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Uncle Sam's Funhouse - The Washington Post
100g standards

It is the core of what, at its birth a century ago, was called the National Bureau of Standards, and what, 100 years later, has grown into one of the world's premier scientific research centers.


Born of fundamental questions like what is a gallon, or bushel, or foot? -- for there once were several of each -- the institute came to be asked about standards for locomotive wheels, shoe leathers, refrigerator doors, fire sirens, bridge girders, car batteries, flak vests, milk bottles, traffic lights and many other things.

It went on to evolve dramatically, shaped by war, economics and technological upheaval, through three name changes, three locations and all of the century's scientific epochs.

It grew from an Edwardian bureau of calibrators into an early consumer advocacy group, then a wartime research agency, then a cutting-edge high-tech science institute, and lately a more active partner in the nation's commercial enterprise. Along the way it has kept many, but not all, of the trappings of previous incarnations.
teaching 
10 minutes ago by scritic
“Loser teachers”
n The Washington Post, three teachers, from Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States, respond to Donald Trump Jr.’s remarks about “loser teachers.”
teaching 
8 hours ago by M.Leddy
Opinion | The Joy of Standards - The New York Times
100g on standardization. USE

The number of technical standards that go into some products is astonishing, and the complexity of the methods used to create these standards is perhaps even more remarkable. A 2010 study found that a laptop computer incorporates 251 standards. Companies such as I.B.M. and Microsoft created some of these standards — but only 20 percent of them. The other 80 percent of the laptop’s standards were developed by private or nongovernmental organizations that facilitate collaboration and cooperation among technical experts.

These facts should prompt some reflection about the exercise of power in a technological society: Amid concerns about the excesses of market power and government regulation, nobody seems to worry much about the private groups of experts who created 80 percent of the laptop’s standards. Standards created this way, known as the “voluntary consensus” process, are ubiquitous. They range from technologies like electrical plugs, lumber and concrete, to rules and certifications for food safety and environmental sustainability, to more personal matters such as definitions of health and disease.

The basic irony of standards is the simple fact that there is no standard way to create a standard, nor is there even a standard definition of “standard.” There are, however, longstanding ways that industries and nations coordinate standardization efforts. In the United States, the system of voluntary consensus standards is coordinated by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.
teaching 
10 hours ago by scritic
The Complicated Economy of Open Source Software
Great summary of open source movement. 100j. Use in place of Coleman.
Teaching 
19 hours ago by scritic
The Singularity in Our Past Light-Cone
Use in 100g to discuss whether singularity has already happened
teaching 
yesterday by scritic

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