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January 2003 Archives

January 1, 2003

"2002 media follies: The most

"2002 media follies: The most overhyped and underreported stories of the year". [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

The Whole World Doesn't Hate Us: Sure, much of the world does (for good reason), but a substantial number simply think our government is run by certifiable lunatics. That perspective almost never shows up in US media.

January 3, 2003

The Forgotten Forest Product: Water.

The Forgotten Forest Product: Water. New national-forest planning regulations should specify that the remaining old-growth public forests should not be harvested, since these wild lands provide the cleanest water in the country. By Mike Dombeck. [New York Times: Opinion]

It seems to be tree

It seems to be tree day...

Christmas Trees Pine to Be Mulched. Tree owners should try to make the extra effort to take their trees to mulching sites, bringing the holiday season to an environmentally friendly finish. [New York Times: Opinion]

Let's be careful out there

Let's be careful out there [continued]

Robert Evans: "Someone once told me that the three most dangerous things in life are your own mouth, someone else's mouth, and a car... adding a cell phone to the mix can only lead to disaster" [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

Capitalism today Partners in Flight.

Capitalism today

Partners in Flight. The government's right to acquire a stake in some airlines as part of its loan guarantee program makes it inappropriate for it to block other carriers' attempts to help themselves. [New York Times: Opinion]

Sounds right. OTOH, it's always struck me as a strange sort of capitalism that pours public money into private hands without the public gaining an equity stake in return.

GE: 85 percent of GE

GE: 85 percent of GE Power Systems' revenues from cleaner or Renewable Energy by the end of 2003

[Solar Access, via Gallon Environmental Letter]: By tapping into the Renewable Energy markets and finding ways to increase efficiencies of existing technologies, General Electric Corp. will have approximately 85 percent of
GE Power Systems' total revenues come from cleaner, more efficient or Renewable Energy solutions, by the end of 2003. This is according to GE's company report at the recent Power-Gen International 2002 Conference.


January 6, 2003

Seeing the forest for the

Seeing the forest for the trees

[PlanetArk] Home Depot adopts new wood purchasing policy

Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. (HD.N) said it will only buy wood products from suppliers committed to environmentally friendly logging and lumber practices. The move expands a policy adopted by the largest U.S. lumber retailer in 1999 to quit selling wood from endangered forests.

Home Depot hopes to use its purchasing power to encourage wood suppliers to follow good forestry practices, said Ron Jarvis, vice president of merchandising for lumber and building materials. "It's an important message to send," he said.

[PlanetArk] Bush proposes easing rules for small timber sales

The Bush administration last week unveiled a plan to quicken timber sales in small forests if the project prevents the spread of insects that can lead to further destruction or if removal does not adversely impact the environment.

Requirements for timber sales would only be eased to allow the removal of trees that pose a danger to the public or where the infestation of insects could harm additional trees in the area.

January 7, 2003

Everybody wants to get into

Everybody wants to get into the act!


Cleveland is on the verge of reinventing itself as a haven of sustainability, and the region's burgeoning environmental movement is intent on using green development as an engine for growth. "We'd like to see Cleveland become the country's capital of green," says Manda Gillespie, with the advocacy group EcoCity Cleveland. Gillespie says she can hardly keep track of the ecologically friendly projects underway. The city is writing green building standards, funding green renovations of public schools, and developing a county "green print" for zoning.... Sadhu Johnston, director of the Cleveland Green Building Coalition, says, "People sometimes write off the region. But soon they'll look at Cleveland and say, 'Oh, that's how the Rust Belt comes back." Metropolis, Jan 2003, p 34, by Tess Taylor.
[More: http://www.ecocitycleveland.org ; http://www.clevelandgbc.org ]

This items comes from Chris Hammer's inestimable GreenClips. [Two Internet sites host GreenClips archives for reference and research:
http://listserv.energy.wsu.edu/greenclips/visit.html (keyword search)
http://www.greendesign.net/greenclips (browse contents)].

The good news is that a growing number of cities are clamoring for the lead and the honor, including Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Drew Carey's home town; and probably others.

The more the merrier, imho. Competition's a wonderful thing!


January 8, 2003

I want my, I want

I want my, I want my, I want my SUV...

Ford and William McDonough have designed
Ford's Model U
(this century's Model T), a near zero-emissions vehicle...Equipped with an array of upgradable technologies and a multi-function tailgate, Model U can stick with you and adapt to your needs if your life changes.

Powered by the world's first supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine, equipped with a hybrid electric transmission and pioneering green materials and processes, Model U is a vision for the future. It is Ford's model for change Ð exploring the benefits a vehicle provides to its users, the way it is manufactured and how it impacts the world.

It's not on the market yet, nor are GM's hybrids ("offering the technology as an option on the Saturn Vue S.U.V. in 2005. G.M. also plans to offer more limited forms of electric power in four other high-volume models by 2007, with a target of improving fuel economy by at least 12 percent") or the new Lexus hybrid SUV from Toyota, but clearly something is in motion in the automobile industry.

Could they perhaps see writing on the wall that the White House can't read yet? Can they even see the wall?

PS: SUVs Deemed "Uncool". You can watch the ads here.

Consumers are finding several reasons to rethink these gas guzzlers. [The Motley Fool]

An Irrelevant Proposal. Krugman: Ideology

An Irrelevant Proposal. Krugman: Ideology aside, will these guys ever decide that their job includes solving problems, not just using them? [New York Times: Opinion]

All News Media Inc.. Without

All News Media Inc.. Without much notice, the federal government is moving toward the most sweeping change ever in the rules that govern ownership of the American news media. By Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. [New York Times: Opinion]

Having seen how totalitarian regimes moved the world to war through domination of their news media, the government during the 1940's put restrictions on how many news media outlets one company could own, both nationally and in a single city.

I guess that's no longer a worry.

Environment and Science: Danes Rebuke

Environment and Science: Danes Rebuke a 'Skeptic'. A branch of the Danish Research Agency has concluded that the author of an upbeat analysis of environmental trends displayed "scientific dishonesty." By Andrew C. Revkin. [New York Times: Science]

"This is a just outcome that ought to bring his credibility to a halt except for those who desperately want to believe what he says."

January 9, 2003

Good news [MoveOn]: It is

Good news

[MoveOn]: It is often difficult to watch the news without developing a sense of hopelessness. The past year in particular has been filled with bad news, as we have been constantly inundated with threats of war, information about humanitarian crises, and of course, a massive amount of journalism about the tragic events of Sept. 11.

However, there was good news in 2002 as well.


Hey kids! Don't try this

Hey kids!

Don't try this at home...

More "greenest cities" Lhessemer adds

More "greenest cities"

Lhessemer adds to the list:
And Chicago, too, I understand... Mayor Daley is behind it... he has a green roof on City Hall, 5 bungalows they've retrofitted according to green standards (to demonstrate the concepts to builders and buyers), a city department that fosters green building projects and businesses, and so on. Worth keeping track of.

GAO to meet regulators on

GAO to meet regulators on corporate green liability

[PlanetArk]: The investigative arm of Congress will meet with the securities regulators next week to discuss whether companies, particularly energy companies, adequately disclose environmental risks, a General Accounting Office spokesman said.... Munich Re (MUVGn.DE), the German reinsurance company, estimates that global warming could cost $300 billion annually by 2050.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. It may be that the actuarial table is mightier than the political ideology.

Fortunately the policy front isn't

Fortunately the policy front isn't totally sleeping

McCain and Lieberman Offer Bill to Require Cuts in Gases. Senators John McCain and Joseph I. Lieberman joined forces on Wednesday to challenge the Bush administration on global warming. By Katharine Q. Seelye. [New York Times: Science]

Pataki Backs Wind and Solar Power. In a brief, low-key passage in his annual address to the Legislature, Gov. George E. Pataki electrified green-energy supporters and environmentalists. By Kirk Johnson. [New York Times: Science]

January 10, 2003

Lowering Taxis is Hazardous.. All

Lowering Taxis is Hazardous..

All this talk by President Bush of lowering taxis is bad news. We should fight this.

  1. It is dangerous. Lowered taxis means worse visibility by taxi drivers. It makes it harder for other drivers to see taxis too.

  2. It is a local matter. The Federal government shouldn't interfere with state regulation.

  3. It is expensive. Auto mechanics have enough to do without adjusting thousands of perfectly working suspensions.

  4. It is an unfunded mandate. Taxi companies must pay for the retrofit.

He says this is an economic stimulant. Lower taxis won't boost ridership, certainly not enough to create new jobs. On the other hand, it will shorten taxi cab life, boosting car sales.

Another Republican cover up? Something's going on...

[a klog apart]

"Penn on airport security: complain

"Penn on airport security: complain all you can, then call the cops" [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

Jon Udell: "Ultimately, it's not

Jon Udell: "Ultimately, it's not about RSS any more than it was about NNTP. It's about the evolution of our species toward shared consciousness." [Scripting News]

Dan Gillmor's spin on the

A picture named halley.gifDan Gillmor's spin on the Two-Way-Web: "Many journalists have yet to discover: in an emerging era of multidirectional, digital communications, the audience can be an integral part of the process." I'm a bit more radical. The idea of "audience" is obsolete. The new medium is read-write. Low-low barrier to entry. [Scripting News]

January 12, 2003

"setting the scene for the

"setting the scene for the future of business management"

"Striking the balance", a new report from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, addresses the business benefits of sustainability reporting: Sustainable development reporting can help companies to mitigate risk, protect their corporate brands, and gain competitive advantage... and help turn the recent wave of boardroom scandals into renewed boardroom trust.

(Natural Logic works with companies to turn sustainability reporting into a real time management tool that provides timely operating feedback for operating managers. See CSR Power Tools and forthcoming article in Green at Work.)

Virtual Museums In Virtual Museums,

Virtual Museums

In Virtual Museums, an Archive of the World. The American Museum of Natural History is creating a searchable online catalog of the museum's 30 million items. By James Gorman. [New York Times: Science]

Gotta love it! (When can I have it?)

Faites vos jeux. Rien ne

Faites vos jeux. Rien ne vas plus.

Global Warming: All That Hot Air Must Be Having an Effect. The evolution of the language in global warming reports reflects a shift toward certainty at least on the question: are people contributing to global warming? By Andrew C. Revkin. [New York Times: Science]

The White House uses lack of "certainty" as cause for delay -- and one the the more damaging examples of US unilateralism. Smart business leaders -- who live with the daily challenge of making large investments in the face of uncertainty -- are investing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, often profitably.

Techdirt gets paid to blog..

Techdirt gets paid to blog.. I met Michael Masnick at Techdirtlast month's Supernova conference. Mike is president of Tech Dirt, a market/industry/competitor intelligence company. They use blogging, delivered via private portals, as a solution for managing their customers' information overload. They read, comment, and post on the topics near and dear to their customers' hearts. Fresh customized news, research reports, and scenario planning. Since 1997. Brilliant. [a klog apart]

InfoWorld: Blogs refine enterprise focus..

InfoWorld: Blogs refine enterprise focus..

via Oliver Wrede:

Building on the success of Weblogs for personal Web publishing, enterprises are starting to tap into blogs to streamline specific business processes such as intelligence gathering or to augment traditional content-and knowledge-management technologies. more...

[a klog apart]

Paolo and JY comment on

Paolo and JY comment on Dan Bricklin's SMBmeta. Several people at last night's dinner said they found the idea interesting. [Scripting News]

Barney's BlogBurgerBlowout In SF last

Barney's BlogBurgerBlowout

In SF last night. Newbies nibbling fries on the periphery of geek talk and [behest of Mr Winer] ancient drinking songs. Especially intriguing to me (aside from putting faces to names and discovering new ebook publishing channels) is Dan Bricklin's new XML approach to small business directories.

January 13, 2003

"Ultra-green Seattle" sorts through recycling

"Ultra-green Seattle" sorts through recycling options

[PlanetArk]: Fourteen years after setting an ambitious goal to recycle 60 percent of its garbage by 2008, ultra-environmentally conscious Seattle is wondering whether it can finish the job - and what it would take.

With its recycling rate stalled at about 40 percent of its total trash haul, officials in the Emerald City... are acknowledging the plan may have been too optimistic.

Seattle is already well ahead of the 30 percent U.S. national recycling average.... But getting to 60 percent could mean sending another truck to pick up food scraps - which make up about 20 percent of total waste - or offering free curbside service to businesses, which now mostly use optional private recycling services.

Alameda County CA (Oakland, Berkeley and other cities), where we're working with the county's StopWa$te program, is at 55% diversion.

Some communities in New Zealand and elsewhere are seriously talking about 100%.


January 14, 2003

Free speech? No thanks --

Free speech? No thanks -- We're a university.

[New York Times:]
In an unusual showdown over freedom of expression, university officials have refused to allow a fund-raising appeal for the Emma Goldman Papers Project to be mailed because it quoted Goldman on the subjects of suppression of free speech and her opposition to war.

"It seems the administration is mocking freedom of expression by limiting it," Professor Leon Litwack said.

Robert H. Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Project, another documentary editing project at Berkeley, [asked] "How many times does this have to happen at Berkeley before they learn?"

Ironically, in one of the quotes (from 1902) Goldman warned that free-speech advocates "shall soon be obliged to meet in cellars, or in darkened rooms with closed doors, and speak in whispers lest our next-door neighbors should hear that free-born citizens dare not speak in the open."

The New Math. The Israeli-Palestinian

The New Math. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be explained with a math equation offered by Danny Rubinstein, the Haaretz newspaper's Palestinian affairs expert.... For Israel 10 minus 2 is 8, and for the Palestinians 10 minus 2 is 12. By Thomas L. Friedman. [New York Times: Opinion]

Friedman, ever the optimist, paints not a pretty picture.

Sebastien Paquet: Personal knowledge publishing.

Sebastien Paquet: Personal knowledge publishing. [Scripting News]

The opposite of schadenfreude Schadenfreude:

The opposite of schadenfreude

Schadenfreude: glee at the misfortune of others

Mudita: happiness at the good fortune of others (apparently a Buddhist term)

[Adina Levin]


Late to the blog Busy

Late to the blog

Busy [418 email!] day today, managing mailing lists in prep for shipping out Natural Logic's "Year in Review" report. The electrons are queued up, and ship Wednesday morning.

(You can join the mailing list through the form on the Natural Logic home page.)


January 15, 2003

Rome home to a dome

Rome home to a dome

RBF Dome NFP has just received IRS confirmation of its 501(c)(3) tax deductible status: now we can implement our website (http://www.buckysdome.org ) -- which is under construction -- so that we may (1), inform people of our efforts to put Bucky Fuller's dome here in Carbondale back into decent physical condition; (2), solicit support for such "regeneration"; and (3), begin our efforts to educate others about his principles and praxis, and their relevance to the 21st century.

Tax-deductible constributions may be made to:


407 S. Forest Avenue

Carbondale, IL 62901

More Bucky news R. Buckminster

More Bucky news

R. Buckminster Fuller: The History ( and Mystery) of the Universe is a
one man show based on the writings of the late R. Buckminster Fuller
affectionately known as Bucky. Interweaving stories from Bucky's life with
the philosophical underpinnings of his work, Ron Campbell's performance has
been called "astounding" and a "tour de force". And Rob Hurwitt of the San
Francisco Chronicle has called the play;
"Startlingly funny, intellectually stimulating and genuinely moving."
Since it's opening in October it has been playing to packed houses.

Special offer: group rates without the hassle of
organizing a group. Five-dollar off discount ($5) to any
Wednesday or Thursday night performance or any Saturday and Sunday matinee. Call the reservation line at (415) 626-DOME and mention the discount code(NATURAL GREEN LOGIC).

Natural Logic's promotion is available for a limited, two- week
period (Feb 1-13). http://www.foghouse.com.

Watching a CNN story on

Watching a CNN story on the rise of offensive language in which they've "taken great care to eliminate any offensive language"...

January 16, 2003

Can you say "unconscionable?" [NY

Can you say "unconscionable?"

[NY Times]: In a reversal, the Bush administration has ruled that managed care organizations can limit and restrict coverage of emergency services for poor people on Medicaid.

I tried to formulate an insightful observation in response, but all I can do is sputter apoplectically. To paraphrase what the president said recently concerning affirmative action, the motives may be well intended ("to facilitate more appropriate use of preventive care and primary care") but "the method used ... to achieve this important goal is fundamentally flawed."

Concerns Raised Over Altered Fish.

Concerns Raised Over Altered Fish.
A new study maintains that the government is poorly structured to assess possible environmental hazards posed by genetically modified fish.... The study... comes as the Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to approve a salmon genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as regular salmon. By Andrew Pollack. [New York Times: Science]

Will engineered salmon out-compete wild fish for mates or food, if they escape? accumulate toxins like mercury at a faster rate. The fisheries experts I've talked with won't eat farmed salmon, because of the chemical load

Folks in the northwest are starting to notice that salmon from different river runs taste different, much like good wines are specific to their terroir. Will salmon that grow twice as fast taste half as good?

Speaking of fish, see also Audobon's guide to "which species are in good shape, which are not, and why." Or Environmental Defense's interactive Seafood Selector and Pocket Guide.

PS: Atlantic Sharks Found in Rapid Decline. Shark populations in the northwest Atlantic Ocean have plunged by more than half since scientists began keeping careful track in 1986. By Andrew C. Revkin. [New York Times: Science]

"It's a giant experiment, and we're not just playing in the laboratory here.... We're playing with the future of our marine food resources."


Offered without comment Off the

Offered without comment

Off the Wagon. As a drunk is to alcohol, the Bush administration is to budget deficits. By by Paul Krugman. [New York Times: Opinion]

Clemency Without Clarity. Perhaps the best argument against capital punishment may be that it is an issue beyond the limited capacity of government to get things right. By Scott Turow. [New York Times: Opinion]

NYTSo, the Supremes upheld that a Congress (that was bought off by monied copyright holders) can extend copyrights forever.  This is a classic Pareto problem of rentiers using the legal system to ensure their future revenue streams.   What they can't earn by creating they earn through changes in the law.  The end result of this type of power grab is a static and uncreative society.  Of course, the end result may be different.  New technology is the wild card in the revolution against the rentiers.  Rip, mix, burn, share. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

January 17, 2003

Bucky correection Discount code for

Bucky correection

Discount code for The History ( and Mystery) of the Universe (see below) is simply GREEN.

Gallagher. "Don't you wish there

Gallagher. "Don't you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work." [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

Wired.  Here is a good

Wired.  Here is a good example of how the research industry operates.  Keynote system develops a way to test SMS delivery times.  They release a report ranking the SMS participants.  They then announce a service to help carriers measure SMS delivery times.  There are two funny things about this article.

The first is that the reporter asks research analysts about the tactic (?).  The analysts told him that Keynote shouldn't have ranked the participants like that.  What crap.  Analysts do that all the time in virtually every report they write (even though most tech research is aimed at the buyers of technology, vendors generate nearly 40% of the revenue at most tech research firms).  LOL! 

The second funny thing is that the carriers aren't going to buy Keynote's monitoring service.  Why?  There are too few competitors (oligopoly) and their customers aren't going to be swayed by data published by a performance measurement company in a press release.  I ran into this when we were looking at a way to test cell phone reception on a per city basis.  The carriers totally didn't care about quality of service.  Alan is exactly right on this:

Analysts said Keynote's findings are nothing new. Just as the quality of voice calls over cellular networks is spotty, so is sending a text message, said Alan A. Reiter, president of Wireless Internet & Mobile Consulting. 

The only way to really go after the carriers with a service like this is to:

1) Get the data published in a research report by a company with lots of buyers of technology as customers.

2) Generate an award system that the carriers can use in their advertising.

3) Spend some money on advertisements to promote the findings.  Short dollars if done correctly.  Do it in the cities where the companies you are targeting have their headquarters.

4) Provide data to consumer sites to let them get the word out (like DSL reports).  Also, develop a splash page. 

The marketing guy/gal that follows this strategy would have a $10 m business within 2 years. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

US gone mad. John Le

US gone mad. John Le Carre, in the Sunday Times: Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the worldês poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties."
[Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

January 19, 2003

What is NBIC Convergence?. from

What is NBIC Convergence?. from Zack Lynch's keen Neurotechnology and Society weblog:

Conference: Converging Technologies to Enhance Human Performance.
February 5-7, UCLA. This conference intends to explore what is currently being called Nano-bio-info-cogno convergence. This cross-disciplinary conference should prove to have some interesting discussions on how these different fields will play into the coming neurotechnology wave.

I hope someone blogs and streams it.

title="What would you do with a brain if you had one?"> src="http://static.userland.com/misc/snImages/smallbrain.gif"
height="43" width="53" border="0">

Zack keeps challenging my assumptions. The Emotional Revolution, where cognition can influence emotion. Medicalization of performance enhancement. Mental Health Expectancy. Neurotechology forecasting of sensoceuticals using the Pain Pleasure Principle. I can't wait for his book.

[a klog apart][aka technology]


Researchers translate DNA code as

Researchers translate DNA code as music.An image called [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

Memo to the Democrats: Quit

Memo to the Democrats: Quit Being Losers!

Tucker Carlson in today's New York Times Magazine:
This fall, for the second time in a row, the Democratic Party lost an election it should have won. Democrats offered no rationale for why they should be running the country and no vision for how they would run it. The party got the drubbing it deserved....

I have some ideas for how Democrats can help their party be taken seriously again. Why should Democrats listen to advice from someone who represents the right on a television talk show? Partly because there are lessons worth learning from the many years Republicans spent as the minority party and partly because, why not? Nothing else seems to be working.

The Dems seem to have lacked backbone and cojones for a long time. It was evident in the early 80s: "You're afraid to say what you really believe." Surely there are people out there with firm values, pragmatism and flexibility in implenting them, and a willingness to talk straight without poll-testing every phrase. Maybe even some who could articulate a new political agenda that transcends the ideological lock-in of both parties. You think?

More to say on this in a little while...

"The old Rovian game of

"The old Rovian game of hide the ball"

[Media Whores Online]: Rice, who rarely issues these kinds of public statements and, as far as we know, has never done so on a domestic issue, claimed she spent a lot of time arguing for Bush to oppose the Michigan affirmative action policy, on the grounds that it is a "quota" system.

Only one problem: the Michigan policy is specifically NOT a "quota" system. The New York Times had pointed that out with unusual clarity.

Actually, there's more than one problem....

Once again, things may not what they appear at the Bush White House. (Be sure to take the quiz at the end of item.)

January 20, 2003

And continue until you get to the beginning

Momma always said "slang could get risky," Tara Sue.

But hey, I've never had a public conversation with a major political figure before. :-)

PS: Consider yourself nibbled.


Burning Kyoto's bridges

[Boston Globe editorial]: Chris Walker of Swiss Reinsurance, the second-biggest reinsurer in the world, remarked on the seriousness with which his and other European insurers address climate change, especially in contrast with their US counterparts.... The Europeans have come to the conclusion that the costs to industry and transportation of complying with Kyoto are ''not that big a deal.''

If the United States ever seeks UN Security Council support for war on Iraq, that backing would be much easier to come by if foreign opinion on the subject were not so colored by the impression that the Bush administration wants to fight to ensure cheap fuel for SUVs. Bush needs to show far more interest in the global climate and in the world's frustration with US policy. Both are heating up.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is reportedly pursuing a "mandatory voluntary program" with US industry, "collecting written promises from industries to curb emissions of gases linked to global warming." But the targets are modest, and aim at best at reducing the rate of increase of GHG emissions, rather than reducing emission levels themselves.

White House officials said the new effort was just the beginning of a protracted campaign for voluntary reductions. "We're not declaring victory here and going home," an administration official said. "It'll be an ongoing thing from here."

The news, as always, seems to be better outside the White House. As the Times reports

Many big companies, expecting that regulation of greenhouse gases is inevitable, have already moved independently to set up voluntary caps and trading schemes in which companies that aggressively cut their emissions acquire pollution credits they can sell to other companies.... The newest effort began on Thursday, with the start of the Chicago Climate Exchange, under which big manufacturers and energy companies agreed to cut emissions and trade credits with one another.

Once again, the markets may drive the policies, more than vice versa.

The first official SAUNAAB tests

This is not the first sauna in a SAAB, I know of at least one SAAB 96 made into a sauna in Finland.


MLK: Letter to an anti-Zionist friend

It's MLKjr Day; his words still ring true:

"...You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.' And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--this is God's own truth.

"Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so.

"My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate antisemitism. I know you feel, as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism, prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled--as others have been--into thinking you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true to these heartfelt principles that you and I share. Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--make no mistake about it."

[From M.L. King Jr., "Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,"
Saturday Review XLVII (August 1967), pg. 76.]

Unfortunately, the letter may not:

...There is no such letter in any of the August issues, nor do the page and volume numbers cited conform to those actually used by that publication.

Since the message of the letter (Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism) was one Martin Luther King, Jr. had indeed articulated, we can understand why the King family and the ADL did not feel the need to verify the öLetter to an anti-Zionist friend.ä

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who worked closely with Dr. King shares Dr. Kings views on Israel, views which stressed Israels democratic nature and Israels need for security. And he also relates that Dr. King said, öWhen people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism.ä

This quotation has been confirmed, so you should feel assured that you can use the quotation in letters. Just be sure to mention that it came from Dr. Kings 1968 Harvard University appearance, so that no one will think it is from the debunked öletter.ä


It's all about design

Tucker Goodrich: "This innocuous little fly just invites being peed upon." [Scripting News]

Iconoclast Looks for Fish and Finds Disaster

. Dr. Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist, is so decidedly global in his life and outlook that he is nearly a man without a country.... The news is uniformly bad. So Dr. Pauly has become a man on a mission to spread the word that fish stocks are plummeting around the world.

"In some places in the world," he said, "you can see people chasing the last fish."

By Carol Kaesuk Yoon. [New York Times: Science]

The irony is that the nutritional consciousness that has moved so many eaters from meat to fish is one of the factors driving the depletion of global fisheries. (Dr. Pauly helped create FishBase, online at www.fishbase.org, with information on every one of the 27,000 fish species; it gets as many as five million hits a month.)

The alternative seems inescapable, in a world on its way to 10-12 billion humans: eating lower on the food chain.

RNA Trades Bit Part for Starring Role in the Cell

Surprising new discoveries show that cells contain an army of RNA snippets that do much more than once thought, refining prevailing theories of genetics. By Andrew Pollack. [New York Times: Science]

Between RNA interference, mitochondrial DNA, and "jumping genes," the world of molecular biology will become far less mechanistic and reductionist than many had imagined.

January 21, 2003

The Axis of Oil

Three decades after the oil shocks of the 1970's, America is still dependent on the good offices of OPEC. [New York Times: Opinion]

The "axis of oil." Has a nice ring to it...

About that ML King quote...

Ted Zittel points out:

As the narrator says at the end of Chapter One of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Even if it didn't happen, it's still true."

New(s) clones of our time

Inquirer: It seems the Republican Party blanket emailed different newspaper editors with the same letter praising George Bush as "demonstrating genuine leadership."

Dozens of editors of US newspapers published the letter, apparently in good faith.

Good thing spam isn't against the law. Oh, wait a minute, it is!

January 23, 2003

In Praise of the Purple Cow

[Fast Company] The world is full of boring stuff -- brown cows -- which is why so few people pay attention. Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service.


Biomimicry on KQED Forum at 10am today

Forum host Michael Krasny talks to science writer Janine Benyus about biomimicry, a new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.

Today, 10am, http://www.kqed.org

Janine Benyus on biomimicry

A few notes, while multi-tasking, from her interview this morning on KQED/Forum:

We _are_ nature. Part of our problem is that we've been thinking otherwise.

Looking for a mentor: "We don't necessarily think to look to the organisms that have done something well. All I needed to do was look at the pond, not go on the internet."

Is it possible? The existence proof is right outside.

Maybe the question isn't: "how do we formulate a better, more environmentally sound paint?" but rather "how do we create color?" A biologist can tell you there's two kinds of color: pigment and structural, like peacocks [which are actually BROWN] and tropical butterflies. Iridigm is working on computer displays based on this.

Shallow biomimicry can get us intro more trouble....

Read the book!


One one hand

Daniel Ellsberg answers questions on Iraq for Metall (Germany Metalworkers Union newspaper) and Freitag

"What threat does Iraq now pose or could pose in the future to essential US objectives in the Middle East or globally?"

No threat at all, so long as Saddam is not faced with overthrow or death by attack or invasion. Saddam has been weakened by a decade of sanctions, contained and deterred by the readiness and even strong desire of the US to attack Iraq on any excuse. Unattacked, he poses no threat at all to his neighbors or the US. To call him "the number one danger to US security and interests" is not just questionable, it's absurd. On any reasonable list of outstanding dangers, he isn't on the list.


On the other hand

A picture named rice.gifCondoleezza Rice: "Countries that decide to disarm lead inspectors to weapons and production sites, answer questions before they are asked, state publicly and often the intention to disarm and urge their citizens to cooperate." [Scripting News]

On the other other hand

this is cool. It's obvious why this page is number one on daypop today.
[Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

Words of the Year

I hadn't encountered the American Dialect Society's annual Words of the Year list before. Since blog is one of the 2002 finalists, and the "winner" in the most likely to succeed category, it will undoubtedly get huge coverage in the blogosphere. But the phrase on the 2002 that most impressed me was walking pinata, "a person subject to relentless criticism, most recently Trent Lott". I have to find an occasion to work that one into my conversation. [Davos Newbies]

Do you want chips with that?

According to UN University research:

So what are the environmental impacts of producing and using a 32-megabyte DRAM computer chip that weighs a mere 2 grams? The UNU team found that to make every one of the millions manufactured each year requires 32 kg of water, 1.6 kg of fossil fuels, 700 grams of elemental gases (mainly nitrogen), and 72 grams of chemicals (hundreds are used, including lethal arsine gas and corrosive hydrogen fluoride).

To make matters worse, Williams believes his findings are conservative. "We think the real numbers may be twice that."

Secondary materials used in production [of microchips] total 630 times the mass of the final product. An automobile requires only about twice its weight in fossil fuels to produce.

There could be a better way...

[Japan Times]

January 24, 2003

Iraq: Even the Journal is wondering what's up.

Even the [Wall Street] Journal is wondering what's up. As staff reporter Gerald F. Seib wrote on Jan. 22, "President Bush's policy toward Iraq is in distress, and the reason is stunningly simple: His administration hasn't made a very effective public case for war with Saddam Hussein." [AlterNet]

Ari Fleischer said again this week that "we've got the facts," or words to that effect. We just won't show them to anybody... and wonder why nobody wants to come along for the ride.

If there's a case to be made (and there could be -- I'm not convinced there isn't) then make it, dammit.

Chip flurry

A flurry of responses to the "chips with that" posting yesterday.

A very smart friend displays a classic right wing antipathy to all things "environmental," evidently unaware of the business case for "zero waste."

One consultant friend asks "How much of this material can be recaptured and reused? That is more important in the final analysis than how much goes in the front end."

Another responds "While recycling is a great first step, its continued use is not so good for business. Conservation of resource use through process change should be the most important consideration."

Or as we put it, "Why spend money on resources that you blow out a stack or pour down the drain, rather than sell to customers?"

I'll have more to say on this later, but right now need to talk to some clients. Meanwhile, read What's new? Nothing. Or The Story of O (No, not that one!).

Where klogging meets moblogging.. How

Where klogging meets moblogging..

How can I apply the work context to moblogging? I'm using the term as taking pictures using your mobile phone or mobile camera and posting them to a weblog with a time/date/location/permalink stamp. I guess I'm also making the 3-year leap of assuming video capture where we get snapshots today. Marc Canter comments on responding to Russell's thoughts on moblogging. I agree with everything said so far.

What makes moblogging novel?

  1. More opportunistic. Like your mobile phone, you'll have image capture with you 24/7. Snap as opportunity strikes.
  2. More ubiquitous. Low cost means everyone will have moblogging devices. Your workforce. Your customers. Your consultants and advisors. Your investors.
  3. More real-time. Digital flow-through means that events are captured and published in near-realtime.
  4. More collaborative. The ability to swarm on an important or interesting event lets you form a rashomon and blind men with elephant composite view.
  5. More organized. The 2004 generation of moblogging gadgets will have the royal trio of ID, date/time, and location. Thumbing a few keywords for topical context feeds search engines.

Enjoy a psychotic split with me. Imagine that you work in ...


With mobile cams and vids you can roll your own ethnographic studies. Watch buyer behavior in real time. Correllate with sales statistics by location.

Help sales teams. Enhance your CRM profiles with photos of major account contacts, meetings, facilities.

Moblog sales and promotional events. Create immediacy, share results, and broaden event reach.

Accounting and Logistics.

Nothing compares to eyeballing where the rubber meets the road. Moblog inventory. Moblog your customer, supplier, and partner operations. When combined with RFID tags, this may be the first time you visualize your supply chain.

Due dilligence? Get more done, faster, when you assess personnel, plant, products, and other assets.  

Operations Analysis and Industrial Engineering.

Document processes, the better to understand them. Photograph bottlenecks and other contraints, the better to fix them.

Record how people really work, the better to help them understand their own processes.

Competitive Analysis.

Shop the competition and share the results before you get back to the office.

You're WalMart investor relations: marshall 10,000 small investors to show the competition all across the country.  

Field Operations.

A field view. Add moblogging to everyone who drives a company van to install, measure, or repair things. Let them document their routes, their visits, the problems they encounter. Makes for better watercooler conversation. Helps the next gal to visit that customer.

Education and Knowledge Sharing.

Informal moblogging can ease personnel transitions. With experience, they can enhance the role of blogs as knowledge repositories.

Project Management.

A picture is worth a thousand GANTT charts. When your projects aren't virtual, moblog your status reports. 

Real world experimentation will prove or disprove these applications. I can't wait to start.  

[a klog apart community]

[a klog apart]

Library bans porn... and itself

Sorry you can't read that.

Pretty funny. A public library installs a filter that bans the website of the same public library.


January 26, 2003

For all the angst about oil...

Consider the coming angst about water.

Saudis Worry as They Waste Their Scarce Water. Saudi Arabia's shallow aquifers are quickly disappearing. By Craig S. Smith. [New York Times: Science]

It's not just a problem for desert nations. Viz urban - rural water battles in Caliifornia, which could pull the plug on an agricultural cornucopia; southwest US tug of war over Colorado River water; Israel / Palestine / Jordan / Syria disputes over the Jordan River; and more.

Petroleum dependence will wane, thanks to efficiency, substitution and new technologies. Water dependence can be reduced through efficiency, but water is not substitutable in living systems. The infinite substitutability of classical economics, alas, ends here.


January 27, 2003

Iraq + al Qaeda

Clear Ties of Terror. An Al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq has provided a haven for Osama bin Laden followers exfiltrating from Afghanistan....

American 'counterterrorism officials' are still in angry denial about the pattern they refused to see that connects Qaeda terrorists in hiding with Iraqi terrorists in power.

But even the Bush administration's most reluctant warrior has come to accept the validity of the link that embattled Kurds have been trying to warn us of since Sept. 11: Saddam and the followers of bin Laden are bedfellows.

[New York Times: Opinion: William Safire]

Not that this is anything new: Debka has been reporting on this link for many months. It seems only the CIA and the anti-war movement [talk about strange bedfellows!] deny it.

Making Prices Work For The Environment

Making Prices Work For The Environment - Environmental Fiscal Reform in
Europe (Austria),
Fiscal Reform Campaign,
December 17th, 2002

The very well attended conference with experts from many different
European Countries gave an overview of the development of 'green taxes'
and the dismantling of environmentally counterproductive subsidies at
EU-level and in some selected countries. The conference stressed
environmental fiscal reform because this covers taxes, subsidies and other
environmental incentives.

[Source: Subsidy Watch]


Making recycling pay

Dust Off Those Recycling Bins. A New Jersey company has improved the likelihood that New York City's recycling program will return. [New York Times: Opinion]

The company, Hugo Neu, has offered to pay the city more than $5 a ton for its recyclable plastics and metal; the next-best bid asked the city to pay more than $67 a ton to remove the recyclables.

That $72/ton gap is wide enough to be very interesting. What accounts for such a significant pricing difference?

Foxes, henhouses and Employees as Regulators

Employees as Regulators. Oversight of public companies should be entrusted to a group with a substantial interest in a given company's long-term survival: its employees. By Moshe Adler. [New York Times: Opinion]

Prefered option: keep the foxes away from the henhouse.

Option 2: At least rotate the foxes guarding the henhouse.

January 28, 2003


Swappingtons is a great way to get rid of any books, CDs or DVDs that you don't want anymore, and get other items in return for them.

Sounds like a good idea. Only trouble is that when I get rid of all these books I'll get more books in return!


Swappingtons is a great way to get rid of any books, CDs or DVDs that you don't want anymore, and get other items in return for them.

Sounds like a good idea. Only trouble is that when I get rid of all these books I'll get more books in return!

(Use "allied" as your referrer so Jeneane Sessum - whose blog linked me to this - gets the points.)


Mark Twain's War Prayer

Jeneane has a bunch of stuff on Mark Twain's War Prayer. Suitable reading for any State of the Union day. Certainly this one.

Twain: "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth."

Evolutionary Arms Race

Ants, Mushroom and Mold: an Evolutionary Arms Race. The puzzle of a remarkable symbiosis between a species of gardening ants and the fungus they raise has grown still more challenging. By Nicholas Wade. [New York Times: Science]

[a klog apart] --------

Crack bad! Blogging good!

[a klog apart]

What is bigger than a

What is bigger than a blog?.

Mike Wilson rants from his pulpit at The Universal Church of Cosmic Uncertainty. The sermon: 24 things he wants from his blog desktop. He wants it to be a fat client so he gets local storage, integration with other desktop apps and voice mail, tickers.

A few quotes:

4. To use a blog ... for a personal desktop heads-up-display console from which I work at all times.

5. A contact-management system that would make Harvey MacKay faint from information overload.

19. Built-in mind-mapping and diagramming toolkits for charting ideas and representing them textually once the "virtual whiteboarding" session is done. (Not to mention the automated post-session analysis and discovery phase designed to extrapolate on behalf of the participants.)

A great wishlist. Thinking really big. And he's gonna build it. Want to help?

[a klog apart]

Julian weaves threads about klognets..

Julian weaves threads about klognets.. Blognets have been on Julian Elvé's mind this month. He follows and binds threads from Gary Lawrence Murphy, Matt Jones, Denham GreyLilia, George SiemensTon Zijlstra, Euan at The Obvious, TIG, Ross Mayfield, and Valdis KrebsShould Julian's blog have been Synthesisia instead of Synesthesia?  [a klog apart]

"huge, ugly, rat-like swamp creature"?

Flip Mo's Quick Fix. Philip Morris snuffs its old name and rolls out a new one. [The Motley Fool]

The Fool is pithy today: Philip Morris is now officially Altria Group, though the company will continue to trade under its old ticker.

Altria Group. Hmm, doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? And it seems vaguely reminiscent of that huge, ugly, rat-like swamp creature, the nutria. (We'll let you draw your own conclusions about the irony of Philip Morris rebranding itself as something that evokes rat-like images.)


Lassica on newsreaders and custom newsreaders

Lassica on newsreaders and custom newsreaders

Hybrid Cars Not Just a Curiosity

Hybrid Cars Not Just a Curiosity. Vehicles that combine electric motors with regular engines appear to be catching on with both automakers and consumers. By Danny Hakim. [New York Times: Science]

Stephen Girsky, an auto analyst at Morgan Stanley, predicts that hybrids could grow to 10 to 15 percent of American vehicle sales, which approached 17 million last year. Government incentives, gas prices and how much manufacturing costs can be reduced will be important factors, he said.

John Casesa, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, said that because the Japanese "view this as a core technology over the next decade," domestic automakers have to respond. "Inevitably, we're moving toward a future with higher fuel economy standards, risk to energy supplies and higher environmental consciousness," he said. "So there's a market pull here."

Roll your own encyclopedia

Wired: "Anyone can contribute an article to the Wikipedia." [Scripting News]

Fascinating approach to an "open source" encyclopedia. Anyone can write, and apparently anyone can edit.


Major record labels paying you $20 each

The silver throated Kristi Martel reports:

I just got word from Derek Sivers over at CDBaby, that the music companies owe us some money if we go over and claim it. I just thought you might be interested. Think of what new cd you could buy with your $20... Heck, you could even pre-order The Mule with it! Isn't Derek just the coolest? Go and visit http://CDbaby.com after you claim your $20. I just claimed mine...

the major record labels are forced to give $44 million back to consumers, but since most people don't know about it yet, it's going mostly unclaimed.

Background: http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,57111,00.html

File your claim: http://www.musiccdsettlement.com

January 29, 2003

Bucky's Self-Disciplines

Buckminster Fuller has been a major mentor for me, ever since encountering his work in the early 70s and running away from home to spend a month at his intensive World Game Workshop. Bucky's Self-Disciplines offer a useful and powerful perspective for innovators and change agents:

I decided that Nature might support a man who was doing what Nature wanted to be done and concluded that I would be informed by Nature if I proceeded in the following manner:

1. Use myself as an experiment to see what, if anything, a healthy, young male human of average size, experience, and capability with an economically dependent wife and new born child, starting without capital or any kind of wealth, cash savings, credit or university degree could effectively do that could not be done by great nations or great private enterprise to lastingly improve the physical protection and support of all human lives.

2. Commit all of my productivity toward dealing only with the whole planet Earth and all its resources and cumulative know-how. Observation of my life to date shows that the larger the number for whom I work, the more positively effective I become. Thus, it is obvious that if I work always and only for all humanity, I will be optimally effective.

3. Seek to do my own thinking, confining it to only experientially gained information.

4. Seek to accomplish whatever is to be attained in such a manner that the advantage attained would never be secured at the cost of another or others.

5. Seek to cope with all humanly unfavorable conditions by searching for the family of relevant physical principles involved.

6. Reduce my inventions to physically working models and must never talk about the inventions until physically proved or disproved.

7. Seek to reform the environment, not the humans. I am determined never to try to persuade humanity to alter its customs and viewpoints.

8. Never promote or sell either my ideas or artifacts or pay others to do so. All support must be spontaneously engendered by evolutions integrating of my inventions with the total evolution of human affairs.

9. Assume that nature has its own gestation rates, not only for the birth of each new biological component, but also for each inanimate technological artifact.

10. Seek to develop my artifacts with ample anticipatory time margins so that they will be ready for use by society when society discoversÐthrough evolutionary emergenciesÐa need for them.

11. Seek to learn the most from my mistakes.

12. Seek to decrease time wasted in worried procrastination and to increase time invested in discovery of technological effectiveness.

13. Seek to document my development in the official records of humanity by applying for and being granted government patents.

14. Above all, seek to comprehend the principles of eternally regenerative universe and discover how humans function in these principles.

15. Seek to educate myself comprehensively regarding natures inventory of chemical elements, their weights, performance characteristics, relative abundance's, geographical whereabouts, metallurgical alloys, and chemical associabilities and disassociabilities.

16. Seek to comprehend the full gamut of production tool capabilities, energy resources, and all relevant geological, meteorological, demographic, and economic data.

17. Seek to operate only on a do-it-yourself basis and only on the basis of intuition.

18. Plan for my design science strategies to advantage the new life to be born on Earth, life born unencumbered with the conditioned reflexes so prevalent today.

19. Commit whole-heartedly to the above and pay no attention to "earning a living" in humanity's established economic system, yet find that my family's and my needs are provided for by seemingly pure happenstance and always only in the nick of time.


Responsibilities of the Design Scientist

More from Bucky

Number one consideration on the part of the design scientist is the question: What can I do for other human beings that will not trespass on any humans nor frustrate any of the regenerative integrity of the environment?

More at: Responsibilities of the Design Scientist


Bucky's "personal philosophy"


To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.

- Buckminster Fuller, Humanity's Option for Success

I'm there. (Are you?)

Bush seek exemptions from international ban on methyl bromide

U.S. to Seek Waiver on Weed Killer Harmful to Ozone Layer. The Bush administration intends to seek exemptions for American companies from an international ban on methyl bromide. By Andrew C. Revkin. [New York Times: Science]

Speaking of building international coalitions to solve common problems, as President Bush did last night, here's yet another example of how his administration doesn't. Could that just possibly have some impact on our credibility with the rest of the world?

January 30, 2003

Environmentalists blast Bush speech

Environmentalists blast Bush speech

[MSNBC]: Green themes seen as bid to get swing voters in 2004

Environmental groups on Wednesday reacted with anger to President Bushês State of the Union speech, accusing him of camouflaging destructive policies by wrapping himself around their green banner.

Activity based costing for government?

It's laudabale that President Bush, in his State of the Union address, reversed his earlier opposition to a variety of energy and environmental initiatives. Fuel cells, hyrdogen economy and energy independence? Yes indeed.

But it's too little, it's too modest, and more importantly, it's off track. (And much of it little more than a cosmetic cover for programs -- like Cleaner Skies and his forestry initiatives -- that likely move environmental and economic quality in the wrong direwction.

But let's focus for the moment on energy. A leader with a real commitment to smaller government would not give public funds to private industry, would not tell industry what to do or how to do it.

Rather (he or she) would set clear, aggressive public targets (whether binding or voluntary), and let private industry race to innovate to meet and exceed those targets. For example, make CAFE the performance floor and zero emissions the next target.

If public funds are to be spent to enhance the process, they should be spent market incentives that reward those who meet the goals.

But the most effective application of public leverage will not be to spend money on rewards, but to remove public subsidy of the perverse incentives that riddle the system, bias the market and warp spending and investment decisions.

If people had to pay the real price of gasoline at the pump -- about 6x current prices, according to Amory Lovins's estimate -- the automakers would get innovative in one quick hurry.


thanks corporate news!. [Adam Curry:

thanks corporate news!. A picture named thnxCorpNews.jpg
[Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

Nuff said.


Another Google tool

Googlert will check Google daily for a search term of your choice choose and email you when there are new results. [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]

The Popsicle Index

Speaking of indicators...

Catherine Fitts' favorite measure of economic and social well-being is the Popsicle Index -- the percent of people who believe a child can leave home, got to the store and buy a popsicle, and walk home -- safely. It was 100% when I was a child, she recalls.

Elegant. (And depressing.)


January 31, 2003

Quote of the day

Britney Spears, on walking out of screening of the remake of "The Singing Detective" at Sundance:

Sundance is weird. The movies are weird. You actually have to think about them when you watch them.
[SF Chronicle]


About January 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Gil Friend in January 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2002 is the previous archive.

February 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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