4/30/2004 05:48:00 AM|W|P|Mike|W|P|CBC News:Google files eagerly awaited IPO
Sweet, sweet Google, how do I love you so...|W|P|108332932597421718|W|P||W|P|4/28/2004 05:48:00 AM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Well, thanks to Droo, the local resident physics guru in these here parts, here's a description of how the Gravity Prode works:
"Gravity probe B, if it works, will be the first actual measurement of the folding of space-time.
Perhaps the best way of picturing spacetime is to picture a large, flat pan full of water. Now, imagine you drop a pingpong ball in that water. If the water is undisturbed, its surface is perfectly flat. Now, if you drop a pingpong ball in it, you create ripples in the surface of this pan of water.
Simple enough, right?
According to Einstein, any mass hanging in space creates curvatures or ripples in the fabric of space itself, just like our pingpong ball in the pan of water.
A gyroscope uses a pretty simple principle (the frisbee works of the gyroscopic principle) that if you have a mass spinning, it will stay oriented in the same direction in space.
So, what if you change the direction *space* is oriented? Well, the direction our Gyroscopes are oriented will change with it.
So what Nasa's done is create four of the most precise gyroscopes ever created. It's estimated that they will be off by less than 1% every thousand years.
As the sattellite orbits around the earth, it will be able to directly measure how much spacetime curves around the earth, and it will also be able to measure something called "frame dragging."
If we return to our pingpong ball for a second, if you now drag this pingpong ball through straight through the water, you'll see ripples that form sort of a V-shape behind the ball (assuming you pull it at a constant speed). Space time is pretty much the same way. When the Earth flies through space, or spins on its axis it creates ripples on the surface of spacetime which radiate outwards from its center of mass. Basically, the earth drags spacetime around with it.
By, in essence, placing a tiny boat bobbing on the surface of our pan of water, we can directly measure the curvature of spacetime, study how the earth drags it around."
Thanks Droo. Considering how I asked him to describe the function of the probe to me as though he was talking to a child, I think he did a very good job. Pat yourself on the back!
|W|P|108315650917359854|W|P||W|P|4/21/2004 03:55:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Hi everyone. Sorry it's been so long, but the internet here at the office has been a little funky, so I haven't beena ble to post as much as I would like.
A few things worth blogging about happened...wait a sec.."worth blogging about"? Isn't everything and anything "worth blogging about"? Isn't that the point of a blog, is that its a forum where the author can express whatever views he/she feels are important and deserve mention? The nature of a blog is that of "this is me expressing myself" and it's open to whoever would like to read it.
On that note...a few things I feel like tlaking about. This week, NASA launched a probe to effectively decide wether or not Einstein's theory of relativity will hold up. It will measure frame shifting or somethign like that. To be honest I don't quite understand it, but it will measure wether or not the mas sof the Earth affects time it takes up. Or something like that. I am almost certain I'm horribly mangling this, so if anyone can explain what the Probe will really do, please e-mail me and tell me.
Second event of note: I have an appointement will human resources. I'm going to talk to them about my future at the company. If I want to have one. I've also been talking to some of the supervisors on my floor, gently probing as to any openings that they know of. I know of 1 that I could go for, but I don't really want it, so I'm not going for it.
More later, 'casue right now it's quittin' time.
CYODFS.|W|P|108258813852533737|W|P||W|P|4/16/2004 07:39:00 AM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Hey everyone, just a quick post from the office. Take a look at this article from The Economist.
Good things are afoot, methinks!
CYODFS.|W|P|108212639806314916|W|P||W|P|4/14/2004 03:04:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Silly Chinese state-controlled media outlet, didn't you know? Satire's for democracies!
|W|P|108198027013054972|W|P||W|P|4/14/2004 10:30:00 AM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Working out does wonders. Holy moly, when I take over the world, everyone will be forced to work out to releive stress.
That last post was just too depressing for me, and for a few other people too. I had actually received comments about it, so I removed it. That's what you can do as an Administrator. You can add, and you can Remove. I like being the Admin. All I need is my own server, and I'll be my own sys_admin. In the words of our glorious provincial founders, 'Yee-Haw'.
Funny lookin' post, innit?
CYODFS|W|P|108196383841573334|W|P||W|P|4/14/2004 09:39:00 AM|W|P|dj freq|W|P|+20!!!!! it was -22 here this morning....damn it i'm moving to the south!!!!!
it's kinda nice to see the mass of Canadian teams in the NHL palyoffs for a change...the Habs, Cunucks, Flames, Senators, leafs....it's nice even though i don't really follow hockey at all.
:)|W|P|108196079098377469|W|P||W|P|4/14/2004 07:21:00 AM|W|P|Rose|W|P|Rose says:
Geez! The whole neighborhood was partying last night... the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0... and they did it all without severely beating any of the opposing players... *snif*... I'm so proud!
True story: Monday it was so warm I was wearing shorts. Fast foreword to Wednesday, and we've gotten 3" of snow overnight. hmm... I'm starting to suspect that Lex Luthor lives in Calgary and is perfecting that weather control device of his. Think I'll go build a snowman on the balcony so I can watch him melt tomorrow when it's +20 again.
|W|P|108195326308821428|W|P||W|P|4/13/2004 03:37:00 PM|W|P|dj freq|W|P|Hey I've just been invited to start writing for this wonderful blog. Does this mean I get to listed as a contributor !
I want to write something here but the pressure of the whole situation is too much....Maybe later.....
but thanks for the invite mike. I would invite you to write on my blog but then I think the whole thing would become a little redundant.
does it strike anyone else as strange that the word "Blog" isn't in the default dictionary for the blogger spellcheck. |W|P|108189582996471769|W|P||W|P|4/08/2004 07:17:00 AM|W|P|Mike|W|P|That's the stuff, Mike... picking on innocent children! Be careful.... have you ever heard of such a thing as Karma?
Rose got a promotion! Lalalala!! I'm excited. No more of this sitting at home frustrated because they haven't called me (like I have been all week). Starting on the 19th, I'll actually have scheduled hours.
To Celebrate, Mike and I are going to go see the Dinosaurs this weekend... ROWR! We're going to Drumheller, a few hours north of here, which has the richest deposit of Dinosaur fossils in the world. Should be interesting.
Last Saturday we went to see the Bog People at the Glenbow Museum. It was very interesting, but very morbid. They're the mummified people they found in the European Peat Bogs. Very Cool.
|W|P|108143436690681305|W|P||W|P|4/06/2004 04:44:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Right, I can't believe that I forgot to write about this.
As many of you might know, I've taken to spending most of my lunch time in the gym at Shell. Today, near the end, something funny happened. Actually, I'd consider it more Gi (GoodInteresting) rather than funny, but suffice it to say that I was laughing so hard I needed to use the emergency stop on the treadmill.
As I was running, not very fast, but not walking, either, this girl who is walking in the corridor opposite me starts making faces at me. I'm not talking some 20-something, I'm talking more like 6. She was making the stereotypical 'ugly' faces that kids like to make. SO, me being me, I started making faces right back at her. Well, this went on for a couple of minutes, when she decided/was told that it was time to leave. So she turned around and walked right into a support post for the corridor. She didn't walk into it, she assaulted it. She hit it so hard that she literally bounced back.
She then made her most fatal mistake: she turned to look at me. She had a welt the size of a tangerine and growing on her forehead like the Germans occupying France. I just couldn't help myself: I started to laugh. You know the kind of laugh: when you can't breath and it hurts so hard you think you're gonna puke. This poor girl had nearly concussed herself in a 3-Stooge-Esque feat of embarrassment, and all I could do was laugh.
I grabbed the handhold on the treadmill, and hit the emergency stop button at the same time so I could laugh more. She saw me do this, and promptly turned a very deep shade of red. A councilor or some other person of authority came over and help her away. I swear to the Almighty that this poor 6 year old was wobbling and weaving this way and that as she was lead away. At least I think she was...I was laughing just too damn hard.
Is this really my life?
|W|P|108129509283231663|W|P||W|P|4/06/2004 03:29:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|I'm adding some buttom to the bottom of the page here.
One's for Firefox, Mozilla's excellent stand-alone browser. The second one is for the most powerful browser I've ever seen, called Opera.
Both of these are very well put together browsers that offer much more flexibility than, and are a perfectly good, safe, and secure, in in most cases more friendly, altenative to Microsoft's bug-ridden, swiss-cheesed Internet Explorer.
I urge anyone wanting to explore a better way of navigating to try either of these. They both have their ups and downs, but these are very easily forgotten once they're used for about half an hour.
Try it out.
|W|P|108129059272652132|W|P||W|P|4/05/2004 10:07:00 AM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Just a little something I saw on NYTimes's website:
A Heretical View of File Sharing
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
The music industry says it repeatedly, with passion and conviction: downloading hurts sales.
That statement is at the heart of the war on file sharing, both of music and movies, and underpins lawsuits against thousands of music fans, as well as legislation approved last week by a House Judiciary subcommittee that would create federal penalties for using what is known as peer-to-peer technology to download copyrighted works. It is also part of the reason that the Justice Department introduced an intellectual-property task force last week that plans to step up criminal prosecutions of copyright infringers.
But what if the industry is wrong, and file sharing is not hurting record sales?
It might seem counterintuitive, but that is the conclusion reached by two economists who released a draft last week of the first study that makes a rigorous economic comparison of directly observed activity on file-sharing networks and music buying.
"Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates," write its authors, Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School and Koleman S. Strumpf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The industry has reacted with the kind of flustered consternation that the White House might display if Richard A. Clarke showed up at a Rose Garden tea party. Last week, the Recording Industry Association of America sent out three versions of a six-page response to the study.
The problem with the industry view, Professors Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf say, is that it is not supported by solid evidence. Previous studies have failed because they tend to depend on surveys, and the authors contend that surveys of illegal activity are not trustworthy. "Those who agree to have their Internet behavior discussed or monitored are unlikely to be representative of all Internet users," the authors wrote.
Instead, they analyzed the direct data of music downloaders over a 17-week period in the fall of 2002, and compared that activity with actual music purchases during that time. Using complex mathematical formulas, they determined that spikes in downloading had almost no discernible effect on sales. Even under their worst-case example, "it would take 5,000 downloads to reduce the sales of an album by one copy," they wrote. "After annualizing, this would imply a yearly sales loss of two million albums, which is virtually rounding error" given that 803 million records were sold in 2002. Sales dropped by 139 million albums from 2000 to 2002.
"While downloads occur on a vast scale, most users are likely individuals who would not have bought the album even in the absence of file sharing," the professors wrote.
In an interview, Professor Oberholzer-Gee said that previous research assumed that every download could be thought of as a lost sale. In fact, he said, most downloaders were drawn to free music and were unlikely to spend $18 on a CD.
"Say I offer you a free flight to Florida," he asks. "How likely is it that you will go to Florida? It is very likely, because the price is free." If there were no free ticket, that trip to Florida would be much less likely, he said. Similarly, free music might draw all kinds of people, but "it doesn't mean that these people would buy CD's at $18," he said.
The most popular albums bought are also the most popular downloads, so the researchers looked for anomalous rises in downloading activity that they might compare to sales activity. They found one such spike, Professor Oberholzer-Gee said, during a German school holiday that occurred during the time they studied. Germany is second to the United States in making files available for downloading, supplying about 15 percent of online music files, he said. During the vacation, students who were home with time on their hands flooded the Internet with new files, which in turn spurred new downloading activity. The researchers then looked for any possible impact in the subsequent weeks on sales of CD's.
Professor Oberholzer said that he had expected to find that downloading resulted in some harm to the industry, and was startled when he first ran the numbers in the spring of 2003. "I called Koleman and said, 'Something is not quite right - there seems to be no effect between file sharing and sales.' "
Amy Weiss, an industry spokeswoman, expressed incredulity at what she deemed an "incomprehensible" study, and she ridiculed the notion that a relatively small sample of downloads could shed light on the universe of activity.
The industry response, titled "Downloading Hurts Sales," concludes: "If file sharing has no negative impact on the purchasing patterns of the top selling records, how do you account for the fact that, according to SoundScan, the decrease of Top 10 selling albums in each of the last four years is: 2000, 60 million units; 2001, 40 million units; 2002, 34 million units; 2003, 33 million units?"
Critics of the industry's stance have long suggested that other factors might be contributing to the drop in sales, including a slow economy, fewer new releases and a consolidation of radio networks that has resulted in less variety on the airwaves. Some market experts have also suggested that record sales in the 1990's might have been abnormally high as people bought CD's to replace their vinyl record collections.
"The single-bullet theory employed by the R.I.A.A. has always been considered by anyone with even a modicum of economic knowledge to be pretty ambitious as spin," said Joe Fleischer, the head of sales and marketing for BigChampagne, a company that tracks music downloads and is used by some record companies to measure the popularity of songs for marketing purposes.
The industry response stresses that the new study has not gone through the process of peer review. But the response cites refuting statistics and analysis, much of it prepared by market research consultants, that also have not gone through peer review.
One consultant, Russ Crupnick, vice president of the NPD Group, called the report "absolutely astounding." Asked to explain how the professors' analysis might be mistaken, he said he was still trying to understand the complex document: "I am not the level of mathematician that the professors purport to be."
Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas at Dallas, author of an essay cited by the industry, said the use of a German holiday to judge American behavior was strained. Professor Liebowitz argued in a paper in 2002 that file sharing did not affect music sales, but said he had since changed his mind.
The Liebowitz essay appeared in an economics journal edited by Gary D. Libecap, a professor of economics at the University of Arizona, who said that his publication was not peer reviewed, though the articles in it were often based on peer-reviewed work. Professor Libecap said he attended a presentation by Professor Strumpf last week, and said the file-sharing study "looks really good to me."
"This was really careful, empirical work," Professor Libecap said.
The author of another report recommended by the industry said that the two sets of data used by the researchers should not be compared. "They can't get to that using the two sets of data they are using - they aren't tracking individual behavior," said Jayne Charneski, formerly of Edison Media Research, who prepared a report last June that she said showed that 7 percent of the marketplace consists of people who download music and do not buy it. That number is far lower than the authors of the new study estimated. "There's a lot of research out there that's conducted with an agenda in mind," said Ms. Charneski, now the head of research for the record label EMI.
|W|P|10811848256840619|W|P||W|P|4/01/2004 09:39:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Hey everyone. This might be my last blog for a little while as my folks are going to walk through my door any second now.
I'm also wondering about moving the blog from Blogger to a webpage. I must get some size of homepage from Telus, my ISP, so I'm going to go inquire about it and see what they say.
Anyhoo, take care, be nice to one another, and use a condom!
CYODFS|W|P|108088078785007689|W|P||W|P|4/01/2004 04:00:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|It's about time people!
I know this guy. He's cool. If you're a hot chick, Heed wants to meet you.
CYODFS|W|P|108086042533249695|W|P||W|P|4/01/2004 03:25:00 PM|W|P|Mike|W|P|Ah, longing for the 'salad days' (thanks Foley) of old. For the last 8 months or so I've been working at Shell Canada. It's been fun, and it's sucked, so I guess it's about half and half. Foley, Adam and I have been e-mailing each other, and that has made me really, really miss Lennoxville.
The Lion. Greq. The way the town smelled like the insode of a hampster cage when the paper mill was...doing whatever it does to make the town smell that way. Don't ask me what it is, I don't know. But nonetheless, I'm missing it. There are just some things that happen better in Lennoxville. Walking home, from anywhere, is a LOT better in Lennoxville. There was just something about how something interesting would always happen. But it would be a good interesting, like seeing that 2 of your frineds have hooked up after being madly in love witheach other for the longest time.
In Calgary, something interesting will invariably happen, but it's not the good kind of interesting. No matter what drivel Seaseme Street peddles to the open young minds, not all things that are interesting are also good. One can very easily distinguish between good-interesting (hereafter Gi) and bad-interesting (hereafter Bi). Friends hooking up = Gi. Crazy, homeless guitar player talking to his guitar case, then opening it up and going crazy 'cause said guitar isn't in there = Bi. In fact, that ='s ++Bi. Take a wild freakin' guess which one happened to Mike yesterday?
Yup, Mike saw a definate case of Bi. This guy was insane, and not to mention smelly. He stank, not like booze or Scope®
but rather like onions. There is nothing worse than a well-fed homeless guy talking to his guitar case. Did I mention that he was wearing sweat pants in public?
I want to leave Calgary becasue of moments like these. Yet, it's also like driving past a train wreck: you have to see just as much as you can. It's like everyday I try to see something that will top the previous day's Bi, or, if Karma is really good, something that's Gi.
Don't get me wrong, there is lots of Gi that is happening. In fact, everytime I see a kid and make faces at them, that's Gi because every kid reacts differently. The other day on the train home there was a little girl, about 1, who would 'wake up', make a face, then 'go to sleep'. I can only assume that she figured that if she couldn't see me I couldn't see her. Hilarious. It amused me for the whole ride home.
It just feels that, more often than not, it's something Bi that happens, and it feels like just the tinyest piece of me dies screaming. I guess that's what we get for moving from a small, wonderfully beautiful town to hick- redneck muder- rape-prone Calgary where the bums are so rich they smell of food and own guitar (cases).
Lennoxville, I miss you so!