Clear and Present Danger

Another great movie I somehow missed until today.   This is a Tom Clancy "Jack Ryan" drama where Harrison Ford must pit wits, honesty, and incredibly lucky odds surviving legions of bad guys with guns, machine guns, and rocket launchers. Also working against his efforts are an incompetent president, machiavellian NSA director and CIA deputy director of operations.  

The film has the USA attacking Columbian drug lords with a covert and insider CIA operation Ryan must slowly uncover in his new role as CIA deputy director of information.

One must suspend some common sense as is usual with Tom Clancy works (as for most hollywood CIA thrillers such as George Clooney's brilliant "Syriana"), the highest levels are portrayed as far too ruthless, choosing to abandon soldiers or operatives in ways that 1) have essentially no historical precedents and 2) Simply would not work even if human lives were considered completely subordinate to political agendas.   Even Presidents can't keep secrets very effectively in the USA. 

That's a good thing.

Tipping point of choices leading to actions.

Malcolm Gladwell, the clever author of "Blink" and "The Tipping Point", spoke to Webmasterworld Boston. One observation was that having too many choices can inhibit our actions, as in the case where a company that offered FEWER retirement plans found this INCREASED participation.

Noting how many super applications Yahoo has been spinning out over the past few years I'm wondering if other users, like me, are simply overwhelmed with the choices and therefore NOT taking advantage of what appears to be the best suite of options in the online universe.

I stopped using Yahoo 360 not because of problems – it's excellent – but because there are only so many routines to absorb when they are not part of your core set of work tools or interests.  Also, unlike Myspace, 360 did not seem to be creating an "exploding community" and thus time spent setting it up might have been wasted if it fell off the map as a community place.

I think I'm like many users who are not yet ready to tie into highly personalized programs though I'm getting ready for that now that I want to tap more effectively into RSS and the power of online communities.

Yahoo 360 (and my Yahoo) are such good tools that I'm planning to go back and figure out how to use each more effectively, but the trick as a user is to pick the best combination of quality and community.   Good applications that have small or shrinking communities are problematic for social reasons.  Bad applications with big communities have problems as well, though for different reasons.

Nuclear Power – More Needed ASAP

Even Senator Kennedy of Mass was on the radio a few days ago saying how we needed to take a new look at expanding the USA's nuclear power framework. 

Wow – when Kennedy starts talking nuclear power I think it should be the long needed wakeup call for the "head in the sand" crowd that continues to insist the dangers outweigh the benefits.  

They don't.  It's not even close.  Europe's electricity is mostly from nuclear plants, and they – tightly packed into small areas –  have a LOT more to worry about in terms of a meltdown than we well-dispersed Americans.   

Of course there is risk as there is with all power technologies, but it's been exaggerated by irrationality and "fear of the unknown".    China's consumption is rising and exploding.   This demand is unlikely to be met with even the most innovative alternative energy programs.

Ironically I think some of the same folks who are lobbying for greenhouse gas reductions are lobbying against more nuclear power.    They are letting politics and (largely faulty) ideas about the economy of capitalism prejudice good science and analysis of risk and reward.