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  • Language and the hemophiliac, liberal heart
    They will complain about the shocking disregard the careless speaker has for efforts to bridge some of the greater divides in society They may demand the resignation and demonization of the offending party and explain that such hateful expressions chill meaningful dialog Ultimately the shouting match between the How Dare Yous and the Grow Up Already does drown out any meaningful communication Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle Whatever was said probably was probably more ignorant and less vitriolic It probably was carelessly harmful though not intentionally hurtful It may have highlighted or heightened some existing or perceived animosity The numbers show that we still have some pretty stark divides in the country along racial gender and economic lines Without pointing fingers we can agree that this is a complex problem When a problem is rooted in perception and assumption it is in essence a language problem Poorly worded careless phrases can cause significant harm Connotations people may be unaware of can invoke and enforce a nasty history of exclusion from and rejection by the mainstream While the intent may be harmless or humorous it may vividly reinforcement assumptions of who is Us and who is Them In a less politically charged atmosphere it is obvious that careless statements can have damaging effects If a corporation s spokesperson said something disparaging about a branch of the company or an unreleased product it could devastate employee morale or send the stock price plumetting The company would get a new spokesman Sure the spokesperson has free speech but the spokesperson is also responsible for the consequences of her words The spokesperson may be a good well intentioned person but she s a horrible spokesperson Of course we don t have a national stock price But we do have a nation

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/296 (2016-04-30)
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  • Wrapping up the Democratic nomination
    question on what to do with the popular vote is what to do with Michigan and what to do with states that did not report a popular total There are however very good estimates of who voted how in those states that did not report a popular vote total so the most inclusive estimate would use this In Michigan where late polls suggest Obama had as much or more support than Clinton Obama was not on the ballot Clinton won 55 percent of the vote Nobody or Uncommitted won 40 of the vote Write in votes for Obama were thrown out If we want to count Michigan we should count the uncommitted votes for Obama While a minority of the uncommitteds might have wanted to vote for Edwards the 27 694 discarded write in votes the 20 of Clinton supporters who indicated in exit polls that they would prefer to vote for another candidate and the disenfranchised Obama supporters who voted in the Republican primary or just stayed home should more than make up the difference By counting as many of the votes in as many states Obama narrowly but definitively wins the popular vote Was Barack Obama s campaign financed by giant far left celebrity donations No It is true that Obama has broken fundraising records but he follows campaign finance laws like everybody else The guy who cut my hair told me he d heard that Oprah donated 100 million to Obama s campaign Apparently he believed that Obama s remarkable fundraising success came from a few big donors who somehow bought the primary process Under federal election law the maximum donation to a political campaign is 2 300 Since the primary and general elections count separately there is a maximum individual donation of 4 600 By law

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/295 (2016-04-30)
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  • Old Media is choking on New Media
    are likely to be checking Blackberries to see the latest buzz on the gaffe of the day The old media reporters are getting their cue from new media writers on what is worth pursuing New media in return is getting most of its information from old media Information by necessity removed from its context in one story gets further removed from context in another story After reading political blogs reporters ask candidates what is important to the arm chair politicos rather than what seems relevant to the country or what nobody has asked before Then since communication is functionally instant the loop repeats itself Worse since it s easy to spend a large amount of time scanning many websites for little new information there is not a lot of time left for actual reporting I like to imagine it wasn t always like this I like to imagine old newspapermen in their newspaperman hats would spend their downtime looking for a story by talking to people rather than browsing the Internet and trying to get in on a story that s already been told The Internet has great amounts of information most of it repeated and respun multiple times But it has nothing compared to the actual world Rather than staring fixedly at a Blackberry my mytho newspapermen might have interacted with other people waiting for the same event and tried to get a sense of what they cared about and what was important to their community If they wanted to see what other reporters were working on they would have to wait for the next morning s paper They would be more influenced by their own judgment and hard work than the collective noise of their particular corner of the Internet In all probability this rugged and uninfluenced reporter

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/293 (2016-04-30)
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  • Truth, rumors, and predictions for the next iPhone
    don t need to make large profits on the hardware If they chose to do this it would most likely be 299 for 8 GB I do not expect that the new iPhone models will differ in any other ways from each other only capacity I don t think for example that they would only give a 3G radio to the largest capacity model The new capacities and pricing would probably force a change in the iPod Touch lineup I expect to see the same price points and doubled capacities in the iPod Touch lineup as well I don t think we d see a 199 8 GB model Size The iPhone is 45 thicker than the iPod Touch but they share much of the same hardware The additional thickness in the iPhone is probably to accommodate the cellular radio and a larger battery 3G radios are larger and consume more battery power Even if Apple finds a way to make the other components smaller they ll probably need even more room for the battery now or they ll have to disable 3G by default likely And they still need to find somewhere to put the 3G radio I don t think Apple can make the iPhone significantly thinner yet and they almost certainly won t make it thicker so I predict that it will stay the same size Depending on how much internal volume is consumed by the battery the weight might change slightly but we won t notice I also predict no changes in the physical buttons Hardware features GPS No Not enough room too much power consumption not enough demand Better camera No It would benefit most from an autofocus lens but tiny ones suitable for phones are still very rare and young And they re not

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/294 (2016-04-30)
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  • Comments
    no repercussions to saying anything stupid or negative because a commenter isn t held personally accountable Invitation Comments directly invite commenters to say whatever they want usually with very little guidance and very few restrictions The filters that reduce people s ignorance and aggression in the real world are absent from comments There s no reason to filter yourself I want comments New blog authors often say they want comments but what they really want is validation feedback and intelligent discussion They assume that comments will provide this But they don t Why reblogging works Tumblr s reblog feature is a way to satisfy much of the desire for comments It allows other Tumblr members to quickly post a copy of someone else s post on their own tumblelogs with an optional commentary or reaction This removes some the biggest problems of commenting Rebloggers are taking the discussion onto their sites not mine There s less incentive to be ignorant or negative because they d just annoy their own audiences not mine Rebloggers are web publishers themselves so they re unlikely to be confused and mistake your site for Royal Dansk s or LG s They re also more likely to write well and understand what content is acceptable to publish The original author isn t explicitly notified upon a reblog the author must choose to look at reblogs And it s optional authors can ignore reblogs and nothing happens It tends to generate exactly what people want validation feedback and intelligent discussion Clearly then these are possible to achieve online just not with comments Quality and purpose This is my site It s a direct reflection of me and it represents a critical part of my online and professional identity I m proud of the writing quality and I

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/292 (2016-04-30)
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  • Falling off the shoulders of giants
    features that Delicious doesn t and Jonathan seems to be severely underestimating the value of a good interface This isn t a new argument it s the classic build it vs buy it choice Reinvent everything yourself This is usually chosen by those who don t trust anyone else s code earning it the excellent nickname of Not Invented Here Syndrome Advantages You own everything you know how everything works and you can modify everything to fit your needs Disadvantages You must expend development time to build and maintain these components and it s easy to get distracted from your core competency with endless unnecessary projects because you won t buy someone else s bug tracker or invoice manager or shopping cart Use third party software as often as possible Advantages Third party software can be more specialized to a narrow task and it might be better than what you could build in house If it breaks it s not your problem New features may be added with updates at no additional cost You can stop worrying about lower level problems and jump right into the interesting parts Disadvantages Your ability to add or modify functionality is limited If it breaks you usually can t fix it you re entirely dependent on the vendor There s no guarantee that the vendor will still exist to maintain the code in 6 months And the vendor may decide to discontinue the product or change the pricing Like most religious programming arguments there is no always right answer different situations justify different choices But building Instapaper on Delicious would have been a terrible idea for many reasons Gains Instapaper and Delicious do share some functionality the storage and retrieval of a list of URLs But that only took me a few hours to write Nearly all other parts of the code interface user management copywriting etc took longer It would have taken me just as long to build an interface to the Delicious API than it took me to replicate all of the functionality I needed from it What would have been gained from that Instead of maintaining the bookmark storage code I have to maintain Delicious API access I ve coded against a web service API before and good integration took a lot more work than I expected But there s a significant cost to depending on someone else s API Dependence For one not all of Instapaper s users have Delicious accounts For someone new to Instapaper they would then need to confusingly sign up for two services That s enough of a barrier that most will say Never mind And what about technical dependencies If Delicious is slow or down Instapaper would suffer or fail Don t assume that any service is invincible to downtime a few months ago Flickr was down for most of a weekend And very few web application APIs guarantee a level of service so if I lost 8 hours of functionality and revenue from Instapaper

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/291 (2016-04-30)
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  • Eight Belles and Thousands More
    industry will get its act together and end the use of steroids and other race day drugs I m not saying Eight Belles was doped though I d love to know what was in her bloodstream in the interests of full disclosure Painkillers help get unsound horses to post where they hurt themselves worse And years of breeding horses who may have raced on steroids or painkillers means that breeders have not had available to them the most honest phenotypic expression of the genes that each stallion and mare has to offer And speaking of breeding I hope that after yesterday despite the beautiful race that Eight Belles ran breeders will think long and hard about sending their mares to Unbridled s Song Unbridled s Song s own foot problems helped keep him from winning the Derby in 1996 He likely inherited his speed and unsoundness from his Derby winning sire Unbridled and passed both along to Eight Belles Big Brown the Derby winner has been plagued for the duration of his short career by bad hooves probably a legacy of his heavy line breeding that s the polite word for inbreeding to the Native Dancer sire line the same one from which the Unbridled s come A Wall Street Journal article from the day before the race points out that every horse in the starting gate had Native Dancer somewhere in its pedigree All of that Native Dancer in Big Brown s pedigree most via his grandson Northern Dancer may well give him the speed to be a superstar as this pedigree analyst suggests It could even make him a potent sire of speed It s also virtually a guarantee that he will pass along those bad feet and dancer delicate legs The Thoroughbred industry has shifted in recent decades Once upon a time horses made money by pounding out many races over the course of long careers Nowadays breeders make money by selling young horses Pinhookers make money by buying young horses at auction getting them looking really good and reselling them as two year olds in training Three year old stars are ushered off to the breeding shed before God forbid something happen to them because they are both too valuable and too delicate to keep racing The emphasis on good looking two year olds and success in those early shorter races and pre sale breezes is why our industry is failing to produce sound horses and why it s failed for thirty years to produce a horse good enough to stand up to the rigors of the Triple Crown campaign and finish the job by winning at a mile and a half in the Belmont The test is not too hard we ve just lost sight of how to prepare and breed the animals to pass it The darkest and most unconscionable thing about the Thoroughbred industry however is not the horrific on camera breakdowns or the short sighted breeding The death Eight Belles died was

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/290 (2016-04-30)
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  • Unpaid internships
    money to last them through the school year When I was in college I couldn t afford not to get paid in the summer And I was luckier than most my mother graciously paid for my education I still had some relatively low expenses so I worked to pay them In New York and probably other places it s normal and common for companies to offer unpaid internships The interns are usually doing valuable skilled nontrivial work Often they re picking up excess load from paid employees and doing the same tasks They re not just getting coffee and making copies they re doing real work The same work that people get paid for But it costs money to be here and this just helps contribute to the growing income and opportunity gap The only people who can afford to take unpaid internships are the locals so the student can stay at home and the rich A middle class student from Pennsylvania can t afford to take an unpaid internship in New York it would cost him thousands of dollars just to live here for the summer and he d lose the opportunity to make a salary at a paying

    Original URL path: http://articles.marco.org/289 (2016-04-30)
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