Links for the Week – October 14, 2006

Complexity Visualization
This week, nine articles/videos that are hard to categorize, but very important in what they tell us about how the world works and what we can do to understand and cope with it better.

Presenting Single Frames Onscreen: Idiagram produces single frame diagrams (an entire presentation, that would usually be represented with a whole series of graphics and slides, is captured in one massive graphic) online in such a way that, when you scroll over each of the elements of the overview graphic (top image above), the details of that component of the process appear (bottom image above). The challenge with single frames is that they can fill entire walls of a room, so they couldn’t be displayed on a computer screen — until now. This particular single frame is about coping with complexity, and, though I don’t agree with the authors’ overall view on this, the ‘implement’ part represented by the lower image above is right on. Thanks to Anecdote for the link.

Complex Decision-Making in Action: Driving in India: Also from Anecdote, a fascinating video showing the tacit rules for driving in India’s bustling city streets (read the user comments below the video for an explanation of the ‘rules’). It’s a self-managed system for coping with complexity and, surprisingly, it works.

YouTube and Google Video Show What’s Really Happening in Iraq & Afghanistan: As reported in the NYT, YouTube and Google Video (soon to be one combined service) is a good place to find videos of what life is like in the war-torn world, including insurgent attacks on US and NATO forces. But self-censorship is rearing its ugly head, with Google taking down videos when people who can’t handle the truth (or propaganda that is not US government propaganda) complain.

Last Nail in the Coffin for the US Environment: As if the Bush Administration’s anti-environment stance, deregulation and non-enforcement of existing regulation wasn’t bad enough, local ‘property rights’ groups, with the support of an anti-government judiciary, are enacting laws that make it impossible (illegal, in fact) for government to enforce any environmental regulations that affect private property or private property values in any way. So even if the US does elect a government that cares about environmental protection, it will be unable to re-enact or enforce environmental regulations.

The Tipping Point: A Visual Demonstration: A wonderfully-crafted and moving YouTube video about ‘free hugs’ shows how public sentiment reaches a tipping point and then shifts dramatically as a result of it. Google is censoring this one too, so catch it while you can. Thanks to Kenn Melvin for the link.

Why People Watch Reality TV: In response to my question in a recent post on why people watch this crap, Craig De Ruisseau points us to this survey in Psychology Today. If they’re right, it’s even worse than I thought — not only do people find watching others get humiliated entertaining, they long to be famous (and humiliated) themselves. Sounds like masochism to me (but then so does voting for Bush).

Another Encouraging Research Result for Probiotics: The CBC reports on another study supporting the value of probiotics (essentially, ingesting selected bacteria to replace the bacteria thatnormally live and process food in your gut) in treating inflammatory bowel diseases (I have ulcerative colitis) and related auto-immune hyperactivity diseases. This report is more positive than an earlier CBC report. Thanks to Doug Alder for the link.

MRSA, The Latest Epidemic Disease You’ve Never Heard of: Also from Doug, another report on MRSA, the flesh-eating bacterial disease that resists antibiotic treatment (thanks to our society’s absurd overuse and over-prescription of antibiotics). The Wired report notes that MRSA is now responsible for half of all skin infections treated in U.S. emergency rooms. The CBC is also reporting on this epidemic.

Lou Dobbs on the Disenfranchisement of the Middle Class: CNN’s Lou Dobbs vents anger at corporatist control of the US and how it has disenfranchised the middle class. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

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3 Responses to Links for the Week – October 14, 2006

  1. daniel says:

    I am so sad Google bought Youtube!. I liked Youtube.Google has too much in his hands and many things do not work well e.g. spam in search results and lack of functions and speed in Blogger to name a few.

  2. Kevin says:

    “Google is censoring this one too, so catch it while you can.”I’m a little out of the loop and falling behind on my blog-o-sphere topics. I did a quick search for google censoring this Free Hugs video and count’t find any controversial. What’s the story? What is the official reason they give for censoring it?

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Kevin: Not sure. The original upload was removed for ‘violation of policies’ — pretty vague. I can only speculate that the songs they used in the video were copyright violations, and someone complained.

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