Friday, November 12, 2010

Ooh, Shiny!

I can barely believe this...
Robert Zoellick, the head of the World Bank, kicked it off on Monday. In an op-ed in the FT he called for changes to the the global currency system. Among other things, he wrote:
"The system should also consider employing gold as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values. Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today."
I tend to agree with Brad DeLong's assessment of Zoellick's claim that markets are already using gold as a an alternative form of money:

They do not. They simply do not. That is not true. Markets are using gold as a speculative asset and a hedge. They are not using it is a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a safe store of nominal value.
He really may be the Stupidest Man Alive.
Harsh, but accurate. I do find it shocking that the head of the World Bank is this confused about the difference between shiny things and money. When Ron Paul or Glenn Beck makes this mistake, I can chalk it up to ignorance. This is harder to fathom.

If we are going to go back to linking money to some other commodity, I think we should at least pick something more interesting than gold. My personal choice would be bubblegum. I like the idea of money as something you chew up and spit out. I'm also pretty sure the price of bubblegum has been less volatile than that of gold in recent years.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obscene Litigation

Via ZDNetPorn Filesharing Lawsuits Crest 30K Defendants

Last Monday saw numbers skyrocket in porn’s war against piracy and torrent sites when four porn companies filed suits in California to target 9,055 alleged file sharers. That was a week after director Axel Braun filed in West Virginia to sue 7,098 alleged pirates for one film, Batman XXX: A Porn Parody.
This is not to be confused with the seven West Virginia suits filed in late September, suing 5,469. That was just before three porn companies came together to file against 1,100 alleged torrent pirates in Chicago. None of these were filed in conjunction with Hustler/Larry Flynt Production’s now-total of four lawsuits for This Ain’t Avatar XXX, with its own defendant total of 7164. ...
The porn industry is not being shy about using shame over its own product as a threat, and this is particularly troubling. While the defendants initially coming up as “John Does” in filing, companies like Hustler/LFP are working the “name and shame” angle and asked a U.S. District Judge to green light revealing the identities of Does from Internet providers. Another adult company preparing to expose the identities of defendants is Third World Media. Once they are identified, they are more likely to settle whether they are guilty or not because of the content. ...
And just how much can that mean to cash-strapped pornographers? According to Dallas attorney Evan Stone (no relation to adult performer Evan Stone), who is handling a number of bittorrent lawsuits including Hustler/LFP, “We usually ask people for $1,500 to settle out of court.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Picture Is Worth 10,000 Words

Here is a wordle picture of the current state of the first chapter of the book project. I find these snapshots oddly helpful. Even when I start to doubt the sense of the words on the page, these clouds display a visually reassuring alternative coherence.

Monday, November 01, 2010