21 March 2011

Very, Very Soft Link Sausages

Back from a mild bout with the flu. And with dental surgery. But during remora spring break, so don't expect deep thoughts (except, perhaps, in the sense of "piled higher and deeper")...

  • The first vultures have come home to roost from the FCC's (improper, IMNSHO) approval of the Comcast-NBCU merger: AT&T proposes to buy T-Mobile. After the FCC approved the Comcast-NBCU transaction — which, by many measures,1 was arguably more anticompetitive — it's going to have a much harder time justifying rejecting this deal. In turn, that's going to leave it to the courts and to Congress to police this mess; and leaving any mess to Congress to police just makes a bigger mess.
  • SFWA President and all-around geek John Scalzi helps you play e-publishing bingo. Do put down that beverage before clicking through, though; I will not take any responsibility for your keyboard. (Of course, like most satire, it has more than a smidgen of truth to it...)
  • Don't pick that beverage up quite yet. Toward the bottom of his Monday Miscellany, this cartilaginous ichthyoid's only feline colleague the IPKat muses on subscription prices for IP-based journals in the UK without (yet) complaining about the prices of e-books.
  • Madisonian comments on genericide of trademarks... and that process bears some considerable thought. Authors should think about it when they're writing, obviously (and "realistic" dialog may never use "photocopied" again...). More critically, the foundation for "genericide" must, itself, come under some scrutiny, along with the "must defend" doctrine.
  • Charlie Stross discusses deadly third-order effects of natural disasters, but doesn't get to the fourth-order effect yet: When electric power goes down, so does refrigeration; and when refrigeration goes down, the bacteria will play in the food and water supplies...

  1. We'll leave aside, for the moment, the validity of those measures... almost all of which are based upon mercantilist commodities transactions shortly before and during the Second Thirty Years' War; are based upon egregiously flawed data; and did not involve effects on end-users. Sorry, econometricists, but drawing conclusions for tying arrangements from importation of iron ore in 1922 just may be invalid. In short, data sources matter.