Pointers: Recommended readings

A complex IT generation gap
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle digs into a recent Forrester Research survey about how technology use varies across four generations: Generations Y and X, baby boomers and seniors.

In some areas, the classic generation gap is apparent. For example, 54 percent of Gen Yers (ages 18-28) own laptop computers, compared with 22 percent of seniors. But when it comes to online spending, baby boomers (ages 43-63) lead the way, spending more than $750 during a three-month period, compared with $643 for Gen Xers (ages 29-42), $595 for Gen Yers and $595 for seniors.

DHS blog dust-up
Source: The Municipalist

The Muncipalist,” a blog about government blogging, reports on a recent controversy that stems from a Homeland Security Department blog named “Leadership Journal.”

In a recent post about the DHS E-Verify program, which is designed to enable employers to check on the immigration status of potential hires, a DHS official takes a swipe at the Society for Human Resource Management, which opposes the program.

Government agencies are frequent targets of blogs, the Municipalist blogger notes. “But government is now blogging. Which means it’s a new ball game. Which means these advocacy groups must develop new tactics, and better strategies, from new ideas.”

What not to worry about
Source: New York Times

With the peak of summer vacation approaching, the New York Times highlights 10 instances in which conventional wisdom might lead people to worry needlessly when they ought to be relaxing.
The list includes carcinogenic cell phones, evil plastic bags, toxic plastic bottles and unmarked wormholes.

The chance of falling into a wormhole while on vacation is remote, but not impossible, the writer states. “I would also concede that if the wormhole led to an alternate universe, there’s a good chance your luggage would be lost in transit.”

The perfect solar storm
Source: Scientific American

Is the United States ready for a major solar storm? The July issue of Scientific American looks back to a super solar storm in 1859 — a “once-in-500-years event” — during which “compasses went haywire and telegraph systems failed.”

Such an event likely is a long way off, but storms with just half of the intensity, which occur about every 50 years, could still inflict significant damage.

“If we make no preparations, by some calculations, the direct and indirect costs of another
superstorm could equal that of a major hurricane or earthquake,” the article states.

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