Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Vivisimo A Google killer? Check out this new search engine, with an amazing knack of clustering your search results on-the-fly in helpful categories.
Box-Office Star [PDF] (A Baseline Magazine article.) Read this quick article on how Netflix intends to continue it's DVD renting business in the face of upcoming competition from Wal-Mart. It's all about process baby!
On the Edge of Peace [PDF] (A Baseline Magazine article.) Sierra Leone is a place of unending devastation. Warring factions erupt and kill indiscriminately over things of little value -- it's a country where the young never grow old, and are usually armed to the teeth by rival forces. Drop in this mix, a UN mission made up of disparate forces, cobbled together to assist in ensuring a 2000 peace plan is a success. The mission has faded from most Western eyes, now that the US has pulled out, they've made the movie, and feel good about themselves. Imagine running the IT operation to support the UN troops in such an environment -- where information must flow in order for peace to be maintain -- must flow so that the peace keepers don't die. Information must flow between the UN HQ and it's various remote outposts -- outposts that are staffed by soldiers from different countries, using different equipment. Add to the mix, lightning strikes, a lack of spare parts (this is the UN after all) and rebel armies fighting over diamond mines -- and well -- why would anyone want that job? If you're an IT Project Manager and you think life's tough, quit bitching about your job -- most likely, nobody's life depends on what you're doing.
Convoy of Canadian UNMEE light armoured vehicles near Camp Dunn, central Eritrea near Senafe.
Trailer Ghosts Have you ever been accosted by ghosts in a mobile home? Well, you ain't alone partner. Check out this site to hear the sorry tales of victims just like yourself. When will this horror end?!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Salmon Days From this past week's Saturday Toronto Star, comes a few emerging catch phrases that made me laugh out loud. Here's the best of the bunch:
  • Seagull Manager: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.
  • Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
  • Salmon Day: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The fine art of whacking the stuffing out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
  • Adminisphere: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
  • Ohnosecond: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a big mistake.
  • Crop Dusting: Surreptitiously passing gas while passing through a cube farm (office filled with cubicles) then secretly enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust.
  • Beyond Compare I missed this when it visited Toronto earlier this year, but it's still traveling, and is currently out west. It's Dove's BeyondCompare -- Women Photographers on Beauty. Check out the site, it has some photos in the gallery section -- which isn't the same as seeing the show in person, but what the heck. Neat thing about the photographs -- they portray women as more than fashion model types.
    A Prisoner's Dictionary In case you're heading down the path towards prison, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the lingo. This site documents the speech of the contemporary criminal culture. If nothing else, it may help you understand some rap music. This site bills itself as "the best place to piss away your time on the Internet." And it's true. Apparently, there are people out there, who go around, taking pictures of urinals and posting them on the internet. They're not just Americans either. This idea of this site is quite disturbing -- you haven't seen smut on the internet until you've seen this site.
    All Squirrels Must Die Another weird site -- this one is the homepage of the Squirrel Defamation League, who's sole purpose is to rid the world of "the filthy little beast known as the squirrel." Well, apparently, someone has found their calling.
    Airline Meals The internet is filled with some truly bizarre sites. Here's one -- a site dedicated to airline meals. Why?
    Armageddon Online Feeling a little depressed? Want to know when you should drop that placard over your shoulders and profess the end of the world to people on the street? Better yet, want information you can use to convince people to join your end of the world cult? Or just want to keep up on the latest rounds of mega disasters that threaten to end all live on the Earth as we know it? Then check out this site. It's a great read!
    Supply Chain Brain Here's a site that is a great hub for supply chain news and ideas. It's a great start when researching material related to the latest supply chain trends and thinking on the web.

    Monday, March 29, 2004

    Hunt for the God Particle It's known as the Higgs boson, postulated by British physicist Peter Higgs in 1960, as the mechanism by which particles acquire mass. Why does a particle have the mass it has? Why does an electron have the mass it has? Why is a top quark 200,000 times more massive than an electron? Physics has no answer. But Peter Higgs' proposal is that there is a field that permeates space, known as the Higgs field, which gives particles their masses when they interact with the field. From quantum theory, we know that fields have particles associated with them, and hence the Higgs field must have a Higgs boson. Scientists at CERN are building the Large Hadron Collider -- a massive particle accelerator that will send protons in 17-mile laps at nearly the speed of light, then direct the protons to collide with each other. This will result in a disaster for the protons, but an incredible opportunity for scientists -- somewhere buried within the protons, must be the Higgs boson, and they way of getting to it is to break the proton apart. The explosion of the two protons will send out a shower of fundamental particles, whose trajectories, momentum and mass will reveal a lot of information. Information. Remember CERN? It was the lab that produced the Web, the www of every URL -- and now they've invented something completely new that may change the face of computing forever. They've invented grid computing -- the process by which massively parallel problems can be broken up and given to multiple processors within a network to solve. Think SETI on an incredible scale. Corporations are already busily building their own versions of grid computing -- the promises are ubiquitous computing power across the planet, where problems can be crunched without the requesting party knowing exactly where the processing is happening. There are lots of problems to be worked out -- for instance, the Large Hadron Collider will be generating over 2 million DVDs worth of data annually, and it must be send to computing centres across the globe for processing; it's a data mining problem at a mind-boggling scale. And here's the exciting part -- they're going to do it across the internet -- now think of the commercial applications for you and I -- and to think, the internet, and now grid computing, came out of a lab that straddles the Swiss-France border, where scientists aren't out to change the world, just out to understand it. Enough reasons for the public funding of education, ain't it?
    The Large Hadron Collider, under construction at CERN, is targeting the elusive Higgs boson. But crashing protons is the easy part.  Photo by Maximilien Brice/©CERN.

    Saturday, March 27, 2004

    Mission to Mercury The cover story from Discover Magazine's April issue, documents NASA's plans to send the Messenger spacecraft to Mercury. If Mars was tricky, it's nothing compared to what's in store for scientists trying to visit Mercury.
    Shanghai Circus My youngest and I attended the Shanghai Circus today, at Massey Hall. It was an amazing event or acobatics. The act was called the Mongolian Dream, and featured acts that were Mongolian themed -- apparently. The contortionists were scary -- people were not meant to be that flexible! And muscles -- everyone were built! I didn't know, but apparently non-flash photography was allowed -- if I had known that I would have brought my camera. Damn!
    Home Server [PDF] From MIT's Technology Review, comes a case for having a server at home. As more and more people adopt broadband connections, and attach multiple PCs to the internet, home networking is moving away from being the exclusive domain of geeks. Check out what you've been missing, if you're the non-geek type.
    Elder Boom [PDF] Some estimates predict that by 2050, the world population will reach its peak of around 9 billion -- then the decline will start, and as it progresses, the world's population will be increasingly dominated by elderly citizens -- with not enough young to care for them. The future's elderly are today's technology adopters and information hungry. They will most likely seek technology to allow them to continue living useful, productive and indendent lives. How will technology respond? For one thing, there will be more biotechnologies employed -- such as wireless, invasive body sensors. There will be a need for better ways to index, search and deliver content. As the workforce grows smaller, production will look for more ways to exploit technology -- the trend of the 90s isn't about to abate. As the elderly become less and less mobile, look for technologies to enable socializing over vast distances. Then bring in the robots -- they will be needed to supplement the dwindling workforce, as well as care for the elderly -- maybe even provide companionship.

    Friday, March 26, 2004

    InterNetWorking [PDF] An article from MIT's Technology Report. A new breed of software and services is emerging to tap and exploit the social network. The concept is simple. You have friends -- and you know what their interests are -- but what about your friends, friends. And your friends, friends, friends? What if you could tap into this internetwork of friends to do everything from get work, increase sales, get advice, share knowledge -- or just get new friends? Or, from a business perspective, being able to mine your knowledge workers to exploit the knowledge scattered across your organization -- think of the consulting dollars you would save! Gives the age old saying of "it's not what you know, it's who you know" a hell of a lot more credence.
    Children's Peace Theatre The Children's Peace Theatre is a charity organization that is working towards a worldwide culture of peace for children of the world -- they use theatre programs to engage children in conflict with courage, compassion and creativity -- believing that there is peace to be found in every conflict. A noble goal. I hope they're making a little progress. This group is located in Toronto, and offers programs in performance and leadership for children.
    Art - via the Computer I was looking up Corel's Painter, Photopaint and Wacom's Intuos Tablet, and came across some amazing art. Just a bit of background -- I've used all three of the tools before to create my own digital art, or to take something I created on paper, and take it to another level with the computer. Corel Painter used to be owned by a now defunct company called Fractal -- I've been using Painter since version 2.0. It's an amazing piece of software -- gives you a complete set of artist tools in a single application. Photopaint is like Photoshop. It started out being a photo manipulation tool, and slowly evolved to become more than that. The artsy types still prefer Photoshop -- only because it runs on a Mac, but I know Photopaint, so my preference remains there. Now check out some art created with the tools listed above:
  • LiQUidWerX - amazing art! Some fantasy, some nudity!
  • Portrait Artist - a site offering advice on how to draw, including a section on digital art.
  • CGChallenge - a site that documents artists using computers and a whole lot of software!
  • Mental Image - an artist using computers to create 2D as well as 3D works.
  • Quick Tips - here's some quick tips to make the most out of your Wacom Tablet!
  • Quick Tips - another quick tips page!
  • Thursday, March 25, 2004

    Supply Chain White Papers Sometimes, it's not what you know, it's who you -- sometimes it's not how smart you are, it's how smart you can appear to be -- and if you don't already know it all, then maybe you can start by just appearing to be smart, and hope the smarts will come in time. This site is a good place to start with general supply chain information. Lots of white papers, at the generalist level to bring right up to speed with the ideas, thoughts and lingo. What else do you need for career progression? (Well, maybe some sucking up won't hurt.) Interesting topics include:
  • Voice vs. Scan Technology
  • Creating a Trans-Pacific Supply Chain Strategy
  • ERP vs. SCE
  • E-Procurement
  • Leadership: A Missing Ingredient in Strategic Master Planning
  • WMS Implementation Not for the Impatient or the Faint of Heart
  • Achieving Logistics Excellence Through Supply Chain Synthesis
  • Supplier Certification: A Continuous Improvement Strategy
  • Managing an Efficient Dock Operation
  • Understanding the Warehouse Contingency Plan
  • Hazardous Materials Management
  • The Ins and Outs of Cycle Counting
  • The Economics of Order Picking
  • Competency Based Development
  • Crossdocking in the Future
  • The articles are easy to ready, starting with a half-page executive summary, and following with less than 20-pages for the most part. As well, there is a wide selection of relevant business and supply chain books, which you can order directly from the site, and quite a few articles published directly on the site.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2004

    Collaborating with Harley Harley-Davidson moved from near bankruptcy in 80s to a growth spurt in the 90s. Next year it's expected to more than double its revenues from seven years ago. All that growth had resulted in a mismash of systems across Harley-Davidson's divisions. In 2000 they decided to do something about the problems their growth created -- they decided to consolidate systems and business processes across divisions, and along the way, brought suppliers into the loop. Today, Harley-Davidson collaborates with nearly 300 of their 695 parts suppliers online, via a web portal, and are looking to bring more online. Their portal allows suppliers and partners access to supply chain tools, such as Manugistics Collaborate and Delivery Management -- where information can be shared easily. Read more in InformationWeek magazine.
    Supply-Chain Economics Forward thinking companies have already replaced their legacy supply chain systems with modern, integrated and flexible systems. The focus in the last decade or so has been on implementing planning systems, now the focus is shifting to execution systems. The early adopters are already showing the benefits of lowering costs and increased efficiency -- now the stragglers are hurrying to catch up. Read more in the nice summary from InformationWeek magazine.
    Remington Arms [PDF] Here's a case study by Baseline Magazine on gun maker, Remington Arms, the largest gun maker in the US. Remington has always had to maintain a close relationship with its customers, but they lost touch with them during the 90s, as they shifted focus from end customers to its retail customers, such as Wal-Mart. That shift in focus was starting to hurt the bottom line, so Remington embarked on an effort to refocus on customers, but lowering the costs to do so. The verdict? Go online. Check out the case study for more.
    Kerala I just read an article in BusinessWeek magazine that sold me on this place. It's located on the southern coast of India, and appears to be a wonderful tourist destination. I've never heard of it before -- then again, I haven't heard of much before -- but this is definitely a place I'd like to go do the tourist thing at. Maybe a couple of years down the road I'll be able to convince my wife to take a couple of weeks for a trip there. Once the Americans have left the region.
    Offensive Ads Check out some ads that really push the public limits -- from sex, to the treatment of women and children. This is a collection from MediaWatch. Some really offensive ads:
  • Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)'s Ads against animal abuse -- featuring half-naked to naked women, porn starts, and even real women wearing only a bikini bottom in cages in Times Square. Or this video, that features a young woman wearing a fur coat, who is attacked as she's walking down a street, beaten to death, and her coat is taken away -- the tagline exclaims, "What is you were killed for you coat?" Who comes up with this shit?
  • Monday, March 22, 2004

    Vuitton Machine Check out any fashion magazine, and you're likely to find Louis Vuitton products being hawked by half-naked models. You'll find the luxury, high priced brand, on the bodies of Hollywood stars -- it's the stuff of desire and ego. But what is really the business behind Vuitton? Vuitton is a marketing machine. It's a manufacturing machine. It's a business of efficiency and quality. A business with fierce competition from the likes o Prada and Gucci, as well as a long list of cheap knock offs. Read the quite revealing article in BusinessWeek magazine.
    UnderworldClick to order from Amazon! I saw this movie last night. It's a movie of vampires and werewolves -- and it provides a new take on the monsters, combining the two into an almost acceptable story. The movie then takes a twist though, as it brings the creatures into the modern world -- it provides them with kung-fu style fighting skills and arms them to the teeth (oh, I had to!) with machine guns. It was different. And it worked as an action movie -- if you foget all those nagging questions, that is. It's good for a rental when you're bored, and crave a little violence.
    In Defense of GlobalizationClick here to order from Amazon! Here's a book that I just might get. It's by Jagdish Bhagwati, currently a professor at Columbia University. Bhagwati is a leading expert on economics, and has the experience, credentials and credibility to back that up. In this book, he makes an unpopular, but compelling case for globalization. While opponents of globalization and free trade point to loss of jobs and the exploitation of third world labour, Bhagwati insists that globalization shouldn't come at that price -- in fact, if anything, he recognizes that the only way it will work is for governments to fix their domestic economies -- especially the social nets that will cushion the blow to those less fortunate. He points that the focus of open markets and a global economy should be on the poor around the world -- only by helping them, can a global economy really work. He's favours globalization, but globalization with social responsibility -- and there's no reason globalization shouldn't be tempered as such -- the reliance shouldn't be on businesses to exercise social responsibility -- governments should be shouldering such efforts. Read the complete review comes in BusinessWeek magazine.
    Spam Filters [PDF] From MIT's Technology Review, comes a nice graphic illustrating how spam filters work. A nice way of conveying information.

    Friday, March 19, 2004

    Gathering of Planets On March 22nd, if you find some clear skies after sundown, you're in for a show that doesn't happen very often. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter will all be in the sky, and they will all be viewable by eye. This won't happen again until 2008, so if you miss it, you've got four years to wait. Check out the NASA site for the best viewing times, and where to look.
    Aurora Season Spring starts tomorrow, and the peak season for auroras are usually the beginning of the spring or fall, when the Sun sends an incredible amount of particles out.
    2004 FH Flyby Asteroid 2004 FH, roughly 30 metres in diameter, made the closest known approach to the Earth yesterday afternoon. We're still here, so nothing went ka-boom. 2004FH, which was discovered on Monday, flew 43,000 km away from Earth. Such close encounters of near-Earth asteroids occur about once every 2 years. Check out NASA's site for a movie of the flyby [2.0MB].
    2004 FH Flyby Asteroid 2004 FH, roughly 30 metres in diameter, made the closest known approach to the Earth yesterday afternoon. We're still here, so nothing went ka-boom. 2004FH, which was discovered on Monday, flew 43,000 km away from Earth. Such close encounters of near-Earth asteroids occur about once every 2 years. Check out NASA's site for a movie of the flyby [2.0MB].
    St. Jacobs My wife and I went out to St. Jacobs today -- my idea -- better than going to Midland. It was a nice and sunny day today, and spring was in the air -- not to mention the horses -- there is a Mennonite community in St. Jacobs, and horse drawn buggies use the streets -- if you get my drift. First stop was at the Stone Crock -- we wanted lunch, but were 15 minutes too early for the 11:30 lunch start, so we went shopping in their bakery. Bought an apple pie, a veggie cheese bread, some oatmeal cookies, some chelsea buns and a small jar of apple butter. I think everything is baked on site. Lunch consisted of soup, sandwich and salad for me, and salad and wrap for my wife. We finished it off with slices of pie. I was stuffed (smart ass). Then -- then -- my wife took me shopping. Yes, this was my idea. But I survived.

    Thursday, March 18, 2004

    No Jobs -- Blame Asia Or not -- it's easy to find a scapegoat and blame North American economic recovery on them. Just look at American politicians to gauge whether outsourcing is bad or not. If they say it's bad during an election year, then it mustn't be so. Politicians are lairs by design, and they're playing on fears. Outsourcing is not bad. In the 90s, manufacturing of high tech commodities were outsourced to Asia, and it resulted in lower prices, increase demand and the IT boom. Why shouldn't that happen with services and software? That's not to say there isn't pain right now -- there's lots of pain. Jobs are not being created at the rate you would expect from the recovery -- but that doesn't mean they're going offshore. Jobs are not being created because business have achieved a level of efficiency unheard of in the past -- and they're not generating new jobs at the rate they used to during previous recoveries. Instead, profits are increasing, and the wealth is being shared with fewer. During the last offshore movement of jobs -- manufacturing jobs -- the recovery and jobs came from the high technology software and services industry -- now however, no one knows where the new jobs are going to come from. Taking that pain, and add the fear of uncertainty, and you have a recipe for a political feeding frenzy. (Although a thought did occur to me -- maybe the next jobs we should look at outsourcing are politicians jobs. I'm sure we could find some Asians that would be happy to run our governments for us.) Read the BusinessWeek article for a different take on outsourcing.
    Jerk Yourself Nothing better to do? Go amuse yourself here.
    Pat SajakThis is not Pat Sajak! Remember Wheel of Fortune? Remember Vanna White? Come on, we all remember Vanna White, especially the guys -- why else would we watch the game show? Well, Pat Sajak was the little, well mannered man, that couldn't keep his mouth shut. Still can't. Goes to show you the power of the internet. Pat's got his own site, and on it -- well -- Pat wants to talk to us. Pat wants to tell us his opinions, and wants us to know what's going on with him. Is Wheel of Fotune still on? I should ask Pat. I wonder what happened to Vanna? Maybe she's got her own site.
    Finding ForresterClick here to see the trailer! I saw this movie with my wife tonight, after seeing it years ago with my youngest at the theatre. It's still a good movie -- a good date movie. It stars Sean Connery, and first time to the movies, Rob Brown -- Rob Brown puts on an amazing performance opposite Sean Connery, which is no mean feat. The movie is by Gus Van Sant, who previously did Good Will Hunting -- and if you saw Good Will Hunting, you'll know what to expect from Finding Forrester. For some reviews, check out

    Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    Fading Ulysses Back in 1990, NASA/ESA launched the Ulysses spacecraft to study the Sun for 5 years. Three mission extensions later, the latest extending the mission to 2008, Ulysses is still going -- and it's primary mission is still to study the Sun. Only problem is, its heaters are failing -- and space is very, very cold -- and the fuel lines are threatening to freeze up. What's a NASA/ESA astronomer to do?
    Ulysses' long looping orbit carries it far from the sun. Every six years the spacecraft travels from the inner solar system to the realm of Jupiter and back again.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2004

    Free Drugs helping Eradicate Disease This one kinda restores a little faith in big business and people in general. The World Health Organization is coordinating a massive world wide effort to eradicate elephantiasis. The effort is helped in a big way by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co., who have pledged free drugs to fight the disease as long as they're needed.
    Space Based Early WarningThis pair of NOAA/AVHRR satellite images shows Kenya and surrounding areas on December 1996 (A) and December 1997 (B). The greening reflects an increase in rainfall, which created conditions for an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in December 1997. NASA scientists are working on leveraging environmental satellites to create an early warning system for disease outbreaks across the planet. As the theory goes, disease outbreaks don't just happen -- there's usually an environmental precursor -- yet, when you're on the ground and in the middle of it, it's hard to notice until it's too late. Not from space however -- from space, trends can be noticed, such as weather patterns that may lead to extended periods of rainfall -- which in poor, tropical areas, could lead to outbreaks of diseases that are easily controlled.
    Periodic Table Extended A team of American and Russian physicists have added two new elements to the periodic table -- numbers 113 and 115. From a phyics perspective, the atoms were long lived, though decayed in less than a second. Physicists believe that there is a point at which massive atoms may become stable, and long lived -- the feeling is that as they continue to create larger atoms in the lab, they're going to eventually hit that point. None of this really have practical applications -- it's more for research and understanding nature.
    Click here to see the Periodic Table from

    Monday, March 15, 2004

    Quaoar and SednaThis is what Sedna looks like through the Palomar Observatory's 48-inch telescope. The dim object caught the attention of astronomers because it was moving, slightly, across the starry field.  (Click here for more.) Back in 2002, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered Quaoar, named after a Native American God. Located 1 billion kilometres beyond Pluto, was about half the size of Pluto and orbiting the Sun every 288 years. It was the farthest known solar system object to be found. A year and a half later, astronomers using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Caltech's Palomar Observatory, have discovered Sedna, named after the Inuit Goddess of the ocean. Sedna lies at 13 billion kilometres from the Sun, and is speculated to be in the Oort Cloud -- if that's true, it will be the first object to be discovered in the Oort Cloud. Sedna is about 75% the size of Pluto, and orbits the Sun every 10,500 years, in an elliptical orbit that at its furthest, puts it at 130 billion kilometres away. Its distance however is about 10 times closer to where the Oort Cloud should be, and the researchers have speculated that it may have been nudged in by a passing star sometime in the past -- that star would have to have been so close, that it would have been brighter in sky than the full moon, visible even in the daytime -- it would have stayed in our sky for about 20,000 years. The star would have flung comets into our solar system as well -- comets that would have showered the Earth, killing off some life.
    Quantum Weirdness From BusinessWeek magazine, comes a nice generalist's summary of the current state of research into quantum mechanics (QM). Currently there are labs across the world working through different paths and problems to bring the promise of everyday applications that take advantage of the principles of QM. Good article, nice read.
    Corporate Governance? If there ever was a need for investigation into a company, it's this one -- meet Zapata (founded by George W. Bush) and Omega Protein -- two companies under the control of Malcolm Glazer's family. He also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and is now after the Manchester United soccer club. His children are on the boards of each company, as well as friends of his. Both companies have had mysterious bids for control or outright buyouts, that have been dismissed, but resulted in a run on the companies stocks, inflating their value. The saga involves mystery men, more mystery men, and companies with mailing addresses at UPS mailboxes, and telephone/fax numbers to houses who've never heard of the companies. Makes you leary about investing in companies you've never heard of.
    Designed by WomenClick here for the full size picture. Volvo is showing off a new concept car -- dubbed, Your Concept Car, or YCC. It's a different car -- designed from the ground up by a team comprised of all women, and using the input from women. The results -- a strikingly different car, that guys may actually find cool. It's got gadgets galore, and some nifty features that makes you wonder why they were never put into cars already. Some features: a key fob that opens the gull-wing doors, and personalize the car for the driver; when the door opens, the car provides expanded clearance to allow ease of entry, by retracting the door sill, lifting up the car by 3 inches, pushing in the steering wheel and sliding back the seat; no gas cap means no need to get your hands dirty when refueling; no stick paint, and seat covers that can be removed to wash, keeps the car clean; when braking hard, LEDs in the brake light, increase intensity to warn drivers behind you; and the headrests leave an open area for ponytails and improves whiplash protection. (See the specifications here.)
    Hispanic NationClick here for the study, Power of Hispanic Consumers. [PDF] Latinos now outnumber Blacks in the US, making them the largest visible minority group. Their population is growing faster than any other group, and while they have mainly low income jobs, their group purchasing power is changing the landscape of America. America the melting pot may not be a model that applies for Latinos -- especially since most Latinos are from Mexico, a car ride away from their American homes. Their numbers are now reshaping America from a business, social and political perspective. Read the article in BusinessWeek magazine. (See also, the study, Power of Hispanic Consumers, [PDF] by Arbitron.]

    Sunday, March 14, 2004

    The Internet's Next Superpower (From BusinessWeek Magazine.) There are 80 million Chinese online today, a number expected to almost double by 2006, surpassing the number of Americans on the internet, and topping the world with the most internet users -- thanks in part to a strong economy, cheap electronics and the internet's ability to allow Chinese to a backroad around government censorship. The Chinese government is taking notice as well, and wants China to play a part shaping the structure of the internet. Read the article to find out what to expect in the coming years.
    Hubble's Ultra Deep Field Hubble has taken its furthest view into the universe yet, and has released the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image. The image, taken in the course of 400 orbits around the Earth, is of a patch of the sky equivalent to a pin head being viewed from arm's length. The image contains about 10,000 galaxies -- basically, every point of light you see in the images is a galaxy. To complete a full sky survey at this depth, would require Hubble to constantly be observing for the next 1 million years. Check out this cool flash animation that helps you navigate the Hubble image, or here for a smaller HUDF image.
    Women's Equality I found out about this site from today's edition of the Toronto Star, that had an article about the loss of women's voices in the social, economic and policy arena of Canada. The National Action Committee (NAC) on the Status of Women had always been the voice of women in Canada, but a few years ago, the group met an untimely demise when they ran out of money. Not many women are aware of the loss of NAC. In fact, the knowledge of the demise of NAC probably doesn't leave many with concern, and this is especially alarming when women themselves respond that way -- the general concensus being that women have achieved everything that feminists have been fighting for. Those that think that way probably have their heads buried too far in the sand to realize that there is a constant need for women to lobby for equality, and their rights. Case in point is the Toronto Star article of a Quebec Court's ruling that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to use EI funds to pay for maternity and parental benefits.
    On my MP3 Player this morning ...NOMAD Jukebox - click for specs. So I'm a little stuck in the late 80s and 90s. Most people's music tastes are apparently set during their post-secondary days. And yes, I do have the CDs for these songs!
  • U2's Silver and Gold - from their Rattle and Hum live album. I brought the DVD recently for my wife. I'm a BIG U2 fan. I love all the songs from that album -- this one especially. The emotions are raw. (Listen to it.)
  • Björk's Violently Happy - this is from the 90s, and it's typical of Björk. Great dance beat. (Listen to it.)
  • Leonard Cohen's I Can't Forget - yes, I like Leonard Cohen. People seem surprise by this. This is one of those songs to listen on a rainy day, and since it was raining on my way back from Oakville, it worked well. (Listen to it.)
  • Neville Brothers singing Leonard Cohen's A Bird on a Wire - another song for a rainy day, and unlike Cohen, the Neville brothers, especially Aaron, are quite lyrical. (Listen to it.)
  • Survivor's Eye of the Tiger - this is a classic, and needs no comments, other than, "Adrian, I love you!" (Listen to it.)
  • Saturday, March 13, 2004

    Jack Welch Interview From BusinessWeek magazine, here's an interview of man considered one of the greatest CEO's in history. I had the opportunity to listen to him speak one -- great speaker. BusinessWeek also has an online video to compliment the interview.
    What's Craig Barrett up to?Cover Photograph by Thomas Broening, for BusinessWeek magazine. Intel is an amazing organization -- and so is its CEO. Craig Barrett has taken some risks in the past, and some have paid off, and some haven't. His big coup of investing in Intel's fabrication plants during the downturn is now paying off, as it can produce more advance chips cheaper than its rivals, and make more money from them. So, what's next for Intel? Barrett is taking Intel into a future where its chips will be in everything, not just computers. And chances are he's going to suceed. Read the story in BusinessWeek.

    Friday, March 12, 2004

    Motorcycle Mama My new favourite song -- it's an oldie that I could never find on CD anywhere, ever since university -- so here I am listening to it for about the 20th time. It was released as a b-side -- no wonder I couldn't find it! -- Before Björk, there was the Sugarcubes -- and they were cool.

    Thursday, March 11, 2004

    New Site Well -- lookie here, I got a domain name finally. Did a little redesign of the site as well. Right now, the site is only this page. More to come soon!

    Friday, March 05, 2004

    Is Microsoft Funding SCO's Linux Fight? Reports have surfaced, confirming a rumor that has been circulating in the Linux community for sometime, that Microsoft may be funding SCO's battle against IBM over the rights to Linux -- and to some degree, put some cost for using Linux. A leaked memo suggests that Microsoft may have indirectly provided up to $50 million in cash infusion to SCO via an investment firm. Naturally, Microsoft denies all of this, and the Linux community doesn't believe them.

    Wednesday, March 03, 2004

    SCO Launches First Salvo Linux clients are now being brought into the fight -- and SCO is about to make the world into a really messy place, where only the lawyers win. SCO is continuing the fight it started with IBM, that Novell later entered, by now going after DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone. SCO filed lawsuits, accusing DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone of breaking the Unix System V licensing contract and using SCO's property without license.
    Data Overload If RFID adoption goes like the software vendors, hardware manufacturers and not to mention, the consultants, wish, then in a few years, it is expected that there will be billions of RFID chips being read by hundreds of millions of readers. Network traffic will be dominated by RFID tags screaming, "I'm here!" Are we ready for this? Read the InformationWeek article for the answer.
    Unsustainable [PDF] Jeffrey Dukes of the University of Massachusetts did some math, some estimation, and came up with some numbers. He was looking into fossil fuel consumption, and the amount of plant matter that was needed to generate the fossil fuel. The numbers are staggering. It takes about 23 tons of prehistoric plants to create 1 litre of gasoline. Today, that corresponds to farming 4.3 hectares of wheat to get a litre of gas. Everyday, we consume about 1 year's worth of prehistoric plant matter. All the fossil fuels we've been consuming since the beginning of the industrial revolution took about 13,300 years of plant growth. Now if that doesn't set off alarm bells, I'm not sure what the hell will. His report is published in the journal Climate Change.
    Close Encounter with Jupiter Jupiter and Earth will be 400 million miles apart tomorrow -- the closest encounter they make -- and on Friday, Jupiter will appear right beside the full moon. With a small telescope, you will be able to make out features on Jupiter.
    Oops, they're at it again! From MIT's Technology Review, comes the latest warnings of the MPAA's implementation of the Advanced Television Systems Committee Flag -- a digital flag that will be encoded in digital broadcasts that will prevent your future television set from outputting high-quality output to recording devices. It's designed to protect television programs from you. Because you're a thief. Because every customer is a potential criminal -- but they still want your money. Guilty, even if proven otherwise.

    Tuesday, March 02, 2004

    The Jobs Tunnel The Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River is at 92% capacity according to the Booker T. Washington Business Association. In response, a private company has been formed to expand and convert two existing railway tunnels between Windsor and Detroit, into modern transportation facilities to handle the future traffic volume. The original tunnels we built 90-years ago, and enlarged in 1993 -- the new expansion will be able to handle, in addition to the 24 trains a day today, high-rack auto carriers, 9.5-foot-tall rail containers, and about 7,600 transport trucks daily. It's called the Jobs Tunnel because it will help save up to 12,000 automotive jobs, while creating about 1,450 full-time construction jobs during the 5-year construction window.
    TradeMap Developed by the International Trade Centre, a UN agency, TradeMap is an online database of trade statistics that provides import and export profiles of over 5.300 products in 200 countries. If you trade globally from Canada, this is a great reference site.
    Virus Outbreak For some reason, virus writers went on the warpath last week Friday, and released a slew of variants out in the wild. None of the viruses were that innovative, but regardless, they seemed to be pretty effective. Read the latest at eWeek.
    Coke's Red Lounge Coke is trying to reach the new generation -- a generation that's making them work harder to get their eyes and minds, because they've been so well trained, that they either tune out the commercials, or use technologies such as TiVo to skip past the commercials outright. So what's a poor soft drink maker to do? Why simple -- build a place for kids to hang out in, and then bombard their feeble little minds with propaganda!

    Monday, March 01, 2004

    Tea Tea is gaining new popularity due to the new recognition that it contains flavonoids, tannis and vitamins -- stuff that has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Now, you can enjoy tea that's been through less processing -- the less processing it goes through, the more likely you are to get the good stuff. Check out this BusinessWeek article for a quick primer on tea.
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