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Canada made the decision to close one of its borders in the night-time hours, which left residents of an eastern Alaska town in a lurch because there is no emergency care otherwise. Fortunately, they came to an arrangement.

According to Brookings, fracking is responsible for 47% of the fall in natural gas prices.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Tabasco Sauce. (Well, fifteen things.)

If you’re looking for a way to get rid of ants, you can’t get rid of them by getting rid of gravity.

According to a new book, addiction may not be what we think it is.

David Shultz wants to know if you’ll be able to read modern-day articles in 1,000 years, with an eye towards antiquated hardware. To answer his question, I think the answer is “yes” for text, due in large part from the transition from binary to marked up text. You won’t necessarily have the formatting, but you’ll have something readable. I’m less sure about image files, and skeptical about anything dynamic like video games or interactive anything.

Tom Lindsey writes about Texas’ ongoing effort to make college genuinely affordable.

Javier Grillo-Marxuach attributes the majesty of modern prestige television to bad parenting, MTV, and ADD-style editing.

Maybe I should talk less about Kansas City, and more about Fresno?

Discovered during my research: How America was named.

Ben Schwartz argues that we are in an age of a comedic bubble and satirical excess.


Category: Newsroom

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11 Responses to Linkluster Tribes in Nigeria

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    My brain just glommed on to what is wrong in that picture.

    I need more coffee…

  2. Michael Cain says:

    The Alaska/Canada border crossing link yields a 404 error; here’s the NYTimes version of the story. Reading the various quotes, I am struck that none of the US local/state politicians have offered what I thought was the obvious solution: “Fine. We’ll pay the costs to keep the crossing open.”

    I doubt that very much of our writing will be available in 1,000 years, but don’t think either obsolete hardware or forgotten data formats will be the problem. Copies will simply disappear over time due to the usual problems: fires, floods, laziness, bankruptcies, grandchildren unwilling to pay the storage costs, things tossed by accident, the occasional voltage spike frying stuff, etc. I tried to be diligent about preserving a copy of the original files for all of the technical material I wrote starting about 1980. Despite that, there are papers that exist now only as paper — somewhere along the line, the data file got away from me.

    • trumwill says:

      Sorry about the bad link.

      We’re not there yet, but I think in a decade or two we may be reaching a tipping point where it’s harder to actually fully and completely delete something than for it to be lost. (and I don’t even mean this in the sense of “Data recovery will retrieve it” but that most of it will be saved in ten places without you thinking about it.)

  3. I’m less sure about image files, and skeptical about anything dynamic like video games or interactive anything.

    As I noted with another person on Facebook, the real problem with console games is that anything pre-HDMI can run with some lag making certain games unplayable on modern television sets. There are still some old PlayStations floating around, but the best way to play them without an emulator is to find an old CRT set to avoid the lag from upscaling into the native resolutions of the newer TV. There’s a reason why my brother has two televisions in his room, and it’s not because he’s a TV maniac.

    As for traditional software, the real problem will come with less than popular software and extensions that aren’t open source. The article notes Microsoft decision to stop supporting Word Perfect, but one could argue that there was no need to bother with a file format that hasn’t been popular for years. At least with open source, there will be somebody who can always take up the mantle and restart production on something or add functionality to existing software, but with closed source, you’re at the mercy of holder of the patent.

    Tom Lindsey writes about Texas’ ongoing effort to make college genuinely affordable.

    FWIW, it’s a better idea than doing nothing, but it’s not going to magically turn a lot of those non-degree holders with credits into college degree holders. Some simply lack the time, others the intellect, and some the drive needed to make an online programme work well. The real question comes if the degree is seen as “inferior” to that of the local directional state college in the eyes of employers. If too many corners are cut, and degree holders are lacking in skills, then it’s going to ruin the value of the degree from the TABP programme, and just turn it into the public version of a private for-profit college.

    • trumwill says:

      Even technically closed-source streaming documents should be hackable in a way that it would be much more difficult to hack a binary product like Word Perfect. In the Microsoft suite, Access is kind of the question.

      I’m thinking that this project will not go the way of for-profits. In part because they have the participation of existing institutions and part because they don’t have the same motivations. Whether it turns “a lot” into degree holders, depends on how we’re counting. I don’t think it’ll be revolutionary and Change Everything, but I think it will remove cost as the obstacle where cost is the obstacle, which is often the case. It could also stand to remove geography from the equation, if someone dropped out because they had to relocate. (I am assuming that they will have generous transfer crediting, which they should.)

  4. aaron david says:

    Along with being born in Pullman, I lived in the Fresno area for about 6 years. I have fond memories of that time.

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