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Shell accepts responsibility for Nigeria Oil Spills

04 Aug 2011 -

Niger delta oil spills will take +25 years to clean! Good news is that Shell has accepted some responsibility

Patent Fears

17 Jul 2011 -

The Guardian reports that several independent European software developers are removing their apps from sale in the US for fear of being sued.

[Simon Maddox] told the Guardian that it’s “far too dangerous to do business” in the US because of the risk of software patent lawsuits.

But for US-based developers, the problems remain. Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory, developer of Twitterrific, remarked that “Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do and tweeted that “I became an independent developer to control my own destiny. I no longer do”. Iconfactory is among those being targeted by Lodsys, but earlier this week was granted a 30-day extension to reply to Lodsys’s claim.

Even if you are not against software patents in general, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current system does not work as originally intended and might actually stifle innovation rather that help it.

Rethinking Growth

03 May 2011 -

Herman Daly interviewed for Seed magazine:

What we tax mostly now is income from the input of labor and capital, what economists called “value added.”

Value added to what? To the resources extracted from nature, which are treated as zero. So, the idea is to shift our tax base away from value added and toward the resources themselves. If we want to increase efficiency, then we have to begin by making things more expensive. We’re careful how we use gold. We’re not so careful how we use aluminum.

Private City

28 Apr 2011 -

Melissa Febos writes about living in New York and crying in public.

In a place where we are so rarely alone, we find privacy in public. We all have our masks, behind which we are free to be, yes, depressed, or any other emotional state we may not want to share with 30 fellow passengers.

Eating well

25 Apr 2011 -

Michael Pollan in a long and interesting article on food and nutrition:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

So simple.

Work Your Ass Off

07 Apr 2011 -

Will Shipley on success:

We’re blindly following past lottery winners thinking we can win the lottery, too, if we just emulate them. But, mostly, lotteries create lots of small losers. Losers aren’t written about in magazines, but they’re the majority.

And further:

This doesn’t work. Your idea sucks. No, I’m not calling you stupid — my idea sucks, too. All ideas suck, because they are just ideas. They’re worth nothing.

My success is because I worked to make the idea real. A lot. All my life. Starting when I was 12, I learned to program, and I’ve programmed every spare moment since.

Lego Wars

04 Apr 2011 -

Brilliant photographs of Lego figures set in Star Wars scenes.

Photographing TVs Turning Off

28 Mar 2011 -

Fascinating pictures of cathode ray tube TVs being turned off.

The iPad Does More

26 Mar 2011 -

JP Teti gets it:

Apple is encouraging people to explore and play around. The iPad only does less than a regular computer to us geeks. To everyone else, it does more.

Japan Before and After

14 Mar 2011 -

Devastating satellite images of Japan from before and after the earthquake and tsunami by The New York Times. Still, as Dave Ewing and others tweeted, the destruction would have been significantly worse if not for good engineering and government control.

Brilliant Climate Change Strip

09 Feb 2011 -

British artist and cartoonist Darryl Cunningham takes on the issue of global warming.

James Bond Is A Girl

09 Feb 2011 -

Warren Ellis:

In CASINO ROYALE, James Bond is the Bond girl. Look at the way they even show him emerging from the ocean like Ursula Andress. Sexual torture, too, if less creepy-glam than being stripped and painted gold. Vesper Lynd is Bond: never not in control, never without a plan, seducing to further her goals. She has to die so Bond can become her.

The Cook Doctrine

25 Jan 2011 -

Horace Dediu quotes Tim Cook on Apple’s mission:

We believe in the simple, not the complex.

[…]

And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.

That’s a goal everyone should adhere to

Urban Scaling

25 Jan 2011 -

Santa Fe Institute reports on findings by Luis Bettencourt and colleagues of new relations between the relative size of a city and various statistical properties of its inhabitants:

The researchers have shown, in fact, that with each doubling of city population, each inhabitant is, on average, 15 percent wealthier, 15 percent more productive, 15 percent more innovative, and 15 percent more likely to be victimized by violent crime regardless of the city’s geography or the decade in which you pull the data.

Remarkably, this 15 percent rule holds for a number of other statistics as well – so much so that if you tell Bettencourt and West the population of an anonymous city, they can tell you the average speed at which its inhabitants walk.

Fascinating insight that just might allow us to better plan for the continuing urbanization.

“Almost anything that you can measure about a city scales nonlinearly, either showing economies in infrastructure or per capita gains in socioeconomic quantities,” Bettencourt says. “This is the reason we have cities in the first place. But if you don’t correct for these effects, you are not capturing the essence of particular places.”

When To Show You New Mail

25 Jan 2011 -

Basil Safwat investigates exactly what happens when you’re in the iPhone mail app and a new message arrives. It’s a fantastic example of the incredible attention to detail that makes Apple products so insanely great.

They Were There

24 Jan 2011 -

Errol Morris made this 30-minute film for IBM, celebrating their centennial. It’s a fantastic tribute to the brilliant people of IBM and what we can accomplish under the right circumstances. (via John Gruber)

IBM's Watson Plays Jeopardy

14 Jan 2011 -

Last year, I linked to an article about Watson, the fantastic machine IBM has spent the last 3 years building. Now ZDNet has video of one the the testing rounds. It really is remarkable what the clever among us can accomplish.

Algorithms on Wall Street

13 Jan 2011 -

I’ve written about computer controlled trading before and the legality of it still baffles me. Ars Technica explains the dangers:

“Our financial markets have become a largely automated adaptive dynamical system, with feedback,” says Michael Kearns, a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has built algorithms for various Wall Street firms. “There’s no science I’m aware of that’s up to the task of understanding its potential implications.”

URL Design

04 Jan 2011 -

Great advice from Kyle Neath on designing the structure of URLs

URLs are universal. They work in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, cURL, wget, your iPhone, Android and even written down on sticky notes. They are the one universal syntax of the web. Don’t take that for granted.

Ricky Gervais on Atheism

20 Dec 2010 -

Ricky Gervais:

My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.