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Entries from April 2012

All Ethics Are Secular Ethics

April 23rd, 2012 · 27 Comments

In an exchange at Slate with Will Saletan, Ross Douthat writes: [T]he more purely secular liberalism has become, the more it has spent down its Christian inheritance—the more its ideals seem to hang from what Christopher Hitchens’ Calvinist sparring partner Douglas Wilson has called intellectual “skyhooks,” suspended halfway between our earth and the heaven on […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · Religion

Tumblr Killed the Blog Star? Some Thoughts on Interpreting Online Trends.

April 19th, 2012 · 7 Comments

This recent xkcd comic implies that Tumblr is on its way to outpacing blogs in popularity or cultural relevance. I’m not at all sure that’s what the graph in question shows, though. Presumably in the early days of the mass Internet you had a much higher proportion of novice users entering search terms like “Buffy […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

Everything Is a Bulletin Board!

April 6th, 2012 · 63 Comments

An Arizona man named William Hall is headed back to prison for violating the terms of his parole, which apparently included the following rather dated language: I will not use an electronic bulletin board system, Internet relay chat channel, DCC chat channel, instant messaging, newsgroup, user group, peer to peer (e.g.Napster, Gnutella, Freenet, etc). Hall […]

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Tags: Law · Tech and Tech Policy

“Girls Around Me,” Privacy, and the Semiotics of Creepiness

April 3rd, 2012 · 5 Comments

Kashmir Hill is a little disturbed by the public reaction to a controversial iPhone app called “Girls Around Me,” which mined data from the social location platform Foursquare and public profiles on sites like Facebook to create what one breathless critic dubbed “a tool for rapists and stalkers.” Writes Hill: For one, how do we […]

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Tags: Privacy and Surveillance

On Snobbery and Books for Grown-Ups

April 3rd, 2012 · 25 Comments

Joel Stein is being roundly booed as a snob for opining in a recent Times roundtable that “Adults Should Read Adult Books” and steer clear of young adult fare. Maybe out of pure contrariness, I’m inclined to offer a qualified defense. It has to be qualified because, let’s face it, I’m a 33-year-old man with […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Language and Literature