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Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations no longer shine

Topic: Science 12:52 pm EST, Mar 14, 2005

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County presents Collapse?, a thought-provoking exhibition that draws on ideas from UCLA professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond's book "Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed". This journey through time and place uses the Museum's diverse collections in an original, multimedia-rich installation that explores the links between societies and their environments, asking why some civilizations decline while others flourish. Throughout the exhibit's seven-month run, live evening programs will offer Museum audiences an opportunity to further engage in these ideas.

Visitors will travel through present-day Montana (not as pristine as it may seem); investigate the fate of ancient Maya civilization; look to the radical, and successful, solutions of 17th and 18th Century Japan; and examine contemporary Australia's ongoing search for a balanced approach to its environment. In the final section a virtual newsroom will showcase modern environmental and geopolitical issues as visitors are invited to consider how their decisions can have far-reaching impacts.

The exhibit opens May 1.


Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, And The Meaning Of Life
Topic: Science 12:51 pm EST, Mar 14, 2005

This is the first book-length response to Richard Dawkins, author of some of the most popular scientific works, such as The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins has become perhaps the world’s best-known atheist, noted for his hostile and controversial views on religion.

This wonderfully argued book explains and examines Dawkins’ scientific ideas and their religious implications. Head-to-head, it takes on some of Dawkins’ central assumptions, like the conflict between science and religion, the "selfish gene" theory of evolution, the role of science in explaining the world, and brilliantly exposes their unsustainability. Moreover, this controversial debate is carried on in a style which can be enjoyed by anyone without a scientific or religious background.

Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, And The Meaning Of Life

Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?
Topic: War on Terrorism 12:50 pm EST, Mar 14, 2005

David "Netwar" Ronfeldt has written a new essay for First Monday.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates are operating much like a global tribe waging segmental warfare. This paper describes the dynamics of classic tribes: what drives them, how they organize, how they fight. Al Qaeda fits the tribal paradigm quite well. Thus, continuing to view Al Qaeda mainly as a cutting–edge, post–modern phenomenon of the information age misses a crucial point: Al Qaeda and affiliates are using the information age to reiterate ancient patterns of tribalism on a global scale. The war they are waging is more about virulent tribalism than religion. The tribal paradigm should be added to the network and other prevailing paradigms to help figure out the best policies and strategies for countering these violent actors.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?

Moving Toward Self-awareness - Computerworld
Topic: Computer Security 6:20 am EST, Mar 10, 2005

] The predictive infrastructure is "self-aware," a term
] made famous in the Terminator movies. To make the
] technology work, we humans must give up the notion of
] control, for better or worse.

This is the conclusion of an opinion article by Mark Willoughby. His thesis apppears to be that the IT systems we depend upon are too complex for manual human control to provide an acceptable level of management and security. The application of automation to these task will lead to self-aware systems.

Moving Toward Self-awareness - Computerworld

Photo in the News: Baby Foxes Going to the Dogs
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:48 pm EST, Mar  9, 2005

] Young foxes, or kits, scamper in a cage in Siberia,
] Russia, where they are part of a 45-year research project
] to domesticate foxes. Each generation has been
] selectively bred for tameness%u2014fearlessness and
] nonaggression toward humans. By now the foxes in the
] project behave like pet dogs, barking and wagging their
] tails at humans.

[ Crazy. And cute as hell. -k]

Photo in the News: Baby Foxes Going to the Dogs

Everything you Need to Know About Writing Successfully: in Ten Minutes (Stephen King)
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:06 pm EST, Mar  2, 2005

] 4. Remove every extraneous word
] You want to get up on a soapbox and preach? Fine. Get one
] and try your local park. You want to write for money? Get
] to the point. And if you remove all the excess garbage
] and discover you can't find the point, tear up what you
] wrote and start all over again . . . or try something
] new.

[ Holy shit! Steven FUCKING King is encouraging writers to be concise?! Every single one of his full length novels could be reduced by 20-50%, at least. Ok, fine, i can only speak to the ones i've read, and I'll admit I gave up on his ass some time ago, but shit man, this motherfucker can describe a scene for 14 pages without getting around to any action on the part of the actors in the story. -k]

Everything you Need to Know About Writing Successfully: in Ten Minutes (Stephen King)

The Tipping Points
Topic: Current Events 10:56 pm EST, Mar  2, 2005

Can you know you are in the middle of a tipping point, or is it only something you can see in retrospect?

The Tipping Points

BBC NEWS | US plans to deploy 'robot troops' in Iraq
Topic: Technology 10:59 pm EST, Feb 16, 2005

] The US military is planning to deploy robots armed with
] machine-guns to wage war against insurgents in Iraq.
] Eighteen of the 1m-high robots, equipped with cameras and
] operated by remote control, are going to Iraq this
] spring, the Associated Press reports.

] Mr Quinn says there are plans to replace the computer
] screen, joysticks and keypad in the remote-control unit
] with a Gameboy-style controller and virtual-reality
] goggles.

IMHO the word "Robot" should not be applied to tools that require a human operator. These are RC troops, not robot troops, and one wonders what has taken so long.

BBC NEWS | US plans to deploy 'robot troops' in Iraq

Large Graph Layout (LGL) - Beyond Graphviz
Topic: Technology 10:54 pm EST, Feb 16, 2005

] LGL is a compendium of applications for making the
] visualization of large networks and trees tractable. LGL
] was specifically motivated by the need to make the
] visualization and exploration of large biological
] networks more accessible. Essentially the network is a
] graph, which is the data that you define, and LGL is
] responsible for showing it to you.

Soon to be played with...

Large Graph Layout (LGL) - Beyond Graphviz

Schneier on Security: SHA-1 Broken
Topic: Technology 10:54 pm EST, Feb 16, 2005

] SHA-1 has been broken. Not a reduced-round version. Not a
] simplified version. The real thing.

All your digital signatures are belong to us.

You have no chance to survive make new keys.

(well, not really new keys, but you get the drift)

Schneier on Security: SHA-1 Broken

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