January 2010

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Translating David Brooks

Matt Taibbi: “Next time there’s an earthquake in Russia or Georgia, I’m probably going to wait at least until they’re finished pulling the bodies of dead children out of the rubble before I start writing articles blasting a foreign people for being corrupt, lazy drunks with an unsatisfactorily pervasive achievement culture whose child-rearing responsibilities might have to be yanked from them by with-it Whitey for their own good.”


“SuperFreakonomics” and climate change

Elizabeth Kolbert: “To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction.”


“We are here to represent.”

Last year, a friend sang with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, performing Mahler’s 8th Symphony,. Tonight, the recording of that performance won three grammy awards. Go, team.


Rahm Emanuel makes me very pessimistic about health-care reform

Ezra Klein: “It is very, very, very important to be clear on what the death of health-care reform looks like. It is not a vote that goes against the Democrats. It is not an admission that the White House has moved on from the subject. It is continued statements of commitment from the key players paired with a continued stretching of the timetable.”


Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Internationalization of US Policy Paralysis and the Collapse of American Diplomacy

Matthew Yglesias: “The dysfunctional nature of the United States Congress means that essentially all diplomatic intercourse with the American government is worthless.”


David Axelrod: ‘Reconciliation is a tool that is there to be used’

Ezra Klein: “A Pew poll released today found that only 26 percent of Americans could correctly identify 60 votes as the numbers needed to break a filibuster. Twenty-five percent thought 51 votes was sufficient, and 37 percent had no idea.”


Lady Gaga’s Lessons for the Music Business

WSJ.com: “The business needs more Gagas. The upheaval of the last decade has forced the major record companies to cut their work force by 60%, according to a recent report by the Recording Industry Association of America.”


Friday, 29 January 2010

Future Shock

Fraser Speirs: “I find it hard to believe that the loss of background processing isn’t a price worth paying to have a computer that isn’t frightening anymore.”


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bunch Of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger

The Onion - America’s Finest News Source: “‘He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers,’ said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don’t have to look at them for four years.”


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Oh Noes, Hard Works!

Oliver Willis: “We should have year-round school, not the constant coddling.”


Sunday, 24 January 2010

fMRI Gets Slap in the Face with a Dead Fish

Neuroskeptic: “They put the salmon in an MRI scanner and ‘the salmon was shown a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations. The salmon was asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing.’”


Tablet Prediction

Neil Mix: “And speech dictation is out because no one wants a world filled with Macheads talking to their computers on public transportation, least of all Apple.”


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Do the Right Thing

Krugman: “A message to House Democrats: This is your moment of truth. You can do the right thing and pass the Senate health care bill. Or you can look for an easy way out, make excuses and fail the test of history.”


‘Hamas accepts Israel’s right to exist’

Jerusalem Post: in Arabic, though?


Wednesday, 20 January 2010

He Wasn’t The One We’ve Been Waiting For

Paul Krugman Blog: “I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.”


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Conservative Case For Gay Marriage

Ted Olson: “Another argument, vaguer and even less persuasive, is that gay marriage somehow does harm to heterosexual marriage. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain to me what this means.”


Monday, 18 January 2010

Congress takes a bold stand against surveillance abuses

Glenn Greenwald: “Surely, the U.S. Congress that is now putting its foot down on private companies cooperating with such abusive spying elsewhere would react very angrily in the face of revelations that it was being done here. Actually, in the face of such revelations less than two years ago, they ended up on a very bipartisan basis legalizing the illegal spying program and immunizing the telecoms that enabled it all.”


New Evidence For Seas of Liquid Diamond On Neptune

io9: “Vast seas of diamond could also explain how the giant planets’ magnetic fields got warped too, with the magnetic pole as much as 60 degrees off from the geologic one.”


The Bank Tax

Greg Mankiw: “We could promise never to bail out financial institutions again.  Yet nobody would ever believe us.  And when the next financial crisis hits, our past promises would not deter us from doing what seemed expedient at the time.”


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Googlephone No Match for Kafkaesque Carriers

Steven Levy: “‘What if I buy the phone full-price?’ I ask. ‘Do I pay the same rates, even though I’m not getting a discount for the phone?’ Yes. Same rates, even though I’m no longer amortizing a phone. By the way, she adds, the terms of the contract have changed, and my data charges have gone up.”


New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers

New York: “What makes the decision so agonizing for Sulzberger is that it involves not just business considerations, but ultimately a self-assessment of just what Times journalism is worth to the world.”


The New Cavemen Lifestyle Has Found a Home in the City

NYTimes.com: “More to the point, the city has gone so far as to outlaw both hunting and gathering, at least when committed in a city park.”


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Bankers Without a Clue

Krugman: “stop listening to financiers about financial reform”


Thursday, 14 January 2010

It’s Time to Drop the ‘Expectation of Privacy’ Test

Bruce Schneier: “No one knows how this will shake out legally.”


Why is the news media comfortable with lying about science?

ars technica: “In essence, the message it sent was ‘we will intentionally undercut the best available science using a celebrity.’”


Stop the panic on air security

Bruce Schneier: “We’re doing these things even though this particular plot was chosen precisely because we weren’t screening for it; future al Qaeda attacks rarely look like past attacks; and the terrorist threat is far broader than attacks against airplanes.”


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski

The most excellent comedie and tragical romance of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: “Let me not to the marriage of false impressions deny impediments. I am not Master Lebowski; thou art Master Lebowski. I am the Knave, called the Knave. Or His Knaveness, or mayhap Knaver, or mayhap El Knaverino, in the manner of the Spaniard, if brevity be not in thy soul nor wit. A Knave by any other name would abide just as well.” - translations all the way down


Monday, 11 January 2010

VR Hurts

Mark Pesce: “can cause ‘binocular dysphoria,’ a defect in depth perception, for several hours after removing” – now let’s put 3d into a screen Americans spend 8 hours a day watching


Sunday, 10 January 2010

Daily Show: Moment of Zen


Friday, 8 January 2010

Undressing the Terror Threat

WSJ.com: “As to the question of what the government should do rather than keep playing Terrorball, the answer is simple: stop treating Americans like idiots and cowards.”


View-Source Is Good? Discuss.

Alex Russell: “The evolutionary advantages of reliable parsing have helped to ensure that strict XML content comprises roughly none of the web, a decade after it was recognized as ‘better’ by world+dog.”


Doing It Wrong

Tim Bray: “I don’t believe we’ll ever go to a pure-utility model for IT. Every world-class business has some sort of core competence, and there are good arguments that sometimes, you should implement your own systems around yours.”


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Making Avatar Make Sense

Will Sargent: “It looks beautiful. It’s not exactly friendly, but it’s the kind of environment that keeps humans focused on the trees instead of on the forest.”


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why.

Wired: “Half of all drugs that fail in late-stage trials drop out of the pipeline due to their inability to beat sugar pills.”


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Conservatives shocked by the political process

Ezra Klein: “This comment is notable for the fact that none of the three sentences actually makes any sense.”


Monday, 4 January 2010

The next big thing will start out looking like a toy

chris dixon: “This does not mean every product that looks like a toy will turn out to be the next big thing. To distinguish toys that are disruptive from toys that will remain just toys, you need to look at products as processes.”


Sunday, 3 January 2010

on the wonders of credit and de-leveraging

geoff goodfellow: “No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.”


Saturday, 2 January 2010

The world doesn’t need an Apple tablet, or any other

Betanews: “Apple is part of the reason why tablets cannot succeed in the current market.”


Sun and moon trigger deep tremors on San Andreas Fault

UC Berkeley Active Tectonics: “the shear stress from the sun, moon and ocean tides amount to around 100 Pascals, or one-thousandth atmospheric pressure, whereas the pressure 25 kilometers underground is on the order of 600 megaPascals, or 6 million times greater”


Voyager Discovers Magnetized Fluff

Discovery News: “It would be like expecting a wisp of cigarette smoke to retain its structure in the middle of a tornado; some kind of force would need to be surrounding (or intertwined through) the smoke helping it resist being dispersed.”