aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, October 24, 2005
Ralph Reed: corporate shill
A major AJC article finds the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia is a political operative “whose stands have sometimes shifted to conform to the desires of his paying clients.”
Reed --- a professed opponent of gambling --- used a group called the Committee Against Gambling Expansion to mobilize conservative Christians to oppose casinos owned by Indian tribes. The group, however, was secretly funded by another tribe trying to squelch competition for its casinos. Reed’s fees for that work totaled $4 million.
He has a long history of “[capitalizing on his] connections in the evangelical Christian community even as they contradict positions he advocated as one of the nation’s most prominent spokesmen for the religious right.” Isn’t there a commandment against this?
Ralph Reed’s clients wanted to promote a relaxed U.S. trade policy toward China. So, as he has often done since leaving the Christian Coalition to become a corporate and political consultant, Reed tapped into his vast network of conservative religious activists.
Soon the Alliance of Christian Ministries in China was telling Congress that free trade would open doors for missionaries in a nation that is officially atheist.
The alliance, however, was a facade. Reed arranged for its formation and used its evangelical goals to serve the interests of his paying clients, a coalition of businesses including Boeing Co., which had a more secular objective: to sell the Chinese government $120 billion worth of airplanes.
Frist a liar
Say what you will about the man, records show the guy lied:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family’s hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.
Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as “totally blind,” regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents.
Frist had “an arrangement similar to those of several other senators.”
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I seem to recall Kelly O’Donnell saying on The Chris Matthews Show this morning that officials were wondering if Osama Bin Laden had been killed by the earthquake. Now I read that a Pakistani newspaper is saying he died four months ago:
According to the newspaper report, Bin Laden was campaigning at Bamiyan, fell very ill, returned to Kandahar where he died and was buried in the Shada graveyard in the shadow of a mountain.
The controversy continues to surround Osama bin Laden and while US and Pakistan officials have often been quoted by the media as saying that his mortal status was just a matter of detail, the hunt is still on and the issue remains a topic of great interest for the media and governments alike.
The Singularity is Near
“The Singularity Is Near” is startling in scope and bravado. Mr. Kurzweil envisions breathtakingly exponential progress, and he is merely extrapolating from established data. To his way of thinking, “when scientists become a million times more intelligent and operate a million times faster, an hour would result in a century of progress (in today’s terms).” The underpinnings of this logic go beyond the familiar to suggest that the pace of evolution (he has no doubts about Darwin) is logarithmic - another indication that the future is almost here.
Like string theory’s concept of an 11-dimensional universe, Mr. Kurzweil’s projections are as abstract and largely untested as they are alluring. Predictions from his earlier books (including “The Age of Spiritual Machines” and “The Age of Intelligent Machines") have been borne out, but much of his thinking tends to be pie in the sky. He promotes buoyant optimism more readily than he contemplates the darker aspects of progress. He is more eager to think about the life-enhancing powers of nanotechnology than to wonder what happens if cell-size computers within the human body run amok.
In the last part of the book, he engages in one-sided batting practice with his critics. He introduces each complaint only to swat it into oblivion. By and large he is a blinkered optimist, disinclined to contemplate the dangers of what he imagines.
A man I admire and with whom I wholeheartedly agree:
If the author is right, Singularity-phobes will look no less shortsighted when the dividing line between humans and machines erodes. “This is not because humans will have become what we think of as machines today,” he writes, “but rather machines will have progressed to be like humans and beyond.” In other words, “technology will be the metaphorical opposable thumb that enables our next step in evolution.”
On technology and age-old problems
These technologies actually move in the right direction. And they move in the right direction also in the have have-not issue… I mean it’s tragic that we didn’t do more for AIDS… But the technology moves in the right direction because of the law of accelerating returns. A technology is introduced and only the wealthy can use it. At that point it doesn’t work very well. Later on it works a little bit better and it’s merely very expensive. And then it works a lot better and it’s inexpensive and ultimately it’s almost free. Cell phones are at the very inexpensive stage and working quite well…
The same thing has been true with drugs… AIDS drugs were $30,000 and didn’t work early in that disease. Now they’re down to $100 in Africa and actually work pretty well. So there’s more that we should do for the have have-not divide, but the law of accelerating returns itself is pushing it in the right direction. Ultimately we will have great wealth available, we’ll have tremendous decentralized power to overcome age-old problems.
The full interview, on Tech Nation with Dr. Moira Gunn from ITConversations, is recommended listening.
On paradigm shifts
Lest you think that I believe that publishing will be brought down and there will be no need for libraries and that newspapers will fail and cease to exist, I quote with great admiration this clip of Ray Kurzweil discussing communications paradigm shifts:
New communications paradigms...don’t eclipse old paradigms. We see that in general; people are still pushing plows. We still have newspapers and magazines… these paradigms actually continue, but the new paradigms—blogs, podcasting—all the different forms of communication become new business models in and of themselves, and they generally expand the pie. They’re really fueling economic growth. And they’re also profoundly democratizing in my view… So I think we’ll continue to have unpredictable new forms of media that will emerge very quickly.
Emphasis mine. And movies didn’t kill theater, television didn’t kill movies, cable didn’t kill networks, and you and me TV won’t kill cable. But we can bet it will dramatically change.
The full interview, on Tech Nation with Dr. Moira Gunn from ITConversations, is a good listen.
Same sex couples make good parents
“The vast consensus of all the studies shows that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way,” [Ellen C. Perrin, MD, professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston] tells WebMD. “In some ways children of same-sex parents actually may have advantages over other family structures.”
Via Terrance at Republic of T. A Georgia native, he’s one proud gay father. Still:
At one point, one of the relatives remarked that she could tell from watching Parker that we’re good parents. Of course, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be. Yet I can’t help feeling somewhat validated by a study like this. Almost as if it’s needed in order to prove what we already know, but that the rest of the world doesn’t get.
When I was growing up, I was taught that as an African American male there would probably be times when I’d have to be better, faster, and smarter than the next person just to break even and be considered “good enough,” not necessarily to get ahead. I think in some ways the same might apply to being a gay parent.
Probably so. Keep up the good work Terrance.
Who will be the next Google?
At the peak of its power and dread, I liked Microsoft. I liked Office even as I understood it’s bloated dirty code. And I like Windows even with its flaws.
I agreed with those who wanted the government to break them up into OS and software companies. I was wrong. Microsoft was benchmarked against some ideal that was just that. An ideal. A worthy target. Unachievable.
Later this week Google will have their invite-only Zeitgeist conference. It’s as closed as a conference can be. And this is the company we lifted on our shoulders and held up as a shining example of the web at its best. We were wrong to do that, but forgive us for having hope. At some core level Google did understand the web, but there was also a lot about Google that was against the web, and now that’s most of what they are.
This is the struggle we are constantly dealing with in the tech business. For a while we send up a beacon, a shining star, and it’s exciting! Then they forget their values, where they came from, what made it work for them, and we follow them down into bad years. You’d think we could learn, but apparently we can’t. Now can we survive their downfall? That’s a good question, and one I don’t know the answer to.
The excitement today has an element of panic to it. In our gut we can see that the growth is likely to end almost before it gets started. We see Google doing what we knew in our hearts they would do, pick fights with powerful industries that we have nothing against. The publishing industry has done more to support my vision that Google ever has, in fact Google has fought me, at a petty, immature level, based on being incompatible, if you can imagine that, where the publishing industry adopted RSS as-is, without trying to change it or break it. They say the publishers are clueless, I think it’s Google’s management that desperately needs to find its place in the world. I criticize the NY Times, god knows they deserve it, but when I call Martin Nisenholtz, he takes the call, and we work together, in productive ways. This is the east coast way of doing things. It’s something Silicon Valley, which is run by immature men, needs to learn. We don’t have to agree on everything to work together. In fact we must work together, and honor our differences with respect.
There is cause for hope. Google isn’t the only act in town. Yahoo could challenge their dominance. I hope they do, and I hope they don’t do it by being like Google. Embrace the world instead of picking fights with it. Work together because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s good for business. Point off-site, share the flow, come to BBQs and BloggerCons, know that the bright eyes of happy independent developers are the source of the ideas that drive this place, and make sure there’s always a sense that this place is come as you are, no invite required and totally 1.0
I don’t know much but I know that even if Yahoo! is a successful challenger, it’s not the next Google—and I love what Yahoo!’s doing. I think this time it’s possible that the new Google will come from nowhere. Anywhere. And stay there not needing to come to Silicon Valley or New York or LA or London or Tokyo or Hong Kong.
To address more directly Dave’s disenchantment, my experience is that our individual idealized hopes invested in the establishment and ethic of a development makes it hard to let go and accept what happens as it succeeds.
Maybe Dave’s way would be better and it would be good if it had been Larry and Sergey and Dave. But I think giant is necessary and Google’s about as gentle a giant as we can achieve. Today. Better than Pfizer or Wal-Mart or GM or BP or Exxon or GE or AXA or Citigroup.
Maybe the next Google will be a company that discovers the next iteration of the “franchise.” A company that “shares the flow” and recognizes bright-eyed happy independent developers’ ideas and collectivizes those individual small companies. We all know that small companies are better able to innovate and integrate and deploy new ideas.
But spare me the nostalgia for the publisher’s empire. That empire makes the few rich and allows the many to remain unread and would keep the micro-audiences of the masses forever unfathomable.
I hope the next Google will have a conference that is not invitation only. I hope so because Dave’s ideals are good and right and should be. But the perfect is the enemy of the good. Google’s good. Fine to criticize; not to demonize.
Via Dan Gillmor.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Sanity in Kansas
The court said “the moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest:”
Matthew R. Limon had just turned 18 when he had consensual oral sex with a boy just shy of 15 at a Kansas school in 2000. He was convicted of criminal sodomy and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Had the sex been heterosexual, the maximum penalty would have been 15 months.
Yesterday, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the starkly different penalties violated the federal Constitution’s equal protection clause. It said the state’s “Romeo and Juliet” statute, which limits the punishment that can be imposed on older teenagers who have sex with younger ones, but only if they are of the opposite sex, must also apply to teenagers who engage in homosexual sex.
It’s Miller time
Keller expresses regret. While Judy says “I did not think I was a target” of Scooter’s deliberate campaign to out Plame. Kevin Drum compares those comments to Robert Novak’s self-serving defense from two years ago and concludes:
The story from both of these extremely experienced reporters is that Libby’s disclosure to them was nothing but idle chatter. Nothing planned about it. They want us to believe that the only way White House operatives plant rumors is to pick up the phone, dial it methodically, and then spit out the dirt along with a request to please try to see that this ends up on the front page.
They should stop insulting our intelligence… I have no doubt that these officials did their best to make their disclosures sound casual. Miller and Novak either fell for it, or else were willing accomplices. Neither option speaks well for their ability to do their job.
Jay Rosen has the definitive post; but Maureen Dowd’s column, Woman of Mass Destruction, is more fun. It has even convinced at least one of the blogging luminaries on the left to pay for TimesSelect. The line we’re all quoting:
[B]efore turning Judy’s case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.
Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover “the same thing I’ve always covered - threats to our country.” If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.
UPDATE: NYTimes Public Editor says “It seems to me that whatever the limits put on her, the problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter.”
Kos says Keller is let off way too easy.
Limbaugh says Harriet Miers should go to the Fed.
(Be forewarned: I honestly believe that Hillary would be great on the Supreme Court. Conservatives take heart, she could be your Earl Warren.)
In a conservative Republican state, here’s the coalition [activists] have put together to defeat the amendment: Among the eight “featured sponsors” of the anti-amendment campaign are three partisan Democratic groups, two leftist groups that promote “social justice,” one statewide gay group that barely pretends to work with Republicans, and another that was founded by the daughter of former Democratic governor Ann Richards. This is, to be sure, a “coalition.” It is a coalition of losers.
The husband of a colleague had a liver transplant. I learned recently that he is roughly my age. His health care, same plan as mine, has maxed out. No more coverage. Tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars in costs left to come.
Then there’s the co-pays and deductibles and “exclusions” they still owe. The plan also has “Stop Loss” and “pre-certification requirements” and “balanced billing” and despite all that is the best in the area. There but for the grace of God go I. Or you.
So what’s the current thinking on health care?
Kendall keeps track of two threads crucial to understanding the basic arguments [in the current health care debate]. The first is that employer-based health coverage is an accident of history, an unsustainable system that blossomed out of a WWII-era tax quirk. But unlike in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton, the Republicans, and everyone else thought it a basically sound structure merely in need of tweaking, participants on the left and the right are beginning to decide it must be dumped. That’s largely because business itself desperately wants it dumped. For more on that, yesterday’s agreement between GM and the United Auto Workers to slash the union’s hard-won health care coverage explains the issue. In an age of outsourcing and global competition, corporations cannot keep assuming medical responsibility for their workers while remaining competitive.
But while the media has spent some time outlining the old system’s slow-motion destruction, the drawing of the battle lines for the fight to replace it have been vastly underreported. It’s here that Kendall’s article shines. Conservatives have settled on an individualized concept of health care, most often expressed in their advocacy for so-called consumer-driven health plans (Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, and so forth). In the future they envision, health care would be an individual responsibility; if you screwed up and lost big, or just had a run of bad luck, well, that’s life. Liberals, conversely, want to make health care a community burden, be it through massive expansion of currently existing federal pools (think Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP, and FEHBP) or the creation of a wholly new, state-run insurance program. This way, your personal decisions and circumstances would have little to no effect on your coverage; the healthy would pay for the sick and the young would subsidize the old.
I believe in shared responsibility. And the fairest share is when all of us participate.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I didn’t buy; maybe I’ll buy some songs instead. Maybe not.
It’s hard to imagine someone on the cusp of 60 with nearly 40 albums to his name growing more inscrutable with age. But Young’s head, cluttered with marooned ideals and other people’s voices, has grown more fascinating over time, particularly on the three albums he has made since 9/11: the bizarre and unsettlingly frank Are You Passionate?; the gnarled, folkloric Greendale; and now the wispy, history-beaten Prairie Wind.
The appeal of Neil Young has always been mysterious. His voice is neither pretty nor strong, resembling the insistent, unsettled whine of a kettle whistle. He writes songs steeped in American Studies 101, yet he grew up in Canada, imbibing those notions at arm’s length. He has been a model of iconoclasm, nearly letting his career implode many, many times-most notably in the early-1980s, when he leaped from punk-approved arena rock to isolationist country to synth-pop to rockabilly, all while supporting Reagan.
Here Young talks about the new album with Scott Simon.
Should you have a right to running water?
I don’t know if it’s precisely a right, but we all agree it’s a necessity. Long ago I said telecom was too. How can we be citizens if we don’t get the information necessary to participate? So I was not fond of the move away, by the broadcast networks, from coverage of national political events with the reasoning being that “Cable covers them.”
Cable is not available to all. Neither is broadband:
The big change on the horizon is the move to enshrine access to a broadband connection as a basic right of citizenship. The slogan is being picked up here and abroad by a collection of interest groups and policy makers who view broadband as just too important to leave anymore to the vagaries of the private sector.
That’s not an argument that will sell. So there’s always this one:
With the United States’ ranking for broadband penetration plummeting from third place to sixteenth in just four years, this is more than an academic concern. The fear is this will translate into massive job losses to other nations.
Ultimately the question boils down to whether you believe broadband is so important that it should get treated like a public utility, in the much the same way as water or power. There’s no consensus about that and it’s doubtful the issue will be put on the national agenda before the next presidential election.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Last call for questions
I’m in the interview lineup at Basil’s Blog. Today is your last chance to get your questions in. The interview will appear next Saturday.
Remember, the idea is that you who read this blog can ask questions too. If there’s something you’d like to know, now’s your chance!
A change agent
“We get into this stupid argument every four years: centrists vs. leftists,” he says. “That is not the argument today. It is change vs. status quo. In 1992, Bill Clinton was a change agent—he won. In 1994, Newt Gingrich was a change agent—he won. In 1996, Bill Clinton was a change agent to Dole and Gingrich—he won. In 1998, Democrats represented a change from the Republican drive for impeachment—they won. In 2000, George Bush was a credible change agent. In 2002, Democrats failed to convey change—and they lost. I want to be about change and reform to the Republican status quo.”
Via Kos, “It’s a great introduction to the general spearheading our efforts to retake the House in 2006.”
This writer wants in
Cory Doctorow—who makes money giving away his books and says “book" is a verb not a noun—points to this open letter from Meghann Marco, a writer who wants her book included in what Cory calls “the excellent, writer-friendly Google Print service:”
I asked my publisher, Simon and Schuster, for my book to be included in Google Print. I was told they did not do that.
Lack of exposure is the primary reason that a book like mine would fail in the marketplace. I spend most of my day trying to get attention for my book. Not for the money, but because I believe that it is well written and funny. Very few authors will become rich writing books. We do it because we have something to say. If we wanted to be rich, we’d have invented a search engine!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. After all, it’s perfectly free to check out a book from the library. I have no problem with my book being indexed by your site. In fact, I wish it was!
Someone asked me recently, “Meghann, how can you say you don’t mind people reading parts of your book for free? What if someone xeroxed your book and was handing it out for free on street corners?”
I replied, “Well, it seems to be working for Jesus.”
Guns & Grokster
The gun lobby calls it the most significant victory since 1986:
The Republican-controlled Congress delivered a long-sought victory to the gun industry today when the House of Representatives, with considerable Democratic support, voted to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits. The bill now goes to President Bush, who has promised to sign it.
The gun liability bill has for years been the No. 1 legislative priority of the National Rifle Association, which has lobbied lawmakers intensely for it. Its final passage, by a vote of 283 to 144, reflects the changing politics of gun control, an issue that many Democrats began shying away from after Al Gore was defeated for president in 2000.
Wendy Seltzer dug up the 1981 Paul Conrad cartoon: “On which item have the courts ruled that manufacturers and retailers be responsible for having supplied the equipment?” She says it’s time to update it. She’s right.
John just discovered that Target’s CEO is a big Republican. Robert Ulrich gave $71,353 to Republicans, $3,660 to Democrats.
I’ve known for a while; and still shop at Target. My conservative pal Basil doesn’t.
My guess is this information won’t change things for either of us.
An ode to fans
Just as artists are an engine for creativity in our culture, so are fans. An artist on their own can make a work of art, but only fans can make it mean something in our society. Fans take art and translate it into culture. They invest in it, obsess over it, share it, and spread it to others. They turn it from an isolated item into a means of communication. (For more on this, see danah’s posts here and here where she breaks it down more eloquently).
But where is the recognition of this reality in copyright? Well, before the digital age, it was often in the idea that copyright was a public right and fandom was a private series of acts. Copyright would control public distribution of works and fans would collect them and share them and discuss them in private. More importantly, they would do so without making “copies” of them; instead, they would trade physical goods and have verbal conversations. Some would make costumes or their own art based on the subject matter, but those were generally kept private or only exhibited at limited forums like Comic Cons.
Yet now, in the age of the Internet, online fandom has become massively popular. There are huge communities of fans who are having millions of conversations about the copyrighted works they love. Not only are many of these conversations happening in public on the Internet, but because they are conducted over networks with computers, they are had by making copies—copies of the works, copies of clips and snips, and copies of images and sounds.
He concludes with a call for copyright coverage of fan-based work. I’m not so sure. I want copyright reduced not expanded.
Maybe the smaller government crowd will take on copyright. On the other hand, if they were equally successful we’d be mired in even more copyright muck.
Via Cory at Boing Boing.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Alright, alright, I agree with Siva! It would be swell if Google gave billions to libraries and libraries did the print project. I love libraries; I work in a library; on a panel at a library conference just last week I said IT would do well to model itself on libraries.
But I simply refuse to give in to the notion of the corporation as inherently and unalterably evil. I believe there possibly could be a corporation that will do no evil. Maybe it’s Google.
I expect many of Google’s millionaires will one day match or outpace Bill Gates’ (egad! almost linked to that infamous Wikipedia entry) prodigious library giving and the rest of the Microsoft’s millionaires in their charitable giving.
What I wish Siva would have commented on, or anyone else for that matter, is this notion of a powerful aggregator of human preferences solving some of the problems inherent in democracy. I qualified my utopianisms with “hint” and “maybe” and “inspiration.”
Maybe my problem is nomenclature. Maybe if I said “automatic democracy” or “ultimate democracy” or “ÃƒÂ¼ber-democracy” or “emergent democracy” instead of “post-democracy” folks would warm to the idea. Or at least respond to the idea.
Yes, that’s it! So from here on out I’ll refrain from all that “post” thinking. It was nothing more than a gag reflex to our American notions that by holding elections and drawing up constitutions, no matter the complications, we solve all the world’s problems.
Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Fareed Zakaria that economic reform must happen with or before political reform (so I’m more optimistic for China than Russia) and our ignoring the one in favor of the other dooms our efforts.
But to return to my the-future-of-democracy thoughts, while reading The Wealth and Poverty of Nations or some such some years back I started imaging an evolution from the nation-states of today to a future corporate-state.
This would be roughly analagous to the way we transitioned from the church-state to the modern day nation-state. And, if something like that were to come to pass, I don’t see that it would have to be bad.
Obsessions turn people off
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist spoke Saturday night at the ninth annual Grand Ol’ Party dinner and fund-raiser for the Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas. The group says the appearance was a great success and raised thousands of dollars.
Social conservatives are less pleased:
One pro-family leader called Norquist’s appearance “an act of utter betrayal.”
Cathie Adams, president of the conservative Texas Eagle Forum, also criticized the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans and Norquist… “If he was a serious economic conservative, Grover Norquist would not have accepted the invitation or the honorarium for speaking at a fund-raiser for a group bent on the destruction of traditional families,” Adams said.
Taxes are his issue, so I don’t know why even I was surprised to find he has a history of such sympathies:
Norquist has clashed with conservatives over same-sex marriage in the past. According to a Jan. 16, 2004, report in the New York Times, “Norquist said some potential Republican voters might be turned off by raising the issue to a constitutional level, just as they were by too much talk of guns or abortions.
The paper quoted Norquist as saying: “Obsessions turn people off.”
I’m no fan of his tax policies, but I’m glad to see his agnosticism on gay issues.
Via Think Progress, The Fissure Grows.
This is the same Orlowski who has in the past misrepresented email correspondence from Robert Scoble and whose lame publication “The Register” will not even respond or admit to their mistake when it’s been pointed out…
I sent an email message to Orlowski’s editor Joe Fay at The Register to ask why they still have not corrected this post where they represent an email as coming from Robert Scoble when Scoble denied ever sending it. I think it’s irresponsible for The Register to behave in this way and it most certainly makes anything they publish suspect in my mind—particularly if it carries an Andrew Orlowski byline.
Hey, at least my article Andrew Orlowski Sloppy Journalist or Bold Faced Liar has remained on the first page search results for the search ”Andrew Orlowski” on Google.
A Wikipedia fan, I recognize it is flawed genius.
Encouraging signs from the Wikipedia project, where co-founder and ÃƒÂ¼berpedian Jimmy Wales has acknowledged there are real quality problems with the online work.
Criticism of the project from within the inner sanctum has been very rare so far, although fellow co-founder Larry Sanger, who is no longer associated with the project, pleaded with the management to improve its content by befriending, and not alienating, established sources of expertise. (i.e., people who know what they’re talking about.)
In theory, Wikipedia is a beautiful thing - it has to be a beautiful thing if the Web is leading us to a higher consciousness. In reality, though, Wikipedia isn’t very good at all. Certainly, it’s useful - I regularly consult it to get a quick gloss on a subject. But at a factual level it’s unreliable, and the writing is often appalling. I wouldn’t depend on it as a source, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a student writing a research paper.
The entry on Bill Gates he calls “garbage, an incoherent hodge-podge of dubious factoids...that adds up to something far less than the sum of its parts.” The one on Jane Fonda, “worse than bad.”
[T]his emanation of collective intelligence is not just a couple of months old. It’s been around for nearly five years and has been worked over by many thousands of diligent contributors. At this point, it seems fair to ask exactly when the intelligence in “collective intelligence” will begin to manifest itself. When will the great Wikipedia get good? Or is “good” an old-fashioned concept that doesn’t apply to emergent phenomena like communal on-line encyclopedias?
He goes on to critique blogs; grist for a future post. Gary Price at SearchEngineWatch says Jimmy Wales has lots to say, and promises a podcast next month. I’ll be watching for it.