brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

1Jun/050

What I want to know is…

just how did this seem like a good idea?

I mean really, did someone pitch the idea like "I know, to emphasize how the comments in the press can turn around and reflect badly on our organization, let's make a training video featuring a topless lesbian wedding!"? Did that seem like a good idea to someone? Did anyone actually say "yes, that's what we need to help inform our members to straighten up and fly right!"?

Sweet Zombie Jesus.

Filed under: I Kid You Not No Comments
1Jun/050

My bookshelf

My bookshelf

Just another test of my camera phone and automatic posting.

I think my copy of Darwin's Origin of Species is on the shelf above though. I actually think Stroustrup's C++ Programming Language may in fact be the most harmful book of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Filed under: General No Comments
1Jun/050

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

With only brief commentary on my part, I submit Human Events, The National Conservative Weekly's list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

The Kinsey Report? Number Four?

Dewey's Democracy and Education? Admittedly, two topics not generally favored by conservatives...

I also liked their synopsys of Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:

Keynes was a member of the British elite--educated at Eton and Cambridge--who as a liberal Cambridge economics professor wrote General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in the midst of the Great Depression. The book is a recipe for ever-expanding government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt.

Oh, is that what caused the deficit and the debt?

Notable Honorable mentions include Darwin's Origin of the Species [sic] and Descent of Man, Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed and Freud's Introduction to Psychoanalysis. Books which hilighted environmental problems and feminism also seemed to be high on their list.

Filed under: Politics No Comments
1Jun/050

Optics Fun With Gelatin

Today's bizarre science link of the day comes from the opticsforkids.com website, and is entitled Optics Fun With Gelatin.

Edible optics? What optical phenomena have you noticed in a bowl of Jell-O? Find a small laser, buy a box of unflavored gelatin, and have some fun in your kitchen.

I couldn't agree more.

1Jun/050

WSJ.com – Blogging Becomes A Corporate Job; Digital ‘Handshake’?

We need a new word.

The Wall Street Journal has an article about blogging as the new corporate job.

I'm not happy with applying the same word to what I do and what corporate public relations offices do.

To me, blogging is about exploiting the Internet as a cheap publishing medium for individuals. While coporate and commercial entities can certainly use the same technologies, their motivations are not the motivations of individuals.

For instance, the article referenced above talks about a gourmet popcorn company who is looking for a corporate blogger to maintain a company blog about the "love of popcorn". Imagine for a second that you were surfing the net for information about the best popcorn, and you encounter such a blog. What can you learn from it?

You certainly could learn that the Dale & Tomas Popcorn company makes gourmet popcorn, but you could learn that from their conventional advertising.

Perhaps you could learn popcorn recipes or gain ideas for parties, but again, you could learn that from a more conventional website.

You could try to post comments about your favorite brands. But what happens if your favorite brand isn't the right one? Suppose you think that the corporate sponsor's popcorn tastes like packing material. Maybe it even does. Because the blog has the ability (and, in fact, the incentive) to censor negative comments about their product, you can't actually learn anything useful about the quality of their product. You might just as well be watching a commercial.

Don't be fooled. Corporations are interested in blogs for one reason only: they think they can use them to sell their products. They don't work for you: they work for their corporate taskmasters.

They aren't blogging, they are plugging.

Filed under: Blogging No Comments