Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

(Click here for posts on geophysics and the energy industry.)


Houston Chronicle: Comedy scores in commercials. Memo to Monster: What are you doing?

"Bud scored again with a great parody of its popular "Wassup!" ads. Three uptight preppies called one another to chat and get funky.

"`Hey, Brad, what are you doing?' one preppy asks on the telephone. `Just watching the market recap, drinking an import,' Brad responds. After inviting Chad to join in, the partymeisters start their nerdy chorus, `What are you do-ing???!!'"


New York Times: Planetarium Takes Pluto Off Planet A-List.

"... the move is surprising, because the museum appears to have unilaterally demoted Pluto, reassigning it as one of more than 300 icy bodies orbiting beyond Neptune, in a region called the Kuiper Belt."

Wall Street Journal (subscription): Slowing Sales Left EToys in Lurch As Costs Continued to Escalate.

"Chief Executive Toby Lenk was so convinced that his company would triumph that he kept every one of the seven million shares he received in eToys' red-hot initial public offering of May 1999.... Mr. Lenk's eToys shares, valued at more than $600 million at their peak in 1999, would fetch about $2.7 million today, as the stock has plummeted to about 39 cents a share from its high of $86."


Oh my. I have discovered the nerdiest home page in Houston.

And I like it!

Margaret's site reminds me of the Web's early days, way back in 1994, when everyone's homepage (including mine) had little "under construction" signs. We were all so self-conscience that our web sites weren't finished. It took me a couple of years to realize that a web site was only finished if it was abandoned.


Physics lesson for today -

Physics Today: Book Review: Journeys Beyond the Standard Model by Pierre Ramond.

"The standard model is composed of two pieces, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) and the electroweak theory."


"All but one of the particles of the minimal standard model have been established experimentally, the most recent (summer 2000) being the tau neutrino. The list includes 12 gauge bosons and 45 helicity states of quarks and leptons. The remaining particle is the Higgs boson, a hypothetical scalar responsible for breaking symmetry between electromagnetic and weak interactions and, more remarkably, for giving mass to everything. Suggestive evidence for the Higgs was reported on 5 September 2000 at a CERN symposium."

Need help? Here's Fermilab's glossary of physics terms.


WSJ (subscription required): Web Sees No Shortage Of Napster Alternatives.

"Ever since Napster forged an alliance with media giant Bertelsmann in October, the bitter debate about copyright and online file-sharing has died down. After all, the renegade has moved into the establishment's fold. But thanks to a growing legion of alternatives, the global swap meet will continue. Beaming music files around is just too easy."

Maybe this is picky, but I want to point out an error in the headline of this article. Napster and other similar P2P applications that use TCP/IP network protocols don't utilize http servers, and you don't access their services through a browser. Napster works over the Internet, but it isn't part of the World Wide Web.


Final word -

Reuters News Service: Ginger inventor says speculation overblown.


Secret, revolutionary invention revealed! Drumroll please! Ginger is a scooter!

Everybody's gonna want one of those! For sure! :-\

This piece is two-and-a-half years old, but still entertaining.

Tabloid: Barney Greinke: Nuke Tourist.


Another teaser about Ginger: What Is `IT'? Book Proposal Heightens Intrigue About Secret Invention Touted as Bigger Than the Internet or PC.

"[Pre-eminent Silicon Valley venture capitalist John] Doerr calls Kamen -- who was just awarded the National Medal of Technology, the country's highest such award -- a combination of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. Doerr also says, a touch ominously, that he had been sure that he wouldn't see the development of anything in his lifetime as important as the World Wide Web -- until he saw IT."

[Pointer via Scripting News.]


Associated Press: Secret, revolutionary invention may be revealed to world in 2002.

" CEO Jeff Bezos says it's a `product so revolutionary, you'll have no problem selling it.' Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs says it will change the ways cities are designed. Venture capitalist John Doerr has invested millions in it.

"But what is it?"



Bad day. I think I'm coming down with a cold. And if that wasn't bad enough, I just got a call from my wife. She found my lost glasses: they were in the driveway, where I had run over them with my car.


Science News: X rays unveil secret lives of black holes.

"Not all black holes hide behind dust. Some fuel quasars, the beacons of visible light that rank among the most brilliant objects in the cosmos. Black holes power quasars by converting gravitational energy-the energy gained as they suck in gas and dust-into radiation. The more a black hole eats, the more radiation it generates.

"Although almost every large galaxy in the nearby reaches of the universe seems to have a black hole, less than 1 percent have quasars."


I used to really look forward to the music critics poll that Addicted to Noise published summarizing the previous year's best albums. Alias, it is no more.

However, each of the critics at SonicNet did put out a top ten list, segregated by genre. It's better than nothing.


New York Times: EToys to Lay Off 70%.

"In a confirmation of the grave prognosis for what had been one of the fastest rising stars on the Internet, eToys said yesterday that it would lay off 700 of its 1,000 employees and close two of its smaller warehouses. A day earlier, the company said it would close its European operations."


"Even with the cutbacks, an eToys spokesman said the company has cash to last only until March 31."



My site has been getting a little stodgy. Let's take a break from the business news.


Related news -- WSJ: Gates Is a Style Icon In Korean Fashion, Where Geek Is Chic.

"The tall, thin, boyish-looking Mr. Park likes to let several days pass without shampooing, to match what he calls Mr. Gates's `natural oily look.'"

Walter Kessinger

Stale Thoughts Archive Walter's Home Page