Turns out WordPress doesn’t let you use iframes. But here’s a link to some of the best tracks I’ve heard recently.
February 23, 2013
February 8, 2013
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How hard do you think the masterminds behind the weather channel are laughing at the success of their plot to troll the nation with winter storm names?
I mean naming storms Nemo, Orko and Plato? Nemo sounds like a small friendly orange fish, Orko just sounds stupid or possibly like another fish, the killer whale. And Plato? Does that imply that winter storm Plato will be the ideal winter storm? The perfect storm?
But back to Nemo, the fact that it means “No Man” means that it’s basically the name Ulysses gave to the Cyclops. The original “Finding Nemo” was about Polyphemus.
Thanks to the NYT for facts and inspiration.
February 6, 2013
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December 7, 2012
It’s in the news recently that US wireless providers are working on a service to allow text messaging to emergency responders. Everyone assumes this will make people more safe, but will it really?
There are several hidden costs to this possibility, one of which is a lower barrier to contacting emergency services. You can bet that every time there’s a gunshot in an urban area the number of emergency contacts will go up from the 15 people who would call to the 45 that would text.
The other issue with a SMS-based system is that it will make it much harder on emergency operators, already probably receiving a higher volume of contacts, to screen the callers or rather texters. It can be hard enough to get any sort of context in 140 characters, even when you know the person on the other end, to say nothing of when you don’t know them or where they are at the time they’re texting you. When you think about it you can probably imagine the chaos of trying to figure out what sort of emergency it is and where before sending the officers on the street running every which way to actually get to the location.
It may be the way of the future, but it’s going to require some restructuring and possibly some increased costs and the difficulties of dealing with emergencies through a medium that most people find ill-suited for anything urgent. In the real world a text can go minutes and hours without a response, and prolongs any conversation. We’ll see how that translates to emergencies and emergency responders trying to ask questions to find out more.
December 5, 2012
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When I was in college I remember hearing some progressives described as driven by the view that history was going to progress onward and upward to a greater level of perfection. This sort of Hegelian view of history implies that the progress of politics and history will lead, partly through the agency of the state, to a greater level of freedom and development.
I guess personally I pegged most labor unions and organizations of that nature as part of the progressive movement, partly because they try to work with and through government as a means to advance their own ends.
In contrast, the conservative would stereotypically be the stodgy person dragging their feet in an attempt to maintain the status quo.
Rich Karlgaard’s Forbes article about Obama’s second term changes the lens a little bit and makes you wonder if things aren’t flipped from the stereotypes. The progressive movement in their quest to radically change the world and progress to a better future has somehow become politically connected with government unions and others, which according to Karlgaard are actually more interested in preserving the past than trusting that the future will be better.
By some strange twist of fate, the economic conservatives have actually become the optimists. The economic conservative has enough faith in the future and the free market at work that they don’t cling to outdated industries and models when they seem to lose their feasibility. The conservative embraces Karlgaard’s idea of “dynamism” and change as a positive force. For them, the end of one era doesn’t mean the potential end of the world, it makes room for new growth and even more prosperity.
December 3, 2012
Because there’s a bit of convergence between the subjects of two of the more interesting posts I’ve read today, I’ll throw both of the links up here to share.
The first, from Mashable is about using e-commerce to save magazines. I think e-commerce in some form should be the savior of publishing. Some magazines have all kinds of profiles of stuff I would buy, and the most frustrating thing is that even the iPad version doesn’t always link to the website where I can buy it. Missed opportunities.
Second is about a publication that wasn’t saved. Sad to see The Daily go, because it was actually a lot of fun and a great app. But a publication like that has to embrace the web, not hide behind paywalls and cling to older publishing models.
Food for thought.
December 2, 2012
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Being an English major is kind of like being an educational entrepreneur. If that comparison’s not immediately obvious, let me explain just a little. When you’re a senior in college and you tell people you’re an English major, they immediately ask what you’re planning to do. The reason they ask, aside from the fact that it’s the polite thing to do, is it isn’t immediately obvious what an English major might do after graduation.
If you tell someone you’re studying Podiatry, they have a pretty good idea what you’re planning to do when you’re done. With an English major it isn’t so obvious. Aside from the one connection everyone assumes but can’t believe you would actually be interested in doing–teaching–all paths are open.
To stick with the podiatry theme, a technical program like that often means signing up for longer structured periods of learning and education. You don’t just take the four years for your bachelors and call it quits. You go to med school and then PHD and residencies and things of that nature. The path is laid out for you and so is the goal.
An English major doesn’t have the same path laid out before them. They have to pick and choose at every turn what step they’re going to take next. The path of a typical entrepreneur is pretty similar to what you might see from an English major. You start in one career and then try something else, and then move on. You’re not structured and you’re not tied into one thing, the opportunity to jump around is always there.
Being an entrepreneur is pretty trendy these days. Everyone seems to have startup fever. But for some reason being an English major isn’t as trendy, even if some entrepreneurs say they’re hiring them. Article after article complains that people are wasting their money on traditional liberal arts degrees when what they really ought to be doing is becoming a doctor or an engineer, the type of career that is “indispensable to society”.
No one seems to praise being an English major as a legitimate choice like being an entrepreneur, and one that takes courage. Since you’re not embracing the beaten path, when you stray out of clear-cut degree to career paths you’re like an entrepreneur stepping off the corporate career path. It takes just as much courage, but gives just as much satisfaction and can be just as rewarding. You can have a richer variety of experiences and even more freedom.
Freedom comes with a price though. Uncertainty. It’s the same price that makes people decide being an English major is too risky. It’s may be risky, and it’s not for everyone. But if you can deal with the uncertainty and you want to, why not?