Links for the week of August 20th, 2009

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.

  • Help Update the Pasadena General Plan – The Pasadena Planning Dept. has put together a suite of self-guided tours of the city, by bike, by transit, and by car, meant to familiarize people with the state of development in the region, so that they can make more informed commentary on the revision of the General Plan. We should do the the Bike Tour version!
  • Oil memo | Greenpeace International – Somebody leaked this memo to Greenpeace, from the American Petroleum Institute to the executives of its member companies, detailing their plans to orchestrate a fake grass roots ("astroturf") campaign against climate legislation in the US Senate, during Congress' August recess. They're clearly not afraid to use framing and research to make sure their message has the intended effect. C.f. the healthcare town hall shoutfests.
  • UK Freegans – A long FAQ on Freeganism. I still disagree with the idea that the profit motive is inherently evil, and more wasteful than a communitarian economy, and so I don't think I can really call myself a freegan, but still a lot of good points.
  • How decent bike parking could revolutionize American cities. – An article about the lack of any kind of structured bike parking in the US, in comparison to the copious car parking everyone seems to think is their god-given-right. However, he didn't make any reference to the $25,000 or more that each car parking space actually costs… too bad.
  • WWOOF – Something to do after grad school.
  • A Bigger Time Machine without Changing History – A method of switching to a larger Time Machine backup disk without losing your existing backup history, and without having to resort to any .plist editing or command line magic. Seriously Apple, why isn't this just built in?
  • Bicycle Inflation in Paradise? – A strong inverse correlation between the prices of used cars and the prices of used bikes is found across several US cities. In Portland, a used bike runs about $240 on Craigslist, and a used car $4500, while in Phoenix, it's $120 and $5600 respectively, with half a dozen other random examples thrown in. Is this an example of local culture in the Pacific NW trumping economic rationality? Or is it that a large proportion of the real value of a vehicle is actually embodied in the transportation network it is part of. Bikes are actually much more valuable in Portland or Boulder, because there is decent infrastructure to support them. Cars are less valuable in San Francisco and New York because of congestion and limited parking, and because the distances traveled in those places don't really require a car, especially when you have a bike or access to transit. Strange as it might seem, I think left coasters here are being perfectly rational.
  • The Impact of Boundary Spanning Scholarly Publications and Patents – In the natural sciences, work that cites (and presumably involves collaboration with) people outside your narrow field, tends to generate more citations. This is also true for patents in the US. Curiously, it's not true in the social sciences, where you are rewarded more for extensive in-field citations. One has to wonder exactly what dynamic is behind this, and how it affects the way research progresses in the two fields.
  • Backing Up Flickr – Flickr Touchr is a python script that backs up the full-resolution versions of your Flickr photos locally.
  • Keep Pedalling (Bicycle Hip Hop) – Australian bicycle hip-hop video. I didn't think I would iike it, but actually it's pretty sweet.

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