Video about the gulf

The sadness in the narration has made this small-budget work more powerful to me than any ABC or NBC report.

Personal Note & Spreadibillity

My day has been spent on a bit of work & a LOT of reading, mostly on blogging and privacy as the little firestorm around Weigel's departure from the Post wraps up.

I suppose it's worth clarifying the intent of this blog. This is my journal. It's a place for me to record thoughts and feelings on the public issues of the day. My private and personal tales and trials are written and spoken about in places where the Google don't shine, and no one should expect this blog to be anything like a complete representation of myself. It's also not marketed or linked to - while I am pleasantly surprised that anyone would fine my posts worth reading, you lovely people aren't so much my concern.

With that out of the way, today's topic is on the ease-of-access of data, and its negative effects. Centralization is efficient - it's easier to have a central database for everyone to analyze, instead of two people gather data in competition, and online articles and journals make the life of a researcher, academic, or P.I. much easier. In fact, I'd bet that the old skills of research are now much harder to market, which is unfortunate.

But my main concern is "separability." We know about internet memes - trends that takeover various tech//geek blogs like Keyboard Cat or Rickrolling, but I worry about an undercurrent of conventional wisdom that may lead to lazy thinking. Not because we don't consider issues without care, or because our thoughts aren't logistical, but instead because we're all jumping off of the same boat into the water.

The Rolling Stone article, for example, is a single article constructed by a single man, completely unrepresentative of the banter that the press usually keeps private. Now, though, we all must assume, on the basis of a lack of data, that similar issues exist elsewhere. Similar issues that risk insubordination.


So now I realize that I'm making a case often made elsewhere - we need more reporting and less commentating. That's what I tried to do when reporting on the Bernard Moore case earlier this year, but I'm frankly much more interested in what is done than in talking about it or reporting about it. I'm not a reporter, and anyone who survives this blog can see I'm not a great first-draft writer. So this blog is, in a sense, irrelevant. Possibly, it only exists so that I can justify writing these thoughts to laugh at years later; I can at least feel that I have some sort of contribution to the public sphere.

Web tools

It seems that whenever I have a new need for a webtool or application, I seem to run across one.
  • Freshman year, iCal appeared just in time to help me manage an increasingly manic college schedule.
  • Sophomore year, Google Reader helped me to organize my many blog subscriptions: with over 50 blogs to read daily (contact me for recommendations), the site has easily halved the time I spend reading online content.
  • Junior year, I discovered Tumblr, which inhabits a neat place between tiny tweets and typically longer blog posts.
  • And now I have It's a perfect homepage that draws various sites together to create a more complete picture of my online presence than any one site can provide. Highly recommended.
Now, if I could only figure out how I want the page to look...

On Soccer Refereeing

Well, this is flatly embarrassing for FIFA. Fresh from flatly denying a further use of technology in the game through replays or ball tracking systems, the organization now must watch as clear goals for England and the USA were disallowed, while illegal goals for Argentina continue to count.

FIFA's justification for this is a smart one - they want the officials and rule system to be the same all the way from club games to the World Cup, but the difference is that club games don't have video replays, whereas stadiums and telecasts of the Cup all have that technology. Thus, the referee can remain as the highest authority in fact on the pitch, but has now been reduced as the non-authority by television. FIFA's rules do not reflect the actual status; by maintaining a "no technology stance," they only undercut their own authority.

That said, there should be a way to do this without disrupting the game. Its simple: the 4th official watches all replays. But it will take time, and it is FIFA's decision (along with at least 2 of the UK rule-makers). If they're willing to take the heat, more power to them, but it's sad when human error deprives a sports player of their act of brilliance.