Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams Detailed and thoughtful exploration of clockwork and automata as a phenomenon in the 17th Century and their development into machines that could imitate human activity - eventually leading to the famous Mechanical Turk (eventually exposed as fake) and the truly astounding "Silver Swan" built by John Joseph Merlin. (Definitely not a fake) [more inside]
The Hacker Shelf is nice crowd-sourced guide to (legally) free books on various computational and mathematical subjects. The topics page gives you an idea of the breadth of material available.
R is quickly becoming the programming language for data analysis and statistics. R (an implementation of S) is free, open-source, and has hundreds of packages available. You can use it on the command-line, through a GUI, or in your favorite text editor. Use it with Python, Perl, or Java. Sweave R code into LaTeX documents for reproducible research. [more inside]
“I wanted to try to capture the intelligence of the design, not just the outcome of the design.” “In 1977, [Donald] Knuth halted research on his books for what he expected to be a one-year hiatus. Instead, it took 10. Accompanied by [his wife] Jill, Knuth took design classes from Stanford art professor Matthew Kahn. Knuth, trying to train his programmer’s brain to think like an artist’s, wanted to create a program [TeX] that would understand why each stroke in a typeface would be pleasing to the eye.”—from a profile of Knuth in the Stanford Magazine (May '06). Salon calls him “computing’s philosopher king” (Sep '99). NPR’s Morning Edition interviews Knuth as “the founding artist of computer science” (Mar '05). Perhaps a MeFite somewhere has one of these? (Previously)
Adobe has won 2.8 million from Macromedia for "patent infringements." Apparently Macromedia may be forced to pull Flash MX from their product line. As an avid Flash-developer I am personally affected. Is there something that we can do about this?