Thursday, April 15, 2010

Short Story

More O'Henry than Chekov, but still..This French short movie is set in the metro and is called J’Attendrai Le Suivant (I’ll Wait for the Next One). It was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Short Film in 2002.

More here

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Libertarian Illusion

Two excellent posts over at Will Wilkinson's blog.

In one, he agrees with David Boaz that there was never any golden age of freedom in the United States.
And again I say, when [Future of Freedom Foundation president Jacob Hornberger] says “our American ancestors,” he’s thinking only of our white ancestors. Maybe only of our white male ancestors. Maybe even only of our white male property-owning ancestors. Many millions of Americans would read these paragraphs and say, “My ancestors didn’t have the right to worship in their own way. My ancestors didn’t have the right to keep and bear arms. My ancestors didn’t have the protection of centuries-old legal procedures. My ancestors sure as heck didn’t have the right to keep what they produced, or to pursue an occupation of their choice, or to enter into mutually beneficial trades. In fact, my ancestors didn’t even have the minimal right of ‘the absence of physical constraint.’
In the other, he discusses the fact that what we would call "conservative" changes with each generation
Conservative conceptions of American identity are ad hoc, opportunistic, and evolving, but they are conservative conceptions in large part because they deny that they are in fact contingent or historically conditioned. That’s how they go on meeting the needs of Americans who long for rootedness, continuity, and a sense that their political commitments are based on transcendent, fixed moral truths, and the authority of tradition.
Looking at India, or anywhere for that matter, you see exactly the same phenomenon: people idealizing the past, a desire for "rootedness, continuity, and a sense that their political commitments are based on transcendent, fixed moral truths, and the authority of tradition". Its when this desire for faith is threatened that people lash out with desperate rage.

iPad roundup

For a product which was mocked when it was merely a work in progress, lots of people seem to have fallen in love with the iPad.

John Gapper says that the iPod is better for periodicals, the Kindle for books.

Tim Wu says that the iPad is Steve Jobs' final victory over Steve Wozniak.

Nick Carr argues that the move away from the Hobbyists' ethic is not both inevitable and right. The comments are good. One points out that
Citrix has released an iPad app that lets you access a hosted virtal Windows machine. If Amazon did the same for EC2, you could use your iPad to control an entire cloud-bank of wildly inexpensive Linux machines. Sounds like "generativity" to me. I think the Luddites still think that "the computer is the computer". Think of the iPad as a screen, not an entire computer

John Gapper wonders whether publishers will be able to make full use of the potential of the iPad.