Death By Electricity

I have wondered elsewhere if you could quantify "evil" for coal and nuclear power production and compare if you are better off with a known, steady release of evil (polution) vs. concentrating it and risking it all getting released at once (radiation). This page compares deaths-per-TWH* by energy source. Measuring death rate is one way of quantifying the "evil".

(Interesting note: rooftop solar is dangerous because people fall off their roofs during the process of installing it.)

But the punchline to this data, in graphical form (from here):

That's graphically the relative per-TWH-death rate for nuclear, oil, and coal. Keep in mind that if you wanted to get absolute (ie the total number of people killed by power generation source), since nuclear is about 6% of global power generation and coal is 26%, the coal block would end up four times the size of its block here while nuclear would stay the same size.

Which is safest now?

Also interesting, a comment on this page (where incidentally you can play with the graphings yourself):
Even Chernobyl itself produced 4GW for 23 years. That's 800000 TWh. Let's say it ran at quarter capacity (200000 TWh) and the absolute highball estimates from Green Peace are true (around 200000 lives lost). Such an absurd edge case of bad numbers, it's still fairly safe.
The bottom line for me is: generating electricity has side-effects on the surrounding society, one that can be measured in lives. People who argue that nuclear is ridiculously dangerous (which, during accidents, it absolutely is) are willingly blind to the fact that other "less dangerous" forms of electricity generation actually harm more people, both in absolute terms and in proportion to the actual power being generated.


Burning The Album

Says Mr. Bon Jovi:
"I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: 'What happened?' Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business."
No sir, Mr. Jobs is not responsible for killing the music business.

The music business is responsible for killing the music business.

Buying music by-the-album was always an economic crutch. The music business thrives by having people hear, like, and want to buy, one song. This is "the single", in the classic model usually driving purchase desire through radio play. The problem is, the music business likes money and wanted a mechanism for parting people from more of it at one go.

The economics of producing a vinyl single are pretty close to the LP. The LP might cost a few cents more to make since it is bigger and requires more raw materials -- but the difference to the music producers is that "more music" equals "more money" -- and at a lower per-song marginal cost, this equals "more profit".

So music consumers see that they can buy one song for $3, or 10 songs for $10, and go "hey, more value to me," and the music producers go "ka-ching!" all the way to the bank.

There is one major problem with this model:

Most of the time, the additional album content sucked.

Albums were built around the idea of two or three radio-playable singles, and padded with... well lets be diplomatic and say "other stuff". Producers were blatant about this when one considered "the single", specifically "the B-side" of the single. The other song was deliberately picked so as to not be excessively desirable in its own right; if it was, it would have been a supplementary "the single" instead, increasing revenues from those who did buy by the single.

Albums which didn't suck always were rare, and in the modern iTunes world they are even rarer.

In the old days (which for me was the '80s), $10 was a lot of money to put down on a record. Having a deep record collection reflected the spending of a non-trivial amount of money, and most of us didn't have that kind of money to spread around. So our personal collections were, for the most part, thin.

And since they were thin, we listened to them over, and over, and over again, because there wasn't anything else in our collection to listen to.

So when we decided that the rest of the album was crap, it pretty much soured us on the idea of buying music by-the-album.

Fast forward to today.

Today I can buy the one track which I think is worth buying. And the cost of that track is an easy-to-swallow, impulse-buy-friendly amount.

And I no longer have to suffer through paying for or listening to crap just to pad someone else's bottom line.

The idea of the album was broken even before the CD became the dominant form of music purchase. It was broken by the music industry itself, who pumped out piles and piles of substandard music to pad their own bottom lines. And it was broken by the one-hit-wonder artists, who were incapable of consistently writing and performing to a high standard.

If the industry can't consistently produce a quality product, is it any wonder your market won't buy it given half a chance to cherry-pick?


Dear Web Advertisers: Stop Lying

Stop lying. Just stop.

When I click on a web page, and you show me this instead:

You know what I think when I see that?

I know enough about the web to know that this is a bald-face lie. The page I requested is not "loading". You have decided to show me this page instead because it has advertising on it, and after some period of time you intend to pass me along to the page I've actually asked for. You do this because it gates access to the page I want, and I'm more likely to read, process, and retain this advertising information because I'm actively scanning it for the information I'm expecting to find instead of the ad. This is valuable mental real estate, and you're gonna monetize it. But then you dress it up with this lie, usually in very small print, along with an option for me to click through directly to the content I want -- permitting me to opt out of seeing the ad in the first place -- to try to excuse the fact that I asked for something and you are now delivering something totally unrelated to it.

I think that whatever message you might want to show me, whatever impression you want to make for your client, is going to be tainted by the fact that the first words I read on the page I interpret as a lie.

I think that maybe I've been too even-handed about this whole advertising thing. The only active counter-advertising act I've taken is to enable pop-up/pop-under protection. I leave javascript, flash, shockwave, and cookies all enabled. I don't use adblocker software. I think that my idea that this is a fair exchange -- you give me the information I ask for, and as a side-effect I permit you the opportunity to influence my thinking with messages from your advertisers -- is nothing but naive thinking on my part, and I should join the ranks who take a more active approach to stopping the pollution of my internet experience.

When I keep seeing these blatant lies prefixing your message, it turns me off advertising completely.

If you keep doing this, advertising won't pay the bills, and we'll all be poorer. And it will be your fault for chasing me away, not mine for running.

Stop trying to steal my attention.

Stop interrupting me.

Stop dressing it up with lies and negative-options.

Just stop.


Kodo Drummers in a nutshell

First: if you are going to bang a drum, make sure you have a drum worth banging:

Second: if you have a drum worth banging, make sure that there is an appropriate amount of ceremony before you bang it.

In a word: epic.