links for 2008-09-15

  • This is where I admit that, when TiVo has a DirecTV-oriented, HD-capable box, I'll get one. Thankfully, that's probably a year out.
  • "Morality aside, the reality is that abstinence-only sex education as a model fails because it needs too many people to change too radically in order to work. It doesn’t work. It never has. It never will." Dan's point is great.
  • "Monitoring everything — all flows of materials, all flows of energy, all flows of people, all flows of attention — naturally creates rivers, if not oceans, of data about the flows of data. This flood of meta data is driven in part because the costs of bandwidth and computer cycles is itself "too cheap to meter." But in fact, meta data is too cheap NOT to meter — if we mean only to count and monitor it. The value of measuring the meta data of any bit seems to increase as the cost of the bit decreases." I just passed out, but I had this passage highlighted.
    (tags: metadata)
  • "Southern evangelicals are therefore the mainstay of the torture regime in this country. The only point at which they even balk at torturing people who haven't been subject to minimal due process is when they are reminded that this could come back to hurt Americans. The idea that torture is immoral in itself seems alien to a majority of the millions who lined up to see Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ. Since the South was built on torture-slavery, this is not that historically surprising. Many ancestors of today's Christianists tortured African-Americans routinely. But the extent of Southern evangelicals support for violating one of the core moral absolutes of Christianity is striking." For the record, I think Sullivan is wrong and overreaching here.
  • Another fantastic Rands essay. He's signed a contract for Book Two, which I will pre-order and devour upon delivery as I did the first.
    (tags: management)
  • I liked McCain. I respected McCain. I can't say that I do either anymore.
  • "Apple needs to deal with this problem before it gets any larger. Speirs may only be one developer, but that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling. The App Store is big—by some accounts, bigger than the iTunes Store was at a similar point in its life cycle—and Apple needs to take steps to ensure that the developers who populate it with its goods are happy.

    "And more than that, there’s an issue of image here. Apple’s long been perceived as the underdog, the little guy in the big market, the rebels, dreamers, and round pegs in square holes, as their very own advertising would have it. That image has engendered them not only goodwill but also enthusiasm and incomparable loyalty among both developers and consumers—two things that they’re in danger of losing if the Kremlin-like non-communication continues in this vein."

  • "Ironically, a free-market-loving Republican administration is presiding over the most ambitious intrusion of government into the market in almost anyone's memory. But to what end? Bailouts, subsidies, and government insurance won't help Wall Street because the Street's fundamental problem isn't lack of capital. It's lack of trust.

    "…Financial markets trade in promises — that assets have a certain value, that numbers on a balance sheet are accurate, that a loan carries a limited risk. If investors stop trusting the promises, Wall Street can't function.

    "…That's because, when the market was roaring a few years back, many financial players had no idea what they were buying or selling. Worse, they didn't care. Derivatives on derivatives, SIVs, credit default swaps (watch this one!), and of course securities backed by home loans. There seemed no limit to the leverage, the off-balance sheet liabilities, and what credit rating agencies would approve by issuers who paid them to." Yup.

  • Indeed, it's good to see 1) lots of storage out of the box and 2) the return of the lifetime service option. If I didn't already have a TiVo HD with lifetime service *and* a 500GB MyBook DVR Extender running over eSATA, I would really be giving one of these the once-over, *especially* as the price is cheaper than what I paid for those two combined.
    (tags: TiVo)
  • … in which I passive-aggressively kvetch at those people who use forum messaging or, worse, Twitter to ask me one-to-one questions. [You know who you are.]
  • "This makes me wonder, from a sociological perspective, if war is an appropriate metaphor for what is happening in culture. It seems to me what is actually happening is more a heated democratic debate." I agree with Don.
  • "To defuse the Sarah Palin Phenomenon, Democrats need to explicitly give voters permission to both like her as a person and then also not vote for her. If I were scripting the pivot, based on my conversations out in the field and away from the bubble of cable news and online analysis, I’d try something like the following (edit: in Biden's debate, in stump speeches or voter-to-voter persuasion and possibly in ads):

    “'Sarah Palin is very likable. There’s nothing wrong with liking her. But this isn’t a zany sitcom where a friendly, plucky Everywoman with dangerous ignorance on foreign policy gets to be vice president. Americans don't deserve someone too scared to do a press conference. Fun for a TV show, but running the country doesn't permit second and third takes when you mess up the scene.'"

  • "So America's peers in the fight against torture, in terms of public opinion are Azerbaijan, Egypt, Russia, and Iran. This is what America now is: a country with the moral values of countries that routinely torture and abuse prisoners, like Egypt and Iran. Even the Chinese, living in a neo-fascist market state, oppose torture in all circumstances by 66 percent, compared to Americans where only 53 percent do! More horrifying: a higher percentage of Americans – 13 percent – believe that torture should generally be allowed than in any other country save China, Turkey and Nigeria. And in the last two years, as the American president celebrates and authorizes the torture of people who have not been allowed a fair trail, support for torturing terror suspects has increased from 36 percent to 44 percent." And the thing is, John McCain should have been the one to turn the tide on this, but he fought a public fight and then knuckled under. Quite sad, really.
  • When *KARL ROVE* says you've gone too far, you've really gone too far.
  • "No longer able to remember his principles any better than he can distinguish between Sunnis and Shia, McCain stands revealed as a guy who can be easily rolled by anyone who sells him a plan for 'victory,' whether in Iraq or in Michigan. A McCain victory on Election Day will usher in a Palin presidency, with McCain serving as a transitional front man, an even weaker Bush to her Cheney.

    "The ambitious Palin and the ruthless forces she represents know it, too. You can almost see them smacking their lips in anticipation, whether they’re wearing lipstick or not."