Articles by ralph

I’m still waiting for Republican primary voters to get wind of all of Newt’s “big government” sci-fi ideas. Here’s a good history of them from Sharon Weinberger in Foreign Policy: Former House…

Now, why would a member of parliament in South Korea object so strongly to a free trade deal with the United States? Haroon Siddique reports in the Guardian:

An opposition MP set off a teargas canister in the South Korean parliament in a failed attempt to prevent the ruling party passing a free trade deal with the US.

Proponents said the deal, the largest US trade pact since the 1994 North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), could increase commerce between the two countries by up to a quarter. But the opposition claims it will harm South Korean interests, putting jobs at risk …

60 Minutes had a lengthy interview with Steve Jobs’ handpicked biographer Walter Isaacson (who has authored well received biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein). Video below and here’s an explanation for why your iPad or iPhone is a royal pain to turn off:

Walter Isaacson (Jobs’ biographer): I remember sitting in his backyard in his garden one day and he started talking about God. He said, “Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50–50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of — maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on. The he paused for a second and he said ‘yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone.’ He said — and paused again, and he said, “And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

Well, Klingons for Jesus has sided in on this, but for a more rigorous debate, Professor Christian Weidemann recently weighed in at a DARPA-sponsored event. (DARPA cares about these things?) Jeff Schapiro…

Wow, AP just reported and go to the Apple homepage to confirm. In case anyone doesn’t know, he was battling cancer for years. In terms of significance aside from the human, Apple is considered to have more cash than the U.S. government.

“Death… is Life’s Change Agent”

Via Bailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money…

Monkeys At TypewritersThis is a thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters. Soon, they’ll have written the greatest novel known to mankind. [Reading one of the typewriters] It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times“?! You stupid monkey! [Monkey screeches] Oh, shut up. —Montgomery Burns

This Simpsons episode inspired programmer Jesse Anderson to see if it could actually work. As he explains:

Instead of having real monkeys typing on keyboards, I have virtual, computerized monkeys that output random gibberish. This is supposed to mimic a monkey randomly mashing the keys on a keyboard. The computer program I wrote compares that monkey’s gibberish to every work of Shakespeare to see if it actually matches a small portion of what Shakespeare wrote. If it does match, the portion of gibberish that matched Shakespeare is marked with green in the images below to show it was found by a monkey. The table below shows the exact number of characters and percentage the monkeys have found in Shakespeare. The parts of Shakespeare that have not been found are colored white. This process is repeated over and over until the monkeys have created every work of Shakespeare through random gibberish.

Hollow FaceGreat find from Esther Inglis-Arkell on

Stephen Fry and the panelists on the BBC show QI are struck by the strange motions of the inverted face of Albert Einstein demonstrating the Hollow Face Illusion, and a little side-variation of the illusion.

We’ve told you about the Hollow Face Illusion before. This illusion involves a sculpted face, but instead of the usual convex human face of a sculpture, the sculpture is flipped and we’re shown the inside of the face. In this case, it looks like Einstein stuck his face in some molten plastic and we’re looking at the impression.