..and one little rant

It didn’t really fit into the science post, but another thing I found, which I can’t get past feeling is a really elegant solution to the creeping damp of expanding copyright and intellectual property privileges, is to ask the question “If IP Is Property, Where Is the Property Tax?“.

It would encourage works that are no longer financially lucrative to be un-licensed and un-copyrighted and thus pass into the public domain for the general benefit.


Another collection of links to things of a (mainly) scientific bent:

A californian scientist has developed a photonic laser thruster for shifting small satellites around to maintain their orbits,, and which might, if scaled up, greatly reduce the time to get to other planets.

Google has teamed up with the X-Prize foundation (which offers large cash prizes to private individuals or organisations who complete certain space related challenges) to offer a $30 million prize for putting a robotic lander on the moon. So if you’re good with electronics and have some rocketeering mates, you can make yourself a few bob.

The computer hardware company MSI has developed a rather clever little CPU fan which powers itself with the heat from the CPU. So you don’t have to use more electricity to run the fan to dissipate the plentiful thermal energy that’s already there… (well I think it’s nifty anyway).

Wired has a page with what they think are 10 of the coolest chemistry experiment videos on the web. I like burning magnesium in a block of carbon dioxide.

Slashdot had a link to an article on Scientific American about mapping out which parts of the brain are active in the sensation of religious euphoria, and using this knowledge to simulate the experience in the lab. Interesting stuff and very controversial fuel for the argument between atheists and the faith.

Gators or rice?

It’s been raining a lot around here.

Enough that there have been a few days were people in our department have been late or completely unable to get to work due to surface flooding. Kind of the tropics’ answer to the snow day.

Anyway our back yard is getting pretty badly in need of a mow, but I don’t have any intention of pushing the lawn mower around in the current situation where underneath the tall grass is a layer of water about an inch deep.

I’m beginning to wonder if I need to be concerned about ‘gators appearing in our back yard swamp, or perhaps whether I should be capitalising on this and putting in a crop of rice or cotton…

Secret society

It’s like some kind of dirty little secret.

I was over at a party on saturday with some people from work (it was a ripper of a party, but I was working the following morning, so couldn’t get into it as much as perhaps I would have), and noted that they had the box set of West Wing under their TV. Turns out they are also huge fans (although unfortunately they’re more of the myriad mindless drones who think that Josh is the best character….) and I found yet more people who share my shameful love of intelligent political drama with substance and nuance and subtlety. Seems that they’re everywhere if you look hard enough, just usually not openly advertised. Something of a secret society of linguophiles and intelligencia joined by the common thread of Aaron Sorkin (and if you haven’t seen Charlie Wilson’s War yet you should do so. Now. Get a baby sitter. It’s on at a theatre somewhere near you right now. I’m sure).

The inclination

I was wondering the other day what it is that gives me such satisfaction in writing my blog (presumably it’s the false sense of connection and social involvement, believing that many more people are interested in my life enough to want to read about it than actually do (hi mum!)).

In the couple of years I have been intermittently doing this I have watched other members of my family and social group start (and usually fail to continue) blogs of various themes and styles.

Mum got one set up to allow her to wax lyrical about her quilts. As far as I’m aware she hasn’t written a single thing since the first entry I helped her with.

Other friends like Jeremy, Vic, and James and Telle write more frequently, in these cases I think because they have widely dispersed friends overseas, and seem to have interesting lives (travel and distraction wise) that is worth sharing.

Ultimately I just wish more people kept blogs up, because I like the opportunity to keep up with friends who I don’t necessarily have the time to phone and talk to as often as I would perhaps like…