I've been a bit lax on the readings lately. The weather has been unseasonably cool here in Savannah and it's just too beautiful to miss. It is going to be hot as hell real soon, so I'll have plenty of time and inclination to stay in and blog.
Nonetheless, some worthy items culled over the last few days:
A native Burmese account of the cyclone aftermath
I'm going to put it plainly, redneck stylee: The Burmese government are a bunch of pricks.
92.3% of all email in first quarter 2008 was spam
Great googly-moogly, that's a lot of spam!
I think there's something wrong with these people. Not just that they're greedy knuckleheads, but something deeper, more psychological. Perhaps a similar compulsion that motivates bloggers to spend endless hours on the internet seeking the holy grail of post material grips these enigmatic and insanely driven people; their muscles atrophying in a stew of caffeine and nicotine while the sun rises and sets repeatedly beyond brick walls they rarely pass. They need to be located, isolated, quarantined and probed. After that, they need to be taken out in public so that everyone that owns a computer can line up and punch them in the stomach.
via Advertising Is Good For You
Forget the naysayers - America remains an inspiration to us all
Rumors of the demise of the U.S. have been greatly exaggerated.
The US economy is certainly in transition, made vastly more difficult by the spreading impact of the credit crunch. But the underlying story is much stronger. The country is developing the prototypical knowledge economy of the 21st century, an economy in which the division between manufacturing and services becomes less clear cut, in a world where the deployment of knowledge, brain power and problem-solving are the sources of wealth generation.
What counts is the strength of a country's universities, research base, commitment to information and communications technology and new technologies along with a network of institutions that supports new enterprise. Here, the US is so far ahead of the rest of the world it is painful.
The figures make your head spin. Of the world's top 100 universities, 37 are American. The country spends more proportionately on research and design, universities and software than any other, including Sweden and Japan. Of the world's top 50 companies ranked by R&D, 20 are American. Fifty-two of the world's top 100 brands are American. Half the world's new patents are registered by American companies.
As I've said before, it's about time the rest of the world caught up.
Even from a more pessimistic view, Bruce Sterling put it plainly:
There's a swarm of guys in there insisting that America is toast. Listen, fellas, be reasonable -- the USA might collapse as abjectly as the USSR did, but the continent and the population would still be there. I mean, Russia exists, right? It's not like North America is going to vaporize just because the world's gone "post-American."
Personally, I'd be happy to see the world get over whatever preoccupations with the USA and find their own identity in this new future of ours. Besides, nationalism is a zombie only kept going because it's more convenient than dismantling it. De facto or contrived, it's a wide open global playing field we find ourselves on. Time to act accordingly.
Europe found a way to end three thousand plus years of perpetual warfare and disruption. Asia found a way to bootstrap vital and vibrant economies, in the process lifting a billion plus people out of poverty. Maybe we could learn something from them, just as they might learn that the USA is not doomed to go the way of the Romans because of a few defaulted mortgages and expensive oil.
How To Be A Renaissance Man
Good, solid, manly advice, but you gals out there can benefit, too. We need Renaissance women.
The city’s most intriguing art gallery lives under Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s dark and it’s dirty. There are no formal openings. No curator. No reviews. No selling of the works.
The artists slip in and out. They do their work, then disappear from the underground concrete corridors. Runoff water pours from pipes into these toxic storm drains. Debris is everywhere. You’re glad you have thick shoes as you walk through water and muck. Sun shines through a few of the grates, lighting some areas, but most of what you see is what your flashlight catches.
Out of options in the above-ground world, these graffiti artists do their thing in the underground tunnels of Las Vegas.
Spray paint graffiti art is not an easy thing to pull off. I guarantee that if any of us with no experience or talent tried, it would look like crap.
Excellent article with video and images.