As the long-term readers here are aware, I become scarce about this time of year, and remain that way until November. My work takes me out into the field for the next several months, and my time, opportunity, and inclination to write blog posts takes a major hit. A week from now, that cycle is going to start again. Besides the usual workload, I am once again breaking in a new assistant, which means even less time. Now, on to the other stuff.
Recently the state environmental department announced plans to control an introduced species, which is on the verge of becoming seriously invasive. In the areas where it’s currently established itself, it caused serious damage wetland and aquatic plants, has displaced – and often attacks – native species, created public health hazards, and injuries to the public. Once confined to a relatively small area of the state in limited numbers, over the past few years it has spread to new areas, and numbers are increasing. The state plans to reduce this population in the wild to zero over the next ten years. Pretty open and shut, right? Not really, since all such plans have a “public comment period” attached to them, and there’s a good percentage of people against it.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, and really, most people don’t to tech news, today is the last day that Microsoft will support Windows XP. What does that mean?
It means that there will be no more official security updates and bug fixes for the operating system from Microsoft.
Which is going to hit a lot of people, since figures are that up to 30% of Microsoft’s “installed base” (people using their operating systems) are still using XP. Last year during the Healthcare.gov roll-out, more than a few conservatives and media figures latched onto the notion that some of it was based on “10 year-old technology,” with the implied – or outright said – assertion that private business would never be caught using “obsolete technology.” Of course, that bears little relation to reality.
I was recently reading a very good series on West Virginia over at Al Jazeera. It’s the thing that you used to see from our media, but no longer. It’s a rather disturbing picture of what happens when an area is almost totally dependent on one industry, and one that is an “extractive industry:” Coal. The reports focus on one county, McDowell, which in the past was one of the major producers of coal. Today? Well, it’s not a very nice place. But there’s some lessons in there as well.
It’s officially “Spring,” according to the calendar, although the “look out the window” around here says “still Winter.” There are signs that spring will eventually get here, but exactly when is anyone’s guess. One of the evidences for climate change from my perspective is that “general predictability” has gone out the window in the past decade. There was a time when I could plan around when seasons would begin, within a week or two. Now, I have to guess within a month or so, and I’m usually wrong.