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PUBLIC MARKS from multilinko

July 2006

Slashdot | Wind Powered Freighters Return

"It appears that sails could return to the ocean's freighters soon. Newsweek is reporting on a technology to assist with cross-ocean travel. From the article: 'SkySails' system consists of an enormous towing kite and navigation software that can map the best route between two points for maximum wind efficiency. In development for more than four years, the system costs from roughly $380,000 to $3.2 million, depending on the size of the ship it's pulling. SkySails claims it will save one third of fuel costs.'"

If only gay sex caused global warming - Los Angeles Times

NO ONE seems to care about the upcoming attack on the World Trade Center site. Why? Because it won't involve villains with box cutters. Instead, it will involve melting ice sheets that swell the oceans and turn that particular block of lower Manhattan into an aquarium.

June 2006

Slashdot | DVD Format War Already Over?

'Nobody likes false starts' - claims the assertive and risky article "10 Reasons Why High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed" published by Audioholics which outlines their take on why the new Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats will attain nothing more than niche status in a marketplace that is brimming with hyperbole. Even though the two formats have technically just hit the streets, the 'Ten reasons' article takes a walk down memory lane and outline why the new DVD tech has a lot to overcome.

Wired 14.05: The Next Green Revolution

Renewable energy is plentiful energy. Burning fossil fuels is a filthy habit, and the supply won't last forever. Fortunately, a growing number of renewable alternatives promise clean, inexhaustible power: wind turbines, solar arrays, wave-power flotillas, small hydroelectric generators, geothermal systems, even bioengineered algae that turn waste into hydrogen. The challenge is to scale up these technologies to deliver power in industrial quantities - exactly the kind of challenge brilliant businesspeople love. Efficiency creates value. The number one US industrial product is waste. Waste is worse than stupid; it's costly, which is why we're seeing businesspeople in every sector getting a jump on the competition by consuming less water, power, and materials. What's true for industry is true at home, too: Think well-insulated houses full of natural light, cars that sip instead of guzzle, appliances that pay for themselves in energy savings. Cities beat suburbs. Manhattanites use less energy than most people in North America. Sprawl eats land and snarls traffic. Building homes close together is a more efficient use of space and infrastructure. It also encourages walking, promotes public transit, and fosters community. Quality is wealth. More is not better. Better is better. You don't need a bigger house; you need a different floor plan. You don't need more stuff; you need stuff you'll actually use. Ecofriendly designs and nontoxic materials already exist, and there's plenty of room for innovation. You may pay more for things like long-lasting, energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, but they'll save real money over the long term.

Validation of My Urban Weight Theory |

People who live in high-density core cities are significantly healthier than residents of sprawling suburbs, says a report being released today by Sightline, an environmental think-tank based in Seattle. That’s because the extra time suburbanites spend in their cars each week makes them fatter — increasing their risk of chronic disease — at the same time that it makes them more likely to be killed or injured in a car crash.

Boing Boing: Psychology of bad probability estimation: why lottos and terrorists matter

Here's the audio from a South By Southwest 2006 presentation by Harvard's Daniel Gilbert on the psychology of probability estimation. This is important stuff -- it explains why we're socially willing to commit nigh-infinite social resources to fighting terrorism, though statistically, terrorist attacks almost never happen; though we barely lift a finger to help save people from routine traffic accidents, backyard pool drownings, and asthma, which mow down our neighbors by the thousands. It explains why people buy lottery tickets. It explains a great deal about many kinds of human activity.

Popular Science - The Future of Energy

10 Steps To End America’s Fossil-Fuel Addiction Alternative energy plans like the ones in this article are already being used around the world.

DailyTech - Vampire Slayer Act of 2006 Approved by California Assembly

The Vampire Slayer Act of 2006 has been approved by the California Assembly. AB1970, a bill proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, would force companies to put labels on devices that tell consumers how much energy is being used while the device is in standby mode. AB1970 supporters claim that the average household will pay an additional $200 per year due to electronics on standby. However, not everyone is pleased with the Vampire Slayer Act -- the Consumer Electronics Association, Electronic Industries Alliance and the American Electronic Association believe the bill will ultimately confuse consumers.

Slashdot | Psychopharm Going 'Mainstream' In Schools?

Back in the day, college was a place where a lot of kids tried recreational drugs. Now the world's more competitive, psychopharmaceuticals are better targeted, and millions of students are routinely using drugs to work better and longer.

May 2006

Incentives and Rebates

Take advantage of grants, rebates, discounts and other incentives available to help you use less energy, switch to renewable energy and produce less waste at home and on the road. To start, make one or more selections below:

Slashdot - Making Money Selling Music Without DRM

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson has an excellent writeup on the rise of eMusic and how they're suceeding despite their unwillingness to hop on the DRM bandwagon.

Dimslow Report 04 07 05 - We're Number One

In sum, the U.S., the supposed leader of the free world and the economy, especially as pronounced daily by politicians and the corporate and mainstream media, and by corporate spokespeople, educators and other officials, is far from number one, often dead last, in health care, education, housing, environmental protection, safety, freedom, financial security, democracy, and peace.

The Irascible Professor-commentary of the day 04-27-06. Just tell me I'm wonderful and give me the A.

I have to admit I have contributed to grade inflation, not willingly, but because of overwhelming pressure from all sides. I don't hand out As and Bs like candy, the way so many teachers do these days, but I do tend to pull my punches at the lower end of the grade scale. I don't give as many Ds and Fs as I used to. In fact, I often put a C- on a paper that would have earned a D from me twenty years ago. Giving a student less than a C- on any sort of writing that is not absolutely illiterate has become virtually impossible, no matter what the flaws in the writing are -- especially since even our best college students now make errors of the sort that would have earned a grade school student an F at one time.

April 2006

Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner-- President Does Not Seem Amused

by 1 other (via)
Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.” He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg.”

'Galactica' Prequel on Tap at Sci Fi

"Caprica" will be set more than 50 years prior to the events of "Battlestar Galactica" and focus on the lives of two families -- the Adamas (ancestors of future Galactica commander William) and the Graystones. Humankind's Twelve Colonies are at peace and on the verge of a technological breakthrough: the first Cylon. As "Battlestar Galactica" is about a lot more than space battles, "Caprica" will be as much family drama as sci-fi tale. Remi Aubuchon ("The Lyon's Den," "24") is writing the pilot script; "Galactica" veterans Ronald D. Moore and David Eick will executive produce it.

'Fans who share music aren't thieves'

by 1 other (via)
Canadian musicians are rising up against p2p lawsuits, statutory damages, DRM and anti-circumvention legislation. They've started a new group called the Canadian Music Creators Coalition.

Slashdot | Tilting At Windmills

Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post about environmentalists who are opposing renewable energy sources." From the article: "Already, activists and real estate developers have stalled projects across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York. In Western Maryland, a proposal to build wind turbines alongside a coal mine, on a heavily logged mountaintop next to a transmission line, has just been nixed by state officials who called it too environmentally damaging. Along the coast of Nantucket, Mass. -- the only sufficiently shallow spot on the New England coast -- a coalition of anti-wind groups and summer homeowners, among them the Kennedy family, also seems set to block Cape Wind, a planned offshore wind farm. Their well-funded lobbying last month won them the attentions of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who, though normally an advocate of a state's right to its own resources, has made an exception for Massachusetts and helped pass an amendment designed to kill the project altogether.

The military's battle over Donald Rumsfeld -

Arizona's East Valley Tribune reports that Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona said he agrees with the generals who have criticized Rumsfeld, but that the president has the right to have the people he wants in key positions. "I was asked a long time ago, I think a year and a half or two years ago, if I had confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld. I was asked that directly. I said, 'No,'" the Republican senator said during a news conference at his Phoenix office. "But the president has the right and earned the right as the president of the United States to appoint his team — and he has confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld. I will continue to work with Secretary Rumsfeld as much as I can as long as he is secretary of Defense. We have to, because we need to win this war." - Another general joins ranks opposing Rumsfeld - Apr 13, 2006

The commander who led the elite 82nd Airborne Division during its mission in Iraq has joined the chorus of retired generals calling on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to leave the Pentagon. "I really believe that we need a new secretary of defense because Secretary Rumsfeld carries way too much baggage with him," retired Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack told CNN's Barbara Starr on Thursday. Swannack is the second general who served in Iraq under Rumsfeld to call for him to resign.

Novelist scientist silenced as Harper Tories quietly axe 15 Kyoto programs - Yahoo! News

A scientist with Environment Canada was ordered not to launch his global warming-themed novel Thursday at the same time the Conservative government was quietly axing a number of Kyoto programs. - Is George W. Bush the worst president in 100 years?

On March 16, Iraqi insurgents fired a mortar shell into the U.S. army base in Tikrit, landing near two members of the 101st Airborne Division, reportedly as they stood waiting for a bus. The explosion killed Sgt. Amanda Pinson of St. Louis, Mo., making her the 2,315th U.S. soldier killed in Iraq since the war began three years ago. She was 21. A few hours later in Washington, the U.S. Senate voted 52-48 to increase the ceiling on the national debt, by $781 billion, to $9 trillion (all figures US$) -- or roughly $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the country -- thus avoiding the first-ever default on U.S. debt. The House of Representatives then approved another $92 billion in federal spending to support the war effort in the Middle East. That night, Gallup wrapped up its latest opinion poll on Americans' attitudes toward the White House, showing just 37 per cent approve of the President's performance, versus 59 per cent who disapprove -- a drop of five percentage points in a month -- one of the worst scores of any president in the modern era.

Canadian music industry: forget the levies, bring on DRM heaven

Digital Rights Management, to repeat my argument, is not about stopping piracy, but about shutting down fair use. The aim of shutting down fair use is simple: the copyright owners want to nickel and dime users.

Daily Kos: Midday open thread

Bush at 53% disapproval in the latest FoxNews poll. That's a 36% approval, tying his lowest Fox rating. He's even losing Republicans, from above 80% down to 74% approval (a mind-boggling number, when you think about it). Approval among Democrats: 8%.

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