Terry Pratchett and Death

2010-02-04 06:33 (comments: 0)

Terry Pratchett argues for the right to arrange his encounter with death in his own terms. A very moving and logical statement from the author which perhaps most humorously and most profoundly characterized Death in his literary creation.

Home fuel cells

2010-01-31 13:34 (comments: 0)

I fell on this topic while semi-idly browsing this morning. Very interesting topic. For one, I didn't know that fuel cell technology already reached mass production stage (and this is a shame for a chem.eng.). For two, at least on one (non-verified) estimate in the internet, the price for producing energy with fuel cells in home applications is already lower (6 cents/kW) than what I pay to Hydro Québec once I override the ridiculously meager baseline (think of Québec winters) — but not complaining here, our electricity prices are extremely low anyways. But what seems most interesting are a) means of selling electricity back to the grid in underuse periods and b) use in remote locations. Flip side (at least for me and for now), house has to be heated with water or air, not with electricity, for the promised efficiency to appear.

Light field photography

2010-01-28 10:54 (comments: 0)

A very interesting development in photography technology seems to promise more focus control in postprocessing. The work by a team at Stanford, presented in this article (PDF), is tagged as light field photography. The text is quite technical, but the presentation of the results is very convincing.

Too much of a good thing

2010-01-27 23:03 (comments: 0)

Earlier, I was giving an internet resource as exemplification for ideas that currently trott inside my skull. And even as I was doing so, I was fearing for not making my thoughts clear (so much so that even myself would probably have a difficulty of understanding that small phrase in a year's time). Well, danger creeps on us from everywhere. Even the author of that nice column managed to get lost inside his own argument, and masterfully prove that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Yes, there are tools in our brain that evolved tremendously in the last 20000 years from lowly feedback loops to brilliant mind processes. And Tallis managed to explain this colourfully in his "Neurotrash" piece. Yet, he so much exaggerates and defends his point in the "God spot" part, that he amounts to involuntary self-ridicule. Or caustic satire, difficult to decide. So, this convinces me that my best go at saying what I will is by... actually saying it rather than hazily citing others. I guess I have to deliver now... or soon.

Brain hive

2010-01-27 18:20 (comments: 0)

For some time now I was collecting ideas for a little essay I would try about the rapid evolution of social interaction and the effect of this phenomenon on individuals and their social drive. Raymond Tallis published recently in New Humanist a column which illustrates part of what my reflections amount to. A fine read, very well informed and in a delicious literary style.