Word Watch Alert

"Immobot" from MIT Technology Review

My early car ownership included an immobile, a car that ran infrequently and
also not very well. In fact, it was a dirt colored '63 Pontiac Bonnimmobile,
with a 454 cubic inch anchor...

Later in life, I think I worked for an immobot or two, or were they idibots?


Walk (and drive) the talk...

From the Christian Science Monitor: Proud, patriotic & green

   As war with Iraq edges closer, conserving oil and resources has become the new mantra of
   flag-waving Americans, who argue that true security will come only when the US stanches
   the flow of foreign oil.


Ice 9

From the Christian Science Monitor:
Promise and pitfalls in quest to create new life-form
Scientists announce a federally funded bid to create a new living organism.
By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The life forms we already have need tending, but let's endanger the whole world instead.
Orwell, by George

LA Times COMMENTARY: George Bush's Big Brother
Orwell would recognize the plan to monitor citizens using databases.
By Jonathan Turley

   In some ways, Poindexter is the perfect Orwellian figure for the perfect Orwellian project.
   As a man convicted of falsifying and destroying information, he will now be put in charge
   of gathering information on every citizen. To add insult to injury, the citizens will fund the
   very system that will reduce their lives to a transparent fishbowl.

   What is most astonishing is the utter lack of public debate over this project.

   Over the last year, the public has yielded large tracts of constitutional territory that
   had been jealously guarded for generations. Now we face the ultimate act of acquiescence
   in the face of government demands.

The new Information economy.

Found via Boing-Boing.

Footsoldier in the ideology wars

Kranky Katherine Kersten

Response to a Kersten column on the lack of diversity (conservatism) on university campuses...

   Do you think Katherine Kersten, with the power and security her party now feels, will ever
   object to following a president who deserted from the armed forces in time of war, and who
   pretends to be a patriot today?

So, let me get this straight: overwhelmingly democratic liberal arts faculty members are
dangerous in the cookie factory of vocational training frenzy that constitutes the modern
American university? What are they doing? Spinning Plato left?



Excess Tech

Why marketers push excess tech

Look what the '90s tech boom hath wrought: Ovens that act like refrigerators, phones that
turn into televisions, and lawnmowers designed to move at your speed.

By Noel C. Paul | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

   ...come face-to-face with what has quickly become a key trait of consumer products in America:
   excess tech. From big household appliances to handheld devices, manufacturers are cramming
   common products with new technologies that most consumers will never tap.

   "A lot of it has to do with competition," says Stephen Gates, spokesman for the Consumer Electronics
   Association. "That's why you see things like a sofa that's also a breadmaker."

Bet you didn't know about the washy talkey...


Is That For Me?

Why the polls got the pols wrong...

Arianna Huffington puffs in Salon: Down with polls, up with democracy!

   In truth, the problem isn't with us, dear voters -- or even with you, dear nonvoters. The
   problem is with the pollsters' inability to account for an increasingly uncooperative public.
   Thanks to cell phones, answering machines, caller I.D., a surfeit of polls, and a growing
   distaste for telephonic intrusions into our homes, it's getting harder and harder for pollsters
   to find Americans willing to answer their questions. Twenty years ago, polling response
   rates were over 60 percent; now they are closer to 30 percent -- and in some cases even lower.
   It's pretty tough to get an accurate reading of the public's opinion when the most frequent
   response you receive is a "click" followed by a dial tone.

We're not in now...


Whoa! (Technology Acceleration)

from the Stanford Business Review:

Who's In Control Here?

   Organizations, especially for-profit organizations, now play a curiously
   dual role in promoting the unfettered acceleration of technology. They
   are technology’s most powerful driver and also its hogtied prisoner. That
   combination generates more and more acceleration, with potentially disastrous
   downside effects.


Be Afraid

Science News from the Independent (UK):

'Only technology revolution can save the Earth'