Lawrence Solum’s Legal Theory Blog has a nice introduction to the precautionary principle — the bedrock philosophical/ethical idea that undergirds much environmental activism. This is a little dense, but well worth a read.
I just became aware that in versions prior to 2.5, Movable Type generated invalid RSS feeds. Even though I have upgraded Moveable Type since then, the old templates were not be automatically upgraded. Thus, if you are running a blog on our site, you should follow
these simple instructions for updating your templates so that your RSS feeds will be valid once again.
Mozilla Firebird 0.61 is out. It’s minor update to my hands-down favorite browser. I only mention it because this release is supposed to fix the “autocomplete crash” bug that has been really annoying me.
Seriously, if you’re still using IE as your default browser, give Firebird a try. You haven’t lived until you’ve surfed with tabbed windows and mouse gestures.
Free World Dialup is an interesting VOIP service. It’s not PC-to-Phone (ala Vonage), but a very easy way to interconnect to other VOIP users in a semi-standardized way. The site is still a bit long on jargon, but definitely worth keeping an eye on.
IConnectHere is a very interesting Vonage-like VOIP>Regular Phone service. Very flexible service/pricing options, unlike Vonage.
This stuff might be just about ready for primetime. Hmm….
Tribe.net is an interesting, still-in-beta, not-many-users yet social network (e.g. connect to your friends, friends of friends, etc.) app that is appears to be focusing less on dating (ala Friendster) and more on “other stuff.” Hmmm….
PS If you wanna check it out, let me know and I’ll try to figure out how to “invite” you to “join my tribe.”
Researchers at UC Berkeley (ed.– why couldn’t it have been University of Texas?) have just published a fascinating study that purports to identify some of the psychological underpinnings of conservative ideologies. Some of the best bits from the press release:
“Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:
* Fear and aggression * Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity * Uncertainty avoidance * Need for cognitive closure * Terror management
“While most people resist change, Glaser [the principal author] said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.”
‘Conservatives don’t feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions, he said. ‘They are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that wouldmake liberals squirm,’ Glaser said.”
Under the title Defying Labels Left or Right, Dean’s ’04 Run Makes Gains, the New York Times has just published an in-depth profile of Howard Dean. It’s pretty glowing. I’d really like to believe that he could pull this off…
The nerd-news outlets don’t usually do a very good job of covering political stories, but the brewing brouhaha over electronic voting systems is an interesting collision of worlds.
Robin Miller (known to Slashdot aficionados as “Roblimo”) recently published this solid overview of electronic voting machine issues. It’s a pretty balanced introduction to a potentially very serious issue — whether “closed source” electronic voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail are vulnerable to tampering, and if so, what ought to be done about it.
Here’s a little fact that I bet you don’t know: Nebraksa Senator Chuck Hagel has an ownership interest in a leading manufacturer of electronic voting equipment — and that manufacturer’s equipment was in fact used to elect him!
While this doesn’t mean that the Democrats are about to out-do the Republicans in overall fundraising, this little tidbit about how Howard Dean challenged his supporters to help him out-fundraise Dick Cheney (who had a $250,000 fundraising lunch scheduled) is a great testament to the power of organized people to create organized money. Here’s hoping that he can keep it up.
A recent study conducted for Yahoo showed that young people aged 13-24 spend more time using the Internet than watching TV.
“On average, young people said they spent nearly 17 hours online each week, not including time used to read and send electronic mail, compared with almost 14 hours spent watching television and 12 hours listening to the radio, the study said.
A majority of youth polled said they are also likely to be engaging in other activities while using the Internet, such as listening to radio or talking on the telephone. Many said they were most likely to look on the Internet for information on movie and music reviews or celebrity news.”
I’ve just finished the Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate, the third 1000-plus page volume in his epic biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson. (No, I didn’t read the first two, but after getting sucked into this one, I may well.)
The book worked for me on a number of levels. First, as a portrait of a gifted and complex man — LBJ was clearly one of the most talented politicians in American history — and one our most ruthless. Second, Master of the Senate serves as a fascinating meditation on the nature of power. “Power reveals,” Caro repeats. And finally, Master of the Senate tells the story of the civil rights movement in the 50s, from the perspective of the U.S. Senate, where the dreams of black Americans were held hostage for nearly 100 years after the end of the civil war.
Well worthwhile for anyone practicing politics.
In Antiwar Students Rock the Vote, Liza Featherstone reports on recent polling data that shows that the antiwar movement is drawing many young people into electoral activism — and voting.
Key stat: “A survey of young people conducted for MTV by Peter D. Hart Research Associates found that one out of every twelve respondents had attended an antiwar protest–and many more said the war had affected their voting plans. Fifty-three percent of those eligible to vote planned to pull the lever in 2004, a dramatic increase over recent past elections. “
And of course, this momentum seems to be accruing to Howard Dean.
I hope that environmental groups are able to seize the opportunity that this rise in political interest presents to draw a new generation of activists into the environmental issues.
Now it’s true that Gilmore was being deliberately provocative, but his principles are absolutely right on. This is the Brave New World that is being forced upon us.
I note with pleasure that the SpamBayes Outlook Addin Version 0.4 has been released. This is my favorite open-source Outlook-compatible spam-filtering solution.
The Daily Astorian is running a great five-part series on the past, present and future of the Tillamook State Forest, located outside of Portland. It’s an amazing microcosm of many current environmental issues.
Something interesting, creative and viral could probably be done with this: netomat
Did you know …
….that 37 million pounds of pesticides and over 2 billion pounds of fertilizerâ€”many of which contain chemicals that cause cancer, brain defects, & reproductive problemsâ€”are used by agricultural operations in Washington State each year?
….that each year Washington State provides $50 million in tax breaks for these chemicals, but almost no money for research into alternatives?
I’ve been spending some personal time working to help launch the Pesticide Reduction Initiative, which aims to put an initiative before Washington voters in 2004 that will close the sales tax exemption on pesticides and fertilizers, and invest the money in sustainable agriculture, with a goal of achieving a 20% reduction in pesticide use by 2020.
We just launched our ready-for-prime-time website, with a nifty little online volunteer/donor form. Why not make a donation or volunteer to collect a few signatures?
A recent thread on Slashdot, The IT Market: Cyclical Downturn or New World Order? ponders the rapidly growing trend of outsourcing once-high-paying American programming jobs to the developing world. It’s interesting to see the often-libertarian-oriented technology crowd grapple with the downside of globalization as it hits them right where it hurts.
Perhaps this an early sign of the politicization of information workers — white collar America realizes that right-wing has sold us all a bill of goods.
Scribus 1.0 is out. A basic desktop publishing program for Linux. While it’s not a pro-quality substitute for Quark or PageMaker, it’s quite likely to be adequate for casual desktop publishers (like most small nonprofits). Doesn’t run under Windows yet, but maybe soon. And it’s another critical link in the chain of software that’s needed to create a fully-functional open-source desktop environment for nonprofits.