Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Miscellaneous Crap

From the Yin Blog: the University of Iowa International Law Society has a group blog, with links to other law student bloggers. Will update blogrolls whenever I get a round to it.

Professor Yin also asks one of the questions that's always bugged me about the later Star Trek series:

Supposedly, the holodeck can create the impression of being a large space -- much larger than the room's actual dimensions -- through illusion, perspective, etc. Let's take that as true.

How the heck does the holodeck fool nine people into thinking that they're spread out across a baseball field?!?

It's always bugged me: presuming they could figure out a way to assemble solid matter with a structure in the same manner as light is in a hologram, how do you overcome physics? More reading on the science of Star Trek.

Wired News reports on an experimental treatment for cancer: retooling HIV to kill cancer cells:
"People might wonder if it's scary to use HIV as a therapy," said Irving Chen, who led the UCLA team. "But in actuality we have completely removed 80 percent of the virus. So really it's just a carrier."

If it works, it could be cool.

Drake law students get a break from classes to watch the tort trial in Brad Morgan v. Hairy Mary's Inc.

I found this article in the Des Moines Register rather silly. Key quotes:
Iowa hospital leaders added their voices Monday to support for increased cigarette taxes.

The industry backs proposals to raise the tax, which is now 36 cents per pack, to cover deficits in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

"If we pass the tax, it needs to all be earmarked for health care. Otherwise we won't get anywhere," said Jim Platt, chief executive officer of Fort Madison Community Hospital. Platt, chairman of the Iowa Hospital Association, appeared at the Statehouse on Monday with other members of the group.

I'm neutral on the measure myself, but how is this a surprise? Hmmm . . . so hospital leaders support measures to give hospitals more money. And they want to make sure all the money goes to the hospitals. Ya think?

Jeff Gannon aka James Dale Guckert, resigns his post as reporter for the conservative Talon News after being confronted by left-leaning bloggers with his pseudonymity and, um, questionable extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, Eason Jordon resigns from CNN after being confronted by conservative bloggers about the veracity of statements he made in a speech to the World Economic Forum.

For all the latest on the fallout in MSM, read the article in the NY Times here (registration required, randommentality/password).

Then go to the responses at:

The Volokh Conspiracy:
"But bloggers, or critics generally, have power only to the extent that they are persuasive. Jordan's resignation didn't come because he was afraid that bloggers will fire him. They can't fire him. I assume that to the extent the bloggers' speech led him to resign, it did so by persuading the public that he wasn't trustworthy.

So Jordan's critics (bloggers or not) aren't a lynch mob: If they're a mob, they're at most a "persuasion mob." What's more, since they're generally a very small group, they're really a "persuasion bunch."

Maybe if a persuasion bunch tries to persuade people by using factual falsehoods, they could be faulted on those grounds (though that too has little to do with lynch mobs). But I've seen no evidence that their criticisms were factually unfounded, or that Jordan quit because of any factual errors in the criticisms. (Plus presumably releasing the video of the panel would have been the best way to fight the factual errors.)

We should love persuasion bunches, who operate through peaceful persuasion, while hating lynch mobs, who operate through violence and coercion. What's more, journalists -- to the extent that they love the First Amendment's premise that broad public debate helps discover the truth, and improve society -- ought to love persuasion bunches, too. When the only power you wield is the power to speak, and persuade others through the force of your arguments (and not through the force of your guns, clubs, or fists), that's just fine. Come to think of it, isn't that the power that opinion journalists themselves wield?"

Jeff Jarvis:
This morning's story by Katharine Q. Seelye, Jacques Steinberg, and David F. Gallagher -- under the headline, "Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters" -- is another example of the disdain in which many quarters of The Times -- not all -- hold citizens' media.

Glenn Reynolds (and more links from Instapundit):
Now people are wondering what it all means. Some people are claiming that Jordan was a victim of "McCarthyism" -- but as Austin Bay notes, that is a backward perspective. It was Jordan who was making unsubstantiated charges, a la McCarthy, not those who called for him to back them up. . . .

Jordan's disgrace comes from not reporting: He made charges in a panel discussion, but he didn't have the evidence to back them up. What's more, in the same report we hear this:

But Bob Furnad, a former president of Headline News, said he considers Jordan "a very serious journalist in the purest form."

"He never pulled any punches."

Except that he did. In fact, Jordan came into this scandal damaged by his admitted silence on Saddam's atrocities, a silence that seems to have been the price of operating a bureau in Baghdad. Silence for "access?" Sounds like pulling punches to me.

Instead of complaining about bloggers as a threat to journalism, perhaps journalists should try actually doing more journalism. Who knows? It just might help.

the article in the Chicago Tribune:
Shut up with your whining and appreciate the fact that after generations of stagnation, something new has arrived. And like all new things, it's going to take awhile for it to work itself out.

Conventional journalism seems aghast that a whole collection of independent voices from all sides of the political spectrum are popping up now to pick and smear and slander and point accusing fingers, wreck careers, cast aspersions and introduce something besides a century-old sense of entitled hierarchy to the formula for news presentation.

this from Day by Day,

and, as a last resort, Wonkette:
"Hey, I get to play with Eason Jordan's scalp a week from next Tuesday!"


Salieri points out what a difference an adverb can make.

Milbarge from Begging the Question speculates on the identity of Deep Throat.

Dating Tips I've learned on the 'Net:

Carry a big purse.
Keep my coat on.
Screen online dates carefully.
Think twice about offers to whisk me away to exotic locales.
Writing a "Dear John" letter can be as satisfying than telling him off in person.
Keep a list of emergency numbers handy.
Never date middle-aged men who live with their parents.

No comments: