Wednesday, December 30, 2009


To-do lists are good. Grandad Bill lived by them; we found ones up-to-date for the day before he died. In that spirit, here's a rough one for this blog in 2010:

1) Finally, end this twin-blog nightmare.

I've had requests from multiple readers for this. I think I'll standardise on WordPress and host it myself somewhere. This may require some cunning SQL manipulation, as there are some differences between the two copies of the blog - some things got duplicated, some dropped, and of course there are comments on both from after the fork.

However, I am not going to bring back the JavaScript mousetrail clock.

2) Make an impact on WhoseKidAreYou

The git on hackernews who said that starting a USENET group for it was the best possible way to prevent the project making progress wasn't wrong. In my defence, other matters frequently demanded my attention this autumn, and it does involve learning two new programming languages. As usual, the difficult bit turns out not to be the semantic-web query join across tens of thousands of crowdsourced records, but the bloody in-line parsing and tidying up of the bylines.

When the squid take over, they'll realise that what we were doing all this time was HTML parsing and string processing.

3) Strike hard against press distortions

The news media is pissing me off more and more, and just shouting at them doesn't seem enough. WKAY will help, especially when it gets to include things like Sourcewatch in its data sources. But what can we do in a positive sense?

4) Rapid reaction to Tories

I think this should be central, shouldn't it? I've drivelled on about "pre-emptive activism" already, but I'd like to put some flesh on the idea and push it before they arrive - that's the pre-emptive bit...

1 comment:

Graydon said...

Keep in mind that opposition generally doesn't work. (Only sometimes when it's at the level of "that could turn into a general revolt".)

Pretty much the only things that motivate anybody are "perceived best interest" and "fear", and it's hard to pull the perceived best interest and the fear apart most of the time.

I'd be looking at "can we convince them they will look smart if?" and "can we convince them that this will save money?" (because saving money is an uncontexted good in that worldview) more than I'd be looking at "can we effectively oppose?" because the answer to that is you can't. The various corporatist/structural drivers for "chain them all to their workbenches" behaviors won't go away without structural change, they can't be opposed in the opposing-armies sense with any possibility of success.

The core problem, though, is that any kind of dispassionate analysis is going to show that having a wealthy/upper class is actively bad for everybody else; there's a century of economic data to prove that with now. (% of the pie in the hands of the top 1% predicts conditions for everybody else, and the less that top 1% share is, the better off everyone else is) So anybody who thinks "Tory" is going to be having severe insecurity management issues.

What you really need is a talented -- really talented -- creative artist to attach "conservative values" to the image of the sturdy English yeoman of yore in a way that's pro-quantified analysis. That way you could get a Tory faction that was doing insecurity assuaging through demonstrating ability rather than demonstrating riches. (Yeah, I know, it's rather wildly non-trivial.)

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