MT Posts and comments

by Henry on April 23, 2004

We’ve been having some server problems which have disrupted the publication of both posts and comments. They should now be resolved – you should be able to comment again without receiving weird error messages. There will probably be further short term disruption in a few days, when we move to a new hosting provider – watch this space for further details.

Industrial policy for me but not for thee

by Daniel on April 23, 2004

I realise that this is about the fourth time I’ve had a hit-and-run shot at an Airmiles column, while crying off doing the proper Globollocks analysis for lack of time. I am a bit short of time at the moment, but the real reason is thatit’s so dispiriting; the general miasma of Globollocks overwhelms any specific instance. Check out today’s example.

Friedman believes that it would be a danger to the USA on a par with global terrorism if someone in India working for a US-owned firm were to invent something useful. Think I’m joking? Read the bugger. He actually uses the phrase “war for innovation”.

Apparently the USA isn’t bringing through enough research scientists. What’s the solution? Presumably the rush to global competition of the free market. Nope, sorry, wrong, the solution is massive amounts of government money. In the Airmiles world, agricultural subsidies are terrible, awful anticompetitive, protectionist. But massive subsidies to the science industry are imperative, because of globalisation or something.

Wretched analysis. Someone has told Airmiles that “basic research” is a phrase meaning “science that it’s OK to want a subsidy for”. And he’s taken it as the intellectual equivalent of a Sapphire Class Admiral’s Club pass to support the contention that we need to incentivise domestic private research to keep its facilities onshore. What about “Susie Smith at the pillow factory?”, who would also presumably like a say in how this tax-funded largesse is to be distributed? Scrwe her, apparently; her role in Friedman’s weightless globalised world is a source of funds and a punchline to jokes. What a piece of work.

Please Stand By

by Kieran Healy on April 23, 2004

We seem to be having some technical difficulties, possibly related to our SQL server. Rebuilds aren’t working properly and Movable Type is complaining it can’t find template modules that it should know perfectly well are there (because they are now and always have been).

Where do you go first?

by Eszter Hargittai on April 23, 2004

Ted’s recent post reminds me of a question I have been pondering recently due to a change in my media use habits. Where do you go first in the morning for an update on current events? I don’t necessarily mean just online, but in general? If online, what site(s) or lists? It used to be that I would just go to nytimes.com as a starting point and then take it from there often clicking on to some blogs (like some of the precursors of CT) to see what other items of news people found of interest. But starting with the New York Times doesn’t quite do it for me anymore. I haven’t developed a new system yet. For now, I often just start at whatever site I visited the night before. A friend of mine recently told me that he always starts at Talking Points Memo then he looks at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and finally checks out the BBC. That sounded like a good way to start the day. I’m curious, where do others go first?

How government is wrecking British universities

by Chris Bertram on April 23, 2004

A prominent philosopher in the UK emails to tell me that he has had enough and that he’s looking for employment in the US. The proximate cause of his frustration is the ridiculously complicated process that the Arts and Humanities Research Board (soon to be Council) imposes on us as a condition for distributing the pitiful funding that is available for research students. Increasingly, universities have to demonstrate that they are providing all kinds of “training” in order to access this money and this is part of a wider trend where government (or its arms-length agencies like the AHRB, HEFCE etc) seeks to regulate and micromanage activity within higher education by such conditionalization of funding. My correspondent draws attention to the recent review of “Business-University Collaboration” undertaken by former FT-editor Richard Lambert at Gordon Brown’s behest. Suprisingly, given Brown’s predilection for micromanagement and control across the public sector, one section of the report offers a trenchant exposition of the mess that the government has made as it has tried to subject higher education in the UK to its will.

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Pensions in the New York Times

by Daniel on April 23, 2004

I thoroughly recommend this article in the New York Times. While I have no particular opinions on the management of the Maine state pension fund (well, if you really needed one, I daresay I could get some for you cheap rate), it’s a nice and clear explanation of an interesting little part of an issue that I’ve always thought the plain man should be more interested in than he in fact is.