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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

The Complete Two Towers: Disc Three

by Ken Newquist / July 28, 2007
Cover: The Complete Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - The Complete Recordings by Howard Shore and released by Reprise Records is a huge collection containing 3+ hours of music from the movie spread over three CDs and augmented by a video DVD documenting the soundtrack's production. It's so huge that a single review won't do it justice, so instead, I'm blogging it. View the "Blogging the Complete Two Towers" category for the complete list of posts in this series.

A Sad Day for Private Sector Manned Spaceflight

by Ken Newquist / July 27, 2007

Three people were killed after an explosion during an oxidizer test at Scaled Composites this week, two yesterday when the explosion happened, one today from complications afterwards. Scaled Composites is the company that won the X-Prize for the successful sub-orbital flight of its spacecraft, SpaceShipOne. The crew had been testing engine components for SpaceShipTwo, the private craft being built for Virgin Galactic, the suborbital spaceflight arm of Virgin Atlantic.

WSJ: Robert A. Heinlein's Legacy

by Ken Newquist / July 26, 2007

This month is the centennial celebration of Robert Heinlein's birthday. In honor of it, the Wall Street Journal has this opinion piece by Taylor Dinerman celebrating the author's legacy. It provides a good overview of Heinlein's career, though it ignores the sexual weirdness that factored into much of Heinlein's later work (e.g. his obsession with incest in Time Enough for Love).

Radio Active #53: Computer Repair Frustrations, Boot and Nuke, ChoreWars, Rainbows End

by Ken Newquist / July 25, 2007
Book Cover: Rainbows End

Where do Rainbows End? Find out in Episode #53 as I review Vernor Vinge's near-future science fiction thriller in which a 75-year-old man awakens to find his Alzhiemer's cured, his body rejuvenated to that of a teenager ... and the world transformed almost beyond belief.

I also talk about what I'm reading (Pushing Ice, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) and watching (The 4400, Doctor Who, Season 2, vent about some gadget repairs that aren't going well, and obliterate two Windows hard drives with secure deletion tool DBAN.

Reason: Bucks for Brains

by Ken Newquist / July 24, 2007

Reason has posted a good article discussing the merits of New York City Department of Education Ronald G. Fryer's plan to give kids monetary bonuses for both taking and scoring well on academic tests. Some have praised the plan as providing much needed incentives to poor students; others slam it as corrupting the noble nature of learning for the sake of learning.

I'll leave aside the debate over the merits of the program; what bothers me is that we don't do enough to foster this kind of creativity, and that the knee-jerk reaction isn't "let's see what happens!" but rather "this is wrong, let's kill it!".

When "Addiction" is just another word for "Dumbass"

by Ken Newquist / July 16, 2007

Hell, that's not even the word. I can't use the word I really want to use to describe the incident in which two brainless twits reproduced and then left their helpless children to fend for themselves while they got lost in in an online fantasy game for a few hundred hours. Because you see, this is generally a work-safe site ... and the thoughts this bring to mind are definitely not work safe.

Free wifi across the Lehigh Valley

by Ken Newquist / July 16, 2007

I don't blog about my adopted hometown all that much, aside from the occasional flood, but here's something worth noting: a list of free wifi access points across the Lehigh Valley. It's part of the The After Work Chronicles, the official blog of "Lehigh Valley Network of Young Professionals" and it's got posts going back to 2005, which is pretty good for a blog.