Dancing with the Scientists

During this period of hiatus for the world’s finest reality competition, please enjoy the Dancing Scientists:

Six weeks ago, the Gonzo Scientist challenged researchers around the world to interpret their Ph.D. research in dance form, film the dance, and share it with the world on YouTube (Science, 10 October, p. 186). By the 11 p.m. deadline this past Sunday, 36 dances–including solo ballet and circus spectacle–had been submitted online. A panel of nine judges–the three winners of the first “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest, three scientists from Harvard University, and three artistic directors of the dance company Pilobolus–scored the dances on their ability to bridge the art and science worlds. Today, Science announces the winners of the 2009 AAAS Science Dance Contest in four categories: Graduate Students, Postdocs, Professors, and Popular Choice

H/T: NewTeeVee.

Google is Dead

They don’t know it yet, of course. I’ve just checked the new alternative to Google, Cuil (pronounced “cool”) and found it amazingly accurate. They show me as the number 1 Richard Bennett and the number 1 Bennett. Very sweet, even though I’m only the number 12 Richard; that gives me something to strive for.

UPDATE: Esteemed BITS blogger Saul Hansell interviewed Cuil president Anna Patterson on her “36 hours of fame” and got an explanation of the site’s first day troubles: “We were overwhelmed with traffic that was not the standard pattern,” Ms. Paterson said. “People were looking for their names a lot.”


Attention Conan O’Brien

Linux inventor Linus Torvalds has a new skit for you:

“I think the OpenBSD crowd is a bunch of masturbating monkeys, in that they make such a big deal about concentrating on security to the point where they pretty much admit that nothing else matters to them. To me, security is important. But it’s no less important than everything else that is also important!” Torvalds concluded.

Torvalds’ comments drew various reactions from the OpenBSD developer community. In an e-mail exchange with ZDNet.co.uk, developer Ken Westerback wrote that an interest in security should lead to fixing all bugs.

“As far as I am concerned OpenBSD is the project with the most demonstrated interest in fixing all bugs found, no matter how trivial, and to systematically examine all source code for instances of bugs encountered,” wrote Westerback. “I believe that this is the bedrock principle of pursuing security–software that ‘just works’ rather than software with Rube Goldberg constructs of knobs and security theater scenery.”

Granted, some will say that Linus’ monkey is derivative of Conan’s bear, but it’s GPL’ed and that makes all the difference in the world.