Ryan Scott's comment seems to miss a big part of the point of education: without enough people building up a solid grasp of facts and basic concepts, collaboration in the working world will be useless. Even memorized facts, such as the structure of Greek government, or the developments that led Rome to collapse, help build an understanding of important concepts that can be applied in many aspects of life. So, it's a bit of a contradiction to say, "teaching facts is dumb, but teaching how to think is ok, and teaching how to collaborate is even better." Focusing on teaching people how to get answers from others, without making sure that others will have the answers, or without giving them enough background knowledge to identify answers that make sense, would send people out into the world only partially prepared. You can't stand on the shoulders of giants without knowing anything about those shoulders.
That said, I do believe there's generally too much focus on the what, versus the why and how associated with those facts. And emphasizing more practical skill by teaching applied knowledge and collaboration is also useful. Balance is definitely needed. But it's an overstatement to say that "cheating" (getting answers from others) is OK.
Dave - Funny how, after reading one post I've written, you're able to put me in a "classic case," "geek" box. Of course I saw all of the "humor and irony" Dowd was attempting in her article. My problem with her "humor and irony" is that she tries to be too clever (as she usually does), telling us with humor how scary Google is, so that it doesn't really sound like she's accusing Google of being evil -- and then using "Google is evil" as the backdrop for her argument that Google should be compensating the (by inference, not evil) newspapers. As I'm sure you know, that's what people do when their case is weak: diminish the opponent, while deemphasizing the facts of argument.
I knew, as I wrote that sentence, that people would bring up the fact that newspapers aren't exactly objective now, and that the incentive to go easy on donors wouldn't be much different than it is with advertisers. The point is taken, though I do believe it can be a more significant issue, when the focus shifts from attracting the broadest audience (in order to woo advertisers) to attracting the largest donors. However, the bigger issue for objectivity has to do with the restriction on political endorsements. Sure, the intention may be to end the outright, "We support candidate X," endorsements around election time. But does anyone honestly believe that politicians, who find themselves or their positions portrayed in a bad light on some editorial page, will not seek to use the paper's non-profit status as a weapon? Arguments about the "spirit" vs. the "letter" of the law are sure to come up.
And as for the business model, yes, they would be dependent on a different revenue stream, but the point of this plan is to allow them to continue to operate in basically the same way, offering a product that fewer and fewer people want to read, rather than adapting to the changing marketplace. Exempting revenue from taxes is just a band-aid that does nothing to address the fundamental problem with the business.
The point to using floating barges is using sea water to cool the computers, which is a huge draw on power.
As I read it, they would use wave *power* to cool and power the servers. They couldn't just throw sea water over the servers -- the idea would be to use wave energy to power the cooling systems (similar to those in current land-based data centers) as well as the servers themselves. It seems that floating data centers would present all of the challenges of their dry-land counterparts, plus a bunch of new challenges. So you don't get to just dump the costs of cooling into the sea.
Heaven forbid them wasting PO resources.
I get your point about wasting PO resources -- wouldn't it be nice to keep them occupied with harmless nonsense all the time? But the problem is that the incredible growth in patent filings, as everyone seeks to patent anything and everything, has only led to more bad patents being granted, and more bloating of government. And wasting PO resources means wasting taxpayer money.
Also, what more 'innovating' could be done in this area? Google has innovated and this is the outcome.
What more innovating could be done? Who's to say? That's the point. If the PO grants such a patent to Google, we may never find out. Do you honestly believe that Google's ideas here are the final outcome of innovation in this area?
How is it silly? Have you even done the slightest bit of research? Where is your calculations to prove that it is not feasible to power a datacentre on wave power? Keeping in mind the huge savings of using seawater as cooling.
I never said it's not feasible to power a data center on wave power. But this idea is not as simple as that. Google is talking about anchoring data centers many miles off shore, in what is often a pretty volatile environment. So, while it may be possible -- maybe even relatively easy -- to harness the power of waves to run the servers and the cooling systems, additional costs associated with protecting the electronic equipment from the corrosive sea water, preventing damage due to movement (these are floating barges), insurance, security, efficient, reliable communications technology and so on, do make this idea appear pretty far-fetched, at this point. I'm skeptical that there are "huge savings" to be realized.
But perhaps more innovation could address many of these issues.