BLOG 2008 Q1


HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales

2008 March 31

Shai Agassi wants to deploy electric cars in Israel

2008 March 30

Sunseeker yachts are expensive and made in Poole

2008 March 26

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II to cost $1 trillion

2008 March 25

NASA finds more planets

2008 March 24

Peter Thiel sees market implications in the risk of apocalypse

2008 March 23

Will Self stars in a major series of writings
Will Self is at both a master of demotic speech and a novelist of ideas. This month he's publishing The Butt, a novel that he describes as "a little bit of a jeu d'esprit".
"Vass ve édlite, she'd said, ven iss on fulbeem we C ve lites ahtside, yeah, ve streetlites uv Nú Lundun. An ven iss dipped, we C ve dashbawd, ri, mì lyttul luv?"
Will Self, The Book of Dave

2008 March 22

Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Around 1300 people attended a demonstration against racism and discrimination in the centre of Amsterdam today. The organisers wanted to protest against the views promoted by populist MP Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party, which they described as "intolerant and discriminatory."
The Blond Freedom Fighter

Two new UK CVF Royal Navy aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, are expected to enter service in 2014 and 2016. Displacing 65 000 tons, a size between the USA's 100 000 ton Nimitz class and the French 43 000 ton Charles de Gaulle class aircraft carriers, they will support the Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.

About as relevant to British security as the guards at Buckingham Palace, but never mind. Impressive technology anyway.

2008 March 21

Explaining Religion
Oxford Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology

2008 March 18

Michael Heller has won the 2008 Templeton Prize
Heller, 72, Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, Poland, has become a compelling figure in the realms of physics and cosmology, theology, and philosophy. In a prepared statement, Heller said:

Various processes in the universe can be displayed as a succession of states in such a way that the preceding state is a cause of the succeeding one (and) there is always a dynamical law prescribing how one state should generate another state. But dynamical laws are expressed in the form of mathematical equations, and if we ask about the cause of the universe we should ask about a cause of mathematical laws. By doing so we are back in the Great Blueprint of God's thinking the universe.

2008 March 16

Nicolson Baker has published a bad book about World War 2

2008 March 13

Blue Brain begins to flicker into life

2008 March 12

The Google of the future could be a mega-mashup

2008 March 7

The semantic web is on the way, thanks to AI technologies

2008 March 6

Marty Homlish, chief marketing officer (CMO) and corporate officer of SAP, has been awarded the Columbia Business School's 2008 BRITE Jury Award for Big Thinker. While accepting the award, Homlish said: "When we think of truly great companies, with best-in-class brands, it becomes impossible to separate the product, the brand promise and the experience. Now, as SAP heads toward convergence, we are telling a larger truth. The SAP product, brand promise and customer experience are aligned to help any company — regardless of size — become a best-run business."

2008 March 5

Scientists can now read minds

2008 March 4

Sweet dream: emeritus years in California

2008 March 3

Consider E8 and the crystaline perfection of its apparent reflection of the Standard Model plus more besides, such as gravitons. No good explanation yet, and no quantum theory, and not much else either, but still way cool.

2008 March 2

Shalom Auslander's memoir
News from the Gaza Strip
Perloff on Amis on terror

2008 March 1

Back from two pleasant days on SAP business in Switzerland

Michael Heller
Michael Heller

New British design for a hydrogen-powered
supersonic transport
(A380 for scale)

A wonderful French design
for a big new airship

2008 February 25

Historians may one day look back on the next few decades as the era when secularization took over the world.
Alan Wolfe

2008 February 23

The Large Hadron Collider will peer into the physics of the shortest distances and the highest energies ever probed

2008 February 21

Sharia law can be appalling, says archbishop

2008 February 19

Music activates almost all the human brain: the sensory centers, the prefrontal cortex, the emotional areas, the hippocampus, and the motor cortex.
If music be the food of love, play on

2008 February 18

The greatest threat to us all

2008 February 16

Reading a nice book by Rebecca Goldstein on Kurt Gödel. Now he was a nut job if ever there was one. But brilliant logician.

2008 February 15

Islam news: Sharia, Danish cartoons, death threats

2008 February 12

The German way of war: Operation Barbarossa

2008 February 9

Sandall on religion and violence

2008 February 8

Brain Signal Linked to Autism
Emily Singer, MIT Technology Review
Scientists have identified a physiological deficit specific to autism. According to the new findings, people with Asperger's play the game just as a nonautistic person would, but they lack the characteristic "self" signal in the brain. Normal people lack the signal only when they think that they are playing against a computer.

2008 February 5

Western culture grew out of Greek culture because the scholars of Al Andalus transmitted Greek thought to western Europe

2008 February 4

Life: A Gene-Centric View
Craig Venter and Richard Dawkins
Moderated by John Brockman

2008 February 3

"We seem to think our generation is unique in experiencing the heartbreak of an error-plagued war. ... The Iraq war and the larger struggle against the anti-American jihadists can still be won."
Victor Davis Hanson

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Mad Willy: "There may be ways of engaging with the world of Islamic law on something other than an all or nothing basis."

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has just gone stark raving bonkers: he has suggested Britain should introduce sharia, Islamic law

2008 January 30

Software deals signed globally last year totalled $67 billion, only a shade lower than the $70 billion spent in 2000. A fifth of that involved the market for business intelligence software. All three of the market leaders have been snapped up: Hyperion went to Oracle, Business Objects to SAP, and Cognos to IBM. Between them Oracle and SAP control almost half the global market for big business software.
Financial Times

2008 January 29

Most countries celebrate the best in their pasts. Germany unrelentingly promotes its worst.
Germany confronts Holocaust legacy anew

2008 January 28

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, SAP was included in the fourth annual Global 100 list of most sustainable large corporations in the world.

2008 January 27

Theodore Dalrymple: What the new atheists don't see

2008 January 26

Tony Judt on the "problem of evil" in Europe

2008 January 24

Acirema — clash of civilizations

2008 January 23

Gaza residents break out into Egypt

2008 January 22

The West must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the imminent spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
The Guardian

2008 January 20

Garrett Lisi really stirred up the physicists!
New Scientist 2-min video introduction to the theory
Entertaining physicist blog rant against the theory

"Ethics and politics do not advance in line with the growth of knowledge — not even in the long run."
John Gray

2008 January 19

For me the case is clear as day: first fission and then fusion are the way to go if we want to save the planet from global warming.
Ten myths about nuclear power

"Bush's visit to the Holy Land last week was seven years too late."
David Eshel

2008 January 18

USA defaults on ITER commitment

2008 January 17

"Searle is a beacon of accessible expertise, a throwback to a time when philosophy was part of public debate. His work is devoted to some of the most fundamental questions in philosophy, yet he never gets bogged down in the kind of esoteric disputation that forgets why the issues matter in the first place."
David Papineau

2008 January 16

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Lee Harris on Islam

2008 January 15

Martin Amis: The Second Plane

2008 January 14

Steven Pinker on the moral instinct

2008 January 13

TNR interview with Ian McEwan
The History Man, a 1981 BBC TV series
Chris Hitchens lunches with the FT

2008 January 12

Yet another salvo, this one from the New York Times, in the war of words between Honderich and McGinn reported in my latest contribution to the Journal of Consciousness Studies:
JCS 15(1), 109-128 (PDF, 125 KB)

2008 January 11

Hilton L. Root on global capitalism

2008 January 9

Received birthday pix from Carina Kircher

2008 January 8

Signed contract with Galileo Press for my forthcoming book:
SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence Accelerator
"Mormons share nearly all the conservative commitments so beloved of evangelicals. Mormons also embody the managerial competence that the Republican party’s pro-business wing considers attractive. Yet the Mormons’ political loyalty is not fully reciprocated by their fellow Republicans."
Noah Feldman

2008 January 7

Googling Honderich or McGinn will regularly find the two names paired with each other for the rest of digital eternity. Whether they like it or not, the two prickly protagonists are now sparring partners in cyberspace, bound in a fellowship of reciprocal contempt and vituperation.
JCS 15(1), 109-128 (2008)

2008 January 3

Article about me in December 2007 issue of SAP World.
PDF: 2 pages, 105 KB

2008 January 2

Oil passes $100 a barrel