May 2006

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

As Goes the Housing Market, So Goes Advertising

As Goes the Housing Market, So Goes Advertising: “Also, when GoTo was powering through the last recession, search was a cute little $100 million business. It is now approaching a $10 billion business, and, as such, is far more exposed to the vicissitudes of the economy at large.”


Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Key Rep. Opposes ‘Path to Citizenship’

Key Rep. Opposes ‘Path to Citizenship’: “‘It’s too much too soon, and too expensive,’ said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. ‘What we have to do is first secure the border, and then we have to turn off the magnet that brings more illegal immigrants into our country.” – does he mean freedom or does he mean opportunity?


Monday, 29 May 2006

'Da Vinci Code’ steals from ‘Star Wars’

‘Da Vinci Code’ steals from ‘Star Wars’


Saturday, 27 May 2006

Nobody home / Santorum tries to cover his tracks on residency

Nobody home / Santorum tries to cover his tracks on residency: “That is all you need to know about the nasty dispute between the Republican Sen. Santorum and his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., in the November election. The whole thing is rooted in one inconvenient fact for Sen. Santorum: He doesn’t live here anymore.


Friday, 26 May 2006

Good News and a Puzzle

Good News and a Puzzle: “In the lower stratosphere (between 10 and 18 km) ozone has recovered even better than changes in CFCs alone would predict.”


Thursday, 25 May 2006

Source of HIV virus traced to chimps from Cameroon

Source of HIV virus traced to chimps from Cameroon: “Paul Sharp, Professor of Genetics at the University of Nottingham, a member of the research group, said the work indicates that the HIV-1 virus that causes Aids almost certainly arose in south-east Cameroon, in the early part of the 20th century.”


Why NSA spying puts the U.S. in danger

Why NSA spying puts the U.S. in danger: “There are children abused on a daily basis to facilitate online child pornography, yet I know of at least two agents who were pulled from their duties tracking down child abusers to investigate everyone who called the same pizza parlor as a person who received a call from a person who received an overseas call. There are plenty of similar examples. We have snakes in our midst, yet we are chasing a mythical beast with completely unreliable evidence.”


Blame Mexico: the Mess Starts at Home

Blame Mexico: the Mess Starts at Home: “This has been a threefold victory for the Mexican government. First, it eliminates the financial concern of how to care for these people. Second, the citizens who would be the angriest about the government’s inadequacies keep leaving the country. Those who would vote, protest, stage walkouts, and revolt%u2014instead keep voting with their feet. Which in turn protects The Powers That Be. And third, as a reward for watching entire communities empty out, they receive a huge influx of cash.”


Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Worshipping False Gods

Worshipping False Gods: “Pundits have doubted GPA on the basis of the huge difference in the quality of high schools. But poor high schools are usually in economically depressed neighborhoods. The kid who does well there is beating the odds, and I would bet on that student.”


The N.S.A.‘s Math Problem

The N.S.A.’s Math Problem: “guilt by association is not just bad law, it’s bad mathematics”


Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Voyager II detects solar system’s edge

Voyager II detects solar system’s edge: “The milestone, which comes about a year after Voyager 1’s crossing, comes earlier than expected and suggests to scientists that the edge of the shock is about one billion miles closer to the sun in the southern region of the solar system than in the north.”


Monday, 22 May 2006

Wow. Clueless.

Wow. Clueless.: “This is one of the dumbest stories I’ve ever seen, and it’s a glaring example of how the political class of this town thinks D.C. revolves around them. Washington, D.C. - the real Washington and the surrounding area (including Maryland and Virginia), consists of many people who have lived here for a long time or are native born (like myself). We DO have a strong sports culture. It’s called The Washington Redskins.


Thursday, 18 May 2006

Evolution’s human and chimp twist

Evolution’s human and chimp twist: “The hypothesis is that there was gene flow between the ancestors of humans and chimpanzees after their original divergence.”


Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Impressive New Tricks of Light, All Within the Laws of Physics

Impressive New Tricks of Light, All Within the Laws of Physics: “However, the pulses were in a shape known as Gaussian, which is, in principle, infinite in width, though in practice not quite that wide.”


Friday, 12 May 2006

Belly fat blues

Belly fat blues: “Once we got beyond the bag-of-fat concept, we found there were a lot of things going on with those cells”


Thursday, 11 May 2006


53,651: the Web 2.0 version of Crossing the Chasm.


NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls

NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls: “ Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. ‘In other words,’ Bush explained, ‘one end of the communication must be outside the United States.’” – yeah, like in Kansas


Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Citations and critical commentary

Citations and critical commentary: “Bottom line: academia’s increasing reliance on bibliometric measures of quality and performance has real effects on the kind of research we do, how we package and promote our research, the demographic characteristics of the research community, and so on.”


Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Q. What could this boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much

Q. What could this boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much: “It is an exchange of information in return for convenience. But as far as I’m concerned, having that information leaked out to people who could steal my identity wasn’t part of the deal.”


Web 2.0 and Research

Web 2.0 and Research: “So the question comes up again: is there any role for the research community for Web 2.0? I’m increasingly thinking that the answer is no, because the cultures, goals, and incentives with these two communities are far too misaligned.”


360 Years of Solitude

360 Years of Solitude: “Is PC gaming dead? We can only hope.”


Sunday, 7 May 2006

Last U.S. Titanic Survivor Dies at 99

Last U.S. Titanic Survivor Dies at 99


Conserving at the urging of oil giants

Conserving at the urging of oil giants: “This is the sorry state of our nation’s energy policy: Oil companies are asking consumers to buy less of their products.” – or is this the sorry state of our press pool, that reporters get snippy about people stating the obvious?


Saturday, 6 May 2006

More Google News Redirection

More Google News Redirection: “Near the end of that AttiLog entry, I say that I’m going to switch to RSS, since it doesn’t seem to be redirected. Well, maybe it wasn’t then, but it is now. All the URLs in Google News’ RSS feed are redirected back towards Google, using a cute little enveloping technique (which is almost certainly not standards-compliant, but oh well, who’s counting).”


The RFID Hacking Underground

The RFID Hacking Underground: “According to Mussche, Libramation has sold 5 million RFID tags in a ‘convenient’ unlocked state.”


Friday, 5 May 2006

Cyclic universe could explain cosmic balancing act

Cyclic universe could explain cosmic balancing act: “‘Any explanation is quite likely to be extreme,’ he says, ‘because all the non-extreme possibilities have already been thoroughly explored.’”


Thursday, 4 May 2006

The High Cost of Coming to America

The High Cost of Coming to America: “An absurd scenario? Perhaps–but barriers like these face many scientists who apply for a visa to visit the United States. That most are willing to put up with them testifies to the importance of the United States in world science. But to some, the transaction costs are simply too high, and as we saw recently in the case of Goverdhan Mehta, more and more scientists are simply saying ‘no.’”


Wrestling with “network neutrality”

Wrestling with “network neutrality”: “Someone on Politech opined that the "net neutrality” argument comes down to whether you fear government failure or market failure more. That’s an attractive simplification, but I suspect posterity will regard it as a petty distinction. The real fight is between cronyism and the rest of us, and an advantage of democratic government, even in its debased forms, is that its failures can sometimes be exposed and addressed.“


Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Pardons Granted 88 Years After Crimes of Sedition

Pardons Granted 88 Years After Crimes of Sedition: "Mr. Work and other historians believe that the harshness of the Montana law was influenced by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, which dominated the state economically and viewed the law as a way to deal with labor unrest.”


What Makes an American?

What Makes an American?: “The essence of ‘American’ has never been geography, rarely do politicians wax rhapsodic over the quirk of fate that saw them born in San Diego rather than five miles further south. Instead, we’ve always prided ourselves on comprising a collection of transcendent characteristics, characteristics which allowed us to emerge a global nation, easily able to incorporate all those who would seek to share our values.”


Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Priority Cell Phones for First Responders

Schneier on Security: Priority Cell Phones for First Responders: “I wonder how long before someone hacks that system.” - Correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t really touched non-VoIP voice systems since around 1999, so I probably wrong), but this is a brute force approach to a system we’ve had in land-lines for years – the capability for some users to acquire a priority path in an overload condition. In practice, it wasn’t available to most first responders, just people with some level of clearance. The only time it was ever used was on 9/11/01. As I remember it, all it got you was a reserved path with priority in an overload condition, so it wasn’t much use unless the network was already gridlocked (I’d be surprised if it wasn’t hacked already). That said, cell networks are a bit more prone to being overloaded, so even that scheme would be useful to hack. However ACCOLC is not the land-line scheme – it appears to allow whoever controls it (legitimately or otherwise) to completely shut down the network. Verizon’s new motto could be “DoS me.”


Monday, 1 May 2006

Evolution Occurs Faster at the Equator

Evolution Occurs Faster at the Equator: “The finding supports a theory put forth by biologist Klaus Rohde in 1992 that climate can have a powerful effect on how fast organisms evolve and branch off into new species.”


U.S. Prepares for ‘Day Without Immigrants’

U.S. Prepares for ‘Day Without Immigrants’: “Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged students to stay in school during the day and advised protesters against waving flags of their native countries. ‘You should wave the American flag,’ he said. ‘It’s the flag of the country that we all are proud of and want to be a part of. Don’t disrespect the traditions of this country.’”