Links for 29th April 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Geothermal explosion rocks green energy hopes

    "The bid to produce green power on a commercial scale using heat mined from subterranean rocks – or "hot rocks" – has suffered a major setback, with the breach of a four-kilometre-deep well on Friday in the Cooper Basin in South Australia." Dang. Still, could have worked out worse. probably.

    Tagged with: sciencegeothermalpowerenergygenerationsetbackenvironmentAustralia

  2. The Buffet Effect

    "In my highly anecdotal experience, people tend to react to this overwhelming cornucopia in one of two ways: either they swear allegiance to one particular subfragment of genre, and deliberately steer clear of all else, or they try to sample a little bit of everything. I call this the buffet effect."

    Tagged with: cultureentertainmentpost-scarcityabundancereadinggenrespecialisation

  3. What is a person?

    "There are two things I'll say to that: First, it's our humaneness and sense of social justice that's important — not that we're "human," and second, as we work to develop greater-than-human artificial intelligence, we are poised to lose our exalted status as the the most "highly evolved" creature on the planet. We better position our laws and social mechanisms in such a way that all persons will be protected when the time comes (the caveat being that we'll actually have a say in the matter once we hit that Singularity point)."

    Tagged with: personhoodidentityanimalscognitionsentienceethicsparahumanity

  4. Internet Users in Developing Countries Drag on Sites’ Profits

    "Web companies that rely on advertising are enjoying some of their most vibrant growth in developing countries. But those are also the same places where it can be the most expensive to operate, since Web companies often need more servers to make content available to parts of the world with limited bandwidth. And in those countries, online display advertising is least likely to translate into results.

    This intractable contradiction has become a serious drag on the bottom lines of photo-sharing sites, social networks and video distributors like YouTube. It is also threatening the fervent idealism of Internet entrepreneurs, who hoped to unite the world in a single online village but are increasingly finding that the economics of that vision just do not work."

    Tagged with: interneteconomicsstartupbusinessbandwidthinternationaladvertisingrevenue

  5. ‘Hidden photons’ to send secret emails through Earth

    "The only place to spot them is in a vacuum, where they should sometimes "oscillate" into normal photons. There are already experiments searching for this effect: the idea is to shine a laser at a wall in a vacuum and see if any of the photons make it through to the other side by transforming into their hidden counterparts and back again. According to Ringwald's group, if these experiments succeed it should be possible to scale up the apparatus so that the hidden photons become signal carriers and the "wall" becomes any stretch of ground or water." Science – screwing with your head since the Middle Ages. 🙂

    Tagged with: sciencephysicshidden-photoncommunicationtheory

  6. Too much knowledge can exaggerate the danger of a pandemic

    "… there's another way to look at those statistics. You might observe, for example, that they mean that even during the worst ravages of the 1918 flu, 97.5 per cent of those infected survived and recovered. Or that 72 per cent of the population — even in the absence of the sophisticated public health planning and infrastructure that Canada and the U.S. have since built — was not infected during the pandemic.

    So, even if we had a repeat of the 1918 flu, the chances were seven out of 10 that you wouldn't catch it and if you did, the odds were better than nine out of 10 that you'd survive.

    That was during the worst pandemic of the modern era and one which occurred in the days before the instantaneous communications of radio, television and the Web enabled quick public health responses." Right; so chillax, people, OK?

    Tagged with: fluswine-flupandemicriskthreatstatisticsreality

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