Archive for January 2008
|Bazaar.org were pushing these sweet badges at the JISC-Emerge event last week.I often wonder why people subject themselves to software serfdom when there’s high quality free & open alternatives. One explanation is that if you give stuff for free, you can’t conjour a budget to buy superbowl ads. So its nice to see the European commision put their money to good use.
In fact, this just gives me an idea. I mean, this theory – that the only reason feudal technology (Mac, Windows, whatever) has a lead on the good guys is that they have a huge advertising budget – its just a thoery, right? So it needs to be researched and validated or refuted. And there are only two ways to research it:
(a) ban advertisment for commercial software / content.
(b) fund a similar scale budget for advertising free stuff.
If anyone’s game for writing a research proposal, say for FP7, I’m happy to elaborate b.
Human life histories, as compared to those of other primates and mammals, have at least four distinctive characteristics: an exceptionally long lifespan, an extended period of juvenile dependence, support of reproduction by older postreproductive individuals, and male support of reproduction through the provisioning of females and their offspring. Another distinctive feature of our species is a large brain, with its associated psychological attributes: increased capacities for learning, cognition, and insight.
And where does it all come from?
Our theory is that those four life history characteristics and extreme intelligence are co-evolved responses to a dietary shift toward high-quality, nutrient-dense, and difficult-to-acquire food resources.
You know, its not easy finding a decent meal. You need big brains for that.
“Happy birthday to me oh fuck I want to die,” Dave muttered to himself as he unlocked his flat door. Twenty-two years old, and the first day at the job he’d always wanted hadn’t gone so well. If you’re working at the Breakthrough Physics Institute, he told himself, you ought to be able to operate a coffee maker without setting anything or anyone on fire.
Ur, hello? Is this the US of A? You’re about to have an election where a third of the votes are counted by machines, closed source machines who had been tested by a good shake, and many of which run Windows CE? Windows CE?
One famous example is the “sliding finger bug” on the Diebold AccuVote-TSX, the machine used in Cuyahoga. In 2005, the state of California complained that the machines were crashing. In tests, Diebold determined that when voters tapped the final “cast vote” button, the machine would crash every few hundred ballots. They finally intuited the problem: their voting software runs on top of Windows CE, and if a voter accidentally dragged his finger downward while touching “cast vote” on the screen, Windows CE interpreted this as a “drag and drop” command. The programmers hadn’t anticipated that Windows CE would do this, so they hadn’t programmed a way for the machine to cope with it. The machine just crashed.
To be honest, the American system has much more fundamental flaws than this. I mean, what’s wrong with one person – one vote? And what’s the big idea about every miserable little county set its own standards?
Maybe its time to send in some UN inspectors. Or someone to help design a simple protocol that works.
The rest of the family are still fast asleep. For breakfast I usually have cereal and milk, and I
’ll grab a coffee. Then around 6am I go and meet the bus taking our volunteers — local Israelis who support our humanitarian cause — to help with the Palestinian olive harvest in the village olive groves on the West Bank.