Sunday, December 02, 2007

More of a smorgasbord than a potpourri

A bunch of interesting stuff:

  • Terry sent me the link for Douglas Crockford's talk at Yahoo about software quality. Software engineering students of mine will recognize several of the topics including order-of-magnitude performance differences between developers, Knuth's "literate programming", and design- and code-reviews.

  • National Geographic's Traveler and Center for Sustainable Destinations published ratings of islands worldwide. It begins: "Tourism is a phenomenon that can cook your food or burn your house down. In other words, we all risk destroying the very places that we love the most." You can see a Hawaiian view of the study in a Honolulu Advertiser article. The software engineering connection is that they used a modified Delphi technique (made famous by Barry Boehm for software estimation): raters read each other's anonymous comments before submitting final ratings.

  • A depressing take on a popular tourist destination is "Baja tourists face uptick in assaults, robberies" in the LA Times. Unrelated, but also in the LA Times is an article about Whole Foods new megastore in Pasadena:
    For a chain predicated on the notion that healthy ingredients make for healthy meals, Whole Foods also seems determined to get people out of the kitchen and eating the company's costlier prepared foods.

    It's telling that more space is devoted to prepared foods and other goodies at the Pasadena store than to produce.

  • US News is rating high schools now. University High at Fresno State was 36th in the nation. Changing the subject slightly, all this talk of high school reminds me of Vans shoes, and how you can now have them custom made.

  • Finally, this is sort of amusing. Apparently astronauts taking pictures of places like Area 51 have caused heartburn for our three-letter agencies. Skylab folks did it, and there were also concerns about Apollo astronauts taking pictures of the wrong stuff :)