While I keep track of the books I’m reading to the right I don’t often get to talk about the articles I’m reading and loving. Here are a few I’ve stumbled over in the past week that I’m still digesting.
1) Via Mike T, Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic by Michael Lind on the cycles of American progress and why the next 36 years are going to be very exciting.
During the first 36-year period of a republic, ambitious nation-builders in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton strengthen the powers of the federal government and promote economic modernization. During the second 36-year phase of a republic, there is a Jeffersonian backlash, in favor of small government, small business and an older way of life. During the backlash era, Jeffersonians manage to modify, but never undo, the structure created by the Hamiltonians in the previous era.
2) Via Alo, Why Canada has to wait for it’s Obama Moment, by Jeff Roberts. A piece few Canadians would be willing to write about why the politics of Aboriginals and the rest of Canada remain separated.
In the case of black Americans, their ascension to the political mainstream came in part from leaving behind talk of rights and identity and embracing a postracial style of politics. Barack Obama’s rise has followed his willingness to move away from the swamp of identity politics.
It’s a thesis that parallels that of Calvin Helin’s in Dances with Dependency that I thoroughly enjoyed. Moreover, Roberts is only half right. There is an emerging generation of (particularly urban) First Nations who are going to transform the politics of both the First Nations community and Canada.
3) Via Jeff A, Printing The NYT Costs Twice As Much As Sending Every Subscriber A Free Kindle by Nicholas Carlson . Shocked? You should be. As the author concludes:
Are we trying to say the the New York Times should force all its print subscribers onto the Kindle or else? No. That would kill ad revenues and also, not everyone loves the Kindle.
What we’re trying to say is that as a technology for delivering the news, newsprint isn’t just expensive and inefficient; it’s laughably so.
Besides, think of the forests that would be saved.
4) Via Amy L, The $300 Million Dollar Button, by Jared Spool. As Amy said to me, “you’re a believer in small changes” which I am. Very often I find people jump for the big lever to create big change which often creates numerous unanticipated (and almost always unwanted) changes. I’m much more interested in finding the small lever that creates big change. This piece is about precisely one of those moments in the design of a webpage.
It’s hard to imagine a form that could be simpler: two fields, two buttons, and one link. Yet, it turns out this form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major e-commerce site, to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. What was even worse: the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem.