28 August 2017

Uninspected Link Sausages

… because America can't be great if we intrude on free enterprise by inspecting Wurstwerken.

  • At least this isn't coming from DC. But it's connected to DC.

    The ignoramuses at PW have yet again released their list of "the world's 50 biggest publishers." It is, yet again, woefully incomplete: The very biggest publisher is completely missing, and so are two others in the top ten (estimated). This is the DC connection, because the missing wooly mammoth in the room is the US Government Printing Office (and equivalents elsewhere, such as Her Majesty's Stationery Office). And they're bigger even considering that much of their work is "at cost" or non-revenue-producing — IRS Publication 17 would have been among the world's biggest publications last year if this list didn't have the silent "commercial" in front of it, and ", because we say those are the only things that matter" behind it.

    The less said about the actual sales and impact of electronic publication — particularly given the rather dubious accounting at commercial publishers related to e-books — the better. Congratulations, PW, your annual list is everything we've come to expect from years of pseudojournalistic training.

  • A despairing note regarding baby products: The designer of sound-enhanced "Baby Einstein" toys is, umm, no Einstein. Putting the only speaker on the back of a toy, aligned so that if the toy is set down on the kind of soft or forgiving surface appropriate to have around a baby the speaker is completely muffled, isn't the brightest design choice that could have been made. Especially when that toy is otherwise designed to be manipulated by the child and the controls are placed so that if the child has access to the controls, the speaker is covered… and is in the place where the batteries should have gone anyway (and vice versa).

    Resemblance of this issue to anything relating to single-control-point-only computers and other electronic devices, especially those that make text-based input or operation virtually impossible, is probably not a coincidence.

  • Unfortunately, one can't stay away from DC-based nonsense for long these days. El Presidente (and yes, I do mean a stereotypical leader of a banana republic in the 1970s… because that's how he's acting) pardoned one of his minions and objectively breached his oath of office. One does not "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" by pretermitting its operation: The pardon of the Sheriff of NottinghamMaricopa was made before there was a final judgment on the table. And I don't mean just the right to appeal; not even a penalty had been decided. Which, when one thinks about it, constitutes contempt of court. But that's no surprise: El Presidente has made clear for decades that he has nothing but contempt for the courts, and the Rule of Law. I guess America was great in the Wild Wild West when it was at its most lawless…

    Resemblance of this illustration of a head of government's contempt for legal process to that on display 43 years ago this month is not coincidental. Hmm, both pursued a "Southern Strategy" of encouraging racism, too… but Nixon was — at least on the definitions offered in contemporary American political discussion — a liberal in many respects.