Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicago Bean Panorama - Prints Available

Now available, limited edition xerographic prints of this picture

Chicago Bean Panorama

Thanks to this special offer, you too can own a limited edition xerographic print on heavy stock.

This edition is limited to 10,000 prints, each signed by the artist. Overall size is 17 x 11 inches, approxmate image size is 16.7 x 5.8 inches.

Thanks to Hugh at Gaping Void for the idea.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Old posts - adding value to the archives

I'm wondering what the rest of the world things about old posts... so I came up with this Google query to find out

What I found was a total of 7 hits... which isn't much... so I must have worded it wrong... but the hits I did get seem to indicate that the main reason for leaving them around is to show up more often in search engines... which could very loosely be considered a proxy for value.

I'm interested in makeing this pile of posts into something other than more wasted disk space... that's why I'm adding labels (there's a list at the bottom of this blog) and trying to revisit things and add value.

Archives are important... and need to be nurtured. You don't prune them back, but you can tend them.

Why I blog, and what to do afterwards.

Andrew Sullivan has written a great piece over in the Atlantic about why he blogs. He goes through the history of blogging, and weighs it against other forms of writing. I agree with it in the most part, but I disagree with his characterization of blogging at the start: (italics are mine)

This form of instant and global self-publishing, made possible by technology widely available only for the past decade or so, allows for no retroactive editing (apart from fixing minor typos or small glitches) and removes from the act of writing any considered or lengthy review. It is the spontaneous expression of instant thought—impermanent beyond even the ephemera of daily journalism. It is accountable in immediate and unavoidable ways to readers and other bloggers, and linked via hypertext to continuously multiplying references and sources. Unlike any single piece of print journalism, its borders are extremely porous and its truth inherently transitory. The consequences of this for the act of writing are still sinking in.

I agree that social convention around blogging is to not go back and do heavy editing of what you've written in the past. This is a crucial cornerstone on which we build our arguments with each other and ourselves over time. If the past is allowed to be edited, then anything can be forced to be true with sufficient effort. So there is much value in keeping the archives safe.

However, there is also something to be said for adding to the archives, which I don't think is currently done on anywhere near the scale that it could be done. It might be useful for me at some future point to add references that point back to this article, add corrections, etc. I think there is quite a bit of value to be added in this way.

I personally flit around a bit too much for even my own sensibilities... tending towards a tangential life at times, but I do manage to get back to the basics, and get things done sufficiently well to allow society to consider me a valued member. (I hope)

I'll try to go back, see what value I can add, and make this blog a bit less ephemeral, and a bit better value for everyone. There are lots of good and bad arguments that have been made, decisions informed, and lessons learned. It's a shame to lose the value in them because they simply are too hard to find.

I believe we need to put a bit more effort into this, collectively as well. We need to slow down our pace, be a bit more considered, and we'll all be better for it. This requires no new tools, just a bit of a tweak to the social contract we bloggers share.  We can all make our existing work more valuable, and a proper gift to our children, instead of just a random pile of rants.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Blogging tools still suck

Here's an article which is interesting, insightful, and dead wrong...

To be able to do a full criticism of it, you really need to be able to do markup on it. That is, you need to be able to add a layer of commentary on top of it. Currently, the only way to do this is to copy the whole bloody thing, and then embed your own layer of markup into the copy. This sucks.

The idea of marking up text is hard coded into things like the Torah... which is 5000+ years old... yet the wizards that give us toys like IE, Firefox and Chrome can't seem to grasp this concept.


Monday, October 06, 2008

The Bailout and how we got there... actually explained.

Please spend an hour of your time listening to episode 365 of This American Life

They explain how the economy got to the dire straights it's currently in, and discuss the bailout.

If you have any desire to understand, you should listen.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Quote of the day

"We are now in the golden age of thieves. And where I come from we put thieves in jail, we don't bail them out." — Rep. Pete Visclosky, Democrat.

Thanks to Scott Olsen for the tip, and WSBT for the Quote, and to Pete for doing a hell of a job.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bailing out the world?

If Karl Denninger is right, the bailout really is an attempt to bail out the World's banks... which explains why the people in Europe would care about our mess... watch the video, and decide for yourself.

I don't want to give away $700,000,000,000 of our money overseas, neither should you.

Learn from History

The depression became the Great Depression because Congress got stampeeded into passing the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act and made things worse. From Wikipedia (emphasis MINE)

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (sometimes known as the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act)[1] was an act signed into law on June 17, 1930, that raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels. In the United States 1,028 economists signed a petition against this legislation, and after it was passed, many countries retaliated with their own increased tariffs on U.S. goods, and American exports and imports plunged by more than half. In the opinion of most economists, the Smoot-Hawley act was partially responsible for the severity of the Great Depression.[2][3]
Now we have the Bailout which is opposed by Economists... don't let them repeat the mistake again.

Trivia... it was the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act which was the dry boring history that Ben Stein was talking about as a Teacher in Ferris Bueller's day off, which is why I knew about it.

Here we go again.... damn thieves are trying to rip us off again!

Senator Bayh's voicemail was full, but I was able to call Senator Lugar's office... I suggest you do the same. We can't let this bailout pass... it'll be pissing away $700,000,000,000 of our money as a start, and won't fix anything.

The administration is trying to scare you into giving them money... normally this would be called Strong Armed Robbery in the state of Indiana, but in Washington DC it's called politics as usual.

Don't let the thieves get away with it.