My Thoughts Exactly

Nanomachines manipulating DNA– and Grigory Perleman

Yesterday on Slashdot, a link to an article about nanomachines that can target individual genes — in this case to cure cancer. A long discussion follows in the comments (500+ comments) about implications of this technology, whether it might be used for ill as well as good.

I have not yet had the heart to read many of the comments. The technology described, and the implications thereof, are, of course, are pretty much the essence of my novel Acts of the Apostles, which I began writing 15 years ago and published more than ten years ago. Every time I see life imitating (my) art like this, I confess, my inner Grigory Perleman kinda starts to make rumbling noises deep in my bosom. Perleman’s the math genius & Howard-Hughes style recluse who refuses to accept $$ millions prizes for his solution of the Poincare conjecture because he’s evidently pissed off that his genius wasn’t recognized earlier. “You are disturbing me! I am picking mushrooms,” he hollers through the door to reporters who want to ask him about his mathematics and his opinion on prizes.

I did make a comment on Slashdot posting a link to this glowing Slashdot review of Acts by Slashdot co-founder Hemos. He at least recognized my genius. The other Slashdotters have probably modded by comment into oblivion by now. Such is the fate of us geniuses.

But just for the record, if anybody wants to give me a million dollar prize for writing Acts of the Apostles, I promise you I’ll accept. In fact, I’ll be happy if you just buy a copy.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

Self-destruction of a monster?

My cable company seems to be self-destructing. We can only hope.

Recently I wrote about my cableco cutting off my service, and not turning it back on until I answered questions about my and my wife’s social security numbers and download habits.

Last Monday I called to complain that despite the premium I was paying for 3Mb/s service, I was getting 300 Kb/s downloads and worse. They responded by cutting me off completely. I’ll spare you the dialog, but you can just substitute any page from Franz Kafka or Lewis Carroll. A guy came on Wednesday to replace my cable modem and splitter, and it appeared in his immediate testing to yield close to the expected 3000 Kb/s.

Over the next few days I found that I only got that speed immediately after rebooting the cable-modem. After a few minutes, it would drop to 1500, 600, 300, 150, and finally 30 Kb/s. Slower than an acoustic modem from before my children were born. All through the rest of the week, I would reboot, and watch as the speed fell off.

Charter stopped taking my calls altogether. They just hung up on me over and over again.

After one of these calls we ordered DSL from our local phone company. The modem arrived Friday. I plugged it in and it worked! 3.5 to 4 Mb/s. And it has stayed that way ever since. I’ve been trying to get my mail and Webpages copied off from Charter, but they won’t let me log in.

Since then, I’ve discovered two things I didn’t know or pay any attention to when things just worked:

  • Charter Communications is run by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. What an asshole.
  • Despite increasing their revenue from saps like me by more than 10% over this quarter last year, they announced this week that they’re losing even more money than ever, and their stock lost nearly 20% of it’s value. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group.
  • Posted in General, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

    Tales of the Sausage Factory

    Free Press Rescue Internet Radio Campaign and Paper Magazines

    My friends at Free Press have put together a campaign to fight the threat to internet radio. you can find out how to take action at their website here.

    Meanwhile, going from newest technology to oldest, Free Press co-founder and media scholar/activist Bob McChesney has sounded the alarm on an increase in postal rates that will hit small magazines much harder than big ones. The deadline for comments in this proceeding is April 23.

    The Internet is wonderful, but does not eliminate our need for independent magazines and other “old tech” news and diversity of views. So while I hope that folks will sign the internet radio petition, I really want to urge everyone to sign on to the postal rates campaign as well.

    Stay tuned . . .

    Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

    Tales of the Sausage Factory

    More Funding For CUWiN=Good News For Open Source Mesh Networking

    As regular readers probably know, I’m a huge fan of the Champaign Urbana Wireless Network (CUWiN) and its co-founder and project coordinator Sascha Meinrath. I was therefore ecstatic to hear that CUWiN
    received a grant from the National Science Foundation for $500,000.

    I have pushed for support for CUWiN for years as one of the great hopes for open source mesh networking using unlicensed spectrum. To unpack that a little from geek speak, it means using non-proprietary code to create nodes that use unlicensed spectrum to form a network by speaking to each other rather than sending a signal point-to-point from a central “hub” (“hub-and-spoke”). You can find a good illustration of the difference between mesh and hub-and-spoke (and good general introduction to community wireless) on this Free Press page.

    CUWiN has spent years developing useful open source software and other tools designed to make wireless networks cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to implement in multiple communities and environments. CUWiN software and methods have created networks in Ghanna, the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, Champaign and Urbana, and the San Diego Tribal Digital Village in San Diego County. Their software is freely available and downloadable fromtheir website.
    People who care about creating ubiquitous and affordable wireless broadband around the world should be throwing money at CUWiN hand over fist. Sadly, as with so many good and desperately needed projects, CUWiN has lived starved for funds and hand to mouth.

    The NSF grant gives CUWiN much needed money to continue and expand its good work. I’m also hopeful that “money follows money” as they say in the grant world. With this level of support from NSF, I hope CUWiN finds it easier to open doors at other foundations and grant sources.

    I reprint the CUWiN press release about the grant below.

    Stay tuned . . .

    Read More »

    Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed
    • Connect With Us

      Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

    Username
    Password

    If you do not have an account: Register