05 Oct

links for 2009-10-05

  • "A Treasury official made incorrect statements about the health of the nation’s biggest banks even as the government was doling out billions of dollars in aid, according to a report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program to be released on Monday by the special inspector general, Neil M. Barofksy."
  • "But more important, the episode illustrated an essential truth about the state of American politics: at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it — whether or not it’s good for America. The Republican campaign against health care reform, by contrast, has shown no such consistency. For the main G.O.P. line of attack is the claim — based mainly on lies about death panels and so on — that reform will undermine Medicare. And this line of attack is utterly at odds both with the party’s traditions and with what conservatives claim to believe." Indeed.
  • "A study to be released Monday of financial news coverage this year found that government, Wall Street and a small handful of story lines got the bulk of the attention while much less was paid to the economic troubles of ordinary people."
  • "The most vibrant buzz this summer around the Warner Brothers lot here and CBS Entertainment headquarters in nearby Studio City was not being generated by the slate of new shows on the CBS fall schedule. Rather, it focused on the sudden emergence — during summer repeats, no less — of a series that had been on the air for two seasons." I love Big Bang, awesome tv show.
  • "A bold move made by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center resulted in vandalism, when a billboard featuring a gay marine was destroyed."
  • "Almost every form of publishing has been organized as if the medium was what they were selling, and the content was irrelevant. Book publishers, for example, set prices based on the cost of producing and distributing books. They treat the words printed in the book the same way a textile manufacturer treats the patterns printed on its fabrics. Now that the medium is evaporating, publishers have nothing left to sell. Some seem to think they're going to sell content—that they were always in the content business, really. But they weren't, and it's unclear whether anyone could be."
  • "Goldman Sachs stands to receive a payment of $1bn – while US taxpayers would lose $2.3bn – if embattled commercial lender CIT files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, people familiar with the matter said." Are you serious?
  • "On Monday, six weeks after Ms. VanDyke’s team was supposed to have the project ready, Google plans to announce what they were working on: a new feature of AdSense for mobile Web sites. It lets mobile publishers run special Google text ads on their sites when the site is visited by a smartphone. But instead of the basic text ads shown on regular cellphone Web sites, the ads come in different sizes, with more sophisticated design, and can include small images."
  • "Our son taught me an extremely valuable lesson. When it comes to kids, we often bring moralistic bias to their interests. There’s a pervasive tendency in our society to label things as either good for children or bad for children. Cultivating children’s natural intrinsic motivation requires abandoning all judgment of good and bad content. Society has a long list of subjects that we’ve determined they should learn. But learning itself is kick-started when enmeshed and inseparable from what a child inherently loves. How many parents are ignoring this, pushing flash cards and phonics cards onto their kids, attempting to trigger learning in an amotivational situation?"
  • "Clearly, other companies know how to sync painlessly with iTunes music (see RIM's Blackberry Media Sync for example), so why doesn't Palm develop a syncing solution for their own hardware? The exact reason is unknown, but my guess is that it's a combination of things. Perhaps Palm doesn't have the resources to develop their own sync app. Or maybe they want some publicity. Or maybe they just want to push Apple's buttons. Who really knows. But I seriously question the strategy and brains of any company that ties critical product capabilities to the unsupported use of their competitor's software. I mean, really? Can it get any more ridiculous? Can you possibly send a more mixed, less confidence-inspiring, "we're a bunch of hacks who can't provide our own sync software for our products" message to customers?"
  • "One hundred forty-three years after passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and 60 years after Article 4 of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery and the slave trade worldwide, there are more slaves than at any time in human history — 27 million. If you were to plot slaves on the map, you'd stick the biggest number of pins in India, followed by Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan. There are arguably more slaves In India than the rest of the world combined."
  • "One of the things that is so pathetic about the demagoguery of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck is that their understanding of history is so puerile that in any civilized debate they would be laughed off the stage. Of course they don't allow a civilized debate." Indeed.
  • "The US and the UN have given an upbeat assessment of the possibility of settling the nuclear dispute with Iran. US National Security Adviser Jim Jones said Tehran was now "willing to come to the table", following talks this week between Iran and major powers. The head of the UN's nuclear agency, who is in Tehran, said there had been a "gear shift" towards co-operation."

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