Stardate 20010602.2157 (On Screen): This is the most blatant attempt at a coverup I've ever heard of. The entire royal family of Nepal is dead, the crown prince who committed the crime is in a coma but has been declared to be the new monarch, and the regent is trying to claim that the whole think was an accident. No accident with an automatic weapon kills nine people. Not a chance. The regent's problem is that he can't acknowledge that his new king is a mass murderer who ascended to the throne through regicide. But he can't expect that this feeble explanation is going to survive public scrutiny.
The best thing that could happen to Nepal now is for the new King to die of his wounds. If he recovers, then they're going to face a terrible dilemma. (discuss)
Update: He has indeed died.
Stardate 20010602.1750 (On Screen): What NASA does is, quite literally, "rocket science" and it is definitely difficult. But there is a long record of this kind of thing which suggests that it's possible to accomplish great things with a very high success rate. Starting with Pioneer, NASA has an unbroken string of successes coming into the 1980's, with such famous names as Voyager and Viking.
The huge rise in the last ten years of failed programs, especially regarding Mars missions, has led some wags to suggest that the Martians resent our snooping and are shooting them down. But the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our planets but in ourselves.
The current NASA administrator's emphasis on "faster, better, cheaper" is now exposed as a complete failure, motivated not by science or engineering but by politics, sounding good as long as it doesn't backfire. But two cheap missions which both fail yields less scientific data than a single mission which succeeds. The problem is that you can't have all three of those at the same time. An old engineering maxim says "features, schedule, budget: pick any two." Once you have, the third will be determined for you. NASA has been imposing "faster" and "cheaper" and so "better" is actually turning out to be "worse", with a skyrocketing (sorry) failure rate. I have to wonder whether today's failure is yet another manifestation of that issue. NASA needs to slow down, spend more and do less. Let's concentrate on "better" for a while and worry a bit less about "cheaper" and "faster". We'll go higher if we lower our sights. (discuss)
Stardate 20010602.1341 (On Screen): Israel continues to respond to Palestinian terrorist acts with violence of its own. It has been doing this for years and it hasn't worked. It's not going to work in the future, but to understand why you have to understand the political theory behind terrorism. So I've written up an explanation of it. (discuss)
Stardate 20010602.0820 (On Screen): Rambus has certain patents which cover a kind of memory known as RDRAM, but they've been trying to apply those patents to the far more popular SDRAM and the upcoming DDR-SDRAM. Many of the manufacturers of SDRAM have knuckled under and have been paying royalties, but three large makers refused to do so and now Rambus is locked in litigation with them. One of them, Infineon, has now prevailed twice in court against Rambus. In the largest and most high profile case so far which is being tried in Virginia and which covers Infineon's SDRAM sales in the US, the judge dismissed all of the Rambus infringement claims. However, Infineon's countersuit claiming fraud went to the jury, who found that Rambus had indeed committed fraud. This opens Infineon to ask for a ruling of equitable estoppel, which amounts to a legal nullification of the patents.
Rambus has, in the course of just a couple years, managed to become nearly the most hated company in the computer business. So imagine the shock amongs those of us who want Rambus to crash and burn to learn that Infineon has decided not to ask for equitable estoppel after all. My first reaction upon learning this was "Infineon ran the race, and they're stopping a hundred meters short of the finish line. Are they crazy?" Then I started thinking more about it and realized that they'