Links of the Week: November 21st

I’ve been meaning to post an updated LotW for a while but between Firefox crashing like a stunt car driver and real life obligations, it’s been difficult to make find some time so I could sit down and hammer it out. I confess that there are other reasons I wished to delay the inevitable (I didn’t feel like it–hey, that’s a legitimate excuse).

So, here you go. Clicky-clicky on the link. Apologies if some of these are a little old–I needed to flush out the 450+ tabs I’ve got open in Firefox.


Professionals in academia pose something of a problem. To find out more, read the article!


Dolphins are deep thinkers. Capable of planning ahead and teaching their offspring tasks that have no immediate survival benefit, these creatures exist as an aquatic near-analog to humankind.


What happens when you cross Disney with flu shots? No lines. Okay, so the lines still exist–sort of. Now, if only certain large retail chains could learn the same lesson…

Is tech causing attention loss? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m of the opinion that the human brain is incredibly adept at evolving. What we consider an ailment today (ADHD) might very well be an evolutionary advantage tomorrow. Of course, only time will tell, but it still humors me to imagine that Twitter, Facebook, et al might be contributing to the increasing “stupidification” of our youth.


Josh sent this one to me. It’s a collection of great aviation quotes from various sources throughout history starting with World War I. Contributed quotes are pulled from both factions in numerous conflicts. Check it out.


Enjoy freedom of the web while you can. While the FTC may begin regulating the disclosure of compensation toward blog authors, one has to speculate whether this extension of the FTC’s (or the FCC’s) authority will end. There are some who feel that since the Internet is in the realm of communication, it should therefore be held against the FCC’s decency standards and such. Good luck. I hope that never happens. As with the author of the previously linked article, I’m concerned what the language of this stipulation may be interpreted to mean. The implications are worrisome.


I installed Mandriva in a VM about a week ago for my own personal amusement. It hasn’t changed much. I still hate it. It is one of the most awful and disgraceful half-broken reimplementations of Red Hat ever conceived. I’m also reminded of why Yum appeared when I glance through the convoluted package manager that is urpmi. Still, nothing beats ports or portage. (I have a rant against aptitude and family, but I’ll save that for another time.)


This doesn’t really fit in the literature category, but I can’t think of a better place to put this interview with Umberto Eco. Frankly, I’ve never read any of his works nor am I familiar with him (thank you Wikipedia). What he states in Spiegel’s interview is enlightening and entertaining–maybe even a little strange.


Ever wondered what a three dimensional mandelbrot might look like? Wonder no more; introducing the Mandelbulb.

Operating Systems

Earlier this month, news spread that OS X Snow Leopard will break most Hackintoshes. This amuses me.


I’m not of the persuasion to believe ghosts exist. Rather, I believe that apophenia is the most rational explanation for unusual phenomenon attributed to paranormal events. In this sense, apophenia refers to pattern recognition made by humans that is attributed to the Electronic Voice Phenomena or EVP. Nevertheless, the Scole Experiment is of vague interest. It would be interesting to repeat the experiments in a highly controlled environment, because I am skeptical that the claims made by Scole’s “researchers” are all that valid. Consider it a curio.

What sent me along this topic was my research of Carl Sagan. This isn’t exactly paranormal, but among Sagan’s suggestions of topics in need of more research was that of random number generators being influenced slightly by thoughts. Naturally, Sagan didn’t believe such a thing were possible. He did feel that science needed to put it and other claims to rest.

While this article isn’t of the paranormal, it is still a mystery–the mystery of Oak Island, to be exact. What’s buried there? Who knows!


There’s an amazing tribute to Carl Sagan on Youtube called A Glorious Dawn (featuring Stephen Hawking). What an incredible use of a vocoder!


Here’s a list of 11 open source companies to watch. Unfortunately, the list is comprised of one entry per page. If you’re on a short fuse today, don’t bother. It’ll annoy you.

There is a war in progress. It is a war for the web. I’d like to subtitle this as “The Dangers of Consumerism.” Let’s just hope that the war isn’t won by media conglomerates.

Windows 7 is the most secure Windows-based OS ever. Err, maybe not. “A” for effort, I suppose. While I am a fan of Windows 7, there’s no way in hell I’d trust the OS inside an unfiltered ecosystem.

Mark Cuban has a plan to kill Google. I wonder if he’s also willing to go to jail for anti-trust violations and/or bribery? His proposal certainly smacks a great deal of the latter. Hey, Mr. Cuban, why don’t you–I dunno–try innovating?

Is there anything to like about the NoSQL crowd? Maybe!

Robert Scoble has a very worthwhile post on what he describes as the chat room/forum problem. In it, he explains why most forum-like communities “devolve” over time whereas blogs almost paradoxically increase in value. There isn’t a paradox, mind you. I won’t spoil it.

Web, The

Ever wondered what the click-through conversion rates really are? Here’s some insight.

The fate of Mr. X. Or, rather, why American Airlines is evil and stupid. If you don’t read any of the other links in this post, please read this one.

Web Technologies

How can you achieve painless registration? Here are some suggestions.

Weird and Unusual

No language is complete without a canonical “Hello, world!” application. Neither in this respect is a cornfield.


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