You can think how much you want about effective ways of getting a discussion started, but sometimes reality just does all the work for you. I officially challenge EVERYBODY to find something better than this specific couple of stories, that came back to back in my RSS feed, as brain food for a wide-ranging discussion on the impact of mobile tech on society in general, not just transportation (links to the full stories below):
- Common myths about renewable energy include that it’s expensive, unreliable and that there just isn’t enough of it. But as technological advances and plummeting costs drive explosive growth, real-world experience is shattering long-held assumptions every day, mainly because: Since the fuel cost of renewable resources like wind and solar is zero, adding renewable resources always pulls down the market price of all the electricity sold in the market whenever it is available.
- Italian newspaper Repubblica reports that Italy really is in dire economic crisis. How dire? Well, it turns out that both proving spouse infidelity as preparation to divorce, and tolerating absent employees have become stuff that only the richest can afford. A representative of a federation of italian private investigators said:The crisis bites, and so do employers who can’t afford any more tolerance for absenteeism. These days, 60% of our business comes from companies that need evidence against absentees, to fire them or convince then to leave “voluntarily”.
- In Google Search, autocomplete is that mechanism that tries to save your time, by making suggestions appear after the words you’ve already typed. Google itself tells us how its autocomplete works: predicts and displays search queries based on other users’ search activities… The autocomplete data is updated frequently to offer fresh and rising search queries. Right now, if you type “Berlusconi” in www.google.it, the result is what you see in this snapshot.
- (/images/saccheggi_londra.png) The London lootings are those you’ve surely heard about these days. The Unhappiest Advertising Executives of 2011 are, almost surely, those of the italian advertising agency Armando Testa. Just a few months ago, they launched the new version of the Lancia Ypsilon compact car with a series of TV spots in which actor Vincent Cassel defiantly declares and explains that “Il Lusso e un Diritto”. The literal translation of that slogan in English is “Luxury is a Right”, that is exactly the same concept (*) firmly planted in the mind of those London looters who focused on big screen TVs, smartphones, trendy clothes and other absolutely primary, indispensable goods.
- This is the extended version, with explanation, of a question I just asked on Twitter. Yesterday an italian journalist wrote, more or less, that the reason why Anders Behring Breivik was able to kill more than 80 people on Utoya island was that “Those youngsters in the island were selfish and incapable”. You can read a synthetic translation of what he wrote at letteraviola, one of the many italian blogs who are attacking him right now (the English translation is in the lower part of that page).
- There are moments in which certain news seem to arrive only to give better context, explanation and motivation for others. This feels like one of those moments. According to the New York Times: paychecks for top American executives were growing again in 2010 some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.
- Since this hasn’t probably got outside of Italy all the attention it deserves, here’s the story: ten days ago Unione Nazionale Consumatori (UNC) that is one of the biggest consumers associations of Italy, announced that YouTube has shutdown their official channel on YouTube.com (unioneconsumatori) for copyright violation. As you can see from the snapshot here, as of July 2, 2011, 1520 GMT, that account is still blocked. From what UNC says, the only “violation” is that they had put on YouTube (among many completely original videos) short excerpts of… interviews to UNC representatives aired from the Mediaset and R.
- In general, I agree that humans aren’t ready for total transparency yet and that what is called the “space to think” in the article I quote below is necessary. But I also think we need an equilibrium betwen that and the de-facto total lack of transparency we have today, and I’m pretty sure that many average EU citizens think the same. However, if we are to judge from some recent news, EU governments seem to think that they’ll take such demands seriously… and then just merrily walk around them.
- The Free Technology Academy (FTA) is an advanced virtual campus with various course modules, which can be followed entirely on-line and seeks to educate and promote the adoption of Free Software and other Free Technologies. I explained in detail what the FTA is last year. This week the Association of Greek Users and Friends of Free/Open Source Software has joined the FTA’s International Associate Partner Network. Constantine Mousafiris, Special Registar of GREEKLUG, explained that: