Monday, April 11, 2005

The good news: things are relatively calm around here again. The bad news: I'm still too exhausted to write anything substantive.

Instead, I'll just re-direct you to three of the more interesting stories and arguments that I've come across over the last week:

1) As the Boston Globe reports, MIT and Taiwan's Qanta Computer just finalized a 5-year, $20 million research deal. The goal: creating "the next generation of communications platforms and products." Translation: if the venture proves successful -- which I imagine it will, since Qanta is the world's biggest computer maker and MIT is, well, MIT -- the platforms it comes up with will dictate just how fluidly our natural and technological environments converge. And therein lies my interest in the story; this research group is about to exert a pretty fundamental influence over our daily lives.

2) As Kevin Drum notes, people need to stop assuming that Republican growth means conservative growth. The numbers of conservatives, liberals, and independents have stayed relatively even over the last thirty years. All that's changed is that conservatives -- particularly Southern conservatives -- have left the Democrats and joined up with the Republicans. Conservatism isn't more popular now than in the past; the Republican party is.

3) Strangely enough, another tech story. New Scientist reports that Sony has filed for two patents capable of non-invasively manipulating neural sensory data. Evidently the patent is only for a theoretical procedure, but still. The fact that they've done enough research into how to make games and movies that directly manipulate your sight, smell & hearing to now file for a patent says a lot -- namely, that Sony knows it isn't the only company/institute actively interested in and researching such a technology. What kind of neural research has Microsoft been doing? Or the military, for that matter?


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