Call me a dreamer but this seems like a first step.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Mahmmod Abbas, who is virtually certain to be chosen as the new Palestinian leader in elections next month, voiced his opposition to the Palestinian uprising in an interview this week and declared it must stop. He needs to be helped against Hamas see here
Posted by Watt Tyler at 6:30 pm
Friday, December 10, 2004
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
This is really cool.
"Monderman is one of the leaders of a new breed of traffic engineer - equal parts urban designer, social scientist, civil engineer, and psychologist. The approach is radically counterintuitive: Build roads that seem dangerous, and they'll be safer."
And one part usability engineer or user interface designer...
"In Denmark, the town of Christianfield stripped the traffic signs and signals from its major intersection and cut the number of serious or fatal accidents a year from three to zero."
"A study of center-line removal in Wiltshire ... found that drivers with no center line to guide them drove more safely and had a 35 percent decrease in the number of accidents."
"People think that throwing multiple exclamation points into a business letter will make their point forcefully," Andrews said. "I tell them they're allowed two exclamation points in their whole life."
Posted by Tom at 1:31 pm
Monday, December 06, 2004
Friday, November 26, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Monday, November 15, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
ArsTechnica has quite an interesting software review for Delicious Library, a piece of Mac software, that talks quite a bit about what drives Mac culture and software:
"There is simply a "climate of excellence" on the Mac platform. Any developer that does not live up to community standards is looked down upon, or even shunned. Commercial, open source, freeware, shareware, it doesn't matter: pay attention to detail, or else."
(I think the application itself is pretty cool too, and it looks delicious!)
Monday, November 08, 2004
"...custodians arriving at the school found 13 cannon slugs - 5 in a parking lot and 8 inside the school in various classrooms and offices..."
Friday, November 05, 2004
Thursday, November 04, 2004
An interesting (well, pedantic and nerdy) series of articles on DVDAnswers.com:
"this is perhaps the single most objectionable change in the entire trilogy. Putting aside the fact that it transforms Han Solo from the aforementioned ice-cold space pirate to a lucky son of a bitch, the effects used to bring the new scene to life are simply atrocious."
"One of the little-known edits to the film included the trimming of a few frames to remove the flashes when the bolts hit the human officers ... What makes matters worse is that this censorship isn’t even consistent..."
Posted by Tom at 2:15 pm
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Monday, October 25, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
Essentially the entire show is one continuous, hour long, tightly choreographed topless dance punctuated with trapeze acrobatics, pyrotechnic stage effects, and crappy magic tricks. To put it another way, it's Spiderman Rocks if you took out the Green Goblin and replaced him with undead girl on girl simulated sex acts. Or to put it another way, it was the most awesome thing I've ever seen, ever.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
This is an excellent essay/short book on the history, philosophy and future directions of computing. There is a HTML version too.
Posted by Tom at 9:16 am
Thursday, October 14, 2004
“Instead of having mechanical mouse, you could just take light beam and communicate with the computer because the screen would know where it was being hit.”
Posted by Tom at 3:09 pm
"[The Southampton players] were designed to execute a known series of five to 10 moves by which they could recognize each other. Once two Southampton players recognized each other, they were designed to immediately assume "master and slave" roles -- one would sacrifice itself so the other could win repeatedly.
If the program recognized that another player was not a Southampton entry, it would immediately defect to act as a spoiler for the non-Southampton player."
Posted by Tom at 3:04 pm
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
"So now the full scale of Coke's PR disaster is clear. It goes something like this: take Thames Water from the tap in your factory in Sidcup, Kent; put it through a purification process, call it "pure" and give it a mark-up from 0.03p to 95p per half litre; in the process, add a batch of calcium chloride, containing bromide, for "taste profile"; then pump ozone through it, oxidising the bromide - which is not a problem - into bromate - which is. Finally, dispatch to the shops bottles of water containing up to twice the legal limit for bromate (10 micrograms per litre)."
Posted by Tom at 2:28 pm
Friday, October 08, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
This sounds like a great book, unfortunately I probably found it too late for our election:
Posted by Tom at 3:20 pm
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
New Scientist has a very interesting interview with Victoria Hale, who has set up a non-profit pharmaceutical company to address diseases the big companies are ignoring:
"The problem is the [pharmaceutical] industry is so profitable, so these diseases don't make it onto the radar"
Interesting comments on an "age of innocence" (pop songs in this case) that certainly never existed.
Posted by Tom at 1:31 pm
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I knew that you're more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack, but terrorist attacks causing car accidents makes the whole thing a lot more complicated!
Posted by Tom at 2:12 pm
Monday, September 20, 2004
Friday, September 17, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
- Space probes feel cosmic tug of bizarre forces
- Crashed capsule may still reveal solar secrets and Lots of Science Intact in Smashed-Up Genesis Capsule. Makes you wonder why they bothered trying t catch it in the first place...
Posted by Tom at 2:34 pm
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Monday, September 06, 2004
Monday, August 30, 2004
Somehow, I've got more gmail invites than I know what to do with. Any ideas? These look interesting:
Posted by Tom at 10:17 am
Friday, August 27, 2004
...it is a perfect piece of film-making in its genre, which I would call 'action movie' rather than 'sci-fi movie' if it were not for the fact that there are very few, if any, movies that genuinely deserve to be called sci-fi.
There's also a list of top sci-fi authors.
Posted by Tom at 1:42 pm
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Monday, August 23, 2004
Friday, August 20, 2004
The interview covers some interesting stuff, including the point that the USA is one of the few 1st world countries that is still predominantly religous.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Friday, August 13, 2004
A giant colony of ants stretching 100km (62 miles) has been discovered in the Australian city of Melbourne, threatening local insect species.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 11:31 pm
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
"I suggest, to save you time and money, that you stop writing to the Australian Prime Minister as it is not possible for him to be your pen pal."
Posted by Tom at 9:27 am
Friday, July 30, 2004
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Posted by Watt Tyler at 11:24 pm
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Monday, July 26, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004
Thursday, July 22, 2004
An excellent idea that combines a filter with the dehydrated rations, allowing any source of water (not just urine, it can be clean or potentially contaminated with bacteria) to be filtered by osmosis before it re-hydrates the food.
Monday, July 19, 2004
This is good, trawling Amazon for bad reviews (ie negative) of what are generally considered the best books, albums and films. I like this one of the King James Bible:
"This was the worst piece of fiction I've ever read. The characters were cliched and their actions were just unbelievable. A total piece of trash."
And, of William Gibson's Neuromancer:
"Read 2 chapters and call me in the morning. Zzzzz..."
New Scientist has a story on a "base station" that can be installed in a plane to relay mobile phone calls to a satellite.
I had been wondering for a while why mobile phones can't be used on planes, the usual explanation of interfering with navigation equipment seemed a bit lame (and this article refutes it).
One possibility I'd heard was that the phone could "see" too many base stations and therefore overloaded the system by communicating with 100s of them rather than the usual 3 or 4, but being out of range of the base stations seems a more likely reason.
Posted by Tom at 2:15 pm
Please take notice: EarthstationV Ltd., a Palestinian corporation, does not accept any legal process via e-mail, nor will we accept any attachments via e-mail. For service of process, you must serve our legal department located at our offices in the Jenin refugee camp, Jenin, Palestine.
Friday, July 16, 2004
This article looks at what is required (and not going to work) when we look at computers as part of our societies infrastructure, just like roads, power grids and so on. It looks like open source will be the only option, and also that software engineering may actually have to be engineering.
Posted by Tom at 2:35 pm
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Facetop is a video conferencing system that uses a very neat idea: It makes your screen into a semi-transparent window out of the other persons computer. You share a desktop that you can both point at and discuss, and can still see each other through it. Very nice.
Friday, July 09, 2004
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Posted by Watt Tyler at 10:09 am
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Don't know who Kopel is, nor who the Independence institute is Nor have I seen the film nontheless this is interesting.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 1:08 pm
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Election Summary. Antony Green Election Guide. Federal Election 2004. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Posted by Watt Tyler at 8:17 am
Friday, July 02, 2004
Arcology is Paolo Soleri's concept of cities which embody the fusion of architecture with ecology. The arcology concept proposes a highly integrated and compact three-dimensional urban form that is the opposite of urban sprawl with its inherently wasteful consumption of land, energy and time, tending to isolate people from each other and the community. The complexification and miniaturization of the city enables radical conservation of land, energy and resources. check also this,Arcology: Solution for the Information Age?, and the Eden project.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 8:47 pm
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Hack on Tuesday night was a special on "Music in war", which used audio interviews with soldiers and civilians by George Gittoes in Iraq. There will be a related documentary, "The Soundtrack to War", shown on ABC TV in September.
It's a pretty amazing look at what part music plays in daily life for the soldiers, and comforting to know that a $4.3 million tank has an audio input so you can plug your discman in!
Reminds me of a Spearhead lyric (Crime To Be Broke In America):
They say they blame it on a song
when someone kills a cop
what music did they listen to
when they bombed Iraq?
Posted by Tom at 9:41 am
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Monday, June 21, 2004
The NASA Earth Observatory has a nice photo of Venice. Something that didn't occur to me: Obviously it's a big hassle for people during high tides when the city often floods, but it's also problematic for boats which can't fit under the bridges over the canals. Boats being made useless by too much water... Who would have thought?
Posted by Tom at 1:34 pm
Friday, June 18, 2004
Wired has a piece on the upcoming SpaceShipOne flight. The second picture attached to the article shows that it really is going high!
"I went to the backup, and the backup saved the day," he said. He hesitated before adding, "But that was planned — it was planned to have a backup that saved the day."
Posted by Tom at 1:56 pm
Arstechnica has a reports on the interesting concept of "work clubs", where you telecommute from a "third place" rather than home. Nice idea, I especially like the possibility of working with friends, without requiring the unlikely possibility of all being in the same company and avoiding the nasty politics that that may cause.
Re-reading Paul Graham's essay "Hackers and Painters" (in book form), the following passage stood out. I'd like to go back to university, but always suspected that there's no research topics that I'd like to do. This gives some kind of justification:
In the best case, the papers are just a formality. Hackers write cool software, and then write a paper about it, and the paper becomes a proxy for the achievement represented by the software. But often this mismatch causes problems. It's easy to drift away from building beautiful things toward building ugly things that make more suitable subjects for research papers.
Unfortunately, beautiful things don't always make the best subjects for papers. Number one, research must be original — and as anyone who has written a PhD dissertation knows, the way to be sure that you're exploring virgin territory is to to stake out a piece of ground that no one wants. Number two, research must be substantial ‐ and awkward systems yield meatier papers, because you can write about the obstacles you have to overcome in order to get things done. Nothing yields meaty problems like starting with the wrong assumptions. Most of AI is an example of this rule; if you assume that knowledge can be represented as a list of predicate logic expressions whose arguments represent abstract concepts, you'll have a lot of papers to write about how to make this work. ...
The way to create something beautiful is often to make subtle tweaks to something that already exists, or to combine existing ideas in a slightly new way. This kind of work is hard to convey in a research paper.
Posted by Tom at 1:29 pm
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
These guys are creating an open source textbook by collaborating on-line using techniques borrowed from open source software design. The textbook(s) can be freely downloaded & printed out, this is an excellent idea as textbooks are way too expensive and often out of date by the time they're printed. Unlike the wikipedia, they're aiming for a real book, not an online resource (though, they can do that easily too.)
Posted by Tom at 1:57 pm
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
This review is quite detailed and contains some interesting data about wireless networks in the Greater London area. It looks like there is a lot of wireless going on, with an estimated 19,451 nodes found by flying over london in a plane. People generally seem to be leaving them "open" by accident, but some are naming their nodes with "hobo" style codes used in war-chalking such as ")(" to signify a freenetwork, and "Fuck Off and use your own" to signify, well...
Posted by Tom at 2:35 pm
Friday, June 11, 2004
This article on why realistic graphics make humans look creepy in computer games is quite interesting.
If something behaves in only a slightly human way, we'll fill in the blanks—we'll read humanness into it.
...we identify more deeply with simply drawn cartoon characters ... [that don't] trigger our obsession with the missing details the way a not-quite-photorealistic character does, so we project ourselves onto [them] more easily
Posted by Tom at 2:39 pm
I haven't yet had a chance to look through Utilitarianism: past, present and future, but it seems interesting.
Taking me to that site was this experiment on censorship, which highlighted some of the problems with ISPs reactions to potential copyright violations.
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
I'd been rather unimpressed by the prospect of the transit of venus (see Wired News: Thousands Spy Venus' Rare Transit), but it does raise some points to ponder: No one alive had seen it before yesterday; and more people saw it yesterday than ever before in all of human history (it can't be seen with the naked eye, and only a few people had used telescopes the last few times round). I might pay a bit more attention to the next transit in 8 years.
Posted by Tom at 2:24 pm
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
New scientist is reporting that an attempt on the land-speed record for an electric vehicle is soon to take place. They've just put together more or less off the shelf components (including 52 car batteries) and hope to go at least 400 km/h. Not bad. The existing record was set by a car with 6,000 AA NiMH batteries!
Monday, June 07, 2004
This is neat. These kids (well, they were kids) had a toy "robot car" they wanted to customize, but at the time the computer hardware wasn't really up to scratch. 18 years later and they can finish the job.
Posted by Tom at 2:04 pm
Friday, June 04, 2004
- It predates the ENIAC as the world's first electronic computer, but this wasn't widely known as it was kept secret (I can't imagine why, they even went so far as to destroy it.)
- They built ten of them! There was only one ENIAC as far as I know.
- It would supposedly break the codes at roughly the same rate as a modern computer (this is a bit hard to believe, but it was a custom built for the task and could perform many operations in parallel.)
- It wasn't switched off until the war finished, so the valves didn't burn out.
- As always, the key to breaking the German cypher was a human failure. Just goes to show that no matter how hard you try, some idiot will go and stuff it up.
- I've noticed some interesting spams that try to get past filtering software by including what could be legitimate text. This blog chronicles some of the more "creative" (well, they are presumably randomly generated.)
- An interview with VisiCalc's creators 25 years after it was released (it was the first spreadsheet for personnal computers.)
- Killer Robot, a machinima film, was created by a single guy entirely on the computer. It was "filmed" using computer game technology and the voices were generated by computer too. Machinima is really cool, Wired has an article on a similar concept, creating comics out of computer game graphics.
- The Mathematics of Futurama and The Simpsons.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Cringely has written a nice rant about the Linksys WRT54G. This is a very neat bit of technology, but what is really interesting is what could be done with it. It is very cheap, runs Linux and can be upgraded with custom software so that it can do many tasks the manufacturers didn't anticipate (or choose to highlight). Cringely suggests franchises could be sold in a distributed, wireless phone company and ISP. The franchise would consist of an internet connection and a wireless router or two. The franchisee would then sign up users in their area for internet and VoIP (phone) access. The franchisees would be connected to each other in a big "mesh" that would dynamically adapt to the demand and be extremely cheap to roll-out. Bye, bye Telstra...
Update: There seems to have been quite a bit of interest in Cringely's article, and he has a followup.
The latest Nokia gadget is a clip on cover that lets you write messages in the air by waving the phone around. There used to be digital clocks that did a similar thing, displaying the time on a swinging pendulum. This addition to phone capabilities may well be another annoyance, but it does have the potential to have some kind of disruptive social effect (like SMS), time will tell. What I particularly like is that it pushes the boundaries of what a phone can be.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Wired has a nice story on Alton Brown, a chef who approaches cooking from a rather more scientific point of view than most people (and has a bigger motorbike than Jamie Oliver, as you can see on his blog.) Quite interesting, especially the disposing of myths about cooking and the focus on the "why" of cooking, rather than the "how". This pizza recipe gives you the general idea.
Posted by Tom at 1:48 pm
Chrenkoff a right wing blogger translated the following interview with Marek Elderman the last surviving leader of the Ghetto Warsaw uprising. Every war with fascism is our business. ..... If we will keep closing our eyes to evil, then that evil will defeat us tomorrow. ..... Please don't tell me what the Spanish did. So what? Do you seriously think that it will save them from further attacks? No. The weak just get punched in the head. Pacifism lost a long time ago. read it here
Posted by Watt Tyler at 10:00 am
Go to the calculator and up pops a map showing each party's base. Republicans (red) have 22 states--much of the South, the Great Plains and the Rockies, plus Alaska and Indiana--worth 190 electoral votes. Democrats (blue) have 11 states--a Northeastern cluster, plus California, Hawaii and Illinois--and the District of Columbia, worth 168 votes. That leaves 17 battleground states. Republican base consists of the states George W. Bush won by a margin of at least 7%, plus Tennessee, where Bush's 3.6% margin was surely closer than it would have been were it not for Al Gore's connections to the state. The Democratic base, likewise, consists of those states in which Mr. Gore won by more than 7%.Historical results avaible. Come on ABC I want one of this for Australia!
Posted by Watt Tyler at 9:37 am
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Asbestos is pretty scary stuff, and this is a good story. I'm not a fan of the renovation craze, too many TV shows and the people upstairs are no doubt responsible for that, but now I finally have a much better reason. Renovators are at a very high risk of asbestos related illnesses due to their lack of knowledge, low budgets for safety (and hiring professionals) and tendency to get dodgy contractors in to do a quick and dirty job.
Construction workers are also obviously at a high risk, and the numbers are pretty huge -- 300 deaths per year from accidents and another 2000 or so from illnesses contracted while on the job.
What is also a bit scary is that Canada is the world's largest exporter of asbestos, sending it to third world countries. It's easy to put Canada on a pedestal, they generally compare very well with the USA, but they're hardly perfect.
Posted by Tom at 9:16 am
Monday, May 31, 2004
This show screened on SBS and was fairly interesting. Though I was bugged by what I think were unfair comparisons between the Da Vinci glider and the Wright brothers' flyer. The Wright flyer was a powered vehicle that managed to fly 120 feet in 12 seconds (their first flight, their best was 24.5 miles in 39 minutes). A 30 second, 100 yard hang glider flight down a hill isn't really comparable. I'm sure there were a few hang-glider/kite style unpowered flights before the Wright brothers' that would have been a better match up.
Posted by Tom at 5:22 pm
Historically Australia and the US backed Suharto (or Sukarno?) as they were worried that Indonesia would "Balkanize" and some of the resulting states may turn communist. This presumably explains why Australia was so keen to appease Indonesia at all costs -- even to the extent of angering the US by withholding intelligence information. It's been a while since communism was a threat though, so you would presume that a group of third-world islands fighting amongst themselves would be less threat to Australia than a militaristic nation with 500,000,000 citizens.
Posted by Tom at 9:10 am
Friday, May 28, 2004
Nothing like a war to get those scientiests going. For an article on the use of nanotechnology for personal armour see here. Also interesting is Israels "future infantry warrior" program and this article on Personal UAV's (unmanned air vehicle) for ground soldiers.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 10:30 pm
Michael said this better than I could:
Lightweight description of the "chaotic inflation" theory of the universe's origin, which apparently has the implication that the universe could have been created as an experiment, and with few resources, and now be so small that the experimenter has lost it...
The article mentions various ways that the creator could attempt to communicate with his creation, non of them seem to permit him decreeing that gay marriages are a sin, for example.
Posted by Tom at 2:11 pm
New Scientist reports that "a US medical team has requested permission to perform the world's first face transplant." Supposedly the face won't look like either the person's original face or the donor's face due to the underlying skull and muscle structure (and hideous scaring I'd imagine...)
Posted by Tom at 2:00 pm
Thursday, May 27, 2004
In Darfur, a region in southern Sudan approximately the size of Texas, over a million people are threatened with torture and death at the hands of marauding militia and a complicit government. Imagine a militia that forces parents to choose whether their children will be burned alive or shot to death. Imagine that in the very same month the world remembers the genocides of Cambodia and Rwanda, the unfolding news of another in Sudan is barely heard and largely ignored. The Passion of the present is a new blog to encourage more coverage of this unfolding tragedy.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 11:04 pm
My computer crashed just before posting the following links. Originally there were nice blurbs.
Posted by Tom at 2:22 pm
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
This nifty little concept car has some nice ideas. It's a single person "drive by wire" electric "car" with hubless motors and variable wheel base. This gives it very good manueverability and the ability to recline during high-speed travel and "stand up" to get in and out.
The best bit though, is that they can talk to each other, so you can have one person driving a small train of these cars.
- Physicists at the University of New Hampshire have found bacteria capable of producing "biodiesel". This reminds me of a small town (on the way to South Australia somewhere...) where they thought they'd discovered oil only to discover it was merely a bacteria that produced an oil like sludge. It's still cheaper to not use oil though...
- JP Aerospace have developed what could be a practical "Space elevator" consisting of a large blimp at a low earth-orbit and other blimps that will carry payloads up to it.
Posted by Tom at 1:38 pm
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
- Microsoft has payed out over anti-competitive behaviour towards Opera. The analysis of what was going on was pretty worrying.
- No, I will not fix your computer -- I could do with one of these sometimes. I wouldn't wear it though, so please don't bother.
- The Australia Institute -- I've seen/heard Clive Hamilton from this "left-leaning political thinktank" discussing a few issues lately, including Four Corners on over-consumption and Hack on corporate welfare.
Monday, May 24, 2004
- New Scientist reports that Archaeopteryx (the first "bird") may have had four "wings" and glided (like a sugar-glider) rather than flown. Makes sense.
- These guys in the homebrew Atari 2600 scene are doing some pretty amazing things -- it's amazing that people were ever attracted to computer games, when that was all that was on offer.
- Need a GeekMan action-figure?
Posted by Tom at 2:08 pm
Saturday, May 22, 2004
This is a long and somewhat spooky essay and a review of it. The main thesis seems to be that there is a group of christian fundamentalists that are slowly taking over the high court and the white house. I do not know enough to comment on the quality of the essay or to be able to judge wether its a good essay or hysterical propaganda. I decided to post it anyway because if its true its quite scary and because I'm curious about your opinion.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 9:27 pm
Friday, May 21, 2004
Blogosphere Ecosystem is an application which scans weblogs once daily and generates a list of weblogs ranked by the number of incoming links they receive from other weblogs on the list. The top are all American but some of my favorite UK based blogs such as normblog, harry's place, and crooked timber make it to the top three category
Posted by Watt Tyler at 10:21 pm
"If truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, where, I asked myself, picking up a notebook and a pencil, is truth?"
- VIRGINIA WOOLF
An excellent short story by the one and only Kim Stanley Robinson
Posted by Watt Tyler at 8:50 pm
Some simple explanations on how primary colours "combine" and light waves are perceived by our eyes. Also contains this nice point:
People sometimes speculate about extraterrestrials picking up TV signals from Earth and watching our soap operas. But what is transmitted is so finely tuned to the peculiarities of the human ocular and perceptual system that aliens would struggle to make any sense of it.
Posted by Tom at 5:30 pm
Some interesting comments to this Slashdot story:
If grading is intended as a motivator to encourage each student to perform his/her best, then more effort should yield a higher grade. Likewise, if grading is intended to reflect the student's ability to perform in a real-world situation, effort should probably yield a higher grade: folks who work hard tend to do better than folks who are marginally smarter but don't work hard, in real-life situations. But if grading is intended to reflect only the quality of the work that was submitted, then sure -- effort shouldn't count at all.And:
Cool idea. Imagine high school students re-writing their essays until the grader software gives them an A+.This was exactly what we could do in one of my programming classes and it was excellent. We had a deadline, but could make as many submissions as we liked until we were happy with the grade. A nice subversive suggestion in there too:
it would have been my goal to make the most wrong essay I could that would still generate a good grade from the system.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Jose Ramos Horta on Iraq (From The Australian):
"As a Nobel Peace laureate, I, like most people, agonise over the use of force. But when it comes to rescuing an innocent people from tyranny or genocide, I've never questioned the justification for resorting to force."
see the rest here
Posted by Watt Tyler at 9:47 pm
This New Scientist interview with Hokan Colting talks about airships being used as telecommunication relay towers, much cheaper and easier to install than satellites (with less signal delay too) and with very large coverage areas due to their height.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
On November 17, 2003, the President of the French Republic announced on TV that, having heard the report of the Stasi Commission that was appointed some months ago, he would propose a law on secularism that will forbid any sign of religious or political affiliation in schools and public administration.
In the web site of the WLUML (Women living under Muslim law) progressive Muslim women explain why they supported the law.
Posted by Watt Tyler at 10:05 pm
Hack had an interview with Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute on Monday about the potential $85 million bail-out of Mitsubishi that touched on the issue of "corporate welfare" (The plant hires 3,000 employees with 14,000 in "spin-off" jobs and there was a meeting on Monday.)
Australia spends $16 bilion a year on subsidies (rent relief, tax breaks etc), which is 3% of our GDP. For example, the aluminium industry apparently receives subsidised electricity that works out to be about $40-50,000 per year per worker!
Posted by Tom at 2:21 pm
EverQuest players have an average wage of US$3.42/hr, the game is ranked the 77th richest country in the world (with 450,000 "citizens") and it's currency is supposedly rated higher than the Yen and Lira (Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier). That is presumably if everyone "cashed in" for real money, and that probably neglects the labour "imported" from the real world.
This article includes the story of a kid who was bought a $500 level 50 character by his parents and then kept getting killed because he didn't know how play -- the time needed to gain level 50 obviously isn't entirely wasted, as you at least learn how to play the game.
Posted by Tom at 1:54 pm