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From the NY Times: “They have sophisticated credit algorithms,” he said. “Does the woman own a buffalo? Some chickens? Does she have a toilet in her home? What kind of roofing material does her home have? Does she bring a shawl to the village meeting?”


I’m sitting in Toscanini’s on Main Street and they’re playing If You’re Feeling Sinister, which is my favorite album of the last ten years, since the previous holder of that title has slipped out of the ten year window. Yikes. When did I get old? Ah, I know. February 2. That’s when.

Anyway, there’s nothing worth much on the new B&S album, except for one song (“San Francisco’s calling us, the Giants and Mets will play / Piazza, New York catcher, are you straight or are you gay?”).

What I intended to do before I was distracted was to point out that I’m posting this from a coffee shop, because they have free wi-fi internet access. Just because I can. Speaking of “the medium is the message”. The snazzy new laptop (which technically belongs to The Company, not me) has a Centrino wireless chip, and it’s very nice. I had free access in the Marriott lobby in Chicago for Doug’s bachelor party last weekend. I was also using the free access in Irving’s in State College the weekend before. It’s great. I never have to go through Internet withdrawal now.

The other thing I wanted to point out was the historical connection between coffee and information.

Now that you know how Hip and With It I am, with my fancy wi-fi and my indie rock, you may all resume your lives.

Arts & Letters Daily

Since the medium is the message, the best web sites have always been web sites about the web, blogs about blogging, etc. So I’m always on the lookout for high quality stuff that is not just about the web itself, as good or better than what you’d find on the same subject in other media sources. Today’s entry in this category is Arts & Letters Daily. While it is a thing only possible on the web (a daily publication which is just a collection of other interesting publications), it’s primarily about other stuff, and stuff that I find interesting.

Gary Hart on the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century

Gary Hart in Salon: “I co-chaired a national security panel that warned the Bush administration the terrorists were coming. Why hasn’t the 9/11 commission called any of us to testify?”

Now, I don’t think the finger-pointing aspect of the 9/11 commission is productive: even if another president might have averted the 9/11 attack in particular, I don’t think that we could have kept the terrorists from hitting American soil forever.

But the commission has brought the subject into public discourse, which has unearthed a lot of interesting stuff, like this, and the Richard Clarke testimony. Stuff which will hopefully instructive in developing ways to balance security and liberty, and even in preventing or minimizing future attacks.

By the way, I think Gary Hart got screwed by the whole Monkey Business scandal in ’88, even though I was personally rooting for Paul Simon. Also, Deaniacs take note: Gary Hart had a blog first, and he actually wrote his own posts.

(It’s Salon Premium, so to read this, you have to at least get a day pass. But since the $30 annual fee gets you a subscription to Wired, U.S. News & World Report, Granta, and the New York Review of Books, it’s kind of a deal.)