06 October 2006

Ugo Dossi, a contemporary German artist, interviewed Vladimir Kramnik, one of the strongest chessplayers in the world. The result was a fascinating discussion of art, beauty, creativity and chess.

(Readers interested in chess may also want to follow the current World Championship match, in which Kramnik is currently tied with his opponent.)

Posted 11:33 AM

Some aspects of Christianity are pretty easy to accept. Not many people have trouble with a religion that teaches that God loves them and that the righteous will be rewarded in heaven. Other aspects are much more difficult, though. It's easy to talk about loving your neighbors and forgiving your enemies, but very hard to actually do it.

This week, the Amish community in Pennsylvania is showing the rest of us what it means to live by the difficult parts as well as the easy parts of Christian faith.

As you know if you haven't been under a rock for the last week or so, a (non-Amish) man named Charles Roberts shot ten girls at an Amish school and then killed himself. Five of the girls have died and a sixth is in very grave condition. I can't imagine how anyone could have such a grudge against such peaceful people, but there you have it.

But then a beautiful thing happened. The Amish invited Roberts' widow to one of the funerals. The grandfather of one of the girls visited Roberts' father to console him. A fund has been set up to help Roberts' family, including the three daughters he left behind.

The Amish are not saints. They are just people, and I'm sure forgiveness is as difficult for them as it would be for anyone faced with such a tragedy. I hope the faith that teaches them to forgive also gives them the strength they need.

Posted 10:42 AM

05 October 2006

How important are design tools? Well, they just cost Airbus more than 4.8 billion euros (US$6.1 billion).

Apparently the folks designing the wiring for the much-delayed Airbus A380 were using a new software package and had trouble incorporating engineering and customer changes to the massive plane's 530km (329.3 miles) of cabling. Problem was, they didn't realize that the software model didn't match physical reality until they started actually running the cables.


Imagine having to justify that purchasing decision to your boss...

Posted 12:47 PM

03 October 2006

The new SEMI consensus forecast estimates that wafer manufacturers will ship 7.8 billion square inches of electronics grade silicon slices in 2006. Meanwhile, the bulk silicon photovoltaic market consumes about 8 million square meters of silicon per year. (We now pause to ask why these people can't all use the same units, and thank CalculateMe for telling us that 7.8 billion square inches is about 5 million square meters.) Since the photovoltaic market is growing much faster than the integrated circuit market, and could grow even faster if it weren't silicon-constrained, this means photovoltaics are now the big gorilla in the market place. Time to make sure you have a nice long-term contract with your wafer supplier.

Posted 09:43 AM


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