Spam and Soccer

by Kieran Healy on June 11, 2006

I just noticed via our “Technorati Link Page”: that in the last few hours, CT has been linked to by dozens of (presumably) robo-generated blogspot blogs. Each one I’ve looked at is populated with a page of posts with content that looks like it was scraped from Wikipedia. All of them have names of the form AdjectiveNoun. My favorite name so far is TiredStation, which could be used by some pro-business content generators we know. So far the content is innocuous, but I suppose that the next step is for the Wikipedia content to disappear and be replaced by true spam after some suitable delay. Feh.

Meanwhile, the World Cup continues. In the general spirit of four hundred years of oppression I was hoping Angola would beat Portugal, or at least draw. The more anxious English pundits are killing themselves over Eriksson’s mysterious tactics, even though England won their opening game. Eriksson brought relatively few strikers along in the squad, and if the usual number of functioning legs for any _n_ strikers is given by the formula n∗2, in England’s case the calculation is presently the slightly more complex (n∗2)-(n-1). Coming up today: Australia vs Japan, USA vs Czech Republic, and Italy vs Ghana.

_Update_: My “adopted team”: came through with a late rush of goals. Australia were unlucky with Japan’s goal, which might easily have been disallowed seeing as a Japanese player impeded the keeper. But then again, Japan should probably have had a penalty just after Australia equalized, so them’s the breaks.

Ministry of tact

by Chris Bertram on June 11, 2006

bq. A top US official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a “good PR move to draw attention”.

So “reports”: the BBC. And who is this “top official”? She is Colleen Graffy,

bq. “Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy.”

I wonder what she says when she’s being undiplomatic.

A couple weeks ago Matt Yglesias noted the peculiarity of ‘unapologetic liberal‘. (File under ‘catechism of cliche’, ‘what sort of liberal is he?’) I thought I’d dredge up something from the files:

[click to continue…]

France in comparative perspective

by Chris Bertram on June 11, 2006

Sadly, John Thornhill’s “a Martian economist visits earth” “article”: is behind a subscription firewall. Hard not to smile at this:

bq. Our Martian friend scratches its heads. “When my economics professor last visited earth in 1945 he told me that the Europeans had just experienced a terrible civil war in which 36m people had been killed, including many of their most brilliant minds. Now you tell me that 60m French people produce almost as much economic output each year as 1.3bn Chinese, who have been the dominant economic power for most of your planet’s history. What is more, the French can do this while working 35-hour weeks and producing 246 different types of cheese. How did this economic miracle come about?”

I’d say “read the whole thing”, but unless you’ve got an FT subscription, you can’t.