Saturday, November 10, 2007


Tacky, tacky.

Doesn't the person who manages this screen system ever step outside and look? Or, better yet, set up a webcam across the street so you can check the readout!

Have it all--on a Mac

I have to concur with this sentiment. It just works fantastically for everything I need to do in my role as a system administrator. Having that Unix terminal just makes everything better, especially with the virtualization technology of Parallels.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Finding the origins of English mathematics

When I studied the history of mathematics in college, we didn't talk about the contributions of the Brits--mostly, I think, because no one ever thought there was a contribution before the middle ages. So this article on megolithic circles just looks really cool. The money paragraph for me is this:
In an interesting aside, Linacre describes the research of Anne Macauley (1924-1998) who studied the monuments and showed that these megalithic people understood the Fibonacci series of numbers and the Golden Mean five thousand years before Leonardo of Pisa explained them. The evidence also suggests they used square roots and Pythagorean mathematics two thousand years before Pythagoras.
Leonardo of Pisa was around 1175-1250, so the Brits supposedly understood Fibonacci series around 4000 BC. Impressive, yes; but I think Mesopotamia may have had similar technology, although this timeline shows nothing for that time period. To my knowledge, we have no evidence that Mesopotamia was interested in Fibonacci numbers, but then there numerical system was sexigesimal, so I'll lay the blame at that. They did work on quadratic equations, although I can't imagine doing those without the shorthand notation we use!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The future of parking

This article on stackable cars isn't nearly as interesting after reading it again as it was at first. I was hoping the cars would be stacked vertically. That would be far more fun. Just watch that first step, I think. It's a doozy.

Wherefore art thou earmarks?

This is an interesting use of technology.
One of Sunlight's resident creative geniuses (yes, there are many of them) have taken all the Defense Appropriations Earmarks and made them available for viewing within Google Earth. (You can only view this using Google Earth which you can download from this page.)

I think we could apply a similar idea to a whole host of state budgets, company budgets (where you could analyze the amounts assigned per departments), nonprofits organizations, etc. Lots of ideas here.

I really prefer visual images that describe information; Tufte's books on visual design should be required reading for everyone, in my opinion.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Reprehensible Christian

I read this story about Anthony Flew, who may have been taken advantage of by supposed Christians. I highly recommend you read it all, but here's a snippet:
But is Flew’s conversion what it seems to be? Depending on whom you ask, Antony Flew is either a true convert whose lifelong intellectual searchings finally brought him to God or a senescent scholar possibly being exploited by his associates. The version you prefer will depend on how you interpret a story that began 20 years ago, when some evangelical Christians found an atheist who, they thought, might be persuaded to join their side. In the intellectual tug of war that ensued, Flew himself — a continent away, his memory failing, without an Internet connection — had no idea how fiercely he was being fought over or how many of his acquaintances were calling or writing him just to shore up their cases.
If this is true, then it is horrific. No one who claims to know Christ should use any person in this manner. And the editor should never have allowed this to occur!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

How to be a Vulcan in One Easy Step?

Well, "step" isn't quite right. More like one surgery. Yes, you too can have Vulcan Ears.

Now I'm a huge Star Trek fan, but I'm averse to body modification through surgery. I'm willing to let Time just do its own work on my body and see where it takes me. But this seriously disturbs me on another level.

The desire to get into the world of fiction is growing stronger in our society. Oh, I know fiction has been around since before the Greeks started writing plays. But our society seems to be taking our interest in fiction to dangerous levels. Look at our recent Halloween event. How many adults had parties and dressed up? (The big complaint was about all the slutty costumes for women down to age 8).

How many people have gotten totally into the Harry Potter series? (Disclaimer: I enjoyed reading the series, yet I understand why Christian parents would think very carefully before letting their kids read it.) The number of people who read fan sites devoted to HP is huge.

Go into the gaming community: World of Warcraft, Civ, and many others I don't even know about. They are all about escaping this world and living in another. Second Life is another manifestation of this behavior. People don't want to be themselves.

How sad, as God made them that way and He loves them as they are.