Comments written on other sites from February 2011

Things with an end - Blog - BERG

I assume that anyone complaining about these trainers on ecological grounds only buys good quality shoes (never trainers) that can be re-soled and repaired and that will last for decades. Although even those will be beyond repair eventually.

Almost every shoe we buy reaches its end of life within a few years and is never recycled. But people never think of shoes or trainers as “disposable”. So, although my knee-jerk reaction was “ooh, shoes which only last 100km, that can’t be good,” making the disposability explicit, and building the renewal of the materials into the package, seems like a step forward.

On 4 February 2011. Permalink

Things with an end - Blog - BERG

Michal, I’m not saying that everyone should always wear sturdy repairable shoes. Just that everyone going “oh, that’s awful” about the waste here aren’t then saying anything about what *is* acceptable.

Why are shoes that last twice as long enough? Why are running shoes that last 650km (to quote Cat, above) or 800-1000km (to quote other sources I’ve seen online), without even a recycling option, the acceptable norm? It seems pretty bad to me that having to replace shoes that often (shoes which are made of more material) is already far from ideal.

Realistically, I can see three types of people who might buy these:

1) Hard core runners who value the lightness. I imagine that professional athletes (like most of us) already make various environmental compromises to further their careers that have a much worse impact than increasing the frequency of shoe-buying (eg, driving or flying to athletics meets).

2) Fashion-conscious people who want something that’s different. They’re going to buy a lot of shoes anyway, and aren’t going to wear them that long, no matter how long they should last.

3) People interested in design who’ll write about them in blog posts. Not a market that’s big enough to threaten the stability of the world with their novelty shoe buying :)

So, I don’t think it’s a *good* thing to make shoes that last less time. But, if it’s a compromise that improves performance for a profession, then I expect it’s far from the only — or the worst — ecological misdemeanour committed for such a cause.

On 6 February 2011. Permalink

Wanted: TechCrunch Europe Video Intern

Why aren’t you planning to pay this person for their work Mike?

I’m sure you’ll find plenty of eager people willing to work for nothing, especially given the shortage of jobs for graduates these days, but just because people will work for nothing, that doesn’t make it right not to pay them. In fact, you might be breaking the law by not doing so:…

I assume their work will be adding value to your site — or else why would you need the video — so why not pass on some of that value to the person creating it? Otherwise you’re perpetuating a situation in which only those who can afford to work for nothing can get experience and a foot on the ladder.

On 8 February 2011. Permalink

LRB · Vol. 33 No. 4 · 17 February 2011 · letters

Jenny Diski misremembers Stephen King publishing one of his novels online with all the words in alphabetical order. Maybe she was confusing King with Douglas Adams and Terry Jones, who published the latter’s novelisation of the computer game Starship Titanic in this fashion in 1997. ‘Douglas, being enamoured of the internet,’ Yoz Grahame, who worked on the game, recalled, ‘wanted to put the whole text of the novel online, and was disappointed when the publishers nixed that idea. However, we still found a way to do it.’

Phil Gyford
London EC2

[Yoz’s quote can be found on this post at Ask Metafilter, a reference which the LRB omitted.]

On 12 February 2011. Permalink

Drug Free School Zone | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Drug free, but not weapon free!

Drug Free Weapon Free Zone

On 14 February 2011. Permalink

The Sartorialist: On the Street….London Color Story, London

I haven’t seen anyone suggest that maybe this colour combination is inspired by the teal and orange craze in Hollywood movies over the last few years.

On 22 February 2011. Permalink

Tim wright: digital writer: The Story: using the wrong tools for the job

I’ll have to think about it more, but I’m not sure about some of the things you think are the wrong tools for the job. Or why you think a quill is the right tool for the job? Isn’t it just an older tool?

If you want to only use “natural tools” you should probably be telling stories orally, or acting them, rather than writing them down using man-made implements, on man-made materials. Either way, you’ll still have to rely on a language created by man (unless you use mime) but it’s probably as natural as you’ll get. (This paragraph sounds facetious — it’s not supposed to be.)

I guess I’m just not sure why you feel that *different* ways of telling stories are the *wrong* ways of telling stories. I’m not saying you’re mistaken, just that I don’t understand what your argument is.

On 24 February 2011. Permalink

Teller’s shoes | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Aren’t spats a thing that you wear over shoes/ankles?

PS, more photos of famous people touching Yoz’s head please.

On 25 February 2011. Permalink

The Technium: Free Kindle This November

This reminded me of this article from the London Review of Books by John Lanchester, about newspapers:…

It includes this paragraph:

“If newspapers switched over to being all online, the cost base would be instantly and permanently transformed. The OECD report puts the cost of printing a typical paper at 28 per cent and the cost of sales and distribution at 24 per cent: so the physical being of the paper absorbs 52 per cent of all costs. (Administration costs another 8 per cent and advertising another 16.) That figure may well be conservative. A persuasive looking analysis in the Business Insider put the cost of printing and distributing the New York Times at $644 million, and then added this: ‘a source with knowledge of the real numbers tells us we’re so low in our estimate of the Times’s printing costs that we’re not even in the ballpark.’ Taking the lower figure, that means that New York Times, if it stopped printing a physical edition of the paper, could afford to give every subscriber a free Kindle. Not the bog-standard Kindle, but the one with free global data access. And not just one Kindle, but four Kindles. And not just once, but every year. And that’s using the low estimate for the costs of printing.”

If Kindles were free that’d be an even more dramatic comparison…

On 26 February 2011. Permalink

Wilderness to brothels to Apple store: the History of Development in one block

Very interesting, thanks. A nice lens for a long-term look at historical ebbs and flows. However, I’d take issue with one of your final sentences:

The ultimate culmination of centuries of development was of course the Apple store…

It’s only the “ultimate culmination” of development if you think New York is going to stop changing because it’s now finished. Just like Arnoux’s house, or the 1880 factory, the Apple store, and everything else there now, is just one more mid-point on a much longer path. Who knows what people will think of the current state of the block in a couple of hundred years time.

On 27 February 2011. Permalink