Tag Archives: children

Links for the week of November 20th, 2009

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Links for the week of Jul 16th

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  • Wal-Mart To Become Green Umpire – Wal-Mart arguably has more control over and insight into its supply chain than any other company on earth. The information they need in order to be able to force their suppliers to produce the goods as cheaply as humanly possible overlaps substantially with the information required to provide transparent information about the environmental impacts of those same products. Wal-Mart says they want to use this power for good… for telling, in condensed form, the sustainability back-story for their products. But will they tell the truth? Will it be transparent? Will it be verifiable? And even if it is… will their customers care? Might it change their customer base?
  • Howtoons – A series of comics which both tell stories, and inspire kids to build their own toys and tools. Wonderful hacker propaganda.
  • Where's the Real Bottleneck in Scientific Computing? – A story about a computer scientist talking to physicists who have hundreds of thousands of lines of code, and don't know what version control or unit testing is. Hmm. I guess I don't really know what unit testing is either.
  • Software Carpentry – A Python based tutorial for scientists and engineers who need to learn how to (actually) program. How could it have taken this long to appear?

Shared Links for Apr 6th

  • Sing a dirge for the unused adipic acid – An essay on the unpleasantries of being lab safety officer, and the sentimental attachment that scientists have to their expired reagents. (tagged: science chemistry lab safety )
  • Does carbon-eating cement deserve the hype? – A process for manufacturing cement which sequesters CO2 (instead of releasing it) has been recently hyped. Chemistry looks dodgy though, and the company (Calera) is not forthcoming with details, or even a gross inputs/outputs for their miracle black box. Caveat emptor. (tagged: carbon climate technology cement )
  • Self Irrigating Planter Resources – A nice little gathering of pointers to information on DIY self-watering planters. Still trying to figure out how one might be able to use tires to make one of these…. (tagged: gardening technology food sustainability urban )
  • The Case Against Breast-Feeding – Backlash against the relatively new social imperative (in the west) that women must breastfeed to be good mothers. I think the real issues are that we haven't structured our society and its expectations to meaningfully accommodate having children and equitable peer spousal relationships. I agree there's something broken, but I don't think it's breastfeeding. And I feel like it's another example of the Newtonian hangover… we're so used to being able to figure things out authoritatively, a la Newton, that we almost don't know how to deal with planning around and purturbing complex systems like the climate, or ecologies, or economies, or agricultural systems, or genomes, or nutrition… which we depend on, but don't understand fully (and because of their chaotic nature, may never understand fully. We're used to Apollonian systems, but actually we live in a Dionysian world. (tagged: science food children health breastfeeding society )
  • Collapse Of The Ice Bridge Supporting Wilkins Ice Shelf Appears Imminent – This ice shelf is 3x the area of Rhode Island. It's already floating, so it won't have any effect on sea level as it separates, but that's a lot of ice. Wish we had better time series for this kind of observation. Really need the best long term Earth monitoring system we can build. (tagged: environment climate antarctica ice )
  • The strengths of the academic enterprise – A great essay by Dijkstra on the nature of academia, and the problems of cooperation between entities with dramatically different time horizons. Who knew he was interested in things other than graph theory? (tagged: academia science sustainability education technology )

Shared Links for Thu, Feb 5th, 2009

  • First annual Letter from the Gates Foundation – I hate Microsoft, but in the great American tradition of evil corporate fortunes being given back to good causes, the Gates Foundation works on some difficult, important, and interesting problems. I've been curious exactly how and why their focus on population has faded away over the last few years. Not sure this letter (suggested by and modeled after Warren Buffet… who doubled their endowment last year) really answers that question. I get the feeling that the change is partly for PR reasons – that they remain focused on the issue, but don't think it's really productive to make that statement prominently. (tagged: philanthropy health microsoft bill gates population )
  • WRI on Bus Rapid Transit v. Light Rail – Given the difference in cost, I really don't understand why BRT doesn't get more consistent consideration in transportation planning. Hopefully someone will notice this study (and hopefully the study is done well…) (tagged: transit transportation brt rail sustainability bus green )
  • Bill Gates unplugged – Talked about two problems: malaria, and lousy teaching in America. Not so interested in Malaria (we know what we need to do, we just don't really care… and if all it does is increase human population, is that really a success?), but our inability to make teaching work well reliably is really annoying… (tagged: education ted teaching schools bill gates )
  • Till Children Do Us Part – Yeah, having kids can keep you together… out of obligation, or desperation if you're an unemployable 50s housewife. But jeez, who ever thought they actually help a marriage? (tagged: children marriage love )
  • Dumping the Refrigerator for a Greener Planet – Well of course I *could* do without a fridge if I wanted to, but why not just get a super-efficient one, or understand better what *actually* needs refrigerated, or design a fridge that takes advantage of the outside temperature for condensing or evaporating coolant, or build an insulated north-facing root cellar into your earth-sheltered house, or use a zeer evaporative fridge, etc. Story seems a little one dimensional. (tagged: refrigerator energy sustainability green environment efficiency )
  • Extended Producer Responsibility – I wonder just how much of my predilection for German bike parts comes from their EPR policies, and how much comes from the German design ethos, and how separable those two things really are? (tagged: bike germany green sustainability recycling policy bicycle )