Fri, May 17, 2002

The way we do science is wrong

According to a Time Magazine article, Stephen Wolfram, the famed creator of Mathematica, says science has been broken for more than 300 years – and he can fix it. The article is about his new book, A New Kind of Science, in which Wolfram discusses how studying cellular automata may be better than trying to develop complex equations to explain nature. (Also see WolframScience.com)

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

I saw Episode II yesterday. I thought it was awesome and far better than Episode I. After the chase at the start of the movie, I realized I had my mouth open watching the stunning visual effects. Very cool movie and fun to watch. Just don’t think too much about it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead. The following contains information that might ruin your viewing of Clones. If you have not seen it yet, you might want to skip the following.

Some people have obviously thought about the Star Wars movies. The Weekly Standard has a humorous and controversial article suggesting that the Empire is good. The author makes a compeling case, but not without faults. He claims you cannot trust Leia’s claims because she willfully lies to the Empire, but accepts Chancellor Palpatine’s comments despite the fact that he is manipulative and deceitful to the Senators and Jedi.

Jerry Pournelle critiques the silliness of the movie, complaining that the Jedi bring knives to gunfights. Of course, light sabers aren’t just any old knife, but an energy weapon that can reflect blaster shots. Pournelle makes a good point about the silliness of the plot, particularly the knowledge of Ben’s friend at the diner, and the incompetence of the Jedi, Senate, and assassins.

Despite all this, I really loved the movie. The action and scenery are amazing. I found it perfectly believable that Jar Jar caused the galactic war, but cannot fault him too much–the Chancellor would have been able to manipulate someone else if he hadn’t. At least Jar Jar was treated as annoying and his lines were minimized. The one-liners from Threepio were great. Talking with friends after the movie, we decided that R2-D2 is like Batman’s toolbelt: anything he needs he has. It was fun to watch him climb stairs. I definitely want to see it again.

Netscape changes and rearranges

Netscape.com has a new look. The colors are somewhat darker than previously and the home page is quite different in layout and shorter.

There are rumors that the next version of netscape will be 7.0. This has been suggested by the Netscape/7 useragent string in several bug reports. I suppose it is remotely possible that these are from AOL testing Gecko in AOL 7.0, but don’t think they’d use a Netscape 7 identifier for the AOL client.