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September 27, 2003

New feature

It turns out my readership isn't entirely composed of people who either love or hate the Oragami Boulder. Sometimes, people post genuinely interesting replies to my posts. I know I don't always get back to you guys, but I always appreciate seeing an email that says "Brian posted a new comment" in my inbox. So, I've added a little sidebar to the main page to draw attention to these little nuggets for the rest of my readership. Thanks Brian, Mike, and Jordan for leaving comments from time to time and making my blog feel like a living thing.

Posted by tbailen at 02:52 PM

Henry Ford is rolling over in his grave

Ford Festiva hatchback with spoiler
My friend Chris gets an absolutely huge kick out of this car. It is parked not far from my house. I think it might be abandoned. It is always there. Fortunately I snapped this photo before the spoiler was removed- either stolen, or the owner finally had a bout of conscience. In any case, I believe it worthy of RiceCop.

Posted by tbailen at 12:59 AM


An article on slashdot was talking about the security flaws in Diebold's electronic voting system and "why isn't the media all over this?"

One of the readers pined "do you have to resort to this tired, adolescent 'mass media loves big corporations loves evil government' schtick to get your point across?"

To which someone posted an intelligent reply:

Of course, since mass media is big corporations, the above reduces to "big corporations love evil government", something which has been proven repeatedly over time.

Jesus, do you need us to spell it out for you?

  1. Large corporations have a common set of interests and attributes:

    • They want to lock out as much competition as possible.
    • They want their labor pool to be as cheap as possible.
    • They want their customer base to be as captive as possible.
    • They want to be as free as possible to do whatever they want.
    • They are short-term thinkers, so they don't care about the long term consequences of their actions upon their market.
    • They are driven only by profit, so ethics never enters the equation when they decide upon an action, only law (and then, only law that they don't think they can get away with breaking) and profit.

  2. Because of (1), they will naturally tend to lobby for roughly the same things, and these things will often be at odds with things that would be beneficial to the general population.

  3. The media is owned, and thus controlled, by some of those very same corporations.

  4. Because of (2) and (3), no federal-level politician who is unwilling to cater to the needs of the corporations that own the media is likely to win their first election, because you can't win an election if the voters don't know about you. In fact, such a politician would be very unlikely to win for that very reason.

  5. You're a moron if you think the media corporations and other corporations don't talk to each other about their common interests.

  6. Hence, the only politicians that, in general, can win an election are those who bow to the demands of this country's large corporations.

  7. And hence, the politicians will listen to large corporations to a much greater degree than they will listen to the voters directly. Rare indeed is the issue that will galvanize an entire voter population against you if you side with the corporations. Rarer still is such an issue that the voter population hears about through the mass media; because, as I said, you're a moron if you think the media corporations don't talk with other corporations about their common interests.

Call it a "tired conspiracy theory" if you want, but the links in the chain from a to b to c are so strong and backed by so much evidence (circumstantial or otherwise) that you'd be a fool to discount this "schtick" out of hand.

Come up with a hypothesis that does a better job of explaining both what we've been seeing and what we haven't been seeing and is consistent with everything we currently know and I, for one, will sit up and take notice. But until then, this "conspiracy theory" does a better job of explaining just about everything that has been happening than anything else I've seen.

I'm no conspiracy nut. My most valuable tool is the scientific method, and most conspiracy theories are certainly crap. But this particular "schtick" is very different, and I'll continue to use it to explain the goings on until I find a better explanation.

Posted by tbailen at 12:40 AM

Last minute travel

The September 22, 2003 issue of Newsweek has a blurb about websites that specialize in last minute travel details. I have not had the chance to check these out in detail yet, but before I forget them, and so I can throw away this issue, here they are:

Posted by tbailen at 12:31 AM

September 17, 2003


I just got an email forward from Mike which is really interesting.

'Message d'amour des dauphins' image"Research has shown that young children cannot identify the intimate couple because they do not have prior memory associated with such a scenario.

"What they see are the nine dolphins."

Wow, what a great use of positive and negative space. I think I like this even better than the old lady / young lady drawing that is so famous.

Posted by tbailen at 09:24 PM

September 14, 2003

Postcards from the Ether

"Everyone needs to sing, but they also need a song." -Tim's semi-conscious

Posted by tbailen at 06:32 PM