You little genius

by Maria on July 19, 2006

There are good reasons why I haven’t bought Wired Magazine in about five years. The whole bleeding edge thing frayed a bit with the dot com crash. And that hyperactive, slightly autistic gadget-boy take on the world (a planet which only spanned the west coast of the US and the high tech bits of Asia) just started to seem ever so recursive. But today, in honour of being on the west coast and much delayed on a flight from L.A back to Europe, I cracked and bought the magazine.

Wired now has fashion tips for how to wear your bluetooth, a rather pointless feature on ‘Earth 2.0’, advertisements for Gilette (because the best a man can get is a whopping five blades), and far more car ads than I remember – most of them for Japanese vehicles that improbably combine performance, high tech fuel efficiency, and the nodding respect of other techies. So ‘Wired Man’ is slightly more environmentally aware than he used to be, but just as insecure and rather implausibly hirsute.
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Not the News ?

by John Quiggin on July 19, 2006

Today’s NYT runs an Associated Press story headed Farmers Use Bull Semen to Inseminate Cows, which reports, as news, the fact that dairy farmers use artificial insemination on a large scale.

Next they’ll be telling us that milkmaids face unemployment due to the introduction of milking machines.

Since I’ve given the setup, feel free to lower the tone in comments.

As others see us

by Henry on July 19, 2006

William Browning Spencer, in the introduction to his new collection of short stories, _The Ocean and All Its Devices_, contemplates the one form of life that the unsuccessful writer can look down on.

bq. How does the ignored writer dodge envy and bitterness? How does he keep clear of the thought that he is writing in a vacuum, making no real sound as he topples over in the forest? Is he as deluded as some drug-addled blogger alone in a room with his computer and the cast-off shells of ordered-out pizzas, ranting to a potential audience of millions (because they are irrefutably out there; those millions of readers are out there on the Web)?

(The implication in the above that we get forests in vacuums might suggest to the unwary that Spencer is a bad writer, which is wildly untrue. The collection is very good, although so far I haven’t found anything that’s quite at the level of his utterly wonderful short, “The Entomologists at Obala,” in which two increasingly lunatic biologists conduct war-by-proxy in the wilderness via wasps and spiders)

Lords of Climate Change

by John Quiggin on July 19, 2006

I see in this piece by Alan Wood that the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs inquiry into “The Economics of Climate Change” (which strongly questioned the science of climate change) is still getting a run in denialist circles.

I haven’t bothered posting on this before, because the main outcome of the inquiry was the establishment of the Stern Review which issued its first discussion paper back in April, stating (from the Executive Summary)

Climate change is a serious and urgent issue… There is now an overwhelming body of scientific evidence that human activity is increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and causing warming.

There’s more like this, giving an excellent summary of the mainstream scientific position.

So the House of Lords exercise was something of an own goal for the denialists. But how did a supposedly serious inquiry come up with with such nonsense in the first place?

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