Permanence is Karl's second novel, and it's brilliant -- at its core is a massive, hard-sf conceit: that because tool-use expends more energy than adaptation (i.e., when confronted with a marsh, it's easier to be a marsh-bird than to figure out how to drain it), that over time, all the races of the universe will use genetic engineering to adapt themselves to their habitats and so become nonsentient. Layered on top of that are braided adventure stories, religious cults, and a kind of intellectual property imperialism driven by smart dust and twisted by lightspeed lags. This is the kind of book that changes you, and he deserved the hell out of this award.
All other factors being equal, each extra degree of sprawl meant extra weight, less walking, and a little more high blood pressure, he concluded. Someone living in the most sprawling county - Geauga County outside Cleveland - would weigh 6.3 pounds more than if that same person lived in the most compact area, Manhattan.Link Discuss (via Futurismic)
The Myth: Iraqis, prior to occupation, lived in little beige tents set up on the sides of little dirt roads all over Baghdad. The men and boys would ride to school on their camels, donkeys and goats. These schools were larger versions of the home units and for every 100 students, there was one turban-wearing teacher who taught the boys rudimentary math (to count the flock) and reading. Girls and women sat at home, in black burkas, making bread and taking care of 10-12 children.Link Discuss (via William Gibson)
"There is not a chance in the world that (these types of devices) will do anything but lighten your wallet," said John Moulder, a professor of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who said he's seen a slew of products that claim to do the same thing, including radio-frequency-proof lingerie.Link Discuss
Harezi first developed the Teslar chip in 1986 to help people with extreme sensitivity to electricity, from televisions to vacuum cleaners. She said the "environmentally handicapped" people who wore the watch were able to resume their lives.
Logically - indeed, free-software geeks are the most logical hippies in the whole wide world - the revolution is at hand. Why should anybody pay for software? What do you get for your money besides shrink-wrap licenses, potential lawsuits, DRM cuffs around both wrists, and a cloud of viruses? "Property relations" are blocking social and technical progress. Secure computing and digital rights management are coercive regimes that would make George Orwell blush. The free market is a tissue of political fiction as brittle as an Eastern European regime. With open source code on tap, the software trade will collapse under its own weight.Link Discuss
My party, the Guns and Dope Party, invites extremists of both right and left to unite behind our shared goals of:I haven't been this excited about politics since RU Sirius ran for President! Link Discuss
1. Get those pointy-headed Washington bureaucrats off our backs and off our fronts too!
2. Guns for everybody who wants them; no guns for those who don't want them
3. Drugs for everybody who wants them; no drugs for those who don't want them
4. Freedom of choice, free love,free speech, free Internet and free beer
5. California secession -- Keep the anti-gun and anti-dope fanatics on the Eastern side of the Rockies
6. Lotsa wild parties every night by gun-toting dopers
7. Animal protection -- Support your right to keep and arm bears
More position papers will follow; we know at least 69 good positions.
Trish gathered her staff in the board room and wrote the following in glowing letters on the wall with her fingertip, leaving the text in her expressive schoolmarm's handwriting rather than converting it to some sterile font: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."Link Discuss
Her staff, all five of them, chuckled softly. "Recognize it?" she asked, looking round at them.
"Pee-Wee Herman?" said the grassroots guy, who was so young it ached to look at him, but who could fire a cannonload of email into any congressional office on 12 hours' notice. He never stopped joking.
The lawyer cocked an eyebrow at him and stroked her moustache, a distinctive gesture that you could see in any number of courtv archives of famous civil-rights battles, typically just before she unloaded both barrels at the jury-box and set one or another of her many precedents. "It's Martin Luther King, right?"
"Close," Trish said.
"Geronimo," guessed the paralegal, who probably wasn't going to work out after all, being something of a giant flake who spent more time on the phone to her girlfriend than filing papers and looking up precedents.
"Nope," Trish said, looking at the other two staffers -- the office manager and the media guy -- who shrugged and shook their heads. "It's Gandhi," she said.
They all went, "Ohhhh," except the grassroots guy, who crossed to the wall and used his fingertip to add, "And then they assassinate you."
"I'm too tough to die," the lawyer said. "And you're all too young. So I think we're safe."
The BBC, in theory, shouldn't care how many times you share a copy of, say, Dixon of Dock Green. On the contrary, it should thank you. You're taking the hard work - and cost - out of distributing the works you have already paid for with your licence fee. So not only does the BBC not need to care about Napster and other file-sharing systems - it can actively take advantage of them. Distributing content in this way does not reduce the BBC's income, but it can reduce its costs. Copy protection devices and clampdowns on internet copying just get in the way of the BBC's mission.Link Discuss
Of course, simply allowing anyone to download and copy the BBC's output has its problems. While broadcasts are free, the BBC makes money selling DVDs and tapes of its work, and reselling to other countries. Not a great deal of money - less than 5% of the £3bn it receives in licence fees - but some.
Fair & Balanced is a scathing satirical attack on Fox News Channel and its claim of ownership to the words "fair and balanced." Playwright Brian Flemming, who co-wrote the Off-Broadway smash hit Bat Boy: The Musical, penned this dark one-act comedy in which "Fair" and "Balanced" are characters—they are prisoners held in an underground dungeon, and every night at 8 p.m. a foul character named "Bill O'Reilly" comes down into the dungeon to torture them.Link Discuss (Thanks, Brian!)
Eisner has expressed interest in reanimating Disney's classic 2-D features in 3-D.Link Discuss (Thanks, Greg!)
A computerized Pinocchio, anyone? (In fact, much of the 3-D character animation for Walt Disney World's upcoming Mickey's PhilharMagic was so bad—in particular Ariel from The Little Mermaid—it had to be reanimated by 2-D animators, then transferred into the computer.) The tens of millions of dollars lost on Treasure Planet are fresh on Disney's mind—and executives are bracing for the worst with next spring's Home on the Range.
God began our conversation by clearing something up. Some of George W. Bush's friends say that Bush believes God called him to be president during these times of trial. But God told me that He/She/It had actually chosen Al Gore by making sure that Gore won the popular vote and, God thought, the Electoral College. "THAT WORKED FOR EVERYONE ELSE," God said.Link Discuss
"What about Tilden?" I asked, referring to the 1876 debacle.
"QUIET!" God snapped. God was angry.
God said that after 9/11, George W. Bush squandered a unique moment of national unity. That instead of rallying the country around a program of mutual purpose and sacrifice, Bush cynically used the tragedy to solidify his political power and pursue an agenda that panders to his base and serves the interests of his corporate backers.