December 30, 2006
Although this is not the "coolest psychology experiment ever," as billed, it's pretty freaky all the same. It makes me wonder what other giant glaring things we fail to perceive on a daily basis.
December 29, 2006
If ever a post were truly worthy of the "Media Galaxy" category, it's this: tons upon tons of quality copyrighted media, for free, for now.
December 27, 2006
'Visit Bangladesh Before the Tourists Come'
Now that is an optimistic slogan.
December 26, 2006
Boxing Day Surprise
The Tag Stops Here
Er, Robin, Will tagged us with this '5 Things You Didn't Know About Me' meme last week. We don't really have a protocol for this stuff on Snarkmarket. Hmm.
OK, how's this? I will throw an unspecified number of things about myself into the comments as I come up with them. If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged. Feel free to jump in the comments and add stuff about yourselves as well, or do so on your own blog and link back to it here. And if you, gentle reader, have no interest in trivia about the lives of me, Robin, or any of your fellow Snarkmarket readers, consider yourself unmolested.
December 25, 2006
links for 2006-12-25
The Intelligence Pyramid
I think of knowledge as a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid is data; the next layer of the pyramid is information; the next layer of the pyramid is intelligence; and the top of the pyramid is wisdom. I like to tell my clients that we’re in the business of giving them intelligence and wisdom, and if they want to collect data, or if they want to collect information and process it themselves, that’s their business.Of course, this pyramid is hardly Underhill's invention, but I like that he specializes. I'd swap "knowledge" with "intelligence," as I have. Totally an aesthetic thing, I just think "intelligence" is a word more suited to apply to the whole structure. Pure data can be characterized, in the CIA sense, as "intelligence," while "knowledge" is a trickier fit. I like this explanation of the four concepts.
I'd say journalism suffers from not articulating these concepts as decisively as Underhill does. When asked what we're "in the business of" giving to folks, most journalists would probably shrug and say, "Journalism." Which is absolutely not a separate plank on the intelligence pyramid, our overinflated egos notwithstanding. (Some would answer "stories," which I think is a less-than-artful way of dodging the question.) If you squint your eyes a little bit, you could might imagine journalism's version of this pyramid as Underhill's version, split into two halves -- the "objective" half (data and information), and the "subjective" half (knowledge and wisdom). Squint a little bit more, and you might even see how these concepts form your average newspaper -- data and information being the substance of the reporting and presenting process, and knowledge and wisdom being fodder for news analyses, commentaries and editorials.
But I've seen reporters recoil at the notion that the foundation for all their work is gathering data. And while most journalists seem to be content with providing mere "information" for a time, 90% of them seem to harbor secret ambitions to impart "wisdom." It would be worth saying, I think, that actually gathering data is a noble end in itself, as is providing information. It would also be worth giving more journalists access throughout their careers to the fields of knowledge- and wisdom-dispensing. (I.e. Rather more clear subjectivity added to the "objectivity" soup.)
File under: Journalism, Society/Culture
Intellectually Acceptable Comics
In spite of his many and frequent innovations, Ware’s name, to me, has become synonymous with ‘intellectually acceptable comics’ produced for people who basically think comics are crap. His works — especially his commissions — reflect not so much an appreciation of the comics art form, but rather a keen understanding of how it can be parodied, satirized and even ridiculed in the service to the intellectual flattery of an audience that would otherwise be offended by less self-conscious practitioners of the medium.This is the pattern of culture, though, right? The novel, jazz, the blog ... Chris Ware, Alison Bechdel, Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco -- these folks are the Daniel Defoes, Bob Dylans and Louie Armstrongs of their medium. Which, hey, you know, I totally wouldn't mind.
December 24, 2006
Illustrator Discovery Engine
My Father's Suitcase
Orhan Pamuk's Nobel lecture, reprinted in The New Yorker, rocks:
A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is. When I speak of writing, the image that comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or a literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and, alone, turns inward. Amid his shadows, he builds a new world with words.(BTW, Io, Saturnalia!)
December 22, 2006
Behold, the Austrian Avatar of Poseidon's Son
One of my favorite words is 'protean.' The dictionary definitions all say it means versatile and mutable, which I agree with, but nowhere can I find reference to what I was always sure was its other, subtler shade: opportunistic, ambitious.
Anyway, there's no reason to debate it, because we have a human definition: Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's serious about global warming now. Withholding any kind of actual policy analysis, I am simply in awe of him as a player:
Schwarzenegger argued that in a "Nixon goes to China" way he is uniquely poised to lead on the environmental front. Calling himself a "sane Republican," he said his pro-business philosophy and fiscal conservatism shield him from accusations of being "the tree hugger, the crazy guy out there who wants to live on the moon and talk about the spirits and all this holistic stuff."
"With me they can't do it, because my whole history is different," he said, puffing thoughtfully on a fat cigar in his smoking tent in a courtyard of the state Capitol. "It's unexpected, so therefore you have a better chance to have an impact. . . . All those businesses would never have a better guy than me."
December 21, 2006
...and the Deathly Hallows
The Journal of Consilience
PLoS ONE features reports of primary research from all disciplines within science and medicine. By not excluding papers on the basis of subject area, PLoS ONE facilitates the discovery of the connections between papers whether within or between disciplines.
But this is perhaps the most important distinction:
Too often a journal's decision to publish a paper is dominated by subjective criteria, which can be frustrating and delay the publication of your work. PLoS ONE will publish all papers that are judged to be rigorous and technically sound. Judgments about the importance of any particular paper are then made after publication.
Read that last sentence a few times. That's kinda the genius of the entire internet, isn't it? Publish first, filter second!
(Via David Weinberger.)
Pick Your Path
I'd do 'Intelligent Design' on the third day.
December 18, 2006
December 17, 2006
Variations on a Theme
December 15, 2006
Take Back Bangladesh
The ray of light? Take Back Bangladesh.
December 14, 2006
Stop Motion Excellence
December 12, 2006
Craigslist Among the Capitalists
This DealBook entry on Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster's presentation at a media conference in New York is really fun:
Wendy Davis of MediaPost describes the presentation as a "a culture clash of near-epic proportions." She recounts how UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn't, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). "That definitely is not part of the equation," he said, according to MediaPost. "It's not part of the goal."
It's amazing how the decision not to maximize profit has become Craigslist's unbeatable competitive advantage. It is the one move other companies can't copy.
The post really struck a chord; the conversation that follows is the longest I've ever seen on DealBook, by far.
December 11, 2006
You Can Actually Get College Credit for This
Check out the comments brewing under the last post. Makers of possibilities! Seekers of solitude! Author-functions! Good stuff.
links for 2006-12-11
December 10, 2006
What's An Author?
What's an author? Why, just the sum of her readers, of course!
This is not to say that all networked writing will take place in vast wiki collectives. The individual author will be needed more than ever as a guide through the info-glutted landscape. But writers' relationship with their readers will change as writing moves from the solitary desk to the collaborative network. No longer just an audience, readers will become assets, and eventually writers will be judged not for the number of books they sell but for the quality and breadth of their networks.
And then imagine that perhaps it is not actually a new phenomenon. What's Plato but the collection of people who have read, discussed, and saved Plato? What's Rachel Carson without the same?
I am newly in love with the idea of authorship as the creation of a community -- by whatever means necessary or possible -- around your ideas.
English majors, have at it.
(Link from Forbes.com's great and completely-out-of-left-field report on books.)
When the Crystal Ball is All Fogged Over
This post by super-smart Scott Karp gets to the heart of the situation in the media world right now:
The problem is that, in the this increasingly complex networked 2.0 world, customers don’t know what they need. And providers don’t know either. What happens when the buy side and the sell side are wandering lost in the fog?
I keep coming back to this Henry Ford quote:"If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse."
As much as media is obsessed with the scarcity of attention, the real scarcity is in innovation.
December 6, 2006
Via Drawn again!
December 5, 2006
Ezra Klein offers a good reminder: The internet only goes so far. The source post he links to is pretty sharp, too.
PlanetDan's Kick-assiest Xmas List is actually pretty kick-ass.
Stabbed, Stuck, Suspended
First, scope the crazy tiger-full-of-arrows installation. Then, see Matthew Woodson draw it. Weird, I know, but I love it.
His blog is full of step-by-step drawing deconstructions.
December 4, 2006
A Story, a Lost Pet, a Garage Sale, an Event
I kind of love the submission taxonomy presented on Pegasus News's neighborhood pages. Yo, that's what it's all about.
Go See This Concert
I'll keep this brief: Caught the Imogen Heap concert here in San Francisco on Sunday and it was one of the best I've ever seen. Opening act for her tour is SF's own master chief beatboxer Kid Beyond, who also joins Heap's band as her human drum machine. The whole thing was just a great, inventive show that I could imagine enjoying even if I'd never heard any of it before.
The Original Miss Manners
One of the tons of literary references in The Year of Magical Thinking is to the section of Emily Post's Etiquette that deals with funerals. Didion mentions she ran across Etiquette on the Internet, and sure enough, here it is, with its ultra-authoritative tone, sage wisdom on matters particular, and wry wit:
A man whose social position is self-made is apt to be detected by his continual cataloguing of prominent names. Mr. Parvenu invariably interlards his conversation with, "When I was dining at the Bobo Gildings'"; or even "at Lucy Gilding's," and quite often accentuates, in his ignorance, those of rather second-rate, though conspicuous position. "I was spending last week-end with the Richan Vulgars," or "My great friends, the Gotta Crusts." When a so-called gentleman insists on imparting information, interesting only to the Social Register, shun him!
I move that we resurrect the verb to interlard.
December 1, 2006
Probably the Most Masculine Thing in the Universe
Also, totally what YouTube was invented for: shared videos of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team doing their pre-game haka. So awesome.