Links for 21st April 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plant

    "By heating up the upper and middle levels of an infant hurricane, they say they could disrupt the flows of air that power the enormous storms. Air warmed by tropical waters flows up through a hurricane and is vented through the eye into the upper atmosphere. Theoretically, you could heat up the top of the storm and lower the pressure differential between layers, resulting in a weaker storm. "

    Tagged with: sciencetechnologyspacesolarpowerhurricaneweathermodificationmegaengineering

  2. Ancient Corals May Provide Record of Rapid Sea Level Rise

    "The buried reefs revealed that sea level rises of as much as two inches (five centimeters) per year resulted in at least a 6.6 foot (two meter) jump in as little as 50 years, based on a series of reefs retreating closer to a receding shore over time. An older reef's tip crested at roughly 10 feet (three meters) above present sea level but a second reef crest farther inland grew 10 feet higher than that, indicating that sea level had risen by as much as 10 feet by the time the latter formed because corals grow nearly to sea level… " Okay everyone, do your ostrich impersonations.

    Tagged with: environmentclimatechangesealevelrisenew-southsea

  3. Advice to Writers on Creating Realistic Mega-Conglomerates

    "A corporation doesn’t care if you’re living in a 300 square foot studio apartment or a 6000 square foot McMansion. […] They only care about one thing: that you buy their stuff.

    For everything they do, they’ll have justification. There’s no hidden business plan with a top-line mission statement of “Destroying Civilization As We Know It.”

    But there will be hundreds or thousands of decisions, all based on maximizing profit. Substituting cheaper ingredients: maximize profit. Use low-income countries for labor: maximizing profit. Driving smaller competitors out of business: ensuring growth, which maximizes profit. Extending credit to anyone: maximizes profit.

    If they can make a bigger profit selling you a “green” condo and a Prius rather than a McMansion and an Escalade, that’s exactly what they’ll do. If they think they’ll make an even larger profit renting you an apartment and leasing you a bike, that’s what they’ll do." Jason Stoddard.

    Tagged with: writingfictionsfcorporationsbusinessrealismJason-Stoddard

  4. Robber barons got rich by making things cheaper

    "It’s still happening today. Wal-Mart, Aldi and Ryanair won their market shares by ruthlessly charging us viciously lower prices. And here lies a cause for optimism in the midst of this recession. Even though jobs are being lost, houses repossessed and firms bankrupted, the underlying deflation caused by innovation is still going on – indeed, on the web, it’s accelerating. All over the internet, people are dreaming up ways of making things available to you more cheaply, more conveniently, more copiously and more quickly. That is what will cause prosperity to return one day."

    Tagged with: economicscapitalismbusinessconsumerdeflationinnovationprosperitymarkets

  5. Cassini’s continued mission

    "NASA's Cassini spacecraft is now a nearly a year into its extended mission, called Cassini Equinox (after its initial 4-year mission ended in June, 2008). The spacecraft continues to operate in good health, returning amazing images of Saturn, its ring system and moons, and providing new information and science on a regular basis." this is just pure high-resolution space-geek porn. Staggering stuff.

    Tagged with: spaceastronomycassinisaturnmissionprobeimagesmoonsringslandscapes

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