Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bad memories erased, no kooky helmet required.

In a few years you might have a pill to help you forget your bad breakup just the way Jim Carey did in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. With a high dose of just one enzyme, scientists can now erase very specific memories while you're in the act of recalling them. The enzyme known as CaMKII is linked to learning and memory, and Georgia neuroscientist Joe Z. Tsien and his team used it to induce extremely targeted memory-erasure in mice. Tsien thinks the process might help humans lay traumatic memories to rest.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Link Dump

First of all, please add some cowbell to something. I did.

Second of all, to all you stressing about wildly-bouncing poll numbers:

a. Read this.

Update: But then read this.

b.. More importantly, take a look at this.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nano meets bio to make better batteries

This is pretty exciting, futuristic stuff.
Instead of physically arranging the component parts, researchers genetically engineer viruses to attract individual molecules of materials they're interested in, like cobalt oxide, from a solution, autonomously forming wires 17,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper that pack themselves together to form electrodes smaller than a human cell.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Slow news day?




Monday, July 07, 2008

Our real problem? We're not selfish enough

Kos diarist LithiumCola makes a pretty good point:
You get mad when someone is taking welfare and sitting on their ass. What have you got against sitting on your ass? The whole point behind having a government and paying taxes is to have more time to sit on your ass. That's what technology is for. You Americans work longer than anyone, pay all these taxes, make all these robots, and then not only don't you sit on your ass, but you get mad when anyone else does. You're fucking crazy.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The real diamond age begins

Someone is finally making "cultured" diamonds without the colors found in other diamond manufacturers' products. Yeah, they will look good on your finger, but the fun stuff is all the other ways they could be used.
From the beginning of his research with CVD more than 20 years ago, Robert Linares hoped that diamonds would become the future of electronics. At the heart of almost every electrical device is a semiconductor, which transmits electricity only under certain conditions. For the past 50 years, the devices have been made almost exclusively from silicon, a metal-like substance extracted from sand. It has two significant drawbacks, however: it is fragile and overheats. By contrast, diamond is rugged, doesn't break down at high temperatures, and its electrons can be made to carry a current with minimal interference. At the moment, the biggest obstacle to diamond's overtaking silicon is money. Silicon is one of the most common materials on earth and the infrastructure for producing silicon chips is well established.

Apollo has used profits from its gemstones to underwrite its foray into the $250 billion semiconductor industry. The company has a partnership Bryant Linares declines to confirm to produce semiconductors specialized for purposes he declines to discuss. But he revealed to me that Apollo is beginning to sell one-inch diamond wafers. "We anticipate that these initial wafers will be used for research and development purposes in our clients' product development efforts," Linares says.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What really went down in Bosnia.

By now, I'm sure you've heard of Hillary's time in-country. But have you read her first-person account?


Friday, February 22, 2008

How do you undo this?

Even if the Democrats have a series of landslide victories in the fall, it will take years to undo the damage that Bush/Cheney have done to our country.
This really demonstrates the lengths to which Bush-Cheney's hyper-politicized Department of Justice can go. If they can railroad the actual governor of a state into prison and have pretty much nobody really sit up and take notice, what does that say about the extent of the damage to the country? Not just the DOJ (which is a goner), but about the supposed watchdogs of the media, who've been in large part either cowed into silence, or distracted by an endless stream of shiny objects?

Seriously, this means they can do this to anybody.

But worse than that, it means that anybody who finds themselves under scrutiny by the federal government now has license to charge that they're being politically targeted. Because if this can happen as Horton describes it happening, all bets are off. It has all the ingredients of the complete and total undoing of all federal law enforcement capability for the foreseeable future.

Nobody indicted by the Bush-Cheney DOJ can possibly help but wonder whether they're being targeted by the White House political machine. Not Don Siegelman. Not Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio. Nobody.

And once America realizes this really can happen (it's previously been unimaginable, and therefore all too easy to dismiss as "conspiracy theory"), you can bet your last dollar that any Republican indicted by a Democratic administration will be making that claim, too.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Patton Oswalt finally tries to eat "a failure pile in a sadness bowl."

The Famous Bowl hit my mouth like warm soda, slouched down my throat, and splayed itself across my stomach like a sun-stroked wino. It was that precise combination of things, and so many other sensations that did not go together. At all.

The gravy, which I remembered as being tangy and delicious in my youth, tasted like the idea of blandness, but burned and then salted to cover the horrid taste. The mashed potatoes defiantly stood their ground against the gravy, as if they'd read The Artist's Way and said, "I'm going to be boring and forgetful in my own potato-y way!" The corn tasted like it had been dunked in fake-corn-flavored ointment, and the popcorn chicken, breaded to the point of parody, was like chewing a cotton sleeve that someone had used to wipe chicken grease off their chin.

The cheese had congealed. Even in the heat and steam of the covered Famous Bowl, it had congealed. I stabbed it with the tines of my spork and it all came up in one piece. I nibbled an edge, had a vision of a crying Dutch farmer, and put it down.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Owen and Ben crack each other up

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

David Byrne and Thom Yorke talk about In Rainbows and the value of music

Yorke is still a little cagey on how well their download experiment went:
Byrne: Are you making money on the download of In Rainbows?

Yorke: In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever — in terms of anything on the Net. And that's nuts. It's partly due to the fact that EMI wasn't giving us any money for digital sales. All the contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff.

However, the article has this, near the beginning:
In the first month, according to comScore, more than a million fans downloaded In Rainbows. Roughly 40 percent of them paid for it, at an average of $6 each, netting the band nearly $3 million. Plus, since it owns the master recording (a first for the band), Radiohead was also able to license the album for a record label to distribute the old-fashioned way — on CD. In the US, it goes on sale January 1 through TBD Records/ATO Records Group.

What nobody seems to have really worked out is how much the band netted, after bandwidth costs, transaction fees, etc. Let's say that the answer is closer to $2,000,000. If so, that would mean that they netted basically $2/album, which is not bad - probably about the same or a little more than most artists make under the major label system.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Paths related gets a couple of reviews

So far, so good!

When you first encounter Paths you won't know where it's going to take you but trust that their drive to please and experiment is sincere and successful enough at every finely crafted turn to keep your ears humming long into the new year. Truly grand stuff.

For a prolific band who have yet to quite achieve the wider recognition they so richly deserve the Society has produced, here with their third album, a vastly compelling work that, if there is any justice in the world, will rocket them into the spotlight.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wonderful Kos Christmas post

DevilsTower nails it over at DailyKos:

Any and all of those issues might have been the centerpiece of a Democratic speech today, because those issues remain unsolved. And oddly enough, many of these issues were also on the mind of the man who two thousand years ago stood up in his family church and announced that "I come bringing good news for the poor."

When you're too busy trying not to lose, you may win elections now and then, but you rarely advance those causes you're supposed to care about. We've reached the point where Republican voters can claim the philosophy of absolute greed.

"I make a great deal of money through my own hard work. I don't want to pay for someone else's child to eat breakfast at school anymore."

Get that? She makes not just enough money, but a "great deal of money." How dare anyone take it away for something so frivolous as feeding a poor child? And yet Republicans, through their actions in blurring the lines between church and state, have become the "party of faith." Because they say so. Because they are bold in their actions and snarling in their defense.

We need to be just as adamant. We need to not hide behind any abstraction or evasion. We need to be unafraid to address this voter and say "I am going to take some of your money, and give it to that poor kid, because it's more important -- both to the child and to society -- that he eat, rather than that you have an extra week in Cabo."

Note that we should not pretend that "a program will take your money." Or "the government will take your money." This is a democracy, and we are the government. I will take your money. I will. Some of that money you worked hard for and want to keep. I will give it to a kid who is hungry. If your concern is that poverty should be addressed by individuals, then there's a simple solution: feed him. If there are no poor children needing food, I won't have to take anything for them. If your position is that people would be more generous if only the government would stay out of it, then sorry. I'm not willing to put this child at risk to as part of your experiment. Besides, if that were true, then why were their more hungry kids before we started these programs to give them a little breakfast? If your position is that your being able to keep all your money is more important than a child being fed, then I simply think you're wrong. And sick. You want to keep that money? You better beat me at the polls.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

The records are in!

Buy them at Parasol...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy birthday, boys!

What a crazy year for Ben...
Ben on his way to the top

and Owen.
Owen in his new cap

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Subpop finally has MP3s for sale!

Good stuff. I've been waiting for this.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Vinyl making a comeback?

Wired article, with bonus Society of Rockets plug at the end!


Health care professionals for single-payer

This article makes what I think is a great point in the debate:
Opponents of a single-payer system argue that single payer could be even more inefficient and bureaucratic than the current system. They point to other countries, such as Canada, that have national health insurance and yet have long wait times to see doctors.

But research supports the opposite conclusion. For example, a 2003 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the average overhead of U.S. insurance companies is 11.7 percent, compared with 3.6 percent for Medicare and 1.3 percent for Canada’s national health insurance program. And the waits in Canada are a result of Canada’s low level of health spending - on a per capita basis, about half that in the United States. The efficiency of Canada’s national health insurance program coupled with our current high level of health funding would yield the world’s best health care system.
[bold added for emphasis]


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Man, it's been a while

Sorry folk (s?), I've been very busy at work and with the twins. Here are some fun links for you.

The particularly obnoxious strain of US evangelicalism seems to be fading in popularity.

Cooks Illustrated figured out the secret to making easy-to-roll pie crust that is still flaky and delicious: Vodka! Not sure how long the full recipe will stay up.

I paid 3 pounds for the new Radiohead record. How much did you pay?

By the way, the tracklisting on our new record on ALL the download services seems screwed up. And, they are missing a track. If you bought a copy, let me know, and I'll send you a link to a fixed version.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Our Paths Related on Amazon's sweet new DRM-free music store

Yeah, I work for them (sort-of), but this is a really nice store - All the indies, plus EMI and Universal, for ten cents less than iTunes, with better quality and no DRM!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Our Paths Related out on eMusic

Get it before it's hot!


Friday, August 31, 2007

The twins "playing" the piano

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pile o' links

Sorry I've been super-neglectful lately, but I'm sure the three of you who read this will understand. Here are a few links:

Matt Taibbi pens a devastating article on the waste and corruption of the no-bid, "cost-plus" contractors in Iraq.

A video demo of some amazing new image resizing algorithms.

We got a nice little mention on Fluxblog this week.

Go see King of Kong!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Why won't Pelosi allow an impeachment vote?

Bruce Fein brings this question into the mainstream.
Speaker Pelosi's argument against impeachment is not high-minded, however. It is the fortunes of the Democratic Party, not the fate of the Constitution and the strength of democracy, that animate her decision. She opines that Democrats would risk losing control of Congress and the occupancy of the White House in 2008 if impeachment efforts moved forward. Many Democrats dispute that opinion. They maintain that citizens voted for authentic change last November and will revolt if Democrats ape President Bush and maneuver for partisan advantage while the Constitution burns. If an impeachment inquiry is blocked by Pelosi, and the White House is left undisturbed in its constitutional usurpations and celebration of perpetual war, voters may turn against Democrats for their political spinelessness.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The tortured confessions of a liberal hawk

David Rees tears Michael Ignatieff a new one
Ignatieff's latest essay is what Latin people call a "mea culpa," which is Greek for "Attention publishers: I am ready to write a book about the huge colossal mistake I made." I imagine the book will be about a man struggling to do the right thing-- a man who thinks with his heart and dares, with a dream in each fist, to reach for the stars. It's about a journey: a journey from idealistic, starry-eyed academic to wizened, war-weary politician. (Ignatieff used to work at Harvard's Kennedy School; now he's Prime Chancellor of Canada's Liberal Delegate or whatever kind of wack-ass, kumbaya government they've got up there.)

In a way, it's a story much like Cormac McCarthy's recent best-selling "The Road." Both follow a hero's long march through thankless environments-- in Ignatieff's case, from the theory-throttled, dusty tower of academia to the burned-out hell-hole of representative politics. Danger lurks. Grime abounds. The narrative tension is: Can the hero be wrong about everything, survive, and still convince people he's smarter than everyone in

I was excited when I first saw this new essay: At last, Ignatieff was going to come clean about his super-duper-double-dipper errors. I expected a no-holds barred, personal excoriation. In fact, I assumed the first, last, and only sentence of the essay would be: "Please, for the love of God, don't ever listen to me again."


Friday, July 27, 2007

Could this week in sports possibly be any worse?

Josh Levin imagines it could.
Barry Bonds broke baseball's all-time home run record last night with a towering, eighth-inning long ball against the Washington Nationals. After smashing his 756th career home run, the seven-time National League MVP pumped his fists in the air repeatedly. Bonds then reached into his back pocket and pulled out a large syringe labeled "DRUGS FOR CHEATING AT BASEBALL." The San Francisco Giants slugger lowered his pants, injected himself in the buttocks, and extended both middle fingers before setting off on his record-setting jaunt around the bases.
—Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 10, 2007


Yay Flight of the Conchords!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Max Blumenthal visits the Christians United for Israel

So we don't have to. What a nightmare.
CUFI has an ulterior agenda: its support for Israel derives from the belief of Hagee and his flock that Jesus will return to Jerusalem after the battle of Armageddon and cleanse the earth of evil. In the end, all the non-believers - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, mainline Christians, etc. - must convert or suffer the torture of eternal damnation. Over a dozen CUFI members eagerly revealed to me their excitement at the prospect of Armageddon occurring tomorrow. Among the rapture ready was Republican Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. None of this seemed to matter to Lieberman, who delivered a long sermon hailing Hagee as nothing less than a modern-day Moses. Lieberman went on to describe Hagee's flock as "even greater than the multitude Moses commanded."


Monday, July 23, 2007

What motivates an Isbister baby?

The remote, of course!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An objective comparison between an iPhone and a Nokia E70

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I like John Mackey, but...

You gotta be pretty dumb as a CEO to try and pump your stock on Yahoo message boards...
Rahodeb [Mackey's wife's name backwards...] began posting messages about Whole Foods shares on in the late 1990s. He quickly gained a reputation as being one of the stock's biggest cheerleaders, and gamely defended himself when other posters chastised him for being too rosy. "I've never pretended to be anything but enthusiastic about WFMI," he wrote in 2000, using Whole Foods' stock symbol. "I admit to my bias -- I love the company and I'm in for the long haul. I shop at Whole Foods. I own a great deal of its stock. I'm aligned with the mission and values of the company... Is there something wrong with this?"


Thursday, June 21, 2007


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