The Improbable is the New Normal

The Improbable is the New Normal:

Every minute a new impossible thing is uploaded to the internet and that improbable event becomes just one of hundreds of extraordinary events that we’ll see or hear about today. The internet is like a lens which focuses the extraordinary into a beam, and that beam has become our illumination. It compresses the unlikely into a small viewable band of everyday-ness. As long as we are online – which is almost all day many days — we are illuminated by this compressed extraordinariness. It is the new normal.

That light of super-ness changes us. We no longer want mere presentations, we want the best, greatest, the most extraordinary presenters alive, as in TED. We don’t want to watch people playing games, we want to watch the highlights of the highlights, the most amazing moves, catches, runs, shots, and kicks, each one more remarkable and improbable than the other.

[Worrisome on some level. But maybe it’s the start of a new growth spurt?]

Source: The Technium

America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead

America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead | Mother Jones:

Put all this together and you have an astonishing body of evidence. We now have studies at the international level, the national level, the state level, the city level, and even the individual level. Groups of children have been followed from the womb to adulthood, and higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes. All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century.

[Amazing.]

Pain of the New

Pain of the New:

I predict that on each step towards increased realism new media take, there will be those who find the step physically painful. It will hurt their eyes, ears, nose, touch,and peace of mind. It will seem unnecessarily raw, ruining the art behind the work. This disturbance is not entirely in our heads, because we train our bodies to react to media, and when it changes, it FEELS different. There may be moments of uncomfort.

But in the end we tend to crave the realism — when it has been mastered — and will make our home in it.

The scratchy sound of vinyl, the soft focus of a Kodak Brownie, and the flickers of a 24 frame per second movie will all be used to time-stamp a work of nostalgia.

[Rings true to me.]

Source: The Technium

Welcome to “Learning by Shipping”

Welcome to “Learning by Shipping”:

As engineers we are trained to find the right solution(s) given a set of constraints.  Product development is about the inherent uncertainty of business and customer needs and desires, and those change depending on the context.  There are no right answers, only varying success in the marketplace at a given time.  The pendulum of ideas swings back and forth depending on the context–the availability of underlying technologies, the acceptance of different business models, or the solutions most valued by potential customers.  The same holds for approaches used by organizations building products–the right answer depends on the context and can change over time.  These choices and the pros and cons of different approaches are interesting topics that occupy many of us as we search for the right path for our development efforts.

[A really clear explanation.]

Source: Learning by Shipping

Stop bullshitting.

Thread: Stop bullshitting.:

This is the best piece you’ll read all day, maybe all year.

Don’t miss the opportunity to clean house and have a great rest of your life, even if you haven’t narrowly escaped death.

Stop Bullshiting – Bucketlistly Blog:

Facing with mortality, people become more open, and honest to themselves. The things that people usually do in their daily lives such as being right, being important, and being selfish suddenly vanished. That’s what made these people become more human than any of us. They are open to changes, even if they were certain for their entire lives that they were right. They apologize, They forgive, express love whenever possible.

[What a profound effect this can have for all of us. I lie and fool myself and worse, demand honesty and truth from others at a very high level. I will continue to be better at this. I’ve made the greatest strides so far at giving others space to not face the truth. Time for reach for more.]

Source: Scripting News

U.S. Internet Users Pay More for Slower Service – Bloomberg

U.S. Internet Users Pay More for Slower Service – Bloomberg:

Meanwhile, the U.S. is rapidly losing the global race for high-speed connectivity, as fewer than 8 percent of households have fiber service. And almost 30 percent of the country still isn’t connected to the Internet at all.

To fix this problem, a new approach is needed.

The first step is to decide what the goal of telecommunications policy should be. Network access providers — and the FCC — are stuck on the idea that not all Americans need high-speed Internet access. The FCC’s National Broadband Plan of March 2010 suggested that the minimum appropriate speed for every American household by 2020 should be 4 megabits per second for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. These speeds are enough, the FCC said, to reliably send and receive e-mail, download Web pages and use simple video conferencing. The commission also said it wanted to ensure that, by 2020, at least 100 million U.S. homes have affordable access to download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps.

Such rates wouldn’t be difficult. Comcast Corp. is already selling its 100-megabit service in the richest American communities, though it costs $200 a month. In a sense, the FCC adopted the cable companies’ business plan as the country’s goal. The commission’s embrace of asymmetric access — slower upload than download speeds — also serves the carriers’ interests: Only symmetric connections would allow every American to do business from home rather than use the Internet simply for high-priced entertainment.
Other countries have different goals. The South Korean government announced a plan to install 1 gigabit per second of symmetric fiber data access in every home by 2012. Hong Kong, Japan and the Netherlands are heading in the same direction. Australia plans to get 93 percent of homes and businesses connected to fiber. In the U.K., a 300 Mbps fiber-to-the-home service will be offered on a wholesale basis.

[snip -ed.]

How much would it cost to bring fiber to the homes of all Americans? Corning Inc. (GLW), the American glass manufacturer, and others have estimated that it would take between $50 billion and $90 billion.
The Internet has taken the place of the telephone as the world’s basic, general-purpose, two-way communication medium. All Americans need high-speed access, just as they need clean water, clean air and electricity. But they have allowed a naive belief in the power and beneficence of the free market to cloud their vision. As things stand, the U.S. has the worst of both worlds: no competition and no regulation.

[Now this is something I’d like some tax dollars spent on. Anyone paying attention in Washington? Anyone at all? See also here and https://turnings.phrasewise.com/2013/01/02/no-toilet-or-running-water-or-no-internet-easy-decision-right/%5D

Source: Daring Fireball

No toilet or running water or no Internet? Easy decision, right?

The Post-Productive Economy:

Everything changed, however, when computers married the telephone. This is when ordinary people noticed computers. They could get online. Everything went online. Retail changed, production changed, occupations changed. This communication revolution accelerated change elsewhere. Processes and gizmos got smarter because they were connected. Now the advantages of personal computers made sense because in fact they were just local terminals in something bigger: the network. As the Sun Computer company famously put it: the network is the computer.

[snippage, realignment, etc. -ed.]

The farmers in rural China have chosen cell phones and twitter over toilets and running water. To them, this is not a hypothetical choice at all, but a real one. and they have made their decision in massive numbers. Tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions, if not billions of people in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America have chosen Option B. You can go to almost any African village to see this. And it is not because they are too poor to afford a toilet. As you can see from these farmers’ homes in Yunnan, they definitely could have at least built an outhouse if they found it valuable. (I know they don’t have a toilet because I’ve stayed in many of their homes.) But instead they found the intangible benefits of connection to be greater than the physical comforts of running water.

[Like I said in the previous piece, Internet inequality due to weak or nonexistent connections is a far greater problem than people realize, whether here in the States, or around the world. And communities recognize that in significant ways.]

Source: The Technium