September 23rd, 2011


post-summer TV report

A few quick comments about shows we enjoyed this summer.

I wasn't planning to watch Alphas, but after finding out it was set in the same 'verse as Eureka (a show M. was into) we decided to give it a go. Started a little average, but a few episodes in they did a couple things that surprised me in a good way. And I like being surprised in genre shows. Yes, they've lifted some of the concepts from other places, but I like what they're doing with it. Not going to win any awards, but glad I watched it, and looking forward to getting more.

And Pretty Little Liars remains almost-shamefully addictive. There's always this sense that the whole thing is about to implode, but they just keep up with the tension, the plot twists, and the excellent characterization. It's a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.


lots of good reads

* Israel is facing some tough decisions soon, thanks to regional turmoil.
* Good read: learning economic lessons from Japan's example.
* New report claims widespread abuse by the border patrol.
* John Dickerson on Perry's debate performance. Bonus: winners and losers, and fact-checking.
* The Explainer on how often the death penalty is actually carried out.
* Interesting read on innovation and the American decline.
* Growing number of female vets reporting PTSD and sexual trauma.
* Atheism continues to grow in America.
* Oh, and those smart guys at CERN might have found a particle that goes faster than light. By the way.

King Mob

beautiful and unique snowflakes

"Of course, if they stopped and thought about it, they would realize that Facebook is work. We are not Facebook's customers at all. The boardroom discussions at Facebook are not about how to help little Johnny make more and better friendships online; they are about how Facebook can monetize Johnny's 'social graph' - the accumulated data about how Johnny makes friends, shares links and makes consumer decisions. Facebook's real customers are the companies who actually pay them for this data, and for access to our eyeballs in the form of advertisements. The hours Facebook users put into their profiles and lists and updates is the labor that Facebook then sells to the market researchers and advertisers it serves.

"Deep down, most users sense this, which is why every time Facebook makes a change they are awakened from the net trance for long enough to be reminded of what is really going on. They see that their 'news feeds' are going to be prioritized by an algorithm they will never understand. They begin to suspect that Facebook is about to become more useful to the companies who want to keep 'important' stories from getting lost in the churn - and less useful for the humans."