Links for the Week – Feb. 18/06


The Music I Love:
After complaining about Pandora’s music recommendations last Saturday (some readers find Pandora works just fine for them, BTW), I decided to try another tool called recommended by reader Ed Dowding. It’s a lot more work, but I really like the design, and the early results are more promising. not only recognized Trespassers William, it gave me a list of other fans, their rankings of all the band’s music, and some other groups that members have ‘tagged’ with the same identifiers (e.g. for Trespassers William: female vocalists, singer-songwriters, and ‘shoegaze’, which apparently is a genre). When you sign up you get your own page, which lets you chat with other fans and set up ‘groups’ around common interests. It also sets up several types of custom ‘radio stations’ that play tracks that it thinks you might like. If you get the iTunes plugin, the site will monitor and log the music you play, listing your favourite groups and songs each week and cumulative to date. When you’ve logged enough, it will identify ‘neighbours’, members whose music tastes correlate closely with your own, and let you play a ‘radio station’ of their favourite music. The site has two major weaknesses: You can only listen music that has the rights to ‘broadcast’ (substantial, but frustratingly limited when you get away from the mainstream); and the track identifier needs to be made ‘smarter’ (type ‘the’ in front of a song name and it thinks it’s a different song, and even using lower case creates a ‘different’ song in its listings than mixed case). Here’s my page, with a third of my iTunes music captured so far. The premium ‘subscription‘ is quite appealing for 3Ä a month — most notably it would create a ‘radio station’ of my favourite music that readers of my blog could tune to while they’re reading.

Blog About Women Musicians: Speaking of music, womanfolk is a great blog that specializes in news and music samples by great women singer-songwriters.

Why This Blog Will Never Win an Award: I’m honoured to have been nominated once again for a Koufax award (best writing on a ‘progressive’ blog). The problem for me is that only 5-10% of my articles are about progressive political and economic issues. I’ve been nominated for a Canadian blog award (but only 2% of my articles are about Canadian matters), and several business blog awards (perhaps 20% of my posts are business related). I don’t know if there’s an award for environmental blogs, but I wouldn’t win it either, since I don’t give readers the one critical thing that all award-winning blogs need to provide: reassurance. Ecoblogs like WorldChanging and TreeHugger, in addition to having multiple writers, take a very upbeat, “we’re gonna beat this thing”, techno-positive approach to the subject, not the “carry that weight” grim assessment of the chances of all our efforts actually saving the world that characterizes my blog. In my much-cited list of what blog readers want, at the bottom of the right sidebar of my blog, I deliberately chose to omit reassurance — that they’re doing the right thing(s), that they’re not alone in their opinions and feelings, that the problems in the world are not their fault. I thought it might make the list seem cynical. But readers (and not just blog readers) do want reassurance, not challenges to their thinking. And I just can’t, won’t, do that just to make this blog more popular. So thank you, nominators, it is wonderful to be recognized, and pleased don’t get discouraged just because I never win. I don’t.

Peak Oil Was Reached Two Months Ago: A new analysis suggests that peak oil — the maximum monthly global production point, and the point at which more than half of all the oil than can ever economically be expected to be brought online, has been, was reached in December. It’s all downhill from here. Thanks to Dale Asberry for this link and the one that follows.

Our Unconscious Minds Make Better Complex Decisions: A new study claims that when it comes to simple or merely complicated decisions (where the number of variables to consider is finite, and their relationship knowable), we should make those decisions consciously. But when it comes to complex decisions, our conscious minds cannot handle the fact that there are too many variables to assess, and that their relationship is unknowable — they keep trying to reduce the complexity to less than what it is, leading to poor decisions. Better to sleep on it, and let our instincts, emotions, and subconscious minds mull it over. And if you’re an insomniac, this may be the cause — your left brain trying, futilely, to process the infinite and irreducible. Calm it by doing something right-brained (singing, drawing etc.) just before you retire.

Comment corriger des fautes: Il y a un nouveau site qui s’appelle qui permet d’identifier des fautes d’orthographe et de grammaire que l’on trouve frÈquemment dans les travaux Ècrits des apprenants de franÁais langue seconde. Je vais l’utiliser souvent. (A new site that corrects grammar and spelling of competent, but non-expert, non-native,Francophones).

Delightful bird photo from Kevin Cameron at Bastish.

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6 Responses to Links for the Week – Feb. 18/06

  1. Julie says:

    As a French Canadian reading your blog, I am amazingly happy to notice that you write French well!

  2. Rayne says:

    In regards to “progressive writing” and the Koufax — perhaps you need to take a look-see at the folks who were also nominated for the same award. I think you’d find most of them share with you your realism; most are NOT optimists in any respect. Progressivism is about human progress, which is not assured although something we should strive for. Most of your writing reflects progressivism. I don’t think you’ll win, but not because of your body of work. There are simply so many fine progressive writers to pick from that the ades are challenging.

  3. Rayne says:

    agh…ades = odds can’t type this evening!

  4. Barry Vornbrock says:

    1. Merci pour let site sur l’Internet– ! Je vais l’utiliser!2. If you happen to find one for Dutch… ;-) Or if I find one I’ll let you know.3. Your post earlier this week mentioning play caught my eye… interesting that you choose the word addicted. My experiences with and research into play shows that addiction is possible but it is most likely that people’s playfulness is emergent, natural. I’ve found play to be an incredibly powerful way to attend to learning about meaning and talent… setting aside your generalizations, I’m curious about your experiences with play. Perhaps you could share some more thoughts about it in a future post.Regards, best wishes, and stay warm!

  5. Kevin says:

    Despite biting me for putting a photo of her in the shower on the web, Klee was excited to see herself on your site. Thanks.

  6. Thanks for mentioning BonPatron. I just want to invite you and your readers to send us any comments or suggestions that come to mind; the site keeps getting better in large part thanks to user feedback. Though not quite as fully developed, you may also be interested in a sister site for texts in English: Again, feedback is welcome!

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