|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Head Spook Sputters
: "In a commission staff report, there is a stark juxtaposition of Sandy Berger's approach before the millennium and Condi Rice's before 9/11. "Berger, in particular, met or spoke constantly with Tenet and Attorney General Reno," the report said. "He visited the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. on Christmas Day 1999 to raise the morale of exhausted officials." Condi and her deputy, Steve Hadley, did not stoop to mere domestic work. "Rice and Hadley told us that before 9/11, they did not feel they had the job of handling domestic security." They left that up to Dick Clarke to broker, the same guy Dick Cheney said "wasn't in the loop." ..
After the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy spoke to newspaper publishers and said: "This administration intends to be candid about its errors. For as a wise man once said, `An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.' . . . Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive." Compare Kennedy with Mr. Bush, who conceded no errors.." 10:25:15 PM
Fiber Spun from Nanotube Smoke: "Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England have developed a relatively simple way to manufacture continuous fibers of carbon nanotubes. .. The relatively simple method promises to make it possible to more cheaply produce carbon nanotubes in bulk. It could also eventually produce fiber that rivals carbon fiber in strength, but that is more flexible. Carbon nanotube fibers are able to twist, opening the way to flexible materials, multistrand threads and threads made from a mix of materials.
The researchers spun continuous, twisted fibers directly from the furnace where carbon nanotubes were produced. The researchers injected a liquid mix of ethanol, ferrocene and thiophene into a flow of hydrogen gas in a furnace heated to between 1,050 and 1,200 degrees Celsius to produce nanotube aerogel, or elastic smoke. The keys were closely controlling conditions and drawing the nanotube aerogel continuously using a rotating spindle. Existing nanotube fiber methods use previously formed nanotubes. In theory, the method can produce nanotube fiber of any length, according to the researchers. They have also developed a related technique for coating objects with layers of carbon nanotubes.
The method could be used to synthesize carbon nanotubes in bulk within two years and to make practical fibers in 5 to 10 years, according to the researchers." 10:12:16 PM
Army criticism on Iraq: "In a broadside fired at the conduct of the war in Iraq, a senior Army strategist has accused the Bush administration of seeking to win "quickly and on the cheap" while ignoring the more critical strategic aim of creating a stable, democratic nation. While the United States easily won the initial battles that toppled Saddam Hussein a year ago, the administration "either misunderstood or, worse, wished away" the difficulties of transforming that victory into the larger political goal, Army Lt. Col. Antulio J. Echevarria of the U.S. Army War College writes in a new paper...
Echevarria, a West Point graduate with M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Princeton University, served as operations officer of a cavalry squadron, among other assignments, and has written widely on strategy...
Retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash [said] "But once you understand that the political objectives are supreme, you understand that you have to broaden the political coalition internationally, regionally and locally" to support nation-building in Iraq, he said. "That's hard to do, and even harder if you have to swallow your pride." 1:55:57 PM
Google Adsense Test Page
: Nice way to find out what sorts of ads would be put on your page by google, based on its content. 12:38:07 AM
Surgeons Who Play Video Games Err Less
: "Researchers found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37 percent fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27 percent faster than their counterparts who did not play video games.
"I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery," said Dr. James "Butch" Rosser, 49..
Laparoscopic surgery using a tiny camera and instruments controlled by joysticks outside the body is performed on just about any part of the body.. Rosser said the skill needed for laparoscopic surgery is "like tying your shoelaces with 3-foot-long chopsticks." .. Kurt Squire, a University of Wisconsin researcher of video game effects on learning, said that "with a video game, you can definitely develop timing and a sense of touch, as well as a very intuitive feel for manipulating devices."
Meanwhile, "men 18-34 devote 6 percent and teenage (12-17) males devote 15 percent of the time they spend with media each day to playing video games, may help explain the corresponding drop in TV viewing that has manifested among young males this year. " Will Johnny grow up to be a surgeon? [Thanks to MIT Tech Review blog]. 12:30:50 AM
Neopets: A phenomenon on the net. "Neopets is the greatest Virtual Pet Site on the Internet. With your help, we have built a community of over 60 million virtual pet owners across the world! Neopets has many things to offer including over 140 games, trading, auctions, greetings, messaging, and countless recipes for asparagus. Best of all, it's completely FREE". Some facts about it:
- In less than three years, Neopets has grown from operating on a single server to employing more than two hundred servers. Currently, the site peaks at just under a gigabit of bandwidth (the equivalent of approximately 700 T1's)
- The number of registered Neopets accounts has risen to over 65 million by December 2003 (which is approximately 16 million individuals by Company estimates). The website receives more than 60,000 registrations daily.
- Neopets offers its members 63 Neopian Shops (created by the Neopets creative staff) from which members can purchase Items for their Neopets.
- Members have created more than 12 million pages of content, including more than 2 million pet homepages, 1 million guilds (clubs), and nearly 10 million members' shops.
- The average time spent per person on Neopets is greater than any other site on the Internet, including Yahoo, eBay, MSN and AOL. Total pageviews per user on Neopets leads the entire Internet including all search engines, auctions and niche websites. Only Yahoo, MSN, eBay and Google have more total pageviews than Neopets.