The secular religion of global warming has all the elements of a religious
faith: original sin (we are polluting the planet), ritual (separate your waste
for recycling), redemption (renounce economic growth) and the sale of
indulgences (carbon offsets). We are told that we must have faith (all argument
must end, as Al Gore likes to say) and must persecute heretics (global warming
skeptics are like Holocaust deniers, we are told).
People in the grip of such a religious frenzy evidently feel justified in
lying, concealing good evidence and plucking bad evidence from whatever flimsy
source may be at hand.
The arguments that green energy is a producer of jobs are all somewhat weird, as if we could improve our lot by banning the use of the tractor in farming and requiring all work to be done by hand, thus returning to the days when it took 90% of the population to grow food.
Technical progress, and the tech industry, depend on making energy as cheap, not as expensive, as possible. A world in which people spend all their time working to produce or pay for inefficient energy is not a world with money to spare for the iPod.
Six hundred IT and security executives from critical
infrastructure enterprises across seven sectors in 14 countries all
over the world anonymously answered an extensive series of detailed
questions about their practices, attitudes and policies on security-the
impact of regulation, their relationship with government, specific
security measures employed on their networks, and the kinds of attacks
If you weren’t nervous when you walked into the event, you should
have been when you came out. The attacks are unrelenting, and, as one
of the panelists pointed out, the bad guys are not faced with
intractable problems of coordinating across large and sclerotic public
and private bureaucracies and political jurisdictions, and they don’t
spend all their time in meetings. In particular, governments are making
inadequate use of the information and expertise that exists in the
It was a good, tough discussion, with lots of solid nuggets from people who know their business. (The audio is here.)
There are some unexpected twists. Not surprisingly, the oil and gas
industry is a prime target because its information is valuable. But the
oil and gas industry can harden up; who hardens the water & sewer
system, where the information is not valuable but the potential for
disruption is very high? How do we reconcile an open and public
Internet with increasing security concerns?
Last week, Google announced its new netbook Web-focused operating system -- Chrome OS, to match its browser. The OS will be open source, a variation on Linux, so Google will be able to tap into the strength of that community from the get-go, and of course free ride on the work supported by IBM, HP, and the other tech companies who fund Linux.
There is a lot of cross-talk in the press and web about how this is or is not a deadly or minor threat to Microsoft's core Windows business, done with or without deliberate malice by Google, and how it is a disruptive or minor innovation that can be extended up the value chain (unless it is not), and how Microsoft must be very worried or perhaps highly amused.
The day before, I was at Google's DC office to hear Chris Anderson talk about his new bookFree: The Future of a Radical Price. One point he made is that there is a big psychological distance between "free" and even a trivial cost and that the business models of the future must cater to this. This does indeed seem to be a pre-occupation of the tech world, which thus assumes that Google's free OS should sweep the board, except of course for the power of those Microsoft people who seem to cheat by charging for their products.
Forget altruism. Misanthropy and egotism are the fuel of online
social production. That's the conclusion suggested by a new study of
the character traits of the contributors to Wikipedia. A team of
Israeli research psychologists gave personality tests to 69 Wikipedians
and 70 non-Wikipedians. They discovered that, as New Scientist puts it, Wikipedians are generally "grumpy," "disagreeable," and "closed to new ideas."
In their report
on the results of the study, the scholars paint a picture of
Wikipedians as social maladapts who "feel more comfortable expressing
themselves on the net than they do off-line" and who score poorly on
measures of "agreeableness and openness." Noting that the findings seem
in conflict with public perceptions, the researchers suggest that "the
prosocial behavior apparent in Wikipedia is primarily connected to
egocentric motives ... which are not associated with high levels of