Thinking alternatives: From “Mobile” to “Mobility”

Shai Agassi is the CEO of The Better Place to get rid of oil dependency (especially for running vehicles). The idea: Give away electric cars for free (like mobile phones) and make the batteries part of the electric grid system (instead of a costly component of the car). You basically pay for miles, thus the service of mobility – not for the hardware.

Here is an interesting interview with him:

100 months to desaster

Scientists and celebrities raise the alarm regard global warming. Prince Charles for example claims that there’re only 100 months left to act. On the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit 2009 the economist Nicholas Stern confronts politicians and scientists with a dire outlook of the future if politicians fail to act swiftly on carbondioxide emissions.

Obviously there is a strong consensus among scientists, that politicians haven’t taken the issue serious enough in the last years. The Bush administration did not only oppose the Kyoto Protocol – it failed to raise the public awareness about the issue, even negated that global warming is a problem at all. As a result 66% of Republican voters think the global warming issue is “exaggregated” (44% of all Americans). Only 41% of the Republicans admit that global warming has started to show effects in nature (76% Democrats). There is even a documentary claiming the whole thing is a swindle to allocate research funds.

The mere difference in these numbers of the Republicans and Democrats show that politicians are responsible! They set the agenda, they rally their voters, they need to act – it is not enough to hope that the market will act upon their behalf. This is not going to happen – or: It will happen too late. The reason for this is that clime change is too slow to be anticipated by individuals or corporations.

Nicholas Stern has estimated two years ago that countries have to invest 1 percent of the GDP to address the climate change issue. If they don’t do that, the cost will consume up two 20 percent of the GDP. And these figures may even be too optimistic.

NSA wiretaps like crazy?

Former NSA analysr Russel Tice talks publicly about the wiretapping of the National Security Agency. Obviously the NSA patched into backbones of national telecommunication providers and scanned ALL communications. Complete organisations had their communication secretly copied and backed up for investigative purposes.

See yourself:

Update: There is a second interview with Mr. Tice the day after:

Fans on Technorati? How could I have missed that…

I just noticed that there is a “fan”-feature on Technorati. It may be on for years but it never really drew my attention. I have four fans!

Beside of Marian Steinbach (whom I know, “Hello!”) I see three other people that I do not know:

  • Tom Roper who is a Information Resources Development Coordinator for the Brighton & Sussex Medical School in England.
  • Alwin Hawkins who seems to have added me years ago and seems to have kept me for my interest in Tinderbox (don’t know…).
  • Mark Blair who is a Website architect, Internet strategist and techno-sociologist.

Hello guys!

It’s odd how people get to appreciate things from authors that don’t know about it. I think this is fundamental that the Internet changes the relationship between authors and readers – more than it has already.

I’d love to see who are those 500+ people that have subscribed to this blog, but I fear I will never really know….

I finally switched to WordPress

wordpress_logoAfter a long time of consideration I turned over to WordPress for this weblog and I will not be using Tinderbox to blog here anymore. Tinderbox is a great software for thinking and writing – and I love to have a more graphical/visual note taking approach to weblogging. But it was getting too clumsy to update my weblog or simply correct a typo. It also is a client side application – thus requiring me to use Tinderbox to blog (so it didn’t work with other clients or other computers).

feed-icon32x32  RSS Feed

Now I just need a slick design for this site.

US officials flunk test of American history, economics, civics

Yahoo News reports: “US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.”

You can take the 33-question quiz here.

I couriously tried the test and scored a 60.61% as a non-US citizen. Doesn’t this qualify me for US congress?

Fundamental changes ahead: petaflop barrier broken

According to this WIRED blog entry IBM and Cray have both cracked the petaflop barrier.

Computer scientist Mark Seager of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory claims that this will change the scientific method for the first time since Galileo invented the telescope (in 1509)”.

The reason for that is that simulation and approximation can be used to come to acurate models of complex phenomena instead of just reasoning about formula by theory and experimenting to prove those.

With 362 terabytes of memory and 1.059 quadrillion floating-point calculations per second the Jaguar of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is tuned for scientific calculations like climate and energy models, drug discovery, new materials, etc.

The question arises if these amounts of speed and data processing could one day break one fundamental rule: that some problems will always be beyond discovery through calculation. Neurology, psychology, sociology, economy and cultural studies are scientific areas that haven’t really started yet. Large scale simulation can be the one scientific method that is missing for those (implied that the methods of observation deliver enough data to model upon).

And if so, there is a danger that even governmental policies may one day be driven by probability and not ethics.

Zeitgeist: Addendum

Here is a two hour documentary by Peter Joseph from July 2008 explains so much of the backgrounds of a “corporatocracy” today, an unsustainable “monetary-ism” and religious deception that causes social and economic distress.

»Zeitgeist: Addendum« is a sequel to the documentary »Zeitgeist« from 2007:

Zeitgeist: Addendum, attempts to locate the root causes of this pervasive social corruption, while offering a solution. This solution is not based on politics, morality, laws, or any other “establishment” notions of human affairs, but rather on a modern, non-superstitious based understanding of what we are and how we align with nature, to which we are a part

The movie portraits the Venus Project – a life long futuristic vision of Jaques Fresco of a sustainable society. Unfortunatly the site looks like a study site for futuristic industrial design and technology and thus fails to generate interest for the socio-political subtext of Frescos work.

Unfortunatly, while the movie does extensively talk about a global vision, it remains a US centric view as the critisism is focusing on the US agenda. And thus it falls short in the ideas of how to initiate change in the system.

But much of the movie very well explains the problem of the current monetary system and how it came into being.

Information Design and the Monetary System

I am personally interested in how the lack of information or proper presentation of that information led to the current financial crisis. Obviously the information was available — but not well understood, not correctly aggregated or falsely interpreted by politicians that were responsible for phony policies and flawed legislations.

Continue reading Information Design and the Monetary System

Bailing out in the wrong direction

US Government is suggesting a $700 billion financial package to prevent a chain reaction at Wall Street. The US national debt to over $10 trillion dollars with just a single decision.

Interestingly there are many experts that tell their own story about what this all means on the long run.

Someone may wonder where this money is coming from. And very simply said there are two sources:

a) Nothing… Thin air!

This could be done by simply done by “claiming” that there’s $700.000.000.000 dollars more in the world. This is suggesting that this money is covered by something else and it also allows the value of the dollar to degrade for anybody (but there are other reasons as well). In 2008, for example, it took $21.57 to buy what $1 bought in 1913 (Source)

Experts like Peter Schiff are punding the topic of the collapse of the dollar since years – and other experts try to cover it up. Just watch this piece:

Peter Schiff is also favouring the gold standard:

b) The future

The “future” is… the future taxes, prices and hard work. The “average Joe” is paying it with less social security, less pansion, less money in the pocket for more and longer work.

The only politician in the US that obviously does not try to cover it up seems to be – who else – Ron Paul. Watch his comment here:

Two Red Dot Design Awards for Hobnox

I forgot to post this here: Hobnox won two Red Dot Design Awards for the website and the Hobnox Audiotool. Unfortunatly the Red Dot website does not list the achievement – and there is no statement from the Jury either.

The Audiotool also recieved the Flashforward Award 2008 – which is rewarding the best Flash projects worldwide.

BTW: There will be an major Update to the Audiotool as soon as Flash Player 10 is released. New features of the 10th player allow a more reliable Java-free playback and – this is big – the possibility to record sessions to MP3. Saving a work for later continuation is following soon.

Zoot Woman as well!

I am sorry to “spam” my music interest recently. But I am just so glad about what the Berlin team was able to pull up again. As my Last.fm profile discloses I have been listening to the britsh band called Zoot Woman recently. Now I am happy that Hobnox has the concert and an interview:

[See fullscreen and also interview available]

(Reminds me of the fact that I forgot to link the interveiw with Jose Gonzales in my last post).