Posted by: drew | May 23, 2006

Da Vinci, Victory and Containment, the Perfect Male Face, and Nano-Technology

What do all of these things have in common?

They are all things I'm thinking about while I should be getting real work done, that's what. I haven't seen the Da Vinci Code movie and don't plan to. I read the book, and while I found Dan Brown's writing style clumsy and amateurish, the subject matter was fascinating. However, after doing my own research, I realized that Mr. Brown got so many historical facts wrong that I lost interest.

What I've heard about the movie is that, while the book is fast paced, the movie is slow and plodding. This is quite an "un-accomplishment" as the reverse is usually the case in book-to-movie transitions.

On Victory and Containment, Michael Hirsh at Newsweek writes how the Bush administration's Iraq policy has, behind closed doors, gone from one of victory to a Cold War style containment strategy.

…few people in the Bush administration will even concede they are thinking in such terms, because the president has not permitted an honest reckoning of the difficulties he faces. On Monday, Bush again appeared to sidestep the realities, calling the new “free Iraq” “a devastating defeat for the terrorists.” Back in Iraq, however, it was just another typical day: some 20 Iraqis died in bombings and drive-by shootings, with few or no arrests.

On to the perfect male face, the School of Psychiatry of St. Andrews University in Scotland released a computer generated image of a male face which combines many images rated highly by women. Interestingly, this face has an effeminate quality to it, rather than a rugged, lantern jawed macho look.

Go below to see more.

The final composite stands out by its pronounced femininity. The modern woman does not find attractive neither facial hair nor a strong chin on a man’s face. She does not seem to like any other features traditionally associated with a “real macho man.” The study coordinator Tony Little: “An opinion poll involving females who took part in the experiment shows that women associate a slightly effeminate image of a man with such traits as willingness to help, honesty, an emotional temper and love for children. The clearly apparent masculine characteristics of appearance give the modern woman a fright these days, they seem to attract her less than in the past. At the same time, a woman would also like to see some typically male features in her chosen one because a woman still wants a man who would dominate her to some extent.”

And finally, an indication that we will in fact be living in the world of William Gibson in the future, Discovery reports that Robert A. Freitas, Jr., a senior research fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing in Palo Alto, Calif, is working on a sub-dermal, nanobot driven touchscreen display that uses glucose and oxygen for energy.



  1. Opus Dei has accused Sony of breaching its own code of conduct in putting out the Da Vinci Code. Read more about it at:

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