296 to 1

December 30, 2008

“By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli” -Robert Fisk

I don’t see how Israel can expect goodwill from the world or understanding from Arabs with such asymmetric response. Or how it can possibly not produce a whole new generation of suicide bombers.

The whole thing comes off as Israel wanting to teach the people of Gaza a lesson for voting Hamas in.  Is that too cynical?

I’m most afraid Israel may have just delivered the West Bank to Hamas as well, and destroyed any chance for peace another decade.

Charles’ write up has some great quotes.

Mitchell Bard makes a good case for Israel’s actions and justification.  And I agree 400 rockets cannot stand.  And yet I think they’re playing right into Hamas’ hands.


December 28, 2008

Cool site:

Find songs being played in any radio station.  Then view youtube video and read lyrics (on most), chat with other listeners of the station and buy in iTunes or Amazon.

API allows looking up what stations are currently playing a song or artist, or at a particular date and time.

Jed’s New Rule

December 27, 2008

Jed tells Republicans to shut up and let the big boys fix the country, or face even more irrelevance.

National LambdaRail

December 27, 2008

Is a national network of fiber laid along railway lines.  It is used by hundreds of research institutions and universities.  Capacity is currently 10Gbps, but there is much more dark fiber laid, ready to be turned on as needed.

I guess it’s kind of like a ARPAnet v2.


December 27, 2008

GigaOM concisely explains the what, why and how of OpenCL.

OpenCL is a programming framework that allows software to run on both the CPU and the graphics processor of the computer. This means programs will run faster and offer more performance on a machine’s existing hardware

Nividia pushed CUDA for scientific computing while AMD tried to push Close to the Metal (now Stream). But as sending tasks to the GPU became easier, the software and hardware providers realized an open standard that wasn’t linked to a particular chip vendor would be the best option. So earlier this year Apple offered OpenCL to the Khronos Group, a standards-setting organization, and Intel, Nvidia and AMD joined forces to create a standard that would work on multiple chips.

The standard was released 12/9, and of course will be supported in OSX Snow Leopard, which some say will be ready ahead of schedule in Q1 09 (hear that MS?).

My question is, does Apple do this already (using proprietary libraries) in iPhone and AppleTV? or will they do a software upgrade soon which is, in effect, a hardware upgrade?

OK, another question: Where is MS in all this now that Intel, AMD and Nvidia are behind it?  Will they come up with their own proprietary extensions just for PR reasons (instead of leveraging their partners’ work)?

Piezoelectric wheels

December 27, 2008

I’ve been hearing about the Tokyo sub installing piezoelectric pads in their turnstiles to generate electricity from travelers’ steps.

Now an Israeli company is testing roads that gather electricity from cars passing by.

Why not on car wheels?  I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  I don’t know how much can be obtained, but if it can supplement even 30% of the car’s needs that would really improve range for an electric vehicle.

I suppose you’d need piezoelectric tiles on the inside of the tire, around a large-diameter axle.  As one goes under the weight it generates a positive charge.  At the same time pressure is released from another tile, which generates a negative charge.

Sounds simple, i’m sure there’s a gotcha there I’m not seeing.  Any EE out there would care to explain my folly?

No class Dubya

December 27, 2008

I don’t know what passes for good manners among the Houston country club set, but where I come from singing yourself praises sure doesn’t.  In fact it’s rather tasteless.

The American people by and large think he is a buffoon, but rather than going out quietly (if with his head held high), he chooses to pile on more and more and more lies.  Perhaps he wanted to remind us just how arrogant he is, lest we forget.

Well, in that spirit of remembering what was so we can move forward, let us go over some of his accomplishments:

  1. Lied us into an unneeded war.
  2. Turned the world’s goodwill towards us after 9/11 into hatred.
  3. Failed to catch Bin Laden and quash Al-Quaida.
  4. Mocked our founding fathers by trampling over the constitution.
  5. Destroyed our alliances.
  6. Doubled our debt to 10 trillion.
  7. Failed to solve Iran and North Korea
  8. Left New Orleans to drawn.
  9. Turned his party’s ‘permanent majority’ into regional irrelevance.
  10. Obstructed science and medical research.
  11. Staffed the bureaucracy with unqualified cronies.
  12. Had his regulators not regulate, his attorneys break the law.
  13. Made Russia into an enemy again.
  14. Sold our scenic public lands for drilling without environmental study.
  15. Compounded the housing crisis (by pushing for increased ownership).

Bush: The man-made disaster

December 27, 2008

CNN’s Bill Schneider:

“An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent — that’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster,”

“To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster.”

h/t Barry Ritholtz

Thank you Iowa

December 26, 2008

For caucusing, and listening, and taking the election seriously, and taking a chance and making us see and believe that it was possible.

Andrew has a beautiful picture and speech from a long long time ago (June 07)

I will never forget the day Barack won the caucus.  I was driving home when I heard it and I got goosebumps.  That day I started working to get him elected.

Not so clean coal

December 26, 2008

A dike broke in Tennessee, releasing 800 olympic pools’ worth of coal ash sludge from a powerplant.  No fatalities and little structure damage resulted, fortunately.  But the 400 acres of land now covered under up to 6 feet of toxic sludge will take years to clean up.