On Wednesday afternoon, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program that the administration would continue to push to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
After an interesting turn of events at last week’s hearing on Broadcast and Audio Flag(s) proposed by the MPAA and RIAA, IPac has set up a campaign to get every congressman & woman an iPod.
But Senator Stevens, the 82-year old committee chairman from Alaska, surprised the audience by announcing that his daughter had bought him an iPod, and suddenly Stevens had a much greater understanding of the many ways innovative technology can create choice for consumers. Content industry representatives at the hearing found themselves answering much tougher questions than they typically receive.
The goal is to try to enlighten all of the congressmen & women who are responsible for making crucial decisions about technology as to, shall we say, “our side” of the whole thing by making them full-fledged iPod-owners themselves. Not only would they receive iPods, however, but they would come pre-loaded with all sorts of enlightening content:
Plus, we’re going to pre-load each one with examples of the cultural richness made possible by sharing and collaboration – public domain content, Creative Commons content, and audio messages about the importance of balanced copyright policy. It will be engraved with the words “listen to the people.”
Edward Tufte says: “PowerPoint is Evil.” This got me thinking… What if Darth Vader — my favorite fictional bad guy — gave a formal presentation? How would it look? How would it compare to the presentation style of Yoda, the wise Jedi master?
In this horribly embellished image above, Darth tries to get Luke to capitulate and join forces by presenting in an “evil PowerPoint style.” We know in this galaxy, though, that this approach never really works.
Size and age matter not. Might Yoda take a more “naked” analog approach?
First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure.
That new annoyance is IE 7′s weird attitude towards menus. One of the few Windows elements that’s remained constant since Windows 1.0–in almost every signficant applications–is that menus appear directly beneath the title bar. In IE 7, they don’t. Actually, they don’t appear at all by default; you can turn them on, but even then, they appear below the URL field, not above it.
How come? Microsoft says that for most common tasks, you won’t need menus at all. And that’s probably true…once you find where the tasks have moved in IE’s newly-rearranged interface. But why Microsoft seems to think that millions of people who already know how to use menus would want to stop using them, I’m not sure.
This isn’t just an IE 7 thing. The impending updates for multiple Microsoft products–IE, Office, and Windows Vista–all reflect the company’s jihad against the menu. But each one does away with them in a different fashion, thereby eliminating a meaningful point of consistency from the Windows interface. (So far, Office 12 seems to come the closest to eliminating old-style menus in a coherent fashion.)
It’s a little as if General Motors was simultaneously showing off new Chevys that put the brake to the right of the accelerator and new Pontiacs that put it on top…and it didn’t have an explanation as to why the brake needed to move at all, beyond the fact that learning how to stop a car isn’t a cakewalk.
The CIA has launched a new offensive to capture Osama bin Laden. While not all details can be released, a senior administration official has confirmed an XL all cotton “I love Afghanistan” t-shirt and a specially-trained strike force from the Washington Capitol Police will be key to the operation’s success.
“We are confident Osama will be in U.S. custody by morning,” said the unnamed official, “unless, of course, he wears a medium.”
Two-month-old net giraffe(Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), Lenga, looks towards photographers at the zoo in Frankfurt, central Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006. Lengai is the youngest of Frankfurt’s net giraffes that originally come from northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
The State of the Union:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources — and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.
So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative — a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research — at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)
The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.
A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol.
And then there’s this:
One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn’t mean it literally.
We weten het. Grappen over stadswachten zijn net zo lame als lachen om de Josti-band. WE WETEN HET! Maar in dit geval moet het even. Maandag is in Leiden een sommelier van een restaurant gearresteerd. En een sommelier kinderen, dat is iemand die beroepsmatig met flessen in de weer is, ach fuck jullie stelletje ongeletterde Astra-rijdende karbonade-eters, klik hierrr dan toch. Goed, die sommelier dus, van restaurant In Den Doofpot is door doortastende stadswachten op heterdaad betrapt, gearresteerd & veroordeeld tot een boete van vijftig (50) euro voor het gooien van lege flessen in een… Wacht… we maken er een meerkeuzequizje van. Meneer de sommelier gooide de lege flessen dus in een:
A: Couveuse met terminaal leukemie-patientje
B: Iglo Groenteschotel (Milanees)
C: Vijver met zeldzame Koi Karpers
Veel wijsheid toegewenst. Onder de reaguurders met het goede antwoord verloten we een Stijlloos T-shirt.
I didn’t listen to the State of the Union Address last night, preferring to maintain my equanimity by attending a talk on quantum physics, but I knew I could trust my readers to email me with choice weird science bits. I’m getting a lot of “WTF?” email about this statement from Bush:
Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research, human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling or patenting human embryos.
But guess what? Creating chimeras is legitimate and useful scientific research; it’s really happening. Of course, it isn’t with the intent of creating monstrous half-animal/half-human slaves or something evil like that, and scientists are well aware (or should be well aware) of the ethical concerns, and it’s the topic of ongoing debate. Let’s consider one recent example of such an experiment.
Down syndrome is a very common genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21. That kind of genetic insult causes a constellation of problems: mild to moderate mental retardation, heart defects, and weakened immune systems, and various superficial abnormalities. It’s also a viable defect, and produces walking, talking, interacting human beings who are loved by their friends and families, who would really like to be able to do something about those lifespan-reducing health problems. We would love to have an animal model of Down syndrome, so that, for example, we could figure out exactly what gene overdose is causing the immune system problems or the heart defects, and develop better treatments for them.
So what scientists have been doing is inserting human genes into mice, to produce similar genetic overdoses in their development. As I reported before, there have been partial insertions, but now a team of researchers has inserted a complete human chromosome 21 into mouse embryonic stem cells, and from those generated a line of aneuploid mice that have many of the symptoms of Down syndrome, including the heart defects. They also have problems in spatial learning and memory that have been traced back to defects in long-term potentiation in the central nervous system.
These mice are a tool to help us understand a debilitating human problem.
George W. Bush would like to make them illegal.
He’s trusting that everyone will think he is banning monstrous crimes against nature, but what he’s really doing is targeting the weak and the ill, blocking useful avenues of research that are specifically designed to help us understand human afflictions. His message isn’t “We aren’t going to let the mad scientists make monsters!”, it’s “We aren’t going to let the doctors help those ‘retards.’”
Once again, the ignorance and the bigotry of the religious right wins out over reason and humanitarianism. I think I know who the real pig-men are.
Just in case you don’t really know what a computer looks like when it is connected to the Internet,
Yahoo newsAP helpfully provides an image with this article: