I recently took the Ph.D. general examination. The topic was turbulent transport processes in the high-wind regime of the marine atmospheric boundary layer. After the exam, my advisor alerted me to a recent study (Adams et al. 2009) that simulated a breaking wave using a two-phase calculation. Without delving into the boring scientific details, such studies hold tremendous promise for improving understanding of the air-sea interface. The practical implications are many, including better forecasts of hurricane intensity.  The results (small videolarge video) are incredible and left me awestruck.


Apple today announced pre-orders of its iPhone 4S have topped one million in a single day, surpassing the previous single day pre-order record of 600,000 held by iPhone 4.

Not bad for a big fat, tremendous letdown of a device.

Qwikster Qwikly Killed

· ·

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings:

“Consumers value the simplicity Netflix has always offered and we respect that. There is a difference between moving quickly – which Netflix has done very well for years – and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case.”

This comes less than one month after Netflix announced that its popular DVD-by-mail service would split to become its own company. They even posted an awkward video to explain the changes.

I would beg to differ with Reed Hastings. Netflix consumers value a company that knows what the hell it is doing, and they clearly don’t respect that.

Can The Blackberry Recover?

· ·

Horace Dediu

But RIM shows an alarming deterioration. The company has lost 4.3 million users in the last year and is now at about the same number of users it had in late 2009. This is in a market that has more than doubled.

It certainly doesn’t look good.

A Beautiful Piece of Wood.


Yesterday, Steve Jobs passed away.

It was never any particular device that drew me to Apple. It was the guiding principles of the company, of Steve Jobs: the attention to detail, perfection through simplicity, and the accountability to customers. I felt the love, dedication, care, and thought within each product. While I often fail, these principles guide my design process.

I thought I would share a Steve Jobs quote from a 1985 Playboy interview.

‎”When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

While I am sad to hear of Steve’s passing, I am still alive. I am excited for the future. I am excited for what I have yet to create. Those creations may not change the world and you may never see them. They will, however, be built with a beautiful piece of wood.

Thanks for the hammer and nails, Steve.

SEO for Non-dicks

· ·

Matt Legend Gemmell:

Stop wilfully conflating optimisation with being a slimy liar. Stop being a dick on the internet. Write something interesting, and keep doing it for months and years. SEO will then follow naturally.

Great commentary. Some commenters make his point for him by defending the SEO tactics via the ever popular but everyone is doing it argument.

John Paczkowski, reporting for AllThingsD:

Because it’s tough to take the company’s claims of commitment to innovation and distinctive design seriously when it really does seem to have a penchant for … er … referencing the work of others.

It’s like Samsung doesn’t even pretend anymore.

Staking a Life

· ·

Christopher Hitchens, published in Lapham’s Quarterly:

To be in the company of Iran and China and Sudan as a leader among states conducting execution—and to have pioneered the medicalized or euthanized form of it that is now added to the panoply of gassing, hanging, shooting, and electrocution and known as “lethal injection”—is to have invited the question why. Why is the United States so wedded to the infliction of the death penalty?

An interesting historical perspective on capital punishment and its place in society today. (via: kottke.org)

Scientists Are Seldom Baffled, Actually

· ·

Dr. Robin Tanamachi:

Readers evidently like to imagine that the relentless brainiacs they knew in high school, whose hands eagerly shot up to correctly answer every question the science teacher asked, and whose test scores they could never hope to exceed, are now utterly flummoxed by some data point that they can’t immediately explain.

A very coherent description of the disconnect between media and science.

Katie Moisse, reporting for ABC News:

“If you can decode movies people saw, you might be able to decode things in the brain that are movie-like but have no real-world analog, like dreams,” Gallant said.

The video is haunting.