Stop the Magic

... This is, of course, all bullshit.

Confused? Read Joe Gregorio's The Free Market Fairy - an essential rant on what the free market is, and is not, good for.

Oh, and while you're over there, if you haven't read I, Pencil, read that too.

The place of action (& violence) in childhood play

A sensible approach to children's exposure to violence in games (and, I might add, the rule can be applied to most forms of entertainment):

Lego [believes] that good-versus-evil combat "is at the root of children's play scenarios, and [that it] is an important part of a child's exploration of the world" ...

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief at Wired magazine, explains further:

The Lego Company ... has a policy of not producing toys that replicate 20th century weapons. "You can have swords, and you can have laser guns in space, but no actual 20th century guns," Anderson says. So [Chris's] four children can play games like Halo, since it contains only futuristic, fantasy war, where you're killing only green- or blue-blooded aliens. The same goes for Roman swordplay titles. "But it clearly walls off Grand Theft Auto."

Bad lecturer archetypes

My memories of attending lectures during my undergraduate degree are fading fast, but I do remember three distinct types of lecturers who used to particularly get my goat:

(1) The Bore - Stands up the front and reads 32 PowerPoint slides word for word. Shows no passion or enthusiasm for the class they are teaching. Regrettably all too common. On the other hand, the Bore is useful because you can safely skip class altogether and just read through the lecture notes in 15 minutes at some later date.

(2) The Rambler - Has slides and/or notes, but ignores them almost completely. Has a tendency to go off on irrelevant tangents and recount "amusing" anecdotes for 40 minutes of the hour. Will typically randomly skip forward and back between slides because their points are covered out of order. The worst ramblers verbally contradict what's written in the notes and then remind you that "all lecture material is examinable".

Are computers easier to switch between than cars?

Tim Bray writes:

... [C]omputers are, by and large, an easier switch than the cars. Yes, the pedals and steering wheel and shifter are consistent, but getting the windshield wipers to do what you want is a research project on every car, as is setting the interior lighting and adjusting the audio for bass, treble, and so on, and a bunch of other minor functions that you need to do all the time. But cutting and pasting and moving files and editing text and browsing the web and reading mail and improving photos and so on, these days that’s all much of a muchness, whatever computer you’re sitting in front of.

Blogger beware!

From Crooked Timber, a wonderful caution from sbk about the tendency to overexaggerate one's own importance online:

Be careful, as you (all) argue, not to confuse the urgency of your real concerns about people’s moral reasoning with the urgency of your real concerns about other people’s violent acts. They are not necessarily the same thing. Have any of you ever talked to anyone with real power over the pressing issues of our day? Would you speak to him or her in the same tone of voice you use for “[insert right/left political epithet] idiots” online? Why or why not? And do you at least see the difference between talking to powerful people and talking to powerless people? Why do the idiots online get the bulk of the intensity and the scorn? If this were a real argument, it probably wouldn’t be an argument. You can’t go off half-cocked when you’ve got live bullets.

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