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12 May 2010

Readings #2

Want to try out a Leica M9 for a few hours? Go to NYC... damnit.

Hawaii puts the kabash on "birthers" (people who think President Obama is not a natural-born US citizen) because they're burdening the health department with all their requests. Even the right is embarrassed, and this is coming from people who expect you to be bad at math to buy the party line.

Interesting design company in Brooklyn called RockPaperRobot.

Life on earth has one common ancestor. Not to say that life on earth only arose once but rather that life does in fact (by odds of about 100,000 to 1) share a family tree and not a web.

Apparently 3-D TV's are coming out soon. The real lesson here is more that technology is changing at an increasing rate, so much so that at some point consumers are going to face interesting dillemas towards adopting new technology. A common theme in history is the adoption of new technology and how this effects societies, economies, etc., but a common occurance I'm noticing is that change is so quick now that we have a hard time adjusting. Architects barely learn a program before it is obsolete. We purchase technology that is obsolete within months and years (my laptop is 3 years old and it can barely run the newest software I put on it), and we train for jobs that are no longer needed well before we are middle aged. I'm not sure where this all points but it's interesting none the less.

A company called Square has just released an application and (free) hardware (plugs into your headphone jack and is tiny) that will allow you to process credit cards on either an iphone or android based system. The fees are 2.75% + 15 cents or 3.5% + 15 cents if the card isn't present. This should make splitting lunch bills easier. I've always wondered when we will get rid of tangible money and use something similar to this, but probably less cumbersome regardless of the fact that this system is fairly light. Imagine just a fob that you can run across someone elses phone then you type an amount into your phone and they accept. Anyways, I doubt tangible money will die off for a long time, people are clingy and hate change (seriously, read that article - no pun intended). There are multiple lobbies and advocacy groups in Washington that make sure pennies and nickels get minted even though they cost 2 and 9 cents respectively to make. The advocacy groups think that changing the material of pennies will somehow decrease their value. Hey interest group - fiat money system. It's all based on confidence. This isn't even worth writing about, it's just sad that we are so encumbered by bureaucracy and interest groups/lobbyists and inability to make logical non-political decisions that we continue wasting out time with pennies, nickels, dollar bills and tangible money in general (although I don't advocate abandoning it just yet... but steps should be taken to start). Getting rid of the first two and making the other a coin would save us hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Plus, no more stupid pennies.

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