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The Early List – April 15, 2011

Its the early list for April 15, 2011. Slightly later than usual because its a Friday. Today we have links to an open source blueprint for civilization, an explanation for why Christian movies tend to be awful, and the future of algea.

File this one under “cool developments for after the apocalypse.”  The Make blog links to a TED talk done by a group trying to put together a “lego-like” set of blueprints for civilization that can be used in areas after disasters, the developing world, or other rural areas. I remember reading the book “Lucifer’s Hammer” (about the aftermath of a meteor strike) years ago, where one man is able to save hundreds because he grabbed a copy of “The Way Things Work” from his bookshelf before the disaster happened.

Via Ars Technica, Microsoft will only put IE 10 on computers running Windows 7. My guess is this is an attempt from Microsoft to force its corporate customers (who most likely use Internet Explorer) to upgrade to Windows 7 faster. For the rest of us, why aren’t you running Chrome already?

Also from Ars Technica, is the future of biofuels in algea? It appears the constraints are in water access, but the potential productivity makes it an interesting idea.

Biologos asks the serious question of how to move the religious discussion of origins forward.

Finally, Slacktivist re-raises his questions about why Christian movies tend to be awful and links to an earlier article that raises a lot of interesting questions. However, here’s the real money quote: “You know, when the premise of your books is that the world is going to end within “one generation” of 1948 (the year of the founding of modern Israel — Tim LaHaye’s most favoritest year ever), it’s already awkward enough to still be publishing 63 years later. But rolling out an updated version aimed at “a new generation of readers” is really pushing it.”

That it, thats the list…


The Early List – April 14, 2011

Its The Early List for April 14, 2011, and I am calling today “Weird Dinosaur Coincidence.” The first two links in this appeared next to each other in my blog review this morning, and that link is enough to let me share them.

First, via the Bad Astronomy blog, we have the best school assembly ever.

Second, via Slate, we have the Explainer doing a surprisingly tasteful job of discussing  how dinosaurs might have mated. Which I can pretty much guess was not part of the school assembly linked above.

To finish out the random beginnings, the Make blog has a link to a video of the new world’s tallest lego tower. They did have to use a metal bar inside for stability support, but still, 500000 legos is a lot of little plastic bricks.

Also from Slate this morning, a background on the complicated attempt to actually value how much a computer is worth.

Ars Technica reports that municipalities in North Carolina are organizing against the cable company backed bill that opponents fear would stifle growth of access to broadband in areas that cable companies don’t find “economically viable.”

Finally, via the Consumerist, apparently the TV companies that helped create Hulu are now fearing it is undermining their current business. I love that somehow, tv companies thought that people liked being forced to watch shows at scheduled times and with 10 of 30 minutes being commercials. One of the themes I like to harp on is companies become more and more set in their current profit making schemes over time, and become less able to adapt to market changes. Once they hit that point, their only way to deal with technical change is to either outlaw it out of existence (see the Ars article above) or restrict access and try to force consumers to do what they tell them to. If, instead of viewing Hulu as a blip, these networks had bought into digital distribution completely, could have a radically different method of tv viewing by now.

The Early List – April 13, 2011

It’s the early list for April 13, 2011. I had so many articles this morning that I actually had to pick and choose just the ones I liked the most, so here we go!

First up are two exciting links from China. The first (via Ars Technica) is that China has released its yearly summary of US human rights abuses. This year, the Chinese government chose to focus on Wikileaks, the TSA, and online pornography. More interestingly (via the AV Club and the New York Times), the Chinese government has effectively banned all time travel from tv shows, citing that these type of shows “lack positive thoughts and meaning.”

In food news, Consumerist reports that Chicago has banned the bag lunch at school.  The claim is that parents are avoiding the $2.25 charge per meal, then not providing children with adequate nutrition in the lunches they bring from home.  Unfortunately, this means that parents who were providing their children with a healthy bag lunch are now forced to pay the fee and let their children eat in the cafeteria.

Also from Consumerist, Taco Bell is testing taco shells made from nacho cheese doritos. I am actually kind of shocked that this kind of leap wasn’t made years ago.

Finally, two opinion articles to finish out the day. Shane Claiborne published his letter to the IRS letting them know that he will not be paying the 30% of his taxes that would go to the military, and will instead be donating that money to a charity that promotes peace and justice. (via Red Letter Christians)

And Slacktivist publishes his thoughts on the recent CNN/Opinion poll in which 40% of Americans (the largest percentage of responders) believe that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives between 1 to 5 percent of the Federal Budget.

And thats the list for today.

The Early List – April 12, 2011

It’s The Early List for April 12, 2011.  The list is pretty random this morning, but its an interesting day.

Ars Technica has an article on the Daily Mail story labeling Google a “parasitic monster” who is out to destroy content creators everywhere.  (Yes, its the Daily Mail, but its a fun article!)

Would you buy a Kindle that saved $25 off the cost, but showed ads in the screensaver and home screen? Amazon is trying it out. If they got it below $100, I would be on board instantly, though I have to say that Amazon’s claim of selling discounted books, music, and gift cards this way is appealing, as I am a huge Kindle reader on my phone.

Tony Campolo attempts to thread the gap between religion and immigration policy.  This is an issue that Christians have left to the politicians for too long, and perhaps its time for more voices to step in on immigration as a moral issue instead of a political one.

Finally, in honor of the 150’th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, I present a month old article from the author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me” titled “Five Myths About Why The South Seceded” via the Washington Post.

And that ends the Early List.