This and That for the New Year

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had the energy to write some of the posts I’ve wanted to write, but I thought it was important that I exercised my fingers at least a bit today… So, here are some tidbits I’ve come across this week that I thought were worth sharing…

First, The Edge had its annual question for 2006. For those not familiar, the Edge Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on scientific and literary inquiry for the benefit of society, and it’s membership includes many of the great scientists and thinkers of our time. Each year the foundation poses a deeply philosophical question and publishes the responses of its members. The question this year was, “What is your most dangerous idea?” and it was answered by some of the world’s greatest thinkers.

For those not familiar with Robert Scoble, he is Microsoft’s “official” blogger. His job, for the most part, is to blog on issues and items related to Microsoft and the industries they touch. Now, most people would probably assume that Robert sits around and plays cheerleader for the company all day; and while that sometimes appears to be the case, it is clear that Robert is given the freedom to write whatever he feels is accurate, regardless of whether it depicts his employer in a good or bad light. Case-in-point is this blog post by Scoble, where he effectively compares Microsoft to the Nazis. It’s nice to see that Microsoft has the courage to realisticly challenge themselves with someone like Scoble, and it’s nice to see that Scoble has the courage to stand up for what is right.

Thought this was interesting. It’s a list of the Fortune 500 companies and their blogging status (the idea of putting together this wiki was conceived by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine). Interestingly enough, very few of the Fortune 500 have official corporate blogs; specifically, only 3-4%, but the wiki is editable and the hopes of the creators is that this exercise will spur some of the big boys to get with the program and start blogging.

There are a lot of white-knuckle flyers out there (I used to be one of them until I learned to fly myself), and one of the most common concerns among small-aircraft passengers is engine trouble. Well, most people don’t know this, but airplanes can glide…really. Lose one or all your engines, and a typical small aircraft can glide for about a mile per 1000 feet of altitude. At seven or eight thousand feet up, that’s generally enough glide to get you to the nearest airport or open field. Well, I guess there’s one other alternative…

And if you liked the story above, check out this short movie clip…

Click fraud is something that doesn’t get talked about much anymore (at least not in my social circles…not so much because it doesn’t exist, but more because the scale of the industry has increased so greatly that the effects of the click fraud are in the noise for most large players. But, the industry isn’t just composed of large players, and click fraud still remains a primary concern for the ad networks who must appease their customers. From Wired Magazine, here’s an update on the current click fraud landscape, and how it might threaten advertising on the web…