The Spectacle Blog
Here's one more reason to read John Tabin's article, which sheds light on how we can remain competitive with China. Remember that it wasn't long ago that the U.S. was particularly reluctant to share its super-computer technology with certain states, such as China, who is now rising rapidly in tech exports. The market has room for China's participation, certainly, but meditate on a combination of their growing technological prowess with military applications, and recent Pentagon reports critical of how they have obscured their defense spending -- this is certainly mixed news, at best.
Wikipedia is definitely worth using -- as I said, it has plenty of arguments on its side. But it is alarming that there is no governing authority on content. Factual information can disputed, or just tagged as disputable. I'm more than happy to abide by it, but when a friend was compiling an article for Wikipedia, he found too many people offering arbitrary criticism without concern for the information presented. That's not just anecdotal. Type in controversial issues, and see for yourself. (Try "Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 2004.")
I'm of the anarchy-with-results crowd on this. So there was a bad bio. Big deal. It's been corrected. Most information sources get big stories wrong on a much more frequent basis. Ask anyone who deals with reporters: the majority of stories have at least one detail wrong. The Wikipedia model, if not abused for propaganda, allows folks with more knowledge to contribute to the project, usually producing a more complete entry that would require hours of searching by the lone web surfer. And when there is incorrect information, it's usually quickly fixed. Millions of readers means millions of editors. Granted, the risks are high. But the users should take Wikipedia for what it is: a highly accurate committee product. All readers should use it with a sense of caveat emptor -- and double-check sources and claims. To that end, nearly every Wikipedia claim is backed by a footnote.
Our (or at least my) favorite folks in Congress, the House Republican Study Committee, launched a revamped website today. It's pretty slick and nimble with a new online resume bank, updated members list (with the newest member, Rep. John Campbell), and comprehensive links to white papers. I hope that their next move is to link directly to sponsored legislation, rather than pdfs listing it, as well as a more interactive "Money Monitor."
As much as Wikipedia has shown itself to be a valuable instant reference, there's an air of suspicion there. CNET's Daniel Terdiman explicates that suspicion, explaining that even the site's founder feels like his monster has gone beyond his control. Too bad, since Wikipedia has some very strong arguments on its side. But you can't rely on an ever-changing encyclopedia that permits anonymous users to modify articles without any kind of governing authority; anarchy tends to destroy information, not convey it.
Coming from Connecticut, I have absolutely no understanding of the popularity of crystal meth, but when I overhear that Congress is planning on placing limits on cold medicines, I wonder why we even bother with state legislatures anymore. I have a feeling that the Reason crowd will be entirely against this terrible violation of privacy rights, what with having to sign your name to a cold medicine log. All I have to say about that aspect is that I'll use my own pen, thankyouverymuch.
I'm reminded of my high school physics teacher, a Georgian immigrant, who found NyQuil potent enough that he felt it should be sold in six-packs.
Burdened by scandal and its hard-left ideology, the Dems' think tank, aka the New York Times, may be dying before our eyes. As it parades its bias, its profits drop and publisher Pinch Sulzberger may be in trouble.
How bad is it? Apparently the bomb dog that was brought in prior to an editorial board visit by Condi Rice reacted to the problems that pervade the Times by throwing up on the carpet. There are no reports that Rove or Mehlman had insisted that the dog's training include reacting to liberalism.
We covered a lot of ground, talked to a lot of people, and came back with a few facts. Among which is that the war is being won, not lost, and that the only way it can be lost is if we give up.
More tomorrow in Loose Canons and -- for those in San Diego -- more later today when I'm guest hosting for Mark Larson on KOGO, 600 AM. See ya on the radio.