Reviews, Technology.

Moving inexorably to the Kindle

After my family gave me a Kindle a while back, I was skeptical of its ability to fully replace a bound book, but after some experimentation, I found the Kindle e-reading device more useful than expected, yet remained a fan of the book-in-hand.  By the time I had read through the devices of my Kindle perhaps fifteen books and after a certain amount of experimentation, I gradually became enamored enough of the Kindle to make it my primary mode for reading books.  What was the tipping point?  And why still prefer a bound book on occasion?

Essays, Politics-Government, Technology.

The superweed and GMO crops

Superweeds are weeds that cannot be killed with the usual pesticides used by by today's agro-businesses, such as Roundup. They have begun to pop up in fields that grow crops which have been genetically modified (GMO) to increase their resistance to pesticides. This allows farmers to use Roundup more liberally to kill weeds. This approach worked very well at first, but after a prolonged overexposure of the weed population to Roundup, weed species resistant to Roundup have been selected. This is a serious agricultural problem, as these weeds lower the yield, increase the cost of harvest, and remain a problem that is not easily solved. Why is this strategy employed, when agronomists predicted that such an outcome was inevitable? Why not just move to organic farming, eliminating the use of chemical pesticides, which like antibiotics, are indiscriminate in destroying both pests and beneficial organisms?

History, Reviews, Technology.

The Genius of Apple

Book Book Review, Title Steve Jobs, Author Walter Isaacs, Rating 3.0,

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacs

Book Review

Steve Jobs recent demise brought out many encomiums having at least one thing in common: An agreement that he was a genius. Jobs' genius (a notoriously fickle word) would appear to be in the realm of practical design. His early Apple computer was easier to use and more accessible to its consumers than those of his early competitors, and that was true of most of the subsequent devices produced by Apple on his watch, including the Macintosh windowing and mouse-driven operating system, the seductively simple iPod, the iPhone marriage of mobile phones with a personal digital assistant and its deft employment of touch screen technology, and the iPad tablet offshoot.

Observations, Technology.

The Internet Filter – thanks, TED

Today, through the most typical Internet feeds, you see highly filtered content, often unbeknownst to you.  For those who rely on the Internet more and more for news, opinions, and various other information, as I do, this has the solopsistic effect of virtual navel-gazing, and perhaps as insidious, when you ask the self-same question as another person, each of you often see very different things! Eli Pariser, in a recent TED talk, points out that major Internet sites like Google, Facebook, Amazon, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, to name a few, are performing more and more algorithmic filtering of what you see to tailor the results to your perceived liking.