Creative Destruction

February 19, 2008

Marketing Niches

Filed under: Blogosphere,Business,Economics — Brutus @ 11:49 pm

This report at Hitwise compares the ages and incomes of users of Yahoo! to those of Google. The differences appear to be negligible or at least subtly shaded, unless I’m reading the data wrong. However, in my circle, the perception has long been that Yahoo! was pretty well eclipsed by Google. That perception is apparently untrue, which accounts in part for Microsoft’s interest in acquiring Yahoo!, which hadn’t made sense to me before.

Best of all, though, are the labels assigned to various demographics in this graph:


What does one do if more than one marketing niche might be a reasonable fit? Here they are in a list:

  • Struggling Societies
  • Urban Essence
  • Blue-Collar Backbone
  • Remote America
  • Aspiring Contemporaries
  • Rural Villages and Farms
  • Varying Lifestyles
  • American Diversity
  • Metro Fringe
  • Small-Town Contentment
  • Affluent Suburbia
  • Upscale America

What’s the difference between Varying Lifestyles and American Diversity, or Small-Town Contentment and Remote America? And don’t all of these demographics have an normal age range?

I’m used to being reduced to a number based on my consumption and spending habits. Undoubtedly, one (or more) of those demographics fits me, despite my knee-jerk disdain for such things. Without a specialization in marketing, though, I still can’t believe that such information is worthwhile to makers of products and providers of services. Maybe someone else knows better.

January 28, 2008

Not-So-Simple Questions And Possibly Dangerous Answers

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Politics and Elections — Off Colfax @ 12:57 am


Yes all political junkies dream of the brokered convention. It would be exciting!! But I started to think about how the news media would deal with such a thing if it were necessary. The primaries are early. The convention is in August. Between the primaries and the convention the bobblehead discussion would be unbearable. I don’t know how the campaigns themselves would deal with it. They couldn’t go dark, but they couldn’t campaign as the presumptive nominee either. There’d be calls and pressures from various quarters for one of the candidates to “do the honorable thing” and bow out for the sake of the party, or Tim Russert’s Nantucket vacation, or whatever.

Aside from the last part about Tim Russert’s vacation plans, which is obvious snark, this is a highly substantive statement from Teh Atrios. How will all three of the substantive candidates currently in the Democratic side of the race remain until a brokered August convention can sort things out? Can fundraising from the left maintain three mostly-idle campaigns at the national level at the same time while we wait to see what will happen in Denver? And if they do maintain that level of life-support, will any of them be able to start that mad, pell-mell sprint for November 4th at the sound of the cannon? All of these are important questions that we must ask ourselves, the party as a whole.

(And all of them are very good questions that could just as easily apply to the GOP side of the bracket this year, judging by my own personal (and probably amateurish) pre-primary analysis of both Florida and Terminal Tuesday when neither McCain or Romney can pull far enough ahead to keep the other down, much less force Huckabee out of the race. That’s just a prediction, and will not factor further into this post.)

Yet his next post, not ninety minutes later, puts a completely different spin to this line of thinking. And not one to the benefit of Teh Atrios, either.

The existence of multiple candidates in the Democratic primary race means that the party is hopelessly splintered.

As a moderate in this party, I read this as saying the following:

Shut up. Because you’re not picking my candidate, you’re sinking us all. Take MY hand, Luke!

Suddenly I am reminded of what was happening in the Connecticut Senate primary in 2006 between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont, when the party really WAS hopelessly splintered. An incumbent Senator lost the primary, yet remained in the race and eventually recaptured his seat. So the question is: why did the party splinter in Connecticut?

Of course, the answer could never be that out-of-state activists like Duncan Black himself, as joined by Jane Hamsher, Markos Moulitsas, and their attendant casts of thousands simply loathed and despised Joe Lieberman and everything he did and said. The answer could never be that they would attempt anything in their power to influence the election of a Senator not in their state. The answer could never be that, without their constant and unwavering support, Ned Lamont would not have defeated Lieberman in the primaries in the first place. The answer could never be that they themselves designed the blueprint for the hopeless splintering of our party when they scribed a bright dividing line, between the moderate wing and the progressive wing, that none shall pass without suffering near-permanent damage to their political careers.

And now I see Duncan Black himself sitting there, bemoaning the fact that the party is “hopelessly splintered”. (Insert prima donna-ish back-of-hand-to-forehead Oh Whatever Shall We Do! pose here.) And I hear this suggestion in the back of my head, one that he wants the rest of us to simply ignore our own decisions and throw ourselves behind the Clinton44 campaign, which he supports with all his heart and body and soul. And all of this simply so that we present a united front in the fall.

Pardon me whilst I call shenanigans here. I’d call something stronger, but all the cow pastures in Wisconsin wouldn’t hold enough of it to add up to the sheer amount of what I’d really prefer to call.

I have seen the dangers of letting the loudest sections of a political party have their way while ignoring the rest. With the GOP, it gave us the rise of religious conservatism. With the Democrats, it is giving us the rise of progressive liberalism. With both, those whose politics are in the middle are effectively disenfranchised and removed from the political process. And from both sides comes great damage to this country’s political structure.

My response is simple. Do not allow anyone, regardless of who or why or where or when or how, tell you who should or must or need receive your vote. Your vote is yours, and yours alone, to cast for whomsoever and whatsoever you so freely decide. No one is allowed to take that away from you. You should not allow them to even passively take it from you, such as by following the advice of a divisive pundit like Duncan Black by voting their way at their own fervent insistence.

If you want to vote for Hillary, then please do so. If you want to vote for Barack, then please do so. If you want to vote for John, then please do so. If you want to vote for Mike Gravel, then please do so. But let it be because you so desire and not because some bobblehead, whether the televised or the virtual variations of the species, told you to vote for Candidate X rather than Candidate Y.

For when you allow someone to choose your vote for you, you allow yourself to fall victim to the most dangerous form of disenfranchisement around: the passive surrender of your vote to a third party.

The concept that an individuals’ personal choice is what truly matters is the philosophical heart of a Democracy. Without it, a Democrat might as well be a Republican.

December 16, 2007

Insomniac Wanderings

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008 — Off Colfax @ 8:39 am

So yeah. I can’t sleep. And nothing is working. The melatonin isn’t even trying to show up tonight. Warm milk got cold feet. and the old standby of a purring cat? It helps if they would even stay in the room.

So what to do? Simple. Get up and start surfing political sites and try to bore myself to sleep.

That didn’t work. But only because I found something that was actually interesting.

Meet John Tomlin. The rest of the time, he’s a student at Union College. But for this primary season, he dons the secret identity of John Tomlin, Credentialed Reporter For Complete with daily videos, he will be following the action until Super Duper Tuesday. Or Incredible Tuesday. Or Terminal Tuesday. Or whatever we’re actually calling the massive influx of primaries and caucuses that happens on February 5th, when the races will be all but over.

Is this the smoothest operation on the planet? No. Is this the best operation on the planet? Again, no. Is this the coolest thing to happen so far this election cycle? Damsure.

And if you want to see what else he’s done so far this month, here is his YouTube page. Look. Listen. Watch.

Very interesting stuff happening this election cycle, hether it be Ron Paul’s record-setting single-day take or Mike Huckabee’s meteoric rise in the polls or even Mike Gravel’s existential silent film. And not all of what is interesting is coming from the campaigns.

Check it out.

December 9, 2007

More on Scouts and Gays

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 3:19 pm

Over at my personal blog I have a somewhat lengthy post up talking about Scouting and gay rights. I would crosspost it but it has a bunch of links, and I don’t want to trackback-spam the blogs I’m linking to, so I’ll just point you in the right direction. Or the wrong direction, depending your point of view 😉

December 2, 2007

It’s a Wiki Wiki Wiki Wiki World

Filed under: Blogosphere,Education — Brutus @ 6:07 pm

The so-called wiki phenomenon — where you set up a website based on a niche database and let your users create all your content while you do very little — has become widespread in the last few years. Though not the first wiki, the granddaddy of them all, of course, is Wikipedia, which has by now spawned Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikinews, Wikispecies, Wikiuniversity, all of which fall under the Wikimedia umbrella. Other wiki-style websites include YouTube and Flickr (and doubtless others of which I haven’t yet heard). The fanciful word wiki is Hawaiian and means fast, which refers not to the rapid growth of such websites but to the software and style of communication they use.

Critics of Wikipedia point out that because the source is editable by users who may not possess proper academic training or credentials, the content found there is often unreliable. The website is replete with disclaimers that facts have not been checked or verified. Indeed, enough examples of editing wars between competing writers promulgating their own versions of content have been observed that some editors have been banned and some articles have been locked and made uneditable. It has also been observed that some articles have considerable political influence brought to bear on them.

Last year, the U.S. Patent Office banned Wikipedia as a source to aid in the determination of the patentability of inventions. More recently, teachers and librarians at schools in Easton, Pennsylvania, have adopted policies similar to those at Centenary College and Lehigh University to discourage students from consulting or citing Wikipedia. Some schools have gone so far as to block access to Wikipedia from their computer networks.

We have discussed the uses of Wikipedia in this venue in the past, and as memory serves, most commentators were favorably disposed. Without launching into a major epistemological debate, I pause now to observe that perhaps the worm has turned and academics have begun to insist on the integrity of their sources of information. I for one heartily agree. As for the straightforward entertainment wikis such as YouTube and Flickr, well, by all means enjoy without conflict.

November 15, 2007

Shameless self-promotion

Over at Sophistpundit I’ve written up a pretentious little call to arms against media regulation.  Enjoy!

November 1, 2007

Horserace Politics

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Politics and Elections — Brutus @ 11:33 am

I picked up the term horserace politics from Ampersand (who may have found it elsewhere). The term describes political coverage framed not in terms of the issues or platforms of the parties and candidates but in terms of the sheer competition, the race. I’ve opined that such thinking has made the practice of politics into a perpetual campaign. If the reorientation of the political sphere into a contentless swamp of personality and misfocus is not fully apparent, a report on a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism paints a pretty stark picture of how the mainstream media covers politics. This table shows what the public wants:

table 1

This graphic shows what the public gets:

table 2

It may be impossible (and probably pointless) say whether this discrepancy is more the fault of the media or the candidates themselves. No doubt, both are contributing to the syndrome. (Specifically, the avoidance of many candidates to take positions on political topics makes it impossible for journalists to restate the candidate’s positions coherently.) The blogosphere may be an antidote to the failure of the mainstream media to provide enough useful political coverage. Indeed, many believe that the blogosphere has at least partially revitalized the public sphere, which has been largely corrupted in the for-profit media. I tend to agree.

October 11, 2007

Newspapers Relegated to the Dustbin of History

Filed under: Blogosphere,Business,Economics,Media Analysis — Adam Gurri @ 6:29 am

Note: the following is a paper I wrote for a Microeconomics class, which is why the language is a bit more formal than usual. This paper may also be viewed as a PDF file.

When the last newspaper goes bankrupt, people will be better informed. This is counterintuitive only if you hold to the popular misconception that newspapers developed as an institution in order to filter out all but the highest quality information. The problem that newspapers address is reality is not one of quality, but one of distribution. They utilized mass-production in order to provide consumers with a cheap medium with a wide variety of content. This was a highly efficient solution to the problems of the printing press, but the internet is rendering such problems obsolete. As a result, the newspaper model will rapidly be overtaken by more effective online alternatives.

The incentives provided by the newspaper business model are unnecessary for the production of content. As pointed out in Price Theory and Applications, “Some people are willing to create without material reward, simply for the pleasure and glory.” (Page 330) This is as true for nonfiction writing as it is for creative works—writer William Zinsser famously categorized nonfiction as a type of literature. The fact that content is produced for pleasure does not imply that it will be poor in quality, either. The reason is simple—often people who have a passion for something will invest a great deal of time on it. Whether it’s spent on research or taking art classes, it refines the tools that they will have available to produce content later on.

In some cases, they may be indulging in extracurricular pursuits on topics related to their profession. Tyler Cowen, of Marginal Revolution, is but one of many economists who write on weblogs, or “blogs”. Since his professional career is dedicated to accumulating information on a particular subject, the marginal cost of finding relevant information for a new publication in his field is significantly less than it would be for a non-economist. In fact, it’s safe to say that it would cost a journalist far more to produce something of comparable quality on the subject. In the world of nonfiction, newspapers cannot compete with their online alternatives—Cowen is but one example of the professional blogging in his spare time. Eugene Volokh, of The Volokh Conspiracy, is a professor of law who offers far more educated insights than a newspaper could hope for, without asking for any subscription fee.

In terms of specific content, newspapers are simply unable to compete. Webcomics are abundantly available, free, and popular. Crosswords and Sudoku puzzles are numerous, as are puzzle games of every imaginable variety. Photosharing websites such as Flickr allow for the dissemination of photographs of far more diverse subjects than newspapers ever provided. Perhaps most significantly, websites such as Craig’s List are providing substitutes for the Classified Ads pages.

The myth of the fact-checker aside, the content creation aspect of the internet does not actually come in direct competition with newspapers in and of itself. For newspapers in fact provide not high quality content, but variety in a world where the time to accumulate various sources is scarce. Just as the price system economizes the distribution of information that is fragmented across many minds, so too do newspapers economize the access to certain categories of content that would otherwise be fragmented across many different specialized publications.

What newspapers offer is not authority, but a bundle, in which quality must to a certain extent actually be traded off for variety. For this reason, the fact that an article in Nature magazine on Climate Change may be more accurate than an article in the New York Times does not necessarily make the former a threat to the latter. A newspaper competes, not on the quality of a particular article, but on the quality of the bundle it offers as a whole. So while the New York Times may not be concerned with whether or not a particular article is as accurate as an article in Nature, it probably has to be concerned with whether or not it provides a higher quality product, with greater variety, than the Los Angeles Times.

What newspapers truly have to fear from the internet, then, is the fact that it gives consumers to ability to customize their own bundles of content. For almost as long as there have been web browsers, there have been “bookmarks”, which allow users to save the location of their favorite websites. More recently, websites such as have given users the ability to “tag”not only to save locations, but to provide categorical data “metadata” about those websites. This means that even if a user saves a massive amount of bookmarks, all they need to do to locate a particular one is search for the particular word or words that they “tagged” it with. For instance, one might tag Marginal Revolution, with both words in the title, then “Tyler”, “Cowen”, “economics”, and “blog”, and be relatively confident that it could be found again by searching any combination of those words, even if there are a thousand other websites bookmarked.

Another tool is the feed aggregator, such as Google Reader, that allows users to subscribe to the content of many different websites and access it all in one place. The setup is then almost like a custom made newspaper; you can subscribe to your favorite blogs, webcomics, even online newspapers, and you can access them all in one place, which signals you which of them have updated. Unlike physical paper, however, you don’t have to waste storage space if you ever want to access old content. You can simply scroll back to old updates.

In the past, consumers had to decide between the bundles offered to them by different newspapers, all or nothing. The tradeoffs that were made whenever it was decided to hire a particular journalist, or run with a particular story rather than an alternative, were taken on by the editorial staff. The consumer had no direct input in that process, and effected the outcome only insofar as competition between different newspapers made it clearer the sort of content consumers were interested in.

In a world where consumers make those decisions for themselves, however, the margin of competition will shrink to the level of content. In Price Theory and Applications, it states that content may be given away free of charge because “original composition may yield indirect material gains” (page 330) and it is for those gains that content producers on the internet will have to compete. The reason is that, as shown above, many people will produce content for no other reason than the pleasure of it, including high quality content. The market will be flooded with content, creating a stiff competition to be included in the bundles of consumers. Prices will be undercut until producers no longer even ask for money in exchange for the goods that they supply; merely the attention of consumers.

Those producers of content that are able to make a living off of that particular trade will be the ones who manage to obtain “indirect material gains” through the acquisition of consumers’ attention. In fact, this is already occurring. Webcomics predominantly offer their content for free, and the popular artists manage to make a living by selling merchandise. Successful comics such as Questionable Content and Penny Arcade sell a lot of Tshirts, with the latter even managing to sell large volumes of printed editions of their online works. Blogs have integrated Google Ads, which give them a small payment whenever their readers click on the ads. Glenn Reynolds, who gained fame through his highly popular blog Instapundit, wrote a book that sold quite well—safe to say far better than it would have, without the online fame he had achieved.

The end result is that consumers are able to eliminate the newspaper’s role entirely. They can experience a far greater variety of content than newspapers could have afforded to provide. At the same time, the sources of content will be engaged in a level of competition over quality that used to be relegated to the specialized publications, such as scientific journals. As people increasingly turn away from the old media, newspapers will go out of business one after another. When the time comes that the last one goes under, we will all already be much better informed. This trend will likely continue long after its timely demise.

(Cross posted at Sophistpundit)

October 5, 2007

Free Burma

Free Burma!

More about the campaign here; via Amp, who continues to set new and interesting parameters for “not blogging”.

September 28, 2007

Blogger Bash 7.2

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 11:06 am

Just when my liver stopped hurting from last time.


See you on 10/13; won’t remember you on 10/14.

September 18, 2007

Indigenous Peoples Resolution

I recently learned about a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13. From the news report at the above link:

Despite strong objections from the United States and some of its allies, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday calling for the recognition of the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and control over their lands and resources … An overwhelming majority of UN member countries endorsed the Declaration, with 143 voting in favor, 4 against, and 11 abstaining … The United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand stood alone in voting against the resolution. The nations that neither supported nor objected were Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Samoa, and Ukraine.

The UN has a permanent forum on this issue, and numerous organizations exist for the primary purpose of promoting noninterference with indigenous peoples. (Manifest destiny has been invalidated, much like colonialism and empire building, but the same essential practices continue under the banners of “globalization” and “economic development.” Both terms read to the critical eye as euphemisms for theft and exploitation that has continued unabated for centuries, if not millennia.)

The first thing that stands out about the resolution is the small group of dissenting countries. What possible moral high ground can be claimed by the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — each with its own unique indigenous culture (largely destroyed by now) — by insisting (by inference) that they should be able to remove “indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and control over their lands and resources”? It’s like children saying “We want what we want, and those people are in the way, so they have no rights.”

The other strange thing is that my Google search revealed no report, now four days later, on any of the major media outlets (MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, WSJ, NYT, Fox News, etc.). The reports that do show up are all foreign news, small news aggregators, and a handful of blogs. It’s impossible to believe that these reporting omissions have no motivation.

September 5, 2007

Scholarly debates, now online and freely available

Filed under: Blogosphere,Debate,Economics,History — Adam Gurri @ 9:24 am

A recurring obsession of mine is the belief that the internet will facilitate works of scholarship and scholarly discussion.

Tyler Cowen’s review of A Farewell to Alms is a case in point.  Marginal Revolution’s longtime blogger is of course more than your average Joe himself; he’s an established Economist with a solid reputation.  His perspective alone is valuable.

In the comments section, however, you will find a debate of quite high caliber.  Participants include Daniel Klein, who is another GMU Economist like Cowen,  Gavin Kennedy, a semi-retired Economics professor in Edinburgh who specializes in writing about Adam Smith, and of course, the author of A Farewell to Alms himself–Gregory Clark.

I had briefly contemplated purchasing the book, but had put it off as I’ve enough to read already.  After looking through this intellectually rich discussion, however, I have changed my mind and decided to acquire it.   The debate has added a value to the book that would not have been there without it; I will not be reading the book in isolation but in the context of an ongoing discussion on the issues that it addresses.

Truly, the internet offers fantastic opportunities for this sort of event.

August 28, 2007

The Ratchet Effect at Work in Law Schools

Filed under: Blogosphere,Race and Racism,Science — Robert @ 12:14 am

A while ago we had an interesting set-to at Alas about the ratchet effect, with me saying it was real and pretty much everyone in the universe disagreeing with me. Scroll down to around comment 70 if you’re not interested in the post’s original topic. It drifted. 😉

Universe 0, Robert 1!  Wish I’d known about this guy’s work when we had the original argument.

August 16, 2007

Mines and Giant Calculators and Videos, Oh My

Filed under: Blogosphere,Content-lite — Robert @ 2:07 pm

These are both pretty funny.

Minesweeper: The Movie

Don’t Stop Believing

August 11, 2007

Unintended Consequences

Filed under: Blogosphere,Education — Brutus @ 12:50 pm has a brief article about Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein videos marketed by Brainy Baby Co. and Walt Disney Co. Commentary has been all over the blogosphere for the past few days. In short, the article says that children exposed to visual stimulation fare worse than those exposed to storytelling and reading as determined by the size of the children’s vocabularies.

Um, could this be any more obvious? Teach words and kids learn vocabulary. Teach images and kids learn … what … more images? It also seems rather obvious that kids would prefer visual to verbal stimulation, much as they prefer sugary foods to veggies. The ironic thing, funny perhaps if it weren’t so insipid, is that parents who take their cues from corporations selling this junk innocently believe they’re doing their kids a favor when in fact the kids are being stunted — a classic case of unintended consequences.

One of my favorite authors, Neil Postman, recommends that even primary education be suffused with semantic analysis of the information environment. Why? So that we can better understand this:

To oversimplify more than is probably justified, we might say that (1) because of the symbolic forms in which information is encoded, different media have different intellectual and emotional biases; (2) because of the accessibility and speed of their information, different media have different political biases; (3) because of the physical form, different media have different sensory biases; (4) because of the conditions in which we attend to them, different media have different social biases; (5) because of the technical and economic structure, different media have different content biases. [from Postman’s Teaching as a Conserving Activity]

If teachers and parents better understood the various biases of information to which children are exposed, would they ever even consider admitting things such as TV, video games, iPods, and various other electronics into children’s daily lives, much less buying into the fatuous notion that these things are educational tools?

August 1, 2007

Here’s One For A Rainy Day

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 12:16 pm

Go to Hit the random article link.

Hit the link over and over again and read the articles until you’re bored – but make sure to learn at least a few new things about the world.

Now go through your day. See whether the thing(s) you learned become relevant or appear in your life. For example, I did this a couple of days ago and learned about a tropical fruit called rambutan, which I’d never heard of and which is some freaky-lookin’ stuff. The next day I was in Whole Foods and there was a sampler plate of…you guessed it.

Report your findings.

July 30, 2007


Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 11:35 am

It’s a good thing my religious and political philosophies both forbid envy. (Attention venture capitalists: I also have a citizen journalist website. True, we have 120 contributors instead of 120,000; accordingly, I am willing to accept an investment of $10,000 instead of $10,000,000.)

July 16, 2007

Where’s David?

Filed under: Blogosphere,Content-lite — Robert @ 12:56 pm

David plays the “where am I” game. I win…and now I feel like posting the bonus round. Here’s where he is, EXACTLY.

(Image below the fold.)


July 15, 2007

I Should Give Up Trying…

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 11:30 pm

…trying to work on Sunday evenings, anyway. For the past two months, I’ve geared up for a productive Sunday evening grind only to be distracted by the seductively slippery banana peel that is the Evangelical Outpost’s “33 Things” weekly roundup.

This time, however, I am prepared. I will send YOU to do the reading while I bask in glorious productivity! Some highlights:

An interesting find in Biblical archaeology validates a throwaway reference in the book of Jeremiah.

I’m not sure what to make of this.

Christian environmentalism, and an acknowledgement of the first things.

Where are they now? “The Princess Bride” cast, 20 years down the line.

The other 29 entries are pretty good, too. Enjoy.

July 7, 2007

Blogger Bash 7.0 – Pseudoanthromorphized Misunderstanding of Statistical Reality Edition

Filed under: Blogosphere,Current Events,Serious Drinking — Robert @ 1:31 am

Yes, for believers in “lucky 7” and other folks doomed to lose considerable sums at poker, except for the irritating and statistically inevitable outliers whose good luck brings them happiness all through life, we have Blogger Bash 7.0 – from 7:07 pm until they throw us out, at the Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake Street, in downtown Denver. Come by and have a drink at David’s expense, and listen to me explain to you why you are wrong about everything.

Fortunately, through a prudent strategy of not making any bets, I don’t owe anyone any drinks this time, and I look forward to spending all my beer money on myself.

June 9, 2007

Fight The Power!

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 1:44 pm

Still mad about how the capitalists have stopped the proletariat from rising in a spontaneous mass action to usher in a new world of socialist joy? Amanda, too – but she has a practical program for action that will make them pay.

And if scraping off Bush bumper stickers, arson, or breaking things doesn’t work, then we can always move to the second stage. That’s right. I didn’t want to bring out the heavy guns this early – but we might just have to start wearing the Che Guevara shirts.

They brought it on themselves, those free-market capitalist bastards.

(H/T Protein Wisdom, and a nod of sympathy to the Edwards campaign, which daily must wipe its collective brow and think “Christ, we dodged SUCH a bullet here.”)

June 7, 2007

Nitpickery Online

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 12:16 pm

Shamus Young (of DMotR fame) is understandably irked at the nitpickery that has come with having a big readership.

I confess uneasily to being one of those commenters, sometimes, although I like to think that I’m able to restrict my nitpicking to areas where it really is material to the point or argument being made. (Example of useful nitpickery: if the actual author of the linked post was Frank Johnson, correcting my error would be material; non-useful nitpickery would be pointing out that nitpickery isn’t a word.)

From a commenting perspective, probably the only thing Shamus can do to move the situation in a direction he likes is to create a circle of regular, non-irritating-jerk commenters, and ask them to use peer pressure to keep the jerkish behavior down. Ironically, I’d like to make this helpful suggestion at his site, but he’s closed comments because he’s sick of the jerks. Hopefully he’ll see the trackback. 😉

June 6, 2007

Lileks Reprieved

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 4:57 pm

Looks like Lileks won’t have to find honest work after all.

Nice to discover that the newspaper industry hasn’t completely lost their marbles.

June 1, 2007

A Campaign Theme Song By Queen

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008 — Off Colfax @ 9:24 pm

With the blogosphere still a-twitter with the Clinton44 Or Bust campaign asking people to nominate theme songs (This buzz-making strategy is a definite winner for them, by the way. As much as I don’t like the very thought of the Oligarchical Presidency, I have to tip my hat to whoever thought up this bit of political genius.), it looks like the volunteer opposition researchers of the blogosphere just might start humming a theme song of their own:

This is a public service message to all contenders for the Oval Office.

Just because a blogger has a high hit-count, regular visits from those who are on your particular ideological slope, and contacts throughout the blogosphere does not automatically make them a safe choice for your Outreach Director for Intar-tubes Writing Thingies or whatever you want to call the position.
I would imagine that the ruckus caused by the Edwards Campaign’s Marcotte/McEwan kerfluffle would have made someone go through and review the writings of the person in question before those volunteer opposition research specialists (Also Known As: SOME OTHER BLOGGER!) pointed things out to you.

So. This makes the second campaign to put their foot in the bit bucket. And soon to come will be the second campaign that will have a staffer released due to the chosen language of their blog.

If there is a third one, particularly on the Democratic side, I might just despair entirely. Or send them my resume. Or send my resume and then despair entirely that they won’t hire a perfectly reasonable individual, such as myself, particularly when I don’t even have oodles and oodles of the Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television in any given post.

[Turn Signal: Insty]

May 26, 2007

Coercion And Advocacy: One Billion Bulbs

Filed under: Blogosphere,Environment,Political Correctness — Robert @ 5:03 pm

I’d like to participate in this site that aggregates people’s purchases of compact flourescent bulbs, the way Instapundit does. (His readers have just about reached the 10,000 bulb mark.)

Unfortunately, the people running it are apparently virtue fascists of a sort a little too extreme for my  taste. Check out the first sentence of their self-description:

The goal of is to convince, coerce and cajole millions of people to replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.

(My emphasis.) There are things worth coercing people over. Lightbulbs aren’t one of them. I doubt that Glenn knows of this attitude on their part, since he’s been consistently a voice for voluntary action, not bans.

I’ve tried the CFL bulbs and they work pretty well. There are sizing issues with some fixtures, and I don’t find the CFL light to be as warming as incandescent bulbs, but they’re fantastic for offices, porches, closets, rumpus rooms, etc. I doubt they’ll end up taking over the marketplace, but they should make a big dent in our use of electricity for residential lighting.

Let’s not get bossy about it, though.

May 17, 2007


Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 2:21 am

You have to love whoever did this.

May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell, RIP.

Filed under: Blogosphere,Current Events — Robert @ 3:31 pm

Let the love begin to flow.

May 10, 2007

Because Sometimes Fighting Patriarchy Means…Denigrating Women And Their Choices?

Filed under: Blogosphere,Feminist Issues — Robert @ 1:03 am

We must fight for women’s rights to make the choices that we think they should make!

And if they don’t, we can always make fun of their looks, sexuality, clothing, and intelligence!

Though to their credit, a couple of commenters are decent enough to point out that mocking women != feminism. I wonder how long they’ll last.

May 6, 2007

I Swear…

Filed under: Blogosphere — Robert @ 1:33 am

the next time I see someone write “tenants” instead of “tenets” (as in, “a belief in free markets is one of the tenants of laissez-faire capitalism”), I am going to completely. f***ing. snap.

There may not be blood. But there will be bodies.

Learn the words, damn you. Learn the words.

April 19, 2007

Karnak Redux

Filed under: Blogosphere — Off Colfax @ 12:20 am

The answer is “Never.”

The question is, “When will Duke apologize?

Bonus question: When will everyone else that leaped to judgment apologize?

Same answer, I’m afraid.

(I know. I know. Johnny Carson, I ain’t. Neither am I George Carlin, who can tell a joke about rape without the eternal nattering nabobs calling for my head, either one, on a silver platter.)

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