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Monday, November 19, 2007
 Internet brownouts 
As more and more people watch online video on sites like YouTube and Google Video and listen to on-line music stations like Pandora, the Internet infrastructure will have a hard time keeping up. The MacWorld article Study: Internet could run out of capacity in two years states that
Consumer and corporate use of the Internet could overload the current capacity and lead to brown-outs in two years unless backbone providers invest billions of dollars in new infrastructure, according to a study released Monday.
Speaking of videos, here's one from my current favorite group, Do Make Say Think.

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 Google Street View Camera 
Popular Mechanics article on the camera used to produce Google Maps street view images:
For the past seven months, Kevin Nanzer has been on the road almost nonstop, living in and out of motel rooms and corporate apartments. He’s crisscrossed the country, living for weeks at a time in cities like Austin, Texas, Oklahoma City, Okla., Raleigh, N.C., and Albany, N.Y.

Nanzer, 23, is a geoimmersive data producer for Immersive Media, a Canadian company that specializes in the fast-growing world of “spherical video”—aka mapping the world for Google and beyond. For 5 hours each day (the most he can film because of the sun’s angle to the Earth), Nanzer and a co-worker drive anywhere from 80 to 200 miles through a major city, capturing video and location data of every single street, bridge and highway.
The test drive video currently appears to be suffering the slashdot effect and won't load for me but it should be OK in a day or two.

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 Rocky Mountain Institue 
A while back I contributed to the Rocky Mountain Institute and now I receive their newsletter. They are doing some wonderful work; as an environmental organization they are somewhat unique. Their work
fosters the efficient and restorative use of resources so that companies, governments and organizations are more efficient, make more money, and do less harm to the environment.
Rather than being confrontational, they work with large organizations to develop solutions to our environmental problems. Some estimate that the U.S. military consumes as much as 14 million gallons of oil a day. It makes sense that someone is working with them and companies like Walmart and Boeing to become more fuel and energy efficient.

The RMI Built Environment Team has helped produce a film that “documents the business case for building green”.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007
 Negative externalities 
In grad school I took a land economics class that dealt with issues related to land use and other impacts on the land. We discussed a concept referred to as “negative externalities”; the negative impacts of economic development that are not accounted for in regular accounting practices (see link above). Basically it means that the negative effects of pollution generated from industrial practices is not factored in to the cost of production. As a naive, idealistic grad student, this seemed absurd to me. Of course there would be pollution if the companies that generated it were not responsible for the costs of cleaning it up. It seemed like a straightforward way to deal with pollution would be to start accounting for these negative effects.

As society becomes more concerned about finding ways to reduce pollution and unnecessary energy consumption, this concept seems to be catching on. An article in today's New York Times, Court Rejects Fuel-Economy Standards, a court in California ruled that the Bush administration must take into account the effect of low fuel efficiency standards on climate change:
A federal appeals court here rejected the Bush administration’s year-old fuel-economy standards for light trucks and sport utility vehicles today. It said the rules were not tough enough because regulators had failed to thoroughly assess the economic impact of tailpipe emissions that contribute to climate change.
Maybe there is hope.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007
 Radiohead download stats 
It looks like about 40% of the people who visit the Radiohead site paid to download their latest CD, In Rainbows, according to study by Comscore. There's a discussion on the Comscore blog.

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 Finally, a small, cheap PC 
The just released Asus Eee PC appears to be the ultimate inexpensive PC for taking on the road. It's cheap at less than $400 and it uses a solid-state drives, either 4 or 8GB. In today's PC world that isn't much, but it's certainly enough for some Linux software and lots of personal files. Engadget has a good review with links to several others at the bottom. First seen at BentRider Online (unfortunately a frame-based site with now permalinks).

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