If the study is from Nemertes, it is Telco astroturf

Once again the media is full of reports of the impending collapse of the internet. Apparently we users are to blame, as we are using too much bandwidth watching movies and so forth- thus says yet another study by “respected” think tank, Nemertes Research. They tried to push this line of bull on us in 2007, again in 2008, and now in 2009. Only the dates of the “impending” collapse have changed: always a year or two in the future. But anyone who knows much of about the internet and infrastructure behind it knows this “impending doom” is a fallacy. So why is Nemertes repeating it over and over and over?

Continue reading If the study is from Nemertes, it is Telco astroturf

Spirit photos…

I was cleaning through some old CDs and came across a batch of photos of Irene’s horse Spirit that a friend of Irene’s had taken. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them the first time around, and for some reason they had never made it into my gallery. I corrected that oversight, and here is one of the pictures I liked the most:

click the photo to see more pictures from this set

Clean Air = Reduced sulfates = Arctic warming?

Recent NASA research suggests that warming trends in the Arctic during the past 40 years aren’t due to CO2 emission increases. Instead, the spike in Arctic temperatures during the past forty years appears to be due to reduced aerosol particulates, specifically to reduced sulfates in the atmosphere. The sulfate reduction is believed to be the result of improved emission standards that were implemented to, ironically, improve the environment through reductions in acid rain. Aerosol sulfates reflect heat back into space, reducing temperatures, whereas different aerosols, termed “black carbon aerosols” and produced largely by burning coal, have the opposite effect: holding heat in.

Continue reading Clean Air = Reduced sulfates = Arctic warming?

SHOCK: Microsoft makes a good XBox video

I like my XBox 360. It entertains me, and when I want to play a game it basically just works (ignoring that RROD incident a while back…). But Microsoft has, in my opinion, had trouble in the past coming up with good advertising that appeals to the mass market. This little Youtube video from Microsoft that plays off the avatars in the “New Xbox Experience” user interface changes the tone, and it seems to me that it has appeal that extends beyond the hard core gamer:

Here’s hoping that Microsoft can win over a few of the less hardcore who may be getting tired with their Wiis…

D&D’s Dave Arneson moves on to the last great Campaign

Dungeons and Dragons arguably started its life as a simple set of miniature rules called Chainmail. But it wasn’t until Dave Arneson‘s Blackmoor that the concepts most people think of when they contemplate “role playing games” came together. Instead of simple sets of stats and numbers played out like a war game, Arneson and his rules focused more on story and acting a role, with combat being arguably less important. These rules and concepts formulated by Dave Arneson were the foundation of Dungeons and Dragons, and although Gary Gygax is often credited as being the father of D&D, Arneson played a huge role as well.

Dave Arneson passed away in his sleep on April 7th. He was only 61 years old. I’m am personally indebted to Mr. Arneson for the many years of joy his ideas brought me. But an entire industry of paper and computer games spanning several generations, parents, children, and grand children, owe their enjoyment of an entire genre of entertainment to this man. My thoughts are with Mr. Arneson’s family: many thanks for sharing this man with those of us who know him only through his ideas.

Tributes from the Order of the Stick comic; a nice memorial article from Tor.com; and another interesting memorial article from Twincities.com

Conficker worm fizzles… for now

The news has been full lately with hyperbole regarding the Conficker series of worms. If you believed some pundits, the Internet should have ground to a halt today as millions of infected computers picked up their new instructions for the coming armageddon. What really happened was… not much of anything. But that doesn’t mean the risk is gone…

Continue reading Conficker worm fizzles… for now