Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Links

  • The above is Eurostat's European construction index.  The great recession never ended as far as this is concerned - it's still falling rapidly six years after its peak.
  • Syria may break into pieces.
  • Losing the High Plains Aquifer.
  • Google getting into the massive cloud computing business.
  • Bruce Schneier on the future of privacy: none.


sunbeam said...

I've thought similar things to the notions expressed in that article by Schneier for a long time. I guess most of us have, along with other ideas he probably didn't include to preclude sounding like he had a tinfoil hat.

It's just amazing that it turns out to be so cheap, and people jump into it without a second thought.

There's nothing to be done about it in my opinion. I don't think the US for example, really has a government that responds to public pressure when ... interests want it a different way.

The Aquifer problem seems like it is emblematic of something that has been talked about a long time. When did they start calling it the High Plains Aquifer? I've always heard it called the Oglalla.

It's notoriously thin in most places (even before all the pumping) but it is pretty thick in Nebraska. Actually really thick in Nebraska.

I just have to wonder about the farmers. From Texas to Kansas, Oklahoma, other places they've had to have known this was coming a long time.

Stephen B. said...

In my younger days, when I got into computer engineering, like most all of my peers, I was so gung ho on everything to do with computers and electronic communication. But then as the years went by, I started to see the ecological problems that an increasingly technological human civilization would face and I lost the passion. I kind of dropped out of the technological sphere, at least professionally, going into education instead, with a focus on at-risk kids and environmental education. Computers, AI, and the Internet continued - and continue, to advance. Several years ago I began to get the first inkling that technology was destroying more jobs than it was creating, that maybe the growth in the welfare and disability dependency crowd was occurring for reasons beyond ordinary people simply being lazy or unable to be retrained (I let go of my Republican upbringing) – that increasing technology was further dividing society into haves and have-nots – that our species was headed towards the so-called Singularity that really was, in many ways, getting closer. Unwilling to let go of my natural, organic existence, I have slowly detached from the contemporary world in some ways, not simply because I am older now and cannot keep up with all that is changing in our increasingly artificial world, but because I *wanted* to stay in the more natural, more animal, slower, less-electronically-interconnected world. All the while I have seen privacy slipping away as Schneier's essays have detailed so thoroughly. Don’t even get me started on the abomination of having a handful of corporations such as Monsanto and Cargill control the majority of the world’s food supply, patenting, controlling, and milking royalties from all of the food trade.
The world I knew in my youth certainly had many ecological and social problems, but at least one could still step back and go fishing, ALONE, at some pond. Now everything's so crowded and linked...I am glad I'm old enough to perhaps pass on before society reaches the End Game of where all this is going, because, man, I really don't want to experience that dystopia. No, I am not depressed or suicidal. It's just that I see humanity is coming to a total face-to-face with the implications of its technology, and, all in all, it promises to be very dehumanizing. At one point I held out a bit of hope that energy and resource constraints would at least slow down the developed world’s headlong rush further down that path, but as we’ve seen in the past few years, such is not too likely.
Maybe all will turn out breathtakingly well for the future and its human inhabitants. Maybe they’ll look back at lamentations such as those voiced by the likes of me and simply laugh. For their sake I hope so.