So, a dear friend of mine, Jon Prins reblogged this piece from over here via here. And I have to say, it hit a nerve with me on a couple levels. It also turns out that he’s a fabulous catalyst for some of my thoughts on this particular article for the following reasons: 1> we met in real…
“We grew up with the Internet and on the Internet. This is what makes us different; this is what makes the crucial, although surprising from your point of view, difference: we do not ‘surf’ and the internet to us is not a ‘place’ or ‘virtual space’. The Internet to us is not something external to reality but a part of it: an invisible yet constantly present layer intertwined with the physical environment. We do not use the Internet, we live on the Internet and along it. If we were to tell our bildnungsroman to you, the analog, we could say there was a natural Internet aspect to every single experience that has shaped us. We made friends and enemies online, we prepared cribs for tests online, we planned parties and studying sessions online, we fell in love and broke up online. The Web to us is not a technology which we had to learn and which we managed to get a grip of. The Web is a process, happening continuously and continuously transforming before our eyes; with us and through us. Technologies appear and then dissolve in the peripheries, websites are built, they bloom and then pass away, but the Web continues, because we are the Web; we, communicating with one another in a way that comes naturally to us, more intense and more efficient than ever before in the history of mankind.”—Piotr Czerski (via azspot)
“Kids play T-ball, then baseball; they play games and have practice every week and, if they’re serious about it, pre-season and post-season too. We never think, “Let’s have kids play baseball for eight weeks in seventh grade,” and then expect that in five years they can join the majors or even be on a college team. But for some reason we do this with civics. We say, “We’re going to have you do a penny harvest in fifth grade and a service learning project in tenth grade, and then we’ll teach you abstractly about government for a semester in twelfth grade.” Then our students enter the major leagues of citizenship, and we give them the vote and expect them to keep our country going. And that’s just crazy!”—
The mysterious fall of the largest of the world’s earliest urban civilizations nearly 4,000 years ago in what is now India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh now appears to have a key culprit — ancient climate change, researchers say.
Starting May 16, 2012, the U.S. Post Office will stop international shipping of lithium batteries and devices containing lithium batteries because they are a fire hazard. Many electronic devices, such as cell phones and cameras, use these types of batteries.
From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
WALKING isn’t just good for you. It has become an indicator of your socioeconomic status.
Until the 1990s, exclusive suburban homes that were accessible only by car cost more, per square foot, than other kinds of American housing. Now, however, these suburbs have become overbuilt, and housing values have fallen. Today, the most valuable real estate lies in walkable urban locations. Many of these now pricey places were slums just 30 years ago.
Mariela Alfonzo and I just released a Brookings Institution study that measures values of commercial and residential real estate in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which includes the surrounding suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. Our research shows that real estate values increase as neighborhoods became more walkable, where everyday needs, including working, can be met by walking, transit or biking. There is a five-step “ladder” of walkability, from least to most walkable. On average, each step up the walkability ladder adds $9 per square foot to annual office rents, $7 per square foot to retail rents, more than $300 per month to apartment rents and nearly $82 per square foot to home values.
As a neighborhood moves up each step of the five-step walkability ladder, the average household income of those who live there increases some $10,000. People who live in more walkable places tend to earn more, but they also tend to pay a higher percentage of their income for housing.
A higher percentage, definitely. But that’s more than made up for by not having to own/maintain an expensive automobile, which itself has sort of a tax in these areas, with parking garages and paid street parking - or very inconvenient free street parking.
Mr. Genachowski said tiered pricing, will “increase consumer choice and competition” and yield in “lower prices for people who consume less broadband.” Although, as Electronista notes, “he did not clarify what mechanism would drive prices down.”
Public interest groups have decried the potential impact broadband data caps will have on the market and innovation, not to mention the biases baked in the plans. Comcast, for example, counts Netflix video into its data plan, but lets its own XFinity service stream away.
…“increase consumer choice and competition”… yeah, that’s exactly what will happen. I mean, except for how that’s not what’s going to happen, at all.
“But today you don’t need to read SF to get a sense of wonder high: you can just browse “New Scientist”. We’re living in the frickin’ 21st century. Killer robot drones are assassinating people in the hills of Afghanistan. Our civilisation has been invaded and conquered by the hive intelligences of multinational corporations, directed by the new aristocracy of the 0.1%. There are space probes in orbit around Saturn and en route to Pluto. Surgeons are carrying out face transplants. I have more computing power and data storage in my office than probably the entire world had in 1980. (Definitely than in 1970.) We’re carrying out this Mind Meld via the internet, and if that isn’t a 1980s cyberpunk vision that’s imploded into the present, warts and all, I don’t know what is. Seriously: to the extent that mainstream literary fiction is about the perfect microscopic anatomization of everyday mundane life, a true and accurate mainstream literary novel today ought to read like a masterpiece of cyberpunk dystopian SF.”—Charlie Stross, “SF, big ideas, ideology: what is to be done?”
“The importance of learning to code isn’t so that everyone will write code, and bury the world under billions of lines of badly conceived Python, Java, and Ruby. The importance of code is that it’s a part of the world we live in. I’ve had enough of legislators who think the Internet is about tubes, who haven’t the slightest idea about legitimate uses for file transfer utilities, and no concept at all about what privacy (and the invasion of privacy) might mean in an online space. I’ve had enough of patent inspectors who approve patents for which prior art has existed for decades. And I’ve had enough of judges making rulings after listening to lawyers arguing about technologies they don’t understand. Learning to code won’t solve these problems, but coding does force engagement with technology on a level other than pure ignorance. Coding is a part of cultural competence, even if you never do it professionally. Alsup is a modern hero.”—A federal judge learned to code - O’Reilly Radar (via everythingisdisrupted)
The American impulse is to target the culture—teach abstinence, discipline kids, lecture parents, preach punctuality, provide moral training—so that the chronically poor will be ready when opportunity knocks. The alternative, more European, is to target the opportunity structure—provide jobs and practical training, guarantee health benefits and housing—so that tomorrow is more predictable and middle-class scripts are more practical.
Most social scientists, especially those who know “white trash” the best, would say that our chances of long-term success are much greater with the second approach. Habits are hard to change; absent an environment that rewards new habits, why take the risk? Since the mid-nineteenth century, most Americans adopted historically new industrial and bourgeois habits, not just because ministers, teachers, and settlement workers pushed those habits—although they did—but mainly because those habits worked in a new economy.
“We heard the testimony of Mr. Bloch. I couldn’t have told you the first thing about Java before this problem. I have done, and still do, a significant amount of programming in other languages. I’ve written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea that someone would copy that when they could do it themselves just as fast, it was an accident. There’s no way you could say that was speeding them along to the marketplace. You’re one of the best lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind of argument?”—
Judge Aslup, on the alleged copyright infringement by Google of the rangeCheck function in Java.
This is a 9 line function that checks to see if two indices are indeed within the length of a given array. It’s first semester comp sci 101 stuff (except, of course, it’s implemented with exception-oriented program, so it looks a little weird).
Celebrity chef Mario Batali • Discussing the diet he’s currently on — he’s eating like he’s on food stamps (an average of $1.48 per meal, or $31 per week) in protest of potential cuts to the federal food stamps program. His family was nice enough to join him in what he calls a conversation starter about being hungry in the U.S. Unlike most people on food stamps, he knows ways to make the best of a bad situation, smartly sticking to foods like lentils, apples, rice, beans, peanut butter and jelly. But the problem is, eating good on a diet like this is tough, so many do not. Think his family’s experiment will be effective? (via shortformblog)
He’s not the first chef to do this — I wrote about Karl Wilder doing the same experiment last year. But yeah. Food stamps are not a luxury item that our nation’s poor people are using to buy steaks and bottles of champagne. Though food stamps are designed to be supplemental, for many, they’re the only source of food.
“I’m not sure I know what AirPlay is. Today we want to be on every screen. Today it’s a little bit clunky to get programming from the Internet onto the TV — not so hard to get it on your iPad. What’s hard is the plumbing, what wires do you connect, what device do you use. So the current Apple TV, the little thing, the hockey puck, really doesn’t do anything to help enable you to get Internet material on your TV.”—