Star Trek Remastered

March 24, 2007 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Fun Indoors | Leave a comment

Apple has made available two versions of Star Trek TOS on iTunes. TOS (The Original Series) refers to the first one starring Captain Kirk and produced by Gene Roddenberry. By looking at the previews, it appears that the scenes with people and dialog are unchanged; however, external scenes with spaceships have been significantly enhanced. Below is the scene in “Space Seed” where the Enterprise approaches Khan’s vessel:

Original: [iTunes]
Star Trek Original

Remastered: [iTunes]
Star Trek New

Let’s hope “remastering” doesn’t become “revisionism”:
Scotty iMac

All About The Children

March 22, 2007 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Once in a while, someone in the legal system actually thinks about the childrens’ future – the future they will spend as adults:

… perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection. – Judge Lowell Reed Jr.

The government shot itself in the foot in this case – they wanted to defend this law at the same time they were mandating the use of software filters which were shown to be more effective than the law.

Prius Sales vs Gas Prices

March 20, 2007 at 8:43 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment

Here is a chart showing the effect of US gas prices on the sales of the Toyota Prius. Sales generally increase with gas prices; sales increased by 44% when the $2 per gallon barrier was broken in early 2005. You also see the 2006 summer spike when gas hit $3 per gallon. The February 2007 sales are the highest ever with the 0% APR financing being offered by Toyota, combined with the reduced federal tax credit.

Data sources:

Protected: 300 – Good Action, Bad Ideas

March 12, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Fun Indoors, Politics | Leave a comment

I saw 300 over the weekend and it was an amazing movie in terms of the fight scenes, visual style, and simply raising testosterone levels. However, its portrayal of Spartan society is less than accurate; the ancient Greeks eventually decided that Athens ideals were better than Spartas.

Does our current President see himself in King Leonidas?

Unlike previous onscreen warriors, [Leonidas] suffers from no moral conflicts or character flaws. He has a problem – a million Persians encroaching on his country’s freedom – and he has a solution: kill every single one of them. Paul Tassi

Brain Race

March 12, 2007 at 10:00 am | Posted in Technology | 1 Comment

Here are some thoughts about the development of the next technological breakthrough – the creation of true artificial intelligence. It is important enough that the United States must be involved in its development to avoid being put into a dangerous situation, but subtle enough to not be noticed in a post 9/11 world. The threat posed by losing the brain race may be as dangerous as unchecked terrorism.

The Next Prius?

March 7, 2007 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Fun Outdoors, Technology | Leave a comment

Many Prius industrial design elements are present in the Toyota Hybrid X concept car, which should lay to rest claims that the Prius was created only to test hybrid technology before being used in other platforms like the Camry and Highlander. In a sense, the Prius is the iPod of the automotive world.

However, what may be revolutionary about the new design is the impact on manufacturing and assembly. The design seems to have decoupled the frame/chassis from other elements of the car. I can imagine a black box that encompasses the drivetrain, front axles, electronics, controls, and dashboard simply sliding into the front of a chassis; the location of the headlight is very telling. In the back can be a similar module holding the fuel system, battery and rear axles. The car then becomes much simpler to assemble with these basic elements:

  • Chassis
  • Front/engine module
  • Back/fuel module
  • Interior

No doubt with their world-class manufacturing capability, this idea will only keep Toyota ahead of the competition.

Peak Oil Revisited

March 3, 2007 at 12:12 am | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Over a year ago, petroleum industry expert Ken Deffeyes predicted the peak of world oil production as November of 2005. His book Hubbert’s Peak is worth reading now, especially with Saudi Arabia’s 2006 production data now available.

Unfortunately, things are not looking good. Saudi oil production has declined 8% even as the number of production wells has increased dramatically. By the end of this year, we may be wishing for $3 a gallon gas.

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