April 16th, 2002


I, Bullet

Some lightly organized musings:

Granted that it's okay to shoot back in self defense at a soldier who is firing a weapon at you.

Does it follow that you have the right to shoot the pilot of the airplane who brought him to your land?
How about the mechanic who repairs the airplane?
What about the soccer mom whose tax money pays the salary of the mechanic and the soldier?

Is it okay to attack anyone along this chain of responsibility? If not, why not?

What's the difference between a "freedom fighter" and a "terrorist"?

When does "resistence to oppression" become a "campaign of terror?"

Is there any moral difference between the "collateral damage" of a bombing campaign, and the "innocent victims" of a terrorist attack?

Answers--I don't have any, only more questions:

Have you exhausted non-violent means of resolving conflict?
Are you under attack now?
If you fail to attack, how likely will future attacks against you result in even greater loss of innocent lives?
Do you have a clear idea of what the attack is supposed to achieve? Will you know it when you have achieved it?

Stock Orb

Ambient Stock Orb


March 21, 2002


A Glowing Delphic Orb Says 'Buy,' 'Hold' or `Panic'


f the devil is in the details, don't tell the people at Ambient Devices in Cambridge, Mass. The company is staking its future on a demand for more timely and personalized yet less specific information from gadgets and computers.

In May the company will roll out its first product, the Stock Orb, a glowing colored globe that receives wireless information and changes hue and intensity depending on the movement of the Dow Jones industrial average.

Offered through the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog for $299, the orb glows yellow for neutral, green for rising prices and red for, well, you know. It was tested last year by clients of Fidelity Investments and can be adapted to specific stocks or indexes, weather data, traffic reports or the amount of e-mail in an In box.

The orb receives a signal on a wireless frequency used by pagers. Don Norman, a co- founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, product- development consultants, and the author of "Everyday Things," said that this kind of nonspecific information could be a powerful tool.

"It's making an art form out of otherwise what would be a technical, nerdish object, and second, it's trying to use peripheral awareness to get attention," he said.

Ben Resner, chief engineer at Ambient, said that the company was looking into other applications for the orb, including the wireless relay of information about a patient's condition from medical devices to a loved one or someone who provides care.

"I feel like such a victim of my wireless devices," Mr. Resman said. "We want to make information more polite and less intrusive."

Blackjack links

for a complete analysis and instructions on how to win at blackjack (at least theoretically) see:

Playing Blackjack as a Business by Lawrence Revere (ISBN 0818400641 )

also see Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston (ISBN 0897460685 ) as an aside, the late Ken Uston was a stock broker at the Pacific Exchange before becoming a professional blackjack player.

and for those of you who are easily impressed with credentials and academic degrees in science and engineering see The Gambling Times Guide to Blackjack by Stanley Roberts,Ken Uston,Lance Humble,Jerry Patterson,Arnold Snyder,Edward O. Thorp,Julian Braun, etc. (ISBN 0897460154 ) Thorp was the first who applied probability theory to BJ, Braun was the first who applied computer simulation, etc. etc.

(my note: Ed Thorp is also signed up to be cryopreserved by Alcor).