technopop: technology -v- culture … abundant musicality … and whatever else is on our minds thinking about the future of just about everything Fri, 12 Oct 2012 04:07:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Crash Fri, 12 Oct 2012 04:07:06 +0000 Rick The one thing you don’t address….

…the one you know better than to pursue — the one that must be avoided at all costs — the one that must not even be mentioned in a debate with Joe Biden is a tragic car accident. The attempt to elicit sympathy for Romney by anecdotal proxy is a poor enough of a play. The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power.

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The Damned United Tue, 18 Sep 2012 01:52:35 +0000 Rick Recommended, in line with aggregate opinion.

Lessons learned: English soccer in the ’70s was nasty, brutish, and short; Clough and Taylor needed one another; and Britain in the 70s remains a pop-cultural cauldron of reinvention.

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Watching Soccer on TV Mon, 17 Sep 2012 03:22:49 +0000 Rick Had my first weekend watching soccer on my new (basic) cable service.

No Bundesliga without paying extra. Boo.

Watched a bunch of Premiership on Fox Soccer. Then I watched Portland-Seattle on NBC.

NBC’s broadcast version kicked the living crap out of everything on Fox. NBC’s version was perfect for American fans like me who want to learn more about the details of the game and its tactics. It offered more illuminating detail in the play-by-play coverage. The replays illustrated tactics graphically, as they would during broadcasts of NBA and NFL games. NBC also had two reporters working the touchline and offering interesting during the match — another element of NBA and NFL broadcasts.

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Just Like Soccer Wed, 22 Aug 2012 05:04:07 +0000 Rick Are you British? Do you think multidozenmillion-pound salaries have debased the Beautiful Game?

Are you American? Do you think multidozenmillion-dollar anonymous contributions have debased the Greatest Democracy?

Stephen Marche can explain the two great tastes that go great together!

(This post is primarily about hackery, and in case the soccer connection isn’t clear, the $50-75k that Ferguson appears to receive for each speech is about what Clint Dempsey has earned for each game he’s played for Fulham.)

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FX Research Meets Soccer Fri, 08 Jun 2012 04:49:24 +0000 Rick Rufus Blooter bait: The following is kind of brilliant.

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The Myth of “Liberal Hollywood Elites” Sun, 03 Jun 2012 02:24:42 +0000 Rick Yes, they tend to support Democratic candidates, and the movies and shows they produce make conservatives feel like losers. But when it comes to business, Hollywood’s the opposite of liberal. And that’s true whether you define “liberal” in classical terms (supportive of free markets) or contemporary ones (progressive).

Alleged liberal and “Hollywood super-agent” Ari Emanuel recently made that crystal clear: Nothing should be allowed to alter Hollywood’s current business model — neither consumer preferences nor technological innovations. He wants a Hollywood-Silicon Valley cartel to make sure of it. Failing that, he wants the state to use its coercive power.

There’s nothing “free” about a market that’s limited to using paradigms that are at least 30 years old (and at most a century old). And there’s nothing progressive about a business model that preserves corporate power, puts independent voices at a disadvantage, and extracts rents from consumers in order to subsidize the lifestyle that Ari Emanuel prefers.

Kudos to my friend Josh Topolsky for confronting Emanuel on this and hitting the nail on the head.

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Complexity Thu, 31 May 2012 17:36:32 +0000 Rick Number of words in the Official Playing Rules and Casebook of the National Football League: 157,801

Number of words in the Official Baseball Rules: 49,699

Number of words in the Laws of Cricket: 30,537

Number of words in the Official Basketball Rules: 26,948

Number of words in the Laws of the Game (of soccer): 23,106

UPDATE 120601:
In response to JustJoeP’s comment, more data points:

Number of words in Rugby Union’s Laws of the Game: 37,737

Number of words in the Laws of Australian Football: 23,888

Number of words in Rugby League’s* Laws of the Game: 20,468

Number of words in the rules of Gaelic football**: 13,102

* Rugby Union and Rugby League are related but distinct games. Perhaps an enlightened Rugger*** fan can explain why Union’s rules are nearly twice the length of League’s.

** The linked document also includes the rules for hurling. Those have been subtracted from the total.

*** “Rugger” cf. “soccer”. That is, “Rugby football” (both varieties) is known casually as “rugger” while “association football” is known colloquially as “soccer”. In other words, Brits who make fun of Americans for our use of the word “soccer” are ignorant of the game’s history.

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Saturated Solution Tue, 15 May 2012 00:35:27 +0000 Rick After my recent trip to the Bay Area to report a PBS story about labor in the tech sector, I was struck by this (h/t Sullivan):

“Everyone is competing for the same people, going after the same real estate, the same support services,” Hartz says. “The natural resources of the startup world are getting scarcer and scarcer, and the cost is getting higher and higher. It’s all an outgrowth of an abundance of capital.”

The Wired piece cites the “billboards on highway 101 between San Francisco and Silicon Valley touting startups no one has heard of” which also struck me, as did similar ads on Caltrain.

Timothy Lee argues the problem is housing. He has a point: San Jose and parts of the Peninsula seem ripe for higher-density development.

But I think Lee misses something when he refers back to the original Wired piece’s formulation — that “the natural resources of the startup world” are “people, real estate, and support services”. Isn’t capital one of those “natural resources”? And isn’t it possible that what Hartz (the VC profiled in the Wired piece) means is an overabundance of capital? Can the VC market allocate resources efficiently when there’s an overabundance of those resources?

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Lisa Simeone’s Firing Fri, 21 Oct 2011 01:55:15 +0000 Rick My fellow public broadcaster Lisa Simeone will no longer host the public radio documentary show Soundprint because she was a leader of and spokesperson for the Occupy DC movement. The AP is reporting that she was fired; Soundprint itself implies that the decision was mutual (check the link above).

On one hand, I can see why. Listeners, readers, and viewers are right to question the word of journalists with ties to organizations and movements with clear agendas. In the case of Soundprint, Lisa’s role as host could have resulted in listeners calling into question the veracity and verisimilitude of the work of a lot of talented reporters who produce work for the show.

On the other, I can see why some public radio listeners might see this as unfair. Juan Williams, after all, was both an NPR staffer and a Fox commentator for years before he was fired. And he wasn’t the only one.

During this pledge period, I urge everyone NOT to take this out on their local member stations by withholding pledges. Your local public radio station didn’t make this decision. Your pledge dollars support essential local programming and a lot of great national reporting; Soundprint gets only a tiny portion of that — if the show’s even carried in your market.

If you feel strongly that this is wrong, and if Soundprint is carried on your local station, I suggest that you call in and make a pledge of $1. Tell the person on the other end of the line — or say in the comment box at the online pledge page — that you’ll give more once public radio as a whole gets its house in order. Which is to say once Mara Liasson no longer contributes to Fox, and once Cokie Roberts is more clearly treated as a commentator and not an éminence grise on NPR’s air, at the very least.

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The Gift of Music Wed, 21 Sep 2011 03:57:19 +0000 Rick Your new friend gives you something. He gives you a record. It isn’t his — it’s his older brother’s. But that’s okay, because the older brother’s away.

The record doesn’t make you sing like the records you’ve loved so far. It actually kind of makes you uncomfortable. But it also makes you want to flap your arms like wings. And it makes you want to hear more music that’s so oblique.

Once you start to delve into music like that, you can’t stop.

Pere Shae gave me that record. And I owe so much to him for that gesture. Nearly everything, in fact.

* He was “Pere Shae” long before he was the Deadheads’ “Poohshae”. And I’ll remember him as father, rather than bear.

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