Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CNN air drops

Interesting article in the LA Times today about how fire-fighting air drops are commonly "for show" and the result of political pressure:
... aerial drops of water and retardant make good television. They're a highly visible way for political leaders to show they're doing everything possible to quell a wildfire, even if it entails overriding the judgment of incident commanders on the ground.

Firefighters have developed their own vernacular for such spectacles. They call them "CNN drops."
It's also really expensive:
It costs up to $14,000 a day to keep an air tanker on call and as much as $4,200 per hour to put it in the air. Heavy-duty helicopters, the workhorses of aerial firefighting, can cost $32,000 a day on standby, plus $6,300 per hour of flight time.
Speaking of the LA Times, a segment of yesterday's PBS News Hour was about the Times's dropping of its standalone book review section. The pro-web person is a Fresno State graduate (I think), and the newspaper guy I didn't find very credible. If you are interested in the affect of the web on traditional media, it is worth watching.

Changing subjects to software, the August issue of Crosstalk has an article by Alistair Cockburn, under his "Humans and Technology" rubric, about agile principles, past and present:
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the best-known writers in the software field have been advocating the same four recommendations written in the agile manifesto for decades (see The Agile Manifesto section).