Journalist Wall Of Shame

Some of the reporting is awfully sensationalist and fear mongering, playing on people’s fears to get a quick, cheap story.

There’s a good list of some of the worst examples on the Journalist Wall of Shame. Really quite shocking what’s being said, which is a real shame because it just feeds on people’s misunderstanding of all things Nuclear and will distort the Nuclear debate for years.

In addition, this is a nice example of Crowdsourcing to hold “professional” media to account, and an interesting use of Google Docs to allow multiple collaborators produce and update a single document (see second half of the page).

Update: The guy who started it has explained his reasons with a link to a list of good Journalism on the subject.

What I want in a Washing Machine

So the washing machine died… it had been getting more and more noisy and this morning whilst I was performing my domestic duties it started doing that really really catastrophic noisy thing and massive movement which indicates this is the last spin cycle it will ever do.

Clearly a Washing Machine is kind of critical especially with two small boys, and my travel schedule. So thanks to The Internet, a new washing machine will arrive Tuesday – crisis over. And I think we will be able to keep the old one, which will provide a weekend’s worth of entertainment and education for the Boys as we talk it apart – and a very happy colleague who will get the bits for his Heath Robinson projects.

But this got me thinking – I want one with a network connection. Which I mentioned on Facebook and someone quite rightly asked “Why”.

This is what I expect my washing machine to provide:

  • SNMP for
    • Status (stage of washing cycle etc.
    • Energy Use
    • Water use
    • Any other stats (I think they weigh the washing, and measure detergent – that would be interesting)
  • Email alerts on events (e.g. finished, error reports)
  • Web interface for administration, user’s manual etc.
  • A way of pinging it to say “Start” – so I can coordinate with the rest of my household
  • Service status, warnings of imminent servicing etc.

Then I can hook my washing machine up to Nagios, etc.

Oh and I want my Dishwasher and Dryer to do this too… and the heating system.

Given the ubiquity of WiFi chips and Microcontrollers – I can’t see this being too far away surely? And it would be exceptionally cool – let’s just hope they provide IPv6 🙂

Some more information on Japan’s current status

The traditional news media is painting an alarming picture of the situation in Japan; if I just relied on what the TV was saying, you’d think the place was wiped off the map.

This excellent post gives some perspective. Some quotes:

… to an extent, anyway. See, the thing that people don’t realize is that Honshu is massive. It is larger than Great Britain. (A country which does not typically refer to itself as a “tiny island nation.”) At about 800 miles long, it stretches from roughly Chicago to New Orleans. Quite a lot of the reporting on Japan, including that which is scaring the heck out of my friends and family, is the equivalent of someone ringing up Mayor Daley during Katrina and saying “My God man, that’s terrible?—?how are you coping?”

[snip]

The overwhelming response of Japanese engineering to the challenge posed by an earthquake larger than any in the last century was to function exactly as designed. Millions of people are alive right now because the system worked and the system worked and the system worked.

[snip]

The tremendous public unease over nuclear power shouldn’t be allowed to overpower the conclusion: nuclear energy, in all the years leading to the crisis and continuing during it, is absurdly safe. Remember the talk about the trains and how they did exactly what they were supposed to do within seconds? Several hundred people still drowned on the trains. [snip] When you hear news reports of people exposed to radiation, keep in mind, at the moment we’re talking a level of severity somewhere between “ate a banana” and “carries a Delta Skymiles platinum membership card”.

[snip]

Japan’s economy just got a serious monkey wrench thrown into it, but it will be back up to speed fairly quickly. (By comparison, it was probably more hurt by either the Leiman Shock or the decision to invent a safety crisis to help out the US auto industry. By the way, wondering what you can do for Japan? Take whatever you’re saying currently about “We’re all Japanese”, hold onto it for a few years, and copy it into a strongly worded letter to your local Congresscritter the next time nativism runs rampant.)

The amount of preparation the Japanese have done is amazing. It is a pity that in Europe and US you can’t really get people to take contingency planning seriously – but I guess Japan gets a lot of practice.

There’s also a couple of posts on the Nuclear thing in more detail:

The comments on these articles are worth a read.

I do fear that one of the biggest casualties of this whole thing is going to be common sense in the Nuclear Power debate.