So I’m watching the online stream of the Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken and Molly Ivins dustup at Bookexpo America, which was aired on C-Span2 BookTV. In just the first 5 minutes Bill answers two phone callers by immediately going into ad hominem attacks on the liberal cabal, and then calls Todd Gitlin a “pinhead” academic. As the caller said this is O’Reilly’s constant M.O. - he talks right over the caller or whoever he is talking to.
I watched a Nova documentary on Rosalind Franklin and the discovery of DNA tonight, I recorded last week. It covered a lot of ground I was already familiar with: the x-ray diffraction work she had done that enabled Watson and Crick to back-up their theoretical model of the double helix, and the conflicts she had working with the major figures involved in the discovery. Most of my information came from another dramatic popularization, The Race for the Double Helix, a TV movie made by the BBC in 1987.
Brad Templeton has an essay on the 25th anniversary of spam that deserves some attention, especially his observations on the conflicts involved in calling for its censorship via blacklists and the like. via BoingBoing Spam pushes people who would proudly (and correctly) trumpet how we shouldn’t blame ISPs for offensive web sites, copyright violations and/or MP3 trading done by downstream customers to suddenly call for blacklisting of all the innocent users at an ISP if a spammer is to be found among them.
Some interesting links about the evolution of the web, which I have yet to read or absorb completely. Trends in the Evolution of the Public Web by Edward T. O’Neil, et. al., from D-lib magazine, pathinfo: via Sitelines - Ideas about Web Searching, a new weblog by Rita Vine, via LibraryStuff, a weblog by Steven M. Cohen The Invisible Dogma at the Ratcliffe blog, pathinfo: via Frank Patrick’s Focused Performance weblog.
A patchwork of items on Iraq: Paul Kennedy, The Perils of Empire This brings us to the broadest question of all, that of defining America’s position in the world over the years to come. The clear victor of the Cold War, it no longer feels constrained from intervening in sensitive areas like the Middle East or Central Asia, should national security interests demand it. The United States is unchallenged militarily and sees no rival Great Power in sight.