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Strong opinions, weakly held

Month: August 2007 (page 3 of 3)

Links for August 9

I’ve been deficient in posting links but not in collecting them. Here’s a big list of interesting stuff I’ve seen over the past week:

Newsweek ran a long article this week about the well-funded global warming denial program that has developed over the past few decades. The article explains the comprehensive disinformation campaign applied over the years to stunt public understanding of global warming. Every popular argument against doing about global warming can be traced back to these efforts.

Wired editor Chris Anderson has a review of Bjorn Lomborg’s latest book on global warming. Lomborg has consistently said that we pay too much attention to climate change, but he comes up with different arguments in support of that assertion every year or two.

The recent barrage of greeting card spam was part of the largest spam and dump scam in history.

How many Web servers is Google running? Enough that Netcraft changing its tracking to separate Google Web Server from the general Apache population put a sizable dent in Apache’s market share in their survey.

Scott Rosenberg’s latest code read is the Big Ball of Mud paper. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

Buried in a long New Yorker article on Israel is an astounding factoid. Thirty percent of Israelis favor pardoning Yigal Amir, the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin. If I were a member of the remaining 70%, that would scare me.

MeasureIt is a cool screen ruler extension for Firefox.

The Boston Globe published an article on recent academic studies concerning the effects of diversity that bears thinking about. Here’s a snippet:

The study is part of a fascinating new portrait of diversity emerging from recent scholarship. Diversity, it shows, makes us uncomfortable — but discomfort, it turns out, isn’t always a bad thing. Unease with differences helps explain why teams of engineers from different cultures may be ideally suited to solve a vexing problem. Culture clashes can produce a dynamic give-and-take, generating a solution that may have eluded a group of people with more similar backgrounds and approaches. At the same time, though, Putnam’s work adds to a growing body of research indicating that more diverse populations seem to extend themselves less on behalf of collective needs and goals.

The Slacktivist exposes how banks have turned overdraft protection into a way to make a lot of money. Did you know that banks are allowed to manipulate the order in which your transactions are processed in order to cause you to withdraw more than your balance?

Thoreau at Unqualified Offerings on torture:

One of the most striking signs of our government’s complete immorality and incompetence is that they have turned the architect of 9/11 into a victim of human rights abuses.

Anil Dash posts about what designers can learn from chefs, fake Steve Jobs, and the new trend in pie charts.

Whimsley has a huge, fascinating post on the Netflix prize.

Bruce Schneier has put up one long post with his full interview with TSA’s Kip Hawley that I linked to previously.

There have been a ton of interesting reactions to the California voting machine security review. That’s a link to one of them with some jumping off points.

The idea that politicians should refuse to answer hypothetical questions is idiotic. Hopefully it’s one trend from the Bush administration that won’t last.

Elizabeth Kolbert on the New Yorker on bees.

Best captcha ever.

Tyler Cowen posts on the pros and cons of equalizing the income tax rate and capital gains tax rate. I have long been in favor of doing so but I’m no longer certain that is the best policy (even if it is the fairest).

Chris Anderson also posted a bearish review of Second Life, explaining why Wired magazine ended its SL boosterism.

Today’s iPhone bucket: there’s an NES emulator being developed. Apple is earning praise for its Web design guidelines for the iPhone. MobileTerminal may be the first native application for iPhone. Walt Mossberg posts about the new iPhone features in version 1.0.1.

Busy week

Sorry for the lack of daily linkage and commentary, but I had a crazy week. I’ve been doing a lot of this with the help of this and this. I even wound up buying this and this. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a JavaScript programmer, but after a week of full immersion, I feel like I am starting to really get it.

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