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.
One of the first agricultural techniques, which is still practiced in many parts of the world, is “slash and burn agriculture.” It’s pretty simple:
Slash-and-burn is an agricultural technique that involves cutting and burning of trees and plants in forests or woodlands to create fields. It is subsistence agriculture that typically uses little technology or other tools. It is typically part of shifting cultivation agriculture, and of transhumance livestock herding.
It works by clearing an area, planting crops until the soil is depleted, and then moving on to the next area. Eventually, one may move back to the original area, after a period of allowing regrowth, but that isn’t always possible. Its use as a successful method depends on having a small population and a lot of land to move to. The problem with it is that it’s not a sustainable method of agriculture. Once you reach a certain population density, or have exhausted the land available, it becomes unsustainable. So, what does that have to do with the economy?
My previous post was about the misunderstanding of the “freedom of speech” clause in the First Amendment. That is, having the right to say something doesn’t shield you from the consequences of that speech. Which leads me to the title of this post, which is the famous first line in the Miranda warning that is a staple on every police show. It comes from the Fifth Amendment. Over the past few years of watching the blowback over various statements that have been made, as well as the counter-attacks attempting to mitigate the consequences under the “free speech” banner, I think that the “right to remain silent” is a much under appreciated (and necessary) right that some should be exercising. Yesterday was a sterling example, as the Justine Sacco fiasco took over Twitter.