Assorted links

by on August 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. The world's biggest message: can you guess what it says?

2. Markets in everything, spanning edition, via Chris Hayes.

3. Markets in everything, edible guns strange pictures Hessische Kultur edition.

4. Five relatively ignored humanitarian crises.

5. Kindle books are much cheaper in the UK.

Matt August 24, 2010 at 1:35 pm

@1 Nice of the government to provide those highways and GPS satellites for him to write that message.

Dave August 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

That’s a kind of confusion of “monumental” and “worth doing” that Rand herself would have been proud of.

Leigh Caldwell August 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm

@Matt: he must have used his own roads and GPS satellites. He says so, and it must be true:

The idea was conceived and “written” by one person, Nick Newcomen, during the spring and summer of 2010. All expenses were paid entirely by him.

RH August 24, 2010 at 2:49 pm

For 1. I had guessed at “some sort of weird advertisement”. I was right.

Millian August 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

1. I guessed an exhortation to embrace a religion. What else would make someone do something like that? I was kind of correct.

Robbie August 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm

This may have been featured in the assorted links already but for those of you who haven’t seen it yet this is worth checking out

Welcome to Lagos is now on youtube:

Episode 1.

See a burgeoning civil society at work in a developing country, albeit with some arnarcho-syndicalist aspects.

A fantastic peice of television, as a European it probably even better than seeing the city first hand, for getting a feel of this fascinating city and countless others around the world.

hibikir August 24, 2010 at 3:31 pm

You don’t often see that sort of life-long fanaticism about other authors, unless the authors wrote religious texts.

Well, Rand’s thinking, is, in many ways, almost religious, so it’s no wonder it finds some devotees out there. It paints very clean lines of right and wrong, making a society’s organization into a religion. There are other examples out there, but you won’t find many people favoring them in the US.

Simple worldviews are very alluring to many people, whether there’s a supernatural entity presented within said worldview or not. It sure sells a lot better than claiming that you don’t have all the answers, admitting that you’ve been wrong before, and that good and evil are hard to define and identify.

Dave August 24, 2010 at 5:24 pm

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Ryan August 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

So, like… Worst-case scenario is this GPS guy writes in Leonard Peikov in the next election, turns on some Rush albums, and writes something on a blog that you guys will probably never see. Why the vitriol? What’s wrong with you guys?

Hard to tell what’s more fanatical: the guy who used his GPS to scrawl Ayn Rand’s name across the North American continent or the bitterness with which you people pounce on any excuse to excoriate a dead author.

Every now and then someone comes along with just the right mixture of intelligence, popularity, and un-cool-ness that brings out the inner-book-burner in everyone. She must have done something write, because I sure don’t see anyone lambasting Kafka fans like this.

…Oh, I know, I know. Kafka thrived in NUANCE, and Rand didn’t… Don’t worry, I get it. I’m cool. :p

Ryan August 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Haha, nonchalance is a little late in coming from the guy who took the mention of an Ayn Rand fan as an opportunity to criticize “big C conservatism” and China! That’s pretty much half the population of the Earth. You covered a lot of ground in those 30 seconds! (Albeit not quite a continent.) ;)

Steko August 24, 2010 at 9:46 pm

“Haha, nonchalance is a little late in coming from the guy who took the mention of an Ayn Rand fan as an opportunity to criticize “big C conservatism” and China! That’s pretty much half the population of the Earth. You covered a lot of ground in those 30 seconds! (Albeit not quite a continent.) ;)

I’m more offended by your terrible math skills (china + big C conservatives > 3.4 billion people?) then your half-hearted attempt to denigrate my nonchalance.

The questioner had singled out Ayn Rand “fanatics”, I saw the phenomenon as a subset of the larger cult of personality among yes big C conservatives (most notably Reagan, at one point Dubya, currently Palin). Feel free to toss a real argument at any of this if you disagree.

lena August 24, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Can we get someone in Canada to spell out “DON’T”?

Dan August 25, 2010 at 3:06 am

1. His writing improved over time, particularly the “A”s, which is good to see. I find it ironic that the “D” he squeezed against the Atlantic coast came out so much nicer than the one that he had endless open space to draw in the upper midwest.

Asher August 25, 2010 at 3:46 am

Why should Newcomen care what basic ideas will enable America to remain a great nation? Why does it matter to him if America is a great nation or not? Isn’t that living his life for someone else?

Dave August 25, 2010 at 7:58 am

Actually Andrew there were plenty of influential libertarian and conservative thinkers making waves while Rand was writing, but she despised them (both Hayek and Friedman, for example) because they didn’t conform to her childish metaphysics. She convinced her followers that it was either her or communism, and ever since then Randians have stuck faithfully to the personality cult doctrine that the idea of freedom wouldn’t have existed without her. This is why her most savage critics have always been on the Right (read Murray Rothbard’s “The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult”). The Left would love it if the whole of libertarianism could be dismissed as a product of Ayn Rand’s ego.

Dan * August 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

@Dave – If I’m part of the Left (not sure what your categorization is) then I just want anarcho-capitalism to be her fault and get license from the other libertarians to lump most of the crazies in that bucket.

@Baphomet – The way I read Ayn Rand, she advocates passive acceptance of genocide. Weren’t any cures for cancer coming out of Armenia or Rwanda, right?

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