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On Pinterest: Delightful, Addictive, Theft

@hman Is that the one for things you find in your belly button?

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm 2

On Pinterest: Delightful, Addictive, Theft

I'm going to start a site where you can show people your interesting rock collection. It'll be called Flinterest.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm 0

On Pinterest: Delightful, Addictive, Theft

I still don't get Pinterest, but now at least I know it's because I have a penis.

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm 0

On Veggie Moussaka With Puy Lentils

Fun (?) fact: Greece has the second-longest working hours in the whole OECD, just behind South Korea. You know who works the 2nd LEAST in the OECD? Fucking Germans! (They work 100 hours less per year than the French, even.)

Anyway I love moussaka, and this sounds like a great recipe!

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm 0

On One Google Books To Rule Them All?

@SeanP Indeed, another excellent piece by a wonderful writer (even though she probably won't be getting paid for it for all of eternity).

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 9:17 am 0

On One Google Books To Rule Them All?

@Jon Custer Just to be clear, I'm no techno-utopian. Throughout recorded history there have been exactly three types of people who pursue art as a sole occupation:

(1) Those of independent means, who either (a) become famous and successful or (b) don't.

(2) Those who struggle in poverty and obscurity for a time, then because famous and successful.

(3) Those who struggle in poverty in obscurity for a time, then either give up or die, and who later (a) become famous/successful or (b) don't.

The chance of Google and Amazon changing any of this is vanishingly slim. But I would argue that the chance that preserving our current system, or returning to an earlier system, will magically produce a population of middle-class professional artists is even slimmer.

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm 0

On One Google Books To Rule Them All?

Here are three thoughts:

-- The current copyright system is insane. Any rents (because that's what they are) paid to creators above and beyond the bare minimum it would've taken to incentivize them to produce in the first place are a deadweight loss to the economy and to society. Would Ursula K. Le Guin have written The Left Hand of Darkness if she knew she would not still be receiving royalties on it in 2011? Contrary to popular belief, economics cares about utility, not money. And every dollar Le Guin collects on royalties for works she wrote 40 years ago could be plausibly said to represent a theft of utility from both potential readers of her book (who choose not to read it because they don't want to pay for it) and from actual readers (who are less able to buy other utility-enhancing goods and services because of the money they spent on her book).

-- Suppose I write a nice long review of The Left Hand of Darkness on by blog, in which I quote my three favorite lines from the book. Now say I include an Amazon link on which I get a commission. Do I need her permission to do this? If not, how is my situation different from Google's, aside from that they have automated this process?

-- Google and Amazon have every incentive to publish as many (e-)books as they possibly can, and effectively promote them to people who might like to buy them, because their marginal cost is virtually zero. Traditional publishers, for whom each book published is a large financial risk, have an incentive to heavily promote guaranteed bestsellers and to do small, poorly promoted runs of books they think won't sell well. The current system, based on advances of royalties, more resembles a lottery for writers of variable and unknown quality who are lucky or have connections in the publishing industry. As a reader, I care more about the quantity of good and interesting literature (and nonfiction) than about the population of "professional writers." If we really want all of society to pay to maintain this corps of "professional writers," there are far more efficient ways to do it than this.

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm 2

On The Silent Majority Stirs

Wait, there's a way to email links from Google Reader apart from copying the link and removing the &feed part? Who knew!

As for the other stuff, Reader has been telling me I have "1 New Follower" (some guy I used to work with?) for about three years now, so I don't think I'm going to miss that particular feature.

Posted on October 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm 0

On Disgusting "Sandwich" Is Back To Improve Your Self-Esteem

@Morbo What about the Sad Pickle featured on each and every McDonalds sandwich?

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm 0

On Disgusting "Sandwich" Is Back To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Does that mean God could create an all-beef patty so big and juicy even he couldn't eat it?

Posted on October 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm 0