too diverse, too subject to change, to neatly fit those labels. (Read this interview with MIT's Steven Pinker author of Blank Slate') This is why socially most people recognize psychology, yet personally most of us belive much of it to be bunk. Essentially what I am saying is that witch hunting, and the beliefs like the 'world is flat' and 'flies come from trash', that used to come from yesterday's social leaders and scientists, are still here today, just hidden behind more acceptable yet less obvious terms. Producing studies to explain the obvious makes dumb people think you are smart.

For example look at the NYT article which states:
"Expectations alter economic experience. It feels better to get nothing when you expect $10 compared to getting nothing when you expect $90, researchers say. "
It took how many tax dollars, how much time and resources to figure that one out? Duh. If your like me you see the steady stream of scientific research that confirms what most of us assume is common sense. While granted there is some value in confirming certain theories scientifically, it doesn't take a Harvard degree to figure some of this stuff out.

Vanguardism aside, the "creative side of my brain" takes the story to it's potential Orwellian result: A hive of cloned Allan Greenspans all neural-netted into the NY stock exchange and government financial institutions instinctively making real-time adjustments. Neuroeconimic testing for applicants at stock agencies and venture capitalist companies that weed out those with "bad judgement". Resulting in a homogenized, sterile and inhuman environment already dominated by shark-like inhumanity (sorry Tim). Ultimately creative thinkers will be viewed as "criminal", then jailed and "disposed of" to "protect society". Sounds way out? Well think about it. Society already has a natural aversion to change and authoritarian environments already reward obedience and conformity, so who are we to think that technology and knowledge will not be used to further this behavior? Our only hope is for Neo to help humanity to escape the Matrix!


Can you See What I'm Saying?

So I am scoping this blog about smartmobs, and scanning through articles on suberversive behavior like sharing one supermarket discount card to screw up their system. (No not that!) And I come across this little item that first leads me to think "Uhm...yeah....too much weed.", until I see that the idea about dolphins communicating with each using word pictures, being a legitamate notion parlayed into a technology that claims to have the lofty goal of creating "Adaptive Media" technology to produce high quality, "mass customized" (video) media without any effort by the user." Which means for you bleary eyed web surfers, that they will make it so easy for your average guy to edit and shoot video, that it will become a new form of mass communication. | Visit the Garage Cinema Reasearch Group to learn more.

Caffinated and Clean

Caffinated and Clean
(This one is for Marcy, a contributor here at whuffie.com who I now call "10 shot".)
Soap with caffeine. Yeah, because Americans don't get enough caffeine in their diets. Get some here at ThinkGeek.
Via newly bloggrolled inventor and extreme tech fiend at FlashEnabled.com

Hey wait, I just found this link from the NewScientist about impregnating sarranwrap with anti-bacterial natural substances, and it gave me an idea; utensils and containers with caffeine in them. You could get maximum caffeine in the morning with caffinated cups and spoons. How about a hat that pumps it into your brain directly?

"Do all things in moderation."

Segway revisited

Segway revisited
I think these things are a great innovation and can't wait to see them proliferate. Anything to correct the insane traffic problems our cities are plagued with. These things are hardcore sci-tech, yet they have been written off by many as the overpriced dangerous brainchild of a mad inventor in typical resist that which is new fashion. Likely this is due in part from the long sited inventor Dean Kamen who initially has pitched his new invention on government organizations rather than sports and technology enthusiasts. Blogrolled enthusiast Steve has been recently agitated by the new P-Series, which he claims should be released in July. This new model is smaller lighter and less expensive the I-series which was recently featured as an Amozon.com special. See photos and chat here at segwaychat.com
Also read this story about what really happened (be sure to fully accept or ignore the flagrant political opinion at the end.) in the overrated Segway mishap involving the president. | link to poor photos here at US news