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In 1859, a solar storm threw an electromagnetic pulse at Earth so strong, it fried the telegraph system. A whole lot more is on the line now. Bob speaks with Rocky Rawlins of the Survivor Library about his preparations for getting zapped back to a time before computers and an electric grid.
Some of the biggest names in American agriculture, ranging from farmers' organizations to private companies like Monsanto and DuPont, have agreed on principles governing the use of data collected from farms.
That data increasingly drives farm operations. Tractors and combines carry sensors that record — and upload to the data "cloud" — what happens on each spot of a farmer's field, from how much fertilizer and seed it received to how much grain it produced to what type of soil is found there. That data, once analyzed, guides decisions about what seeds a farmer will plant.
Top agribusiness companies, including Monsanto, DuPont, John Deere and Dow, have moved into the information business, offering to help farmers collect that data and analyze it — for a price.
But some farmers are starting to worry about how that data will be used; whether, for instance, details of their operations will be open for all to see. Others wonder how the data companies will exploit their new-found ability to monitor what's happening on vast tracts of farmland.
Via ars Technica : Adobe's ebook reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe in plain Text. Doesn't this go against a basic rule of librarianship?
With every advance in technology, skeptics lament the loss of a more meaningful and simpler time, arguing that attention spans are shrinking and critical thinking is corroding. But in his book, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, journalist Clive Thompson offers a different take. Brooke spoke with Thompson last year about how all of the YouTube videos, blogs, Twitter feeds, and Wikipedia pages have produced a unique human intelligence.
A piece called DIARY from the London Review of Books from Rebecca Solnit. It begins:
"In or around June 1995 human character changed again. Or rather, it began to undergo a metamorphosis that is still not complete, but is profound – and troubling, not least because it is hardly noted. When I think about, say, 1995, or whenever the last moment was before most of us were on the internet and had mobile phones, it seems like a hundred years ago. Letters came once a day, predictably, in the hands of the postal carrier. News came in three flavours – radio, television, print – and at appointed hours. Some of us even had a newspaper delivered every morning."
Google wants WebP to become the internet’s next dominant image file format. That’s not likely going to happen anytime soon — but WebP could still have a huge impact.
How about that headline folks?
From New Scientist:
IN THE small town of Fayetteville in northern New York, you'll find the local library in an old furniture factory dating from the turn of the 20th century. The refurbished building retains hints of its industrial past: wooden floors, exposed beams, walls lined with carefully labelled tools.
But instead of quietly perusing stacks of books, many of the patrons are crowded around a suite of 3D printers. One machine is midway through a pink mobile phone case; another is finishing up a toy sword.
This is Fayetteville's maker lab – and it may very well be the future of libraries.
In 2011, Fayetteville became the first public library in the US to set up a maker lab. Besides 3D printers, the space features a laser cutter, electronics kits, workshop tools, Raspberry Pi computers and an array of sewing machines. It functions somewhere between a classroom and a start-up incubator – a place where people from all over the region can get involved with state-of-the-art technology.
Since the lab opened, similar spaces have been popping up across the country, including in cities like Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Denver and Detroit. According to the American Library Association, about 1 in 6 libraries now dedicates some of its space to maker tools and activities. The New York Public Library – one of the largest in the country – is watching these developments to inform its upcoming renovation.
I’ve been thinking about a book called Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemo?lu and James Robinson. To (over)summarize, the coauthors say that nations fail because they resist, and try to stifle, the disruption that follows technological breakthroughs.
Technological disruption challenges prevailing power. Naturally, those established institutions try to fight back. But they rarely win. Disruption tends to release a dam of pent-up and democratic energy. Eventually, it overwhelms or transforms the established order.
Digital publishing is a case of technological disruption. Its challenge to the gatekeeper of a traditional publisher is now clear. Can’t get your book published? Do it yourself, and do it a whale of a lot faster—meaning you can capitalize quickly on issues of the day.
But I’ll propose that disruption has three predictable phases.
Full piece American Libraries
Students at the University of South Florida will be soaring to new academic heights, with drones.
College students will be getting their hands on more than just books at USF come the fall semester. The Tampa campus plans to offer remote-controlled drones for students to check out for school-related projects.
It's a bold move considering that more places are starting to limit the access of drones, including the National Park Service, which announced a temporary ban on the use of drones on Friday. The NPS announcement basically bars the access of unmanned devices to 84 million acres of land in the U.S.
Yet, USF is taking a different approach to drones, making the technology more accessible to its students. The library purchased two drones with some leftover money from a grant to remodel its facility with new technology. These drones are capable of taking aerial video and photography.