Tim O’Reilly on Dune. Tim “World’s Greatest Technical Books” O’Reilly’s first publishing venture was a bio of Frank “Dune” Herbert (which text is now available for free under an open content license). In this week’s “Ask Tim” feature, Tim handles sticky questions about Herbert’s intention with Dune. [via bOing bOing]
Workplace is a journal about labor and workplace issues in academia.
Last night I had an anxiety dream about having to send in my PowerBook to Apple for some undisclosed reason. Dream time was spent dutifully waiting on the phone for a RMA number while obsessively making sure I had at least several backups (over and above the usual one) on hand in case I needed to get at the files I haven’t touched in over two years.
Perhaps the most interesting part is that in my dream, cell phone connections still suck. This leads me to believe that like the weather, lousy cell phone connections are as iron-clad a fact of nature as say… gravity.
This also leads me to believe that the most impossible item in the Star Trek universe isn’t the transporter or warp drive, but the lowly communicator.
Coolness! There’s a new translation of Guy Debord’s Situationist text The Society Of The Spectacle up on the web.
From the “well duh!” files… “Study shows how much people hate a winner“
Microbiologists are dropping like flies. Since Sept. 11, at least a dozen high-powered microbiologists have died under violent and/or mysterious circumstances. Mike Ruppert’s story had to be pulled down and updated because three more have died in the week since his story was first published.
Science fiction without the future….
Science fiction author Judith Berman looks at a year’s worth of issues of Asimov’s and ponders the dearth of new, young sf readers. She raises the point that very few of the stories being published today are a celebration of the future (or indeed, the present), but rather they look backwards to the “Golden Age” of sf when writers were exuberant about tomorrow. She calls me on this — rightly so — for a couple of future-shocky stories I sold to Asimov’s, and goes on critique the genre for being almost exclusively focused on its fear of the present and the future. Good, thought-provoking stuff!Link [bOing bOing]
The Intensification of Global Instability. Iran is moving toward internal crisis. Venezuela’s political problems are worsening. The Israeli and Palestinian conflict is entering a new era, and civil war has broken out in Colombia. The United States’ inevitable obsession with al Qaeda has ultimately contributed to this process of destabilization. [via Stratfor (subscription required)]
The new version of Windows Media Player maintains a logfile of all the media (digital video and DVD, digital audio and CD) that each user plays on it, much like a browser’s cache. Unlike a browser-cache, however, WMP talks to a centralized server every time you insert new media and transmits a unique identifier number that could be stored and sold to marketers (though MSFT says they won’t be doing this). And like a history file, the media player’s file can be the source of embarassment if spouses, parents, employers, kids, etc get into it and discover your dirty little viewing and listening habits.
Privacy experts said they feared the log file could be used by investigators, divorce lawyers, snooping family members, marketing companies or others interested in learning about a person’s entertainment habits. It also could be used to make sure users have paid for the music or movie, and have not made an illegal copy.
Yesterday and today’s Democracy Now airs a terrific speech from Cornell West about the struggle for equality and liberation post September 11. Democracy Now has MP3s and RealAudio archives available (look for the 19 Feb. and 20 Feb. 2002 shows)