Monthly Archives: July 2007

Javascript and Kindergarten

I’ve done all sorts of programming. Back in the day, I started with DBase, then AppleBasic, then C. I moved through a bunch of stuff. I’ve written all kinds of cool, web 2.0, cutting-edge programs.

Somewhere along the way, I ended up in JavaScript. I used to think, gee, in twenty years we’ll all be talking to the computers and they’ll be converting speech into programs. But it’s twenty years later, and it didn’t work like that. Somehow I don’t really feel like we’re making any progress here. JS is a loosely typed language, which really raises my C++ hackles. But it’s everywhere, and it’s definitely the language of the future.

But I can’t get over the feeling that JS is really a throw-back from the past. Seems like everything I know about JavaScript I learned in kindergarten.

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DoD Manages to Stay Asleep

A year or so ago, I posted an article called “Transactional Warfare” which made the case that we are viewing the Global War on Terror in the wrong way. Recently the Pentagon funded a study that was so close, yet so far away from being helpful.

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Ares 1 Won’t Make it to the Moon

Ares I, also known as the Crew Launch Vehicle, the flagship of the new Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) is already maxing out weight requirements and is several metric tons short of taking anything useful to the moon. For the time being, NASA is “re-focusing” the Ares I mission at ISS support.

There goes the moon.

One commenter said, “I was also told Griffin has put the word out that for now it is retire the shuttle and support ISS and wait to see what the next administration wants to do about the moon.”

In-freaking-credible. This news has really gotten under my skin.

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Iapetus: Old Moon has Some New Tricks

Artist's view of Saturn from the surface of Iapetus
Looking for a place to live with a bit of history?
Iapetus is older than any other moon in the solar system

Iapetus is one strange moon. Part dark, part light, with a weird “wall” running down down the middle of it. It looks like a moon with a screw top, an observation I made last year. As I pointed out then, some folks are convinced the moon is actually a space ship. (That’s no moon, it’s a spaceship! < -- sounds familiar somehow)

Iapetus was so weird there was all sorts of speculation. People saw towers, buildings, snowfall, and of course, the huge wall around the middle was just too much to explain. Where have we ever seen a straight-line wall on a planet or moon that long? (One of my favorite recent explanations: the wall is a giant frozen tsunami)

There has been a whole lot of nothing going on with Iapetus since then. Every couple of months, I’d poke around for news, but none was forthcoming. But just over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen some more activity. Here’s a recap for all of you who are interested.

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Is There Anybody Out There?

Christopher Hitchens
In the left corner,
weighing in at 180 pounds,
Christopher Hitchens

God has really been ticking people off lately. Seems like since The Enlightenment, every so often we go through spells where God just seems to get on everybody’s nerves.

The founding of the United States was such a time. Our founding fathers were nowhere near as religious as people are today, although oddly enough they probably attended church services a lot more — it was a social requirement of the times. Some were outright atheists: I wouldn’t go asking Thomas Paine for a prayer book. But most were theists. That means they viewed nature as a primary way of understanding God.

I thought about this cycle of belief and non-belief as I read Michael Gerson’s article in the Washington Post today. In “What Atheists Can’t Answer” Gerson – a straight Evangelical Christian, Republican, presidential speech writer and policy adviser for Bush — makes an unique argument for God. Christopher Hitchens — a gay, Democrat, atheist, loquacious, and piquant columnist — takes up Gerson’s challenge with his own article, “An Atheist Responds“. Hitchens was a nice token war-monger for the right for a little while, when he supported the Iraq invasion. Now he’s having second thoughts, however, and it’s much more fun rhetorically chasing Christians around than fighting with his fellow Democrats.

Michael Gerson
In the right corner,
weighing in at 180 pounds,
Michael Gerson

Each writer had around 750 words — a crippling handicap by any means. Each writer is an excellent communicator and skilled at making arguments. These guys are sharp. You don’t get to be in the positions they are by being one of the dull knives in the drawer. They’ve heard and engaged in all the arguments about God’s existence.

So it’s Philosophic Smackdown, with a couple of great heavyweight contenders. Let’s see how they did.

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Is There Anything Real Anymore?

I was watching a preview for the movie “Surf’s Up” a couple of months ago — it’s the animated story for kids of a penguin who travels to the tropics to become a professional surfer — when something caught my eye.

“Based on a true story”

Of course, if there ever was a true story of penguins talking and surfing, I must have missed it entirely.

It used to be you would run into people manipulating you in predictable places — political ads, commercials, commentaries, used-car commercials, etc. But anymore anybody who is a media player is willing to play “gotcha” with the facts. How the heck are kids supposed to understand anything in as sophisticated a propaganda world as we live in?

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Hooking up Inside a Stealth Plane

Sorry I’ve been so lame lately, but I’ve been working on forming a team for a new start-up.

I am a serial inventor, and this time around I decided that instead of just a great product idea I was also going to form a great team to execute a business with.

Ran into a few problems along the way, however.

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