links for 15 January 2009

  • An iPhone app that shows a composite of four scores based on lethal wildlife, crime, disease, and disaster probabilities from statistics in the area. Only for the US, but it shows an idea that could easily be used in the UK to bring information like UpMyStreet and the recent crime maps.
  • Another article starting “Web 2.0 is dead” – although at least in part that’s a wry reference to the Fortune magazine piece. But what it seems is that to monetarise this you must come up with the perfect web app – and that means trying all the disparate threads of social media together automating it and making it generally easier to use. Umm – really?
  • According to a major US task force on the online grooming of children in the likes of Facebook and Myspace … It simply isn’t happening. It’s moral panic being used to push through all manner of otherwise unacceptable legal and criminal moves, and worst of all it’s clouding the far more serious problem of child-on-child bullying, both online and offline, which no one is addressing
  • This Radio 4 programme also broadcast some startling information about the baseline statistics used to ‘prove’ the childhood obesity epidemic. Plus a link to a 2007 story on the issue. (Scroll down 2/3rd)
  • Okay, Spiked has a certain political leaning and exists to criticise and attack the orthodox consensus. But that doesn’t mean it can’t make some interesting points, and the arguments here are troubling: that the data simple doesn’t support the notion of an obesity epidemic, and that in any case the widely-accepted consequences of obesity (can lead to cancer, diabetes, death) are actually not true. If this article is right then it’s deeply worrying; if not, then there are facts and issues that need answering.
  • This is such a charged issue, and climate change such an important part of the Government’s policy and electoral profile, that it’s almost impossible to see how this decision won’t inflict heavy political damage on Labour in the months going forward as protests pick up steam. There’s almost a sense of ‘poll tax’ to this: quite possibly, January 15 2009 will be the date we associate with the moment Labour lost the next general election?
  • Does Amazon’s little known ‘electronic book’ upgrade – if priced better – signal a radical shift for the future of books?

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