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.: 2003 --> june
:: This has been an unusually busy week, so here are a few links to amuse you until I can muster a more substantial update. Meanwhile, if you're at the PlaNetworks Conference this weekend, please introduce yourself.
:: WHO says the SARS outbreak has passed its peak--for the moment. It's worth noting that the containment of SARS is a triumph of public health practiced on a global scale. While the quick spread of such diseases is partially a result of globalization, so is the ease and speed with which health organizations around the world can share information with each other when they need to.
[ 06/06/03 ]
[...] It is beginning to look as though the skeptics in this case were right. If so, I was taken in by this administration, and America and Great Britain were led to war under false pretenses.
Events have moved so swiftly, and Hussein's toppling has posed so many new pressing problems, that it would be easy to lose sight of this issue, but it is critically important. I can imagine no greater breach of public trust than to mislead a country into war.
It's a remarkably even-handed piece that hits on most of the points I have been considering--coming from the opposite point of view--since the war began. (via nobody's doll)
[ 06/06/03 ]
:: In a ritual designed by their pre-literate ancestors to pass on important information, every seven years, villagers from Llantrisant walk the bounds of their city and bounce boys on stones in order to celebrate being freemen. (thanks, lizard!)
[ 06/09/03 ]
:: For those who saw me speak at PlaNetwork, here is the list of URLs I showed you (and there's always my portal if you want to explore the many ways talented individuals are using their weblogs).
[ 06/09/03 ]
:: A question for the Rebecca's Pocket Braintrust: I'm looking for a book on basic economics, either a history of economic thought and theory, or something that would lay out, in a relatively unbiased fashion, the principles and various schools of thought. Send me your recommendations by making this a real email address: rebecca at rebeccablood dot net.
[ 06/11/03 ]
:: It seems the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is assigning editorials to their interns. Apart from the fact that the conclusion has nothing to do with the premise of the piece (and that the piece doesn't seem to know where it's going), the writer has paraphrased the main point of my recent keynote, but attributed to me only the set-up for that conclusion. This shows some promise: based on my own experience, pundits often build reputations by talking to smart people, quoting them selectively, and then paraphrasing their smartest observations unattributed--thereby garnering a reputation for having thought of smart things themselves.
Seriously, though, as an example of professional writing, this piece is shocking: it wouldn't pass muster in any high school English course.
[ 06/11/03 ]
:: A series of 1932 illustrations showing life in Iceland in the century before the last. Which reminds me, I remember hearing that mystery stories are a wonderful source of detailed information about everyday people's lives for the period they inhabit. I have a cold, you can put that together yourself.
[ 06/11/03 ]
:: AKMA considers my Blogtalk keynote and concludes that the cluster of weblogs in which he resides is probably open-minded enough. (Go read it--he arrives at that conclusion via a very thoughtful discussion.)
I guess the point I was making is that we all have something to learn from the extremes. The vast amount of information available via the Internet forces each of us to severely limit our sources of information relative to what is available. As a result, it is easy--almost unavoidable--to drift into comfort zones. This isn't a phenomenon that is peculiar to weblogs; it is a quality inherent to the Internet and the communications revolution.
AKMA seems to regard the formation of echo chambers as a conscious choice. But that's just my point: it's usually completely unintentional. My concern is with the ways in which each of us unconsciously seeks out--and gives greater weight to--information and opinion that confirms our pre-existing biases. To wit:
Web users can choose to get their news from wherever they like. And factual accounts of the same events quite often differ substantially in their wording, emphasis, and in the conclusions they draw. We now have the ability to choose from among news accounts until we find one that we feel gets it right.
After my talk, David Weinberger asked if I thought non-political webloggers were also subject to this same effect. I have to say that I have come across only a few exceptions. One of the oldest clusters, the web design weblogs frequently engage each other, often disagreeing, but always in respectful tones. Part of this is due to the small number of weblogs focused on this subject. It is--or used to be--easy to keep track of them all. Knowing that your readers are thoughtfully considering different points of view produces a certain accountability. And because most everyone maintaining a design weblog is also creating a professional persona with their weblog, these discussions are generally civil and inclusive. From what I've seen, weblogs being used to develop a professional reputation tend to be more open to opposing points of view--they have to be if they want to remain relevant.
But think about it: do you regularly read (and, if you are a weblogger, link to) articles and weblogs you think are dreck? Do you link to flames? Do you link to articles you find to be simply nonsensical?
I'm not talking so much about the tendency of some people to use their weblogs to put forth a political agenda at any cost; my concern is that it's easy for the rest of us, unconsciously and quite conscientiously, to gravitate to comfortable views of the world.
The important point for bloggers is, if you don't link to it, it is invisible from your corner of the Web. A group of bloggers that uniformly dismisses or ignores certain points of view, effectively removes them from the discourse. More importantly, the sense of pervasive shared opinion created by that clustering creates a false sense of majority. If you are interested in uncovering the truth, you won't find it this way. If you are interested in affecting public discourse, watch out--you may gain ascendency in certain circles, but you're just as likely to marginalize yourself instead.
For all of us, the point is, once you've settled into a regular round of news sources, it's easy to feel you've gotten the whole story. Few of us seriously consider news sources that consistently deviate from our basic world view. That's normal and natural. But even a sensible behavior can be a double-edged sword.
On weblogs, commenting systems certainly have the potential to introduce an element of dissent--provided that thoughtful readers with different views take the time to read your blog. And technologies like trackback are very promising in this area, by making visible the responses and conversations that a single weblog post can provoke. But not everyone can offer these features, and not everyone who can is interested in doing so.
So, is it important for the knitting weblogs to link to the crochet weblogs? Probably not. For now, the test I've devised is this: is what you're talking about important? The more important you think it is, the more important it probably is to consider the opinions of those who have thought about the same subject and drawn a different conclusion.
[ 06/11/03 ]
:: Here's a weblog I hadn't seen before: Keep It Short and Simple Living or (shorter and more simply) KISS Living. Sort of a less crafty not martha. Both are perfect for those who have jumped ship in these dark days.
[ 06/13/03 ]
Gaudreau woke up Sunday to find his red 2003 Chevrolet Malibu defaced. The glass from the driver's side mirror was all over the ground. The passenger-side mirror was twisted, and the door was damaged. Later, the mirror fell off.
Gaudreau thought at first that a neighborhood youth had taken a bat to his car - until police told his roommate, Edward Quinn, that several residents had seen a large woodpecker flying from the scene.
(thanks, lizard!) [ 06/13/03 ]
'The idea that we have recessions because of insufficient consumer demand still has a vise-grip on the way Americans think about the economy,' says Stephen Moore, an economist at the Cato Institute, a free-market think tank. 'Almost every newspaper article you read about the economy implies that consumers have to keep spending or the economy will sink.'
Experts point to the theories of early 20th-century economist John Maynard Keynes to explain contemporary America's infatuation with consumer behavior. Keynes said that the economic depressions that rocked the US and Europe during the 1930s resulted from a lack of consumer demand. To keep the economy strong, he argued, governments should stoke consumption.
[ 06/13/03 ]
- New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought, Todd G. Buchholz [recommended twice]
- The Worldly Philosophers : The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Robert Heilbroner [recommended twice]
- Economics of the real world, Peter Donaldson [out of print]
- A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II, Murray N. Rothbard
- The Nature of Economies, Jane Jacobs
- Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
- Essentials of Economics, Faustino Ballve
- Armchair Economist: Economics And Everyday Experience, Steven Landsburg
- Principles of Economics, N. Gregory Mankiw
- Economics, 2nd edition, Joseph Stiglitz [3rd edition is getting mixed reviews]
- Mises.org, especially their bookstore. [also check out their resource page, this defense of Martha Stewart and--wait for it--their economics weblog.]
- Economics primer [this looks like a primer on capitalism, actually]
- Zmag.org (the education section...especially learn about ParEcon) [this certainly won't be unbiased, but it will definitely be interesting]
What a list! Thanks again to everyone who wrote in with suggestions.
[ 06/13/03 ]
:: My favorite Information Architect is being interviewed on the WELL. Jesse James Garrett is nominally discussing his book The Elements of User Experience, but the conversation has already swerved to the application of the Elements [pdf] for product design and the emerging recognition of the linkable item as the basic unit of the Web, and how that will affect the future of Information Architecture. Whether you are Web designer or an interested user, this is going to be an interesting discussion.
[ 06/14/03 ]
[Propaganda's] persuasive techniques are regularly applied by politicians, advertisers, journalists, radio personalities, and others who are interested in influencing human behavior. Propagandistic messages can be used to accomplish positive social ends, as in campaigns to reduce drunk driving, but they are also used to win elections and to sell malt liquor.
As Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson point out, 'every day we are bombarded with one persuasive communication after another. These appeals persuade not through the give-and-take of argument and debate, but through the manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions. For better or worse, ours is an age of propaganda.'
[ 06/16/03 ]
:: The Episcopal Church is facing a difficult and very painful situation: New Hampshire just elected the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, to be the first openly gay Bishop [slithy pop-up!]--but the controversial decision must be certified by a national assembly of bishops and delegates. Needless to say, conservative Episcopalian groups are outraged. News accounts from across the country vary in their framing of the situation.
CNN has a very interesting interview with the Bishop-elect in which he says that he believes Biblical strictures against homosexuality are based on an understanding of human nature that conceived only a hetrosexual orientation, and so identified homosexual behavior as an aberration. For him, it follows that, based on modern understanding of sexual orientation, his is not in conflict with scripture. He quite rightly compares Biblical strictures against homosexuality to injunctions against allowing women to be clergy [ed. note: and worse].
I recommend this Washington Post story, [slithy pop-up and annoying free registration] for another, subtly different, report of the same event. Robinson is determined to serve all of his parishioners.
After the election, Robinson told his supporters to be gentle with those who disagreed with their decision. 'We will show the world how to be a Christian community,' he said. 'I plan to be a good bishop, not a gay bishop.'
I also recommend this very thoughtful article from Beliefnet for a slightly different angle than any of the news organizations can provide. It includes a prediction from an opposing faction that the Rev. Robinson will be ratified in spite of conservative opposition. I very much like this plea for unity from a letter written by the top US bishop:
'As presiding bishop and chief pastor of the church, it is my duty to ensure that all perspectives are treated with reverence, care and mutual respect in the service of a unity ... given to us through our baptism into Christ,' said [Presiding Bishop Frank] Griswold in a letter to bishops of the 2.3 million-member church that was released Friday (June 13). The letter was Griswold's first public statement on the issue. 'This means that though we may disagree, no one can say, "I have no need of you" to another member of this church.'
People of good will with strong religious beliefs, deep divisions, and a mandate to do the right thing in the right way. Denominations have been spawned from lesser differences than these. (thanks, mom!)
[ 06/16/03 ]
Everyone wants taxes to be cut, but no one wants services to be cut, which is why Democrats have to reframe the debate — and show President Bush for what he really is: a man who is not putting money into your pocket, but who is removing government services and safety nets from your life.
Ditto on foreign policy. As we and our government continue to spend and invest more than we save, we will become even more dependent on the outside world to finance the gap. Foreigners will have to buy even more of our T-bills and other assets. And do you know on whom we'll be most dependent for that? China and Japan. Yes, that China — the one the Bush team says is our biggest geopolitical rival.
:: 'One in three U.S. children born in 2000 will become diabetic unless many more people start eating less and exercising more, a scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.'
Though the causes of Type 2 diabetes have been well-known for some years...
Although body weight was the strongest predictor of type 2 diabetes, lack of activity, poor diet, and smoking also influenced diabetes risk. The researchers estimated that 87% of the new diabetes cases could have been prevented if all of the volunteers were at a normal weight, ate a healthful diet, and exercised regularly.
...the big surprise is the extent to which this entirely preventable disease will affect the US and world populations. Here's a quick test you can take to assess your current risk.
[ 06/16/03 ]
:: Two more recommendations: Dangerous Currents: The State of Economics, Lester C. Thurow
The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the Twenty-First Century, Stephan Schmidheiny, Jeff Gates
[ 06/16/03 ]
:: 0rrin Hatch w4nts to 0wnz j00. It seems the good senator has taken up residence in a scary science fiction world where predator software can remotely destroy computers that are illegally downloading copyrighted material.
During a discussion on methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. [...]
'No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer,' replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. [...] 'I'm interested,' Hatch interrupted.
I don't want to live in a Europe that is trying to build its identity by asking itself how to stop America. It's hopeless, because to define yourself against the US will not unite Europe - it will split it down the middle, as we saw over the Iraq war. It split governments, with France, Germany and Belgium on one side, and most of the rest on the other. It split public opinion, with most people against war and against Bush, but certainly not against America.... Why cut off your nose to spite your face? Why define yourself by who you are against, rather than by what you are for?
[ 06/18/03 ]
:: Accenture's Mary Tolan has envisioned a fast track to hydrogen energy that would transform the American economy and energy industry in just 12 years. Her vision is expansive: the creation of a new commodity market from scratch, car-fueled power parks generating electricity during the workday, cheaper, cleaner transportation, and an old commodity--petroleum--worth even more than it is today. The cost would roughly equal the amount currently spent by oil companies on petroleum exploration and production. Watch her go!
Tolan says she learned a lot about attacking the status quo by watching people like former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani reversed decades of civic decay by focusing single-mindedly on crime. Swift strides on that front spurred progress in other areas like homelessness, helping to restore the city's vitality. Tolan realized that the many facets of petroleum addiction -- the powerful oil industry's vested interest, the potentially costly but remote environmental threat, the chicken-and-egg question of how to create a new fuel supply and launch a revolutionary vehicle at the same time -- all invite paralysis. 'You can't tell companies what to do,' Tolan says. 'But you can take something that's never been an issue and make it the issue.'
The issue, in Tolan's case to the oil giants, is the industry's undeniable need to invest rapidly accumulating billions in something that will sharply boost profitability in the not-so-distant future. Big oil companies, Tolan says, 'have exhausted their typical ways of spending.' The days of oil megamergers are probably over, and replacing petroleum reserves costs so much that it makes less and less economic sense. Since 1996, in fact, industry leader ExxonMobil (XOM) has found no better use for some $20 billion than to buy back its own stock.
It's long, but read the whole thing--interesting stuff throughout.
Also, nice use of hypertext throughout the story. They only link to other Business 2.0 articles, but at least they link. It's incredible how few publishers are willing to use the fundamental attribute of the Web when they publish online.
[ 06/18/03 ]
:: Speaking of excess capital, you will recall, that was George Monbiot's explanation (which I didn't really buy) for the Bush Administration's rush to war against Iraq. For common folks like you and me, too much money doesn't seem like a problem, but I guess if you think about capitalism, capital exists to be invested in order to generate even more profits, and there's no such thing as enough--accumulated wealth is useful only to the extent that it can generate further wealth. Hence the dread generated by the phrase 'stagnant economy'.
I dunno. I believe in 'enough'.
[ 06/18/03 ]
Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy, Thomas Sowell
:: The following entry is taken directly from Earth-Info.Net because I can't say it any better--and this is so important. Please sign the petition--and then call your congressional representatives if you think the United States should clean up its mess.
According to the Mines Advisory Group: 'Dozens of children are being killed by mines and unexploded bombs in Iraq every day.'
In one week the main hospital in Kirkuk, northern Iraq received 52 killed and 63 injured as a result of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).
The real figures are likely to be much higher as many deaths are not recorded and there is no death registration system.
Landmine Action is now calling for new international laws which would force combatants to clean up their unexploded ordanance after the fighting is over... If you wish you can sign their petition here...
[ 06/20/03 ]
According to the Animal Health Institute, which represents manufacturers of drugs for animal use, almost 22 million pounds of antibiotics were used on farms in 2001. That group estimates that 13 percent to 17 percent of that total is for growth promotion, but the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, has said its research shows that more than 50 percent of the total could be considered growth promotion.
The McDonald’s policy will prohibit its direct suppliers, which mainly provide chicken, from using 24 growth promoters that are closely related to antibiotics used in human medicine. The firm, in deciding which independent farmers will supply its beef, chicken and pork, will consider it a 'favorable factor' if the supplier avoids growth promoters.
This is fantastic news. (thanks, jim!)
[ 06/20/03 ]
[P]eople read [today's web-papers] not for pleasure and illumination but to extract a necessary fact or kill time when they are stuck at their desks. Their builders don't seem to have grasped what makes the newsprint newspaper one of design history's greatest achievements. (Do they ever read a newspaper?) No web newspaper will match all of newsprint's best qualities, but web designers should understand those qualities so they can concoct new ones that are (in their ways) equally attractive. The mere timid transfer of newsprint-style newspapers to the web--standard operating procedure today--is bound to yield failure....
Today's web-papers offer one main advantage over newsprint: They let you search. But how often do newsprint readers want to search, or need to? They know where to find what they want; anyway, they mainly browse. They want to be distracted, enlightened, entertained. First law of information: browsing trumps searching. But (second law)--effective browsing is visual browsing, what you do when you pick two interesting magazines out of thousands at a newsstand; or read a newsprint paper and let a photo, headline, ad, or cartoon catch your eye.
Instead of writing one longish piece, reporters will write (say) five short ones--will belt out little stories all the time, as things happen. They will shape their news stories to the shape of the news, of experience, of time. The string of aphorisms--prose in stanzas--is a perfect form for fresh and timely news. Perfect also for a nation where concentration spans seem to halve every year. [...] Eventually the web paper will migrate from the web server to your own computer. The main office e-mails you each new 'card'; software on your computer receives each new arrival, indexes it, adds it to the moving parade. Now (by the way) you can read many newspapers simultaneously; each sends you its own stream of cards, and your local software shuffles them together in time-order.
Is it possible Gelernter hasn't ever heard of those two things?
[ 06/20/03 ]
'At first, players started speculating that there was a really bad bug in the game code,' player Tim Wheating said. 'Then we realized that somehow an insane god had taken control of our world and was out to kill us all.'
[ 06/20/03 ]
Of course, you already know about the Alexlit Literature Recommender. Then of course, there's the One Book list ('decide on a single book that you would most like for the world to read'), and the Random Book Recommender (for travel books).
[ 06/20/03 ]
Aside from the containers, the raw material known as PLA, or polylactide, is being used to spin fibers for such products as mattresses, comforters, pillows, and rugs. This year, Cargill Dow expects to be at full capacity at a new plant in Blair, Neb., churning 40,000 bushels of corn a day into 140 million metric tons (300 million pounds) of PLA annually. In the process, it will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 60 percent compared with the conventional materials it replaces. Cargill Dow Spokesman Michael O'Brien said market studies show PLA could reach 1 billion pounds a year by 2013, using up one-half of 1 percent of the corn grown in the United States.
[ 06/23/03 ]
:: There are those who claim that the prevalence of corn syrup in nearly every prepared food is little short of a conspiracy by the USDA to keep corn prices up by creating new demand. Some people attribute American obesity and the increase of type 2 diabetes to the ubiquity of this sweetener, which is inexpensive. Look at the labels--nearly all prepared foods, it seems, contain corn syrup. It certainly makes economic sense to get as much value from a product as you possibly can--and it's pretty much a win/win for manufacturers, who save money by using corn syrup instead of sugar.
Here's more on US sugar consumption (of all kinds) and a rebuttal from the corn refiners to charges that high fructose corn syrup is a leading cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Note that the language used in this rebuttal is almost identical to the rebuttal in the Washington Post article--and note how many weasel words it contains. 'Many sources', 'no one source', 'many contributing factors', 'no scientific link'. It's like listening to the tobacco industry, except once a scientific link has been established, the wording becomes 'no conclusive scientific link'.
I agree with the corn refiners' spokesperson, by the way, that exercise is a major key to maintaining any healthy weight--I'm just irritated with that kind of equivocation. Why not say 'No firm link has been established between our product and increased obesity, but as consumers of our own product, we are keenly following these studies ourselves. In the meantime, we advocate a varied and balanced diet plus exercise as the best insurance of good health. Common sense dictates that no diet should rely on a large percentage of any sweetener.'
You also have to wonder why the sugar industry doesn't start funding studies to prove a link between high-fructose corn syrup and obesity in order to increase demand for their own product, which they claim has has remained stable over the past 20 years. (That's the public relations wording; if you're talking to the board of directors, you say 'consumption has stalled' or 'growth has stagnated'.)
[ 06/23/03 ]
[Snyder] has used TMS dozens of times on university students, measuring its effect on their ability to draw, to proofread and to perform difficult mathematical functions like identifying prime numbers by sight. Hooked up to the machine, 40 percent of test subjects exhibited extraordinary, and newfound, mental skills. [...]
Snyder's work began with a curiosity about autism. Though there is little consensus about what causes this baffling -- and increasingly common -- disorder, it seems safe to say that autistic people share certain qualities: they tend to be rigid, mechanical and emotionally dissociated. They manifest what autism's great 'discoverer,' Leo Kanner, called 'an anxiously obsessive desire for the preservation of sameness.' And they tend to interpret information in a hyperliteral way, using 'a kind of language which does not seem intended to serve interpersonal communication.'
The helmet seems very Strange Day-ish to me. [ 06/23/03 ]
We're living in the 21st century, and yet there's a dearth of cities on the Moon, gigantic space stations, asteroid mines, human expeditions to Mars and Jupiter, and all the other cool stuff that we'd expected to have by now. NASA and the other space agencies have totally failed to deliver this science fictional future for us, and I for one feel like I've been conned. In this article and its sequels I will explain my understanding of the reasons that we don't live in that world and the ways in which we still could. Like so many other things, it all comes down not to technology but to economics.
[ 06/23/03 ]
Our Goal - To change the manner in which disposable diapers are manufactured and disposed of in the United States. This diaper was developed to meet the unique system of commercial composting sites found in the Scandinavian countries. Today, most disposable diapers in the US are sent to the landfill. We believe that when the goal of a disposable diaper, comprised completely of renewable materials has been achieved, the used product can then be source separated and composted along with other organic waste, thereby completing the cycle which would allow disposable diapers to become part of a 'closed loop system.'
Fiona says 'They're a little less absorbent than Huggies or other commercial brands, and the corn film can tear, but they do the job.' I just like saying 'Corn film!'
Here's a life cycle analysis comparing the environmental impact of paper, mater-bi, and polyethylene bags. (Also, if mater-bi really is intrinsically anti-static, would that make it good for computer cases?)
[ 06/25/03 ]
:: Here's a science experiment you can do at home demonstrating how to obtain hydrogen from water using solar energy. As much as I support any effort to get a fleet of hydrogen vehicles on the road as soon as possible, I'd much rather spend my tax dollars advancing a renewable source of this fuel. (thanks, matt!)
[ 06/25/03 ]
:: 'A strain of bacteria has successfully restored 14th-century frescoes belonging to what was once the most extensive cycle of medieval paintings in the world, Italian researchers announced on Friday at a news conference in Milan.'
Found in soil and sediment, Pseudomonas stutzeri is a rod-shaped organism that essentially eats nitrogen. Strains of the species have shown the ability to degrade one of the world's most serious pollutants, tetrachloroethylene.
[ 06/25/03 ]
:: It's official: Amazon is a software company. This has been obvious to me from the time they began partnering with selected retailers, leveraging their online presence and years of software development. Now they are the experts in online retailing, and those years of building, tweaking, and continual real-life user testing are going to be worth bilions of dollars. (via rc3.org)
[ 06/25/03 ]
The first [Internal Revenue Service] study shows that in 2000 the wealthiest 400 taxpayers in the United States accumulated nearly $70 billion in adjusted gross income. That marked 1.1 percent of total AGI versus 0.5 percent in 1992.
Though its share of total reported AGI more than doubled, the group's share of the total tax burden grew at a slower pace. The group's share of the tax burden grew to 1.6 percent from 1.04 percent in 1992. The average tax rate for the group, meanwhile, declined to 22.3 percent in 2000, from 26.4 percent in 1992 and a high of 29.9 percent in 1995.
Had President Bush's latest tax cuts been in effect in 2000, the amount of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans would have dropped an additional 20 percent, according to analysis by the New York Times.
[ 06/27/03 ]
:: The Supreme Court rules that sodomy laws violate the constitutional right to privacy. Ashcroft must just be squirming right now. Gay rights is the civil rights struggle of our day.
[ 06/27/03 ]
:: The National Do Not Call registry is open for business (and apparently popular: I can't get to the site at the moment). If you sign up by August 1, the FCC says unwanted calls should be reduced by October 1. There are exceptions--charities, surveys, politicians (natch), and others.
Q: There appears to be many exemptions to the National Do Not Call Registry. Will the number of telemarketing calls I get really be reduced?
A: Yes. All professional telemarketing companies must comply with the Telemarketing Sales Rule, even if they are making sales calls on behalf of a company that is not covered. Failing to comply may subject the telemarketing company to a fine of up to $11,000 for each call that is not in compliance.
It's worth a shot. Now for an international Do Not Spam list.
[ 06/27/03 ]
The friends agree on one point with sobering implications: The Playboy bunny attire found in the shops they frequent -- often pastel in color and modestly cut -- is tame compared with other provocations on the rack. When stores sell booty shorts, ultra low-rise jeans, high-rise thong underwear and tees saying 'Juicy' or worse, 'it's easy to dress skanky,' Cassie says.
She believes Playboy is classier. 'Wearing the bunny achieves the same effect without needing to show a lot of skin.'
Maybe we need to teach these girls to sew. [ 06/27/03 ]
President George W. Bush runs a hermetic administration that does not look kindly on leaks of unfavourable news. However, according to several advisers and analysts, the White House is directing its displeasure at certain figures in the Defense Department and questioning the 'neo-conservative' lobbyists who wish to impose what they call Pax Americana on the world.
The rethink is driven by the main priority of the White House - Mr Bush's re-election next year.
- the Aid Information Mapping Services, which is working to create thematic visualizations of the world, and make them available to relief workers via satellite.
- Information Management for Relief Operations and
- Creating a Philanthropic Markup Language (PML) to enable microphilanthropy
If you are currently working full-time in a technology role and you have a practical idea for using technology to solve a problem in the developing world, consider applying for a fellowship. (thanks, shahab!)
[ 06/27/03 ]
:: You know that the Hunger Site is back, don't you? Along with the Breast Cancer Site, the Child Health Site, the Rainforest Site, and the Animal Rescue Site. They're linked in my sidebar. Please click every day.
[ 06/27/03 ]
Among our findings:
- A mere handful of states are responsible for most of the projected gains in renewable energy. California accounts for 44 percent of all projected new development; California and Texas together account for nearly 60 percent; and the top five states account for more than 80 percent. [...]
- Most states have only begun to tap their abundant renewable electricity potential.
- Renewable energy generated through state standards and funds will significantly exceed voluntary purchases of renewable (or 'green') electricity, but fall far short of what a fair, cost-effective national standard could produce.
[ 06/30/03 ]