Daily Archives: March 7, 2009

Remember the Floppy!

My first storage medium was paper tape. Narrow strips of tape with holes punched out of it to store programs and data, could be printed out of a tape-puncher attached to a paper-based TTY terminal, or read into the terminal. Then, I used punch cards. Eventually I upgraded to a casette player for small data sets, and a tiny magnetic rectangle for my TI 59.

And I can relive all of these experiences with a walk down memory lane. …

Computer Data Storage Through the Ages — From Punch Cards to Blu-Ray

By the way, when the 5.25 inch floppy disk was replaced with with the 3.5 inch plastic dis in South Africa, what do you think they called them?
Continue reading Remember the Floppy!

A different White House

Evolution of the Lexicon

I recently posted about the work by Pagel and colleagues regarding ancient lexicons. That work, recently revived in the press for whatever reasons such things happen, is the same project reported a while back in Nature. And, as I recall, I read that paper and promised to blog about it but did not get to it. Yet.

So here we go.
Continue reading Evolution of the Lexicon

The Humanism of the Star Trek Universe

i-3f2f66a0b2d43a01afdc6acfdd6aa34b-mn_atheists.jpg The Humanism of the Star Trek Universe. Scott Lohman and Robert Price on Atheists Talk #0060, Sunday March 8, 2009

Gene Roddenberry convinced the executives at Paramount that a show about exploring space would appeal to a mass audience. They funded a weekly series for three beautiful years, and it turns out he was partially right. The show was not a ratings giant until it went into syndication and cartoons some five years after it had been canceled. From there it fostered a “Big Bang” of cultural infusion. Movies, fan fiction, spinoff series and “cons” exploded the concepts of Star Trek into our society.

Is it the underlying humanist message which infuses the Star Trek Universe that has led to its huge popularity as a cultural phenomenon? Robert Price and Scott Lohman will spend some time on our airwaves examining the issues of humanism in the Start Trek Universe, and science fiction’s role in teaching us about ourselves.

image.jpgAtheists Talk” airs live on AM 950 KTNF in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

To stream live, go here.

Podcasts of past shows are available at Minnesota Atheists or
through iTunes. For all other podcast systems, such as one you might be running on Linux, use this feed.

Slashtop is the fastest way to boot your computer

Even “Windows” computers (laptops in particular) will be using this OpenSource minisystem.

Splashtop is preinstalled on the hard drive or in the onboard Flash memory of new PCs and motherboards by their manufacturers. Splashtop is a software-only solution that requires no additional hardware. A small component of Splashtop is embedded in the BIOS of the PC–that’s the part that runs as soon as you press the power button.

Within Splashtop, you have the choice of running one of its applications, such as the Splashtop Web Browser, or booting your operating system. Splashtop is compatible with any operating system, including Windows and Linux.

A few more details here.

Slashtop HQ here.

Peace Breaks Out in Congo

.. now, this is not a Congo Memoir. And it may be a distraction more than a reality. We’ll have to see….

BUKIMA, Congo — Jean-Marie Serundori’s eyes light up when he sees his old hulk of a friend Kabirizi.

War, displacement and bloodthirsty rebels had gotten between them.

But for the first time in years, this section of a venerated Congolese national park is rebel-free. Government wildlife rangers, like Mr. Serundori, are firmly in control — for the moment. And Kabirizi, a 500-pound silverback gorilla with a head as big as an engine block, seems to be flourishing in his kingdom of leaves. …

From the NYT