Google more relevant than ever

[Cropped screenshot of Google's search results for 'Inkscape']

Searching for the term “Inkscape” on Google, I got the results as shown in the screenshot above. Not only does Google return a link to the homepage of the Inkscape project, it also includes links to the Download, Screenshots, Documentation and Galleries pages. Has this feature been around for long?

How does it do that? Answers in the Comments, please.


“This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer”

(Through Usenet.)

More Kliper photos

A model of the proposed Kliper space craft is being shown at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2005 in Moscow.

Photos can be found at here and here.

The second glider on the second page is the Bor, a Buran prototype that was modelled after the Soviet Spiral orbital spy plane. The Spiral would work similarly to SpaceShipOne: a plane would lift it to 20 kilometers high, then a rocket would take it to 150 km, after which the space craft could either be used for attacking or repairing other space craft, taking spy pictures of the Earth’s surface, or attacking ground targets.

Oh goody, I’ll dance to that

Miro, the company that started the Mambo content management system seems to have angered a lot of the core developers, who have now set up shop elsewhere. After requests by developers to start a foundation that would ensure the independence of Mambo to Miro, the latter did indeed set up a foundation, but one that seemed to move in quite the opposite direction. Four of the five board members being Miro folk (with one token “independent” vote), huge member ship fees and lies about the founding process have made the developers leave.

In the meantime, I have installed Mambo at customers’ and am now wondering if this is the sort of event I should tell them about, and where I am going to get new flavours and updates in the future. The beehive of the Mambo forums and the confusing multitude of Mambo dedicated website has always suggested to me that this is an immensely popular project, of which I have only witnessed the tip, so I am not too worried. There will be a brief hiatus, in which the two forks can prove themselves, and then… business as usual.

So if anything comes from this, it’s that I will have been wading through hours and hours of forum postings on this issue on both the old and the new site, just to get some idea of what on earth is going on.

As for who’s right and who’s wrong (if there are a clearly identifiable right and wrong in this matter), I have yet to decide. What is ominous is that some of the forking core developers seem to have been censored and silenced in the official, “old” forums.

Public domain out loud

Public domain books + volunteer readers + podcast = Librivox. Starting this week, Librivox tries to bring people together who will each record a chapter of a well-known book, which will then be distributed over the internet. Or, in their words: “LibriVox is an open source audio-literary attempt to harness the power of the many to record and disseminate, in podcast form, books from the public domain.”

The book that the organizers chose this week is Joseph Conrad‘s The Secret Agent. The recordings will in turn be placed in the public domain, and should end up at the Internet Archive.

Akma once successfully organised a similar project as a one-off where Larry Lessig’s book Free Culture was read out loud.

Marketing for the rich

BoingBoing has a bit about Space Adventures wanting to shoot tourists to the moon for a cool 100,000,000 US$ a pop. Oddly enough, the thing that strikes me as the most interesting is the Space Adventures’ statement that “Mr. Anderson’s […] demographic research, he said, suggests that 500 to 1,000 people in the world can afford to do this”.

There are companies that do demographic research into the richest people of the planet!

Well, that’s not so surprising, really. But how does that work? How do you determine who the richest people are? How large is the error you will accept? (I mean, perhaps the 2,000th on the list can still afford the trip if he will look under the pillows of his sofa.) What kind of spending patterns will you look at? Do you approach these people, or do they approach you?

BBC tries to blame Tim Berners-Lee for everything

International terrorism? Blame Tim Berners-Lee! Children being exposed to hard porn? Blame Tim Berners-Lee! Nigerian scams? Blame Tim Berners-Lee!

The gist of the interview that the BBC held with Tim Berners-Lee seems to be that he should feel guilty for everything that the web is being abused for. Time and again the so-called reporter comes back with questions like “I have to accept that someone in Mexico may have stolen my identity and now be using it; is [that] worth [it]?” and “do you feel responsible for what happens?” and “do you ever have bad moments about [the web being given over to] sexual exhibitionists masturbating in their bedrooms with webcams?” and “you’ve never had a sleepless night over that?”.

From what I am given to understand, that was just the tip of the iceberg, and the real interview tried to blame TBL for international terrorism too. Because, as we all know, the web is the weapon of choice for the international terrorist.


Copyright alternative

Copyright is of course one of the several ways that government can try and stimulate the creation of works–and a rather imperfect one at that.

But the alternatives are not all roses either. Subsidizing artists may be dandy, but how are you going to make sure subsidies are fairly distributed? The Dutch government has always taken the cowardly way out: basically anybody willing to admit to being an artist got a grant, or got their “art” bought by the government.

The Viennese municipal government has come up with a plan that kills two birds with one stone. It lets artists decide via reputation-based software which of them is most deserving of the grant money. I say “two birds”, because most of the painters and sculptors it is my distinct unpleasure to be vaguely acquainted with feel that only they can tell what art is. Well, exactly! Thank you Vienna!

(Via BoingBoing.)

The Price of the Eagle

The Space Shuttle is often mocked, but let’s be clear about one thing: that it is a great engineering accomplishment, and one that the US are justifiably proud of.

So why is it being mocked? In a nuttshell: the Space Shuttle was originally built as a military vehicle. Then the military figured out they did not need such a vehicle, and ever since NASA has been doing its darndest to find new purposes for the Shuttle, and failed. There is almost no need in modern space faring that cannot be fulfilled with cheaper and safer solutions.

More interesting is the question: how is it being mocked? Idle Words has a demonstration.

The one thing missing from his complete and utterly scathing overview of Why The Space Shuttle Is Redundant is a cost perspective: for the price of the launch of a single Space Shuttle you can design, test and run several launches of a really reusable space craft. (Which might be, but of course is not limited to the Kliper.)

Fabric softener makes my socks wider

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