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Democracy 2.0

Re: Column frequency
Hey Will, it seems as if the frequency of your column has really dropped off.  It is one of my personal favorites.  What gives?
— Jerry

Will replies:  Hi Jerry, sorry to be such a slacker.  The answer is that I've been on paternity leave for August so I've just been trying to keep the blog warm so I don't totally lose all my readers while I'm out.

What's more, this week I'm on an actual vacation without regular Internet access (I'm at a Barnes and Noble right now).  I thought I'd be able to keep working from the road but that's not worked out as I planned after all, so this week has been a dead fish.

The good news is that I'm not fired or cancelled or anything like that.  I'll be back in full force (actually with more time to blog because we re-arranged some of my work responsibilities) after Labor Day.

As further good news (I hope) we're going to migrate Clicked to some more traditional blogware, which means smaller entries, categories, comments, RSS feed, etc.  I hope to make that happen as early as next week.  I'll be back in regular Internet range on Monday and hopefully I'll put up an entry in a few minutes before my quarter runs out here at the bookstore.

Thanks for your interest,
Will

What I clicked before I entered the naked airless space of Internet disconnectedness:

LaShawn Barber points out that the recent case of plane passengers refusing to fly with Middle Eastern looking men on board is a symptom of a lack of confidence in authorities' abilities to ensure our safety.  I think there is also an element of the public being asked to contribute to the effort but not really being trained how to do it.  In New York City we have signs on the subway that say, "If you see something, say something."  But of course, if you say something you could tie up the city in security alerts that could cascade into a dip in the global economy.  It's a fascinating parallel with what news agencies are wrestling with as they try to incorporate public news reports and photos.  How to solicit help from the public without jamming the system with junk, and how to separate the useful stuff from the not-useful stuff.  Of course, no trains blow up if we publish a bogus cell phone camera photo.  With a movement toward participatory media and participatory journalism and participatory security (and participatory justice), when will we begin to see discussion of Democracy 2.0?

Actually, there already is something called Democracy 2.0.  It's an exercise in participatory legislation in wiki form.  If the country were starting from scratch, what laws should we have?

Aerial photography blog

10,000 reasons civilization is doomed — As I write this there are only 955.  They want you to add your own reasons to the list.  As might be expected, the list is a little messy toward the end.

On the implausibility of the Death Star's trash compactor

Slate presents:  The 9/11 report:  A graphic adaptation — It's done comic book style.

Weapons as women's accessories — very pretty hand grenades.

How much ice would I have to store up in the winter in order to air condition my house all summer?  Short answer:  a million pounds of ice, or a cube the size of your house.

The Shrinking Value of the Dollar — A chart showing the value of the dollar against its value in 1913.  "In 2002, for example, it took $17.89 to buy what $1 bought in 1913."

"The legendary economist Milton Friedman's television show "Free to Choose" is now available on Google Video for free."

All your snakes are belong to us dance remix with video — Hysterical revolutionary war flag parody around 1:50.  The Sally Struthers slide at 2:20 is good too.  No nudity.

They ridiculous story of the CIA's cyborg spy kitty.

Tracing the fine line in marketing between treating your customers well and being a manipulative lying jerk just out to make a buck.  Seeks to answer the question of how to push your stuff without being one of those people/companies who are always pushing their stuff.  I found this interesting because I hate being marketed to, but if I had something to sell, how would I do it without marketing?

Speaking of trying to sell you something, 5 ways people waste money — The note on number 4 says, "A rule of thumb: always initiate your own purchases and never let anyone else start the process for you."

Weird Al has a MySpace

Armor of God pajamas.  (Yes, they work.)

Even as Tropical Storm Debby shapes up, it's hard to ignore the slow hurricane season we've had so far in contrast with the hyped predictions a couple months ago and last year's record.  While the first chart at this link is interesting in showing storm rates, the second graphic map of ocean temperatures is particularly intriguing.  Mostly normal water temperatures with a lot of areas cooler than normal, but the northern waters are where the temperatures are higher than normal.  I wonder if melting ice at the poles can keep down water temps elsewhere and mitigate some of the forecasted turmoil.

With all the northern manatee spottings I would have expected more red on the water temperature averages map on the East Coast.

Instead of body/mass index, Researchers say waist-to-hip ratio may paint better picture of fitness.  "Ratios above 0.8 for women and 0.95 for men are linked to obesity-related complications and diseases."  So I've got to make sure my butt is bigger than my gut to pass the test.

"Look At All Of These Passwords!" — This is mostly jibberish to me, but it's the most explicit I've seen in showing what a security weakness looks like.  I've seen "watch what I can do" demos, but with these examples, even not understand the computer code you can see parts that make you say, "Oh, that's probably bad."

"With TrackMeNot, actual web searches, lost in a cloud of false leads, are essentially hidden in plain view."  Given the filtering and automation performed on search databases, I'm not sure this solves anything.

Giant perplexing nests —  Is there anything more exciting than an article that begins with "To the bafflement of insect experts..."

Aggregating peer reviewed research on social networking sites.

Why the dark matter theory is an example of good math.  By the way, this is the link everyone is pointing to as a good explanation of dark matter.  I'm copying the text out to read later when I'm back in the void of normal non-web space.