Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A compelling case for wanderlust

I don't think I have ever been more motivated to travel around the globe (other than reading this) than when watching this excellent video. Well done, Matt Harding ! You made me laugh, enjoy music and want to go trekking around the world with a handycam.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ah, Morbidity ... I missed you !

[Note: If you don't know sarcasm when you see it, you are the ideal audience for reading the following post.]

Slashdot is reporting that SciAm is running a story about whether the world is prepared for a flu pandemic. Here's a little excerpt: One day a highly contagious and lethal strain of influenza will sweep across all humanity, claiming millions of lives. It may arrive in months or not for years--but the next pandemic is inevitable. Are we ready ?

Now picture these exact same words on a Star Wars style crawl. Cool, isn't it ? So, if the now infamous avian influenza strain (with the menacing technical name H5N1 ... hmm, I don't know about you but that does sound cooler to me than R2D2 !! A coincidence ? May be, may be not !!) mutates into a lethal strain and becomes capable of being passed from a human to another human, it might prove to be twice as deadly as the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed about a 100 million people.

My reaction to this story was actually three-fold. Here's my first reaction with my Calvin hat on :

Here's the second one with my George Carlin hat on :

Imagine that I am saying something like "Well, we deserve it !!" in a much funnier way.

And, finally, this one with my Homer Simpson hat on (which, I gotta say, is my favorite hat) :

So, you got great Star Wars tie ins, edge-of-the-seat suspense, a touch of helplessness (can't make a vaccine before the virus mutates and by then it's too late !!) and a pretty diverse range of emotional reactions. I smell a blockbuster !

And if nothing else, at least we got SciAm to sell more copies, right ?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This Just In: Kansas Education Board Is Nuts

So, the Kansas Board of Education has approved new science standards which would allow the theory of evolution to be challenged in public schools and also allow intelligent design to be taught along with evolution. Are you thinking the same thing that I am thinking ? Why is this news ? It's Kansas, after all, right ? They tried to do this once before in 1999 when they actually excised almost all references to evolution from text books. Well, here's the more interesting and scary part from the same CNN story I linked to before:

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Isn't that ingenious ?! No more claims that ID is unscientific. Even science is unscientific ! This is so dumb, it's brilliant !!


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tim Bray likes Vikram Seth !

So, I was doing my regular RSS feeding and I read this in one of the posts:

This is the latest by Vikram Seth, best known for A Suitable Boy. Seth is one of only two or three authors whose new works I buy on sight, without waiting to read reviews (mind you, since he only publishes every decade or so, this is not an expensive habit).

I had not yet looked at the source of the post and when I did ... lo and behold ... it was Mr. Tim Bray's excellent blog Ongoing. Tim, in case you didn't know, is the co-inventor of XML and XML namespaces, currently working at Sun Microsystems. A very smart man with insightful posts. Well, it's good to have something in common with him. I have been waiting for a long time for Seth to come out with a new novel after An Equal Music and here it is - Two Lives. Another item for the wish list.