mm361: Gin, television, Web 2.0

April 27, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Ever have one of those moments? You know, the ones where you read or see something that just simply closes a loop in your mind that you didn’t know was open? Where you (one hopes, figuratively) slap yourself on the face and say (one fervently hopes, subvocally): Wow, I wish I thought of that?

Had one of those today.

I’m a history of technology guy; I even alluded very briefly to that a couple of posts ago (featuring one of yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s favorite headlines, if I may be so unhumble to say so!).

So, I enjoy taking a global, macro view of technology, and how it shaped the story of civilization (technology = civilization — can’t have the latter without the former). And I also enjoy making connections.

So, my attention was captured today by the first paragraph of this post, found during typical stream-of-consciousness blogging today.

So, I read on, and the connections and insights about technology and where it’s taking us, and why it’s taking us there, were jaw-dropping.

See, I’ve often said (once, here) that one of the things I really like about this blogging mania obsession habit of mine is that after more than 15 years of consuming the Internet, now, in my infinitesimal, nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© way, I’m now contributing.

And, that’s the point:

herecomeseverybody

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

By Clay Shirky on April 26, 2008 10:48 AM

I was recently reminded of some reading I did in college, way back in the last century, by a British historian arguing that the critical technology, for the early phase of the industrial revolution, was gin.

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mm340: Decline and fall: America’s midlife crisis

April 6, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Cleveland. Philadelphia. New York City. Chicago. Most egregiously, Detroit.

For more than 30 years, the overwhelming impression has taken hold that the old, big cities, the engines of the industrial might of this country for more than 150 years, are hollowed out shells.

Their manufacturing jobs fled first, to the suburbs and exurbs, then the non-union South and West (before fleeing totally offshore). Their office jobs disappeared as the bureaucracy supporting those factories inevitably shifted: first to the suburbs, then the exurbs, then South and West (soon, Mumbai and Bengaluru?).

So, accepted wisdom: big Eastern and Midwestern cities: in steep decline.

Now, Michael Gecan is here to alert us that, as far as he can see, the suburbs and exurbs that became the refuge of those who could flee their declining city homes, are built on sand and are about to experience their own fall.

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mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?

April 1, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

I’d always heard it was a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Wikipedia.org is not so sure.

Notwithstanding the source, I think we’re there.

We’ve written increasingly on the recession that has arrived, and the depression that might be lurking. Perhaps it’s time for a nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© link table.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price … power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Jon Taplin, who always has interesting, big picture points of view, has a big word to teach us.

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mm327: Of encyclopedias, child-men and more non-men

March 24, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Yes, faithful reader has undoubtedly guessed that it’s time for another installment of…

shortattention_thumb2 ©

… wherein we are even more eclectic than is our habit (a frequent self-criticism: what’s this blog about, anyway? Ouch! It’s about what interests yr (justifiably) humble svt: a little bit of this, a smidgen of that.)

Of encyclopedias…

I was thinking of encyclopedias the other day, and so was the NYTimes.

nytimes

Start Writing the Eulogies for Print Encyclopedias

By NOAM COHEN | Published: March 16, 2008

It has never been easier to read up on a favorite topic, whether it’s an obscure philosophy, a tiny insect or an overexposed pop star. Just don’t count on being able to thumb through the printed pages of an encyclopedia to do it.

A series of announcements from publishers across the globe in the last few weeks suggests that the long migration to the Internet has picked up pace, and that ahead of other books, magazines and even newspapers, the classic multivolume encyclopedia is well on its way to becoming the first casualty in the end of print.

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mm320: Soothing the savage, etc.

March 17, 2008

Danger! Western Cultural

Treasures Content!

Run Away!

MUDGE’s Musings

Sunday, actually got off of my lazy — uh, seat, and made the effort to attend a cultural event: a concert in town of our community orchestra.

Over the course of 10 months 11 days of daily posting, yr (justifiably) humble svt has been circumspect about his identity, as well as specific locality.

If one was paying attention, one might find some references in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© to north-eastern Illinois, and especially Chicago, the source of the energy driving this 3rd largest U.S.metropolitan area.

Well, my suburban town is hereby outed.

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mm314: Was Spitzer a crimeless victim?

March 13, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

If a left-leaning curmudgeon constantly finds good things to think about in the writings of Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman, whose credentials are at risk?

As the smoke dissipates from the extinct shooting star that was the public career of disgraced governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, Mr. Chapman takes a look at the underlying story: why was hiring a prostitute illegal?

After we posted the night of the revelation about the true victim of this stupid tragedy, the martyred Mrs. (how much longer?) Spitzer, we saw many others pick up on that angle.

And the schadenfreude thing: all picked up on the irony of Mr. Attorney General Scourge of Prostitution Rings caught, by the FBI no less, as a wildly overpaying client of one of the most flagrant.

So, maybe it’s not just a victimless crime, this prostitution thing; maybe it isn’t a crime at all. Mr. Chapman?

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mm308: Do you live in the right city?

March 7, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

What I love about today’s electronified world is that you never know when and from where the next great thought is going to emerge, but you know darned well that it’s coming.

placeyoulive

“Why the Place You Choose to Live is the Most Important Decision of Your Life,” by Richard Florida is today’s great thought. Here’s the first page of his presentation:

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mm299: More than the economy, we’re in intellectual trouble

February 27, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Susan Jacoby has just released a book, “The Age of American Unreason“, and contributed to the Opinion page of the Washington Post a couple of Sundays ago.

washingtonpost

The Dumbing Of America

Call Me a Snob, but Really, We’re a Nation of Dunces

By Susan Jacoby | Sunday, February 17, 2008; B01

“The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today’s very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble — in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

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mm286: Nothing less than domestic terrorism

February 15, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

All the adjectives are used up. Horrifying. Ghastly. Tragic. Pointless. Frightful. Sickening.

Another perfectly normal person, on a perfectly normal day, bursts into a college lecture hall and murders five people. And then does what he probably should have done in the first place thereby saving us most of those used up adjectives, and shot himself.

Now the Chicago area has a new St. Valentine’s Day massacre for a new century.

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mm278a: [Repost] Don’t look back: Something may be gaining on you.

February 8, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Found a video that I had seen, along with zillions of others, some time ago, but it gained fresh context when connected to a recent briefing in the best magazine on the planet, The Economist.

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