1. The map is not the territory, but this one folds up the same way.

    30 April 2007

    Researchers from the University of Nevada and IBM's Almaden Research Lab have used the BlueGene L supercomputer to run a heretofore unprecedented simulation of about one-half of a mouse's brain. It's not easy to keep an organic brain going outside of a living body so they did the next best thing, which was write a program that emulates the organic brain as closely as they could. This isn't as easy as it sounds because neural networks more advanced than those of worms have so many interacting factors that taking them all into account is a gargantuan task. It is also …

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  2. "We'll make sure they get paid, even though they don't work for us..."

    30 April 2007

    A couple of weeks ago, the RIAA managed to get a law passed that requires royalties to be paid to them for all music streamed across the Net, regardless of the reason or origin of the music. If you listen to the audio stream coming from a local commercial radio station's website, they're paying the RIAA royalties for the privilege (then again, chances are they're getting paid by the RIAA to only play certain songs - this has been known for years but no one's been in a position to do anything about it). If you read the fine print, though …

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  3. It's taken years of campaigning, but it's finally happened.

    27 April 2007

    The United States military has finally conceded after all these years - the pentacle has now been approved for the headstones of veterans who are also neopagans. The familiar circled five-pointed star joins the ranks of thirty-eight other philosophical and religious sigils, including the crucifix, the happy human of Secular Humanists, and the Star of David.

    Interestingly, they've been taking their sweet old time on this - they approved the happy human and the insignia of the Sikhs in mere weeks.

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  4. There's something very _Snow Crash_ about this.

    27 April 2007

    Some call it spam, others call it laughable, but some people are very spooked about what you can find on someone with a simple Google search: E-mailed extortion threats demanding thousands of dollars to buy off a purported hitman with a contract. The scam goes down like this: J. Random Net.Scammer e-mails a likely target and claims to be an assassin that was paid to take them down. They're being kind enough to demand a couple of grand from them to not pull the trigger. Often the threats include some personal information, like the name of a spouse or …

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  5. Lives lost are lives lost, regardless of the side.

    27 April 2007

    I've been covering the Virginia Tech massacre from last week off and on for a while - just the highlights because things are at the point where just about everyone is saying more or less the same thing, just with slightly different words. Something jumped out at me last night before I went to bed, though: Controversy has been stirred up at VT because student Katelynn Johnson placed a thirty-third stone in the memorial, for shooter Seung-Hui Cho. All hell broke loose as a result, and understandably so, but Johnson was undeterred; in a letter to the school newspaper, she stated …

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  6. That's something that I never thought I'd do.

    25 April 2007

    I proposed to Lyssa Heartsong tonight around 1930 EST5EDT.

    We're getting married. We don't know when yet, nor do we have any solid plans, but we're getting married. Here's the timeline as it's been unfolding:

    About a year ago, as I mentioned on an earlier revision of my website, Lyssa and I picked out her engagement and wedding rings. Jared's had a nice wedding pair with a kite stone mounting that Lyssa fell in love with, and I'd bought a deep blue sapphire that would fit. At my request, they kept it in their vault for security reasons. About two …

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