Monthly Archives: August 2005

Encouraging the guilty

What on earth is The New York Times doing giving its valuable op-ed space to Henry Blodget to write about the good aspects of the dotcom boom?

Blodget, for those with short memories, was the Merrill Lynch analyst who shot to fame for his hugely exuberant hyping of every Internet stock that came down the pipe. He refers to his fame-making forecast for in his op-ed, and jokingly to the fact that it eventually meant the end of his Wall Street career. He was actually fined millions for his deceptive practices.

Of course many good things came out of the dotcom boom, as Blodget explains. But he and his ilk were the villains, not the innovators or visionaries.

Update: Chris Nolan voices her outrage far more eloquently:

Here’s why it pisses me off: Because Bloget was knee, no hip-deep in the process of delusion in which everyone connected with the birth of Internet willingly, freely, happily and enthusiastically participated. His punishment? A fine, a ban from working on the Street, a book deal and a gig with Slate. For a guy who started out as a production assistant at CNN, that’s not a bad writing career. See, crime might not pay – Bloget’s fine was in the millions – but unethical behavior sure as hell does. I’m looking forward to reading a Times op/ed from Marc Rich on the benefits of the presidential pardon system.

Why blogs are excellent pedagogic tools

Tyler Cowen: “I am requiring my Ph.d. macro class to read some blogs, and yes there will be a test. They are to read Brad DeLong, Brad Setser, Macroblog, Nouriel Roubini, and some of Econbrowser, all to be found on the blogroll to the left. I am a proponent of debate as a means of educating; we are programmed to remember interpersonal exchanges better than written or spoken drones.”

Two approaches to foreign policy

Kevin Drum: “Clinton, partly by nature and partly because he had to deal with a Republican Congress during most of his term, instinctively understood that America’s foreign policy goals are best accomplished via persuasion and compromise. Bush, partly by nature and partly because he has no domestic opposition to speak of, instinctively believes that successful foreign policy is best accomplished via hectoring and stubbornness.”

Sunken ships

Grant McCracken: “We are learning that a number of unlikely places can play sunken ship – not the dead space that environmentalists warned us against but a place diverse species congregate and multiply. Dallas might, I think, be one of those places.”

McCracken’s blog is one of the most consistently interesting things I read. It’s filled with fresh insight and intriguing new notions. Everybody extols Austin; I needed to read McCracken to learn about sunken ship Dallas.

The definitive demolition of ID

Daniel Dennett provides an excellent demolition of so-called intelligent design: “Since there is no content, there is no ‘controversy’ to teach about in biology class. But here is a good topic for a high school course on current events and politics: Is intelligent design a hoax? And if so, how was it perpetrated?”

The one thing his New York Times op-ed doesn’t deal with is the embarrassment of the Times’s own “even-handed” coverage of ID in the previous week.

Poor tennis feed

The US Open has an RSS feed. Bing, as Dave Winer would say.

But the IBM folk who created the site should have another look. There’s the friendly orange XML icon on the home page, but don’t try copying the URL for your aggregator. It’s actually a link to a page that explains RSS, where there is a plain text URL to highlight and copy.

It’s a step forward, but it would have been so simple to do it better.

More neo-creo

Matthew Yglesias:
“The problem with ID [intelligent design] is that, unlike real revolutionary science, it doesn’t lead to any normal science. There are no ID-based research programs. Nothing has never been accomplished by applying the ID paradigm to a question in biology. All ID’s scholarly (and “scholarly”) proponents do is try to offer half-assed refutations of Darwin. You can quote Kuhn all you like, but you’re not doing revolutionary science unless your purported revolution leads to some normal science. Intelligent design does not.”