shades of dominance

Dave Winer:

When IBM hit the wall, it was with a revolution they called the Micro-Channel Architecture. It was touted as a way to take back the PC industry from the cloners. But it was also a way to reign in the power of Microsoft, who was IBM’s upstart. Didn’t work, it only cemented Microsoft’s position, though it took Microsoft a few years to realize it.

With Microsoft it was the great call to arms in late 1994, when Bill Gates rallied his team and told each of them to maneuver their battleships and aircraft carriers into position. He thought he had met his own Microsoft (he had been waiting for it) and its name was Netscape. Not realizing that the problem wasn’t Netscape, it was a sea-change in the tech business analogous to the one that IBM had failed to overcome. His upstart was the web, not Netscape.

Now it’s Google’s turn.


ponder ponder ponder

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the one million people who will not survive this week. If you never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation, you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message, you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.

the shale gas hustlers

It’s not good to hope that natural gas will adequately buttress oil:

The reason for this is that, unlike oil and coal, natural gas is usually carried (after cleaning to remove water oil and any other contaminants) through a pipeline that often runs (via additional pumps) directly to the customer. They, in turn, don’t usually store it, but burn it as needed, drawing the supply straight from the pipe. The problem that this gives the marginal producer is that the gas in the line must be at a certain pressure if it is to move down that pipe to the customer, and then come out of the nozzles at sufficient flow to be useful. That pressure has to be achieved, at the well once the natural pressure of the gas in the well has fallen over time and production, with a compressor, which cost money to install, run and maintain. At a certain point in the well life the gas being produced falls below the point at which it becomes economic to pay for that compressor (which is only a part of the total costs that an operating well will incur). It may even be (at the rates of decline being seen in many current wells) that the decline is so swift that as soon as the natural pressure falls below that needed for the pipeline, that the well closes and a compressor is never economical. In these cases the well life may well only be three or four years, rather than the fifty of the company model.

misconceptions and realities

Who doesn’t pay taxes?


As they say on the right, a poor man never hired anybody.

Therefore, taxing the rich hurts everyone else.

The contrary idea: job-holders actually create rich people.


the burning question

Umair Haque:

Authentic prosperity isn’t about stockpiling chits and bits that you can — if you’re lucky — sell to the next guy before the house of cards collapses in on itself. It’s watching the people you love grow and flourish, making the dreams you’ve dared to nurture and safeguard come roaring to life, and, above all, living a life that matters long after you’re gone. That’s the stuff not merely of shareholder ‘value’ — but of authentic, enduring, human worth. Hence, I’d gently suggest: the economic sparkplug missing from our so-called prosperity won’t be invented in Silicon Valley, manufactured in Shenzhen, hawked by Madison Avenue or Wall Street, or ordained by Washington. It will be found in the pursuit of wisdom, grace, humility, courage, and great achievement. It’s the hard work of investing in the people you love, the dreams you have, and living a life that matters.


“Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?”

Al Gore rips TV networks:

“Thomas Paine could walk out of his front door in Philadelphia and find a dozen competing, low-cost print shops within blocks of his home.

“Today, if he traveled to the nearest TV station, or to the headquarters of nearby Comcast – the dominant television provider in America – and tried to deliver his new ideas to the American people, he would be laughed off the premises.

“The public square that used to be a commons has been refeudalized, and the gatekeepers charge large rents for the privilege of communicating to the American people over the only medium that really affects their thinking.

“Citizens are now referred to more commonly as ‘consumers’ or ‘the audience’.”

don’t ask don’t tell

Sgt. Maj. Barrett has a long military resume, including combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he doesn’t need a microphone to get his point across.

And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.

“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”


noise is not a future

In the meantime, Gregor Macdonald

It frankly doesn’t matter that some states, or even the United States, created non-farm jobs since the lows of 2009. The US economy is a large system that employed over 146 million at its peak last decade.

Now, having added nearly 30 million to its population over the past 10 years, the US employs 6-7 million fewer people than in 2005.

The implications for the operating costs of this system, from Social Security to Defense Spending are obvious. Thus, it’s a failure of analysis—an inability to comprehend scale—that leads people to conclude good news, or even bad news, from the month to month data.

Indeed, calling a +30,000 jobs number on the national level a ‘disaster’ has as little meaning as calling a +150,000 jobs number ‘good news’.

shame shame shame

The professor wrote a book, ‘Why Leaders Lie‘.  

We’re nuts if we don’t know.

This book is many citations of whopping lies throughout history. Of course this is a good book.

Slate says it’s ‘willful falsification’. When character refuses worth, says me.

Leaders lie to their own people more than they do to foreign audiences, says Professor Mearsheimer. He’s taught at the University of Chicago for 28 years. His video interview on C-Span is fun. He adds color, insight, charm. He’s convincing.

Sociopaths lie. Leaders lie. Detestable.

We know far too little about leaders.

We are damaged by our ignorance.

groin profiteering

Phil Rockstroh:

At present, in contrast, the dismal air is signed with the scandalous tweets of a congressman’s undergarments and the concomitant, predictable howling from the hectoring ghosts of U.S. Puritanism, conjured from their graves by the contrived spectacle and its promise of anonymous arousal intermingled with the blood sport of public shaming.

By finger wagging and sneering, carnal desires can be lived out vicariously in the Puritan/Calvinist imagination. In this way, petty moralists can ogle what they claim to condemn.

To Puritans, all the problems of life can be traced to the genitals…true, but only their own problems.

How many times do the prigs, ninnies, and scolds of the U.S. have to repeat this sort of inanity before they grow up and realize that human beings have strong libidos? Libido propels both creativity and contretemps, and it is wise to aver that “the issue of character” should best be evoked and debated, as a general rule, when the situation involves hypocrisy.

A more profound ‘character issue’ here would seem to involve that of the representatives of mass media news gathering organizations, in particular — their greed for ratings.

hat tip to Zo

who’s voting for crazy & nuts?

Where on earth do people like Michele Bachmann get their wacky ideas from?

Frank Schaeffer says, “I’ll tell you.


“It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own.”

mindfulness, patience and intensity

been breathin’ in the bush lately?

superb poise
glorious body
dumbfounding beauty
a great artist
we are so fine, we humans, hope we notice someday

Try the large version here:

a ridiculous hobby, ey wot

farms of consumers

Why on earth do we tolerate firms that pick our pockets?? Excite’s policy filled me with anger and resentment. You might take away other thoughts.

via chris dixon’s blog

When Google released its search engine in 1998, its search results were significantly better than its competitors’. Many people attribute Google’s success to this breakthrough technology. But there was another key reason:  a stubborn refusal to accept the orthodox view at the time that “stickiness” was crucial to a website’s success.

Here’s what happened when they tried to sell their technology to Excite (a leading portal/search engine in the late 90s):

[Google] was too good. If Excite were to host a search engine that instantly gave people information they sought, [Excite’s CEO] explained, the users would leave the site instantly. Since his ad revenue came from people staying on the site—“stickiness” was the most desired metric in websites at the time—using Google’s technology would be counterproductive. “He told us he wanted Excite’s search engine to be 80 percent as good as the other search engines,” … and we were like, “Wow, these guys don’t know what they’re talking about.” – Steven Levy, In The Plex (p. 30)


mutual privacy agreement


Some doctors use copyright contracts to censor negative reviews

The receptionist handed me a clipboard with forms to fill out. After the usual patient information form, there was a ‘mutual privacy agreement’ that asked me to transfer ownership of any public commentary I might write in the future to Dr. Cirka.

Be careful what you sign.

stood up and left the party

Roseanne Barr: Fame’s a bitch.

It’s hard to tell whether one is winning or, in fact, losing once one starts to think of oneself as a commodity, or a product, or a character, or a voice for the downtrodden. It’s called losing perspective. Fame’s a bitch.

It’s hard to handle and drives you nuts.

Yes, it’s true that your sense of entitlement grows exponentially with every perk until it becomes too stupendous a weight to walk around under, but it’s a cut-throat business, show, and without the perks, plain ol’ fame and fortune just ain’t worth the trouble.

“Winning” in Hollywood means not just power, money and complimentary smoked-salmon pizza, but also that everyone around you fails just as you are peaking. When you become No 1, you might begin to believe, as Cher once said in an interview, that you are “one of God’s favourite children”, one of the few who made it through the gauntlet and survived.

The idea that your ego is not ego at all but submission to the will of the Lord starts to dawn on you as you recognise that only by God’s grace did you make it through the raging attack of idea pirates and woman haters, to ascend to the top of Bigshit Showbiz Mountain.

All of that sounds very much like the diagnosis for bipolar disorder, which more and more stars are claiming to have these days. I have it, as well as several other mental illnesses, but then, I’ve always been a trendsetter, even though I’m seldom credited with those kinds of things.


invisible hand is a myth

Dave Winer:

I’m not a libertarian, although at one time I was. I believe in liberty, but I also believe we need to have a collective consciousness that isn’t completely insane. I think we’re driving off a few cliffs, others do too, and what are we supposed to do? Keep our mouths shut? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I think the difference can be traced back to what Adam Smith called The Invisible Hand. It’s a beautiful idea. One that Ronald Reagan picked up on, and marketed very well. So well, that I voted for Reagan twice. I liked what he was saying. Trust in the goodness of people and the Ouija board of self-interest, and all will be good. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

That doesn’t work because the world is too complicated, and I didn’t appreciate that at the time. As a very young person, I hadn’t experienced much of the complexity. That’s part of what’s so great about being young. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Self-interest was a very good thing to depend on when the world was simpler. When global warming wasn’t an issue. Or nuclear weapons. When the collective insanity of the American people didn’t lead them to the conclusion that the economy works like their household budget. Yet a lot of people, including apparently a lot of our elected officials, do believe that. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

They also doubt evolution. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I’m fairly pessimistic about this system’s ability to kick out the right answers. Permanent link to this item in the archive.


Wes Miller, Microsoft Research VP:


In 2007, Apple shocked the world by releasing a phone. A REALLY EXPENSIVE phone. But this phone did something important. Every phone before it had been a device seemingly designed by committee, to meet the business goals of a wireless telco. This one was designed for the consumer first.

Step 1 for Apple was delivering the first iPhone. Remember, this phone had NO 3rd party apps at launch. It had the ability to pin web pages to the home screen, and these could be designed to be “application-ish”. No dev ecosystem or tools, no App Store, no sales revenue. Oh, and it also had a very premium price of $599, and was locked to AT&T’s network.

But it had a touch-driven user interface, accelerometers, a very usable web browser, powerful email client, a camera, iTunes media integration and an Apple fit and finish to the device and software that recalled what Mac fans were used to.

That’s where we were in 2007. People paid through the nose to get a phone that put some aspect of design in front of telco business requirements.


arguing the bottom

Ezra Klein.

“This is where a “serious conversation” on health-care costs would start — with what has worked, and what we can learn from it.

“Instead, it’s where our conversation about health-care costs never quite goes.

“But that’s the choice we’ve been left with: a plan that has never worked or a plan that’s never been tried.”





The issue today is whether man shall govern himself or be governed by a small, self-interested elite. – Jefferson