Saturday, June 20, 2015
The Drought That Needn't Have
Over at Fast Company is an article that claims that better use of rainfall and treated sewage could easily solve California's water shortage. Here is an example of the "decentralized" measures it suggests:
A dilapidated city park was remodeled with cisterns below, as were medians along broad boulevards that were themselves underwater during heavy rains. The result was a system, using ancient Roman technology, that captures 8,000 acre feet of water each year. That's about twice what the entire city consumes, solving the flooding problem and creating a source of fresh water for thousands of residents. By the way, the investment also gave the city a new park with ball fields and picnic grounds and higher adjacent property values.It is interesting to consider how widespread such measures might have been without massive, government-encouraged wastefulness. With the article's environmentalist slant comes an unwarranted dismissal of desalination, another obvious solution, but one that government regulation will doubtless impede.
"It's a rare friendship that can last a lifetime." -- Michael Hurd, in "Friendships Can Be Seasonal" at The Delaware Wave
"If you respect yourself, you don't need to spend money other than for your own or your loved ones' sake, or maybe a charity or a cause that you value." -- Michael Hurd, in "You Can Buy a Lot of Things, but Not Self-Respect" at The Delaware Coast Press
Thank You, Linus Torvalds!
The following, from a profile on Linux creator Linus Torvalds, causes me to respect the man even more:
The truth is that Torvalds has never really been a man of the people. "It's not that you do open-source because it is somehow morally the right thing to do," he says. "It's because it allows you to do a better job. I find people who think open-source is anti-capitalism to be kind of naive and slightly stupid."As a proponent of the idea that the moral is the practical, I disagree that choosing to do something because it works well is somehow amoral. That said, given how commonly-accepted the moral-practical dichotomy is (and how many Free/Open Software advocates are leftists), Torvald's attitude is quite understandable. Fewer F-bombs would be nice, too, but his focus of what's important and his refusal to compromise on it really impress me. By the way, I just realized that I have been using Linux as my main operating system for nearly two decades. Thanks again, Mr. Torvalds!
Torvalds's attitude and direct language have left him isolated. The proprietary software clan does not care for him. Nor do parts of the open-source clan, who want a leader more willing to spout religious zeal. Torvalds also has a tendency to be nasty to the followers he does have, peppering Linux forums with foul language and reprimands. "SHUT THE F--- UP!" he wrote to a Linux developer in 2013. "Fix your f---ing 'compliance tool,' because it is obviously broken. And fix your approach to kernel programming." The general reaction to this was: "There goes Linus again." [bold added]