A moment of humility for a weekend day. The world is big and complicated. If everything was as simple as it seems on the surface, we’d all be bored, lounging around in our flying cars.
xkcd today takes the actually Hurricane Center Advisories from 2005 (when we ran out of letters) and draws the narrative. The results are hilarious.
Now we just need to figure out how to get there.
Thanks to XKCD for making this Radiation Chart available on the web. This will help you visualize and understand the various levels of radiation. Simple things to know, you get 3x the amount of radiation by living 50 miles from a Coal plant than you do from living 50 miles from a Nuke plant.
It’s an oldie but goodie, and good as a mantra when things like Galileowaswrong.com pop up on the internet (no, I’m not making that a hot link, that level of ignorance shouldn’t get the google rankings).
If after 400 years there are still groups that refute centuries of evidence, it is little wonder that solid scientific findings of the last 50 years still have deniers and opponents. Given a couple more centuries, most will come around, and the rest, well, PT Barnum had a few things to say about them.
Lemley gives example after example of this trend. Broadcasters opposed those rogue cable operators when they first appeared; now they demand carriage. The VCR, opposed as a “Boston strangler” of the movie industry, became a huge cash cow, one milked for decades by that same industry. Radio’s free broadcasts would destroy recorded gramophone music; except that the radio actually became one of recorded music’s most important publicity machines.
Lemley isn’t trying to sell anyone false comfort. Things might not be all right for many established businesses. But creativity carries on.
The content industry “has a Chicken Little problem,” he says. “It may, in fact, be the case that the sky is falling. But, if you claim that the sky is falling whenever a new technology threatens an existing business model, the rest of the world can be forgiven for not believeing you when you claim that this time around it’s going to be different than all of the other times. Now, let’s be clear, each one of these technologies changed the business model of the industry. They caused certain revenue streams to decline. But they also opened up new ones.”
The whole Ars article is great, and it plays into my personal Munroe rule, which is any presentation of that includes an xkcd comic is a winner.