Thursday, December 10, 2009

(Basic) CMS Question

Hi there - posting this question for web guys who know a thing or two about the architecture of Content Management Systems.

Here is what we have to do - we're going to be giving a number of videos with a bunch of different tags (male, football, age range, etc.). When a user signs into our site, we have to match that user's demographic (which we will separate out into tags, so that users will also be tagged) to potential videos' tags so that we can display an appropriate video.

On top of that, we want to rotate videos - if a user's tags matches him/her to 10 potential videos, we want to make sure we're showing him/her something new each time - so we have to keep track of which videos have already viewed (or haven't been viewed).

So yeah, any advice for the best way to design/build this sort of CMS would be great. Thanks all.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Global Warming, Climategate, and Sanity

In the couple weeks since the climate emails leaked, the responses have been fast and furious. Skeptics have pointed to the emails as the smoking gun, the proof of the conspiracy behind global warming. And climate change believers have brushed the emails off as merely the manipulation of a few data points.

(Disclaimer - I like to think of myself as neither a skeptic nor a believer, but simply a logical person. Read on and decide for yourself.)

And by all means, I think this sort of distortion of data and corruption of science is wrong. But what's disappointing, to me, is that emails haven't caused anyone of importance to say the obvious: Climate science is not a science.

Climate science is a manufactured concept to motivate the masses to action because the short-sightedness and selfishness of man keeps him (and her) from realizing the following logical progression:
  1. Humans have done tangible harm to local environments and continue to do so.
  2. We've seen the repercussions of these harms - to name a few: drastically lowered fertility of Midwest soils, mercury poisoning in fish, polluted rivers and ground water supplies, and, most importantly, the fact that our kids will almost certainly never taste the deliciousness of blue fin tuna due to overfishing aka commercial raping of the oceans.
  3. These harms eventually directly impact humans by decreasing the Earth's capability to provide for human survival (each of the above do this to some extent).
  4. There is a link between scale of destruction and magnitude of harms - if the destruction of the environment continues, there will inevitably be global consequences.
  5. And, most importantly - Keeping these bad things from happening requires a reduction in standard of living and a lowering of economic efficiency.
Climate change/CO2 levels is simply the most global and lowest hanging fruit, so it's getting the most attention. There are many more issues that need attention, of course.

Unfortunately, humans are oftentimes too selfish, passive, and short-term thinking to take pro-active action on environmental issues (see: extinction of the American Buffalo, South American rain forest destruction, etc.) and issues in general (national debt, health care, social security, etc.). So those trying to avoid long term, global environmental damage are forced, by an unmotivated public and an opposition so attached to their creature comforts that they cannot accept "better safe than sorry" as a sufficient reason to take action, to wrap their clause in a cloak of science.

So to those who oppose action on environmental issues: It's going to hurt the economy. It's also the right thing to do. Please grow up.