Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf

Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf.

And…. Welcome to the future. The issue is not just that hell has come to us, a reward for our impatience, but that there will soon enough be wars–diplomatic, silent, and also noisy and bloody–over the waterways now opening. Sporadic news on this. But not enough, as the present drowns the news of near tomorrow.

 

Revealed: Secret world of global oil and mining giants: TBIJ

Revealed: Secret world of global oil and mining giants: TBIJ.

It’s rather worrisome. Transparency, accountability–not the same thing, but related–are important, especially when it comes to evaluating the economies of scale discussed in the article and when considering the nature of the goods being extracted: fossil fuels, necessary minerals and metals.  That is, those elements that form the basis for modern society and industry. If we, those who depend upon these things, are deprived of insight into this commodity industry so important to today, how can we, as a people governed by our peers, make reality-based decisions–let alone rational ones? The “secret jurisdictions”–places where corporate details can be kept secret–affect not only regions of extraction but the world at large. An analogy: the subprime mortgage mess worked for so long because it was shrouded in financial mystery and confusion; no one auditing it knew what was really going on, and the precise nature and value of the assets at stake–or, if they did, they did not let on. We continue to live with the consequences of this immense confusion.

Cookery masterclass: Alain Ducasse | Life and style | The Observer

Cookery masterclass: Alain Ducasse | Life and style | The Observer.

 

An interesting account of Ducasse, who seems inclined to Alice Waters’ style and quite opposed to molecular cuisine. There is, I suppose, a kind of sociology to the intervention of technology: to perfect nature, to present nature in its Platonic form, or to go beyond the boundaries of nature altogether, and to use nature as a springboard.

CMO’s To Increase Spending On Social Media But Integration Still Lacking

CMO’s To Increase Spending On Social Media But Integration Still Lacking.

This does raise the interesting point. How relevant to a campaign is social media, especially social networking? To me, who is both skeptical of and consumed by online social networks, and who has accounts in all the best places (sigh…), to see ads, marketing pitches, etc. in my favorite spaces is simply unwelcome. But those are personal spaces. Suppose we look at something like TirpAdvisor, or any other travel network; even the eBay ones, or, to extend, any of the consumer networks. There, it matters hardly at all, I think, if the network is sponsored by or enabled by a company or group, provided that we, the members, are permitted to post relevant items without censure and to engage in topical discourse without the sense that what we do is purely in the service of the company.

In that case, it makes sense to have a program and campaign. But then, implementing it so that it can be done and done without throwing large amounts of money into a seemingly bottomless pit–only to give up after a short while in disgust….. And it also helps, as with any campaign, to have specific goals and specific boundaries. Otherwise, what counts as “relevant’ and “on topic” and permissible, is nearly impossible to articulate, let alone maintain, and soon enough, the whole point of the effort, to engage a consumer community, is lost.

Mexico City cyclists rally to reclaim the streets | Ela Stapley | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Mexico City cyclists rally to reclaim the streets | Ela Stapley | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

 

The radio journalist’s call to “squash cyclists” were for nothing short of murder. And he was and is not alone. Here in Toronto, the lack of consideration shown to cyclists, including those who commute and deliver parcels by bike, not by drivers but by the mayor and his cronies, and the preference instead shown for cars over and against cyclists, is appalling. But in keeping with what Ford wants for Toronto: to drive it into a ditch, to make it not the shining beacon of modernity and cosmopolitanism but an abscess.

Even in Tory led London, as in so many other cities, the trend is to favour the bike over the car, the ped over the wheel. This is a logical and worthwhile goal, and it even increases the urban business. Peds and cyclists are likelier to stop and shop. But in Toronto, the fat mayor has decreed otherwise.

When can we recall him?

UK Government: Open Standards Must be RF, not FRAND – Open Enterprise

UK Government: Open Standards Must be RF, not FRAND – Open Enterprise.

 

I suppose I’d like to agree that Royalty-Free standards are always preferable to Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND), and certainly in the standards to which I lend my voice (ODF), I argue that it must be RF. But what holds for ODF need not hold for all standards; not all things are the same. Being pragmatic means accepting that. And it means, too, that you try to surf a wave, not cut a channel to the island or continent where we live together, not apart.  Florian Mueller, in a blogpost of last October, perhaps accidentally uses his mobile to illustrate the advantage of FRAND. A mobile connects, and yet it is in and of itself, isolated. 

Chez Panisse\’s \

Chez Panisse\’s \.

Sigh. I used to live not far from Chez Panisse and remember fondly when the café (upstairs) opened: friends of my friends worked there, as servitors and also bakers. This was when I was in my baking and cooking phase, and wanted to go pro, something I did achieve in NYC not long after, as a baker. But in Berkeley, early 80s, I’d go to the Café often–free or very inexpensive food, see, and it was good–and very seldom (like, never) to the restaurant below. That luxury was deferred until years later, when I could actually afford it. And by which time, alas, my passion for food had been subsumed by my passion for bike racing and running….

 

But my passion for cooking, and for tasting, has oddly returned. I spend the time I’m not thinking of politics, economics, law, copyright, open source, management, on recipes, combinations, tactics, styles of cooking and food preparation. And to say that there is a coherence to all this is simply to state what is obvious–to me, for so long, to more and more; and it has nothing really to do with middle-class gourmet-gulch fantasies of political importance. I hope.

Osborne signals U-turn on economy with growth plan – UK Politics, UK – The Independent

Osborne signals U-turn on economy with growth plan – UK Politics, UK – The Independent.

Finally, a move that seems to be in the right direction: Keynesian.

Starkness Falls – NYTimes.com

Starkness Falls – NYTimes.com.

Suppose the euro falls apart. The primary engines, Germany and France, no doubt have anticipated this and probably think: so what.

I suspect there is more to the what than the so.

Doors of Perception weblog: Open: a survival issue

Doors of Perception weblog: Open: a survival issue.

Of interest. As is the to me newly discovered “Doors of Perception” site.