10 November 2008


These sausages are rather coarsely ground. Or just plain coarse.

  • Yet another publishing insider proclaims that electronic content offers a fresh start for publishing. Unless and until that "fresh start" includes both (1) the will and ability to ignore SEC reporting requirements (which focus on short-term "profitability" for some meaning of "profit") and (2) the will and ability to let editors edit and make S&M dorks sell and market what they're given by the editors, instead of the other way around, it won't be a "fresh start" for anyone. Instead, it will resemble the effects of two other nearly simultaneous technological innovations in publishing: the relatively durable "perfect binding" and web-offset printers that won't jam/misregister on alkaline papers. In other words, the effects of electronic content will be diverse, simultaneously invisible and impossible to ignore... and unpredictable.
  • Google and Yahoo are complaining that "Washington doesn't understand us". I think the problem — such as it it — is the converse: Some people in Washington understand them all too well, and can spell both "monopoly" and "monopsony" without too much trouble. Maybe it's just creeping evil expressing itself. No! Don't open the box!
  • Speaking of which, brands matter. On the one hand, everyone knows that The Mouse does its very best to maximize the value of its (often dubious, but that's another issue) copyrights, but wedding gowns — for $3,900 — that aren't even linked to a specific character? On the other hand, the US auto industry has for years done its very best to tarnish its own brands, but that does not diminish the "value" of the GMtm and Chryslertm marks in any potential merger.
  • Also in the Department of Dubious Intellectual Property, consider a patent application for being a patent troll. The mind boggles, even on a Monday morning without enough caffeine.
  • "It's not a holy relic!" said Salieri — it's merely a cultural artifact, for some value of "culture." (And nontrivial value at Sotheby's.)
  • Thanks to the bigotry expressed in Proposition 8 — the only justification for which is religious, and therefore improper on those grounds alone — I must reluctantly conclude that this wedding would now violate the California Constitution. This will prove a great comfort (or, perhaps, irritant) to Hollywood celebrities.
  • Zogby puts forth yet another lame post hoc rationalization for electoral results, this time blaming it (sideways) on "military veteran politics." I blame it more on the public's belief — reinforced by the near-bigotry in promotions to field-grade and senior officer ranks — that the military academies are no longer for preparation of good citizen-soldiers/sailors/airmen; instead, they now leave the first word of that compound out. Sadly, I think the public is more correct than incorrect in this belief. Locking impressionable 18-year-olds away in a monastery for four years where they will seldom encounter a truly new idea — and then reorganizing the "bachelor's degree" curriculum and instructor corps to reduce "seldom" to "if ever" — so isolates "citizen" that removing the hyphen is almost inevitable.

    And on top of it, add in the stupidity of indoctrinating officer candidates with neopaleolithic social values to go along with the inherent military tendency to fight the last war instead of the next one and one ends up with a system involving constant revolts by the best and brightest officers that are inevitably repressed by senior leadership... who seldom, if ever, end up with enough seniority to actually do anything. That is not a prescription for citizenship in a world in which the only constant is change. Dammit, I was a career USAF officer, however purple, intimately involved with tactical aircraft maintenance, deployment, and employment, and I can't see any justification for expanding the F-22 program (compare the F-16 to the F-15... in their respective forms in the 1970s). Except, perhaps, defense contracts and entrenchment of a certain kind of fighter pilot: The kind that has never had to deal personally with the limitations imposed on real military operations by real logistics. Considering that government is, fundamentally, about logistics, the ultimate result is pretty obvious (but left as an exercise for the student and/or voter).