October 13, 2012
October 12, 2012
October 11, 2012
October 6, 2012
September 12, 2012
September 11, 2012
August 13, 2012
July 30, 2012
July 27, 2012
July 26, 2012
July 25, 2012
June 10, 2012
May 22, 2012
May 3, 2012
April 27, 2012
April 16, 2012
April 10, 2012
April 5, 2012
H/T Jason Kottke
March 28, 2012
A NASA visualization reflecting ocean surface currents around the world from June 2005 through December 2007.
March 27, 2012
M.I.T. professor Donald Sadoway explains the challenges of bringing renewable energy to market.
March 16, 2012
March 13, 2012
March 12, 2012
March 11, 2012
February 20, 2012
February 13, 2012
Physicist Michael Nielson explains Michael Nielsen explains why scientists should embrace new technological tools for collaboration that will facilitate discoveries. A related Q & A is here.
February 5, 2012
January 25, 2012
Cancer researcher David Agus follows this 2009 TED video with this recent TEDMED video on the potential for improving preventive medicine using genomics, technology and better analysis of research data.
January 19, 2012
January 17, 2012
January 12, 2012
January 7, 2012
January 6, 2012
Texas homebuilder Dan Phillips explains how to build homes from recycled and reclaimed materials.
December 14, 2011
December 12, 2011
December 5, 2011
December 1, 2011
November 29, 2011
November 25, 2011
November 20, 2011
November 10, 2011
October 30, 2011
October 21, 2011
October 17, 2011
Austin's Michael O'Brien, author of The Face of Texas (Bright Sky Press 2003), is one of Texas' finest photographers. Checking out the portraits on his webpage is a very good way to start the week. Enjoy.
October 16, 2011
October 12, 2011
Adam Ostrow: "By the end of this year, there'll be nearly a billion people on this planet that actively use social networking sites. The one thing that all of them have in common is that they are going to die."
October 11, 2011
We are quickly approaching overload on articles about the late Steve Jobs, but Martin Wolf's post in the Financial Times on what Jobs' career teaches us is definitely worth a read.
In short, Wolf explains that Jobs was the quintessential American entrepreneur who was able to marry form with function while bringing a showman's bravado in promoting Apple products. Not a bad prescription for success.
Meanwhile, David Gorski provides this interesting analysis of Jobs' bout with the pernicious disease that killed him, pancreatic cancer. Inasmuch as that cancer deprived Houston of one of its greatest teachers, I have followed the clinical research on the disease with interest over the past several years. Dr. Gorski does a masterful job of explaining the complexities involved in treating pancreatic cancer, while also taking a well-deserved swipe at the snake-oil salesmen who were quick to seize upon Jobs' tragic death to hawk their "alternative treatments" for this deadly disease.
One of many good points that Dr. Gorski makes is the risk that patients such as Jobs take in delaying surgery on cancers such as this while exploring alternative medicine treatments:
If there's one thing we're learning increasingly about cancer, it's that biology is king and queen, and that our ability to fight biology is depressingly limited. In retrospect, we can now tell that Jobs clearly had a tumor that was unusually aggressive for an insulinoma. Such tumors are usually pretty indolent and progress only slowly. Indeed, I've seen patients and known a friend of a friend who survived many years with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors with reasonable quality of life.
Jobs was unfortunate in that he appears to have had an unusually aggressive form of the disease that might well have ultimately killed him no matter what. That's not to say that we shouldn't take into account his delay in treatment and wonder if it contributed to his ultimate demise. It very well might have, the key word being "might." We don't know that it did, which is one reason why we have to be very, very careful not to overstate the case and attribute his death as being definitely due to the delay in therapy due to his wanting to "go alternative."
Finally, Jobs' case illustrates the difficulties with applying SBM to rare diseases. When a disease is as uncommon as insulinomas are, it's very difficult for practitioners to know what the best course of action is, and that uncertainty can make for decisions that are seemingly bizarre or inexplicable but that, if you have all the information, are supportable based on what we currently know.
In short, despite the advances of modern medicine, there is still much that we do not know about how disease attacks our bodies.
October 10, 2011
Regardless of what you think about Al Gore's books, the format of his latest is pretty cool.
October 9, 2011
October 6, 2011
October 4, 2011
September 22, 2011
September 9, 2011
This Chris Sorensen/Macleans.CA article provides an excellent overview of an issue that is of interest to all air travelers - that is, the increasing number of loss-of-control airline accidents over the past five years:
Statistically speaking, modern avionics have made flying safer than ever. But the crash of [Turkish] Flight 1951 is just one of several recent, high-profile reminders that minor problems can quickly snowball into horrific disasters when pilots don't understand the increasingly complex systems in the cockpit, or don't use them properly. The point was hammered home later that year when Air France Flight 447 stalled at nearly 38,000 feet and ended up crashing into the Atlantic, killing all 228 on board. . . [. . .]
Why is it happening? Some argue that the sheer complexity of modern flight systems, though designed to improve safety and reliability, can overwhelm even the most experienced pilots when something actually goes wrong. Others say an increasing reliance on automated flight may be dulling pilots' sense of flying a plane, leaving them ill-equipped to take over in an emergency. Still others question whether pilot-training programs have lagged behind the industry's rapid technological advances.
It's a vexing problem for airlines, and a worrisome one for their customers. Unlike mechanical failures that can be traced to flawed design or poor maintenance, there is no easy fix when experienced and highly trained pilots make seemingly inexplicable decisions that end with a US$250-million airplane literally falling out of the sky. "The best you can do is teach pilots to understand automation and not to fight it," [flight simulation expert Sunjoo] Advani says, noting that the focus in recent years has, perhaps myopically, been on simplifying and speeding up training regimes, secure in the knowledge that planes have never been smarter or safer. "We've worked ourselves into a little bit of a corner here. Now we have to work ourselves back out."
Read the entire article. And then have a stiff drink before you get on your next commercial flight.
September 7, 2011
July 25, 2011
The space shuttle Atlantis' landing this past Thursday was the end of an era of U.S. space exploration.
Lawrence Krauss contends that the space shuttle was a dud and that we can do better in space exploration. Former shuttle program manager Wayne Hale disagrees and believes that the shuttle program was worthwhile.
Meanwhile, Neil deGrasse Tyson asserts in the video below that the space shuttle program was never really about the promotion of science in the first place.
July 24, 2011
The iPad's apps still give it the edge in the tablet wars. But Android products such as the Asus Transformer are closing the gap quickly.
July 23, 2011
July 19, 2011
July 18, 2011
July 7, 2011
June 30, 2011
June 15, 2011
Daniel Kraft provides an entertaining overview of medical innovations that will likely redefine the way in which doctors diagnose their patients' medical problems.
June 5, 2011
Check out this amazing time-lapse assembly from the Hector Thunderstorm Project in northern Australia.
May 12, 2011
The fascinating documentary's website is here.
May 4, 2011
Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert W. Fogel has been leading a research project over the past 30 years analyzing the changes in the size and shape of the human body in relation to economic, social and other changes throughout history.
As this NY Times article notes, the conclusions being reached from the project are fascinating:
"The rate of technological and human physiological change in the 20th century has been remarkable," Mr. Fogel said . . . "Beyond that, a synergy between the improved technology and physiology is more than the simple addition of the two."
This "technophysio evolution," powered by advances in food production and public health, has so outpaced traditional evolution, the authors argue, that people today stand apart not just from every other species, but from all previous generations of Homo sapiens as well. [. . .]
To take just a few examples, the average adult man in 1850 in America stood about 5 feet 7 inches and weighed about 146 pounds; someone born then was expected to live until about 45. In the 1980s the typical man in his early 30s was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed about 174 pounds and was likely to pass his 75th birthday.
Across the Atlantic, at the time of the French Revolution, a 30-something Frenchman weighed about 110 pounds, compared with 170 pounds now. And in Norway an average 22-year-old man was about 5 ¬Ĺ inches taller at the end of the 20th century (5 feet 10.7 inches) than in the middle of the 18th century (5 feet 5.2 inches). . .
Despite this accelerated physical development over the past 150 years, one factor that the researchers did not anticipate is threatening to derail the progress:
One thing Mr. Fogel did not expect when he first started his research was that "overnutrition" would become the primary health problem in the United States and other Western nations. Obesity, which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension and some cancers, threatens to upset the links in the upward march of size, health and longevity that he and his colleagues have spent years documenting.
And as this recent post notes, that "overnutrition problem" is not going to be an easy one to solve.
May 3, 2011
The iPad began the notebook computer's demise. The Android tablet looks as if it might finish it.
April 13, 2011
March 24, 2011
Hans Rosling argues below that it was the humble washing machine. But Stephen Bainbridge makes a compelling argument in favor of an even more underappreciated invention.
January 27, 2011
January 26, 2011
I still use a desktop computer when I'm in the office, but I bought a new notebook computer recently for when I'm mobile. While doing so, my tech consultant suggested to me that it will probably be the last notebook that I buy. Here's why:
January 25, 2011
December 24, 2010
November 3, 2010
More on the Samsung Galaxy Tab here.
March 26, 2010
Publisher of the Whole Earth Review and former Wired executive editor Kevin Kelly weaves the fascinating tale.
March 13, 2010
March 10, 2010
However, what starts as a discussion about smartphone etiquette turns into a more engaging conversation on the various ways in which different people are processing information in their daily interactions with friends and co-workers.
Proper etiquette is pretty simple. But the way in which people of different social and work groups communicate with each other is not. Watch this fascinating discussion and discover why.
November 27, 2009
This is a pretty darn impressive computer reconstruction of US Airways 1549's emergency landing in the Hudson River earlier this year.
November 19, 2009
The link to the video on the TED site is here.
January 31, 2009
Vitals is an ambitious project -- providing free information and patient ratings on doctors throughout the U.S.
I've checked on a number of my doctor friends and every one of them is included in the database, so it appears to be quite thorough. Inasmuch as the project is quite new, there are not many patient reviews yet. But the information provided is cleanly presented and quite helpful.
My sense is that this is a very good idea.
January 18, 2009
As you settle in to watch today's two NFL conference championship games, be sure to check out Mark Bowden's excellent article in this month's Atlantic on the enormous human and technological resources that to into the television production of a typical NFL game.
Sort of makes a two-minute offense at the end of a game seem a bit mundane in comparison, wouldn't you agree?
December 21, 2008
October 25, 2008
Newspapers are under siege. This Henry Blodget post reports on the continuing financial deterioration of the New York Times, which looks to be in real trouble.
Meanwhile, the blogosphere continues to thrive. For example, this Stephanie Stradley post about the chronically under-performing Houston Texans defense is far more insightful than anything that I've read in years from the cheerleaders, er, I mean, reporters who cover the Texans for the Houston Chronicle, which continues to layoff employees by the droves.
And to think that one of those Chronicle cheerleaders -- whose most recent piece is this fawning salute to the manager who was mainly responsible for blowing the 2003 NL Central pennant for the Stros -- had the audacity to defame Stradley recently.
Any wonder why newspapers and the blogosphere are going in different directions?
August 4, 2008
Walmart opened its first store in Arkansas in 1962. Check out this remarkable Flowing Data video that shows the company stores growing like a wildfire over the ensuing 45 years.
Meanwhile, this BBC video takes a look from above, using satellite tracking and computer imaging, at the daily use of commercial passageways in the UK.
July 7, 2008
Over this past holiday weekend, Cirrus Design Corporation successfully completed the first 45-minute flight of the company's innovative "The-Jet" (H/T James Fallows), which is a five-plus-two seat aircraft that many in the aviation industry believe is destined to ignite a revolution in general aviation. Aimed at the market of owner-pilots, The-Jet is simple to fly and includes an efficient single-jet operation in an aircraft that is more flexible than larger and far more expensive aircraft. AVWeb has more pictures of The-Jet's first flight here.
July 5, 2008
CNET's Road Trip 2008 blog visits the Johnson Space Center in the Clear Lake area of Houston (photos here). The article and accompanying photos are a good primer for the always interesting visit to the JSC.
June 24, 2008
Proving that there is a market in almost everything, Infinite Hoops allows you to find or schedule pickup basketball games. About 15 years and a blown out Achilles' Tendon late for me, though.
Meanwhile, Zoomii is a slick virtual bookstore for Amazon books. Zoomii is a real world bookstore that allows you to browse through Amazon books just as if you were wandering through Border's or Barnes & Noble. Zoomii - Virtual Bookstore for Amazon Books.
The Web is truly amazing.
June 13, 2008
June 7, 2008
Check the following out on Google Earth. Go to "Tools" in the top navigation bar, click "Options" and then the "Touring" tab. Down below, you will see "Driving Directions Tour Options. " Input the following settings:
- Camera Title: 80 degrees
- Camera Range: 150 degrees
- Speed: 50 to 75
Click "Apply" and then "OK" to close out that box, then hit the "Directions" tab in the "Search" box on the upper left side of the Google Earth screen. Input a couple of addresses in your community and then allow Google Earth to prepare the directions for the route between those addresses. After Google Earth prepares the directions, hit the play button just below the directions. Then, sit back and enjoy the ride! (H/T GoogleEarthHacks.com).
May 28, 2008
Following up on this post from awhile back, don't tell the folks at MIT that the prospects for mankind are gloomy. Check out this MIT News article that resulted from the institute's news office asking a collection of MIT faculty and researchers for their thoughts on the potentially life-altering technologies that are just around the corner.
Despite what the presidential candidates say, it's not all that bleak out there, folks!
April 15, 2008
Don't tell Ray Kurzweil that we ought to be all gloomy about the prospects for mankind. This WaPo op-ed reflects that he is downright bullish:
MIT was so advanced in 1965 (the year I entered as a freshman) that it actually had a computer. Housed in its own building, it cost $11 million (in today's dollars) and was shared by all students and faculty. Four decades later, the computer in your cellphone is a million times smaller, a million times less expensive and a thousand times more powerful. That's a billion-fold increase in the amount of computation you can buy per dollar.
Yet as powerful as information technology is today, we will make another billion-fold increase in capability (for the same cost) over the next 25 years. That's because information technology builds on itself -- we are continually using the latest tools to create the next so they grow in capability at an exponential rate. This doesn't just mean snazzier cellphones. It means that change will rock every aspect of our world. The exponential growth in computing speed will unlock a solution to global warming, unmask the secret to longer life and solve myriad other worldly conundrums. [. . .]
Take energy. Today, 70 percent of it comes from fossil fuels, a 19th-century technology. But if we could capture just one ten-thousandth of the sunlight that falls on Earth, we could meet 100 percent of the world's energy needs using this renewable and environmentally friendly source. We can't do that now because solar panels rely on old technology, making them expensive, inefficient, heavy and hard to install. But a new generation of panels based on nanotechnology (which manipulates matter at the level of molecules) is starting to overcome these obstacles. The tipping point at which energy from solar panels will actually be less expensive than fossil fuels is only a few years away. The power we are generating from solar is doubling every two years; at that rate, it will be able to meet all our energy needs within 20 years.
I just thought I'd toss in that third paragraph for those in the oil and gas industry that believe that a period like the mid-to-late 1980's can't happen again. Meanwhile, light, sweet crude oil futures for May delivery settled yesterday at $111.76, a new record, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
February 29, 2008
February 19, 2008
Have you checked out Guy Kawasaki's new venture, Alltop? If not, you should. Guy is adding categories and new links frequently, so Alltop is turning into a great launching pad for finding informative blogs on a wide range of topics. Check it out.
February 3, 2008
Still biting those fingernails? ;^)
January 31, 2008
When I'm going to be involved in telephone conferences with folks overseas, I am constantly wondering what time of the day it is for them. This website helps me.
January 21, 2008
On Dwight Silverman's recommendation, I've been checking out Twitter over the past couple of weeks and am impressed with it. Although people use it in different ways, Twitter is essentially a social networking and instant communication network. This interesting site called Twittervision provides a quick visual of Twitter's power and potential. Check out Twittervision and give Twitter a try.
January 8, 2008
December 5, 2007
I swear, there isn't much that you can't find out something about on the Web these days. Check out this list -- 25 Unexpectedly Useful Websites for the Uncommonly Curious.
November 27, 2007
This John P. Falcone/Webware article does a good job of providing a preliminary evaluation of the new Amazon Kindle reading device:
The Bottom Line: With its built-in wireless capabilities and PC-free operation, Amazon's Kindle is a promising evolution of the electronic book (and newspaper, and magazine)--but overpriced content could be its Achilles' heel.
The six-minute Amazon video on the Kindle is here.
Update: The WSJ's technology reviewer, Walter Mossberg, is not particularly impressed after using the Kindle for a few days, while the Chronicle's excellent technology columnist, Dwight Silverman, is a bit more optimistic, but not yet sold.
October 9, 2007
I've had my email address for a long time, so I get a receive a lot of spam, which I ignore.
However, I thought I'd already seen every possible variation of the Nigeriam email scam imaginable, but I have to admit the one below that I received a few days ago is more imaginative than most:
Luciano Pavarotti (Next Of Kin)
My writing to you should be surprising but itís not a mistake because I believe that I could confide in you on this business deal which would be highly beneficial to both of us only that you should promise me that you would not disappoint me at the conclusion of this deal. The main reason why I am contacting you today is to seek your assistance but firstly let me introduce myself before proceeding to the purpose of this letter.
I am Graham Robson Wallace from London in the United Kingdom and I worked as a personal assistant and attorney to one Luciano Pavarotti who died of pancreatic cancer on the September 06, 2007. I was so close to him that on the 27th of June 2005, before his untimely death, he deposited the sum of Thirty-Seven Million Dollars (US$37M) in the custody of a Security Company in London and Holland and this deposit was made known to me alone. The problem now is that these Security Company has written to me few days ago requesting that I provide the beneficiary and next of kin to the deposited fund hence the real depositor is dead.
I would have claimed the money but the company already knows me as the late Luciano Pavarotti's attorney and personal assistant. So that is why I am contacting you just to present you as the bonafide beneficiary and next of kin to the said fund and I would provide all necessary documents to back up the claim but you must promise me that you wonít disappear into tin air by the time the fund is remitted into you account and also bare in mind that you would be entitled to 35% of the said fund, though the percentage sharing is negotiable.
Please signify your interest by providing me the following: This is to enable me commence immediate preparation of all legal document that will back up our claim.
1. Full Name :
2. Your Telephone Number and Fax Number
3. Your Contact Address.
Your urgent response will be highly appreciated.
Mr. Graham R. Wallace
Based on this earlier post about the late Pavarotti, it doesn't sound as if he had $37 million laying around to give to Mr. Wallace. ;^)
October 4, 2007
I'm not an advocate of using cell phones indiscrimately while driving. In fact, I try to avoid it as much as possible. But every few months or so, some media outlet passes along another superficial story (see also here) on the latest study or tragic story that supposedly suggests that use of cell phones while driving leads to accidents and, thus, should be outlawed.
September 25, 2007
Microsoft started selling Vista, the latest version of its Windows operating system, to businesses last November. And despite the fact that over 90% of businesses run Windows, only 7% of large companies plan to switch to Vista this year, according to this Journal article. The article touches on all the reasons that companies are delaying the switch: Some of the security software isnít ready; problems with special software called ďdriversĒ that run printers and other devices; the fact that most companies run software that may not work with the new operating system.
This blog thinks it all suggests one thing: Companies donít need Vista yet. In the past, Microsoft was replacing a version of Windows with known flaws or introducing a new version with a lot more capabilities. But XP, the version of Windows that was released in 2002, works great Ė or at least good enough for businesses.
The Chronicle's best columnist -- technology expert Dwight Silverman -- also contributes his thoughts on Vista.
September 14, 2007
Don't look for Warren Meyer to be a spokesman for Microsoft Vista any time soon:
The laptop I bought my kids 6 months ago is rapidly becoming the worst purchase I have ever made. Not because the laptop is bad, but because of a momentary lack of diligence I bought one with Vista installed. It has been a never-ending disaster trying to get this computer to work. [. . .]
Vista is rapidly becoming the New Coke of operating systems. I have had every version of windows on my computer at one time or another, including Windows 1.0 and the egregious Windows ME, and I can say with confidence Vista is the worst of them all by far.
August 28, 2007
Have you had a symptom of an illness or an injury that has bothering you for awhile? Medgle allows you to click on the body part that's bothering you and select the specific symptom from a list of possible options. Then, Medgle asks how long the symptom has been apparent, as well as th inquirer's sex and age. Medgle then returns a listing of possible matches for the symptoms.
Moreover, you can then take the result that Medgle generates and, on the following page, provides you with a brief summary of the condition and a Google search relating to treatment, prevention, drugs, tests, research, diet, alternative medicine, and fitness. You can even refine the search by changing the age or gender.
This is never going to replace a visit to your doctor, but it sure provides a handy way to increase the patient's knowledge and understanding regarding diagnosis and treatment. Check it out.
August 1, 2007
Chronicle technology columnist Dwight Silverman is one of the best in the business, so when he pans the trendy iPhone, it's time to sit and listen:
I lived with the iPhone for about a month, and as an experiment, I carried both it and my Samsung BlackJack, my own PDA. My goal was to see which device I preferred for which tasks. For example, when I wanted to access the Web online, or check e-mail, which would I reach for first?
I started out using the iPhone more, because using it was an adventure. But by the end of my experiment, I was back to using the BlackJack for most serious tasks.
While the iPhone is indeed a very cool device, and there's a lot about it to like ó see the aforementioned earlier reviews for a litany of them ó I think its shortcomings are major.
Read Silverman's entire review, whcih pretty much concludes that the iPhone elevates style over substance. Meanwhile, the WSJ's Carl Bialik breaks down the initial sales numbers for the iPhone and concludes that the pre-release hype definitely exceeded the actual sale numbers.
June 20, 2007
Meanwhile, the WSJ's ($) technology columnist Lee Gomes takes a look at the status of PowerPoint on its 20th (!) birthday.
March 29, 2007
One of the most popular sessions each year at the ABA Technology Show in Chicago is the 60 Sites in 60 Minutes session, in which a panel of tech-savvy lawyers review 60 of their favorite websites. Although directed toward lawyers, most of the sites are equally useful to businesspeople and other professionals, so check out this year's selected websites that were presented at last week's show. It's a great way to keep up with web technology that is on the cutting edge for the law and business.
March 27, 2007
Shorpy.com is an innovative new blog that presents old photographs from around the United States over the past century. As the blog's authors describe it, "Shorpy is a photo blog about what life a hundred years ago was like: How people looked and what they did for a living, back when not having a job usually meant not eating."
The photo on the left is from Houston. Called "The Banana Wagon: 1943," the May, 1943 photo shows a house with a fruit stand in Houston on Franklin Street. Note the laundry hanging around the second floor porch. Check out this interesting new blog.
March 13, 2007
Medstory is an interesting new search engine that offers "Intelligent Search for Health & Medicine." When I ran a search on "diabetes," Medstory generated at the top of the results "Information that Matters" -- specific categories of information regarding diabetes, including Drugs and Substances, Conditions, Procedures, In Clinical Studies, Complementary Medicine, Personal Health, and People. Each of these categories has five related topics on which you can click to narrow your search further. Beneath these categories are the Web results, which allow you to narrow your results to specific types of information, such as news, audio/video, clinical trials, or research articles. And there is even an RSS feed for each search. Inasmuch as speed and focus is the name of the game these days in search engines, Medstory looks to be a very promising addition to the medical search field. Hat tip to Tom Mighell for the link.
March 12, 2007
The blogosphere's coverage of the Scooter Libby trial prompted James Joyner to make the following insightful observation about the impact of blogging on the processing of information:
When the blogosphere broke open RatherGate, it was through a combination of two things that the mainstream press seldom has: obsession and expertise. There are people out there who simply care more about things like Dan Rather, Scooter Libby, Valerie Plame, or just about any other topic that you can think up than anyone working for any press venue. Similarly, there are people out there who know a whole lot more about the nuances of 1960s era typefaces, perjury law, FISA, or what have you than any working journalist could possibly be expected to know. The combination of these things give citizen journalists a powerful advantage.
Because bloggers donít have to even pretend to be unbiased or interested in ďall the news thatís fit to print,Ē I wouldnít want to rely on any one blog for my news, or even my commentary. Collectively, though, blogs add an enormous amount of information and insight to the process.
March 8, 2007
FeedDemon is a highly-popular RSS aggregator that I have used for several years. Nick Bradbury developed FeedDemon, and he passes along the interesting story of how development of this elegant product came about:
I used to rely on email, but it's almost useless to me now.
Funny thing is, if it weren't for spam, I might not have created FeedDemon. As I've mentioned before, after spam and anti-spam filters made it impossible for me to communicate with customers by email, I dumped email and started using my blog and its RSS feed to communicate instead.
And that led to the creation of FeedDemon, which I'm having a blast working on. So I actually benefited from spam. Go figure.
February 22, 2007
That is the welcome to the Houston Chronicle's newest blog -- CancerDiva. Terry Hayes, the author of the blog, describes herself as follows:
I'm a single, 40-year-old woman living in Houston with my sister and her two dogs. I have a kitty cat named Sasha. I love to shop, read, watch movies and listen to music. I enjoy a challenging jigsaw puzzle, "This American Life" and "Prairie Home Companion". I like plays, traveling, and art cars. I love my job and my co-workers. I can't get enough of "CSI," "Law & Order," or "The Closer," and I'll watch anything on BRAVO. My favorite color is pink.
Oh, and I'm dying of cancer.
No use sugarcoating it. When my oncologist told me in April 2006 that I have metastatic colon cancer, I nodded my head and said, "Okay." When she told me I had about 24 months to live, "give or take a few," I nodded my head and said, "Okay."
My cancer had spread from my colon to distant sites in my body, namely my ovaries, liver and abdominal wall. Last week, I thought I might have a brain tumor. Luckily, my MRI was normal (normal for now anyway).
Only 5-8% of patients with Stage IV/Duke's D colon cancer make it five years after diagnosis. The usual course, from diagnosis to death, takes about 24 months, "give or take a few".
I'm not sure why I took the news quite so casually. My oncologist, a wonderful woman named Dr. Glover, said I was "eerily calm."
I have a few theories. One of the many, many issues I'll be discussing in this blog.
You can bet I'll be reading this one.
February 16, 2007
Justia, the company that developed the popular Blawgsearch engine, has just introduced another outstanding search vehicle -- a website that allows the user to track federal court cases in a number of different ways, including by date, state or party name.
The website taps into a database of recently filed federal district court civil cases and starts with a list of all of the cases, which then can be broken down by State/Court/Practice/Sub-Practice. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of all of the new cases that meet these criteria, or you can do a search and subscribe to an RSS fee of the search results. For example, you could track all of the federal court cases filed against a particular company as an RSS feed, or you could subscribe to just those that are filed in Texas. Whatever the search criteria, you can track new cases with an RSS feed.
Each case has an individual page with a link to the Pacer info page (you do need a subscription to access these documents at 8 cents per page) as well as Blog, News, Finance and Web searches on the party names. Not a bad way of picking up some quick informal discovery on the parties to litigation.
Justia has inputted over 300,000 case titles since January 1, 2006 and are now updating the database daily. The website is still in beta and Justia plans to add more functionality and editorial groupings of parties. But it's pretty darn useful already. Give it a look.
January 11, 2007
In my practice, I am continually amazed at how most lawyers underuse Adobe Acrobat's features despite the fact that pdf files have become the standard file form for legal briefs and pleadings. Such basic and simple-to-use Adobe features as bookmarking and linking greatly facilitate the review of large documents, but rarely do lawyers include these features in their papers. I bookmark and link all my large briefs and pleadings, and many judges -- most of whom review briefs and pleadings on a computer these days -- have commented to me on how much they enjoy using those features in reviewing voluminous documents.
Ed Poll realizes the same thing that I do. So, he interviews Rick Borstein, Business Development Manager for the Legal Community for Abobe Systems, Inc. in this podcast in which Borstein discusses the new features in the latest version of Adobe Acrobat that are of special interest to lawyers. It's 20 minutes of listening that will be well worth your time.
January 9, 2007
Dallas lawyer Tom Mighell is the dean of Texas law bloggers and is a widely-respected expert on application of technology to the practice of law. Along with fellow legal technology expert Dennis Kennedy, Tom writes a monthly column entitled "Strongest Links" for the ABA Law Practice Management magazine that highlights helpful technologies.
In this column, Tom and Dennis provide their "Strongest of the Strongest Links" that they wrote about during 2006. Although written primarily for folks interested in application of the technologies in the practice of law, most of the technologies are helpful for anyone interested in using their time more efficiently. Check it out.
December 21, 2006
Wall Street Journal assistant editorial features editor Joseph Rago doesn't think much of blogs:
The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.[. . .]
[Most blogs] are pretty awful. Many, even some with large followings, are downright appalling.
Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion.
Larry Ribstein, who is on the cutting edge of writing on the impact of blogging, responds to Rago here and bores in on what is really going on here -- blogging's dilution of old media's impact on the distribution and shaping of information to the public. Does Rago really believe that the old media's approach to distributing and shaping information examined here, here and here is the best way to present reasonably complex issues to the public?
Moreover, another key utility of blogs is the linking to articles in newspapers, magazines and specialized journals that the reader probably would otherwise miss. For example, corporate law bloggers such as Professor Ribstein and Stephen Bainbridge have greatly facilitated the public and legal profession's understanding and discussion of often misunderstood business law principles that otherwise would have been relegated to rarely-read law review articles and an occasional backpage op-ed. The linking process increases the efficiency of the distribution of information and often refines that information. That such flow of information may be accompanied with a blogger's opinion of the information is really beside the point. Those opinions will be alternately illuminating, worthless or in-between, but the reader does not lose the ability to evaluate the information or the opinion.
Curiously, while a WSJ editor decries the proliferation of blogs, Peter Lattman's WSJ Law Blog is one of the best blogs to emerge during 2006. Go figure.
December 15, 2006
The blawgosphere -- that is, the world of law-related blogs -- has really come of age over the past couple of years as a research source, so it is becoming increasingly important to have a tool that facilitates research contained in blawgs.
BlawgSearch is a search engine that Tim Stanley and the folks at Justia.com have developed that focuses one's search on blawgs (Tim's blog post on BlawgSearch is here). It is in beta right now, but Tim and his crew are adding blawgs on a daily basis. While using it on a variety of issues over the past couple of days, I have found the coverage to be excellent already and far more focused than blawg searches on more generalized engines. Check it out and include it in your bookmarks. This looks like a winner.
November 28, 2006
A month or so ago, Clear Thinkers favorite Stephen Bainbridge took some time off from blogging while revamping his blog site.
Now, he's back. And he's tripled!:
Professor Bainbridge's Business Associations Blog
Professor Bainbridge's Journal (Politics, Religion, Culture, Photography, and Dogs)
January 3, 2006
The Wall Street Journal ($) begins the new year by rolling out a new blawg called -- somewhat unimaginatively -- "Law Blog," focusing "on law and business, and the business of law." Former Forbes Magazine reporter Peter Lattman -- who is an attorney -- is the lead writer for the WSJ Law Blog, which will include contributions from reporters and editors at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Law Blog is a part of the WSJ's rollout of this flashy new Law news page, which the Journal says will focus on "news, trends and buzz for lawyers at firms and in-house law departments, as well as the business people who work with them." Check the new blawg and page out.
December 1, 2005
My family and I enjoy attending events in Houston's fine downtown theater district, so I am pleased to see that the district has put together this handy and good-looking website. Houston is one of only five U.S. cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines of opera, ballet, music and theater, and its theater district is wonderfully-centralized in a several block area of downtown Houston. Check out the website and attend a show in the theater district during the holiday season -- it's a great way to spend an evening or weekend afternoon.
November 5, 2005
Hearty congratulations are in order for Professor Drezner, who is one of the pioneers of the blogosphere.
October 11, 2005
DanielDrezner.com -- maintained by University of Chicago assistant professor of political science, Daniel Drezner -- is one of the first weblogs that I regularly reviewed and it remains one of my favorites. Over its three year existence, it has become one of the most popular academic blogs in the blogosphere.
Professor Drezner disclosed this past weekend that his application for tenure at the University of Chicago had been denied and that, as a result, he will be moving on from his position there. This New York Sun article (hat tip to Howard Bashman) is already speculating that Professor Drezner's popular blog was one of the factors working against him in the notoriously stuffy academic world of considering tenure applications. Larry Ribstein -- who is at the forefront of addressing academic issues relating to blogging -- has more analysis here.
Regardless of whether Professor Drezner's blogging had any effect on the rejection of his tenure application, my sense is that this is a temporary setback for him. He is an insightful commentator on politics generally, and on foreign affairs and political economy issues in particular, so he will not be without gainful employment opportunities for long. UChicago's loss will be someone else's gain.
July 26, 2005
The ever informative Dwight Silverman informs us that the new Apple Store is opening this weekend in The Woodlands. Given the spirit of the typical Mac user, Dwight points out that you may want to allow the initial stampede to recede before venturing over to do some serious shopping.
By the way, speaking of Apple, you can rest assured that Ken Leebow will not be one of the shoppers at an Apple Store anytime soon!
July 3, 2005
With the microsimulation of road traffic, you can now create your own traffic jam in the comfort of your home.
June 22, 2005
Check out this creative interactive map to the federal courts organized by federal circuit.
This is just another example of how the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has embraced technological advances in streamlining litigation in federal courts. The ECF (electronic filing) system that is available now in most federal courts is the prototype for electronic filing systems in other courts around the country.
January 27, 2005
GovTrack differentiates itself from other sites devoted to Congress in that it sends users e-mail updates anytime there is activity on legislation that they want to monitor. GovTrack lets users track activity of specific legislators. It can also send updates via RSS, or Real Simple Syndication, which is the most efficient way to organize and review such updates, as well as blog updates. The site collects information from Thomas (thomas.loc.gov), which is the Library of Congress's legislation tracking site, as well as the websites for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Check it out.
January 22, 2005
Lawrence R. Velvel is the dean of the University of Massachusetts Law School and writes an interesting blog called Velvel on National Affairs. This earlier post referred to one of Dean Velvel's earlier posts relating to the plagiarism scandal at Harvard Law School.
In this recent post, in the course of complimenting this Joseph Ellis op-ed regarding what George Washington would recommend as goals for the Bush Administration's second term, Deal Velvel provides one of the most insightful descriptions of the power of blogging that I have seen:
Frankly speaking, I assume -- I don?t know this, but am assuming it -- that the column got into the papers in the same way that the book and newspaper industries normally work together. That is to say, to flog sales publicists at big name publishers ask big name newspapers to carry a column by a big name author relating to the subject of a new book the author wrote. Because the publisher and the author are big names, the big name newspaper agrees. This typical arrangement is symptomatic of the symbiotic elephantiasis which exists everywhere in this nation and is ruining the country: It is typical of the fact that, in every walk of life, only the huge in size, huge in money, huge in reputation, and/or huge in connections can really get anywhere.
This fact, incidentally, is one of the reasons for the rise of the poor man?s printing press called The Internet, which gives a small opening to people who are otherwise shut out regardless of competence -- just as, conversely, others are insiders regardless of competence.
December 24, 2004
Surgeons who play video games three hours a week have 37 percent fewer errors and accomplish tasks 27 percent faster, . . [based on] observation on results of tests using the video game Super Monkey Ball.
Link hat tip to Tyler Cowen, who hilariously suggests that maybe the surgeons and the patients could play each other?
December 6, 2004
November 26, 2004
October 29, 2004
Thinking Machine 4. Play a computer that shows you the various moves that it is considering. Very, very cool.
October 18, 2004
SBC Communications Inc. begins a major Wi-Fi broadband internet service today by offering its broadband Internet customers $2-a-month access to its wireless hotspots. The $2-a-month charge is only for customers who have an SBC digital subscriber line connection. SBC charges non-DSL subscribers $20 a month for the service and sells day passes on its network for $8 in most location
The plan gives SBC customers access to its FreedomLink wireless Internet service in nearly 4,000 locations across the country and 262 in Texas, including UPS Store locations. Including the UPS Stores and many Barnes & Noble bookstores. The company has a full list of its FreedomLink locations at www.sbc.com/freedomlink.
August 17, 2004
and maybe even if you are, read this.
August 6, 2004
I have been meaning to pass along the Electoral Vote Predictor 2004, which has one of the best interfaces that I have seen in analyzing the upcoming Presidential election. Check it out.
July 24, 2004
Six of the pioneers of legal blogs (i.e., "blawgs") -- Tom Migdell, Dennis Kennedy, Ernest Svenson, Marty Schwimmer, Denise Howell, and Rick Klau -- are collaborating on a new blawg called The Blawg Channel. Ernie described the purpose of the new blawg in the following manner:
[to promote] some positive changes in the legal world, and, more particularly, in the newly-minted realm of lawyer blogs. Somehow the Internet seems to have injected steroids into the concept of self-publication, and we believe that we can use this blog in a way that is beneficial to lawyers (especially those that who aren't themselves blogging but who, nevertheless, want to tap into blogs as a source of useful legal information). And, since I mentioned steroids, I should mention, for what it's worth, that a couple of us are even willing to submit to drug tests.
Dennis kicked it off with a post "What five things can lawyers do to better serve entrepreneurs and their businesses?" Given the contributors' knowledge and insight, this new blawg has great potential as a resource for lawyers. I recommend that you check it out regularly.
May 26, 2004
This Wall Street Journal ($) article reports on the development of an experimental computer chip at the University of Texas that is like a chameleon in that its able to change its function according to the task at hand.
Steve Keckler, a UT computer scientist and a leader of the design effort, believes that the chip can be configured to perform as a specialized chip for devices such as cell phones and digital music players or even serve as a powerful central processor in a desktop or other general-purpose computer. The team hopes to have a prototype of the device finished in about a year and ready for commercialization by the end of this decade. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Defense Department agency, is funding the UT team's development.
If the chip works as planned, it will run at a top speed of 10 gigahertz and perform one trillion operations (meaning individual computing tasks) per second. In comparison, Intel Corp.'s current top-speed Pentium 4 processor runs at 3.4 gigahertz and delivers 6.8 billion operations per second. The anticipated performance has led the design team to dub the device a "supercomputer on a chip."
The UT team has nicknamed their design "Trips," for Tera-Op Reliable Intelligently Adaptive Processing System. The term tera-op refers to the targeted one trillion operations per second. The system would divide individual processing cores on the chip into tiny sections that could change automatically for several predetermined functions. The idea is that the processing cores would morph as instructions flowed in. Each chip could contain many processing core, which would enable a single chip to perform multiple functions simultaneously while optimizing for each. Conventional chips generally do only one thing at a time. Moreover, the distributed architecture of the UT team's design would reduce clock delays, which limit the performance of conventional chips.
April 15, 2004
My late father was a professor of medicine at both the University of Iowa and University of Texas medical schools. As a result of his influence, I have an interest in following developments in medical research.
I have been reviewing an interesting website for those interested in medical and science research. BioMed Central is an independent publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to peer-reviewed biomedical research. All the original research articles in journals that BioMed Central publishes are immediately and permanently available online without charge or any other barriers to access. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is central to rapid and efficient progress in science and that subscription-based access to research is hindering rather than helping scientific communication.
BioMed Central is a creative and informative use of the Web to facilitate medical research. If you are interested in such research, I encourage you to take a look. Hat tip to Blog 702 for the link.
April 8, 2004
Walter Mossberg writes a fine weekly technology column for the Wall Street Journal. In today's column ($), Mr. Mossberg gives a favorable review of Verizon Wireless' new wireless broadband service, which, by the end of 2005, will allow users to connect a laptop, PDA, or celphone to the Internet at real broadband speeds from almost any location in every major U.S. metropolitan area. Mr. Mossberg has been testing the service, and reports as follows:
I'm not talking about the spread of more Wi-Fi "hot spots" in airports, coffee shops and similar places. I'm talking about wireless high-speed Internet service that you can use just about anywhere -- even on the street or in a car.
This isn't a pipe dream. I've been testing Verizon's new service, called BroadBand Access, on a laptop around Washington, D.C., one of the first two cities where the company has rolled it out. I am very impressed. It is simple to set up and works just like any other broadband connection, with your normal Web browser and e-mail program.
Based on a new cellphone technology called EV-DO (short for Evolution-Data Optimized), the new Verizon service is as fast as most wired DSL lines, and it worked effortlessly almost everywhere I tried it in a wide swath of Washington and its suburbs.
This is the next logical step in allowing computer users to access the Internet from virtually anywhere within a city. With Verizon's marketing muscle, this could be a huge money maker for the company if they can offer the service for a low enough price to attract users to supplement their existing Internet connection with this service.
February 15, 2004
Tom Mighell of Dallas is the granddaddy of Texas bloggers. His blog--Inter Alia--is an outstanding source of current information on technological and web-based developments in legal and related forms of research. One item that Tom produces weekly (usually on Sunday) is the Internet Legal Research Weekly, which provides Tom's insights and helpful links regarding legal and related forms of research. Over the past couple of years, I have obtained more useful information from Tom's blog and weekly research update than from any other information source. I recommend highly that you visit Inter Alia often and subscribe to Internet Legal Research Weekly. These are special resources.