Archive for April, 2010

Book Review: "Eaarth"

April 24th, 2010 Comments off

“Eaarth” by Bill McKibben

“Eaarth” is really two books in one.

The first book is a forceful, dispiriting survey of how completed screwed we are. Page after page, and chapter after chapter, the author covers the myriad ways that mankind has thoroughly upset the natural environment on our planet, in such a way that effectively threatens civilization. Even worse, he is quite clear that even if the 6 billion inhabitants of Earth (or Eaarth) all tomorrow turned into Al Gore clones, intent on doing everything they could to save things, it is too late. The die has been cast, and we are headed for ruin. There’s no magic new technology or alternative energy that will save us, and recycling and switching light bulb technology won’t do a thing. Honestly, the first half of this book had me ready to go out and buy a bunch of guns and a cabin in the wood (that is, if climate change doesn’t destroy the forests!)

Just when all hope is lost, McKibben pirouettes in the second half of “Eaarth” into hopey changey mode. His main thesis is that, in spite of what he just spent half the book telling us, that yes, some hope is possible – we just have the reorient our civilization to be more lightweight and local, to live gracefully. To be fair, the author is not polyanna, and he is aware of the limitations and downsides of his prescriptions. After a paean to the joys of local living, neighborliness and small towns, he acknowledges the downsides of looking inward (intrusiveness, lack of opportunity and bigotry). He is still hopeful, however, that we can do better, and after a while, I really started to believe him.

The book overall is well-written, smart and humane, and I did end the book with a tiny drop of hope. It’s to the author’s credit that this result was possibly given the catalog of doom that marked the first half. I would recommend this book – it is a good alternative to both techno-utopian optimism and complete pessimism, if only because both are touched on and wrapped up in one volume.

There will certainly be a future for humanity on “Eaarth” the question is only what kind of future it will be.

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Some brief observations on the whole iPhone 4G fiasco

April 20th, 2010 Comments off

If you are fogging a mirror and are on the internet, you probably have heard the sordid tale of Gizmodo’s unveiling of an iPhone 4G prototype and outing of the Apple engineer who inadvertently revealed the new phone.

This issue seems to bring out vast quantities of stupid from all involved, on every side of the issue, reminding me of the old adage about opinions and everyone having one. Including me.

Anyway, some random thoughts…

1. The iPhone prototype wasn’t stolen. It was apparently lost.

2. Losing stuff happens to the best of us. But still, if you have the priceless prototype to your secretive employer’s crown jewel with you, is a modicum of responsibility too much to expect?

3. What Gizmodo did by reporting on the device itself and its technical specs is called journalism.

4. What Gizmodo did by paying for said device is called sleazy.

5. What Gizmodo did by gratuitously outing the name and photo of the Apple engineer who lost the phone is called despicable.

6. If there are any legal issues involved, I am confident Apple’s lawyers, Gizmodo’s lawyers, and the authorities (if needed) will get to the bottom of it.

I don’t feel bad for Apple. This won’t affect their bottom line a bit. I do feel sorry for the guy who left the phone, even though it is basically his fault. One mistake should result in a public pillory like this. I hope Apple continues to employ him and he can continue to work on the iPhone, albeit after a stern lecture to not take secret prototypes out in public before a night of drinking!

As for Gizmodo, they are what they are.

Categories: Apple Tags: ,

Hello world!

April 19th, 2010 Comments off
Tova the Hound

Tova welcomes you to the new blog

There’s gonna be more here soon. Right now I just need to get the lights turned on and some furniture moved in.

Follow my Twitter feed if you can’t wait. Or go visit the old blog and wallow in the nostalgia of a better, simpler time.

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