The Advogato diary has some personal stuff. Other than that, it’s been largely non-productive around here — work, work, sleep, repeat.

end of an era
Yet another non-Web-based database interface bites the dust as NLM retires Grateful Med.

editor comparison
Here’s an interesting Unix text editor overview, written by a long-time BBEdit user.

filched from rasfw
Some links stolen from rec.arts.sf.written:

First, it’s scary how much Jerry Pournelle’s site looks like a really poorly executed weblog.

Second, for you Heinlein fans out there, Robert A. Heinlein’s Second Future History attempts to make the case that the well-known Future History series actually represents two distinct sets of stories.

Elite - the new kind is a ground-up reverse engineering of the fabulous space flight/trading/shooting game. I played this on the Apple ][, back in the day; methinks I’m going to have to try to get this to build on my current system.

this is scary
Via the politechbot mailing list, Germany contemplates mandatory DNA testing. Potentially, 41 million people could be tested and typed. One of the many potential problems with this idea (ignoring the huge invasion of privacy issues) is that the economic value of such a databank is seriously non-trivial, and that relating the typing data to other sorts of data could be even more valuable.

sore throat key to cjd transmission?
This is interesting — a researcher at UCSD has hypothesized that inflammation and micro-tissue damage due to sore throat may be the key to how Creutzfeldt-Jacob is transmitted from infected beef to people.

the doomed cling on
Completely missing the impact of the Internet on traditional publishing models, a new nonprofit is offering cheaper journals. I’ve had “discussions” with several cow-orkers about this issue; my feeling is that the value added by publishing houses, in terms of paper publication, is minimal at best, and probably non-existent. I think they’re classic middlemen parasites, actually, and ripe for some sort of net-borne disintermediation. Based on the arguments, err, discussions mentioned above, however, this seems to be a minority view.

I also think that publishers do have a role to play, but it lies much more in noting quality papers and providing context for them, much like Nature does with its “News and Views” section. The issue is that the majority of the labor in the peer review process isn’t on the publishers’ end, but rather distributed across the scientists working in the community. That part of the business is going to be going away; I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

remembering shannon
Claude Shannon recently passed. Without Shannon’s pioneering work in information theory, I wouldn’t be writing this, you wouldn’t be reading it, and the whole world would be a very different place. You can see some remembrances of Shannon from people who knew and interacted with him during his life, or you can add your own.

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