Shared Links for May 5th

  • How David Beats Goliath – When the rules are stacked against you, the intelligent thing to do is break them. (tagged: strategy law war insurgency guerilla gametheory basketball lawrenceofarabia )
  • Continuous bankruptcy – Bankruptcy as it stands now is a discontinuous process. Your legal solvency is binary: either you are bankrupt, or you are not. It doesn't have to be that way, and I think you can make a good argument that it's better if it isn't. Continuous processes work themselves out in small steps, with lots of information flow along the way. Discontinuous ones are like explosions. It's easier to muster resistance to an explosion once you see it coming, and delay it. But how much better to start getting signals early on, and avert it altogether? (tagged: finance policy economics bailout banks bankruptcy discrete continuous )
  • Digital Recovery of Moon Images – Ahh, NASA. Your data management has improved over the years, but that's not saying much. 20 tons of magnetic tape in an abandoned McDonalds houses the only extant copy of the pre-Apollo analog imaging of the Moon (still the highest resolution available in most places). It can only be read by one machine on Earth, which was recently rescued from a chicken coop, and refurbished by a man who is about to die. You can't make this stuff up. (tagged: information technology space nasa archive data moon )
  • Will the Future Be Geo-Engineered? – The future is already geo-engineered, and has been ever since we started burning coal on a large scale more than 200 years ago. The question now is whether we back off, and try to let the system return to the quasi-equilibrium that allowed our civilization to arise, or introduce new and exciting perturbations, with completely unpredictable non-linear effects. I know which one I'm hoping for. (tagged: geoengineering technology non-linear climate policy environment )
  • Hacking Scalia – Law professor gives class an assignment to dig up as much "private" info as possible on Justice Scalia, a notable anti-privacy force on the SCOTUS. This irritates Scalia. Exactly! (tagged: law privacy scalia scotus )
  • No new coal: what real direct action looks like – The $10 million spent on violently policing the "climate camp" protest outside Kingsnorth is absurd, given that a single motivated saboteur, capable of advance planning and actually willing to risk arrest and injury, can walk into the power plant and shut down 500MW of coal fired power generation. If governments fail to deal with greenhouse gas emissions effectively, and remain in thrall to the carbon lobbies, it seems likely that soon this kind of action will become more common, and truly disruptive. All it takes is a few thousand people who actually care, and our infrastructure can be brought to its knees. (tagged: energy environment green coal climate protest kingsnorth directaction )

Shared Links for Feb 18th

  • Do the British love their children too? – Two girls run over while biking to their school 3 miles away. British (and probably American) "solution": re-allocate a school bus to their area (removing the bus from somewhere else). Dutch/German/Danish solution: provide better cycling infrastructure for everyone. Guess which one I think is better. (tagged: bicycle transportation infrastructure accident bike )
  • MIT open prototype initiative – A project to produce modular, open (freely available, non-proprietary) prototype designs for energy efficient buildings. MIT is so awesome. (tagged: green architecture design building )
  • LEED Platinum Prefab Home Now Available – Taking all the design work out of building zero energy homes should make it a lot easier to build them, but the contractors doing the actual construction still need to understand what they're doing, and how their application of building techniques will affect the end performance of the building (and their profits need to be tied to that performance somehow) (tagged: green architecture leed construction buildings )
  • Kidnapping Chrysler – Of course Cerberus (private equity firm that owns Chrysler, not three headed dog guarding hell) has a "fiduciary obligation" to seek a handout from the Feds. And by Jove, the Feds have a fiduciary obligation to refuse to give it to them! (tagged: bailout chrysler cerberus crisis economy gm )
  • Where data goes when it dies – Following from the Ma.gnolia implosion, Chris Messina muses on data loss and recovery… kind of an information grieving process. What are we going to do with all of this information anyway? 100 years from now, all historians will have to be AI. (tagged: data archive backups loss microformats recovery )
  • What really happened at Ma.gnolia – The social bookmarking service Ma.gnolia was, despite its surprisingly large user base, basically run like Ideotrope – one guy with a server, and some (in retrospect) pretty janky backups. A couple of weeks ago, the 500GB MySQL database file got corrupted, the backups failed, and the site imploded. Lessons to be learned indeed: number one is don't do your own IT, now that S3, EC2, the Google Apps Engine, and other such scalable enterprise systems are available. We gotta get that server retired… (tagged: backups magnolia data servers hosting )
  • Baseline Scenario for 2009-02-09 – A rundown of the current global financial situation, and governmental attempts to get things under control. These guys aren't particularly optimistic at the moment about our ability to acknowledge just how beholden our supposedly powerful and developed governments have become to the banking industry. We're acting like Indonesia or Russia with their oligarchic overlords. (tagged: finance economy economics crisis )