US Congress use Hollywood as scientific basis

There is always something weird cooking in the USA. This modern and progressive country is sometimes laughable, and also frightening, for the way it handles things. This time the congress is going to hear Michael Crichton on his scientific point of view on global warming and how humans may not be the cause. Just because this guy is a writer who decided to read on this subject make him a very important member of the scientific community. Or maybe that's the only one they found that could say that there is no such thing as a global warming induced by human activity. Nevertheless when the most powerful country ask a fiction writer for arguments against scientific work (same as for the evolution vs bible) I wonder how much we can trust these people...


On Modern Intelligence

(it seems I mostly quote the New-York Times these days...)

This article deals with what it is to be smart these days compared to the past. It's interresting to see she refers to the definition of Hawkins in "On Intelligence". But she forgot to mention than in the end old and current refer to the same thing: pattern matching and the ability to predict the future (and act accordingly). Based on past experience and patterns encountered before (one of the reason you learn better when you actually live things)

People feared the invention of the printing press because it would cause people to rely on books for their memory. Today, memory is more irrelevant than ever, argue some academics.

I don't think so. The memory just keep different things that in the past.


Creationist pressure rises

Lenore Durkee, a retired biology professor, was volunteering as a docent at the Museum of the Earth here when she was confronted by a group of seven or eight people, creationists eager to challenge the museum exhibitions on evolution.

They peppered Dr. Durkee with questions about everything from techniques for dating fossils to the second law of thermodynamics, their queries coming so thick and fast that she found it hard to reply.

I wonder if that's what Jesus would do... This is clearly an oragnised thing to put pressure on people explaining evolution and the science behind it. I wonder what would happen to 7 or 8 people going in a church asking the priest for proofs that God exists...


Dalaï Lama on science

Most religions usually have a parallel, if not opposite, path to science. Even though science progresses, most religions stay in realities that existed many centuries ago. Such a reality is hard to match with what we know and live now.

The Dalaï Lama has written a book on that. And he's really into embracing science, rather than old dogmas.

"If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims," he writes. No one who wants to understand the world "can ignore the basic insights of theories as key as evolution, relativity and quantum mechanics."


First application of Semantic Web

Finally there is an application that makes use of RDF and the Semantic Web. They also had the good idea of integrating RSS feeds in the software too...

It's a plugin for Firefox that parses information it finds on certain feeds (RDF and RSS) and aggregates everything in a personal database. Then you can search this database the way you want. You can also assemble data from different sites together to create more advanced search... I assume that's the way modern search engines work. This one is more personal and advanced, as it knows what the information means.


A new way of selling music

It's so simple that it's suprising nobody thought about it before. Instead of selling CDs why not sell an object that can play music by itself ? Like a small 128 MB USB MP3 player. So far the price of such players is still too much. But when the price premium will be between 5$ and 7$ (without headphones) it could be worth it. Much cheaper than the whole U2 collection on the iPod.

robUx4 joins DivX

The last time I talked about my personal situation was a few months ago when I was in Los Angeles to work on an innovating project involving a matroska like distributed file system over secure peer to peer. The conditions to make such an ambitious project a reality were not met. It turned into a nightmare in the end and I lost all my savings...

In the mean time I have met the most wonderful girl and we both fell in love. So I decided that I wanted to stay with her and her children (and soon mine). That involves that I have to be able to work in the USA. So before leaving Los Angeles I looked for a job at DivX and they welcomed me very warmly. So without much hesitation I accepted their offer. I will work from my home in France for a while until I can legally work from the USA.

I will start by working on Dr. DivX 2, a new Open Source project they have to convert any kind of file to .divx files. I'm very excited because they're aiming big with this project...

What does mean it for Matroska ? Not much. I am not allowed to use information and ideas I create for DivX but I can continue working on all I invented before. That involves all of matroska (even though I was not alone) and some other projects I worked on. I will just have a bit less time now...


ReBirth Discontinued, Now Available for Free

The software that reproduced the sound of the TB-303 and TR-808 will now be available for free to anyone. That's a good news for everyone looking for a cheap 303 or 808 sound (the sound in itself is far from cheap!).