Assorted links


#7: "New narrative journalism project": that's just too easy a target.

7. What's missing from digital journalism is people willing to pay for either ads or content.

#7: I love the lack of self-awareness from this crowd. They have been doing narrative journalism for fifty years now. A fair chunk of it is fictional. But, Bezos will bring in an army of 2.0 consultants to slap new buzzwords on the things and it will look new. It will be interesting to see how the world's greatest living flim-flam man does in the news game.

Bezos is showing signs of being interesting. He fired Ezra Klein - at the risk of alienating the Journolist crowd who are clearly still out there and still co-ordinating their work. He has also hired at least one person from the more right wing blogosphere. That is a good start. Newspapers cannot go on forever writing stories about how much they hate their audience. Any more than Hollywood can. Look at what that article does say:

I’m looking for someone a little different from what I think maybe Nate Silver is looking for or David Leonhardt is looking for, or that Ezra is looking for. We’re looking for people who understand policy and know what a good study is and what a bad study is, and how to tell the difference

So ..... Nate Silver likes people who don't understand policy and don't know what a bad study is? I can see that.

but who also are great reporters who will spend that extra time in the passenger seat of the pickup truck or across the kitchen table, or hanging out at the back of the union hall

Hello Ezra! Klein would improve if he met some real people.

We’re looking for really strong narrative writers. We’re looking for people who care about people, who are really good at listening to people, and who are good at building from a micro to show a macro picture. That’s a specialized skill set but I’m really impressed with the people I’ve seen so far. And that’s just for the writers.

Standard marketing blah.

We’re also hiring data people; there’s a wide range of possibilities for what they might do for us. They’re essentially people who’re going to help us tell these stories in different ways and who have a different way of thinking about issues.

Data people? Now Bezos might be on to something. Because data people probably means Right wing people. It means a more conservative outlook. Because all the emoting might be liberal, but the facts are conservative. This suggests a new approach which could be interesting. Actual fact checking (as opposed to, does this help Obama?).

Could be a revolution.

Notice the Danish kids looking at the dead giraffe being dissected without remorse or squeamishness. In another story, I think it was mentioned here, the Danish slaughterhouses offer tours of how cattle are butchered to Danish schoolkids who don't mind watching. It's a pragmatic society and that's the way sissy American kids should be, but aren't.

In matters of slaughter those Viking genes must help......

Speaking as a 1/2 Dane, my family was still farm-connected even after a couple generations here in US cities. Animals are not people & etc. When I visited Uncle Viggo's farm, pigs were going off to slaughter. Sad, but part of farm life.

Outside the "sissy" belt, American kids hunt with their father and learn to butcher animals. It is becoming less common, but there are a lot of hunters in America.

Actually, I think the "sissy belt" and "less common" are both wrong as a generation of foodies come to grip with origins of their meat. New ethicists would rather hunt than eat of a factory farm.

"It’s a pragmatic society and that’s the way sissy American kids should be, but aren’t."

It occurs to me that I saw and participated in a significant amount of pragmatism growing up, and it might be beneficial to my kids to experience some of that as they grow up.

Channeling the OG (Original Gonzo):

“Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits -- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”

2. Let's say there are lots of jobs in North Dakota in your general field, and you really need to support a wife and two kids. Where will you live in North Dakota in order to support your family?

Economists seem to view workers as machines. Just plop them down someplace and they just work to produce output. No need for them to be fed and housed. No need for their kids to be educated - in fact, workers do not have kids as far as economists are concerned when it comes to solving labor problems? Hell, there isn't even a need for water when it comes to workers. Often economists see no need for water for anything.

'Often economists see no need for water for anything.'

Imagine a spring. Or a well. Or a desalination plant. Or a new technology.

If you find just imagining the solution a viable answer to any reality based problem, you are well on your way to never being an engineer.

What we need is a plan!

You buy a travel trailer. I've lived out of one on multi-month projects.

Cowen's lists are so eclectic!

#4. The story instantly reminded me of the Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. Of course in his example it was cigarettes. But here it would seem that planners have been unable to determine the right amount of Choco Pies to distribute.

I got some free Choco Pies offered to customers of H-Mart. I found them even more dry and tasteless than the many other East Asian snacks I've tried.

You'd probably have to eat like a North Korean for a few months to replicate the taste sensation they give them. There's nothing like borderline starvation to make simple carbs and fat taste great. Of course it wouldn't be starving people buying them on the black market but, like many South Koreans, elite North Koreans would probably find many American snack foods far too sweet for their taste.

1. People have an impulse to breath in water when they fall through ice? That I did not know. Does it apply to swimmers? I find it hard to believe that I'd be tempted to take a breath of water no matter what the temperature, but then I've never fallen through ice. And people have 5-10 minutes under water before they lose consciousness? I know that cold water can reduce the need the oxygen, but that seems way too optimistic. Is this a lie to help people remain calm as they may feel that several minutes have passed when actually it's been less than a minute, or is it to encourage rescuers not to give up too early?

That actually makes sense. Expose me to a sudden bracing cold (like entering a cold shower or swimming pool) and the first thing my body does is inhale. It's a reflex.

My reaction to getting immersed is to take a quick breath before my head goes under but that's probably the result of a lot of practice from a very young age. Also, there is a distinct lack of bracing cold around here so I can't say what I would do if I was dumped in icy water, but I'm pretty confident I wouldn't try to breath it. I must make a note to jump in the sea on a cold winter's day and see what its like.

Re #1 Been there, done that when I was about twelve, almost exactly as illustrated minus the beard.

From the housing article:

“What is wrong with the system is there is a fixation on addressing multiple social issues on the backs of poor people,” he says.

Justus isn’t against building green or paying union wages to construction workers. But the job is to get low-income people into housing they can afford, he says, and all those extra requirements are making it impossible.

Shouldn't this be "What is wrong with the system is there is a fixation on paying off the special interest groups that back the program"?


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