Joho the BlogJune 2009 - Page 3 of 7 - Joho the Blog

June 24, 2009

Twittering the moon landing

Nature News is twittering the Apollo 11 moon landing as a 40th-year commemoration. More here.

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June 23, 2009

Isenberg on the WSJ on Iran on Nokia

David Isenberg questions the veracity of the Wall Street Journal’s report about Iran using Nokia equipment to do deep packet inspection. Interesting on its own and also as yet another example of smart bloggers raising journalism’s bar.

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June 22, 2009

Ten small steps we can all take to help save the planet

I believe that to save our planet, there’s no need to make big changes in our lifestyles. For example, I happen to be able to fall asleep only in the passenger seat of an idling Hummer. So shoot me :) I like to think I more than make up for it with the small steps I take every day to save energy and end pollution:

I wear a solar-powered watch, saving close to 0.0006 millivolts every week.

Whenever possible, I jump into the same revolving door segment as the person ahead of me, resulting in a vast savings in the exchange of inside air for outside.

Combined shampoo-conditioner saves gallons of water every day. But don’t forget: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

House rule: When the bedroom air conditioner is on, you must take off one of your blankets. No exceptions!

When I leave my computer on overnight, I make sure that it’s showing some non-intensive page, such as the Wikipedia entry for Jerry Lewis, as opposed to the Wikipedia page about the Large Hadron Collider, whatever that is!

I cut down on carbon emissions by taking two in-breaths for every out-breath.

Now when I dream I can fly, I no longer leave contrails.

I’m not a “tree hugger.” That’s silly. Much better: I carve key lines of “The Secret” into them.

Save water! Shower with a friend! For twice as long!

I route my “gray water” directly from the kitchen out into the garden. TIP: To show your support of the environment, do what I do: I dye that dingy water a pleasant green.

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June 20, 2009

If Amazon ran the schools

In my endless ego surfing, trying to fill an emptiness for which no number of trackbacks can suffice, I came across a posting about Everything Is Miscellaneous on the TWelchConsulting blog. Towards the end, the post says:

Imagine after Maria mastered that formula, this message appeared on her computer screen: “Maria, learners who enjoyed solving equations about one dimensional motion in physics with examples from space science also enjoyed . . . “

Sort of a cool idea…

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June 19, 2009

FlyClear: Cutting in line so the terrorists won’t win

At the Reagan Airport (would I be jumping the gun to start calling it the Obama Airport already?), Clear has a little square of space right before the security inspection stations. For $200/year, you can skip the long lines and go for the exceedingly short line to Clear. There the uniformed employees will compare some of your body parts (iris and fingerprints) with the information on the Clear card you present. Once you’re through, you can go straight to the Conveyor of Transparencies where you rejoin the hoi polloi so that the TSA can make sure your shoes aren’t on fire.

What I don’t get is why Clear has to give you an extra special biometric scan. Why can’t they just do what the TSA folks do: Look at your drivers license, look at you, and wave you on through? All I can figure is that Clear’s market research showed that people would be more willing to pay to cut in line — which is what Clear is really about — if there’s a pretense that it enhances security.

As far as whether all the fancy-shmancy biometrics — heck, my face is the only biometric I need! — actually increases security, if I were an evil do-er, I’d just bribe a Clear airport employee. They don’t go through security clearances the way TSA folks do, at least according to the Clear employee I asked.

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June 22, 2009: Clear just went out of business.

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Wikipedia goes video

David Talbot reports that Wikipedia is getting ready to make embedded video and important part of its content.

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June 18, 2009

Why I love the Web, Reason #1375

Yesterday, I was sitting in the comfy chair, waiting for the dentist to come back with a larger mallet, browsing around on my Blackberry (“Your Knothole to the Web!”). I settled on part 5 of Akma’s series on exegesis. I like Akma, I’m interested in how we interpret texts, Akma’s Christian perspective deeply respects its differences with others, Akma is a genuine scholar, and he is a lovely, funny writer. What could be bad? Nothin’ that doesn’t have the word “dentist” in it!

So, there I am, in a three-minute interstice. Before the Web, I’d have been contemplating my aching stub of a tooth. Now I’m getting to spend time with a wise friend talking about something I barely understand. It feels like the Web has made Time itself better.

Sure, I’m just as likely to have clicked on a link to some gossip or a joke. Telling you about Akma served my twin nefarious purposes of pointing you at his series on exegesis and making me sound smart by reference. But, while the Web is not ubiquitous, it’s worth remembering how wonderful it is to for those of us who have ubiquitous access to it. That’s all. Just a little moment of thanks.

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Weak copyright spurs creativity

Michael Geist — Canada’s free-culture bulldog — summarizes a Harvard Business School working paper by economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf “File Sharing and Copyright” that argues that the inability to strictly enforce today’s draconian and clinically insane copyright laws has in fact benefited society. It’s been slashdotted.

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June 17, 2009

Jonathan Zittrain’s commencement address to the Shady Side Academy

The text is here.

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Testing Apture

I just upgraded WordPress (well, BradSucks actually did it for me. Thanks, Brad!) and while I (um, he) was at it, I upgraded to the latest version of Apture. Apture lets you overload a link with whole bunches of information that pop up when a user clicks on it. The new version lets you add the Apture links while you are typing into WordPress’s “Add New Post” edit box, as I’m currently doing. This is more convenient than having to go back through your post to add the Apture links, but, more important, links added while in the edit box get saved locally. So, if Apture should — perish the thought! — someday perish, the links will still work. (If you add more than one destination to an Apture link, as I did for the BradSucks link, only the first one is saved locally, which is a very reasonable solution.)

Apture is free to sites with fewer than 5M page views. The new version also lets you add your own sources of links, in addition to coming loaded with Wikipedia, Flickr, Yahoo search (because Google search doesn’t have the API Apture needs) and a bunch of others.

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