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Even a boomer is impatient with the boomers

Posted by on 09 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Tech

From an interview with Clay Shirky in CJR:

CS: I mean, really, I’m just so impatient with the argument that the world should be slowed down to help people who aren’t smart enough to understand what’s going on. It’s in part because I grew up in a generation that benefited enormously from not doing that. Right? The baby boomers, when we were young, we had zero, zero patience for the idea that people who are in their fifties in the ’70s and ’80s should somehow be shielded from cultural changes because somehow the stuff that we were doing was upsetting them. So, now it’s our turn and we ought to just suck it up.

Thoughts for thinking…

Posted by on 05 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Stuff, Tech

Engrossing piece from below (linked in aldaily, where I found it), with a large number of thinkers answering the question “What will change everything?”  Interesting for the variety of perspectives as much as the content of some of the answers.  Guaranteed to make your brain get bigger, or at least provide some perspective on the world, for good or bad…

Upgrade time

Posted by on 16 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Tech

Oddness may ensue for the next ten minutes or so. Go make some tea.

edit — all done! Writers, you’ll notice the back end looks different. Look for the New Post button in the top menu bar.

Upgrade time

Posted by on 06 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Tech

Things may be a little strange for the next few minutes. Blog-wise, I mean. I’m sure things are strange in other ways too but I’m not taking responsibility for strangeness beyond the blog.

edit — all done!

In case you were in doubt

Posted by on 10 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Current Events, Humour, Tech

You can check here:

Better to buy your Prozac from Finland

Posted by on 04 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Tech

McAfee looked (PDF) at which top-level Internet domains (TLDs) are most likely to contain sites that are “dangerous” in one way or another — viruses, fraud, etc.

To anyone who administers email spam filters or web servers, it will come as no surprise that .hk (Hong Kong), .cn (China), .info, .ro (Romania) and .ru (Russia) TLDs were the worst offenders; .gov, .fi (Finland) and .no (Norway) the least dangerous*. Canada’s .ca came in at a respectable 0.64%; .us was in the top 20 with 2.09%, about on par with Iran, Spain and Tonga.

But mostly I am posting about this to share this quote:

“My advice about surfing behavior is that if you’re really desperate for cheap Prozac and the pharmacy ends in ‘.cn,’ don’t do it. Just don’t do it,” Keats said. “Find another place to get your Prozac.”

*: all the news coverage I’ve seen says the least dangerous country code TLDs are jp (Japan) and .au (Australia), but that’s careless reporting — they are the least dangerous in the “Asia” table, but not overall.

That was then

Posted by on 21 May 2008 | Tagged as: Tech

Upgrade time!

Posted by on 25 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Tech

Bloggity oddness may occur for the next twenty minutes or so. I’ll post again when it’s all over.

Edit: All done. Those of you who write will notice some difference in the back end when you log in. Note particularly that the categories are now BELOW the post box, not beside it.

A sign of things to come?

Posted by on 19 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Current Events, Tech

From the Grauniad:

The European commission is backing away from its insistence on imposing a compulsory 10% quota of biofuels in all petrol and diesel by 2020, a central plank of its programme to lead the world in combating climate change.Amid a worsening global food crisis exacerbated, say experts and critics, by the race to divert food or feed crops into biomass for the manufacture of vehicle fuel, and inundated by a flood of expert advice criticising the shift to renewable fuel, the commission appears to be getting cold feet about its biofuels target.

…”This is all very sensitive and fast-moving,” said a third commission official. “There is now a lot of new evidence on biofuels and the commission has become a prisoner of this process.”

The target is being strongly criticised by the commission’s own scientific experts and environmental advisers to the EU.

“The policy may have negative impacts on soil, water, and biodiversity,” said Professor Laszlo Somlyody, who led a team of climate scientists analysing the policy for the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency, which advises the EU. “This can lead to serious problems,” he told the Guardian.

By way of contrast, Tyler Hamilton used his blog a while back to defend the concept of biofuels in general, which he distinguished from biofuels whose production competes with the food supply:

Yes, we’re seeing the hunt for palm oil sources devastating the rainforests of Indonesian. Bad. Bad. Bad. Makes for a great headline, eh? Does this suggest biofuels per se are bad or that we need to pay greater attention to how and where we get them? Is it not the government of Indonesia that’s responsible for strictly regulating this domestic market? It’s like saying we shouldn’t use solar power because factories in China are using child labour. Solar isn’t the problem — it’s the factory owners.

….A New York Times editorial at least sees the potential for biofuels, pointing out that it can be done if done responsibly.The same reasoning goes for the energy balance of biofuels. We’ve seen report after report saying that producing ethanol from corn takes more energy than what you get out of it, and that changing lands to biofuel crops releases carbon into the air. This might be the case in some circumstances, but there are some huge assumptions here about irrigation (water use), fertilizer use, transportation, and they are often analyzed out of context — that is, not compared apples-to-apples to the way we go about exploring, producing, refinining and transporting oil. Again, regulation can deal with these issues.

You think there isn’t an army of scientists out there not trying to catalogue the best raw materials for producing biofuels, the best enzymes and bacteria for breaking them down, the best methods of transporting them, ways of growing on depleted lands, etc…? These are early days in the middle of a dramatic transition, and there are going to be some mistakes — and much trial and error along the way. To suggest this isn’t going to happen, and never happened in the early days of oil and coal, is simply naive.

I can smell his keyboard burning, but he does have a point.

Update: Speaking of alternative energy, check out the rotating airships.

The escalators are getting restless. And hungry.

Posted by on 13 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: Tech

And they like their meat well-aged —

Rate Of Escalator Injuries To Older Adults Has Doubled

“What really surprised us was the reckless behavior exhibited by some older adults on escalators,” said Dr. Steele, associate professor of epidemiology in the IU School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health. “One emergency department reported a fall by an escalator rider who attempted to squeeze past an individual in a wheelchair and the individual’s attendant who were also on the escalator. Obviously, the wheelchair should not have been on the moving stairs. And of course the injured individual should not have attempted to beat them down the stairs.”

But oh no! The study authors advocate standing still on escalators, a practice which all right-thinking people abhor:

“Older adults, especially those with mobility, balance or vision problems, should use caution while riding an escalator and especially when stepping on or off. They should not try to walk up or down a moving escalator, carry large objects, or wear loose shoes or clothing while riding since these appear to be associated with an increased risk of falling,” said Dr. O’Neil, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine.

More sensibly, they also recommend the use of elevators if one is mobility- or vision-limited.

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