Amazon books go searchable

mentions, as just about everyone has heard, that Amazon has introduced a feature to allow you to do full-text searches on the books they sell.
Sure, its “only” 120,000 of their books, but still, this is a great leap forward, as long as the sticky issues of legality and copyright an be hashed out. I don’t see myself the danger–it would be far easier to photocopy or scan a book, than to try and get significant portions of the text via this system of Amazon’s.
And the search engine needs some work, but this is one of those small milestones of the digital age.
It’s odd that, for example, different books in a series are and aren’t in this database. (The Kushiel series, for example). It’s too bad that the GBOA wasn’t made searchable, or else this would be superlative for the Amber community.
On the other hand, one can search Carl Sagan’s COSMOS and find that, in that book at least, he does NOT use his famous phrase “billions and billions”

The mixed bag of Transportation Technological Progress

As Crooked Timber reports, today is the last flight of the Concorde.
So sad.
I find it amazingly ironic that, when I was born, we were both sending Men to the Moon and flying paying passengers between Europe and America at supersonic speeds. As of tomorrow, we can and will do neither.
I had a conversation with Scott a couple of weeks ago about RAMjets and SCRAMjets, SSTOs used for antipodal flights, and other such possible supersonic transports.
Do we need such beasts, with teleconferencing, the Internet, and other means of communication? Does someone really need to fly at supersonic speeds for anything more than just a whim? (And of course, do we need a manned presence on the Moon)?
In any event, speaking of the irony and the mixed bag of progress in transportation, I daresay that, during rush hour, it likely takes much longer today than 20 years ago to go from Los Angeles to San Diego, or Minneapolis to Duluth, or New York to Philadelphia, thanks to the rise in traffic.

“Jesus” actor struck by lightning

You’ve no doubt seen this elsewhere, but Jim Caviezel, slated to play Jesus in the controversial new movie about the Passion that Mel Gibson is producing, managed to be hit by lightning, along with the film’s assistant director.
He, though, had been struck already.
I don’t get the casting, though. I like Caviezel, and he might actually suit for one or two of my RPG characters (especially Marcus)…but Jesus?
Sure, I know the actor is more important than the appearance…but to give you another example, would you expect Sean Connery to play Iago? Or Ice-T to play Charles Foster Kane?
Then again, as much as I like (and have a thing for) Monica Belucci, I don’t think she’s right for Mary Magdalene, either. Now Milli Avital (sp?), the actress who played the love interest in the movie version of Stargate…now SHE has the look.