information leaf blower

I totally forgot about Link and Think this weekend. I feel like a heel.

Weekend flew by, as usual. Up early today to see The Wife off on yet another business trip. Starting to grow unhappy with the constraints of this blog format (mainly the need to think up titles for everything), but not sure when I'm going to be able to change it to something more of my liking. Coffee good.

that's IT?
Remember the IT/Ginger hype of just a few short months ago? Today is the big unveiling, on one of those morning shows filled with too chipper plastic people, but since we here at Genehack Light Industries care, here's a link to a NYTimes article with a picture of the mystery device. (Registration required to use that link, and I'd give you my username and password, but I'll be buggered if I can remember what they are at the moment, because I just set the cookie and forget, just like everybody else.) There's a bit more background over at this five-page Time article. US$3k? Uff-dah. All you early adapters run right out and drive that price down, ya hear?

i know a geeky spook
Or maybe he's a spooky geek. But I digress -- Sterling has that effect on me. If you give two hoots about cryptoanarchy, Microsoft, Lessig, information warfare, the National Security Agency, or the national security (and how distinct are those last two, hmm?), you could spend a worse fifteen minutes this morning than reading Viridian Note 00283: Geeks and Spooks. A few choice pull quotes:
The truer and sadder story of crypto was that the spooks and the geeks both beat the hell out of our democratic process, rendering lawyers, consumers, the Congress, the industry, and the Administration totally irrelevant, and leaving crypto as a blasted technical wasteland, in a kind of Afghan-style feud, where every single party was necessarily a crook, or a scofflaw, or a deceiver, or weirdly suspect, and there was no legitimacy, and no common ground, and still, today, no good method to assemble any.
It's not that islands don't exist in our Net == Afghanistan is a huge one. But if you're a geek and you airdrop in with your Linux box to set up an outlaw pirate website in the liberated Pashtun tribal lands, it'll be about a week before you're shot. They'll shoot you for your shoelaces, much less your Pentium.
So where are these imaginary earthshaking geek outlaws who laugh in derision at mere government? Well, they do exist, and they're in Redmond. The big time in modern outlaw geekdom is definitely Microsoft. The Justice Department can round up all the Al Qaeda guys they can wiretap, but when they went to round up Redmond, they went home limping and sobbing, and without a job. That is a geek fait accompli, it's a true geek lock-in. In 2001, Microsoft has got its semi-legal code in every box that matters. They make those brown-shoe IBM monopolists of the 1950s look like model public citizens.
Hell, read it because Bruce is a damn good writer, and because there are tons of worse ways to start a working week than with a few thousand well chosen words.

whose future are we living in?
If you gave in to my nudging and read Bruce's stuff from the entry above, you might think we're in for some Heavy Weather. You might need to open your ears to some Ribofunk, though, because Japan announced yesterday that they will allow the cloning of human-animal hybrid embryos.

Every now and then, there's this feeling like whoever is driving the Lincoln Town Car of the Now down the asphalt-paved Turnpike of the Future just goosed the gas, punched it just a little bit, and the fabric of reality sort of bulges with the increased pressure, before the Driver eases off the pedal and we all settle back in for the ride. This has been one of those times.

speaking of bioinformatics
How could I pass up a chance to link to an interview with Nat Torkington and Lorrie LeJeune, co-chairs of the best bioinformatics conference I won't be going to this year? I just couldn't.