Links for the week of December 9th, 2010

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.

  • Passipedia – A wiki containing information on the PassivHaus standard, technical, economic, and otherwise.
  • From Judith Miller to Julian Assange – A short dissection of the point in 2002 at which the so-called "watchdog" press (NYTimes) failed… parroting anonymous White House sources regarding Saddam Hussein's nuclear capability, and thus enabling the Bush Administration's full-court-press in the rest of the media sphere… without divulging classified information, since it had already been divulged anonymously (by the same people, WTF?). Free Press transformed into government mouthpiece, in their own description no less. And as a result of that lack of skepticism, now the government gets to deal with the radical doubters.
  • Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information – A Congressional Research Service report obtained by the Federation of American Scientists detailing the US statutes under which WikiLeaks might be prosecuted. The general opinion of the author is that prosecution would be very difficult, relatively without precedent, and dangerous in any case to First Amendment protections of speech. Finally someone who isn't crazy!
  • What about China and India? « Climate Progress – Regardless of whether it's fair or not, if we want a clement planet, India and China don't get to build a couple of terrawatts worth of coal fired power plants. That's the atmospheric reality. Trying to envision a corresponding political scenario ends up feeling like reading wing-nut science fiction. The Indian city of Mumbai has a projected demand for air conditioning which is a quarter as large as the entire USA. And a 6°C warmer world won't help that at all!
  • Paving the Way for Buses The Great GM Streetcar Conspiracy – An exploration of the circumstances surrounding the demise of America's streetcar system in the mid 20th century. GM certainly did all it could to facilitate the transition to buses, trucks, and private automobiles, but there's no shortage of blame for poor government regulation which put the streetcars at a persistent disadvantage. Most of these regulations dated from early in the history of streetcars, when they were displacing horse-and-buggy transportation, but the last nail in their coffin was that in 1935 electricity generators were prohibited from owning other types of businesses.
  • Wikileaks Cable Search – A keyword search interface to the Wikileaks diplomatic cables… much easier than trying to sift through using the limited state department taxonomy of acronyms.
  • The Journalists Formerly Known as the Media: My Advice to the Next Generation » Pressthink – Jay Rosen from NYU attempts to outline the role of journalism in a world of fragmented audiences and trivially cheap and easy communication, in the context of a short history of the media, its publics, and their transformations over the last 250 years. Think of your audience as "users" of the information you provide, not passive consumers. Instead of pretending to be objective be transparent — make your position obvious. Don't imagine that you are somehow fundamentally different from your users. The only thing that makes you special is the particular information you have access to, and the work you've done to digest it. Anyone else with the time and inclination can attain the same authority by doing the same work. Don't write them off — if you want to be successful, let your users help you do the work. They are an important resource, and in aggregate, they know more than you do.

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Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

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