Links July 2008

Steven Levitt gave an interesting talk for TED about the economics of a crack-dealing gang [1]. He makes some interesting comparisons with the way that corporations work.

Top 10 strangest terrorism patents [2]. Items 1 and 4 have been implemented many years ago, item 5 was probably implemented by the CIA decades ago (they did many similar things), item 7 will probably kill a significant portion of the passengers (bummer if it goes off accidentally), item 8 has the same problem but will only target nervous people (calm terrorists can do what they want), and the creator of item 9 doesn’t seem to have much idea about how much energy is contained by high explosive.

Supporters of Barack Obama are adopting Hussein as their middle-name to support him and oppose some of the unreasonable claims from extremists [3]. I’m not planning to call myself Russell Hussein Coker.

Chris Samuel summarises the latest CSIRO report about droughts caused by climate change [4]. He notes that most simulations are based on lower levels of CO2 than we are expecting…

Interesting article in the Guardian about car use in the US [5]. It suggests that soon suburbs will be slums occupied by the poor an unemployed and inner city areas will experience a revival.

Recently I’ve been putting the papers I’ve presented at conferences online on my documents blog (see this link for the “papers” category) [6]. The papers are almost unchanged from when I published them, I fixed up some broken URLs and made some notes on relevant things that have happened since publication but made no essential changes to the text. article about Bonnie++ [7]. It’s well written and covers most of the features quite well. An unfortunate omission is the fact that if you want to run Bonnie++ from the root account you can specify “-u user” on the command-line to run the test as a different user, or you can use “-u root” if you REALLY want to run it as root.

A article with the source code for a Perl script to create charts from Bonnie++ results [8]. I had always planned that other people would write programs like this, I’m glad to see someone finally publish the source to one!

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