Articles I'm Digesting 16-11-2009

BC Budget Visualizations – DIY Transparency & Local Government by Jer (via David Ascher)

When I think of Open Data many ideas come to mind. Applications like Vantrash were an early success, but what Jer has done with the BC Government’s Budget is another piece I hope will emerge: data that is transformed into educative and compelling graphics that border on art. On the CBC Power & Politics last week (1:50:36) I made this my “blog of the week.” And as I said on the show, if the Globe and Mail wants to compete with the New York Times and its cool multimedia work (like this piece on the Berlin Wall), get a guy like Jer on contract,

The Bitch is Back by Andrew Corsello (via David Hume)

A scathing piece in GQ magazine (have I ever read a GQ magazine article before?) about Ayn Rand. It pretty much sums up everything you’ve ever thought about Ayn Rand but were too polite to say. Bonus points go to this piece for the great Hitchens quote:

“as a fiction writer, she’s absurd,” says author and Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens, who is arguably the most opinionated Homo sapiens since Rand herself. “But if you’re young and not particularly wanted and not particularly brilliant, reading Atlas Shrugged provides all the feelings of compensation one might need for any period of terrifying inadequacy.”

Oh, and just in case those on the left are starting to feel smug about the Right’s tautological hero and her prescribes a path to superiority, I caution you to pause. It is still early days but I’m beginning to feel like Ken Wilbur is the Left’s emerging Ayn Rand and Integral Theory is its Objectivism. The material cannot be tested or proven, its lengthy and inaccessible, its definitely uncompromising, and for more extreme adherents, both theories lay out a theory of hierarchical development that I fear allow those at the “top” to be, at best, paternalistic and at worst, contemptuous, to those below.

Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter? by Joshuah Bearman (via Lauren Bacon)

For those who believe video games could be art. More interestingly, it hints at how the future of entertainment may either be flatter than we thought, or the long tail of the market could be richer than many supposed. Either way, the video game is going to play a bigger role in our fragmented culture. Bonus points in this one for money quotes, insights and positive role contributed to the discussion by local boy and video game superstar Clint Hocking.

It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management: More Subsidies Will Not Succeed by Susanne Ivey-Cook

I’m a policy wonk. And this piece is bang on. It’s long past due that rethink how we allocate and use our forests. These are public owned goods and we need to ensure that they get used in a way that maximizes their value to tax payers and meet our ecological/sustainability goals. Definitely worth the quick read.

7 thoughts on “Articles I'm Digesting 16-11-2009

  1. Nicholas Charney

    David – I am also in the middle of reading the piece on Rand c/o David Hume. I find your comment about Ken Wilber to be bang on. My master's thesis (completed 4 years ago) centered largely around Wilber's work and its application to the Canadian political system. The biggest hurdle I faced mapping the party platforms according to Wilber's theory. All of that being said, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy Atlas. But I have also read as many books by Rand as I have by Hitchens, I suppose I just love books…

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  2. Alex Derry

    re: Ayn RandThere was a great piece last week`s New Yorker by Thomas Mallon reviewing two recent biographies on her, neither of which are particularly laudatory, and the article itself basically comes to the same conclusion as Corsello and Hitchens, but perhaps with a bit more diplomatic rhetoric. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/11/09/0…p.s. sorry I keep sending you abstracts or lead-ins in to paid content.

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  4. Michael M

    sorry to get back so late on this piece – hope you see i eventually read it and i hope you write more on Hitchens/skeptical thought/anti-new age/anti ann rand stuff. I fucking LOVED the Corsello piece. He had it bang on. As a result of your piece above, I tried to read Wilber – went to his website and everything – what a turd – I've never read such unintelligible nonsense that has so little to do with my life. It was, like, two hours of reading his horsetwat that I will NEVER EVER get back. I even watched some youtube video of him speaking to a bunch of his sycophants splayed at his un-shoed feet while he sat on an antique chair posturing like mr clean with a coke binge hangover. Good analogy David – hes as bad as Rand.and he doesn't speak for this liberal.

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  5. Michael M

    I didn't get into Wilbers political philosophy because when I started to read him as a result of David's post I could only get so far as a couple hours of trepanating myself on his transpersonal spirituality. I WOULD go back to him if he had some more pragmatic political ramblings – where are they to be found?Rand is a funny chick – In a way the unwitting grandmother of new age (BE present, Say what is real to you, speak to your own personal truth and all that) when life got complicated I had to abort her.

    Reply
  6. Michael M

    sorry to get back so late on this piece – hope you see i eventually read it and i hope you write more on Hitchens/skeptical thought/anti-new age/anti ann rand stuff. I fucking LOVED the Corsello piece. He had it bang on. As a result of your piece above, I tried to read Wilber – went to his website and everything – what a turd – I've never read such unintelligible nonsense that has so little to do with my life. It was, like, two hours of reading his horsetwat that I will NEVER EVER get back. I even watched some youtube video of him speaking to a bunch of his sycophants splayed at his un-shoed feet while he sat on an antique chair posturing like mr clean with a coke binge hangover. Good analogy David – hes as bad as Rand.and he doesn't speak for this liberal.

    Reply
  7. Michael M

    I didn't get into Wilbers political philosophy because when I started to read him as a result of David's post I could only get so far as a couple hours of trepanating myself on his transpersonal spirituality. I WOULD go back to him if he had some more pragmatic political ramblings – where are they to be found?Rand is a funny chick – In a way the unwitting grandmother of new age (BE present, Say what is real to you, speak to your own personal truth and all that) when life got complicated I had to abort her.

    Reply

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