This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

blinx: Advanced Search through a Browser Plugin

Just stumbled on this; looks interesting:

blinkx: "blinkx changes the way you find and access all kinds of information, from anywhere in the world, without having to search endlessly. blinkx rapidly links you with the information you need from the web, from online news sources and files on your own PC."

Click here to see an animated introduction to blinkx.

They also have a web based service they are calling blinx Broadband which looks interesting. It is still in beta.

Copyrighting the President

Copyrighting the President: "In August, Robert Greenwald will release an updated version of his award-winning film, Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War. Greenwald has added a clip of President George W. Bush's February interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, NBC's Sunday morning talk show. In the clip, the president defends his decision to go to war - astonishingly unconvincingly.

Greenwald asked NBC for permission to run the one-minute clip - offering to pay for the right, as he had done for every other clip that appears in the film. NBC said no. The network explained to his agent that the clip is 'not very flattering to the president.' Greenwald included it anyway.

Does Lucene Scale?

Does Lucene scale?

Enterprise Search: The Case for Lucene: "Generally speaking, for systems with light to moderate traffic with reasonably simple queries on datasets up to 100,000 documents, our current impression is that Lucene should be adequate. We have seen reports of Lucene performing well on a 300,000 document dataset, and we have run queries on 800,000 document sets. Simple queries still performed reasonably.

If your datasets are routinely in the 100,000 document range, or if you will ever be searching more than 1 million records, you should investigate performance carefully.

If you require an average of more than 10 queries per second, we encourage you to at least do some performance testing before making decisions. This holds true for commercial vendors as well. Lucene does support some amount of threading.

Lucene does not do as well for systems with highly volatile data. When source data changes, the Lucene indices must be updated to reflect the new terms present in the modified content. For each "update", Lucene requires a pair of "delete" and an "add" transactions; and the "add" will only be visible to newly opened search sessions. This can cause search synchronization and/or latency issues if not properly handled.

If you start running into these problems with Lucene, you will need to start doing more advanced Lucene indexing and searching; a good article to get started with this is Advanced Text Indexing with Lucene.

Plurality of Worlds, According to the Ancient Greeks and Romans

Did any of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers conceptualize that life might be spread across the universe?

Plurality of Worlds: "Concerning the structure and evolution of the universe, the most influential Epicurean proponent was the Roman poet Lucretius (99-55 B.C.) who asserted:

'Granted, then, that empty space extends without limit in every direction and that seeds innumerable are rushing on countless courses through an unfathomable is in the highest degree unlikely that this earth and sky is the only one to have been created and that all those particles are accomplishing nothing.'


"Even more radical views from antiquity were expressed by the Pythagoreans, such as speculation that our moon is currently inhabited: "the moon is terraneous, is inhabited as our earth is, and contains animals of a larger size and plants of a rarer beauty than our globe affords. The animals in their virtue and energy are fifteen degrees superior to ours, emit nothing excrementitious and the days are fifteen times longer.

The Pythagorean speculators were notable not only for their quantitative flavor (the lunar animals as fifteen percent but not twenty percent superior?). More revolutionary even today, the Pythagoreans concluded that earth might not offer the best place for humans to live.

Not to be satisfied with only speculation and hypothesis, Lucian of Samosata (120-200 A.D.) composed two fictional moon voyages to do what today might be called, 'the astrobiological hardwork' of looking and testing.

Two Different X-Prize Rockets Crash (No One Hurt)

Armadillo Aerospace's X Prize Prototype Crashes : "Armadillo Aerospace of Mesquite, Texas has reported a crash last weekend of their prototype X Prize rocket."


Washington State-Based Ansari X Prize Contestant's Spacecraft Explodes: "A team taking a low-budget stab at the $10 million Ansari X Prize for private manned spaceflight suffered a setback Sunday, when their rocket malfunctioned and exploded after shooting less than 1,000 feet in the air."

Thankfully no one was hurt in either of these crashes; I think the other X-Prize teams are pushing the safety envelope now, since they now know the clock is ticking.


Found a very interesting site called memeorandum; it creates a virtual newspaper with major news article followed by people talking about it in the blogosphere:

"memeorandum presents a distinctly readable and relevant hourly synopsis of the latest online news and opinion, combining weblog commentary with traditional news reports."

More info here.


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