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Corante Blogs examine, through the eyes of leading observers, analysts, thinkers, and doers, critical themes and memes in technology, business, law, science, and culture.

The Press Will Be Outsourced Before Stopped

Vin Crosbie, on the challenges, financial and otherwise, that newspaper publishers are facing: "The real problem, Mr. Newspaperman, isn't that your content isn't online or isn't online with multimedia. It's your content. Specifically, it's what you report, which stories you publish, and how you publish them to people, who, by the way, have very different individual interests. The problem is the content you're giving them, stupid; not the platform its on."
by Vin Crosbie in Rebuilding Media

Travels In Numerica Deserta

There's a problem in the drug industry that people have recognized for some years, but we're not that much closer to dealing with it than we were then. We keep coming up with these technologies and techniques which seem as if they might be able to help us with some of our nastiest problems - I'm talking about genomics in all its guises, and metabolic profiling, and naturally the various high-throughput screening platforms, and others. But whether these are helping or not (and opinions sure do vary), one thing that they all have in common is that they generate enormous heaps of data.
by Derek Lowe in In the Pipeline

Disrobing the Emperor: The online “user experience” isn't much of one

Now that the Web labor market is saturated and Web design a static profession, it's not surprising that 'user experience' designers and researchers who've spent their careers online are looking for new worlds to conquer. Some are returning to the “old media” as directors and producers. More are now doing offline consulting (service experience design, social policy design, exhibition design, and so on) under the 'user experience' aegis. They argue that the lessons they've learned on the Web can be applied to phenomena in the physical and social worlds. But there are enormous differences...
by Bob Jacobson in Total Experience

Second Life: What are the real numbers?

Clay Shirky, in deconstructing Second Life hype: "Second Life is heading towards two million users. Except it isn’t, really... I suspect Second Life is largely a 'Try Me' virus, where reports of a strange and wonderful new thing draw the masses to log in and try it, but whose ability to retain anything but a fraction of those users is limited. The pattern of a Try Me virus is a rapid spread of first time users, most of whom drop out quickly, with most of the dropouts becoming immune to later use."
by Clay Shirky in Many-to-Many

The democratisation of everything

Over the last few years we've seen old barriers to creativity coming down, one after the other. New technologies and services makes it trivial to publish text, whether by blog or by print-on-demand. Digital photography has democratised a previously expensive hobby. And we're seeing the barriers to movie-making crumble, with affordable high-quality cameras and video hosting provided by YouTube or Google Video and their ilk... Music making has long been easy for anyone to engage in, but technology has made high-quality recording possible without specialised equipment, and the internet has revolutionised distribution, drastically disintermediating the music industry... What's left? Software maybe? Or maybe not."
by Suw Charman in Strange Attractor

RNA Interference: Film at Eleven

Derek Lowe on the news that the Nobel Prize for medicine has gone to Craig Mello and Andrew Fire for their breakthrough work: "RNA interference is probably going to have a long climb before it starts curing many diseases, because many of those problems are even tougher than usual in its case. That doesn't take away from the discovery, though, any more than the complications of off-target effects take away from it when you talk about RNAi's research uses in cell culture. The fact that RNA interference is trickier than it first looked, in vivo or in vitro, is only to be expected. What breakthrough isn't?"
by Derek Lowe in In the Pipeline

PVP and the Honorable Enemy

Andrew Phelps: "Recently my WoW guild has been having a bit of a debate on the merits of Player-vs.-Player (PvP) within Azeroth. My personal opinion on this is that PvP has its merits, and can be incredible fun, but the system within WoW is horridly, horribly broken. It takes into account the concept of the battle, but battle without consequence, without emotive context, and most importantly, without honor..."

From later in the piece: "When I talk about this with people (thus far anyway) I typically get one of two responses, either 'yeah, right on!' or 'hey, it’s war, and war isn’t honorable – grow the hell up'. There is a lot to be said for that argument – but the problem is that war in the real historical world has very different constraints that are utterly absent from fantasized worlds..."
by Andrew Phelps in Got Game

Rats Rule, Right?

Derek Lowe: "So, you're developing a drug candidate. You've settled on what looks like a good compound - it has the activity you want in your mouse model of the disease, it's not too hard to make, and it's not toxic. Everything looks fine. Except. . .one slight problem. Although the compound has good blood levels in the mouse and in the dog, in rats it's terrible. For some reason, it just doesn't get up there. Probably some foul metabolic pathway peculiar to rats (whose innards are adapted, after all, for dealing with every kind of garbage that comes along). So, is this a problem?.."
by Derek Lowe in In the Pipeline

Really BAD customer experience at Albertsons Market

Bob Jacobson, on shopping at his local Albertsons supermarket where he had "one of the worst customer experiences" of his life: "Say what you will about the Safeway chain or the Birkenstock billionaires who charge through the roof for Whole Foods' organic fare, they know how to create shopping environments that create a more pleasurable experience, at its best (as at Whole Foods) quite enjoyable. Even the warehouses like Costco and its smaller counterpart, Smart & Final, do just fine: they have no pretentions, but neither do they dump virtual garbage on the consumer merely to create another trivial revenue stream, all for the sake of promotions in the marketing department..."
by Strange Attractor in Total Experience

The Guardian's "Comment is Free"

Kevin Anderson: "First off, I want to say that I really admire the ambition of the Guardian Unlimited’s Comment is Free. It is one of the boldest statements made by any media company that participation needs to be central to a radical revamp of traditional content strategies... It is, therfore, not hugely surprising to find that Comment is Free is having a few teething troubles..."
by Kevin Anderson in strange
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

The Loom

« Cat-Blogging from Deep Time | Main | Updated Cat Evolution »

January 06, 2006

And Introducing Our Latest Creationism-Friendly Politician, The Governor of Texas!

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Posted by Carl Zimmer

Rick Perry's on board! And no postmodern vagueness for him. He's here to tell us that intelligent design is a "valid scientific theory." That's right, governor. Just check out all the work on intelligent design going on in the biology department at your state's fine university.'s there somewhere. Just let me figure out how to work this search function...

(Hat tip to Panda's Thumb.)

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Evolution | Our Dear Leaders Speak


1. Sarah Berel-Harrop on January 6, 2006 12:43 PM writes...

Rick Perry's an Aggie (Texas A&M U) not a teasipper (UT) but I suspect they don't study intelligent design at A&M either.

It's pretty appalling, this from a man who says it's important to prevent gay marriage in order to preserve excellence in education. What gay marriage has to do with education, I am not really sure. But I have to say, his idea of excellence in education isn't my idea of excellence in education.

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2. Jim Rutledge on January 6, 2006 01:05 PM writes...

Unfortunately I suspect Perry's stance will "play" well in most parts of Texas, certainly here in the Panhandle. It's just this sort of thinking that carried fellow Texan George Bush all the way to the White House.

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3. Ken Shackleton on January 6, 2006 01:53 PM writes...

Whenever I see comments from the religious right about "teaching the controversy" or "students should be presented with alternative views and allowed to choose for themselves" I cannot help but think how their position would change if the subject in question were sex education or sexual orientation.

Hypocrites....and political snake-oil salesmen.

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4. Paul Riddell on January 6, 2006 04:18 PM writes...

You've got to hand it to Perry: when you're so dumb that you make George W. Bush look like a genius, you don't have a coherent thought that isn't provided by the agribusiness conglomerates that put you in office, and you want to corner the only portion of the electorate that isn't already planning to vote your ass out and put Kinky Friedman in your place, go for the fundamentalist crowd. Thankfully, his bleatings have about as much influence on real science in Texas as Whitley Strieber's "Deliverance: The Next Generation" anal rape fantasies have in the SETI community, but you can still expect Southern Methodist University or the University of Texas at Dallas being willing to offer a course or two on ID solely to keep the engineering students happy and scam a few more million dollars in state grants. (Me, live in Dallas for too long? How can you tell?)

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5. Jray on January 9, 2006 10:26 AM writes...

Perry acquired a degree in animal science at A&M. I wager they didn't teach ID in any form. Perry also was a C130 pilot in the Air Force. One can suppose there was no lack of science training before the Air Force handed him the controls of a multi-million air craft. One must wonder, where did all of his thinking go wrong?

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6. earthymom on January 21, 2006 12:18 AM writes...

It was a governor of Texas who, in response to a question about state funding for foreign language education said, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for Texans."

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