More links

You know the drill. I find some pages that amuse me. I yammer on about them.

  • Many-to-Many had a couple interesting responses from Clay Shirky and danah boyd to this post about Wikipedia. I particularly liked this point by danah:

    My concern – and that of many of my colleagues – is that students are often not media-savvy enough to recognize when to trust Wikipedia and when this is a dreadful idea. They quote from it as though it cannot be inaccurate.

    This relates back to my thoughts about being an information carnivore, and reminding us of the dangers of consuming information without knowing its provenance. Wikipedia, as a community-created information source, just brings these issues into stark relief.

  • Edge ran its annual survey of intellectuals with the question “What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?”. I like Edge – in fact, last year’s question about Laws was where I first read about Lakoff. Not as many interesting answers this year, alas.
  • I liked this interview with Michael Schrage. Given my preference for rapid prototyping, I like his ideas about innovation, including in his book Serious Play.
  • Given that I like Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff, I thought this Fast Company profile was interesting. I should really read Blink at some point.
  • I read this depressing Economist article from their Iraq correspondent this morning (subscription necessary, alas). Here’s just a taste:

    “If anyone gets too close to us we fucking waste them,” says a bullish lieutenant. “It’s kind of a shame, because it means we’ve killed a lot of innocent people.”

    And not all of them were in cars. Since discovering that roadside bombs, known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), can be triggered by mobile telephones, marines say they shoot at any Iraqi they see handling a phone near a bomb-blast. Bystanders to an insurgent ambush are also liable to be killed. Sometimes, the marines say they hide near the body of a dead insurgent and kill whoever comes to collect it. According to the marine lieutenant: “It gets to a point where you can’t wait to see guys with guns, so you start shooting everybody…It gets to a point where you don’t mind the bad stuff you do.”

  • Another Economist article, subtitled “Why people of the book have such trouble with language, truth and logic”, and which discusses the difficulties of treating sacred texts as holy writ. Such behavior leads pretty directly to me ranting about creationism. I figured I’d link to it even though it’s subscription only because it ties in well to some recent rants.

  • I went to SFMOMA last week. The Glamour exhibit and the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit were pretty excellent, but the art that caught my eye was a picture that had been rotated into the ongoing Picturing Modernity exhibit. It was a print of a whole slew of postcard sized images by Eleanor Antin, each of which depicted 100 boots in various poses. You can see a few of the images at this site. Quirky and whimsical and utterly endearing. I wanted a poster of the whole set for my walls, but such a thing apparently doesn’t exist. I spent some time with Google, and even asked the artist directly via email. She did point me to the republished book of postcards, which would let me pull out the postcards and make my own collage. So I’ll order that, and figure out what I want to do later.