CPSIA Train Wreck

Walter Olson has a really thorough roundup of the news and events surrounding the CPSIA, a really egregious example of legislation gone wild following the Chinese lead paint in toys incidents of last year. This is an interesting story on two levels, the first being how Congress’ response to real problems with oversight and legislation can be worse than the original problems they targeted, and secondly how social media is playing a role in elevating public awareness of these issues in a way that media simply won’t devote themselves to doing.

Much of the alarm over the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the federal law enacted last year in response to panics over Chinese toys with lead paint and the phthalates found in plastic, has focused on the effect it will have on toys and related kids’ products, driving many of them from the market because it is too costly for handcrafters and small-run manufacturers to pay for the testing of every lot. (One protest site is entitled National Bankruptcy Day, after Feb. 10, the day the law is set to go into effect.) But the law is much wider in application than that. It also applies to a sweeping array of children’s goods including clothing, bedding, Scouting patches, and countless other fabric and textile goods for kids’ use; paper goods, school supplies, homeschooling kits, as well as library books and audiobooks, board games, baseball cards, and the like; outdoor gear, bikes, backpacks, telescopes and sporting equipment; home furnishings when marketed for use in kids’ rooms; and much more.

[From Overlawyered — Chronicling the high cost of our legal system]

Explore the masterpieces of the Prado Museum

This is really extraordinary. I have been fortunate to be able to visit this museum and to look at a painting like Roger van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross in person is an experience that is with no equal. Looking at these paintings through Google Earth is about as close to being there as currently exists because the level of detail is so great. These images are up to 14 gigapixel resolution… yeah, GIGApixels. The image I screen grabbed below isn’t even zoomed in that much, the level of zoom and detail is extreme… the bottom image is the tip of the thorn puncturing the middle of the forehead and more zoom was available, although not entirely useful as the image resolution exceeded the resolution of my display.

Today Google launches the Prado layer in Google Earth allowing you to explore highly detailed photographic images of fourteen of the Prado Museum’s masterpieces. The Prado Museum in Madrid is one of Spain’s most visited destinations and via the Google Earth layer you can view and learn about its most famous paintings such as The Maids of Honor (Las Meninas) or The Three Graces (Las Tres Gracias)

[From Google LatLong: Explore the masterpieces of the Prado Museum up close with Google Earth]