Journal of Philosophy

by Brian on September 20, 2003

Chris’s post below notes some disturbing ways in which Amazon seems to be backing out of the academic bookselling business. This would really be too bad if it happened, because online booksellers have been a boon for people wanting access to academic books but without access to New York quality bookstores. So just to make people feel a little better about Amazon’s business plans, you can, in America at least, get a Journal of Philosophy subscription through Amazon. I was rather surprised by this, and it’s a kind of involvement with academic publishing that I hadn’t expected at all from Amazon.

If there starts being competitive distribution of academic journals, this could really put downward pressure on prices. (Of course, I get all of these journals for free through my department, but not everyone has jobs which allow them access to all the journals they want, and this kind of development could be good news for them.)

Low standards in high places

by Henry on September 20, 2003

Technical standards are dull stuff for the most part; engineers or techies talking to other engineers or techies about the appropriate ways to implement this or that. While the politics of standard-setting is interesting in its own right^1^, it usually isn’t a very _political_ kind of politics. Here comes a prominent exception.

Via “Cory”:http://boingboing.net/2003_09_01_archive.html#106401808835764965 at BoingBoing: the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) has issued a “call to arms”:http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/IEEE/ over voting machine standards. According to the EFF, various vested interests are trying to push through a weak standard for voting machines in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). If the EFF is right, this isn’t just an argument over technical issues; it has potentially serious consequences for politics and vote-fraud.

So what exactly is going on here?

[click to continue…]

This just in from CNN

by Kieran Healy on September 20, 2003

cnn-cap.png

The funny thing is, it’s kind of true about the robot ship death crash, though I wouldn’t have put it that way myself. Or maybe the skateboard generation is also gaining influence over CNN’s subeditors.

Big Man for Prez

by Jon Mandle on September 20, 2003

A blog calling itself “the unofficial Bush-Cheney campaign blog” has followed much of the right-wing media (like here and here) in reporting some comments Bruce Springsteen recently made at a concert in Washington. Under the heading “More Signs the Left Is Just Losing It” is the following: “At his Fed-Ex Field concert last weekend, Bruce Springsteen said Bush “ought to be impeached and started chanting, ‘Impeach, impeach.’ But the call was not picked up by the multitude, some of whom even began to boo.”

The obvious comeback is: they weren’t saying “boo” they were saying “Bruce”.

But whatever they were saying (most reports didn’t hear anything), and whether or not the comments reflected Bruce’s true views, they were obviously a joke. He was laughing when he said it!

For over two decades, Bruce has introduced his sax player Clarence Clemons as (among other things) “the next President of the United States”. He even did this at a concert in 1999, with Al Gore in the audience. I wasn’t in Washington, but here’s a report of Bruce’s introduction of Clarence (taken from a usenet group):

Bruce said, “It’s time, it’s time to impeach the president and get someone in there who knows what the f*ck they’re doing! – Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons!” After the applause, Bruce continued joking, “impeach him! Throw him out! Dick Cheney too!” as Clarence and Bruce were making the baseball ‘you’re out!’ hand gestures.

Often, Bruce has serious points to make in concert. For example, when introducing “Born in the U.S.A.” over the past year, he often used a variation of this line, which he said on March 6, 2003: “I wrote this song back in the early 80s about the Vietnam War. I hope I don’t have to write it again. I’m gonna send it out tonight as a prayer for peace, for the safety of our sons and daughters and the innocent Iraqi civilians.” That was no joke.

And they say liberals have no sense of humor.

Forbes 400

by Jon Mandle on September 20, 2003

Forbes magazine has published their list of the 400 richest people in America. Together, their net worth is up 10% from last year, to $995 billion. The accompanying article begins: “Up from the ashes. After two years of declining values, the rich finally got richer.”

Finally.