Thank you, Scientific American, for allowing Kyle Hill to express his fandom of the Mythbusters as much as I do. Europe needs this as much as the US: “We need a generation of kids who think an experiment is more important than a preconceived notion or an argument from authority“. If the Mythbusters show can help, then let us please have lots of it. Yes, it would be better if there was even more “science” and less explosions – but that’s American TV, no?
Archive for the ‘Society’ Category
Scripting News mentions Drew Houston and the role of MIT, and other examples of great software ideas like DropBox and Facebook that were conceived on university campuses. Dave Winer could have mentioned Dries Buytaert as well: the first version of Drupal was written when Dries was studying at the universities of Antwerpen and Gent (Belgium)…
Do you want to read a horror story? For a Belgian citizen like me, ‘Actually, Mr. Brill, Fixing Healthcare Is Kinda Simple‘ is a horror story. Our health care system isn’t perfect, and it is not cheap either. But at least it succeeds in giving decent care to all who need it, regardless of their wealth.
You want a market-driven healthcare economy? You’ll get it when the payer has as much clout as the biller does. And as Yglesias notes, the name of that payer is government…
Do you mind giving away an increasing amount of information about yourself to an increasing number of companies and governemental agencies? I do, but it’s not always easy to explain why privacy has a value that should not (only) be measured in economic terms.
The Atlantic previews an upcoming Harvard Law Review paper by Julie Cohen, titled: “What Privacy Is For“.
…[Privacy] is better understood as an important buffer that gives us space to develop an identity that is somewhat separate from the surveillance, judgment, and values of our society and culture. Privacy is crucial for helping us manage all of these pressures — pressures that shape the type of person we are — and for “creating spaces for play and the work of self-[development]“…
You’ll find the original paper on the SSRN website (which runs on ColdFusion, by the way ;-) at the address <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2175406> It’s not an easy text, written by an academic and using a lot of terms that may well have a different meaning in a European context. But who said life is easy?
There’s already a lot of code available on the Internet, but a museum “publishing” a significant code base is a significant event. Program code becomes a object for study by historians: “Computer History Museum shares original Adobe Photoshop source code“.
I’m not sure, though, that this is effectively the first such case…
Ars Technica: “World’s most industrious lazy man outsources all of his work to China “. Lazy? Creative! Ethical? That’s debatable. At the same time we can only conclude that his subcontractors were doing a good job at whatever it was that the man was supposed to do. Let’s hope our employers don’t get their inspiration from this story!
Here’s another view on The Newtown Shootings:
The sad reality is that most people with mental illness are scared by their disorder. They do not see violence as a solution to their problems. They don’t have the desire to harm others. Mass murders scare the mentally ill just as much as those who are not mentally ill…
Some may believe the saying “It’s not guns that kill, it’s people that kill“. The sad truth is, of course, that “It’s people with guns that kill“. Put that way, the best way to prevent killings like Newtown or Columbine or … is to keep guns away from the people. Not just in the US, but anywhere in the world.
Well, not really. Don Draper is a fictional character, Google did not exist in the 1960, etc. But: if you’re old enough to have seen computers in the early days of IT, then the Google60 Art Project will bring a smile to your face, and possibly bring back fond memories of the heroic days of early “programming”! If you’re younger, just try to imagine how such a setup would influence your work, compared to our current tools.
Thanks, Brian Proffitt and ReadWrite, for writing “This Is How Don Draper Would Have Searched The Web” and showing me this fine website/application/search engine/…
Bruce Schneier provokes another debate, and his writing is worth reading – and I love the headline: “When It Comes to Security, We’re Back to Feudalism“. Mainstream choices are pretty limited, at the moment – what’s to be done?
More history today, after yesterdays romp into “classical” personal computing. No computing device can be more “personal” than a smartphone (well, at least today), and HTC has published an infographic about the emergence of smartphones. You’ll find it on their blog. But the information shown is very incomplete: there is for example no mention of the whole Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) universe, although some of them were not just smart but also very much a mobile phone – like the Treo 180 from 2002. So don’t take this infographic too seriously, please.
There’s more than enough censorship in the world these days, and the Internet is not free from it either. We all know the countries that do not allow their residents to see and use all of the Internet. Luckily, there are solutions for those that want to bypass the censor. One of these solutions is “Scotty“. In the words of its creators: by using a local proxy app and a dedicated server, “the communication between the scotty proxy and the scotty gateway is encrypted and uses a simple HTTP connection“. It probably requires a bit of technical skills to install, especially the server part, but otherwise looks like a neat solution to a problem we all may face some day.
PS. Don’t tell me I shouldn’t promote such software, since it might (will!) be used by criminals for whatever it is they want to do. Software products are tools, and like any other tool they can be used and abused…
When I wrote about Heroku in 2008 I wasn’t aware of the company’s culture. But that culture is markedly different from its parent company, and might well be an essential part of its success. Read all about the Vibe Managers in “How Heroku’s ‘Vibe Managers’ Could Transform Salesforce’s Culture“.
I wouldn’t mind having Vibe Managers around where I work, but… From what I see around me, changing the culture within an enterprise is not easy, and requires massive executive buy-in and effort. We’ll see how Heroku – and Salesforce.com – fares in the future!
Wired writes: Open-Access Journal Experiment Begins Publishing Articles. The eLife website says: “The entire content of the journal will be freely available for all to read and reproduce for unrestricted use. This open access system will also enhance opportunities to share content and to more directly engage the reader“
It’s good to see public knowledge sharing – this is how humanity managed to grow its scientific knowledge since centuries.
Why don’t things like syndicating calendar information work yet? Sure, our systems aren’t ready (or are they?).
But neither are we, writes Jon Udell. In his words: “Syndication, at its core, means that when you want to give me something, you don’t have to send me a copy. You can instead grant me access to your original“… But we’re so used to sending copies (on paper, in email, …) that it’s hard to do anything else.
We’ll have to keep educating people, again and again. And when it’s about software, we’ll have to make sure that user interfaces reflect what is expected and possible.