Sweet! Andrew Sullivan makes the deck.
Another NYT plagiarism scandal? Wow. Let's see how Rick Bragg get's treated.
Someone tried to explain Quantum Entanglement to me and I just wanted to cry. I have no idea what any of this is about. If you can explain it without making my personal universe collapse get's a special Ted prize.
Jayson Blair reportedly found the NY Times' very public mea culpa to be risible. Apparently he’s not the only one who feels that their self-flagellation was overwrought. Richard Posner has written a defense of plagiarism. Reiterating the claim that truly original ideas are few and far between he feels that the replication of ideas is one of the healthier dynamics of culture.

"West Side Story" is a thinly veiled copy (with music added) of "Romeo and Juliet," which in turn plagiarized Arthur Brooke's "The Tragicall Historye of Romeo and Juliet," published in 1562, which in turn copied from several earlier Romeo and Juliets, all of which were copies of Ovid's story of Pyramus and Thisbe.

He also makes the distinction between copying text verbatim from the copying of ideas. He worries that the newish concept of individualism fosters a world that jealously guards its ideas. “Individualism and a cult of originality go hand in hand”
Buddhists are happier, that's nice.


Lebron James will spend next season toiling for the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers, but he can take solace in that he’ll be a very wealthy young man. Before he signed a contract with the Cav’s he signed a $90 millionsneaker endorsement deal with Nike.

The deal came on the heels of a vicious bidding war between Reebok, Adidas and Nike. Why was Nike willing to pay so much on a player whose greatest accomplishment is beating up on other preps? Because they are desperate. Seth Stevenson at Slate explains that the aging of Jordan, coupled with the loss of a strategically vital and lucrative Foot Locker distribution deal, has placed Nike in the unusual position of playing catch-up. It’s worked for Nike before, in 1984 they signed a rookie Michael Jordan for $2.5 million in a deal that Fortune lambasted.

The high-end, urban basketball sneaker market is one of the most lucrative for the shoe companies. With margins as high as 50%, it’s the sweet spot for the big three. The marketing of these shoes is definitely street (a tough lesson for the crystal-clean Kobe Bryant who let his shoe contract lapse in the hopes of jumping ship to Nike.)

As always the troubling undercurrent to the shoe wars is its impact on Black America. A great deal of money and effort is invested to get inner-city kids to fork over big dollars to buy these shoes. As Stevenson explains:

Marquee shoes are aimed at black, inner-city kids who are willing to spend huge amounts of money every time the new, hot shoe hits shelves. An Adidas exec once told me that "the day after payday" is the biggest sales day in this category (the way he said it, you could tell that exploitation was not really an issue for him).

So as “edgy” unproven prodigies and dangerous felons are once again coveted and projected as role models for black kids it makes this sports fan pine for the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon’s deal was with the decidedly unhip Spalding and he mandated that the shoes not be sold for more than $35.
More and more people are becoming fearful about the direction in which the modern, secular nation state is going. At the core of that concern about modernism is an ethical crisis. The message that the modern world carries is that we have no absolute standard on which to make moral judgments. The bin Ladens of the world and the Kaczynskis of the world are reacting against that. Much of the terrorism in the world today, I think, represents a revolt against modernism.

So says Alston Chase, the author of Harvard and the Unabomber, in an interview with The Atlantic. He claims that modernism and its breeding grounds have fostered a sense of alienation and fearfulness that is bordering on catastrophic. Chase claims that political ideology is trumping communalism in a variety of ways. Coupled with the creative-destruction of modernism, this era is creating a number of dangerous reactionaries. The disease of modernism isn’t a new idea, but it may change how we profile those at risk. From the opulent background of bin Laden, to the Harvard pedigree of Kaczynski, to the recent bombings at Yale (which interestingly occurred near enough to Kaczynskis’ birthday to generate interest), modernism may trouble most those at its core.

Chase says of the Unabomber; He was like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, who said,” I didn't kill an individual, I killed an idea." Perhaps modernism’s perils have been misconstrued.
Nice piece from Wired describing the risks that Wi-Fi presents to the telcos.


The DOJ has finanly released reports of how the PATRIOT act is being applied. What they seem to be missing is the notion that it isn't benovolant leaders we are collectively worried about abusing these new-found powers, it's the ones lacking a moral compass. In the words of CATIC spokesman Mike Van Winkle, "I've heard terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic impact, and shutting down a port certainly would have some economic impact. Terrorism isn't just bombs going off and killing people." (So protesting in the streets is considered "terrorism" to the leadership in California.)


Michael Lewis has written before about money and its impact on the lives of those whose high-stake dealings revolve around its mercurial core. As much of a splash as his expose Liars Poker made on Wall Street, his new offering might be making more in the hyper-competitive world of professional baseball. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game profiles Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s young and infinitely talented general manger. He’s proven amazingly adept at making the deals that keep the small market (and small money) A’s in the running.

What’s ruffling baseball’s feathers is Beane seems all too willing to let the world know he’s in essence hoodwinked other, lesser, GMs via the book. (In Beane’s defense Lewis has claimed that he had to twist Beane’s arm to get access and the story is less Beane’s effort to brag and more a case of a true talent revealed).

Cocky young gun or self-assured leader, one thing is clear, he is turning conventional baseball wisdom on its head. He uses a legion of (previously) obscure stats to identify talent. OBP (On Base Percentage) and OPS (OBP plus slugging percentage) are now working their way up the baseball stat ladder, thanks largely to Beane’s success using them.

(I hate talking points but let’s throw some in to help kick-start a sports story) Is Beane an obnoxious self-promoter who will one day face the brutal correction of averages or has he truly created a new system? Will there be payback for him exposing the dirty not-so secret that some of sport’s highest management are flaming idiots? Does he offer a glimpse of hope for those who see the Yankees as an evil-empire, a revolution in the making?
Metallica related torture is relative. The Iraqis are apparently being tortured by being forced to listen to them, and I'm being tortured because I can't. Anyone want to help a poor blogger out with tickets to the Filmo' shows?
Francis Fukuyama the "Marx of the West", hmmm.....
I can't wait to read the LifeLog print-out of my total existence.


Nice piece on the subtext of the Blair scandal from Bob Herbert
I am truly trying not to be alarmist here, but they are going to monitor how we walk now? Well, on the brite side at least it develops bi-partisanship.
Plato again beats everyone to the punch.
The Sunday Times on the perils and pleasures of blogging