Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Detailed techy interview with Jonathan Rentzsch, an independent Mac programmer with his take on what's next for Apple and how he pitches his tools to clients, large and small.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Son of Da Vinci Code? Great. Another hack novel in the works...
Wilson said he wants to write a novel about his theory. The forger or perhaps forgers, Wilson theorizes, probably robbed a grave and pulled the aged shroud off a body, then crucified someone to obtain the blood and study the wounds of Jesus.

"Most likely it involved some real wicked people," Wilson said.
Real wicked.
Who Needs Sci-Fi Dept.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil dug out of a hunk of sandstone has yielded soft tissue, including blood vessels and perhaps even whole cells, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

Paleontologists forced to break the creature's massive thighbone to get it on a helicopter found not a solid piece of fossilized bone, but instead something looking a bit less like a rock.

Full article.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Things are getting a little...er, testy over at National Review's Corner...
Revising Gregor Mendel?

Challenging a scientific law of inheritance that has stood for 150 years, scientists say plants sometimes select better bits of DNA in order to develop normally even when their predecessors carried genetic flaws.

The conclusion by Purdue University molecular biologists contradicts at least some basic rules of plant evolution that were believed to be absolute since the mid-1800s, when Austrian monk Gregor Mendel experimented with peas and saw that traits are passed on from one generation to the next. Mendelian genetics has been the foundation of both crop hybridization and the understanding of basic cell mutations and trait inheritance.

Full article.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Friday, March 18, 2005

Uh-oh Dept. You mean, I may have to re-encode all my movies??? News on the future (or lack thereof) of the DVD format.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

More follow up on Da Vinci Code and the Vatican from today's Publisher's Lunch:

Another Prominent Catholic Is Softer On CODE
Monsignor Jose Maria Pinheiro, nominated to be bishop of Sao Paulo just two weeks ago, has adopted a softer position on THE DA VINCI CODE than the Vatican-appointed antagonist Cardinal Bertone.

Pinheiro said "I would recommend prudence. "It is important to talk to young people about it so that they can differentiate, but I don't think it's necessary to ban its reading."

Separately, USA Today looks at some of the wave of books positioned as "the next DA VINCI CODE," focusing on The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman, Improbable by Adam Fawer, The Third Translation by Matt Bondurant, Map of Bones by James Rollins, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.
I think the Monsignor is right. This wave is going to take some time to pass. Better to just ride it out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

According to Publisher's Lunch newsletter:

Vatican Joins in Decoding Da Vinci
The DA VINCI CODE is just a work of fiction, but the Vatican is taking its worldwide popularity seriously enough that it has appointed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Archbishop of Genoa and one of potential candidates to be the next Pope, to counter what the church calls the book's "shameful and unfounded errors."

The Cardinal told an Italian newspaper "There is a very real risk that many people who read it will believe that the fables it contains are true. [Dan Brown] even perverts the story of the holy grail, which most certainly does not refer to the descendants of Mary Magadalene. It astonishes and worries me that so many people believe these lies." He will convene the first in a series of public debates in Genoa tomorrow.

Doubleday replies in a statement: "The ideas put forth in THE DA VINCI CODE have been circulating for centuries; this novel explores them in an accessible work of fiction. Doubleday certainly respects Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican and their desire to clarify any factual errors they feel may have been made in THE DA VINCI CODE."

Great. This will guarantee Dan Brown's book will be on the best-sellers' lists for another year.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Asleep at the Wheel Dept. Hans Bethe, the last of the great European physicists to flee Hitler and help develop atomic power in the U.S, died yesterday at age 98. He won the Nobel prize for showing how, in a step by step process, the sun fuses hydrogen into helium.

And what makes the front page of today's Boston Globe instead? An angry family demanding $740,000 from NStar because their dog got accidentally electrocuted at one of NStar's lamppost sites.

Hans Bethe: page D14. Dead dog: p. 1.

Who. Is. Running. This. Newspaper???

Monday, March 07, 2005

Apple's successes in the sciences is not just about the hardware. Mac OS X has played a large role converting scientists and will continue to do so. Kerr is a featured speaker at the upcoming Bio-IT World Conference & Expo where she will talk about the benefits of Mac OS X Tiger.
Complete article here.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Stanislaw Lem, the internationally renowned science fiction writer, notorious among American fans for bashing the genre as "a hopeless case, with exceptions," has been shortlisted for the first International Booker Prize for literature.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Jay Fitzgerald quotes me on Jeremey Allaire's intriguing new idea for video delivery over the Internet.

More on Brightcove from Om Malik with commentary....

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I've always thought not enough attention was paid to Apple's potential in the Server market:
Yet despite significant efforts by Windows suppliers, Apple still remains a dominant player in vertical market segments such as publishing and digital media. And with the growing popularity of its low-cost Xserve Unix servers, Apple has an opportunity to compete head-to-head with industry leaders like Dell Inc. inside the data center for general-purpose applications such as e-mail and Web serving.
Full article.
Agent/author Richard Curtis has a superb overview on the publishing industry:

Had the plethora of mergers and acquisitions that shrank the number of publishers to a handful of behemoths achieved a literary renaissance, perhaps we could rationalize that it was worth all the turmoil. But it did not. After each consolidation the patient continued to hemorrhage. It became obvious that gigantic publishers hemorrhage the same way that tiny ones do; it’s just that gigantic publishers have more blood to lose and the losses can be disguised in the financial reports of their parent companies. Like many a dying patient, publishers have lived in denial about the underlying cause of their chronic losses. Yet, the reason has been in plain sight all along: the returnability of books is killing the business.

Fear of provoking Federal antitrust prosecution inhibited publishers from combining to combat the practice of returnability, even though it was draining the vitality of the industry. What was worse, the vested interests of the retail bookstore business insured that the system would never change. Powerful chain store entrepreneurs shrewdly recognized that returns are a form of currency and found a way to systematically manipulate them. Instead of paying cash for new titles, the chains simply returned slow-moving stock and applied the credit toward the purchase. No money changed hands – just paper.

Read all of it here.