Thursday, September 20, 2012

History is not kept well on the Internet

http://www.salon.com/2012/09/20/history_as_recorded_on_twitter_is_vanishing/

"A significant proportion of the websites that this social media [around the Arab Spring] points to has disappeared. And the same pattern occurs for other culturally significant events, such as the the H1N1 virus outbreak, Michael Jackson’s death and the Syrian uprising. In other words, our history, as recorded by social media, is slowly leaking away.
The researchers found that 27 percent of content linked to two years ago via social media has since disappeared. A Twitter history of the Arab Spring now leads to a lot of long-gone Web pages."

This is sad.  When Anonymous began protesting Scientology in 2008, I went on their web site and posted that "you need to have an archivist!"  Fortunately, quite a bit of that fleeting history, such as the call to arms on 4chan.org, were captured.  But in many cases people don't think about the historical nature of what they are doing, and don't even consider preserving the content of their actions.

I'm not sure what the solution is, except maybe for some Great Library somewhere to capture everything so the important stuff can be gleaned later. You listening, NSA?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Turning the net into a battleground

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/opinion/a-new-kind-of-warfare.html?_r=1&smid=tw-share

"The latest step occurred last month when the United States sent out bids for technologies 'to destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, corrupt or usurp' an adversary’s attempt to use cyberspace for advantage. The Air Force asked for proposals to plan for and manage cyberwarfare, including the ability to launch superfast computer attacks and withstand retaliation."

I have an idea. Why don't we instead work on making the Internet safer and more stable, instead of running headlong into a pissing match over who can destroy the biggest part of the net?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our big oil daddy is running dry

http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/saudis-may-not-have-oil-export-2030

"Saudi Arabia could be an oil Importer by 2030 - Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer (11.1mbpd) and exporter (7.7mbpd)," Rehman wrote.

It also consumes 25% of its production. Energy consumption per capita exceeds that of most industrial nations.
Oil and its derivatives account for 50% cent of Saudi's electricity production, used mostly (>50%) for residential use. Peak power demand is growing by 8%/yr. Our analysis shows that if nothing changes Saudi may have no available oil for export by 2030."

Well, where are we going to get our oil then?  We currently import about 1.5 million barrels of Saudi oil per day [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/business/energy-environment/us-reliance-on-saudi-oil-is-growing-again.html?pagewanted=all].  Where will we find that much oil elsewhere?

Or, perhaps we could ween ourselves off oil and find energy elsewhere?  Currently South Dakota gets 22% of its energy from wind power, and there's plenty more potential than that.  We may as well start thinking about this now rather than wait for 2029.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Using local eminent domain to deal with foreclosures?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/01/eminent-domain-mortgages_n_1836710.html

"Gluckstern had an interesting idea: Authorities would seize home loans -- crucially, not the properties themselves -- that fit a defined set of characteristics: underwater, held in private trusts and still current, meaning that homeowners were still making monthly mortgage payments. The local government would then forgive all of the debt in excess of what the home was worth and help homeowners refinance at a new, lower value.
The pension and institutional investment funds that actually own these loans would get paid fair market value. Mortgage Resolution Partners would pocket a $4,500 fee per loan for fronting the money to make the purchase. Homeowners would gain a new incentive to invest in repairs and upgrades to their homes, and gain hundreds of dollars each month to spend on the local economy.
The plan could be customized to fit the needs of the local community, Gluckstern said."

I'm not sure what to think of this.  It's a bold plan.  It may be a misuse of eminent domain.  But on the other hand, it may be the only hope many homeowners have for saving their homes.  The federal government quickly bailed out the very banks that caused the problem in the first place, but not much has been done for the homeowner victims of others' greed.  So I look forward to seeing how this pans out.