Mittwoch, 30. Juni 2010

Some pointers to articles

Some pointers to news, papers and interesting announcements:

Absolutly interesting are the DFG science tv webcasts which report on the DFG (DFG is the german equivalent of the NSF) funded projects.

In some German articles I was pointed to yet another book: The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe (Vintage) which I might read some time soon.

I finished reading Proust Was a Neuroscientist, a really enjoyable book. The author suggested to read Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge . I reading it currently (only up to page 100 yet) and it's somewhat between enjoyable and frustrating to read.

Search engines and market forces

Friedman claimed that if there's demand for some sort of goods or goods with special attributes (like being produced in an environtment-friedly process, by high paid workers, ...) the market will create adequate products - as long as demand means the willingness of the consumers to pay for that special property they request.

Some rather unknown examples or at least rarely used examples for this are "green" or CO2-neutral servers and online services. For search engines, there are several alternatives:

  • Forestle promises to enable its partner, the US based organisation "The Nature Conservancy" to reforest 0.1 m^2 of rain forest for every search.
  • Ecosia supports the WWF in protecting rain forest in Brasil, on average about 2 m^2 per search

    The backend of forestle and ecosia is provided by Bing and Yahoo. The operator for both is a for-profit organisation located in Berlin, Germany, which is bound by contract to invest at least 80% of its earnings in these rain forest projects.

  • znout doesn't support anyone, but buys enough CO2-certificates to green-ify the power used by the servers in the search process. Its also the only search engine that uses google (the custom search provided by google)
  • GoodSearch offers you to choose a US-based charity to give the money to - on average 0.01 USD per search. It features, among many others, amnesty international and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Its again a front-end to Yahoo search technology.
All search engine providers generate their money via advertisment on the search pages.