aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Evolution: like realizing the Earth is not the center of the universe
The NYTimes had a special Science section on evolution today. Science of the Soul? ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’ Is Losing Force was one of the articles in it:
Challenges to the uniqueness of humanity in creation are just as alarming as the Copernican assertion that Earth is not the center of the universe, [Nancey Murphy, a philosopher at Fuller Theological Seminary] writes in her book “Bodies and Souls or Spirited Bodies?” (Cambridge, 2006). Just as Copernicus knocked Earth off its celestial pedestal, she said, the new findings on cognition have displaced people from their “strategic location” in creation.
Another theologian who has written widely on the issue, John F. Haught of Georgetown University, said in an interview that “for many Americans the only way to preserve the discontinuity that’s implied in the notion of a soul, a distinct soul, is to deny evolution,” which he said was “unfortunate.”
There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the diversity and complexity of life on earth.
Mmm-mmm good! 2
At the Grand Central Market…
Unseamly (sic) lawsuit and smooch
My NY host - one of my most dedicated readers - is disappointed in my blogging prowess. He notes that I missed two prime blogger opportunities. There’s the one about the $54 million missing-pants-at-the-Chinese-laundry lawsuit:
WSJ Law Blog has the (long) opinion and (short) judgment in the case. Professor Bainbridge notes the pertinence of the legal principle of “puffery”, under which Pearson was no more justified in demanding the literal enforcement of the Chungs’ “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign than would other customers be justified in suing United Air Lines after a grumpy flight for not providing “friendly skies”, Exxon for not putting a genuine “tiger in your tank”, Fox News for being less than “fair and balanced”, and so forth.
(See also Joe Gandelman’s fun slacker puns.)
And then there’s the censored gay smooch in the Newark high school yearbook, since reinstated:
The Newark city school district that ordered staffers to use markers to black out a picture of a male student kissing his boyfriend from all copies of a school yearbook now says it regrets the decision.
Superintendent Marion A. Bolden issued an apology to the student, Andre Jackson, according to a statement released by the district on Monday.
“The decision was based, in part, on misinformation that Mr. Jackson was not one of our students and our review simply focused on the suggestive nature of the photograph,” the district said.
“Superintendent Marion A. Bolden personally apologizes to Mr. Jackson and regrets any embarrassment and unwanted attention the matter has brought to him,” according to the statement.
He only learned of the apology through the media, it was not face-to-face, so the student has not accepted. Superintendent and student are slated to meet today so the story still has legs.
It happens that the student on the receiving end the offending kiss is from my extended family home, Allentown, PA. My host here tells me that those who request a yearbook without the markings can get one. Here’s the earlier story, complete with photo.
Bear Sterns: User Generated Content is not a fad
User-Generated Content (UGC) Is Not a Fad . . .
Some investors remain skeptical that UGC is more than a passing fad. However, in our recent online video survey, UGC is the No. 1 and No. 2 most popular content category among men aged 18-34 (M18-34) and among all respondents, respectively. Moreover, if we define UGC as page views only from sites such as Myspace.com, Facebook.com, Youtube.com, Wikipedia.org, Blogger.com, and Digg.com (which is quite conservative), we estimate that UGC now accounts for 13% of total U.S. Internet traffic, up from 0%-1% in 2004. Based on these statistics, we submit that UGC is here to stay.
. . . And It Can Be Monetized
Another investor concern is whether UGC can actually be monetized. We believe the answer is “yes.” From a historical perspective, we note that much of the text-based UGC (like blogs and social networks) has been monetized through paid search. In a video-centric broadband world, we think targeted video advertisement could be one monetization mechanism. Our primary market research finds over one-third of respondents have no major complaints about pre-roll video ads, while only 10% of respondents stated that a ten- to 15-second commercial was too long to watch before the video.
They go on to address the “content is king” media mantra:
[F]or as long as most can recall, the entertainment industry has lived by the axiom “content is king.” However, no one company has proven consistently capable of producing “great content,” as evidenced by volatility in TV ratings and box office per film for movie studios, given the inherent fickleness of consumer demand for entertainment goods.
Via Chris Anderson, “Bear Stearns believes (as do I; indeed a third of my book is focused on this) that in a world of infinite choice, content is only as valuable as your ability to find it. They call that “context and aggregation”, and it’s what both Google and your favorite blogger do when the filter the web according to a narrow lens, be it your expressed search term or their own sensibility.”