This update will be a big pile of randomness. Are we in another Week of Chaos? Or is it just the beginning?
First, around the web:
Vectors of Justice: Somebody proves mathematically what we already knew: there are fewer than five independent minds on the Supreme Court. In addition, almost every decision can be decomposed into a linear combination of (approximately) a unanimous decision and (approximately) the particular 5-4 split that occurred in Bush v. Gore, among others.
Politics and Physics: the perfect Doonesbury strip (as far as this page is concerned).
Harry Potter: I’ve been holding off on the new Harry Potter book – too many other things to do. If I do get around to reading it I’ll probably make some effort to get a British edition (assuming there are still differences). Does ordering from amazon.co.uk work from the US? Also, someone tell Tycho about Amazon. (I love the shadowy, wide-eyed figures in the background of the second panel.)
Everybody and His Big Brother: It’s George Orwell’s 100th birthday, and William Gibson has a NYTimes op-ed piece on the subject of Orwell and the idea of the transparent society. (David Brin has written about this as well.) The concept is that surveillance technology is cheap and available (I’m thinking X10 wireless cameras here) so anybody can be watching, rather than just Big Brother.
And the remainder of our program, some non-Internet items of interest:
Golden Sun: I guess I’m about a year behind the times, but I finished this last weekend and started the sequel. As I guessed earlier, the ending is basically “Please insert disc 2″ except disc 2 is the Golden Sun 2 cartridge. Not having my older model GBA and link cable in Oregon, I painstakingly transcribed the 260-character password required to transfer my data and then entered it properly on the second try. Anyway, it’s a fun little RPG with emphasis on puzzles and treasure-hunting (yes!).
The Da Vinci Code: In reading this book I frequently found myself wishing the boring action scenes would end so the characters would get back to talking about art. The book is chock-full of well-researched data about medieval secret societies and hidden messages in works of art, which is all very fascinating. Unfortunately it has to have a plot to go with it, which is not nearly so interesting. I found myself wishing I could read the protagonist’s scholarly writings on the subject instead, but The Da Vinci Code makes a decent substitute.
Karate Practice: Starts Thursday. Really!