19 December 2003

This is why an independent judiciary is a critical part of any democracy. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the executive branch does not have the authority to bypass due process by designating US citizens detained on US soil as "enemy combatants."

In a separate case, the 9th Circuit held that detainees at Guantanamo Bay should have access to US courts, a question the Supreme Court has already agreed to consider.

Posted 11:40 AM

In George Orwell's novel, 1984, the Ministry of Truth is responsible for revising historical documents to reflect the current official reality. Though the web supports free discourse in many ways, it makes such political revisionism much easier.

Posted 11:01 AM

17 December 2003

Mitch Ratcliffe offers an eloquent explanation of why a bullying, belligerent foreign policy is ultimately counterproductive. While the US clearly can do whatever it wants, there's no need to rub the rest of the world's collective noses in that fact.

Posted 11:10 AM

Writing? What's that?

Only 3650 words since my last update, 241,915 since January 1. The conference-induced chaos has settled a bit, though, and I've got lots of deadlines to meet before the end of the year.

Speaking of conferences, I have piles of notes from both IEDM and the MRS meeting. They'll be making their way onto the site in the next few weeks. I also owe newsletter subscribers a fresh issue, which is currently in preparation.

Posted 10:47 AM
Public Service Announcement

The 2004 election in the US is just under a year away, which seems like a long time, but actually isn't. The first presidential primaries are in January, and they come thick and fast after that.

So, if you haven't already, this is the time to make sure you're registered to vote, and start thinking about which issues matter to you and who is most likely to represent your interests.

In 2000, the presidential election was decided by less than 2000 votes in the state of Florida. Local elections frequently depend on a few dozen or a few hundred votes. Your vote really does matter. This early in the race, you can also have an impact far beyond your own vote, by contributing money and/or time to the candidates you support.

The biggest threat to democracy in the US isn't special interests, or big corporations, or big media. It's apathy. Apathy lets a determined minority win. Apathy is what gives special interests their power. Apathy pretends that a single vote doesn't matter, and then is horrified when the results show that it does. Apathy pretends that the candidates are all just alike and realizes, too late, how very different they are.

I don't care who you vote for. (Well, I do, but that isn't my point.) But if you don't vote at all, then you have no one to blame but yourself for the results.

If you don't know who your current representatives are or where they stand, some good starting points include:

A Google search on a particular issue will also turn up organizations focused on that issue.

Posted 10:41 AM

There's a new player in the semiconductor equipment space. Korea's Jusung Engineering says it will ship a 300-mm ALD system in the first half of 2004. The system targets high-k dielectrics for next-generation DRAM capacitors.

(Story from Silicon Strategies. Free registration required.)

Posted 10:34 AM

16 December 2003

This is cute. A Holiday Snowglobe, complete with snow man and theme soundtrack. (Check your speaker volume first.)

Posted 11:00 AM

14 December 2003

Google's coolness continues to increase. Just in time for the holiday season, you can now find package tracking information along with searches on patents, airplane tail numbers, and other numeric identifiers.

Posted 12:42 PM


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