Mike Jasper is in rare form this week; this is the one Net columnist I’d want to write my obit. Man’s had a hell of a year, too. Go read his column and cheer up his page counter.
Where Don’t You Want To Go Today? Dept: As you’ve probably heard (or found out empirically) by now, About.com jettisoned a number of their apparently less popular Guides. The list of what’s not worth keeping, by About’s lights, is an interesting little cross-section of individual interests, and reminds me that letting corporate concerns take over Net content is really, really bad for anyone who’s not into the Britney of the moment, using Britney in the icon-no-one-actually-seems-to-give-a-fsck-about sense of course.
A good non-9.11 cause for the Net community: The stalwart keeper of faqs.org needs your help to keep that super-useful reference site online. Every little bit helps, and if you’ve ever looked for information on the Net odds are he has helped you. Time for payback!
And oh, before I forget (like I will ever forget): Fuck you, Sports Illustrated, for inflicting the fucking cover curse on Eric Crouch and the Huskers last week. Who asked you to come to Nebraska anyway? Did Florida, Florida State and Miami get together and ship you folks a double helping of that crack they feed you to keep them on top of the polls? Were you trying to prove there’s a national sportswriter who can find Nebraska on a map? (Yeah, right.) Go away. Never come back. Next non-native sportswriter caught west of Omaha and east of Cheyenne will be bagged, tagged, and caged for laboratory experimentation. You have been warned.
How can you tell a Net-trends piece is a vast expanse of crap unaccented by fact? Let’s see: 1. It’s in the New York Times.
2. You read it and wonder how long the original sat on the shelf and when the random “update” examples were stuffed in.
3. It quotes Jason McCabe Calacanis, the little publisher that couldn’t. (Notice the source on that link; the Times’ confusion of Jason’s fortunes with those of the Net is nothing new.)
Of course, I’m personally perfectly content to let the Times yammer. Keeps them out of folks’ hair while we move onward.
Would that every aspect of Afghanistan’s future looked as promising as these photos. Still, these are most definitely cheerful — any way you look at it, the freedom to be an actual, identifiable human being and not just another blue burqua is a fine fine thing.
More craven anti-privacy behavior from companies that ought to know better: McAfee, the well-known and heretofore well-liked anti-virus program, is scrambling to make sure that the government’s efforts to take away your computer’s privacy aren’t hindered by their software. In other words, if the government wants to put a virus on your machine, McAfee will let them. In OTHER other words, if someone mimicking the government wants to put a virus on your machine, McAfee will let those people too. Nice backdoor, jackasses. I’m switching anti-virus programs ASAP and suggest that y’all do the same. Between this announcement and SafeWeb’s demise, it has not been a good privacy week.
Screw oil; worry about water. There was a terrific essay by Mikhail Gorbachev last year in Civilization (RIP, damn shame, good magazine) about the coming water crisis, and now we’re in a second year of poor harvests worldwide. And even though I’m aghast at how we waste the stuff, I’m still from farm stock and see other sides of the issue. Either way, poor folk are screwed and rich folk get richer in these situations. (Wait, isn’t that also the “oil crisis” in a nutshell? Hmm.)
From the Cyberia mailing list (worth your time, yes), a timely quote:
“‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency will persist.”
~ F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, vol. 3, p 124