But Is It Good?

The news feeds are picking up again but I was struck while reviewing them that there seems to be an absence of proportionate good news. Now I will concede without any question that what is good, as opposed to either bad or ho-hmmmm, is to some unspecified degree a matter of personal outlook, but one would think that the fraction of good news would stay approximately constant with increase and decrease in volume consistent with sampling variation?

It seems [Link] that one of the man made causes of global climate change is human efforts to staunch forest fires. Research at U California indicates that combating and preventing forest fires actually reduces the amount of carbon that a forest may entail.

Let’s see now. We let people build houses near and in forests, and we let corporate oligarchs engineer forests to maximize their wood production. And both cause us to try to reduce or minimize forest fires. But by doing so we reduce the carbon entailment and increase greenhouse gasses. But if we let the fires burn the idiots who build in the middle of forests get killed so there is less demand for processed wood and global climate change is abated?

And then I read [Link] that the current developing generation is not reading paper, they are reading screens. But no where does the reportage address the question of whether this is actually literacy or just an aberration of rebellion. I have to admit to not liking reading much of what I was supposed to read, especially the things prescribed by the mushy side of academia. But I can read – somewhat – physics books which is more than something like 0.99 of humanity, so if that is the criterion for literacy then there is no significant statistical difference between my generation and my daughter’s generation.

But I can proceed with this with the clear assurance, courtesy of researchers at U Wisconsin, that there is no gender difference in math performance. [Link] The thing that is a bit concerning here is that this is the generation that can’t make change, has benefited, if that is the term, by Every Child Left Behind, and is avoiding technical careers like the plague. Is this other than an assurance of gender unbiased failure?

No matter. It seems that because of the evaporation of the strength of the American dollar we are now in a position where menial labor jobs are returning to the American homeland. [Link] We are thus assured that our children, who cannot make change and cannot read books, will be able to do sweatshop labor to support themselves while high paying technical positions are filled by immigrants from nations with a more fundamental education ethic.

The quality of that technical talent is demonstrated this morning by a bunch of mavericks from Gooey who have started their own search engine Cuil. [Link] One of the things I have had to do over the years is to define a set of search engine testing searches to use in evaluating search engines. This is fairly exacting. The best rating I ever found for a search engine was the Copernic lash-up with a grade of “B”. Gooey has consistently gotten a grade of “D” with a rising “C” in commercial searches that rises to a “C+” is you blow away all the right hand margin stuff and the first page of results. I can only hope the new engine is going to improve fast as it got a solid “F” in every area except social gossip and mumblage, which is defintely a product crying shrilly from exposure on the mountainside for the need of a wolf.

And finally we have a coverage of a debate on what is the best way to protect Tellus from meteorite hits, especially the ones that tend to cause “nuclear winter” and extinction events. [Link] This looks to be bnecessary because NASA, aka the Yankee government, issued a report last years saying that nukes were the answer. Apparently this was intended to reassure those who cannot make change nor read books, as they are perhaps the only audience who would swallow such a patent story.

But it is Monday and we have another week to destroy.