I don't always find droids...

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

I don't always find droids...

I don't always find droids, but when I do, they're the ones I'm looking for.

- Most Interesting Wookie In The Universe (seen at the Lucasfilm campus).

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BBC On Patents

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Patently Absurd

"The patent system in the USA is so distorted it's now more lucrative for companies known as 'patent trolls' to sue manufacturers rather than actually make anything. The problem's so serious that President Obama has got involved -- and British companies are targeted if they do business in the US. Rory Cellan-Jones investigates and finds one of the world's biggest trolls in his lair in Dallas."

Patently Absurd is available to stream for the next six days (the BBC never took me up on the offer for a new hard drive).

(previouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviously)

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Scary Bunny

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Cheek Cells, Methylene Blue Stain

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cheek Cells, Methylene Blue Stain

Two of my very own cheek cells, painlessly extracted with a cotton swab and then stained with methylene blue.

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Diary of a Living Room

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Diary of a Living Room

1,920 frames taken every 45 seconds and stitched together into a single photo. It's a single frame time lapse of 24 hours.

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Syria

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book reviews for July 2013

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
Doctor Who: Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds

Doctor Who: Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds

5/5

I don't normally do SciFi series books... but this is Alastair Reynolds doing Doctor Who. Jon Pertwee era with UNIT and The Master. If the BBC had a 300 million Pound budget for a Doctor Who story line in the 70's this is what they would have made.

 

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson

4/5

I always enjoy Po Bronson and he's typically on form here with fascinating research and anecdotes around the topic of competition. There is a lot of new evidence on how hormones work that I'd never seen before and an interesting theory that competitive sports are a precursor to democracy. Much of this book is about how competition brings out creativity and drive. I wonder it it's missing a trick here and that the real factor is operating under constraint with competition being just one of many possible forms of constraint. In addition to the studies showing that art was better when a competition was involved I'd like to see how this worked out when one set of artists was limited to using just brown and silver... I'd bet the results would look pretty similar.

 

Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown

Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown

2/5

By the numbers. OK, but not great.

 

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Die, Software Patents, Die

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

HOWTO: Punish Banks

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Barclays just got fined $453m for manipulating the electricity market in the US, following a £290m fine for fiddling Libor while HSBC is off money laundering with seeming impunity.

A $453m fine for Barclays is equivalent to $600 for the average US household, although if the average US household got caught manipulating markets they'd probably be in jail.

These relatively small fines aren't enough to really change behavior.

Unless we change how the fines are used. Put $453m in an incubator that funds banking startups and you can have 40 scrappy well funded companies trying to take the banks down. A handful of those will succeed and really do some damage. Every time a bank misbehaves it will be sowing the seeds of its own destruction.

Previously

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Finally Gmail

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015