Stardate 20010408.1730 (On Screen): Ordinarily I'm not one to get super-excited about sports, because I recognize just how unimportant it really is in the grand scheme of things. But occasionally it transcends the ordinary. Today I watched the most impressive achievement in sports I've ever seen. No single player dominates any sport today the way that Tiger Woods dominates golf. In any tournament he enters, he's always the player to beat. Today he climbed the unclimbable mountain: he had achieved the "Grand Slam". He holds all four of the top Golf championships (the US open, the PGA open, the British open and the Masters). And he won today with style: on the last hole he could have won the tournament with a par, but he didn't relax, and sunk a birdie putt.
Tiger Woods is to golf what Michael Jordan was to basketball: simply the greatest player the game has ever seen. At age 25, when most pro golfers are still trying to break into the big leagues, he's been a power to contend with for more than five years, and he just keeps getting better. He began playing in the big leagues when he was still a teen-ager, and won his first Masters when he was 21. What is more impressive is that he is a thoroughly fine young man. Were he another McEnroe, I would be much less enthused about him. But even as a teenager he was poised. He is a class act. He is passionate about his play (which is part of what makes him fun to watch) but not a sore loser, and he's always a gracious winner. The other players in the game have nothing but nice things to say about him as a person. He represents the finest that the US has to offer; other professional athletes should study his moves.
Stardate 20010408.1520 (On Screen): Rambus's legal situation just keeps getting stranger and stranger. If you're not up on it, Rambus claims to have patents which cover almost all of the RAM which is being sold today for personal computers, and they want to charge far higher royalties on SDRAM so as to make their own RDRAM more price competitive. Most of the companies in the industry have knuckled under and gotten license agreements, but three big companies (Micron, Hyundai and Infineon) refused to do so and are currently in court. The Infineon case is going to trial first, and so far it's looking really bad for Rambus. Infineon is claiming that the Rambus patents don't apply and that Rambus has engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
And interestingly, Infineon has convinced the judge to permit introduction of evidence about that, even though this is a civil trial. Even more interesting, the judge has lifted attorney-client privilege and permitted Infineon to question Rambus executives and their lawyers about conversations they had. That ruling was appealed and now it's been sustained by the Fourth Circuit Court.
It's looking really grim for Rambus, and I couldn't be happier. They've managed the incredible feat in just two short years of becoming even more hated in the industry than Microsoft.
In other recent news about Rambus: The case against Infineon is already over, before going to trial. Play-by-play for the Infineon suit. Play-by-play of the progress of the Micron suit.
Stardate 20010408.1330 (On Screen): OK, reality time. Dear China: there will be no apology and no end to monitoring flights in international airspace. But if our people aren't released soon, there might be a trade embargo. You need export-driven jobs a lot more than we need umbrellas and dishes. Think it over. Your friend, Steve
And in the mean time, I urge everyone to boycott Chinese products for as long as their leaders continue to hallucinate that a prop-plane with 24 people on board deliberately tried to ram a jet fighter.
Stardate 20010407.1500 (On Screen): As I write this, one of the most difficult surgical procedures in history is being done in Singapore. Two girls were born with their heads connected to each other. This condition is known as vertical craniopagus and the problem is further complicated by the fact that their brains are actually connected, and will need to be cut apart. Separating the skulls, and providing additional bone to protect the brain, is difficult but not really obscure. It's a pretty well understood problem. But separating two brains is a nightmare. This operation has only been attempted four times before, and only succeeded once. The operation was predicted to require 40 hours.
The parents are from Nepal and are not wealthy. Doctors in Singapore volunteered to attempt the separation operation (and I mean literally volunteered -- they're not charging for their time). The other expenses are being paid through voluntary contributions from people in Singapore. They needed about $60,000 and raised five times that much. Both girls will need further treatment in future, so the rest of the money will be used to pay for it. (One of them has a cleft lip, for instance.)
It's reported that the surgeons have spent the last six months practicing the operation on computers. I'd love to know what software package provides this capability.