September, 2003

Monday, September 29, 2003

FBI bypasses First Amendment to nail a hacker: "While the FBI has reportedly told reporters that this time they will seek Attorney General approval before issuing subpoenas, there does not appear to have been any effort to obtain any that approval before threatening to prosecute these reporters with obstruction of justice under a statute that facially does not apply to them."

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Do we need men?: "at the current rate, male fertility caused by Y chromosome decay will decline to 1 percent of its present level within 5,000 generations -- roughly 125,000 years"

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Sunday, September 28, 2003

U.S. Uses Terror Law to Pursue Crimes From Drugs to Swindling: "75 percent of the convictions that the department classified as 'international terrorism' were wrongly labeled. Many dealt with more common crimes like document forgery."

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Saturday, September 27, 2003

CIA seeks probe of White House : "The White House has denied being Novak's source, whom he has refused to identify. But Wilson has said other reporters have told him White House officials leaked Plame's identity."

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Friday, September 26, 2003

State pensions in Europe: "Over the past few decades retirement ages in Europe have actually declined, even as life expectancy has soared. It is open to question whether workers with retirement now in their sights were really promised 30 years of leisure when they began their working life."

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Thursday, September 25, 2003

Milky Way Galaxy Cannibalizes Sagittarius

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Exec Outlines Perils Of Offshore Outsourcing: "headhunters she's dealt with are advising IT workers who've been unemployed for more than six months to switch careers"

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She Says She's No Music Pirate. No Snoop Fan, Either.: "Not only does nobody else use her computer in more than a passing way, the computer, an Apple Macintosh, is not even capable of running the KaZaA file-swapping program."

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First light for one-atom laser: "presses laser operation to its conceptual limit"

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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Cleverness may carry survival costs

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Gamma rays may have devastated life on Earth: "John Scalo and Craig Wheeler of the University of Texas at Austin estimated that GRBs close enough to affect life in some way might occur once every five million years or so - around a thousand times since life began."

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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Bush 'not paying attention' to Democratic race: "Bush said he insulates himself from the 'opinions' that seep into news coverage by getting his news from his own aides."

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Collapse of seals, sea lions & sea otters in North Pacific triggered by overfishing of great whales: "To see if it was possible for a change in killer whale feeding behavior to have a significant impact on seals and sea lions, co-authors Dan Doak and Terrie Williams modeled the nutritional requirements of killer whales, the nutritional value of sea lions and otters, and the number of deaths necessary to explain the documented declines of marine mammals in the Aleutian Islands. They found that a dietary shift by less than 1% of the estimated 3,888 killer whales across the region would have been enough to drive the observed declines. The inability of sea otters, seals and sea lions to sustain increased mortality from redirected killer whale predation makes sense based on their much smaller aggregate biomass compared with the great whales."

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Largest Arctic ice shelf breaks up, draining freshwater lake: "An immediate consequence of the ice shelf's rupture was the loss of almost all of the freshwater from the northern hemisphere's largest epishelf lake, which had been dammed behind it in 30 kilometer [20 mile] long Disraeli Fiord."

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Sunday, September 21, 2003

Cleric slams US embassy seizure: "He pointed out that even the prophet Mohammad did not establish his rule before being accepted by his people."

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Recording industry's missteps: "Music companies stood by while one of their primary conduits to the public, radio stations, consolidated and grew numbingly homogenized. The variety of music stations offered to the public shrank drastically. Many listeners in their 30s and 40s gave up on trying new material."

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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Plasma blobs hint at new form of life: "In particular, he doubts that biomolecules such as DNA could emerge at the temperatures at which the plasma balls exist."

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Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Music of the Heavens Turns Out to Sound a Lot Like a B Flat: "The new work suggests that such black holes can exert influences far beyond their host galaxies."

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Making a video screen out of thin air: "Ever since the movie 'Star Wars' came out and there was a distress call from Princess Leia,' -- generated in thin air by the robot R2D2 -- 'people all over the world have been wanting one of these."

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Monday, September 15, 2003

Top Gun vs. Total Recall: "But this film, made with full Bush administration cooperation (including that of the president himself), is propaganda so untroubled by reality that it's best viewed as a fitting memorial to Leni Riefenstahl."

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New terror laws used vs. common criminals: "A North Carolina county prosecutor charged a man accused of running a methamphetamine lab with breaking a new state law barring the manufacture of chemical weapons. If convicted, Martin Dwayne Miller could get 12 years to life in prison for a crime that usually brings about six months. Prosecutor Jerry Wilson says he isn't abusing the law, which defines chemical weapons of mass destruction as 'any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury' and contains toxic chemicals." -- what, like gasoline? alcohol?

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Saturday, September 13, 2003

A monster awakens?: "The explosion would be the loudest noise heard by man for 75,000 years."

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Friday, September 12, 2003

The Tax-Cut Con: "In Norquist's vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education."

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Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Molecules of life come in waves: Compounds found in cells show quantum behaviour.

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Indian EEs show you can go home again: "Many companies are welcoming voluntary relocation of their engineers to their Indian facilities. While an Intel spokesman declined to comment, the word here is that the company is not only happy some engineers are relocating to India but is giving them incentives to do so."

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Monday, September 08, 2003

The No-Frills Middle Class: "The authors find that typical payments for day care and preschool for two children can add enormously to the household budget. Two workers also make a second car a necessity, and often a good second car."

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In the tradition of documenting random things, my friend Tripp has written up a solution to the Mandrake 9.0 Linux distribution's compile error, "`CONFIG_X86_L1_CACHE_SHIFT' undeclared here (not in a function)".

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Friday, September 05, 2003

For Student Essayists, an Automated Grader: "Vacuous student essays can receive high marks only because they are error-free."

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Turtles lured to disco death

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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

One Cosmic Question, Too Many Answers: "The decay of the cosmological constant will be fatal, astronomers agree. At that moment a bubble of 10-dimensional space will sweep out at the speed of light, rearranging physics and the prospects of atoms and planets, not to mention biological creatures."

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Irrational Physics: A google of universes

The New York Times has an article on recent meanderings in string theory, dark energy, multiple universes and the anthropic principle. I continue to not like string theory. But it does get me thinking. What if the universe isn't growing, but matter is shrinking?

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