April 3

On "A Universe from Nothing"

The recently published paperback edition of A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss has a new preface which at best should be an appendix rather than a preface. In it, besides remarking on the discovery of the Higgs boson, Krauss carries on his argument with believers that was inflamed by the original publication of the book a year ago. So, skip the “Preface to the Paperback Edition” and, if you want, read it after you’ve read the rest of the book.

Likewise, the main text itself suffers from repeated hectoring concerning the author’s antitheist views, which in some parts may be appropriate to the immediate topic, but overall becomes annoying in its quantity. OK, we get it already! You don’t believe in god.

Nevertheless, Krauss gives, by far, the clearest explanation I’ve ever read of the big bang theory; completely up to date, with the latest observational evidence. Just be as careful as he is to notice when he changes gears and goes from well tested theory into the merely plausible. In the two penultimate chapters, he presents the crux of his notion of creation—something from nothing—to a depth not possible within the limitations of the lecture which gave rise to this book.

posted @ 09:09 AM EDT

April 4


Roger Ebert Dies at 70
Russ Fischer, slashfilm.com

Roger Ebert, long the chief film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, and the man who did more to define the popular dialogue about movies than any other person, has died at the age of 70.

posted @ 05:10 PM EDT

April 6


The U.S. Women’s National Team tied Germany 3-3 in a thrilling match on the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Soccer Federation. The USA got goals from Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan in a superb second half that featured six goals in front of a spirited crowd in Offenbach.


posted @ 09:07 AM EDT

April 10


The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a comprehensive 3-1 win against the Netherlands at the Hague. Midfielder Tobin Heath opened the scoring before Christen Press, starting at forward, grabbed two goals either side of halftime to seal the victory.


posted @ 09:21 AM EDT

April 14

Ugly Beginning for NWSL

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)—the latest attempt at establishing professional, women’s soccer in the U.S.—got off to a disappointing start with last night’s inaugural game in Kansas City, streamed live via YouTube. The quality of the video stream was so poor as to be practically unwatchable at times, suffering from stalls and recurring loss of resolution. But you might have preferred not watching anyway, since the game was played on very hard, artificial turf, visually marred by the (American) football gridiron. The NWSL would have presented a much more appealing product by kicking off the league on a grass field, where the game looks and plays as it does at the highest level. Fortunately, some of the teams have home fields with natural surfaces.

As for the actual game, from what I could see of the 1-1 draw, the Portland Thorns have a big problem. In Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, they have two of the best forwards in the world, but are unable to play the ball through midfield into any kind of attack that gives their strikers a scoring chance. Maybe the midfielders will fare better against other teams or improve their play as the season goes on. Portland managed to score by getting a penalty kick on a foul that was lost on my video. (Not that I minded that. I don’t watch soccer to see fouls.) Otherwise, the Thorns looked about as sharp as a soccer ball.

posted @ 09:22 AM EDT

April 16

US court hears gene patents case


The US Supreme Court hears arguments questioning whether the human genome can be claimed as intellectual property.

If the problem is protecting the profits of developing methods to isolate a gene, why can’t the methods be patented rather than the gene?

posted @ 08:05 AM EDT

US court hears gene patents case">

April 17

Google's solution to software patents: treat them like any other patent

Key points in normalizing software patents to bring them into conformance with standards applied to patents of mechanical and electronic devices:

  • The basis must be how the invention works, given by an algorithm.
  • Research of prior art must be improved.

posted @ 07:51 AM EDT

Google's solution to software patents: treat them like any other patent">

April 18


Lake Sunapee Ice Out was today.

posted @ 10:35 PM EDT

April 22


Earth Day 1970 Poster

posted @ 09:35 AM EDT

April 23

Passport Renewal Is a Snap

Renewing a U.S. passport is easy and convenient these days, as I found when I renewed mine by mail. First, I went to the State Department website where I filled out the application and then printed it. Filling it out online ensures that all the required information is entered in a valid format, and results in a tidy document. Using my iPhone, a family member took a photo of me which I cropped and scaled in Preview on our MacBook, and printed on glossy photo paper. I trimmed the print and stapled it to the application. Finally, I wrote a check for the fee, put my expired passport, the application, and check in an envelope and mailed it to the address provided in the application instructions.

Though the State Department advises that routine processing takes four to six weeks, I received my new passport in the mail just three weeks and a day after mailing in my renewal application.

posted @ 12:10 PM EDT

April 29


Remembering the ‘Old Man’
N.H. icon fell almost 10 years ago

posted @ 07:53 AM EDT

April 30


Twenty Years Ago Today the World Wide Web Went Public

posted @ 07:59 AM EDT