After an exchange of email, I want to make a public correction. I had previously been appreciative of self-professed ‘neoconservative’ weblogger Joe Katzman for taking notice of a ‘liberal’ blog like FmH in his Winds of Change. In this post, I mischaracterized Katzman as ” believing his brand of weblog is the only counter to the ‘dominant media culture’ ” . Actually, I was deriding Eric Raymond at the time, but I lumped Katzman in with him. However, it was an unfair caricature of his position, for while he finds it indisputable that the weblog world is a hedge against media bias it would be ridiculous to assert that it is the only one. So I hereby retract my use of the word “only” in that context. In our correspondence, we agreed to disagree about some of my other arguments, but the operative word is “agreed”. I still stand by my gratitude and admiration that here is a member of the ‘warblogging’ community who is willing to talk between sometimes warring camps.
Now you know the hole story: “Calls have come from around the country. UFO enthusiasts have visited the hole on 164th Avenue Northeast and come up with their own suspicions. Kaare and other neighborhood children have lined up outside the caution tape, peering over the edge.
And almost everyone has a theory as to how the hole appeared here in the first place.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer [via spike report]
“After four months of entertaining humans, Gaak the predator robot yesterday did what all the best robots do in science fiction: he copied his masters’ most basic instinct and made a dash for freedom.
Programmed to sink a metal fang into smaller but more nimble prey robots, to “eat” their electric power, at a science adventure centre, Gaak showed that a two year experiment in maturing robot “thinking” may be proving alarmingly successful.
Left unattended for 15 minutes, the 2ft metal machine crept along a barrier until it found a gap, squeezed through, navigated across a car park and reached the Magna science centre’s exit by the M1 motorway in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.” Guardian UK
Stop Him Before He Lies Again: “Would somebody please notice that Bush is being grossly dishonest about his most important piece of domestic policy? ” The New Republic
The people who tried to take away your VCR are at it again. Hollywood has always dreamed of a “well-mannered marketplace” where the only technologies that you can buy are those that do not disrupt its business. Acting through legislators who dance to Hollywood’s tune, the movie studios are racing to lock away the flexible, general-purpose technology that has given us a century of unparalelled prosperity and innovation.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed the “Content Protection Status Report” with the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, laying out its plan to remake the technology world to suit its own ends. The report calls for regulation of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), generic computing components found in scientific, medical and entertainment devices. Under its proposal, every ADC will be controlled by a “cop-chip” that will shut it down if it is asked to assist in converting copyrighted material — your cellphone would refuse to transmit your voice if you wandered too close to the copyrighted music coming from your stereo. –Cory Doctorow [via Joe Katzman]
Each year, media coverage of the wildfire season seems more and more fervent about the desperate necessity of controlling the fires and the tragedy of destruction of human property they cause. What is lost is a perspective on the fact that both forest and prairie fires are part of a vast and perennial natural cycle. Without derogating the heroism of the smokejumpers who risk their lives to fight these fires, it strikes me that humans are the interlopers in this ecological interplay. Perhaps the confrontation with such majestic natural forces should strengthen our deermination not to fight them in our hubris, but to get out of their way with humility? Is it worth the cost — in lives, in money, and to our souls — to fight as we do? I react the same way when I hear about the California mudslides each rainy season, flood damage, disastrous hurricanes… Here’s a Google search on wildfire ecology as a starting point.
Ruling Barring Execution of Retarded May Not Lead to Further Restrictions: “Despite the clarity of the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish the death penalty for mentally retarded offenders, the court’s next move is uncertain and the impact of the ruling on the overall death penalty debate is far from clear.” NY Times news analysis