Some Random Links

I’ve recently moved out to Colordado (for my job with Jefferson County). Lots of links piled up, and I wanted to share some.

The Wall Street Journal had a great story on how Google uses complex algorithms (imagine that) to project which employees are likely to quit.  Governments are beginning to need to project retirements (really, they have been trying to do this for a while), and a little Google help could go along way.  There are so many factors that go into employees leaving or retiring, some real science would be really helpful.  I’m optimistic.

This story broke while Emily and I were moving, when it was featured on Good Morning America.  Everyone was saying that the Ida fossil was the “missing link”.  I was skeptical after the GMA report and interview, because a long time ago, a good anthropology professor told my class that there is never a “missing link” find.  All finds look to be a missing link because they have never been seen before, but each only adds to our knowledge.  The theory of evolution almost details that there will never be one missing link, because changes are gradual over long periods of time and these are difficult to be found in one fossil.  And then Ars Technica followed up all the hype by detailing the media circus and the long-term damage done to science.

Lastly, ComputerWorld has an excellent article about the advancement in municipal technologies (dubbed “City 2.0”).  Besides the fact that I hate everyone using the 2.0 deal to classify anything as new, there is a lot of good stuff here.  The article talks about new electricity initiatives and technology, the use of social media and social networking in local governments, city-wide wireless internet possibilities, sustainable data centers, and use of the cloud.

This little bit, though, bugs me:

San Jose, Calif., is one of the most high-tech cities in the U.S. Over the next few years, the city will create a social network on Wikiplanning that helps citizens learn about the city, chat over instant messaging, complete surveys and download city podcasts.

What bugs me is that the technology exists to deploy this, for free (see WordPress, BuddyPress, Jabber, etc.), right now.  And it’s easy to do!  A city might need a Linux server, but this can be deployed very quickly.  So why is this going to take years???  You can use these technologies to increase the communication with your citizens and stakeholders right now!

Ok, enough for now, I have to get back to unpacking.