been busy
Or at least sleep-deprived — Lor is back on to a travel-rich schedule, and I’m having trouble adjusting to having to get up and about earlier than normal. It’ll get better soon, I think…

napster aftermath
Dan Gilmour wrapped up the Napster appeal decision the other day. My personal outlook isn’t quite as bleak as his, but I’m not sure that my solution is really going to have mass appeal. I think that it’s about time for consumers to quit playing along with the garbage the media companies are trying to pull; if you don’t like what they’re trying to do to your rights, quit paying them to do it. There are artists, good ones, that Get It; support them, and let other artists know what you’re doing, and why, and then maybe the whole enormous artifice that is the entertainment industry will crumble up. Or maybe I’m just being optimistic…

neverending learning
Here’s a CORBA tutorial, written from a bioinformatics perspective. Don’t know when I’ll have time to get to this, but it’s here when I do. Also in the ‘good learning experiences’ category, I should probably download GP and Arka and see what I can learn from the source. (If you’re too lazy to follow the link, GP is a suite of Unix-y command line utilities to manipulate nucleotide and protein sequences; Arka is a GUI front-end to GP.)

The US Naval Academy has a new endowed chair: the Robert A. Heinlein Chair in Aerospace Engineering. Very, very appropriate.

shouldn’t it be a holo, or something?
There’s a new documentary out, profiling Willian Gibson. Sounds like it might be worth a watch, if it ends up getting any kind of distribution.

native son
Since I’m from there, and all, I’ll note that the state of Kansas reinstituted the teaching of evolution last week. I hope some people there keep paying attention, so that this doesn’t happen again in the future.

The Guardian has a quiz about the human genome up. I got a 15 out of 20, earning me:

Designer baby: stylish and sharp, you might just be the person to make use of all that’s been learnt from the genome project

(If you’re running Junkbuster, watch out — I had to disable it to get my result.)

history lesson
I’m pretty sure we weren’t taught about the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers in my American history class:

In 1927, nine prominent New York lawyers associated themselves under the intentionally-bland name, ‘Voluntary Committee of Lawyers,” declaring as their purpose ‘to preserve the spirit of the Constitution of the United States [by] bringing about the repeal of the so-called Volstead Act and the Eighteenth Amendment.” With the modest platform they thus commanded, reinforced by their significant stature in the legal community, they undertook first to draft and promote repeal resolutions for local and state bar associations. Their success culminated with the American Bar Association calling for repeal in 1928, after scores of city and state bar associations in all regions of the country had spoken unambiguously, in words and ideas cultivated, shaped, and sharpened by the VCL.

But wait, it gets better:

Several hours after Utah ratified the 21st Amendment, while millions of Americans were celebrating, the VCL treasurer quietly balanced the books by making a final contribution from his own pocket in the amount of $6.66, and closed them permanently.

So, a group of lawyers sees a wrong, organize into a group, fix the problem (which required what can only be described as a grand political hack), and then disband. The mind boggles. All I can hope is that some group of modern-day lawyers are inspired by the example of the VCL, and decide to tackle the drug problem — which might be much more difficult, given the lack of a single target like the VCL had in the 18th Amendment.

herring breath
Berke Breathed interview, part I and part II. I shouldn’t have to say anything more than that, but for those of you that haven’t already shouted for joy and clicked with mad abandon, I’ll clue you in that Berke Breathed was the mind behind “Bloom County” and “Outland”, two comic strips whose like we’ve not yet seen again. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I pity you, because your life is surely poorer for not having seen “Bloom County”, and I’m also jealous of you, because you’ve got all those strips to read for the first time…

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