Salon had a number of interesting articles from recent weeks on the intersections between technology, biology, and education.
Alan H. Goldstein starts with Invasion of the high-tech body snatchers. A description of the coming changes in bioengineering. If we can soon replace much of the human body with artificial parts, we will, and then who knows what we will become. He says that bioethics has been too focused on cloning and ignoring the potential threat and promise of what he calls bioengineering.
YAML and the Art of Unix Programming
My peregrinations around the web turned up a very interesting markup language called YAML. Basically it is designed to be very readable by humans and capable of easy computer manipulation. This might be useful if I ever get around to developing a book review or annotation system. I like the idea of using text files to enter the data. BibTex is another potent example.
I went to Barnes and Noble last night and saw the recent Britney Spears cover for Rolling Stone magazine and did a couple of double takes. What the hell is this picture trying to tell me? Does it say anything more than *#$%$ Britney? Every guy looking at that picture thought about sex. I certainly did.
Earlier in the day I read a story by Doc Searls about the decline of radio.
I fell into reading some more of the National Review Online as I perused John Derbyshire’s columns. One of them led me to this piece by Jed Babbin on “The American Mood.” His basic argument is that our enemies and our friends have misjudged us, as they so often do, and if another terrorist attack should happen our reaction will make the war on terrorism to date look like a pleasent negotiating round at some safe location where diplomats meet.
I spent most of last weekend pleasureably engrossed in John Derbyshire’s new book, Prime Obsession. It is a historical and mathematical exploration of the Riemann hypothesis. The book is very good and when I finish it I may return to it here. But what this weblog entry is about are the strange assumptions we often make about authors we know nothing about.
The dust jacket copy mentioned that Derbyshire writes an online column, so on Monday I decided to look it up via Google.
It must have been a year or more since I download The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin, from Project Gutenberg, but it is only today that I find a very interesting e-book reader that is designed specifically for free text files like the ones distributed by Project Gutenberg. The Jujusoft BookReader appears to be just the ticket, at least for Windows users. The program has a much nicer display than a text editor ever did.