Creative Destruction

August 6, 2010

The Mindless Crowd

Filed under: Blog Status,Navel Gazing,Philosophy — Brutus @ 2:46 pm

After more than two years without a new post, I decided that from time to time I will post new entries that are more brief and less analytical than those at my personal blog, The Spiral Staircase. Feel free to comment. Regrettably, I lack administrative access to change the blog theme and with it the stupid turtle head at the top of the page. Oh, well ….

This explanation of what happens when crowds panic is too interesting to pass up. Although many clumsy thinkers tend to explain crowd effects in terms of group mind or mob mentality, the explanation provided at the linked page supports the idea that individuals become mindless parts of the crowd, which is itself also mindless. Behaviors of the mob, including the so-called wisdom of crowds, are certainly observable and in some cases even predictable, but they don’t rise to the level of a hive mind or collective consciousness. That mistaken thinking is borrowed in part from observations of the social behaviors of insects and in part from the more imaginative stories of science fiction that examine human consciousness (albeit somewhat intuitively, not knowingly) by projecting collective consciousness on alien cultures.

June 5, 2007

Given up?

Filed under: Blog Status,Navel Gazing — Daran @ 4:20 pm

Dianne:

Have you given up posting on CD?

Do you want me to give up posting on CD?

Would you take my place here if I did?

Would Mythago come back?

Truth is, I’ve been somewhat busy with real-life[*] just recently, hence not able to give as much attention as I’d like even to my new baby, let alone here.

But I haven’t intended to give up. Maybe I should crosspost more.

[*]That annoying thing that keeps people away from blogging.

April 16, 2007

I Like Ice Cream

Filed under: Blog Status — Robert @ 5:32 am

Further bulletins as events warrant.

April 1, 2007

The End of the Destruction

Filed under: Blog Status,Blogosphere — Robert @ 11:06 am

Even the most prolific of bloggers grow weary and seek rest, and it is my sad duty to inform you that Amp, Colfax, Daran and myself have reached that point. After a series of e-mail conversations, we have decided to retire this blog and pursue individual projects. Herewith a rundown of the changes, and the roles we will be playing from now on.

Although Off Colfax plans to still file the occasional dispatch, he will have little time to write for blogs, having signed on with the 4th Infantry Division as an embedded reporter for the Denver Post. OC will be heading to Iraq in the next couple of months (travel permits and his security screening permitting), and we will be doing a fundraiser for his body armor, new laptop, etc., in coming days. Keep your eyes peeled.

Ampersand has indicated that he plans to give up writing and activism in favor of developing his growing network of hardcore pornography sites. While I disagree strongly with his participation in this industry, of course, I am always glad to see a left-liberal becoming more involved with the business community and learning how things actually operate. I forecast happy days of Republican-voting, tax-decrying, and lazy-worker-bashing from Amp.

Daran, of course, is getting married and says that his new commitment to sharing everything in his life with a woman will not leave him the energy to continue writing. Best of luck to the Darans!

As for your humble correspondent, as many of you know, while writing and computers have been hobbies and avocations of mine for many years, it’s always been musical theater that holds my heart. I will be moving with my family to New York City to break into show business – and of course, I’ll be blogging about it! Details on the new blog site to come.

It’s been a wonderful experience writing for all of you good people, and I know that all of us will miss the interactions and discussions we’ve had here. Thank you for your past support, and God bless you, every one!

March 26, 2007

We’ve made it!

Filed under: Blog Status,Blogosphere,Content-lite — Daran @ 5:24 pm

We’re Number 78 in the list of top wordpress.com. Not the 78th fastest growing (we’ve been on that list many times). The 78th blog out of more than 800,000.

Yay! The only way is up…

…except for the other way, which leads down.

February 2, 2007

Some fun statistics

Filed under: Blog Status,Content-lite,Navel Gazing,Statistical Method — Daran @ 4:12 pm

According to this post, there were 2.22 million posts and 1.3 million comments to WordPress.com blogs in January. That’s a little over 1 comment for every two posts.

Assuming the Pareto principle applies, we can infer that 1.78 million posts got just 0.26 million comments, which means that 1.52 million posts got no comments at all.

CD has 556 posts and 4946 comments according to our stats page. This gives us comment to post ratio of 8.9.

Interesting. That’s us.

January 14, 2007

Who Wants a Slice of Pie?

Filed under: Blog Status,Debate — Brutus @ 12:50 pm

Ampersand wrote, in the comments to Tweaking Amanda:

Of course, none of this represents official “Creative Destruction” policy — this is all just in my opinion. I’d like it if the other CD members — or at least, those of us who are still active on CD in some capacity — could discuss what we want CD to be. (Perhaps we should move this discussion to a private post?)

I will add a few thoughts.

First thing first: simmer down, now. The meta-argument (arguing about the way we argue) is long past counter-productive. Whoever said what or did what or failed or shone is at this point sorta lost in the twisted rubber bands of logical wrangling and is hardly any longer worth sorting out. If I may be so bold, let’s wipe the slate clean for now and go forward with what we want, rather than fixating on past wrongs. There will be plenty of time for further wrongs.

Let me be clear about a couple things to readers and commenters who aren’t posters to Creative Destruction (CD). There are no fixed rules to be broken, no moderators approving and disapproving posts or comments, no tally of deleted comments and insults slung. However, those 4-5 of us still posting here have agreed that we want discussions and arguments to remain as respectful as possible, even in disagreement. One can go anywhere in the blogosphere and read others’ rants and threats and incoherence. As human beings, we may not always be above that fray, but at CD, we try to restrain ourselves from exhibiting our asshole natures.

Yeah, self-restraint. That’s the ticket. If I slip up and the gloves come off a bit, that doesn’t mean that everything is thereafter fair game. I expect someone will hit back, but it’s precisely then that I realize I need more restraint. If the thread has already been lost, then I don’t participate anymore.

Whatever Robert’s mistakes may have been (or will be), he pulled back and refused to go further. DavidByron continues to fan the flames, now arguing with everyone. There is no winning, as there is nothing to win. Not even an apology, sorry. So we can move forward, or we can stay mired in argument. Very few comments are ever deleted (other than spam), but they can certainly be ignored.

December 29, 2006

Cool!

Filed under: Blog Status — Daran @ 9:18 am

Try mouse-hovering over any random link from a wordpress.com blog post (Those in the headers, footers, and sidebar don’t work). This one, for example. Be patient, it may take a few seconds, (or perhaps longer if you have a slow connection).

December 21, 2006

Another Milestone

Filed under: Blog Status,Content-lite — Daran @ 3:11 pm

Within the next few hours, we should have our 100,000th page view.

December 19, 2006

Milestone

Filed under: Blog Status,Content-lite — Daran @ 12:38 pm

The previous post was the 500th on Creative Destruction.

December 13, 2006

Hey Guys…

Filed under: Blog Status,Content-lite — Daran @ 11:03 pm

We’re ranked at 53 on the WordPress.com Growing Blogs list.

November 10, 2006

A heads up for those who’ve missed her

Filed under: Blog Status,Blogroll — Daran @ 8:14 pm

Cathy Young is back:

First things first: my apologies to all for the lack of blogging. The extended break had nothing to do, as some of you have surmised, with policies at The Boston Globe with regard to blogging by columnists. What happened was a very labor-intensive work project combined with travel and some stressful personal matters. I should have posted to say I was going on hiatus, but I kept hoping I’d get back into the groove. Hopefully I have now; it has just taken much longer than I thought.

October 29, 2006

Blogroll

Filed under: Blog Status,Blogroll — Daran @ 10:10 pm

The policy here at CD is that each blogger gets his or her choice of up to three links. Until now, I’ve only used two of my allotment: Infothought, which doesn’t usually address gender issues, and Riba Rambles – a feminist blog. It seems only fair to link to the loyal opposition too, so I have added Toy Soldiers.

Now go blogroll us back. 🙂

September 1, 2006

What Domain Name Would We Like?

Filed under: Blog Status — Ampersand @ 5:18 pm

I know that I promised to look into this in May, but you know how things go… Anyhow, I’m thinking that it’s time to move Creative Destruction to its own server. I’m tired of not being able to install cool plug-ins.

These server names are available:

creativedestructionblog.com
creative-destruction.com
c-d-blog.com

And also, if we change the blog’s name to “Cognitive Dissonance,” then we could also choose:

cognitivedissonanceblog.com
cognitive-dissonance.net
c-d-blog.com

(Unfortunately, “cognitivedissonance.info,” which Darran suggested in May, is no longer available.)

Or we could call ourselves “We Are Here To Argue”; weareheretoargue.com is available. But probably I’m the only one who’ll like that idea.

Please post opinions and name suggestions (you can use a webpage like this one to check what domain names are available) in the comments. If no consensus emerges, or if it seems like no one cares enough to leave comments 🙂 , then I’ll go ahead and set up creative-destruction.com.

August 7, 2006

To Deadbeat

Filed under: Blog Status — Off Colfax @ 12:58 am

If you’re going to try and troll, could you please not spam the same damn thing over and over and over again? Particularly not in the span of two minutes? And all on Ampersand’s posts?

Yes, I’m talking to you. You see, these days a troll requires originality and careful thought in order to properly carry out their self-assigned duties throughout the blogosphere. These attempts of yours are far from meeting the lowest bar and, instead of being an insightful provoker of debate, tend simply to be a pain in the ass.

Please inquire within the comment section of Eschaton for an accredited course in how to troll.

For trust me when I say this… You really need it.

Have a nice day.

EDIT: The comments in question have been removed, so I killed off the links. However, one has been preserved for the sake of posterity in the comments below.

June 20, 2006

My Blacklog

Filed under: Blog Status,Content-lite,Link Farms — Daran @ 3:31 am

As I recently hinted, I’ve been doing a lot more thinking than writing these past few days, so I thought I should try and organise my thoughts so as not to forget anything. This then is a list-cum-linkfarm of various things I intend (maybe) to blog about (or perhaps just comment), or for which I’ve previously indicated I such an intention.

Off-site posts to which I want to respond.:

  • My surreply to Cathy Young is nearly complete.
  • Hybrid Garbage HT. This is the hybrid-vigour theory applied to humans. Problem is, to the best of my knowledge of the relevent science, ‘race’ in humans, unlike breeds of animals, is a social construct rather than a biological reality. Biologically, there is only one human race.
  • Update: Brandon Berg has disputed the above characterisation of the state of scientific knowledge, and, having done a little research it now appears to me that there is no scientific consensuson this issue. I think it useful to distinguish between social race – which is a social construct – and anthropological race, which appears to be a valid, albeit disputed, scientific theory.
  • You might be a white supremacist if. There’s a very interesting discussion in the comments.
  • New: In this post on Alas, Barry gives two subtly different definitions of the term “rape culture”. The first is defensible, the second less so. Unfortunately it is his second definition which in practice is how feminists use the term. He compares the concept with a “culture of violence”, but that phrase’s typical usage is again different.
  • New: In a thread on Alas, starting with this comment, there has been some discussion over the legitimacy of certain (re)definitions. Update (4 July): One side-effect of this redefinition, unintended and no doubt unwelcome to its advocates, is that Zahid Mubarak’s murderer, Robert Stewart cannot be considered to be a racist under that definition. While there are many adjectives that can be used to describe him, “privileged” is not one of them.

Recent posts and comments here on CD:

Older Threads, here and on Alas, I want to revisit:

  • This comment by Barry “require[d] a longer response than I [could] give [then].“. I don’t appear to have ever made that response. I also seem to recall him criticising me specifically in that thread for ignoring the needs of children. I can’t find the specific criticism, so perhaps I’ve misremembered, but I’d like to respond to it anyway at some point.
  • I took Barry’s novel tool for analysing the stated vs. implied goals of the anti-choice lobby and applied it to the anti-C4M position. My analysis could be improved – I choose, for rhetorical effect to stay too close to Barry’s version of the implied goal, and I ignored what the third state goals of the anti-C4M lobby: protecting women’s health.
  • Imagine that future technology made it possible to safely remove a foetus from a pregnant woman, and incubate it in an artifial womb. Women would then be able to walk away from a living foetus like men can now. Would they then be willing to give up abortion? Not without rights equivalent to C4M!.

Other things I want to blog about:

  • Developing the idea I first articulated in this comment that legitimate safety advice and victim-blaming are often confused, I’d like to suggest some criteria to distinguish them.
  • Are you a “partisan hack” if you don’t condemn objectionable behaviour, ideas, etc., among those you identify with? Barry seems to think so. Mythago apparently does not.
  • In the penultimate substantive paragraph of my reply to Mythago, I suggested a criterion by which a person citing a member of a particular group as advocating a particular position could be regarded as cherry-picking. I’d like to develop this idea.
  • Privilege denial and Privilege Reversal – Two more sexist framing devices feminists use to minimise and avoid addressing the issue of female privilege.
  • I also want to make a general critique of the concept of privilege, independent of the specific framing devices used by feminists. Update: See this post.
  • New: I’d also like to critique the concept of ‘rape culture’
  • Here‘s one of my earliest comments on Alas. I wasn’t proud of it then and I’m not now. But what, apart from the factual error, was “so wrong in so many ways” about that specific remark?
  • New (4 July): “If [FOO] affected men instead of women, something would be done about it” is a common feminist maxim. How true is it?

Feel free to use the comments to discuss any of the matters here, or to suggest other issues you’d like me to address.

June 18, 2006

Neologisms

Filed under: Blog Status — Daran @ 10:48 am

Lackblog noun 1 a lack of time for blogging. 2 the lack of blog posts caused by this. I apologise for the lackblog, but I’m really busy at the moment. (lack+blog)

Blacklog noun 1 The state of having more ideas for blog posts than time to actually write them. 2 the accumulation of unfinished, and in some cases unstarted blog posts caused by this. My lackblog is causing a blacklog. (blog + backlog)

Edit: Looks like my logisms are not so neo after all.

April 10, 2006

You know what’d be cool?

Filed under: Blog Status — bazzer @ 8:27 pm

If we had avatars. I mean, now that we’ve got so many authors and all.

Yes, yes, I know. I’ve scarcely contributed to this site in nearly a week, and now all I do is bitch and carp from the sidelines.

April 8, 2006

Let’s Write an Ad!

Filed under: Blog Status — Robert @ 7:52 pm

I can run a text ad for CD in my BlogAds box on BNN. We get about 1000 hits a day and an ad for CD would doubtless bring in some of the hoi polloi. I don't have time to write it right now, though – if you guys can maybe conspire to put the text together, I'll post it and run the ad into the indefinite future.We can have 40 characters for the title and 300 in the text.

April 2, 2006

Promotion, Expansion, and Trying to Take Over the World

Filed under: Blog Status,Blogosphere — Robert @ 7:35 am

Some random thoughts on the blog and moving it forward.

I think the existing bloggers we have are great, and will attract and keep readers over time. However, to build up a truly thriving community, I suggest that we continue to expand our membership base to a reasonable degree. (Any thoughts on a good number for membership?)

One good natural resource for finding new bloggers is, of course, the commentsphere surrounding established blogs. Regular commenters are experienced in bloggy communication, and the sudden appearance of a hyperlink in their name is likely to draw readership.

I would be inclined to nominate a fellow named Tuomas, a Finn who seems to be a classical liberal with leftish tendencies but a fair allotment of common sense. Tuomas is a regular commenter at Feministe. He doesn’t have contact information, so we’d have to try and catch his attention with a comment asking him to check us out. I can’t post there anymore (thanks, ironically, to Feministe going into the hands of a new blogger who was recruited from the commentariat) so someone else would have to do that.

I would suggest that others also regularly pursue evangelization of membership; if we leave it to Adam, we’re just going to end up with a bunch of hot female polisci majors that he tries to impress in bars (“Yeah, baby, I blog. Why don’t you check out my action.”)

Wait a minute. Why would that be bad? Never mind.

On the subject of promotion: while I think spamming the blogosphere would be a Bad Idea, there are good ways of attracting steady streams of new readers. One key element: comment intelligently or at least interestingly on popular blogs, and have Creative Destruction listed as your hyperlink. I regularly have done this for my own tiny and pathetic blog, and it’s still tiny and pathetic! But it’s a lot less tiny and pathetic than it would be. I don’t mind redirecting that small flow of visitors to CD; particularly because a successful CD would bring more attention to my personal blog than any amount of comment whoring. Another easy promotional technique is to find popular bloggers who are writing about something we have written about, and drop a relevant link to our take on the subject. Bloggers hate to see irrelevant link dumps, but on-target links are usually very welcome.

These are just a couple of my thoughts, I am sure that the rest of you have more to suggest. (Well, except for Bazzer, who has yet to even deliver one freakin’ donut.)

wtf

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 5:20 am

Why do comments keep getting caught in a moderation net?  If they're put up by contributors, you'd think…ah, screw it.

 Anyone know how to handle this?

March 29, 2006

American vs. European Social Models

Filed under: Blog Status,Debate,Ethics,Human Rights — Brutus @ 10:23 pm

Update: This post continues to draw traffic even after five years and despite this group blog being abandoned. It is cross-posted at The Spiral Staircase, which is my personal blog and is still active. Feel free to comment either place.

Original post: The comment by Bazzer about flattened tax structures, my rejection of the idea, and Adam Gurri’s invitation to expand on the topic prompts me to describe more fully why I reject Reagan’s success in flattening the tax structure — a process that continues unabated today. Let me start by contrasting the American and European social models, albeit briefly.

I attended a lecture last month by T.R. Reid called the “European Social Model.” That term refers succinctly to the welfare state, which in Europe has none of the negative connotations it does in the U.S. High tax rates in European support a variety of human services, including socialized medicine, unemployment insurance, welfare, and free public education through university. Although the specific levels of support vary among European states, Europeans are justifiably proud of their collective accomplishment in caring for each other and creating a humane social contract. Recent uprisings in France over employment rules make a great deal of sense from within that context, though from an American perspective the agitators appear positively insane.

In the U.S., considering our history of tax revolt, we categorically flee from the idea of socialized anything. Nonetheless, we have socialized education (through high school), socialized defense (we should go back to calling it the Dept. of War, IMO), socialized roads, and socialized medicine in the form of Medicare/Medicaid. Levels of support and benefit for human services are considerably lower in the U.S. compared to Europe, and our overall tax rates are lower. It’s more of a continuum than a toggle switch.

However, I doubt anyone in the U.S. could be justifiably proud that we frankly allow our fellow citizens to literally live on the street and die of exposure and/or starvation. In that respect, we are inhumane, and Europeans think we’re insane for allowing it to persist in what is arguably the richest country in the world. Of course, the rich and powerful, who stand to gain from tax rates lower than those in Europe and lower than U.S. tax rates from the 1960s, say, have succeeded in flattening the U.S. tax structure. What used to be a fairly progressive structure (high earners paid a high percentage) has moved incrementally toward a regressive structure (low earners pay a higher percentage when various penalties are factored in, such as the inability to exploit tax loopholes for not having enough money, or Social Security taxes on all of one’s income instead of the first $84K only, or even sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes).

The flabbergasting thing to me is that the poor have been convinced that possibility of hitting it big (winning the lottery or being a rapper, mostly), which only happens to a miniscule number of people, makes protecting immense wealth advantageous to them even when they don’t have it. Hope is kept alive — and the underclass with it. The range from top to bottom of the socioeconomic scale has been widening for 50 years in the U.S., whereas in Europe, except for a few royal and aristocratic families, it’s been narrowing.

Which model delivers better social justice? For my money, the European social model.

March 23, 2006

w00t!

Filed under: Blog Status — bazzer @ 2:00 pm

We can post again.

THERE IT IS!!

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 2:36 am

HEY YOU GUYS I FOUND THE SIDEBAR EDITOR!  NOW WE HAVE STUFF AGAIN.

That is all.

Tiny American flags for everyone else

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 12:59 am

I just promoted Bazzer to lieutenant vanguard of the proletariat.  He and I go way back and WordPress confuses and frightens your dictator-for-life.

Might have been intelligent to have gotten a hang of it before I attempted to, you know, invite a bunch of people to write on it.

But if you can’t jump the shark, then what can you jump, I ask you?

March 20, 2006

I slave away, and all you do is talk about yourself!

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 11:09 pm

Pardon my mellow drama.

We interrupt your meaningful conversations to inform you that I’m trying this template right now.

Also, I put up an orgy of categories for you to choose from. Lemme know if you need some more.

Man. Being in charge sucks. Why the hell did every villain always want to take over the world? Didn’t they realize how annoying it’d be if they succeeded?

Anywho, currently communicating with a couple more prospective authors. I will lure them in, one by one, and before they realize what they’ve gotten into I will put up a really, really ugly template.

So…

Filed under: Blog Status — bazzer @ 3:46 pm

Somebody post something pithy and insightful so we can get Glenn to link to it.

Font size for the comments

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 2:18 pm

At the risk of starting out with more trivial aesthetics…here I go.

Bob pointed out that the comments have really, really tiny text.  Sadly, WordPress doesn’t have a lot of flexibility in this area.  So we’ve a couple of options.  Either we get used to increasing the text size that our browsers view the page in, or we pick a new template.

But other than this moronic aspect of it, I kinda like the look.  You guys feel strongly about this either way?

And I promise we’ll actually blog about real things.  Starting up is just a bitch.

March 19, 2006

Speaking of creative destruction

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 8:03 pm

Talk about learning as you go along. It was pointed out to me that maybe some potential contributors would be turned off by my blogroll. That was something I hadn’t even thought about.

Probably what I’ll do is let everyone have five blogs that they contribute to the blogroll. It’d be kind of silly to have a dozen people and then have a blogroll that only reflects what one of them reads.

Jon Henke wisely warned me to be careful with this thing, as most group blogs are unified by a central theme–libertarianism, a local political party, etc., and the ones that don’t tend to just break up into a bunch of subgroups that ignore each other. Which, of course, would be entirely the opposite of what I’m shooting for here.

I figure that it shouldn’t be too hard, though. With my penchant for disagreeing with everyone about everything, it probably won’t be too difficult to show an even-handedness when putting this place together.

Here’s hopin’.

Status report

Filed under: Blog Status — Adam Gurri @ 4:12 pm

Well, I’ve got at least one other person on board, though they’ve got to register with WordPress before I can add them.

He’s taking his time because he has to think up a pseudonym.  I suggested “winged caped avenger with an awesome knife and really big biceps”, but I guess that was just too nuanced.

I’ve sent out e-mails to about 12 different people I’m hoping to hear back from soon.  My invitation has been turned down by two brilliant fellows (who can be read here and here and are more than worth your time) who none the less gave me some good recommendations for where to start looking.

So that’s where we’re at.  Looking to breathe a little life into this place.

More as changes occur.

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