Links for 24th June 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Divining Angkor

    ""We realized that the entire landscape of Greater Angkor is artificial," Fletcher says. Over several centuries, teams of laborers constructed hundreds of miles of canals and dikes that relied on subtle differences in the land's natural inclination to divert water from the Puok, Roluos, and Siem Reap Rivers to the barays. During the summer monsoon months, overflow channels bled off excess water. After the rains petered out in October or November, irrigation channels dispensed stored water. The barays may also have helped replenish soil moisture by allowing water to soak into the earth. In surrounding fields surface evaporation would have drawn up the groundwater to supply crops. "It was an incredibly clever system," says Fletcher."

    Tagged with: Angkor-WatCambodiacivilizationeconomicsritualhistory

  2. Youth Taking Action: A 15 Year Old Invents the Future

    "The VERSATILE System – a mashup of new and adapted technology that treats waste, produces methane and bio-oil as fuel, produces food for humans and livestock, sequesters greenhouse gases, and produces oxygen.

    What drives this complete energy resource system? Algae – the little organism that could.

    For his work, Javier, 15, won the top prize in this year's Invent Your World Challenge, sponsored by Ashoka's Youth Venture and the Lemelson Foundation.The VERSATILE System – a mashup of new and adapted technology that treats waste, produces methane and bio-oil as fuel, produces food for humans and livestock, sequesters greenhouse gases, and produces oxygen.

    What drives this complete energy resource system? Algae – the little organism that could.

    For his work, Javier, 15, won the top prize in this year's Invent Your World Challenge, sponsored by Ashoka's Youth Venture and the Lemelson Foundation." More child prodigies like this, PLS, and less Miley Cyruses. KTHXBAI.

    Tagged with: energysystemsinventionalgaepowerbiomasswasteagriculturedeveloping-world

  3. EA’s new motto: please pirate our games… er, storefronts

    "EA thinks this is the secret to stopping—or at least curbing—piracy: games should be services, not products. Or at least products that should be selling other products. We already knew that EA would like to turn Tiger Woods into a subscription-based product, and Sims 3 is a game that wants you to constantly be creating, downloading, and buying new virtual items. The old business model was selling expansion packs, but that was too complicated: why not cut out the retailers and turn the game into its own store to sell the products?"

    Tagged with: computergamepublishingpiracybusiness-modelseconomics

  4. The 2009 Failed States Index

    "It’s not just Yemen. The financial crisis was a near-death experience for insurgency-plagued Pakistan, which remains on imf life support. Cameroon has been rocked by economic contagion, which sparked riots, violence, and instability. Other countries dependent on the import and export of commodities—from Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea to Bangladesh—had a similarly rough go of it last year, suffering what economist Homi Kharas calls a “whiplash effect” as prices spiked sharply and then plummeted. All indications are that 2009 will bring little to no reprieve.

    Instead, the global recession is sparking fears that multiple states could slip all at once into the ranks of the failing. Now more than ever, failed-state triage could become a grim necessity for world leaders from the United Nations and World Bank to U.S. President Barack Obama’s White House. All of which puts a fine point on an old and uncomfortable dilemma: Whom do you help when so many need it?"

    Tagged with: failed-statesgeopoliticseconomicspoliticsterrorism

  5. Ruins of the Present

    "*It’s one of those coinages like “Prada Goth” that spring out everywhere
    once they are pointed out. “Squelettes.”

    “Yeah man, his girlfriend was a squat chick from a squelette! She used
    to show up in clothes that were partially sewn together. We used to get together to eat partially cooked hotdogs, and we’d read from unpublished Portuguese translations of JG Ballard novels.”

    *Now that they’ve been pointed out to you, you will be able to perceive
    all kinds of “squelette” like structures: legal retrenchments, financial bailouts, dead brand-new political movements, websites that never found an audience, etc etc" Chairman Bruce knocks one out of the park.

    Tagged with: culturearchitecturelanguageurbandecayBruce-Sterlingneologismssquatting

  6. Dymaxion Designs | The Buckminster Fuller Institute

    "This is the index to structure and content of the BUCKMINSTER FULLER ARCHIVES as it was originally conceived. You will find sample materials from all of the Sections on this web site. We have, however, reorganized the materials in way we hope will be more assessable. It is our intention over the months to make more and more materials available to all our web site users." Sweeeeeet.

    Tagged with: Buckminster-FullertechnologyarchitecturedesignphilosophyfuturismDymaxion

  7. How To Communicate Securely in Repressive Environments

    "Nonviolent resistance movements are typically driven by students, i.e., young people, who are increasingly born digital natives. With expanding access to mobile phones, social networking software and online platforms for user-generated content such as blogs, the immediate financial cost of speaking out against repressive regimes is virtually nil. So resistance movements are likely to make even more use of new communication technology and digital media in the future. In fact, they already are.

    At the same time, however, the likelihood and consequences of getting caught are high, especially for those political activists without any background or training in digital security. Indeed, recent research by Digital Democracy research suggests that organizational hierarchies are being broken down as youth adopt new technologies. While this empowers them they are also put at risk since they don’t tend to be as consequence-conscious as their adult counterparts."

    Tagged with: technologyinternetpoliticsculturesurveillancecommunicationanonymitycensorshipactivism

  8. Buy The Novel, Get A Lot More — Including True Reasons To Buy

    "Sure, with business books, the writer can go on a speaking tour, but with novels, what else will people want to buy? But, of course, that misses the point. There are always creative ways to get people to buy, and it's rather insulting to suggest that people are so uncreative that they can't come up with other unique ways to either sell other things or to convince people that the physical book itself is worth buying."

    Tagged with: fictionwritingmarketingsocial-mediainternetcreativity

  9. Conformists may kill civilizations

    "Unlike previous models, Whitehead and Richerson's have explored how the different kinds of learning fare in 'red-noise environments' — when environmental variation is concentrated in large and infrequent changes, a pattern they say is characteristic of many historical records.

    "During long periods with only modest amounts of change, conformist social learning is a more successful strategy than costly individual learning," says Richerson. In red-noise environments, this advantage remains true in the short term but can lead to long-term problems. "The mix of individual and social learning that evolves during quiet periods in red-noise environments tends to have too little individual learning to cope with rarer big changes," he says."

    Tagged with: sociologycivilizationarchaeologyanthropologyextinctionlearningconformity

Leave a Reply