Today’s Links: September 12, 2012


“[Obama] doesn’t watch cable news, which he thinks is genuinely toxic. One of his aides told me that once, thinking the president otherwise occupied, he’d made the mistake of switching the Air Force One television from ESPN, which Obama prefers, to a cable news show. The president walked into the room and watched a talking head explain knowingly to his audience why he, Obama, had taken some action. ‘Oh, so that’s why I did it,’ said Obama, and walked out. Now he said, ‘One of the things you realize fairly quickly in this job is that there is a character people see out there called Barack Obama. That’s not you. Whether it is good or bad, it is not you. I learned that on the campaign.’ Then he added, ‘You have to filter stuff, but you can’t filter it so much you live in this fantasyland.'”

ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL: “Why the First Laptop Had Such a Hard Time Catching On (Hint: Sexism)
“Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm and Handspring (makers of the Treo), was there in 1982 and he told a different story at the Computer History Museum a few years ago during a panel on the laptop. For him, the problems were not exclusively in the harder domains of currency and form factor. No, sociological and psychological reasons made the GRiD Compass hard to sell to businessmen. […] There is a distinct gendered component to this discomfort. Typing was women’s work and these business people, born in the 1930s and 1940s, didn’t scrap their way up the bureaucracy to be relegated to the very secretarial work they’d been devaluing all along.”

BILL FLAX: “Get Ready For The Most Fiscally Destructive Lame Duck Presidency Ever
“America rapidly approaches a precipice where previously negotiated budget gimmicks will cut $109 billion from federal spending come January. While statistically unaesthetic for calculating GDP, curtailing Washington’s footprint is financially necessary. But per the Democrats’ neo-Keynesian paradigm, this must be postponed while America remains economically stagnant. Democrats also loathe surrendering the recent government upsurge they’ve established.”


INNOVATION – The $9 Cardboard Bicycle
“Izhar Gafni has designed a bike that weighs 20 pounds, costs between $9-12 to build, can hold up to a 485 pound person, and it made out of cardboard.”

DEFENSE – Software, Not Just Bullets, Puts Military At Odds
“Military commanders, government officials and members of Congress have long wrangled over which weapon systems are needed. Now, there’s an argument over what computer software should be provided to soldiers in Afghanistan. It’s a defense dispute for the digital age.”

TECHNOLOGY – Invisible QR Codes Set to Make Counterfeit Bank Notes History
“An invisible quick response (QR) code has been created by researchers in an attempt to increase security on printed documents and reduce the possibility of counterfeiting, a problem which costs governments and private industries billions of pounds each year. “