So, when newspaper reporters bellyache about shoot-from-the-hip bloggers who don’t fully investigate the paper trail before writing a story or double-check their facts before posting, they’re telling a valuable truth. Bad bloggers are almost as bad as bad journalists. But the prospect of a million amateurs doing something akin to their job unsettles the guild, making it feel like Maytag’s factory rats whose jobs were poached by low-paid Chinese labor.
It’s not just the best of the blogosphere drawing away big audiences that the guild need worry about. If Chris Anderson’s Long Tail intuitions are right, the worst of the blogosphere—if it’s big enough—presents just as much (or more) competition. Michael Kinsley made me laugh a decade ago when he argued against Web populists replacing professional writers, saying that when he goes to a restaurant, he wants the chef to cook his entree, not the guy sitting at the next table. I’m not laughing anymore: When there are millions of aspiring chefs in the room willing to make your dinner for free, a least a hundred of them are likely to deal a good meal. Mainstream publishers no longer have a lock on the means of production, making the future of reading and viewing anybody’s game. To submit a tortured analogy, it’s like the Roman Catholic Church after Gutenberg. Soon, everyone starts thinking he’s a priest.
Archive for January, 2006
Congressional staffers have made more than 1,000 changes to entries in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia in the past six months, an investigation by the Lowell Sun has found. The Massachusetts newspaper highlighted changes made by staffers for U.S. Rep Marty Meehan, D-Mass., including the removal of a mention of his broken term-limits pledge and information about the size of his campaign war chest.
It looks like deadlock. We will have to wait and see.
A UK diplomat said the EU3, the foreign ministers of the UK, Germany and France – had not heard anything new.
The Iranian official, Javad Vaeedi, cast the talks in a positive light and said he hoped the talks would continue.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is meeting in Vienna on Thursday and could refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
Diplomats from EU3 plus the US, Russia and China are meeting for dinner in London on Monday evening to try to agree a common stance ahead of the Vienna talks.
I made a decision last year that I would not be commenting on the events that happened in the town I live in. I did briefly discuss some of the issues in the podcast yesterday, but as a rule I have decided to refrain from commenting on the events – and will continue to do so. I hope that readers will understand.
However, I advise readers to watch Questions and Answers tonight, the solicitor for Wayne O’Donoghue is on the panel.
Myself, Richard, and Mick did a podcast this morning. We discussed a range of issues – but please bare in mind my following of recent events has been as lacklustre as my recent blogging, exams tend to affect things.
But download it here, if you dare. (39Mb)
Comments are welcome, but please go easy! ;-)
Dan Drezner links to an article by Fred Kaplan in Slate. Kaplan questions the veracity of claims in the Human Security Report that the world has become a more peaceful place since the end of the Cold War.
Kaplan is unconvinced:
All the report’s graphs end in 2002, the final year for which the authors could gather data. The events of 2003-06—the war in Iraq and a possible civil war in the works, the slackening of dictatorship (but possibly the resurgence of ethnic conflict) in Lebanon and Ukraine, tensions rising with Iran, continued fighting in various hotspots of Africa—seem more discouraging than hopeful. The best thing that can be said about these conflicts, whether raging or brewing, is they could go either way.
Drezner disagrees though:
1) If you look at the figure, it seems like the world was more peaceful 60 years ago — but that’s only because the total number of states in the system was much smaller than today. It’s not surprising that the number of intrastate conflicts increased from 1946 to 1991 — that’s because the number of states in the system increased as well. What’s interesting about the post-1991 system is that it’s gotten more peaceful even as the number of states has increased. True, a lot of these new countries are microstates like Tonga — but they also includes the former Soviet and Yugoslav republics.
Kaplan’s focus is on the numerator — but you have to look at the denominator as well. That’s what makes the decline in wars so surprising.
2) Unstated in the Human Security Report, but vital to the perception of a “peace epidemic,” is the absence since 1945 of the most deadly form of international conflict — a genuine great power war. For the near future, the U.S. won’t be fighting China, India, Russia, or even the European Union. Great power wars are indeed rare, but the current peace of 60 years is the longest stretch of time without one breaking out since the birth of the modern state system.
Kaplan is correct to point out that the current downturn in armed conflict might not be permanent — but it’s still a downturn.
I liked this quote:
One arguments holds that the market is essential to individual freedom or to respecting people’s self-ownership. Forced redistribution of resources away from the outcome resulting from individual exchange violates people’s freedom to do what they like with what is theirs. Another, quite distinct, argument claims that the market gives people what they deserve. Talented, hardworking people deserve more than untalented feckless ones, and the market makes sure they get it. These justifications may coincide, in particular cases, but defenders of the market shouldn’t slide from one to the other without being aware that they may not.
Political Philosophy, Adam Swift, page 39.
I tend to agree.
It’s just a matter of time before a smaller one is found…
An international team of astronomers has found the smallest Earth-like planet yet outside our Solar System.
The new planet has five times the Earth’s mass and can be found about 25,000 light-years away in the Milky Way, orbiting a red dwarf star.
The planet, which goes by the name OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, takes about 10 years to orbit its parent star, a red dwarf which is similar to the Sun but cooler and smaller.
It is in the same galaxy as Earth, the Milky Way, but is found closer to the galactic centre.
Tired of having to fill out registration forms to access content, like that on the New York Times? I like this handy extension for firefox that uses a database of registration details to save you having to remember yours. Just right click on the form and it will fill it in itself.
Apologies for the lack of posts, some exams coming up this week. Posting will resume as normal thereafter.
I know at least some readers dislike ads placed on my entries, so please forgive the extra ad placements while I test out layouts and CTR’s.
Yes I watch it, and I really do dislike Pete Burns.
And how entertaining is George Galloway in a leotard dancing around like a robot? Yes, very!
I received an email from BT Ireland saying my broadband would be upgraded on Monday 23rd, looks like they did it already though. Getting download speeds of about 220k/sec. ‘Tis nice after being so long on dial up all those years ago.
I meant to blog this last week, so I am just sticking it in the archives.
Up to three million men around the world could be descended from a prolific medieval Irish king, according to a new genetic study.
It suggests that the 5th-century warlord known as “Niall of the Nine Hostages” may be the ancestor of about one in 12 Irishmen, say researchers at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Niall established a dynasty of powerful chieftains that dominated the island for six centuries.
In a study of the Y chromosome – which is only passed down through the male line – scientists found a hotspot in northwest Ireland where 21.5% carry Niall’s genetic fingerprint, says Brian McEvoy, one of the team at Trinity. This was the main powerbase of the Ui Neills, which literally translated means “descendants of Niall”.
McEvoy says the Y chromosome appeared to trace back to one person.
“There are certain surnames that seem to have come from Ui Neill. We studied if there was any association between those surnames and the genetic profile. It is his (Niall’s) family.”