Monthly ArchiveNovember 2001



Uncategorized 28 Nov 2001 02:33 am

You can’t be thinking about the Global Economy on a week night.

So, I had an interesting conversation today with a VC. He was a very smart fellow it seems, and I was impressed with some of the things he had to say. I was not surprised to see the dyed-in-the-wool belief that economic growth will make, and is necessary to make, the world a better place. Ironically, he was also talking about the population growth and quoted the National Academy of Engineering and a report they did. Apparently, they have extrapolated that by 2050, there will be 25 new cities of 10 million+ people that don’t exist now. Somewhere else I heard that China adds 18 million new citizens every year.

This is frightening to contemplate. Especially since some portion of that population is going to want a better quality of life. Right now, the American way of life is seen as a better way. But we are not a sustainable economy. We depend on continued growth. The VC made a remark about 6 billion cars on the planet choking us to death.

The notion of a balanced stable economy doesn’t get much airtime. I guess because there is no opportunity to be a better capitalist under such a system. That is, there is no opportunity to get more stuff than what you already have, unless someone else loses stuff. Of course as we move to an information based economy, it is possible to have things that others do not have without creating more stuff in the world. Information is intangible and cheap to copy. It can be shared without loss.

The VC seems to think that technology has some of the properties of information too. At least he thinks that the only way we can support the population growth is with investment in as-yet-unheard-of groundbreaking technologies that will allow provision of clean energy and water, healthcare through bioengineering, and alternate, cleaner forms of transportation. I really need to spend more time reading the Economist.

Man, do not resize the Blogger edit window when you have typed a ton of stuff and have not posted. It gets completely wiped out 🙁

Wow. This story from the Economist in 1954 talks about the first general use of computers in business. Today is apparently the 50th anniversary of the routine business usage of computers. The language they use to describe the computer is fascinating. Most of it is very simplified, yet accurate…. except for calling it the “electronic brain” 🙂

Uncategorized 25 Nov 2001 10:21 pm

More Music, Despite the RIAA

After playing guitar, I had some old memories jarred and decided to see if I could find some radio programs that I used to enjoy. The World Cafe was one of them, it was a mixed bag of rock and folk stuff that you usually wouldn’t hear on any of the corporate stations. I found some of my favorite music from that show. Artists like Michael Hill Blues Mob and Sekou Sundiata.
I found the site for the show and found that it was playing on a station in a half-an-hour. So, I went to check out the station. Funny. It was WUKY. The UK College Radio station from Kentucky, my home state.

The show before it was on for about half-an-hour (surprise) and was really enjoyable. It was the Putumayo radio hour.
Unfortunately, the World Cafe wasn’t playing, there schedule had changed, but they were playing the Grateful Dead Hour instead. That got me interested in finding another site, for the radio show, Flashback. Cool. Apparently, they are still making it. We used to listen to that show every Sunday night in college. Well, until they moved it to Saturday Morning at 8:00. Each show was a really good mixture of news clippings, soundbytes, and music from some chosen time in the 60’s-70’s.

Unfortunately, the RIAA is apparently disturbed about the show being played over the Internet and they have “temporarily” discontinued the streaming audio. I noticed that the stream had been discontinued since May though. It is really odd that this show is discontinued seeing that it is produced by ABC Radio. You would think they could work this out with the RIAA. I think this is perhaps the first time the RIAA has put a crimp in my plans. I couldn’t find an affiliate station list on the abc radio site either.

Oh well 1 out of 2 isn’t bad. Also, as I was looking for a link to Sekou, I see that he has a new album out. Cool.

Uncategorized 25 Nov 2001 09:33 pm

Music and Humor

Got our project room set up today and hooked up my 4 track to the computer. The 4 track will become a really nice mixer when I eventually get a decent recording package for the computer. Right now, ponging tracks is still doable, and it is just so good to have everything setup and playable.

While surfing to understand what options are available for high-end audio cards, I came across some old links that are a blast: The Daily Feed from the Washington Post and The Capital Steps. Both are a good source of political humor. The Daily Feed is particularly funny.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 04:37 pm

The Cartoon

Finally, some accuracy :-).
From Frank and Ernest

Most of the other Frank and Ernest don’t seem that funny, but this is hilarious. Maybe I read too much on topics like software process.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 03:44 pm

Cyber

Hmm. In trying to understand what parts of a curriculum I need to expand my education into more scientific realms, I came across the IEEE’s Body of Kowledge for Software Engineering project.
It lead me to Bloom’s taxonomy of education which is fascinating. Apparently, it is based on a systems model of thinking which is founded in Cybernetics.

Apparently, cybernetics got started in the 40’s and included people like Margaret Mead and John Von Neumann. That guy really was busy. Hmm. Game Theory, Turing Machines, machine architecture, and cybernetics.

I can’t tell if Cybernetics is good old systems theory as I learned it in my college sociology class or something a little flakier from the website. Maybe the dictionary will help.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 01:08 pm

Clean Coal!

Some friends I talked to recently were remarking about Bush’s clean coal campaign plank. I could not remember hearing him talk about it at all, but lo and behold in today’s Federal Register, there was a link to this solicitation from the DOE. The bottom where it describes the solicitation is what is interesting.

Also, there is a sentence in there about why they are offering up this funding:

Clean coal-fired powerplants remain the major source of electricity
for the world while distributed generation, including renewables, will
assume a growing share of the energy market.

That is a comforting statement. Even though some other things in the document bother me.
It would be nice to think that the Department of Energy wants to help us move to renewable, cleaner sources of fuel.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 04:28 am

Free Software

Tim O’Reilly’s log is pretty good. I think Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation has it wrong. He believes all software should be free.

As a software developer, I believe the software I create should be whatever I want it to be.

This whole issue of licenses under which software is distributed has gotten a little useless to me. I am grateful for software that people work hard on and then also open the source code. It is immensely wonderful. I respect their gift. I try to make my own contributions where I can.

The notion that there are certain inalienable rights that I might have towards someone else’s creative endeavour is bizarre. It is also bizarre from the perspective of a creator of software. Software is a creative effort by the programmer(s). Software is just like music, poetry or visual art; no one else on the planet has any inalienable right to the art produced by someone else. I may share if I want to share. They may enjoy what I have shared if they want to do so under the terms at which I offer it.

No more no less.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 02:34 am

The Title

My weblog title is a silliness made up because the software says you have to have a title (until you learn how to customize it), and as a play on the words “E pluribus unum.” E pluribus unum means “out of many, one”. Way too serious to be the title of a web log but I have a strong tendency to dwell on our nation and its health. Some of my thoughts in this log will likely talk about that, especially in the wake of the USA-Patriot Act, and the string of executive orders(another) passed recently. Not to continue to digress, but for a good rundown of the impact of the Act, check out the EFF’s site. Anyway, the notion of people uniting to protect themselves against unjust rule is very important to me and I will talk about it from time to time. So, with all that in mind, I, self-mockingly, came up with “E Syllabus Anem”, which could mean, “out of a course of study, wind.” That should make a lot of sense about now.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 01:59 am

Thanks again

Hey I am thankful for books and cds and dvds too.

And I am pretty sure that I would be thankful for small, unmarked dollar bills appearing in my mailbox with no strings attached.

Uncategorized 23 Nov 2001 01:50 am

Happy Thanksgiving

Today was thanksgiving. The turkey was delicious, and I got to see and talk to my family. Everybody has gone home now, so I sat down to play on the computer for a bit. I thought about putting the weblog up, and as I was browsing one of the sites I thought offered blogging tools, I came across a personal weblog about thanksgiving and being thankful in life. It made me pause to reflect on all that makes me grateful.

I am very thankful for my family, and for the fact that we all get along so well. I am thankful for my friends. I am also thankful that I have a job and can put food on the table, especially in light of the recent economy. I am thankful that we have the Bill of Rights. I am thankful for all of the hard fought battles that people have endured throughout history so that we can live a better life. I am thankful for the abilities and energies that will give me the opportunity to try to make the world a better place for others. I am thankful for all the good fortune I have received.
There are a lot of other things I think about being thankful for, but I think those capture what I want to share best. It is tricky with the current economy, and the continued human suffering both on 9/11 and now in Afghanistan, to remember to be thankful for all that we have been given and to not take it for granted.

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