02 Nov

links for 2009-11-02

  • "When you watch Fox News Channel, what you see is the advancement of that agenda through a media organ that seeks to turn regular people against their own interests — the better to enrich the coffers of Murdoch and his heirs — and that actively organizes those whose paranoia it has fed with lurid and untrue tales."
  • "So, I'd make organ donation opt out, public religious observance opt in, newsletters opt in and smart financial choices opt out. Anything that tricks a consumer into paying for something ought to be double opt in. And without a doubt, email (and commercial transactions of all kinds) are opt in. Smart for both sides."
  • "And yet, it would be a mistake to equate what Olbermann and Maddow do with what Fox "News" does. There are many important differences. The primary one is that they provide factual news with opinion instead of presenting opinion as factual news. Yes, viewers are going to hear exactly what Olbermann thinks about each and every news story. But he is not merely making things up to manipulate his audience."
  • "The patent suggests that “the modification to an excerpt performed by the synonym substitution mechanism may not significantly alter the meaning of the excerpt to a human reader,” which sounds just like the something that someone who doesn’t actually write in human languages for a living might suggest. Perhaps we should suggest we should go into this software engineer’s code and swap some of the code around. Oh, sure, it might not significantly alter the meaning of the code. But then let’s run it and see where it gets us."
  • "Actually, as we said in our recent article about the impact of cap-and-trade on employment, official figures from the government’s Energy Information Administration show that under the House cap-and-trade bill, future job growth might be constrained by between 388,000 and 2.3 million jobs – in the year 2030. The agency drew up 11 different scenarios based on varying sets of assumptions, and the 2.3 million figure was attached to the case in which nothing goes right. But EIA also said that this scenario’s unrelentingly gloomy assumptions are "inherently less likely" than the mixed positive and negative developments assumed in all but one of its other scenarios."
  • "As I have said here many times, people have the right to believe in what they want. However, I think they should at least try to educate themselves on the way the Universe works so they don’t leap to the wrong conclusions (as Richard Feymann once said, science is a way of not fooling ourselves)– and certainly the journalists out there have an obligation to do a little research when reporting on such events."
  • "Astronomers have confirmed that an exploding star spotted by Nasa's Swift satellite is the most distant cosmic object to be detected by telescopes. In the journal Nature, two teams of astronomers report their observations of a gamma-ray burst from a star that died 13.1 billion light-years away. The massive star died about 630 million years after the Big Bang."
  • "In preparing this post, Erick asked me, “Is Apple is a media company?” I thought about that and the answer is really that Apple is what media companies are missing. The missing part of the puzzle is what made media conglomerates such juggernauts in the past. Namely, distribution. The internet is stripping them of their control over the how their products are distributed. Media companies used to be able to create scarcity merely by delaying the distribution of their products across different channels—theaters, pay-per-view, DVD, cable channels, network TV, and so on. The internet disrupts this ability to create media scarcity. It is such a huge disruption, in fact, that it threatens the fundamental profit engine of the media business."
  • "Experience is just another word for losing hope."
  • "Computers perform calculations in quite a different way from the methods that humans use to do arithmetic – and that means that they habitually come up with the wrong answer."
  • "I'm going to forcefully sodomize your editor." Direct quote from John Mayer in response to this question: "You don't always have to rhyme, though."
  • "Yes, how inappropriate that counter-terrorism measures, which are pitched to "us" as being about defending rights and freedoms, should be conducted in a way that avoids human rights violations. … So you're saying folks with less relative power and privilege along gender lines can't be killed in terrorist attacks, can't be the victims of terrorism, and are probably terrorists? Are only the most privileged cis men the victims of terrorism?"

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