Time for a Good Russian Conspiracy Theory

Was Stalin poisoned by the KGB? According to Russian historian Edvard Radzinski, they did it to avoid World War III, which the Soviets were unprepared to win. If you believe the historian, and if you believe the testimony of one of the guards on duty that night, then it seems very likely. Apparently, Uncle Joe was not in the habit of giving his bodyguards the night off. Go figure.

Star Wars Clone Wars Cartoon Shorts

According to the official Star Wars page, Lucasfilm and the Cartoon Network are set to air 20 animated shorts taking place between the action of The Phantom Menace and the upcoming Episode III, continuing the saga of the Clone Wars. While this is a pretty cool development, many speculate that this means that the Episode III movie itself will not encompass the actual events of The Clone Wars, which would really suck. Keep an eye out for these animated shorts “in 2003-2004 between other programming.” Or check Kazaa regularly and save yourself the trouble. 😉

Columbia Video

I haven’t posted much about the NASA investigation into the loss of the Columbia, mostly because there just hasn’t been much concrete news. However, this video of the Columbia breakup seen through the gun camera of an AH-64 Apache taken by Dutch pilots training in Fort Hood, Texas shows some remarkable detail, although I’m reminded of the voyeuristic morbidity of reliving the burning reentry over and over again in the days following the tragedy. Anyway, NASA is interested in the video because it has an accurate time-coding as well as exact aircraft coordinates, along with much better resolution than most cameras. Still, I wonder whether they’ll ever figure out exactly what caused the catastrophic destruction of the shuttle…

W’s Ignoring North Korea Why?

I’ve been wondering for some time now why W has been playing down the issues of North Korean nuclear capabilities, especially considering how unstable and aggressive North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is. Granted, there has been a lot of North Korean propaganda and rhetoric, but the region is way too volatile to simply blow off. CNN reports on the latest, and perhaps scariest, entry in North Korea’s “verbal barrage,” one that just maybe W should listen to: “Victory in a nuclear conflict will be ours and the red flag of army-first politics will flutter ever more vigorously…Our victory is certain and the future ever more radiant.”

Google Buys Blogger

In a story whose implications have yet to completely play out, Dan Gillmor reports that Google has bought Pyra Labs, the company responsible for Blogger, one of the first web log publishing tools (and the one I happen to use). As the story points out, Google already catalogs web log links, so how much more synergy this creates is unclear. However, it definitely lends credibility to blogging, which was moving into the mainstream even before this development.

Update: Evan Williams, the co-founder of Pyra Labs, has a comment on this development in his blog. It doesn’t reveal much more information on possible implications yet, but he adds to the belief that this will end up being a “good thing.”

The Animatrix

As a companion to the upcoming release of The Matrix Reloaded, the first of two sequels to The Matrix, four animated shorts documenting what led the downfall of humanity and the creation of The Matrix are scheduled to be posted on the official web site. The first episode of The Animatrix, “The Second Renaissance: Part 1,” is available for viewing now; three more will follow, and apparently four more will be available on a DVD release in June. The short was well-done and captivating, definitely worth a look…