Links for 13th July 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. California: No longer the Golden State?

    "This is small beer, however, beside the pernicious effects of Proposition 13, passed in 1978. A populist constitutional amendment that capped property taxes, it has created a hole in state finances that gaped wide this year as recession bit into tax revenues. By limiting local school boards' ability to raise funds from property taxes, it also turned a public education system that once led the nation into one of the worst in the US.

    This is the real tragedy, which may seal the fate of Silicon Valley and the state's biotech industry. At some point, the failure to invest in education will cause its technological supremacy to slip away. California already relies heavily on immigrant talent to sustain its high-tech workforce, including programmers from India and biologists from China." Downsides to participatory democracy. How much is the fault of human idiocy, and how much Byzantine bureaucracy?

    Tagged with: Californialawinnovationrevenuetaxesdemocracyconstitutionnew-southsea

  2. Plantagon: Geodesic Dome Farm of the Future

    "According to Plantagon, the farm “will dramatically change the way we produce organic and functional food. It allows us to produce ecological with clean air and water inside urban environments, even major cities, cutting costs and environmental damage by eliminating transportation and deliver directly to consumers. This is due to the efficiency and productivity of the Plantagon® greenhouse which makes it economically possible to finance each greenhouse from its own sales.”" Too high-concept to float, I expect, but there's a lot of this bright-green urban farm architecture stuff being kicked around at the moment; once pragmatism wears the budgets down, we might start seeing workable sustainable examples.

    Tagged with: urbansustainabilityagriculturefarminggeodesicdome

  3. Skeuomorph

    "… a term used in the history of architecture, design, and archaeology. It refers to a derivative object which retains ornamental design cues to structure that was necessary in the original.[1] Skeuomorphs may be deliberately employed to make the new look comfortably old and familiar,[2] such as copper cladding on zinc pennies or computer printed postage with circular town name and cancellation lines." Thank you, Jamais Cascio. Good find.

    Tagged with: skeuomorphdesignculturearchaeologyutilityredundancymimicryfabrication

  4. Stop Paying Attention: Zoning Out Is a Crucial Mental State

    "The fact that both of these important brain networks become active together suggests that mind wandering is not useless mental static. Instead, Schooler proposes, mind wandering allows us to work through some important thinking. Our brains process information to reach goals, but some of those goals are immediate while others are distant. Somehow we have evolved a way to switch between handling the here and now and contemplating long-term objectives. It may be no coincidence that most of the thoughts that people have during mind wandering have to do with the future."

    Tagged with: brainpsychologycognitionattentionfocusdaydreamingneuroscience

  5. Zoomable isometric map of Hong Kong

    Does what it says on the tin. Not much more use than Google Maps, really, but a much more appealing way of looking at urban topography. Plus awesome mash-up potential; think GTA with swappable map files, user-created missions. Localised gaming on a single engine. Someone is bound to do this soon.

    Tagged with: hong-kongisometricmapvisualizationinteractiveurban

  6. Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself

    "Being a taxpayer-subsidized, too-big-to-fail institution, it's possible that one of the few ways for Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC: 24.67, 1.76, 7.68%) to know what it is doing is to notify itself with a court filing.

    In this particular case, Wells Fargo holds the first and second mortgages on a condominium, according to Sarasota, Fla., attorney Dan McKillop, who represents the condo owner.

    As holder of the first, Wells Fargo is suing all other lien holders, including the holder of the second, which is itself.

    "The primary reason is to clear title and ownership interest in a property to prepare it for sale," Waetke said in an email exchange. "So it really is not Wells Fargo vs. Wells Fargo."

    Yet court documents clearly label "Wells Fargo Bank NA" as the plaintiff and "Wells Fargo Bank NA" as a defendant." Wow. Just wow.

    Tagged with: businesslawfinancefraudbankingbatshit-insanity

  7. WordPress tip: Storing $wp_query for future use

    "When working with WordPress queries, it may be very useful to be able to clone, store and restore $wp_query." Oooh, neat; PHP does loads of handy stuff. Really should make the time to learn more of it.

    Tagged with: wordpressloopqueryclonePHP

  8. Stand by for Google’s next market-changing move

    "In the US, specialist agencies like MediaMath and Varick Media Management are hiring maths PhDs being made redundant by the likes of Citigroup and Bank of America.

    “Once there’s a market place where you can buy and sell using your own technology, you can absolutely create financial instruments or media instruments,” says Zachary Weinberg, the chief executive of Invite Media. “You’ll see traders come in, and they’ll look to create derivatives on certain packages of media, and resell them to other guys. You’ll see a whole marketplace develop because of this technology shift.”

    Google argues that its ad exchange will boost the price of online display advertising and bring new advertisers to the table."

    Tagged with: left-braingeekdomadvertisingexchangebusinessmodelGooglederivativestrading

One thought on “Links for 13th July 2009”

  1. “Skeuomorph”. I’m amazed I’ve never come across that word before. Thanks for posting it!

Leave a Reply