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.: 2002 --> november

november

:: Good luck to everyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo 2002! (Oliver, Erik) If you want to join the adventure, you still can.

I wish NaNoWriMo was held in October, a 'full' month. For anyone who travels long distances to spend Thanksgiving with family (me), November is a three-week month.
[ 11/01/02 ]

:: Are humans tool makers, as some people think? Or did our brains evolve in order to help us interact effectively with other human beings? Whatever the answer, a new study suggests that social butterflies have healthier brains. [slithy popup!]
[ 11/01/02 ]

:: Supply side security.

Up until now we've practiced 'demand side security' that focused only on our needs as consumers of security. 'What will make us safe?' was the question; 'build a wall of armaments' was the answer. The well-being of others, and particularly the well-being of our detractors, was of little concern.
In the future we'll have to practice 'supply side security' and ask questions we ignored when we looked only at the world as consumers of security. What are the sources of enmity against us, and how could those sources be reduced? How can we increase the supply of goodwill which is ultimately the most stable and plentiful source of security? What could be done to cause others to see us as important allies in meeting their own critical needs?

I absolutely agree. (via wozz)
[ 11/01/02 ]

:: As a Public Service to my readers, Walker asks that I pass along this demonstration from Underwriter's Laboratories which reveals the utter insanity of deep frying a turkey instead of roasting it. As Alton Brown says in his October 9 entry (permalinks, guys!):

So, if you donít want to listen to me...fine. But before you pour 3-5 gallons of perfectly flammable hydrocarbons into that big, wobbly, top heavy pot on Thanksgiving morn, you might want to think about what other products around your home can be connected with the words 'engulfed' and 'flames'.

[ 11/01/02 ]

:: The Economist warns that the risk of deflation is greater than at any time since the 1930s and cautions individuals who carry significant debt that, for their own protection, they had better pay it off.
[ 11/01/02 ]

:: Improving Fireplace Efficiency
[ 11/01/02 ]

:: Come see me in Seattle. Wednesday Thursday, November 7, 7pm, Seattle Times Auditorium: Invasion Of The Bloggers, a Western Washington SPJ joint. Webloggers, I'm especially looking at you, but you non-weblogging readers should be there, too. I'm going to go out on a limb to say, these are bloggers and journalists: there will be drinking afterwards.
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Dumb: Enterprise Rent-a-Car at Seatac is only open until 10pm. This is akin to the fact that airport restaurants close at 9pm. Two words: Captive Audience. And a potentially desperate one, at that.

Dumb: Calling Thrifty Car Rental's 800 number may get you a car at a higher rate than if you rent it from the website. Customer service reps are not empowered to give you the lower rate. (Kind of a well done, and yet slightly annoying, automated reservation system before you get to a person.)

Smart: When you call the Seatac Thrifty counter directly, the customer rep is empowered to give you the lower rate after she looks at the website to verify it.

Can't these people tie their various databases together? ideally, everyone doing business on the web, no matter what they're selling, would use one database with a dozen ways to access it: phone, Web, mobile devices, customer service rep, kiosk, etc.

No, I've never rented a car before.
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Michael Pollan on the tyranny of corn.

Why is the productivity of corn a problem?
We're producing way too much corn. So, we make corn sweeteners. High-fructose corn sweeteners are everywhere. They've completely replaced sugar in sodas and soft drinks. They make sweet things cheaper. We also give it to animals. Corn explains everything about the cattle industry. It explains why we have to give [cattle] antibiotics, because corn doesn't agree with their digestive system. It explains why we have this E.coli 0157 problem, because the corn acidifies their digestive system in such a way that these bacteria can survive. [...]
You talked about how you were encouraged by the idea of engineering corn so it could be a perennial.
I have no problem with interfering with nature. We live in places where we can only live by changing the environment. This is the human condition, and I don't think that's bad. It's working with nature.

[ 11/04/02 ]

:: We've had the most fun with the Harvard Dialect Survey Maps. Grab your roommate or a co-worker (especially if you grew up in different areas of the country) and start down the list.
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Scientists say the search for clean energy must begin now. They're comparing it to the Apollo effort. I agree. We're going to be forced to get serious about this at some point in time. The sooner we get started, the further ahead we will be when we need it. (slithy popups!) [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

To supply energy needs 50 years from now without further influencing the climate, up to three times the total amount of energy now generated using coal, oil, and other fossil fuels will have to be produced using methods that generate no heat-trapping greenhouse gases, the scientists said in today's issue of the journal Science. In addition, they said, the use of fossil fuels will have to decline, and to achieve these goals research will have to begin immediately.

[ 11/04/02 ]

:: From one year ago: Dreaming of War

Will this confrontation with real terror kill our taste for the vicarious kind? Perhaps; but it does not follow that we will be less susceptible to illusion. As many have pointed out, if this is war it is a mutant variation: a war in which the enemy is protean and elusive, and how to strike back effectively is far from clear. Yet for a decade Americans have been steeped in the rhetoric of "zero tolerance" and the faith that virtually all problems from drug addiction to lousy teaching can be solved by pouring on the punishment. Even without a Commander in Chief who pledges to rid the world of evildoers, smoke them out of their holes and the like, we would be vulnerable to the temptation to brush aside frustrating complexities and relieve intolerable fear (at least for the moment) by settling on one or more scapegoats to crush. To imagine that trauma casts out fantasy is a dangerous mistake.

[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Write like an Egyptian
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Fanny & Vera's Helpful Hints & Timely Tips For New Civilian Reenactors: Civil War Reenactment resources. It occurred to me the other day that these people are sort of a proto-Society for Creative Anachronism; at least I'm under the impression that Civil War re-enactors predate the SCA. It would be interesting to read a history of both groups--and even more interesting to hang out with both to see if the personalities that are attracted to each are similar (I'm betting they are).
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Christian sent me a copy of his book Coffeehouse: Writings from the Web. It looks good. (And note RFB's swanky new address....)
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Vote!
[ 11/05/02 ]

:: Stop Making Sense. Krugman on why you must go vote today. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

...even if the candidates in an election offer radically different programs, and you have a strong preference for one over the other, a narrow calculation of self-interest says that it's not worth taking the trouble to go to the polling booth. Yet democracy depends on your ability to rise above that calculation. If citizens want good government, they must do what they want others with the same concerns to do - namely, vote.

[ 11/04/02 ]

:: More on modern day echo chambers: [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

Still, in recent years public debate seems to have become particularly vituperative. One reason for the rancor may be that people of all political stripes once got their news from relatively neutral newspaper articles or network news broadcasts. Now conservatives mainline on Bill O'Reilly and get their Hillary Horror updates from e-mail networks. Liberals go to their Web sites to trade their own half-truths. All this means that liberals and conservatives alike can find catered news that does not challenge their prejudices but rather reinforces them.

(both via dangerousmeta)
[ 11/04/02 ]

:: In spite of their victories, the government--and the country--remains almost evenly split. I think the post-game wrap-up is pretty simple: the Republicans were bold, the Democrats were timid. It makes absolutely no sense to try and make yourself invisible against a popular opposition president. In retrospect, it's clear the Democrats should have had the courage to give people something to vote against. That way they would have ensured the voters had something to vote for.

Bragging rights are one thing. Legislation is another. In practical terms, Bush may have a hard time translating his gains into the power to get big things done. The Senate will continue to be very closely divided -- which, given Senate rules, means slow going. The story of Election 2002, ultimately, may be a continuing inability of either party to form a strong governing majority in a country almost perfectly divided between the two.

(via ODub) [ 11/06/02 ]

:: Joseph Duemer provides a handy little lexicon for the Democratic party as they seek to regroup after the mid-term elections.

And when they call you a liberal, repeat-after-me: 'That's right! I'm proud to be a liberal. Liberals stand for accounting reform, a woman's right to choose, the sanctity of Social Security, responsible and effective national security, working families...'

[ 11/06/02 ]

:: Via David row, Allen Newell's heuristics for a happy and productive life:

[ 11/06/02 ]

:: I really like the Literacy Weblog. I'm looking forward to reading Impact of 'Too Much Information'.

Techniques for managing information are the new critical 'meta-skills' needed to stay current (and hopefully sane). Gurus urging 'simplicity' and 'turn off technology' (while very sage advice) miss an important point: nothing is slowing down. What we need is simplicity in how we manage information, not simplicity by ignoring or turning off information.

I think that at some point, turning off information is going to be a huge luxury. But it's clear that a shift has occurred. The game is no longer about access to information, it's about access to reliable, pertinent information. Filters will become more and more important. And, at some point, people will start trying to identify what level of information is optimal. My hunch is that there is a rate at which even useful information moves into diminishing returns. At a certain point, the man who knows less is better equipped to make a good decision.

Update: Alert reader Dorothea Salo recommends Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart on the subject of decision making that is based on limited (or deliberately limiting one's) information. From her description and the reviews this would seem to be a rather dry, academic book--but I would still like to skim it for the main ideas.
[ 11/06/02 ]

:: Vote!
[ 11/05/02 ]

:: Stop Making Sense. Krugman on why you must go vote today. [NY Times: pockeet, password: pockeet]

...even if the candidates in an election offer radically different programs, and you have a strong preference for one over the other, a narrow calculation of self-interest says that it's not worth taking the trouble to go to the polling booth. Yet democracy depends on your ability to rise above that calculation. If citizens want good government, they must do what they want others with the same concerns to do - namely, vote.

[ 11/04/02 ]

:: Okay! That's it until next week.
[ 11/06/02 ]

:: Veteran's Day.
[ 11/11/02 ]

:: Here's the story: I've been sick, I'm moving this week, and I'm not certain how connected the new place will be for a few days. So if I don't post here, don't worry--it's just a transition. Go read rc3.org, shou? and any of the other fine weblogs on my portal page for some of the smartest, most compelling independent content on the Web.
[ 11/12/02 ]

:: I'll be in Australia tonight! Via the magic of telephony, I'll be chatting with Neale Talbot and others about weblogs on ABC Radio National at 9:30pm (in Australia). I'm thinking you might be able to listen to it here (2:30am Pacific, 5:30am Eastern, 9:30am in London, and 10:30am in the Netherlands) or here, later if you're not an Xtreme night owl/early bird.
[ 11/12/02 ]

:: Here's a new review of the Weblog Handbook.
[ 11/12/02 ]

:: Wow. The Weblog Handbook is number 6 in Amazon Editors' Best Digital Culture Books of 2002. I'm honored and delighted.
[ 11/13/02 ]

























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