Category: "culture/news"

Sci-fi authors predict the future (kind of)

I was at the library with Sara and Emma a couple of days ago and I decided it was time for a sci-fi fix. I picked up a book of stories by one of my favorites sci-fi authors, Robert Heinlein. The book is called The Past Through Tomorrow. I just finished a story called "The Roads Must Roll," which was written in 1940. In it he describes a futuristic one-person vehicle that should sound familiar to us today:

A tumblebug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a singe wheel. . . . It can go through an opening the width of a man's shoulders, is easily controlled, and will stand patiently upright, waiting, should it's rider dismount (Heinlein 52).

Does that sound anything like this?

Join team TMBG

TMBG Street Team

They Might Be Giants is my favorite band. I recently joined the TMBG Street Team to help promote the band (and hopefully get some free loot.) If you share my love for this quirky combo, then you might want to join, too. Just follow the clicky-click road.

Doctorow, MS and DRM

Cory Doctorow, author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Boing Boing Blog recently gave a speech to Microsoft about digital rights management (DRM). DRM is the little bits of tech that keep you from copying DVDs, moving ripped music to several computers and changing the format of eBooks. Tampering with DRM is illegal, even if you're doing it to make a legal copy of a product you own (like backing up a DVD or printing off an eBook that you bought.) Doctorow's speech does a good job of explaining the problems with DRM, to a company that needs to hear it. MS is planning on making an mp3 player soon and their WMA format has some of the most restrictive DRM there is.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

I recently read another book on my PDA. A few weeks ago I told you about Free Culture. I enjoyed reading that one, I enjoyed the fact that it was free, I recommended it to people and I ended up buying a hard copy. In what I hope becomes a major trend, sci-fi author and author Cory Doctorow released his novel for free online. You can still buy a copy of the book, but this lets you at least check it out for free (and read the whole thing if your eyes can stand it). The book is called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. I liked it. It's set in the not-so-distant future, when the human consciousness has been ported to the computer so that if you die, you only have to restore from your latest back-up. I probably would have liked the book better if I knew anything about Disney World, since a lot of the story revolves around the changes that the tech brings to the Magic Kingdom. It looks like Doctorow has recently released his second novel Eastern Standard Tribe. I may have to download that and give it a try. If you know of any other good books that are being published this way, let me know.

Duck and Cover

Public Domain movie of the day: Duck and Cover

This makes today's terror alert paranoia look like nothing.

Simpsons and math

If you love the Simpsons and you love math, then you might think this website is cool:

It basically details all of the mathmatical content and jokes in all relevant episodes. Including one of my favorite Simpson's jokes from the Bart the Genius episode:

Teacher: So y = r cubed over 3. And if you determine the rate of change in this curve correctly, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
[The class laughs except for Bart who appears confused.]
Teacher: Don't you get it, Bart? Derivative dy = 3 r squared dr over 3, or r squared dr, or r dr r.

Har-dee-har-har. Good times. Tim, if you don't like this link, then no one will.

Free Culture and Creative Commons

I finally choose a Creative Commons licence for this blog. You can see it at the bottom left of the page (look for the two Cs). If you want to see a fun introduction to what CC is, then try watching these two flash movies. They explain it pretty well.

Drive a nice car, get free music

Test drive a Lexus, get 60 free songs from Sony Connect. Fill out the form online, print off a voucher and take it to the Lexus dealership. I wouldn't mention to the Lexus salesman that you're too cheap to pay $0.99 for an mp3.

via techbargains

Break the Chain

I hate getting email chain letters. They're almost always false. I have enjoyed debunking a few of them, and that just got a lot easier. Here's a website devoted to exposing faike chain letters:

Take that, Ryan Seacrest

Sara and I just watched the second episode of The WB Superstar USA and it is awesome! It takes the best part of American Idol, the terrible singers that get eliminated, and makes that the whole show. All the bad singers are told that they're good and the good singers don't make it past the first two episodes. Everyone's in on it: the judges, the audiences, the dancers. The finale will be telling the sorry saps that they actually stink. It's so cruel, but so entertaining.

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