Intelligent Life and Bright Paper

The Economist — which may be the most valuable and interesting magazine on the planet — is about to launch a new magazine called Intelligent Life.

I am such a fan of The Economist that I will be pleased to be proved wrong, but the announcement gives me a sinking feeling. There is surely some hubris in launching a magazine with this title. The web site gives nothing a way (that is not a good sign — the web site for a magazine which is going to be launched in less than a month should give a lot away).

The current edition of the parent magazine has a fascinating piece on how a cellulose, paper-like, substance can store electricity as a capacitor and as a battery. If you need to know more, I refer you to Professor Ajayan’s web page. He has done the research. Who knows, in a few years time we may be reading newspapers and books on a paperlike substance, like a large pocket handkerchief, which holds its own electricity and navigates us to any web page. By then the web will be a superset of all printed literature.

Since the alarms of last week, Skype has returned in a reliable form. In fact, it seems to be a lot clearer. No background muzziness. Have we been palmed off with a phony explanation. Were Skype surreptitiously improving their network software whilst appearing to heal a bug?…… I am also relieved to hear that its not Microsoft’s fault. Though the first Skype explanation did sound a little bit as though it was…. (“those dunderheads in Redmond with their routine patches” did appear to be the subtext).

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