Links for 2010-04-28

  • ""PowerPoint makes us stupid," Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.

    "It's dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control," General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. "Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable." "

  • "There are several free iPhone-iPod Touch apps that let you look at the acceleration of the device using the built in accelerometer. I was planning on reviewing some of these free apps, but I didn't. When I started playing around with them, it was clear that I needed some way to make a constant acceleration. There are two simple ways to do this - drop it, or spin it in a circle. I decided to go with the circular motion option because I like my iPod and because Steve Jobs told me to.

    While playing with this, I realized that the acceleration depends on the distance of the sensor from the center of the circle of rotation. Where is this sensor? Don't tell me, I want to figure it out experimentally."

  • "I am pretty tired of Richard Dawkins putting down paleontology. In his 2004 tome The Ancestor's Tale, as well as in his latest book The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins felt compelled to cast the fossil record as an unnecessary bonus when it comes to demonstrating the reality of evolution. "The evidence for evolution would be entirely secure," he asserts in the latter book, "even if not a single corpse had ever fossilized." While this statement contains a crumb of truth - we have learned much about evolution by studying living organisms - I cannot help but feel it snobbishly denigrates an entire field which has greatly influenced our understanding of evolution. This trend is hardly new."
  • "For those keeping score at home, Tim LaHaye has been pwned by Catholic bishops on the subject of "works righteousness," and pwned by a Jewish theologian on the meaning of John's Gospel. That's just brutal."
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I see the Army is waking up to some of the things Edward Tufte has been saying for years about PowerPoint. Maybe "military intelligence" isn't an oxymoron after all.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink