Internet

Internet-Induced Questions

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Edge.org is one of the lumpiest, worst-designed sites on the Internet. Which is a shame, because they host some of the most interesting, quirky content out there. Right now, they're aggregating answers to the question "How is the Internet changing the way you think?"

Sample cool submissions:

Professional tech big thinker Clay Shirky:

It's tempting to try to adjudicate the relative value of the network on the way we think by deciding whether access to Wikipedia outweighs access to tentacle porn or the other way around….It is our misfortune to live through the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race, a misfortune because surplus always breaks more things than scarcity. Scarcity means valuable things become more valuable, a conceptually easy change to integrate. Surplus, on the other hand, means previously valuable things stop being valuable, which freaks people out.

George Church, director of the Personal Genome Project (sign up!):

The Internet isn't amazing for storage (or math), but for connections. Going from footnotes to hypertext to search-engines dramatically opens doors for evidence-based-thinking, modeling, and collaboration. It transforms itself from mere text to Goggles for places and Picasa for faces.

Of course, these are the questions the Internet really answers:

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  1. Edge.org is one of the lumpiest, worst-designed sites on the Internet.

    Reminds me a bit of Suck.com.

    1. “lumpiest”

      I didn’t know that was a synonym for bottomless.

  2. Hold on – Glenn Beck is giving an economics lesson from a conservative high-school dropouts POV.

    Since he and Sarah Palin are the teabagger conservative favorites I decided to put this optimization engine to a test.

    Palin/Beck? —–> Idiocracy America

    1. Maybe, but I’m not sure that this Congress isn’t an even stronger sign of that. Even more than Bush or Obama.

  3. Federal Reserve puts $46 billion into US Treasury (today).

    Wow, I wonder why Reason did not cover that little tidbit?

    Its 3x the entire “earmark” provisions for a year.

    1. Well, I don’t know about the Reason crew blogging about it, but the reason the profits are up is because the Fed massively increased the amount of securities it owns – between ’07 and ’09 profits went up 30%, but the holdings went up 152%, so the Fed’s ROI significantly decreased, which is pretty terrible, since in ’07 it was holding exclusively treasuries.

      Also, the current profitability is tied to low interest rates and isn’t expected to be maintained when they’re brought back up, as will be necessary when the economy recovers.

      Read the article all the way through before yelling “gotcha!”

      1. Nice sourcing. Good stuff.

        I disagree though.

        You can’t organically measure ROI on the Fed. C’mon!

        The Fed expanded its balance sheet (by 152% as you mention) and how?

        In a depressed asset environment?

        I see many future $50 billion injections into the Treasury by the Fed

        1. The Fed raised the money by taking more deposits from banks and from the treasury – ie it borrowed it. The treasury added around $200B in deposits.

          In order to raise the extra reserves, the Fed started paying interest on them, with the amount a function of the target Federal funds rate (see here). Note this is another aspect of the Fed’s profitability that depends on interest rate targets.

          You calculate the ROI for the Fed’s assets the same way for anything else. The Fed’s objective isn’t to make money for the treasury, but to the extent that you want to talk about it doing so, you need to look at the earnings relative to the size of its assets, just like when assesing a private company you look at its earnings to capitalization ratio. The fact that the assets increased so much while the earnings increased relatively little in constrast means that the Fed is indeed eating bad assets from other institutions – if it wasn’t the profits should have roughly kept pace with the assets.

        2. The Fed raises it’s money by taking deposits – to cover it’s purchase of shitty assets, it started paying interest on deposits (at a rate set relative to the federal funds target rate, another liability in the future) to raise them from banks and got a around $200B deposit from the Treasury.

          The point of the Fed isnt’ to make money for the Treasury, but in terms of assessing how much it does, the imporant figure is how much is being made relative to the assests it holds.

          (I had a link but the spam filter apparently doesn’t like the NY Fed)

  4. I like how the top listed “suggestions” on the respective boyfriend/girlfriend sides kinda answer one another.

    1. Interesting as a list of priorities as well.

    2. Almost exactly 1:1.

      Makes ya wonder if men and women are the same species!

      … (happily married) Hobbit

  5. I just read an opinion–no, strike that, I didn’t actually read it. I just saw a headline suggesting that each member of a couple should provide sex whenever the other suggests it. Perhaps the most brilliant solution to marital problems ever suggested.

    1. It seems P.L. that you’ve never been married to a woman. This might work for gay men (never having been married to a man, I don’t know), but from a proudly hetero perspective I can guarantee that the guy that suggested this has never been married to a woman either.

      1. The man, I know the suggestion works but the catch is it doesn’t work for a libertarian.

        1. *That* is truly unfortunate. Maybe I could become a progressive, or a neocon. Progressives don’t shave frequently enough for my taste.

      2. You, clearly, are not The Man? of legend.

        In any case, I am married and I did mention this article to my wife. I get every other time I ask.

        1. You are clearly the better man P.L. I slink away in shame.

        2. Jesus Christ, you have to ask.

          1. zoltan, masturbation and bestiality don’t count.

        3. Pro Libertate,the difference with progressive/neocon is the women do the “asking”.

        4. Clearly, you just need to ask twice as often. 😉

  6. now I’m not alone in thinking edge.org is terribly designed. I can never figure out what the fuck I’m looking at on that site.

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