Links for 1st December 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization – Clay Shirky

    "A third group, though, is making the ‘access to literature’ argument without much real commitment to its truth or falsehood, because they aren’t actually worried about access to literature, they are worried about bookstores in and of themselves. This is a form of Burkean conservatism, in which the value built up over centuries in the existence of bookstores should be preserved, even though their previous function as the principal link between writers and readers is being displaced.

    This sort of commitment to bookstores is a normative argument, an argument about how things ought to be. It is also an argument that might succeed, as long as it re-imagines what bookstores are for and how they are supported, rather than merely hoping that if enough nice people seem really concerned, the flow of time will reverse."

    Tagged with: clay-shirkyeconomicsbusinesspublishingbookstorecommercecommunity

  2. Super Earths May Be Superior at Fostering Life

    "Super Earths, with a larger and hotter interior, would have a thinner planetary crust placed under more stress. This probably would result in faster tectonics, as well as more earthquakes, volcanism, and other geologic upheavals. In fact, Sasselov says the plate tectonics on Super Earths may be so rapid that mountains and ocean trenches wouldn't have much time to develop before the surface was again recycled.

    […] Sasselov says Earth has just enough water for tectonics to work. Tectonics on Super Earths might be so efficient that water isn't even needed.

    On the other hand, it's possible that a SuperEarth could be entirely covered by water. Sasselov says that in the case of such an ocean world, most of the water will be in an exotic state known as iceVII …"

    Tagged with: spaceexoplanetslifesuper-earthstectonicsgeology

  3. A Decade In Review: David Stubbs Asks Whatever Happened To Pop?

    "It's a sealed world, the Noughties chartworld, the Noughties mainstream. You can't just walk in off the streets into it any more. You can't tunnel up from the underworld – as Frank Zappa pointed out towards the end of his life, the hipper the people in the corporate division are, the less chance there is of anything hip getting through. No one gets in, no one gets out. Look again at the Noughties chart litany and you're struck by a feeling that all of those names, like the poor, will always be with us. Even the Cheeky Girls are hanging in there, somewhere. Sure, there need to be new names but in an era of great and narrower control from fewer and more penthouse-detached operators, these increasingly mean stage school and Simon Cowell." Bam.

    Tagged with: noughtiesmusiccriticismpopmainstreaminspirationvacuumsubculturelong-tail

  4. Manshiyat naser: Garbage City, Cairo – Wikipedia

    "The city's garbage is brought to Manshiyat Naser by the Zabbaleen, or garbage collectors, who then sort through the garbage to attempt to retrieve any potentially useful or recyclable items. As a passerby walks or drives down the road he will see large rooms stacked with garbage with men, women or children crouching and sorting the garbage into usable or sellable. Families typically specialize in a particular type of garbage they sort and sell – one room of children sorting out plastic bottles, while the next of women separating cans from the rest. Anything that can be reused or recycled is saved by one of the numerous families in Manshiyat naser. Various recycled paper and glass products are made and sold from the city, while metal is sold by the kilo to be melted down and reused. Carts pulled by horse or donkey are often stacked 8 to 10 feet (3.0 m) high with the recyclable goods."

    Tagged with: cityrecyclingurbanisminterstitialeconomicssubculturegarbage-city

  5. Working With RGBA Colour

    "CSS3 introduces a couple of new ways to specify colours, and one of those is RGBA. The A stands for Alpha, which refers to the level of opacity of the colour, or to put it another way, the amount of transparency. This means that we can set not only the red, green and blue values, but also control how much of what’s behind the colour shows through. Like with layers in Photoshop."

    Tagged with: webdevcss3colourtransparencyopacityrgbaHTML

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