Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old posts from my weblog.

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


New York Times: Free Music Service Is Expected to Surpass Napster.

"Webnoize, a research firm, said it expected the figures to show that the number of people typically logged on to Fast Track surpassed 1.57 million; that was the peak level of popularity enjoyed in February this year by Napster, the pioneering free music service that shut down after being sued by the record labels, which accused it of abetting copyright infringement."

Have any of you Windows 2000 users had this problem?


How about this Enron mess?

New York Times: A Big Fall Evoking Nasty Old Memories of a Run on a Bank.

"Enron appeared to become a wildly successful company by creating a new, largely unregulated financial business, that of energy trading. That business ran on credit, and required suppliers and users of energy to sign contracts that called on Enron to meet obligations months or years later.

"Enron became something like a bank, which takes depositors' money and promises to pay it back later. But unlike banks in the current era, this institution had no federal deposit insurance to reassure customers when rumors began to spread that it was in trouble."

2001.11.28 First Star in Universe Born With Help of Dark Matter, Study Says.

"After the Big Bang, estimated to be between 12 and 15 billion years ago, the universe was composed mostly of dark matter, invisible particles that are widely accepted to exist but have not yet been detected."

> I'm always reading that the standard model has been "remarkably successful," but it seems to me that modern cosmology and the standard model have some serious completeness issues.


Like everyone else, I had some bad dreams in the week or so after the attacks. My subconscious bastardized René Magritte's surreal masterpiece Golconde, and I'll never be able to look at it again without dredging up some bad memories.


Scientific American: The First Human Cloned Embryo. Cloned early -- stage human embryos‹and human embryos generated only from eggs, in a process called parthenogenesis -- now put therapeutic cloning within reach.


Nature: Cloned cows in the pink. Healthy cows buck the trend for sickly clones.

"Lanza, a researcher at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts, and his colleagues examined 24 cloned cows between one and four years old. These were the survivors of 30 pregnancies, representing a success rate of 80%. This is close to the 84-87% achieved by conventional livestock breeders."

> As usual, the Wall Street Journal does a better job -

WSJ (subscription): New Study Finds That Cloned Cattle That Live to Adulthood Are Normal.

"... to produce those 30 live births, Dr. Lanza says, required establishing 110 pregnancies. Eighty ended when the fetuses died in utero."

Scientific American: Crystal Study Counters Case for Former Life on Mars.

"Five years ago, NASA scientists announced a remarkable discovery. A potato-size meteorite from Mars known as ALH84001, they said, contained evidence that the Red Planet once harbored primitive life forms.... Since then, three of the four original lines of evidence for ancient Martian life have been dismissed. Now new research may put the final nail in the coffin."


I just found out that Condoleezza Rice goes by Condi, not Connie. But I still think Connie Rice is a real cute name.


How much does exercise offset those holiday meals?

"It will take as much exercise as one individual can normally do in one week to work off one average holiday meal."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


CNN: Stargazers: Leonid meteor shower worth the wake.

"Even veteran stargazers were amazed with the light show thousands of tiny meteors gave them early Sunday."

> I slept through it. Oh well. :-\


Leonid Observing Tips.


Science News: Meteor shower promises quite a show.

"At its predicted peak over the continental United States, between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. EST, observers may see as many as 800 meteors streaking across the sky in a single hour."

Physics Today: Obituary of Fred Hoyle.


Not that there was any doubt, but ->

London Telegraph: Bin Laden: Yes, I did it.

BBC: Twelve-year-old girl has world's longest tongue.

[via Scripting News]


MacSlash has an interesting thread going on ripping copy-protected CDs. Apparently copy protection is relatively easy to beat, whichever protection scheme is used. This was my favorite quote:

"My daughter purchased Nsync's latest. She can't rip it on her peecee but we can on the Macs. I am an English Major, therefore I know nothing."

Anyway, someone else claimed that iTunes (on a Mac) wouldn't even play one of their copy protected CDs, but they had no trouble ripping it using third party software.

Basically, this means copy protection is mostly a nuisance to legitimate CD owners who want to rip their own CDs to add to their digital jukebox. Alternatively, if you're into downloading pirated MP3s, copy protection is a non-issue -- after one of your thousands of cohorts succeeds in defeating the protection scheme, the MP3 is out there for everyone.

Why would the record companies even consider doing something so stupid?


Gosh, Microsoft seems to be getting away with an awful lot in the antitrust settlement the Justice Department proposed ->

Case Settled: Justice To Break Up Apple For Turning Microsoft Into Monopoly. Alternative OS Maker Used Anti-Competitive Practices Against Itself.

"`... it is imperative that you punish those most responsible,' said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Charles James.

"... both sides agreed Apple's history of self-inflicted, anti-competitive management practices is primarily to blame for turning Microsoft into an illegal monopoly."

Speaking of Apple, this new MP3 player has one really cool feature: you don't just import and play your MP3s, you import and play your playlists.

Wall Street Journal (free): Apple Brings Design Flair To Its Digital Music Player.


This is so cool. At this moment this entry in my archives is number seven in a Google search for "gay marriage."

Isn't it great how Google makes an unqualified dork like myself an expert on a topic of major societal importance?

Whoa! Adam Curry pointed back at me! Now if I can get a link from another net.celebrity, like Dave Winer, or Wil Wheaton, or Zannah, the Digital Girl, then I'll be ... um, still unemployed.

Incidentally, I didn't mention it yesterday, but when Adam quit MTV to concentrate on his Internet business, I thought he was nuts! I guess he knew what he was doing.

Walter Kessinger

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