Journablogger Battle Dome 2008


Blogging people love a heated argument and Mike Arrington always aims to please, so he nailed Fred Wilson for a few inconsistencies in his otherwise very reasonable post suggesting the obvious – that blogs tend to have lower standards of accuracy than mainsteam journal articles.   I don’t think this can be reasonably disputed though I think on balance I’d rather have the fast paced, up to the minute blog coverage that is sometimes inaccurate than the next-day-fact-checked-cold-news that we sometimes see with mainstream technology coverage. 

Of course I hope the Journablogging does not upset Fred too much because I predict things will get *much* worse before they get better.   Monetizing is increasingly dependent on article output, and blogs like TechCrunch are pumping out articles faster than you can click on an RSS feed, and systems like TechMeme encourage mass postings to increase the chance you’ll be seen.    The flood of blogged tech news has only just begun, and accuracy is already one of the first casualties.

Matt explains all this wisely.  He’s pretty smart for a real journalist..

143 Million Pounds of Beef Recalled…from your stomach.


Could somebody help me understand why the latest beef recall isn’t stupid?   This is terrifying millions of parents despite the fact that there is almost certainly close to zero health risk here according to the FDA.  Oh, also there is the challenge of the fact that most of this beef has already been eaten by you and me.  Excuse me while I barf it up for the FDA?

The FDA notes:
We do not feel this product presents a health risk of any significance

Oh, that clears things up for me.  Rules require the recall of perfectly safe beef- enough to  feed the entire country for days and valued at close to 100 million dollars -because..ummm ….huh?

This is yet another case of absurd bureacracy driven by absurd irrational concerns of absurd people.   Mad Cow?   Still *zero* deaths.   Stop worrying about this crap!   There are millions dying all over the place from *real* hazards like malaria, malnutrition, no seat belts, gun proliferation, and wars.  Those are legitimate concerns.  Bad beef is not. 

Caveat:  The company that this came from appears to be in violation of many rules.  Close them down if that’s wise – I don’t have enough detail to know.   But the recall appears to be rule based spitefulness rather than reason.   My tax dollars, squandered again, costing more people their beef and more future cows their precious cow lives. 

You know, if they recall any french fries I’m moving to Canada.

Engineering’s Grand Challenges


The National Academy of Engineering has suggested a list of the world’s greatest and most important engineering challenges, and it looks pretty comprehensive to me.   If we can solve all these problems we’ll really be taking life on earth up a few notches and kicking some globally sustainable problematic butt.   

I hope they add a priority and ROI component here.    My feeling is that reverse engineering of the brain will lead to general Artificial Intelligence and very rapid solutions to most if not all analytical problems.   Thus I’d like to see us devote, say, 1/100th of what we are poised to squander failing to solve CO2 problems to AI research.     But even if we forego that notion it’s questionable to spend in engineering as we currently do, especially on huge military technologies of questionable effectiveness.

 Here are the Grand Challenges for engineering as determined by a committe of the National Academy of Engineering:

  • Make solar energy economical
  • Provide energy from fusion
  • Develop carbon sequestration methods
  • Manage the nitrogen cycle
  • Provide access to clean water
  • Restore and improve urban infrastructure
  • Advance health informatics
  • Engineer better medicines
  • Reverse-engineer the brain
  • Prevent nuclear terror
  • Secure cyberspace
  • Enhance virtual reality
  • Advance personalized learning
  • Engineer the tools of scientific discovery

Blogger.com troubleshooting – ghs.google.com IP fix


Posting a blogger.com fix I just struggled with for some time.  This sounds more complicated than it is but I could find little online to help me, so hopefully I’ll save somebody future time with this post.

I wanted to run my Airports Blog as part of AirportCityCodes.com, hosted at Verio.    Blogger (owned and run by Google) has a great IP redirection feature that lets you run a blog off your domain by creating a CNAME record that directs to ghs.google.com and accesses your blogspot blog.    Normally this works fine, but Verio’s DNS system will reject ghs.google.com because it in turn is an alias for ghs.l.google.com.    Verio claimed that Google using improper DNS protocol by telling people to use ghs.google.com.

The blogger fix at Verio is to use this:    ghs.l.google.com.    

Note the period at the end which is needed at Verio to keep them from appending your domain name to the record. 

If this does not work, or at some other registrars (Network Solutions was mentioned somewhere), I think you’ll want to use the IP address for ghs.l.google.com which is this:    72.14.207.121

I hope this works for you, and if not let me know as I use this feature for many blogs and I’m always interested in Troubleshooting tips, especially for blogs.