Not six degrees at all

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As SARS become the next six degrees of separation / network effect disease, Could It Be A Big World After All? looks at the original Milgram data to show that there aren’t really six degrees at all. It’s rather more than that.

Why do some societies make disastrous decisions?

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Jared Diamond asks the question Why do some societies make disastrous decisions? (Scroll down for the talk). What I’m going to suggest is a road map of factors in failures of groupdecision making. I’ll divide the answers into a sequence of four somewhatfuzzily delineated categories. First of all, a group may fail toanticipate a problem before the problem actually arrives. …

Time Zones still causing trouble

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Time Zones can still cause trouble. The article talks about how to address this in Movable Type, but the really interesting quote is this one: Also of note is that, this year, Europe moves to DST two days before Iraq does, which is five days before the US does, guaranteeing a week of fascinating confusion for international cooperation and media …

Fresh water and power from the sea

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Another human ingenuity story: using the temperature difference between the deep and surface ocean (up to 43C) you can create fresh water and power. This will provide a massive boost for smaller islands, and might even make some currently uninhabitable places habitable. Time for a remote island shopping spree. Oh no, I’m broke. Damn.