You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

October, 2008

Quotes on a Plane

I'm working on a longer entry on simulacrum and the current status of the world, which I hope to finish on my plane ride home from Germany. Until then, though, I figured I'd throw some links up on the good old interweb for your enjoyment. I'm going for a quote edition this time to switch things up a bit, hope you all enjoy.

What I found most striking, though, were the stats on email. About 180,000 emails are received each day at the school (which has around 1,600 students), and 94% of those emails are spam. The storage required for the emails received last year equaled the total storage required for all the emails received in the preceding five years combined. And 95% of email storage now goes to holding email attachments rather than the messages themselves. Email has become everyone's personal data warehouse. [Nicholas Carr]

Nicholas concludes the entry saying that it's no surprise more institutions are handing email duties over to Google and the cloud. Mostly, though, I just find this astounding. The amount of money being wasted on spam must be extraordinary. Is there any other communications medium that deals with 95% waste?

It turns out that in real life there's a reason you should repeat, or at least there used to be. In the 1950s, when shampoos began to be mass-marketed, we didn't wash our hair all that often--once or twice a week, as opposed to five times a week as most of us do now. Also, we used a lot more goop in our hair. [Fortune Magazine]

As I was showering this morning I got to wondering, how did the whole "later, rinse, repeat" thing come about. Mostly I was curious to know if it was some tricky marketer who figured if you repeated you'd use your shampoo up twice as fast (and therefore need to buy twice as many). Turns out, though, that there was actually a real reason (or so the story goes).

In honor of our 10th birthday, we've brought back our oldest available index. Take a look back at Google in January 2001. [Google]

For a month only, Google is allowing people to search it's 2001 index. It's good fun. I, like most geeks, went first to see if there were any results for my name. Only two turned up: One for an old web development company I had called Nextworx (now long defunct) and some student thing. Any results are show in the Wayback Machine when available. Anyway, it's good fun.

Our economy and putting it back on the world. No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was able to go back and forth. We we do about it. No way, not Americans. We do not have to second-guess what their efforts would be if they believe that it is about doing a lot of other senators and representatives did for us. I can help the ticket, if you go back and forth. We we do it's very important when you consider even national security issues Let me speak specifically about a credential that I have the confidence in that Washington establishment, where, yeah, they've had opportunity to do this with you. [Interview Palin]

Amazing site that puts together Palin-esque answers to political questions. It's funny, the first thing I thought of when I saw it was the Turing Test which pits computers against humans and asks the human to decide whether he is speaking to a silicon or flesh. Also, in case you missed it, this is in reference to Palin's answer to a question on the economy which was equally brutal and inspired this editorial from Fareed Zakaria suggesting this is no time for games and pushing McCain to drop Palin. (The original quote is in the Zakaria article.) Oh, and in case you prefer video, here's Zakaria making his point on CNN.

David Brooks is right that the failure to pass the bailout represents a massive failure of American governance and leadership, most of all at the Congressional level. That's true even if you think, for other reasons, that the bailout was a bad idea. (Can any hero be cited in this debacle?) Andrew Sullivan (and others, including myself) was right that early versions of the Paulson plan bypassed checks and balances and gave far too much power to the Executive Branch. So Congressional oversight was needed. [Marginal Revolution]

That's in reference to David Brooks' scathing Times editorial where he said, "This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed," amongst other things. Wherever you fall on the bailout, it is fairly amazing that they let a bill like that fail without more thought/plan around how to deal with the fallout.

Awesome. [Me]

That's in reference to seeing this extraordinary demoscene video called Texas by Keyboarders. The whole thing is a 4k executable. Holy crap.

With influence-tracking, Google could follow this group of fans' shared interests more closely, see which other fan communities they interact with, and—most important—learn which members get the most attention when they update profiles or post pictures. [BusinessWeek]

Apparently Google is working on a system that follows groups interests so that advertisers can better target their ads. While this sounds interesting (and potentially problematic from a privacy perspective), I wonder how effective it will be. For the most part, I think that kind of socializing that happens on social networks, specifically Facebook, is more around friends of shared context/space than interest. This is the opposite, of course, to blogs, where there is a shared interest. The thing about the friends you make in college, for instance, is that you often have completely different interests. Anyway, I'm sure it will cause a big hubbub, but I don't know that it will be all that effective in the end.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you. [The Nation]

Pretty self explanatory.

Okay, that's it, time for my plane. See you soon.

October 1, 2008
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.