July 10, 2012
Sometimes the truth comes out. Not often, when you’re talking about media. It’s here, though, short but not sweet. A friend sent this to me, and I hope you’ll send it on however you can. Those of us who love this country are sick at what it has become, and, as the guy in this short clip says, the first step to fixing something is to tell the truth about what’s broken.
September 25, 2011
The wild possibilities of printing food
By Lakshmi Sandhana
Typically, 3-D printers are discussed in light of the efficiencies they bring to industrial design and fabrication. They will soon help chefs create foods that can’t be made by hand if Cornell Creative Machines Lab, or their peers in the industry, can make them accessible.
The newest 3-D food printer, now being honed at CCML, can produce: tiny space shuttle-shaped scallop nuggets (image above); and cakes or cookies that, when you slice into them, reveal a special message buried within, like a wedding date, initials (image below) or a corporate logo. They can also make a solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard, or a hamburger substitute that’s made from vegan or raw foods.
September 8, 2011
A friend sent me to this website: http://www.noosphereforum.org/
It took a while for me to get beyond the artwork. Unfortunately their presentation is in reversed type (white over a background) so I took this text from this page http://www.noosphereforum.org/drupal/?q=node/6 and reformatted it so I could read it. Now, I haven’t yet read the other pages, but this seems to me an important initiative. The analysis feels real. It ties in with what I have felt in my bones for most of my lifetime: We are in a once-in-a-species-lifetime transition and it’s a good and hopeful thing!
Arguing about whether climate change is manmade or natural seems to me somewhat beside the point. (It’s clear enough that it’s happening, and, more to the point for me personally, I have “known” since the 1970s that we would live long enough to see Antarctica, or a large part of it, come out from under the ice. That tells me that it isn’t some catastrophic anomaly, but part of a larger picture that I, and of course countless others unknown to me, sensed decades ago.) How much of it is being caused or aggravated by human activities is a matter of debate. The fact that people on all sides of the issue are using it to advance their own agendas is also beside the point. If people could find a way to make hay out of the fact that the sun shines and then, suspiciously enough, doesn’t shine, every 24 hours, they would. The facts the scientists or researchers on one side of an issue are cooking the books doesn’t mean (a) that those on the other side aren’t doing it too, or (b) that the book-cookers may not be correct regardless. (After all, even if cheating is all-pervasive, somebody still has to be more right than others.) Ad hominem arguments are irrelevant, though I notice that the dirty bastards on the other side of the issue use them all the time.
(If that last sentence didn’t make you smile, re-read it. If, re-reading it, you take it as a statement of fact, you’ve gotten too deeply enmeshed in your ideology.)
The importance of addressing the issue as part of the larger noosphere issue is that things seen in context are less likely to be seen distorted; less likely to giver rise to accusation and counter-accusation, and far more likely to lead us off into new, even exciting, mental vistas.
This is another case of my commentary being as long as the piece I’m passing on! Okay, here it is.
August 15, 2011
My good friend Rich Spees alerted me to this archived article from Widred magazine. Read it and weep. Or, read it, anyway.
June 25, 2011
This article — long article! — is in the Atlantic Monthly. It isn’t so much about programming (writing code) as it is about the way we learn, and the way that we could be taught to learn. Turns out, it’s simple enough, conceptually. Naturally, that isn’t the way it’s taught….
How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code
JUN 3 2011, 10:19 AM ET
JAMES SOMERS – James Somers is the chief technology officer of BookTour.com. He blogs at jsomers.net/blog.
May 27, 2011
I’ll tell you, the combination of high-speed internet, and TED talks (http://www.ted.com/), and especially Hans Rosling, is a time-absorber of major proportions. Not a time-waster, at all, because it’s highly educational (and entertaining) — but it’s so addictive!
Then there is Rosling’s own site, www.gapminder.org. Try these.
August 22, 2010
In my short 20-year career in publishing, I have seen the evolution of the concept of copyright, and I don’t much like what is happening. Instead of being centered on protecting the author’s right to his own creation, it is becoming a profit-center for the publishers, who routinely charge exorbitant fees for simple fair-use quotations within another person’s work. The predictable effect is to lessen the use of quotations, and the longer term effect is going to be erosion of support for copyright as a concept.
We can hardly think of publishing without copyright, but Bucky Fuller reminded us that it originated as a royal grant of monopoly power. I — speaking as author and publisher — think we may have reached the point at which copyright is more harmful than helpful. Maybe it is time for us to invent a new form of protection of an author’s rights. Or maybe going bare would be no more harmful than the present system.
This article is from the German periodical Der Spiegel, via SchwartzReport.
FRANK THADEUSZ – Der Spiegel (Germany)
Did Germany experience rapid industrial expansion in the 19th century due to an absence of copyright law? A German historian argues that the massive proliferation of books, and thus knowledge, laid the foundation for the country’s industrial might.