Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A strange and wondrous web

If you will excuse a terribly mixed metaphor, for a writer the web is a double-edged sword.

Of course the web is an indispensable resource, for reference data from the mundane (like the Social Security Administration database of popular baby names by gender and birth year) to the routine (Wikipedia -- subject to verification, of course), to technological and historical esoterica (wherein Google becomes essential). I can't not have Firefox open while I write.

But there's also all that time-devouring ... stuff.  Here's just a smattering of the fascinating and the weird that has recently caught my eye.

A test of General Relativity at the level of galactic clusters.  Still lookin' good, Albert!

The ongoing debate about American space policy (or lack thereof). Here's a representative (and very thoughtful) analysis from The Wall Street Journal.

A piece about using memristors to mimic neurons and synapses to build better computers. Surely no one can resist Cat Brain Inspires Computers of the Future.  (And if you've ever known a cat well -- how scary/amusing is that?)

Apple's surge in the marketplace brings a toll.  Is Microsoft now more secure than Apple and Adobe

From the Department of We Knew This (But It's Nice to Have It Confirmed), evidence of water on outer Belt asteroids. (This finding dovetails nicely with Energized, the novel now in progress. See: I am working when I surf. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

From the Threats from the Skies Department, we have Out-of-Control Satellite Threatens Other Nearby Spacecraft.  (Be sure to read at least as far as the section "Zombie Satellites in Space.")

And for an SFnal touch, here's The Man Who Foresaw Science Fiction, a great short bio of Hugo Gernbach.

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