My latest Prototype column in the New York Times, Capital Ideas and Social Goals, looks at what might be a heartwarming development: more efficient ways to fund social entrepreneurs.
Archive for December, 2007
It seems like a stupid question. After all, shouldn’t the digital world emulate the real world as closely as possible?
But the people I interviewed for a piece on the addition of 3D maps, Online Map Makers Gathering Data to Render 3-D Landscapes for Web Surfers, Mobile Phone Users didn’t have a lot of tangible reasons why digital maps needed to be in three dimensions. But one, Rich Gibson, pointed to future reasons why 3D might matter:
For now, he says that 3-D maps are just a baby step toward developing more useful maps. “It’s the scaffold, the framework upon which the things we do in life can rest,” he says. When 3-D will become really important is when sensor networks develop over time. That will make it possible to enhance 3-D maps with any variety of features, in real time.
I ran across that line in a poem today and I just loved it. Maybe it’s my mood. Here’s the whole thing, profound and puckish and pulsing with life:
its dull skull
like a stuck bull
in a brick stall
and my version
of what I know
is like eye surgery
with a backhoe
so much beyond
my pitiful gray
sponge of a brain
I’d not believe it exists
except for such
doses of felicity
from Poetry, November 2007
I typed this in because Poetry wasn’t posting poems online, but now it is. Here’s Against Which on their site.
The Chicago Tribune’s Public editor raises the question of what is the middle class in modern America. He doesn’t define it, because he says it’s a shifting target. He cites that Harvard is now limiting tuition payments to a mere 10 percent of income for families making up to $180,000 a year, and free for families making below $60,000 a year (there’s still that little matter of housing and feeding students in high-priced Boston). Median income for the Chicago area (half make more, half make less) is a shade over $41,000, he notes.
Personally, I think that in most of urban America, and certainly in the urban-sprawl of coastal America, there is no middle class. There are the legitimately rich, and there are the poor. In between sit the lower classes, broken into grades: lower lower-class, middle lower-class and upper lower-class (or if that’s confusing, super lower-class). Harvard’s cut-off of $180,000 a year sounds like about the right cut-off for the upper lower-class. There is a sliver of the populace where household income are between, say, $200,000 a year and actual richness (I’m not sure where that cuts off, exactly). Maybe that’s the lower upper-class.
An interesting new study using FMRI suggests that the brain processes facts and convictions in similar ways.
Or, as the scientists said,
“The fact that ethical belief showed a similar pattern of activation to mathematical belief suggests that the physiological difference between belief and disbelief may be independent of content or emotional associations.”
Over on Big Think, I posted on two seemingly different perspective on U.S. power in Asia. In fact, the pieces, from Foreign Affairs, agree on strategy, policy and the rapidly changing picture in South Korea, Japan and China.
For more, see my post China Rising — But Is the U.S. Falling?
I was just approached about letting someone post ads on select pages of my blog. I haven’t taken advertising and I have to say, being offered $20 a page, one-time fee, sounds like not a lot of money (though it would probably take a long time for one of my pages to make $20 from AdSense or some other such program).
I asked some writer friends what they thought. The first one to respond asked why I didn’t use Google in the first place. I said I thought it would be weird to write about Google while receiving checks, even small ones, from it. He said that since Google was an automated ad system, it effectively was like the wall between business and editorial in a typical magazine. Maybe he’s right.
On the other hand, Tom Foremski in his Silicon Valley Watcher blog has a cunning take on why content producers should never use AdSense: “By running AdSense you are undermining your efforts to charge a meaningful amount for online advertising….Google can sell ads at a low cost because it doesn’t pay for the content.”
He concludes by saying “Shut off AdSense if you pay editors and writers to create content and want to make a living from online advertising, imho.”
Then again, banner ads aren’t exactly making anyone forget a full-page ad in a print publication, either.