Link Dump and Quick Hits

Just a few links that have caught my interest lately.
  • Denise Jones, Super Booker by John Scalzi: The idea of superheroes and the legal system has been done before, from Watchmen to The Incredibles, but Scalzi takes it a step further here in this short story. It basically takes the form of an interview, and is quite funny:
    Q: So you’re saying that if Chicago were attacked by a sewer monster or something, the mayor would have to go through you to get help from ArachnoLad.
    A: No, Chicago keeps ArachnoLad on a retainer. The Evening Stalker, too. Most large cities have one or two super beings under contract.
    Heh. Also amusing is the story behind the story, which apparently took 13 minutes from completion to publication. Speaking of Scalzi, I'll probably be writing some reviews of his novels at some point in the near future, including his latest, Zoe's Tale (which I just finished and liked, though perhaps not as much as his other novels).
  • They're Made Out of Meat by Terry Bisson: Another short story. It's been floating around the web for a long time, but it's brilliant, so if you haven't read it, check it out.
  • Kids: Neptunus Lex has a conversation with one of his daughter's friends. The highpoint is when they talk about Top Gun. Heh.
  • Like everyone else, I've been messing around with Google's new browser Chrome. It's nice and everything, but I'm not sure it will catch on, and I don't know if Google even really cares if it does. They built the browser on top of Webkit (which is the same open source rendering engine that powers Safari, which is itself based off of the KHTML engine that powers Konqueror), and their biggest development push seems to be with their Javascript interpreter (named V8). Indeed, after playing around on some Ajax heavy sites, it does appear to make web applications run a lot faster. I suspect Google just got sick of folks saying that Gmail was slow or that Google Apps are buggy, so they wanted to drive other browsers to improve their Javascript capabilities. So by creating a new browser, Google is hoping to spark a new competition based around Javascript interpreters. Or, since Chrome is open source, why not just incorporate their JS code into other browsers (I'm sure it's not that easy, but still)? Oh, and sure, Chrome has lots of other dohickeys that are neat - the multiprocessing thing is cool, as is incognito and a bunch of other features. But none of those things is really unique or gives Chrome the leg up on other browsers. To me, their biggest selling point is the fast JS interpreting. If Chrome becomes popular or if other browsers take the hint and improve their JS implementations, the end result is that things get a little easier for web app developers, who no longer have to worry about slow, unresponsive browsers and can shoot for the moon.