Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, March 3, 2003day link 

 Big Fuel Cells in Ohio
picture Westerville, Ohio is installing a 250-kilowatt fuel cell, which will power 180 homes. It is apparently the first of its kind in the U.S. It will be a 28-foot-long, 85,000-pound unit, built by FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Connecticut. As any other fuel cell, it generates energy from hydrogen by a simple chemical process. In this 'direct' approach, natural gas is the source, and the hydrogen doesn't even have to be separated out from the gas first. The unit makes little noise. Nothing is burned and it simply produces water which will be discharged directly into a city sewer. The electricity produced will still cost more than electricity produced by conventional means, but it is part of a more long term plan. As part of its Third Frontier initiative, Ohio plans to spend $103 million on fuel-cell research during the next three years.
[ | 2003-03-03 23:59 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

picture Zope seems to be popping up in front of me more frequently recently. Zope is an ingenious, unique, dynamic, modular, web-based software environment written in the Python language. I've had it running on my server since several years, and for a while back then I was really gung ho about it, and was planning on doing all my development in Zope. There's lots of ready-made freely available modules for Zope that very easily makes it do lots of useful things, without any real programming. But when I tried to implement one of my own projects from scratch in Zope I ended up so thoroughly frustrated that I gave the whole thing up. Well, what frustrated me so deeply was the DTML scripting language, which seemed to stop me from doing even the simplest things I wanted to do, for no good reason. I understand things have changed greatly and there are new versions and new frameworks for how to do things, which all sounds exciting. So maybe I should explore that world again. Zope 3's 'Component Architecture' sounds very compelling. I was today looking at a couple of weblogs by prominent Zope people. Jeffrey Shell is a programmer responsible for some key pieces of Zope. Paul Everitt is the former CEO of DigiCool, the company that develops the core of Zope.
[ | 2003-03-03 23:59 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Declaration of Content
Dan Gillmor writes:
"U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has a strikingly simple idea to bolster customers' rights to freely use software, movies and music that they've paid for: Force the sellers of such products to tell the truth about the restrictions they're imposing on users.

When customers know, for example, that the compact disc they're buying is technologically rigged so they can't rip MP3 files from it for use on a portable player, they won't buy it. Eventually, these informed customers will demand change in the copyright laws..."
Yep, simple and elegant. Force the manufacturers to clearly, in proper English, explain what you're buying, including the features they have painstakingly built in to make the product LESS useful to you. And the market will decide what people really want.

If the truth were always clearly visible, market economics alone would transform the world. The only reason that large numbers of people are choosing that which they don't really want is that they're being deceived.
[ | 2003-03-03 23:59 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 Federalist Papers
Rebecca Blood quotes some wise excerpts from the Federalist Papers. The founding fathers of the United States foresaw many potential pitfalls in the system they were designing. Just a shame that their design has gradually become less and less respected and adhered to by successive U.S. governments.
Federalist No. 4, John Jay:

"[T]he safety of the people of America against dangers from foreign force depends not only on their forbearing to give just causes of war to other nations, but also on their placing and continuing themselves in such a situation as not to invite hostility or insult; for it need not be observed that there are pretended as well as just causes for war.

It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; [rulers] will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal, such as a thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandise and support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people."

[ | 2003-03-03 23:59 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

Main Page: ming.tv