Four short links: 11.5 Feb 2009

This second Feb 11 post was brought to you by the intersection of timezones and technology. If there’s a third Feb 11 post, I’m changing my name to Bill Murray.

  1. Hacking the Earth — an environmental futurist looks at “geoengineering”, deliberately interfering with the Earth’s systems to terraform the planet. Radical solution to global warming, unwise hubris and immoral act of the highest folly, or all of the above? (via Matt Jones)
  2. Reinvention Draws Near for Newsweek — fascinating look at how Newsweek are refocusing their magazine. “If we don’t have something original to say, we won’t. The drill of chasing the week’s news to add a couple of hard-fought new details is not sustainable.” gives me hope. Newsweek are hoping to target fewer but richer advertisers, essentially a business strategy of tapping existing customers for more. This feels like they’re ceding the contested parts of their business (commodity news stories) and doubling down on the bits that nobody else is fighting for yet (their columnists, pictures, whitespace). What else could they do? Possibly nothing (see Innovator’s Dilemma), but the alternative is figuring out something new that people want and giving them that. Easy to say, hard for anyone to do.
  3. Tinkerkit – a physical computing kit for designers. Arduino-compatible components for rapid prototyping. Sweet!
  4. Stanford University YouTube Channel — short interesting talks by Stanford researchers. Brains on chips, stem cells to fight deafness, and brain imagery are some of the first up there. The talks aren’t condescending or vague, they’re aimed at “a bright and curious audience”, as the Mind Hacks blog post about them put it.
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  • Jim Stogdill

    If you are considering geo-engineering, it’s well worth picking up John McPhee’s book The Control of Nature. It’s a wonderful and sobering read (particularly post Katrina).

  • http://www.gottahavacuppamocha.com Michael H

    Those Tinkerkits make me think they’re supposed to be a cross between Tinker Toys, Erector Sets, HeathKits, and Lego Mindstorms. Cool idea.

  • http://geidus.com/ Brian Dunbar

    Newsweek are hoping to target fewer but richer advertisers, essentially a business strategy of tapping existing customers for more. This feels like they’re ceding the contested parts of their business (commodity news stories) and doubling down on the bits that nobody else is fighting for yet …

    And thus entering a market already owned by ‘The Atlantic’ and ‘Harper’s’.

    Good luck with that, Newsweek.

  • http://www.schieldenver.com Book Publisher

    Typically what people call geoengineering is divided into two major classes. There are approaches which attempt to reduce the amount of climate change produced by an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and there are approaches that try to remove greenhouse gases that have already been released to the atmosphere.