Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raph’s Website Embed virtual worlds anywhere

Raph’s Website Embed virtual worlds anywhere: "We’ve released a feature that I personally think is highly significant for both Metaplace and for virtual worlds in general. As of now, you can embed a virtual world on pretty much any webpage, just like any other widget."

I had the craziest thought, or may just a little bit crazier then normal. While reading this I remembered one of my sister's in law is currently addicted to FarmTown, but that sounds so much like work I am not sure why anyone would do it for fun.

Then I remembered the there are lots of other of these kinds of games that people are making the same complaints about.

Then 1984 and Brave New World popped up into the mix as well.

So are we actually playing out these warnings? It sure looks like it though they missed on some of the minor specifics.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The quality of abundance

It looks like the Toaster project is done and not everyone likes it which is kind of sad to think that they don't get the fact that modern life is only possible by the interactions of millions of people.
This is not the first time something like this was attempted either, Wired has a good article on the 100 mile suit. Again tough but possible.

But you have to combine it with Free! reviewed by Wired.
As much as we complain about how expensive things are getting, we're surrounded by forces that are making them cheaper. Forty years ago, the principal nutritional problem in America was hunger; now it's obesity, for which we have the Green Revolution to thank. Forty years ago, charity was dominated by clothing drives for the poor. Now you can get a T-shirt for less than the price of a cup of coffee, thanks to China and global sourcing. So too for toys, gadgets, and commodities of every sort.

Doing anything the first time is very, very hard and very, very expensive. But if it is worth doing once, it might be worth doing again, and again and again. And if you focus on refining the process of doing it again making it cheaper, faster and better.

Nowadays I don't really recommend a specific computer to people, if it has a processor faster then 1GHz and 1GHz of RAM it will be fine for most uses, unless you are doing high-end photo, graphics or video work.

It comes down to when you have an abundance of something you have the freedom to get creative with it and not feel bad when it doesn't work out. Quantity has a quality of it own, If we are working with something we don't have a lot of like a steak we'll be far more careful and less tolerant of mistakes. We have given our daughter some things in plenty: Legos, construction paper, tape, crayons, Al foil and the like. She comes up with great things. Then again she occasionally does something completely wacky, like give herself a makeover using a green marker (washable markers FTW)

Driving through Kansas we saw a sign that said that 1 Kansas farmer feeds 120 people. For the longest time farmers could just feed themselves, but once crop yields improved all kinds of things got better. Leaving time for philosophy, science and the arts. Which make a different difference in our lives.

ht Marginal Revolution
ht Daring Fireball

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Obama Tells American Businesses to Drop Dead: Kevin Hassett - Bloomberg.com

Obama Tells American Businesses to Drop Dead: Kevin Hassett - Bloomberg.com: "I’ve finally figured out the Obama economic strategy. President Barack Obama and his team have been having so much fun wielding dictatorial power while rescuing “failed” firms, that they have developed a scheme to gain the same power over every business. The plan is to enact policies that are so anticompetitive that every firm needs a bailout."

I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not.

I GAVE UP FOR A DAY: 19 Unintentional Discoveries That Changed The World

I GAVE UP FOR A DAY: 19 Unintentional Discoveries That Changed The World

Very useful.

Books are the ultimate shortcut

A Manifesto for Scholarly Publishing - ChronicleReview.com: "In 1948, the University of Illinois Press published Claude Shannon's brief and profoundly influential book The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Shannon's work, which explained how words, sounds, and images could be converted into blips and sent electronically, presaged the digital revolution in communications."

Books are the ultimate shortcut. A book no matter how it is printed will contain a years or a decades or a lifetimes of someone else's learning and mistakes. And you can absorb all that in a matter of hours.

It's not about the media you print books on that is important but the ideas that are set down. Printing on paper in the traditional manner is pretty wasteful. Printing on Demand is way better about waste, but electronic books are the best with respect to waste you keep one copy on the server and you can make an infinite number of perfect copies. The only problem with ebooks is the memory hole problem: electronic copies can be altered without your knowledge, fixing spelling errors are one thing altering the past is something else.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


NYC 7TH GRADERS RECEIVE CASH REWARDS FOR HIGH GRADES ON STANDARDIZED TESTS - New York Post: "About two-thirds of the 59 high-poverty schools in the Sparks program -- which pays seventh-graders up to $500 and fourth-graders as much as $250 for their performance on a total of 10 assessments -- improved their scores since last year's state tests by margins above the citywide average."

Why is the only solution to school problems more money?

via slashdot

Monday, June 8, 2009

Unreasonable Rocket: Business ethics and cuts by a thousand lawyers.

Unreasonable Rocket: Business ethics and cuts by a thousand lawyers.: "Others have “friend companies” buy it for them etc.. My personal business ethics don’t feel comfortable with that. As a result of being honest and upfront about what I’m doing the door is closed."

It is good to see that people are still trying to get into space. But do the lawyers/politicians have to make it this hard. Too much nanny statism.

Washington's Blog

Washington's Blog

You know I thought I was pretty crazy to think that there was a chance that the planet could (slip is the word I want to use but that implies an accident, this feels more like a push) bellyflop into another dark ages.
I may be crazy but it certainly looks like some others share the delusion.

Buried Code - washingtonpost.com

Buried Code - washingtonpost.com: "The bill would give the federal government power over local building codes. It requires that by 2012 codes must require that new buildings be 30 percent more efficient than they would have been under current regulations. By 2016, that figure rises to 50 percent, with increases scheduled for years after that."

Oh, do you mind.
While I certainly agree with making more efficient housing, burying it in some leviathan energy bill is wrong. This way will practically guarantee that things will be worse instead of better.

People keep saying the ends justify the means, but it just isn't that way in the long run, the means justify the ends, mainly because you don't get to choose the unintended consequences and you have to take responsibility for them as well.

Freeman Dyson Takes On
The Climate Establishment by Michael D. Lemonick: Yale Environment 360

Freeman Dyson Takes On <br/>The Climate Establishment by Michael D. Lemonick: Yale Environment 360: "My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have. I think that’s what upsets me."

The moral equivalent of war perhaps.

Sensemaking: How intellectual pollution has crippled America's children

Sensemaking: How intellectual pollution has crippled America's children: "I don't know why it is that certain countries seem so incapable of setting rational and coherent policy. I'm sure there are dozens of reasons. But I suspect a good percentage of the problem stems from a series of specific parenting flaws largely attributable to parents raising their children with intuition acquired in the workplace."

This could be a problem as it would be extremely insidious. There is short-term gain, but long-term loss. Actually, when I put it that way it sounds a lot like drug abuse.

With the bulk of news being low-value drivel about celebrities and sports stars and what they are doing and who they are doing it to you have to wonder. Information overload is a newish term that dovetails perfectly with "Brave New World" we need to worry more about finding truth then ever before.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Power of Paper for Everyday Life - Dumb Little Man

The Power of Paper for Everyday Life - Dumb Little Man: "There are many more benefits to writing things down so if you're someone who tries to remember everything or you just simply store ideas on your computer then give it a shot. If you can adopt the habit of 'offloading' your thoughts and ideas onto paper you can constantly free up room for new insights and never be lost for inspiration."

I've been noticing lately that paper and a word processor are not the same. I wonder if it is the difference in how we use our bodies. I do a lot of typing and so my handwriting has deteriorated but I wonder if I should work on it again.

91 Things Every 18-Year-Old Should Know | DailyCognition.com

91 Things Every 18-Year-Old Should Know | DailyCognition.com

A really good list. Most people should remember more of these things.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some things are obviously broken

Current View: "The mystery is why, given that the US spends more on education than anyone else, and increasingly more every year, the results are from poor to mediocre. The essay says without exception, but that's wrong. There are some good school, but generally they are so despite the national system, not because of it."

The educational system is broken. see above.

The financial system is broken. It is too hard to tell who owns what now. Some people have stopped paying their mortgages and they can;t be foreclosed on since no one seems to have the title.

The patent system is broken. When companies made up of only lawyers go around buying up patents and then go around suing manufacturers, there is a problem.

The copyright system is broken. When the only way to access a particular work is to pirate it, there is a problem.

Government is broken. Professional politicians running car companies. Need I say more.

All of these things just need to fail so something better can replace them. But in the past 40+ years our schools have taught that the worst thing in the world is to fail, now it is coming bak to bite us.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Books of The Times - ‘Catching Fire’ by Richard Wrangham - Humans, the Cooking Apes - Review - NYTimes.com

Books of The Times - ‘Catching Fire’ by Richard Wrangham - Humans, the Cooking Apes - Review - NYTimes.com: "Meat eating “has had less impact on our bodies than cooked food,” he writes. “Even vegetarians thrive on cooked diets. We are cooks more than carnivores.”"

Good thing I like to cook :)

“Cooked food does many familiar things,” he observes. “It makes our food safer, creates rich and delicious tastes and reduces spoilage. Heating can allow us to open, cut or mash tough foods. But none of these advantages is as important as a little-appreciated aspect: cooking increases the amount of energy our bodies obtain from food.”

That is what it comes down to maximum energy extraction from the foods we eat. The more energy you have the other things you can do to save energy. Like make machines.

Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen - Lens Blog - NYTimes.com

Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen - Lens Blog - NYTimes.com: "Few images are more recognizable or more evocative. Known simply as “tank man,” it is one of the most famous photographs in recent history."

Do you have it?

Monday, June 1, 2009

American capitalism gone with a whimper - Pravda.Ru

American capitalism gone with a whimper - Pravda.Ru: "It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people."

This is Pravda!?!?

We're Doomed!