United in Disapproval

It’s not quite 99%, but if 80% of Americans can agree on anything, even something as nebulous as a disapproval rating for two bodies of 535 representatives from 50 states, it’s worth taking a moment to notice.

Unfortunately, all we’re going to hear about the next year is the presidential race when what we seem to need is focus on the states.  But where is everyone going to get the information they need about their state, much less their representatives and other candidates?  Who has the time to go through it all?

Should we stop worrying so much about what’s going on in Washington and figure out what is actually happening in the states?

[Polling data from Real Clear Politics]

It’s Always ______ in Philadelphia

What happens when you adjust median household income for the cost of living?  In some ways, nothing.  On the left, we have a bunch of wealth suburbs that remain as such after the change.  On the right, we have a bit of reality, which the respective populations are likely already painfully aware of… But, here’s the numbers, just in case:

[Chart from The Council for Community and Economic Research]

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Before we get to the chart, let’s refresh ourselves on the drill…

Okay, now look at the chart and pick out what’s different…

Did you pick the Bush-Era Tax Cuts?  Then you’re absolutely right!

Unlike wars, downturns, bailouts and recoveries, we can project the direct financial effect of tax cuts before the fact.  Everything else on the subject is speculation.  At this point, that there is still a debate about it at all points to much deeper problems.

[Chart via GOOD]

Global Water Summary Info

It’s too bad UN-Water didn’t make it in our initial Google results for “water” (it’s the 64th result) because if you have a few minutes and a desire to understand the global water situation, the links to all the information you need are on one page.

In addition to their statistics page, UN-Water has three flagship publications:

What’s the story?  From skimming 500 pages of pdfs, it was largely what you’d expect.  Developing countries are making progress, but have a long way to go.  Increasing populations, advancing economies, climate change and lack of information, communication and funding are just a few of the factors involved.  Billions of people are still without the basics and while Africa and Asia house the areas furthest behind, there’s plenty of trouble spots in the most developed of countries and economies.

Although the challenges are great, it is important to remember that this is not a problem in search of a solution.  For the most part, it is a lame-duck problem waiting for the implementation of solutions already in hand.  That’s why the World Water Development Report focuses our attention on decision-making:

That’s the finish line for this week’s water sprint.  Next steps include digging into some country-level data, where we’ll really start to see what the hold-up is, and updating/expanding on our first water map.

The Online Movie Dark Ages

Old timey video stores might be in decline, but like so many things in our lives, the change probably has more to do with convenience than quality.  You might have to leave your house and walk or drive to get there, but at a video store, you generally get a full selection of both the new and old.

In contrast, consider the fate of a basic Netflix streaming-only subscriber, who is working with a selection on par with a poorly-funded library or a good yard sale.  Even with Netflix mail service and iTunes to fall back on, the digital availability of new releases is as spotty as the new releases themselves.

Meanwhile, it was just announced that Netflix now accounts for 30% of downstream internet bandwidth…

That represents a lot of movie-viewing compromises.  And you know, we are trying to maintain a culture here…

But why blame ourselves?  The movie industry is the one failing to deliver their product.  The infrastructure they need is staring them in the face.  Imagine if they spent their time focused on doing their job instead of going after those who are doing it for them.

And as for all the lawsuits against the downloaders, the only defense they should need is, “I’m only trying to live like it is actually 2011 and would be more than happy to pay for the privilege.  Your Honor, this is a complete waste of everyone’s time.  We’d all be better off watching Starship Troopers 3 on Netflix.”

[Sandvine chart via Business Insider]

The Long Now Foundation

“The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.”

(image from Long Now – click to enlarge)

Learn more at LongNow.org

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