Only a poor student of history could fail to notice history's cycles. The future can't be fortold in detail, but asking the question "Where are the cycles taking us?" gives you a better chance of guessing general shapes than anything else I know.

So it's easy for a student of history to look out at the United States and guess that we're approaching a libertine peak, and that over the next couple of decades we should expect to see the pendulum swing away from the wild excesses of the Baby Boomers back in a more "conservative" direction.

But at my age, I've never lived through a shift. So had I guessed how the counter-libertine shift would occur last week, I would have guessed a gradual cultural waning of the libertines and a gradual cultural waxing of those of a more conservative bent, with the advocates not changing their own views but their relative influence changing over time.

The debate about the reproducibility of science bubbles onward, with everyone agreeing that it's a problem but of course nobody with power to fix it doing anything about it. Recently I've been thinking that science as we know it sits in a very unpleasant middle ground. On the one hand, despite the propaganda institutional science is biased against replication. This holes it below the waterline, and any serious scientist (alas) must consider fixing this in their field their top priority or they are consenting to just spin their wheels forever.

Widespread angst about school quality is easy to fix... schools just need to look around and copy what's working out there in the real world. Five Solids that you have to see to believe! 7 Places You Have To See Before You Die This Woman's SHOCKING Actions Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity See why this guy thinks he can make you dance to his tune This one weird chemical will BLOW YOUR MIND!

I don't listen to the radio hardly at all anymore. Recently, I was with my wife while she was just idly flipping through, and I was astounded. Rappers? Autotuned. Rockers? Autotuned. Country? Autotuned. The electro/techno stuff was autotuned, but that's less of a surprise. Autotune, autotune, AUTOTUNE! Not even subtly, either, but cranked up as far as it will go before the high end simply explodes with noise. Is there anyone left in the music industry that can carry a tune?

Computer Security Haiku

Gold in vault, target Steel door closed, locked, key thrown away; Thief laughs "There's no wall!" Data stream flows, filling Lake overflows; disaster! Arbitrary code Man trusts fellow Man, fellow Man undeserving. Script code injected. Novice celebrates, Output easy, just append strings! Master needs new novice. Dark secrets made, shared Tells foe the password is lost... Rubber hose finds it. "Love", Alice tells Bob In anger, Eve flips one bit

Mathematical Diversions: Producing Helium from Hydrogen

In response to this story about a possible impending Helium shortage, someone suggested on Hacker News that perhaps someday we can use nuclear fusion to produce helium.

As it happens I'd idly chatted with my wife about that a few weeks ago, but that wasn't enough motivation to run the numbers. This was. Could we produce enough helium to satisfy our commercial production of it through fusion, if we just assume we have fusion?

Browsing through some old entries, I see in late 2007 I predicted: One of the milestones I've been watching for is the first entirely DVD-based TV-style series. It's going to happen sooner or later, and will mark a major shift in how TV is produced, once it becomes possible to make it without advertising or subsidy, the only two models that currently work. I'm going to give myself only half-a-point.

An Open Letter To Meijer

Dear Meijer Corporation: I love you guys. You guys are great. I know it's tradition for Internet "open letters" to be extended complaints, but nah, you're great. But you know, I do want to air just one tiny grievance. 'Cause this is the Internet and all, and that's what we do here. But rest assured, it's just a tiny little thing. Hardly worthy of note. But I thought I should point it out anyhow.

The BOAC Fallacy

An article about why virtual worlds died reminded me of a pet theory, by virtue of not mentioning it as one of the possibilities. I call it the BOAC Fallacy, which stands for "... but on a computer!"

Yes, complete with the ellipses and italics. There's a recurring pattern I've seen in technology prognostication best shown by example.

I surrender. Many years ago, I set myself a simple task. I would create a blog layout for myself, and it would have some sort of color in it. It would not simply be a white background. After all, the best way to learn something is to force yourself to do it, right? Unfortunately, I failed. The resulting design could be charitably described as "quirky" and accurately described as "