Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture

I do feel the loss of something here, but bemoaning the general immaturity of contemporary culture would be as obtuse as declaring it the coolest thing ever. A crisis of authority is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary and weird and ambiguous. But it can be a lot of fun, too. The best and most authentic cultural products of our time manage to be all of those things. They imagine a world where no one is in charge and no one necessarily knows what’s going on, where identities are in perpetual flux. Mothers and fathers act like teenagers; little children are wise beyond their years. Girls light out for the territory and boys cloister themselves in secret gardens. We have more stories, pictures and arguments than we know what to do with, and each one of them presses on our attention with a claim of uniqueness, a demand to be recognized as special. The world is our playground, without a dad or a mom in sight.

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Unfortunately, this fantastic essay ends here. It doesn’t attempt to confront the fact that the world keeps presenting us with problems requiring much bigger shoes than the overgrown kids are willing to wear.

Web Components

The exciting thing about Web Components is that they give developers as much power as browser makers.

The frightening thing about Web Components is that they give developers as much power as browser makers.

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Jeremy Keith shares his doubts about Web Components. They essentially come down to the nature of the web, with all its tinkering and generous use of duct tape. The co-author of the spec, Alex Russell, replies to that in his sensitive manner by calling Jeremy’s concerns “piffle and tosh”.

Apple Watch: Asking Why and Saying No

To ensure the Watch’s success broadly Apple needs to really articulate “Why”, not only externally in their advertising but internally to their product managers who ought to remember that Apple’s greatness is built on saying “No.”

Will Apple be able to create a demand on the expensive item that no one seems to need? Or is it another case of Apple product that becomes really great only in the subsequent iterations?

The Mathematics of Ebola Trigger Stark Warnings: Act Now or Regret It

The Eurosurveillance paper, by two researchers from the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University, attempts to derive what the reproductive rate has been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. They come up with an R of at least 1, and in some cases 2; that is, at certain points, sick persons have caused disease in two others.

You can see how that could quickly get out of hand, and in fact, that is what the researchers predict. Here is their stop-you-in-your-tracks assessment:

In a worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014.

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While reports on the Ebola epidemic have become a sort of a background noise in the news, the growth of the disease is exponential. Yet none of the current or aspiring global powers, all busy in conflicts small and large, is willing to take a decisive action there.