Posty Post

Dec. 26th, 2008 06:39 pm
semiotic_pirate: (BattlePrincess)
[personal profile] semiotic_pirate
The Netherlands' Delta Committee rocks. Click through to read an amazing article about the Dutch 200 year plan to protect their country from rising sea levels on account of global warming. Amazing diagrams and interesting pictures. Now that is prudent and rational planning. Now this makes me want to visit Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside of the Netherlands even more.

risk = (probability of failure) x (projected cost of damage)

Maybe if they had actually USED this equation for New Orleans, the damages and horrifying results of Hurricane Katrina wouldn't have occurred. This equation has been in used by the Dutch and for high-end engineering risk analysis since the 1950's, by the way. Other than the Dutch, it is usually only used by fields like nuclear power, aerospace, and chemical manufacturing.

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In the never-never land of created wants, enter the Mitsubishi LaserVue 65" Black DLP HDTV - L65A90 which is a laser-powered television with a starting price of $7K. Yowch! But it is capable of producing a 3D image… and it's got the best color, clarity, high contrast, etc. of any television out there… and it runs on 1/3 the energy of an LCD, 1/4 that of a plasma television… Maybe I'll be able to talk myself into the purchase of one of these someday, after the price drops considerably. With a 10.1" screen, 12.6" in depth with the stand and 136 lbs… Wow. Would need to upgrade the furniture too. At least other flat panel television prices are plummeting.

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Ummmm… What?! What's that you say? Pay especial attention to the comments below the article [livejournal.com profile] ginmar; maybe you can use them on the various stereo people you encounter in your life. *no hugs here* There are also a lot of insightful comments about the use, misuse, and worth of torture further down in the comment stream.

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Gives another layer to the meaning of the term kissing cousins, doesn't it? Dispassioned analysis of the genetic affects of intermarrying with your cousins as well as a handy-dandy figure showing where first-cousin marriage is outlawed. Very interesting. Genetically, I think it becomes a problem when the intermarriage of cousins happens multi-generationally. Meaning the first set of cousins' children marrying and then their children, etc. When the gene pool is limited by locality, this can be the outcome because the offspring tend to stay close to the epicenter of their birth, and their choices are narrowed further by having intermarriages between cousins above them in the family tree. Of course, all this reminds me of discussions of family trees in the Harry Potter novels. There are implications of everyone being related to someone, somehow, over the centuries. But, the most interesting comment in the article itself comes very quickly: "laws against the unions are a socially legitimized form of genetic and sexual discrimination." Who's the finger of blame going to be pointed at when the neochristians hear this tidbit? I bet they (as well as all the middle-aged couples looking to get their sprog on) get severely tweaked over the comment that it is comparable to restricting women over the age of 40 from childbearing because of an equivalent risk of birth defects.

I find it interesting that some of the articles linked to below this one are: Women, Trust Your Nose: Inbred Men May Smell Bad. And Calling Jerry Springer: Embryo Mixing Could Make Three-Parent Children where the term (new to me) trinogomous relationships is used. I think, in the case of the latter article, the more genetic mixing the better… Look at what it could do for mitochondrial based diseases! Are we on the edge of the reproductive freedom forefront? Between all of the above and gay marriage - I would say a resounding yes. I also would say that any child that is born wanted and is well cared for should be welcomed. Not as many commentors in this one, but the few ignorant dissenters are thoroughly trounced by the intelligent folk.

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Did anyone on my f-list know that you could auction off this little Monopoly rule:

"The main rule that tends to get ignored is the auction. If you land on a property and don't want it, it goes to auction. That's what tends to slow things down and put a lot of people off. If you don't get houses built it will go on forever."


Interesting BBC article about board games, where Monopoly is touted as a game that takes social interaction to "new heights" by placing a premium on negotiation. Hell. I didn't realize you could make deals to waive interest, exchange property, or form strategic alliances. Well maybe the latter… Tactics that are said to be common in multiplayer games. Maybe I just never played a game with enough people. Another game highlighted, Diplomacy, is touted as a game requiring the playing of the opponent as much as the game which is finding favour outside the home as an "educational tool." Interesting. I didn't know that a game that's central attraction lies in the negotiations, alliances, betrayals, poker faces and backstabbing… where you are expected to lie at every turn and constantly second guess your opponents intentions would be used as an educational tool. Yeah. Who am I kidding? Sounds a lot like life in the worst circumstances - circumstances that all of us must face at one time or another. For the unlucky, they face those circumstances constantly. The final sentences of the article separate the skill sets acquired nicely. Soft skills that games teach us:

"How to win and lose with grace, how to play nicely with our families; and how to dissemble, cajole, and gull our way to victory."


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Earlier today, I met with CoB, his brother and nephew - and they were laughingly teaching the toddler Chinese phrases and joking about preparing for our "Chinese overlords" a la Firefly universe beginnings. I was reminded of the conversation, over lunch I might add, when reading the following article, especially when I hit this part:

"In hindsight, many economists say, the United States should have recognized that borrowing from abroad for consumption and deficit spending at home was not a formula for economic success."


Can't everything be seen in hindsight when you are looking for it? Hrmphf. Now it is being said that Chinese Savings Helped Inflate American Bubble… No. Us greedy grubs did it to ourselves, you blighter.

On another Chinese note: a traveler's perspective of feeling like going from the Jetsons' to the Flinstones' when coming back o Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong. No kidding. Time to reboot our infrastructure indeed.

"My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover."


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Thought provoking article about for-profit charitable aid companies in the sin of doing good deeds. When they get more done for the charity in question, I applaud them. When they defraud the people donating to the charitable cause, this is when I have a problem. Hell. I loved it that Barnes and Noble did the "buy a book to be donated to needy children drive" this year… LOVED IT. I hope whoever gets the copies of The Hobbit and Ramona Quimby - Age 8 enjoy their first reading of them as much as I did. When businesses do things to help other people, when they (and no, I don't know if B&N fits into the whole category here) make it a point to act in ethical, sustaining, world/community building ways - while reigning in the business propensity for over-compensating the upper echelons of the business - good things happen. Businesses can do good even as they do well. That should be drilled into our children throughout their lives. Every person's actions have an effect in the world that can ripple out and affect people half a world away. Just because you aren't aware of that consciously does not mean it doesn't occur.

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Goo Goo! May B.H.O. go the way of F.D.R.

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Wish I had been able to be around to give the service people (mailman, firehouse, police station, the mechanic, etc.) boxing day gifts. I've done it a few times in my life. Usually it is a tin of home-baked goods or something like that.

"It is on Boxing Day, after all, on the “feast of Stephen,” that “Good King Wenceslas” looked out and saw the snow, “deep and crisp and even.” The cold was notable not for its beauty, but for the hunger that it brought with it. The king calls for food, wine and “pine logs” not for his own feast, but that he and his page may “bear them thither” to give to the poor… In the 19th century, the “boxes” of Boxing Day were either literally boxes of gifts or money, given by employers to staff and servants."


However, boxing day isn't just about giving to the poor, it is (I gather) about giving to those who work for you - either directly or indirectly. I got a bottle of wine from my manager before he left for holiday vacation. Yay! Just remember, today, your "servants" are out-sourced workers. The housekeepers, the dry cleaners, recycling and garbage collectors, delivery people and so forth… It is also a time for what is termed "duty visits" where you go and visit that obnoxious relative that you would never usually go and see. Ha! Don’t just keep “the Christmas of the belly: keep you the Christmas of the heart. Give — give.”

Must remember as well when Maundy Thursday rolls around. It is supposed to have a similar purpose - giving alms to the poor.

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Gorgeous house in the background, neh?

The article that it is associated with, however, has a stupid title that is contradicted throughout by itself. Oh noes! You have to clear off the solar panels! You knew there would be a trade-off during the changing of the seasons when you installed the darn things, and no amount of poo-pooing in an article can make it seem like no one would know that days are shorter during the winter in the northern hemisphere. And, no, ice is not flung like javelins from spinning wind turbines. Sheesh.

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More cheers for the Kindle and the beginnings of the passing of the "early adopter" phase of the e-book craze. Bring it on! Go paperless, people! Someday, the only books people will own on paper will be their ultimate favorites - or maybe even those won't need to be paper anymore. The easiest way to turn fetishist bibliophiles on to ebooks would be to start making/selling book/paper scented candles to burn when reading so you can elevate the ambiance of the moment.

In related news, and my last bit of writing… Finally... Crowdsourcing your tech support needs. It is something that I've done more and more often over the last few years. In addition to all the sites mentioned in the article I would like to applaud the advent of YouTube and the helpful how-to videos have helped immensely as well as being able to use Google to search for help using a short description of the problem. Way cool. Keep it up, internetz!

And now… I go cuddle with CoB. Huzzah!
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