Links March 2011

Cory Doctorow wrote an interesting article for The Guardian about Harper-Collins attempts to make self-destructing books [1]. They claim that a traditional book falls apart after being read 26 times (a claim that Cory disputes based on personal experience working at libraries) and want ebooks to be deleted after being borrowed so often. Really the copy-right fascists are jumping the shark here.

Socialogical Images has an interesting archive of adverts for supposed treatments for autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, asperger syndrome, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder [2]. The New York University Child Study Center conducted the campaign of fake ransom notes to describe a psychological difference as something that kidnaps a child. The possibility that parents should to some extent learn to adapt to their child’s nature rather than fixing them with medication is something that most people can’t seem to understand.

William Cronon has written an interesting analysis of the way “Conservative”, lobby groups work [3]. They are more organised than I expected.

The Reid Report has a good summary of some of the corporat issues related to the Japanese nuclear melt-down [4], apparently the company that runs the reactors decided to delay using sea-water in the hope that their investment could be salvaged and thus put everyone at increased risk. I think that this proves that reactors shouldn’t be privately owned.

Ian Lowe wrote a good summary of the reasons why Australia should not be using nuclear power when we believed that the Fukushima disaster was over [5]. But it turns out that the Fukushima problems were worse than we thought and the melt-down is getting worse.

Christopher Smart wrote a good analysis of Microsoft’s latest attempt to extort money from Linux users where they assert patent claims over Android [6]. He points out that .NET/Mono is a risk to Linux.

Major Keary wrote a positive review of “Snip Burn Solder Shred” which is a book about “Seriously geeky stuff to make with your kids” [7]. Sounds like a fun book.

The internal network of RSA has been cracked in some way that apparently weakens the security of SecureID, Bruce Schneier’s blog comments section has an interesting discussion of the possibilities [8]. I expect that it’s a fairly bad attack, if the attack was minor then surely the RSA people would have told us all the details.

Hans Rosling gave an interesting TED talk about The Magic Washing Machine [9]. He describes how his family benefited when his mother first got a washing machine and how this resulted in better education as his mother had more time to get library books for her children. It seems that deploying more electric washing machines should be a priority for improving education and food supplies in third-world countries.

Paul Root Wolpe gave an interesting and disturbing TED talk about bio-engineering [10]. He catalogues the various engineered animals and talks about the potential for future developments.

Ron Rosenbaum wrote an interesting and insightful article for Slate about Maj. Harold Hering who’s military career ended after he asked how to determine whether a nuclear launch order is lawful, legitimate, and comes from a sane president [11]. The question never received a good answer, this is a good reason for moving towards nuclear disarmament – and for Americans to vote for the sanest and most intelligent candidate in the presidential elections.

Eythor Bender gave an inspiring TED talk about human exoskeletons [12]. He had live demonstrations on stage of a soldier using an exo-skeleton to carry a heavy backpack and a woman who suffered a severe spinal-cord injury walking after being in a wheel-chair for 19 years.

One thought on “Links March 2011”

  1. Having lived way off grid I must say a washing machine the thing I really missed. Spending a couple of hours washing clothes is not fun, even if they dry fast out in the sun.

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