Tags: nerd

bald man coffee mug on head

links of lunchtime

Minor comments, as I haven't actually read all these all the way through yet. But they sure look intriguing.


Costumes from ComicCon (from TechRepublic). Many of these look really good, for superhero costumes.

Is Cordwainer Smith's Future Today? (from Science Fiction Biology). All his concepts are happening, now or soon.

Why AREN'T There Brown Elves? (from Fantasy Magazine). N K Jemisin makes a damn fine point. (I state, for the record, that I have a story with brown elves. Computer avatar kid-game elves, but they are brown.)

The World (this and other ones)

Amazingly Unique Bridges (from deputy-dog). Totally wow.

Ancient Amazon Actually Highly Urbanized. There's a story setting, right there. Nothing more needed.

Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found in Mexico (from SciAm). The underworld is called Xibalba, and I say "ooooooooo".


Gallery of Android Developer Challenge Winners (from Google). Very cool mobile apps for the Android platform. Got ideas? Get the developer kit!

Politics and Economics

Obamanomics (from NY Times). Obama's economic thoughts are apparently a mix of many different theories.

Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits (from NY Times). Sheesh - yet another "old infrastructure meets new techology model" problem.

Cities Debate Privatizing Public Infrastructure (from NY Times). Here's some world-building for stories, right here.

What a McCain Victory Could Mean: No Money for Health Care and the End of Our Volunteer Army (from AlterNet). And here's some more world-building, in a severely dystopian kind of way.
homer scream munch

no home Internet is Teh Suck

My home internet died Saturday night and since I was out Saturday and gone most of the day Sunday I didn't a chance to deal with it until Sunday night.

It is, of course, insane to live without Internet. It also made my bittercon participation impossible.

I have one PC working (which is how I'm posting) but don't have the whole home network (with router) working so I'm still slaving away at that. Not sure when I'll be fully up yet, but hopefully getting closer.

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ETA: It is done. Home network active, all computers running, and we are now .11g in the house. And the books/magazines are off the floor! I have the win!
conehead all

links for nerds

Some links of a nerd nature:

- The SDK for Android, Google's open platform for mobile phones, is now available, and there's a contest. It's time for some hacking fun!

- Speaking of SDKs, Facebook has one too (CNNMoney article). Between Android and Facebook, there's surely some serious money possibilities.

- A collection of Mindwebs shows, which did radio plays of science fiction stories (link via BoingBoing). Sounds Totally Awesome.

- Miro (via BoingBoing), a cross-platform video management app and associated free content. Does it sync with iPod or ZUNE?

- A review of Razor, the new BSG movie coming soon. New BSG, coming soon ... (insert Homer Simpson drooling sound) ...

- XKCD swag. The "Science" shirt and the two maps go on my wish list.

- Advertising Lab dissects slogans. AdLab: "Good Slogans Are Brief".
picard pointing

When internal liberalness and internal nerdy-ness collide

So, I was reading Robert Reich's (*) new column at Salon about income inequity and the need to raise taxes on the top earners to keep the country stable (and why no one in politics, not even Democrats, will dare to do it).

And Reich starts out with the classic statistic about what percentage of the national income different groups make.

I quote: "New data from the Internal Revenue Service show that income inequality continues to widen. The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earn more than 21 percent of all income. That's a postwar record. The bottom 50 percent of all Americans, when all their wages are combined, earn just 12.8 percent of the nation's income."

My internal liberal reads this and say "Well, that's just terrible!". But then the internal nerd comes forth and says "Wait a minute here", as follows:

The wealthiest 1% make a freak of a lot of money. I believe the cut-off is around $400K/year. Is it any surprise that they make a large chunk of the nation's income? The bottom 50 percent make less than the median, which is somewhere around 40K/year. *Of course* they're going to have a smaller percentage of the overall income.

The question is (my nerd asks): What should the percentages be? If the graph of income distribution (x-axis = income, y-axis = number of households with that income) is a bell curve, or a triangle with the peak at the median, or even a triangle with the high point at the left, what would you expect the percentages to be?

I don't have the math chops anymore to answer this question but I'm always curious as to what people are expecting these numbers to be, because otherwise the statistic is useless. Reich does qualify his statement by saying "this is a postwar record" so maybe he's just considering the trend. But he doesn't lead with the trend, he leads with the numbers. And the numbers don't mean anything without context around them.

At this point, my internal liberal usually says "hey look, an iPhone ad" and my internal nerd says "ooo, where?" and forgets about his numerical ire. But the nerd's point is valid, and interesting.

(*) As a note, I respect Robert Reich tremendously. When I read articles by him, I often respond with "That's right, Robert, my man!" I enjoyed his book _Locked in the Cabinet_ and am regularly tempted by his other books including the new _Supercapitalism_. So this is definitely not a Robert Reich slam.