Month: February 2010

  • More on Jack Matthews

    A while back I wrote a short reaction to discovering the short story writer Jack Matthews. Since that time, I am in the middle of publishing a 5 part interview with Jack Matthews about his life and work (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). Here is some critical material I wrote…

  • The media never lies (it just ignores the real story)

    Musings about why the media underreports certain stories (like climate change). By Robert Nagle

  • Alberto Manguel on Ereading

    Alberto Manguel, (in an interview with PBS ArtBeat) speaks about  reading and technology. ALBERTO MANGUEL: I don’t think that the definition of library has changed. Libraries have never been repositories solely of books. In Alexandria for instance, the model of the ideal library perhaps, there was a will to collect every book in the world,…

  • Nagle’s First Law of Ebook Pricing and Distribution

    I keep googling around to find this observation I made a few years ago on Teleread; now I am putting it on my own blog in the hopes that it will be easier to find. NAGLE’S FIRST LAW OF EBOOK PROMOTION AND DISTRIBUTION: Comparatively speaking, it requires more effort to persuade a reader to invest…

  • Dear Mr. Cornyn and Ms. Hutchinson (RE: Health care)

    (Here is a short complaint letter I sent to my US Senators. I have basically given up on writing these people because they seem to have ideological blinders on (especially Mr. Cornyn). Dear Mr. Cornyn and Ms. Hutchinson: I wanted to point out one fact: my Aetna individual health insurance rates skyrocketed 40% in 4…

  • Random Onion Stuff

    Onion video: How to pretend you give a shit about the election . Some American voices: On Cows who instinctively know North and whether moisturizers cause cancer in mice.

  • Should we still buy dictionaries? (My quest for the elusive Zyjgyduf)

    Two months ago I wrote in an article I wrote about  how to build a better vocabulary,  I recommended buying a good dictionary – only to realize that I no longer possessed one! I have always been a dictionary fiend, but especially become one while teaching in Eastern Europe, where a good English dictionary was…

  • Charlie Brooker on ebooks

    A few weeks ago Paul Biba blogged about a hilarious Charlie Brooker video about how to report the news. Charlie Brooker is a kind of British Steven Colbert/Bill Moyers who analyzes current media obsessions with a cynical eye. (See his piece about mass killings and his pilot Newswipe episode and his take on American news…

  • The free market can be a time-sink

    There is an entertaining maxim about linux: “Linux is a great OS  as long as the value of your time is nil.” Of course, that is unfair; you do spend more time learning linux, but that is compensated by having a deep and intimate  relationship with system commands and window managers. What you miss in…

  • Health Insurance Rate Hikes

    Ironic Postscript: Hours after I wrote this, I received a note from Aetna informing me of another price increase for health insurance.  Until January 2010 my total price for a $5000 deductible health insurance + dental plan  was $148. Starting January 2010, it bumped up to $184. Starting April 2010, the price is $207.  This…

  • Health insurance and mortality

    A few months ago I brought up the question of amenable mortality as it relates to health care and insurance.  While the topic seemed interesting to me, I had to admit that the evidence looked questionable. When talking about public policy, it’s nice and convenient to have a way to quantify the number of corpses…

  • Various things smart people should know

    Business reporters Alex Nussbaum and Meg Tirrell estimate the impact of no health care reform on the US. One in five working-age Americans lacked health coverage during the first half of 2009, the highest in six years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Dec. 16 report. Health-care spending last year…

  • I should know better

    Every time I watch a British historical costume drama, I tell myself that surely there has to be at least one example from  the genre which  is not a dreadful bore. Nope. Out of boredom, I started watching Dr. Who (2005 version). I found it a silly escapist time-waster, but at least it didn’t pretend…

  • And now this …. (what!?!)

    I just watched a Superbowl commercial on hulu which was introduced by a TV commercial for Coca Cola.  That’s what it has come down to:  even the TV commercials now have TV commercials. This blog post is about a blogpost about itself.

  • Bequeathing images of myself to posterity

    While checking my referrer logs, I see that a CC photo I snapped of a family Thanksgiving is used ironically on a post about murdering family members.  I generally don’t care who uses my photos although probably it would be taking things too far to use images of children inappropriately (see this case). But as…

  • How to Complain (Random Tips)

    Consumerist has some fun thoughts about getting complaints resolved. One commenter suggests: bringing a lawnchair, a six pack, a novel and potato chips and camp out in front of the company’s  building. More seriously, an brilliant commenter recommends depersonalizing the problem and going out of your way not to blame the person you are complaining…