Links November 2009

Credit Writedowns has a populist interpretation of the latest Boom-Bust cycle [1]. It’s an interesting analysis of the way the US economy is working.

Bono writes for the NY Times about Rebranding America [2]. He praises Barack Obama suggesting a different reason to believe that the peace prize is deserved and describes what he believes to be the world’s hope for the US. is a useful site that analyses your blog [3]. It gives some advice on how to improve some things as well as links to feed validation sites.

Evgeny Morozov gave an interesting TED talk “How the Net Aids Dictatorships” [4]. I don’t agree with his conclusion, he has some evidence to support his claims but I think that a large part of that is due to people not using the Internet well. I expect things to improve. The one claim that was particularly weak was when he mentioned radio stations in Rwanda as an example of technology being used for bad purposes – the entire point about the first-world discussion about such things is the radio vs the Internet.

Ray Anderson gave an inspiring talk about “The Business Logic of Sustainability” [5]. He transformed his carpet company, decreasing it’s environmental impact by 82% and it’s impact per volume of product by more than 90% while also significantly increasing it’s profitability. He says that corporate managers who don’t protect the environment should be regarded as criminals. Making his company more environmentally friendly reduced expenses (through efficiency), attracted more skillful employees, and attracted environmentally aware customers. Managers who don’t follow Ray’s example are not only doing the wrong thing for the environment, they are doing the wrong thing for their stockholders! Ray’s company Flor takes carpet orders over the web [6]. They won’t ship a catalogue outside the US, so presumably they only sell carpet to the US too.

Marc Koska gave an interesting TED talk about a new syringe design that prevents re-use [7]. His main aim is to prevent the spread of AIDS in the developing world – where even hospital staff knowingly reuse syringes. It will also do some good in developed countries that try to prohibit drug use.

David Logan gave an interesting TED talk about tribal leadership [8]. His use of the word “tribe” seems rather different from most other uses, and I am a bit dubious about some of his points. But it is definitely a talk worth seeing and considering.

Deirdre Walker is a recently retired Assistant Chief of Police who has worked for 24 years as a police officer, she describes in detail her analysis of the flaws in the TSA security checks at US airports [9].

Brian Krebs wrote an article for the Washington Post recommending that Linux Live CDs be used for Internet banking [10]. Windows trojans have been used to take over bank accounts that were accessed by security tokens, that could only be accessed by certain IP addresses, and that required two people to login. It seems that nothing less than a Linux system that is solely used for banking is adequate when a lot of money is at stake.

The NY Times has an interesting review of the book “Ayn Rand and the World She Made” [11]. It seems that Ayn was even madder than I thought.

Gary Murphy has written an interesting analysis of the latest stage in the collapse of the US Republican party [12].

The ABC (AU) Law Report has an interesting article about Evony’s (of China and the US) attempting to sue Bruce Everiss (of the UK) in Australia [13].

The Guardian has an insightful article about the IEA making bogus claims about the remaining oil reserves [14]. It seems that the experts who work for the IEA estimate that oil is running out rapidly while the US is forcing them to claim otherwise.

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has written an interesting article about the economic effects of the war in Iraq [15]. Apparently it caused the loss of over 2,000,000 jobs – considerably more than the job losses that could ever result from efforts to combat global warming.

2 comments to Links November 2009

  • etbe

    Anon wrote:
    Using a live CD for banking could prove dangerous, though, if not kept up to date. People might have a tendency to burn a live CD once and never update it, which would leave them vulnerable to browser security holes or similar.

  • etbe

    Generally browser security holes can only be exploited if the user can be tricked into visiting a bad site.

    If the user correctly enters the bank URL on the first attempt and if the DNS returns the correct data then the only attack vector would be an attack on the kernel.

    Currently DNS can be exploited, but I expect that banks will get smart and start leading the way in introducing DNSSEC.