Business, Economics, and Politics
In the late 1950s, the U.S. Army investigated a flying saucer as an airborne replacement
for the ubiquitous Jeep. This is the story of the Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar, one of the
most curious projects of the “anything goes” era of aviation.
The history of
Autodesk and AutoCAD told through contemporary documents,
edited and annotated by Autodesk founder John Walker.
You can read this 900 page book
on-line on the World-Wide Web, or download a
copy to read or print off-line in either
or Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
New: Fifth edition (2017) updates to modern Web standards,
typography, and navigation.
This gallery contains a collection of photographs from the early days
of Autodesk, including the presentation to prospective institutional
investors in Autodesk's initial public stock offering (IPO) in 1985,
trade show exhibits in 1984 and 1985, and the first use of AutoCAD
(and perhaps of any CAD system) in underwater archaeology in 1984.
This document is a Google Maps application which shows overhead
imagery of all of the sites of Autodesk's headquarters in
California and the European Software Centre in Switzerland from
the company's founding in 1982 through the present. The images
are linked directly to the Google Maps server and can be panned
and zoomed to explore the vicinity.
Microsoft Excel database of Autodesk, Inc. stock
(NASDAQ-ADSK) from its initial public offering in 1985 through mid-1996.
Daily high, low,
and closing prices are included, along with volume.
Annotations point out significant events in the company's
history and contemporary news items. All quarterly sales and
earnings reports are noted. A
daily price chart linked to the
database is included as well as a database which
ranks Autodesk among countries of the world, considering its most
recent yearly sales as Gross Domestic Product and number of
employees as population is included. Charts of the relative strength of
Autodesk stock compared to shares of
and the Dow
Jones 30 Industrials are available, as well as a chart which
stock performance under each "administration"--chairbeing and
president--since Autodesk's initial public stock offering in 1985.
Requires Microsoft Excel 5.0 or above.
This directory contains the file
basket.zip, a PKZIP archive
which extracts into the file
basket.xls. This is a Microsoft
Excel 5.0 (or above) workbook which allows you to
compose baskets of
the major trading currencies: Swiss Franc, German Mark, British Pound,
Japanese Yen, and U.S. Dollar and evaluate their performance over the
period 1984-1994 in terms of overall gain or loss, yearly volatility,
and maximum gain and/or loss from the initial position. Results are
presented both for investors who "keep score" in US$ and Swiss Francs.
A monthly database of currency values is included.
Imagine the Web without any broken links or vanished
sites. That was the dream of Ted Nelson's
but seems utopian almost four decades later.
This document proposes a market-based solution (and business
opportunity) for making data of all kinds immortal: forever
accessible through eternally invariant URLs. Build it and they
Over the last three decades the Internet has evolved into
something unprecedented in the human experience: the first
many-to-many mass medium. It bypasses and undermines
the centralisation and concentration of information flow and
empowers individual freedom of expression at the expense of
government control and mass media gatekeepers. Power,
especially concentrated power, is rarely relinquished
willingly. Over the next decade, a collection of technologies
in various states of development and deployment, promoted as
solutions to clamant problems of the present-day Internet, pose
the risk of "putting the Internet genie back in the bottle".
The Digital Imprimatur explores these
technologies, describes how they can, and are, being promoted
and adopted, and assesses the perils they pose to liberty and
the Internet as we know it. Whether the Internet continues to
empower and enrich the lives of an ever-growing global audience
or becomes something very different indeed is likely to be
decided in the next decade; The Digital Imprimatur
sounds a cautionary note of what the future may hold if the
present course is maintained.
Between January 25th and February 13th, 2004, Fourmilab was
subjected to an intensive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
attack which pounded the site with around 400,000 hits per day
to the home page emanating from more than 16,000 different IP
addresses of sites worldwide. This may have been a
precursor or test version of the Mydoom worm prior to its mass
deployment. Here is the original incident report, updated
daily with forensic analysis as the attack burst, grew, and
eventually tailed off. It's back! On February 18th, 2004,
the attack resumed. Follow its progress in daily updates
(usually posted within an hour or so after 00:00 UTC) to the
Most libertarians and conservatives have great respect for the rule
of law and civil discourse. They're inclined to assume their
opponents are well-intentioned
adversaries with a different vision of how to better the general welfare.
This is an error: they are not “liberals” or “progressives”,
but rather enemies of liberty and progress. This document explores why
champions of liberty must defeat them and how that might be accomplished.
Impress your friends! Persuade the undecided! Meet new and
interesting people! Get your car shot up by right-wing
yahoos! Be smeared on the front page of The Wall Street
Journal! Yes, it's the one, the only, the original
“Evil Empires: One down, one to go…” bumper sticker, in both
PostScript and PNG image formats in a variety of resolutions.
Don't you just hate it when you're about to close a
clandestine munitions deal and your partner raises a
question about the relative applicability of Rules of
Acquisition 35 and 177? You'd look like a lobeless altruist
if you had to stop and ask whether Rule 35 is “Peace is good for
business” or “War is good for business”! Install this Memo
Pad document containing a compendium of the Rules of
Acquisition on your Palm OS® handheld and
profit from the distilled wisdom of generations of Ferengi
in the palm of your hand. Since this reference is provided
as a Memo Pad archive, you can read it using the built in
PalmOS Memo Pad application; there's no need to install a
document reader application, and you can modify the document
using the Memo Pad editing functions.
Nerds weren't held in the highest esteem in the tempestuous times
of the late sixties, but if you had access to a mainframe
computer with a fast line printer, a great way to make new
friends and meet radical chicks was
cranking out banners for the cause du jour on the
graveyard shift when the Man wasn't looking. The FIST
program traces its lineage directly back to a program I punched
onto Hollerith cards
for a UNIVAC 1108
in September 1969. It prints banners with a clenched
fist and block-letter slogan of your choice. Various
silly options let you choose a right- or left-handed fist
according to your political persuasion and to adjust the
size of the fist commensurate with the vehemence of your convictions
and your printer's paper size. In the spirit of Donald E.
Knuth's most excellent mise à jour of the
game, this version is presented as a
language; C source code and a ready to run Win32 executable are included.
Gnome-o-grams are occasional postings from
which focus on finance and investing from a preservation of capital
perspective. These articles discuss both contemporary events and
provide generally applicable background information. They are
If there is a pyramid of badassery when it comes to guns, the GAU-8 Avenger, carried
by the A-10 Thunderbolt II (“Warthog”) close air support aircraft, is
near the pinnacle. Explore the details of this bad boy.
Legacy “mainstream” media outlets engage in numerous forms
of bias to advance their assorted agendas. One of the most subtle is
the selective use of “trigger words” which, due to
indoctrination and repetition, evoke an emotional response in the
audience which short-cuts rational judgement. Users of the
browser can install these two
user scripts to highlight trigger words in documents they read on the
Web, and automatically translate politically correct and slanted
bafflegab to plain talk.
Meat edition eschews neutrality in favour of mockery of legacy
Spam, scams, viruses, worms, pop-ups, exploits, pirated warez, music,
and movies; identity theft, drug peddlers, gross-out pornography,
terrorist images, and subhuman discourse: is the Internet becoming a
bad neighbourhood--a slum? I used to live in a slum, and I moved
out. Will present-day Internet users end up doing the same?
Doesn't it seem like the world is getting dumber with
every passing year? Well, maybe it is! Combining
published data for the mean IQ of countries with historical
and forecast population figures permits estimating the
mean IQ for the entire world's population. Standing at 91.6 in
1950, global mean IQ is presently around 89 and can be expected
to fall to about 86.3 by the year 2050. This document presents
the analysis, provides access to the source data for your own
investigation, and discusses the many uncertainties in any
study of this kind.
Is Islam compatible with political freedom? This document combines
data from the Pew Research Center and Freedom House to investigate
how empirical evidence addresses this question.
Western politicians say, “We're not at war with Islam.”
But Islam is more than a just a religion. Its scriptures specify a
political system, civil and criminal law, economics and trade, laws of
war, and other matters which other major religions leave to civil
authority, and some of these policy prescriptions conflict with
Western values. This essay explores whether the West should treat
these aspects of Islam as an ideology, like communism, fundamentally
incompatible with its values, and how best to confront it.
Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921) was a revolutionary before leaving his
native Russia, but it was in the Jura mountains of western
Switzerland, present-day home to Fourmilab, that he developed his
philosophy of anarchism. In his
Memoirs, he wrote,
“…when I came away from the mountains after a week's
stay with the watchmakers, my views upon socialism were settled. I
was an anarchist.”
His 1887 pamphlet,
Communism, is one of the clearest expositions of
Kropotkin's view that anarchism cannot seek solely to do away
with government, but must also abolish property and privilege.
Morality, published in 1897, he treats
morality as a characteristic of all living beings and argues that
anarchism, oft condemned as immoral, is in fact entirely consistent
with this innate morality.
In an op-ed (never published) from July 1988 I ask whether the
government of the United States is losing its legitimacy: whether
citizens continue to believe it has the “consent of the
Here is Wisdom. One of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 19th
century, P.T. Barnum, presents his 20 "Golden Rules for Making
Money" in this pithy, succinct, and witty document penned in
1880. A Web edition and plain ASCII electronic text are
available, both in the public domain.
I hereby predict that, in retrospect, early 1997 will be seen as the
high point in Microsoft's domination of the personal computer software
industry. Will they be blown away by Java, Oracle, or IBM? No...I
think not; the situation is more complicated that that, yet has
clear precedents in the mainframe and minicomputer eras.
Anti-personnel land mines are the predominant terror weapon of our
time. With more than 100 million in the ground in more than 40
countries, they have killed and maimed more people in the last 50
years than nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles combined. Can we
deploy high technology in the form of advanced sensors and
semi-autonomous robots to close the gap between the cost to lay a mine
(about US$3) and the cost to remove it (about US$1000) and thereby rid the
world of this plague? This directory contains a
collection of documents
describing the land mine problem and clearance technologies.
No sooner do you get rid of one Evil
Empire than another begins to sprout--in Brussels! If
you're lucky enough to be outside (or even encircled by) the
European Union, thank your lucky stars and display this symbol
to ward off those twelve most unlucky stars from climbing your
flagpole. If you're inside, say "enough is enough" with this
No EU! symbol, available as image files in assorted
resolutions, scalable PostScript, or emblazoned upon a
bewildering variety of merchandise.
Lysander Spooner's No Treason: The
Constitution of No Authority.
Written in 1870 and
published by the author, No Treason remains one of the
greatest flat-out anarcho-libertarian rants ever penned.
In the late 1950s and early '60s Project Pluto aimed at developing a nuclear powered
cruise missile which could fly three times the speed of sound at low altitude with
unlimited range and deliver nuclear devastation to multiple targets with pinpoint accuracy. It
was one of the most bizarre concepts of the age of unlimited nuclear optimism, and got
as far as ground testing a full scale flight weight propulsion system.
Programs Are Programs: How to Make Money In the Software
Business discusses the rapid evolution in the
distribution channels for software over the short history
of the personal computer industry and suggests that the
next few years may see software moving from a sales
oriented model to a subscription model, much like cable
television and perhaps technologically linked. This paper
is strongly related to the
paper and is
best read in conjunction with it. This document is
included in The
A fable which poses the question, "If a well-managed
commercial software project attempts to maximise total
return over the product life-cycle, what then should
a free software project seek to optimise?"
The advent of global data networks has largely removed the editorial
filtering which both restricted access to large audiences but also
vetted the quality of text exposed to a broad audience. Here is a
technique I've found effective when reading unedited text, whether in
newsgroups, discussion boards, or Web log comments, which reduces the
time wasted chewing through incoherent text and the depressing
devaluation of the cognitive skills of one's contemporaries which
results from an overdose of contributions to open fora. A
modest technological fix, the "Banish Button", is proposed to raise the
intellectual level of the text readers encounter in unedited venues.
Unicard: Ubiquitous Computation, Global Connectivity, and
the End of Privacy discusses how a variety of
technological trends are converging to make possible a
world in which privacy no longer exists. It argues that
in most cases privacy is not taken away from individuals
by governments and corporations, but is rather willingly
relinquished in exchange for convenience and/or perceived
security, and that the apparent benefits of these new
technologies will be so compelling that resisting their
adoption, or demanding that they are implemented in an
inherently secure manner, will be a difficult challenge.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The entire U.S.
Internal Revenue Code
(26 USC), and Immigration and
Nationality Act (8 USC) compiled into Web documents.
Cross-references within sections are hyperlinked so they can be
followed by clicking on them. You can search the full text
for occurrences of words and phrases and view matching sections.
New: 2005 release brings both titles up to date with
all changes enacted through January 19th, 2004, corresponding
to Supplement III of the 2000 edition of the U.S. Code.
Nothing so instantly identifies the scribblings of intellectual
knuckle-walkers as riotously funny misuse of the apostrophe. This
humble punctuation mark has been the downfall not only of innumerable
greengrocers, but also self-possessed self-published authors and
pompous pundits. This document presents five easily-remembered rules
which will keep you from tripping over the apostrophe in your own
writing, and proclaims International Write Like a Moron
Day to commemorate those who can't be bothered with such
- Big Picture
- Trends and Indicators
- Black Swan Events
- Political Economy
- Book Reviews
- Recommended Articles at Other Web Sites