June 2006

EIT on a chip

From this month’s Nature (if you don’t feel like registering, try one of these):

A two-laser trick that renders opaque media transparent can be achieved in systems of tiny optical resonators — with potentially profound consequences for optical communication and information processing.

The discovery of electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) — an unusual effect that occurs when two laser beams interact within an optical material — and the use of novel techniques to fabricate ever smaller structures to control light have been recent exciting developments in optical physics. Writing in Physical Review Letters, Xu et al. neatly combine the two, demonstrating an on-chip, all-optical analogue of EIT based on the response of coupled optical microresonators. The result may open up untrodden pathways in photonics, offering prospects of smaller, more efficient devices for the manipulation and transmission of light.

(Thanks to eLMo for the link!)

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Information wanting to be free

Yet another huge loss of names and Social Security numbers:

The information was prepared by the loan company in January for use by Hummingbird. The data was encrypted and password-protected, but subsequently decrypted and stored on the now-lost hardware by the Hummingbird employee, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan said.

And this, boys and girls, is perhaps the truest meaning of “information wants to be free.” Not Free as in beer, not Free as in speech, but free as in free-flowing water streaming through even the smallest of holes in a dike.

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The case for fraud in the 2004 election

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. summarizes the huge amount of evidence of malfeasance and outright election fraud that led to Bush’s “win” in 2004, including a whopping 208 footnotes ranging from newspaper reports to court decisions to official investigation findings. The article is the result of a four-month investigation by Kennedy and Rolling Stone magazine (to echo my friend Judith, why the hell do we have to go to Rolling Stone for in-depth political reporting?).

Most of the findings will be old news to those who followed the story at the time, and it’s clearly just one side of the argument, but seeing the case laid out all in one place is still maddening. (I’m actually still reading it, because I can only read about a page at a time before getting too mad to continue.)

Update 6/3/06: As Death comments, Farhad Manjoo responds in Salon that Kennedy’s article has “numerous errors of interpretation and… deliberate omission of key bits of data.”

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