Friday, January 4, 2013

Link roundup

1.  LA Times:

An appeals court ruling invalidating a rape conviction in California has sparked debate and was described by one legal expert as "bizarre." 
A man who impersonates someone in order to have sexual intercourse may be guilty of rape only if the victim was married and the man was pretending to be her husband, a state appeals court has ruled.

2.  HuffPost:
Frustrated by his adult son's incessant gaming habit, a man in China reportedly hired a number of in-game master "hitmen" to annihilate his son's avatar over and over again in an attempt to deter him from playing.

3.  WRM:
Saudi Arabia’s budget has grown by 58 percent since the Arab Spring, with massive welfare and public spending driving the growth. 
Even as popular uprisings rocked neighboring Bahrain and Oman and toppled an ally in Egypt, the richest gulf monarchy remained unscathed. But rising housing and food prices, youth unemployment, and other expensive problems are forcing the kingdom’s hand this year—to the tune of $219 billion.
4.  Gizmodo:
Best Buy dropped the price of the 16GB iPhone 5 to $150 last month, and Walmart bested that with a $127 iPhone. Now Best Buy says lost a whole $65,000 on this one product in just one day because it was forced go meet that lower price.
5.  Penelope Trunk describing her friend:
I have to explain that Melissa’s idea of fulfillment is sitting on the sofa, reading the New Yorker, and then other reading that’s within reach of the the far corner, which is the spot in every sofa in any room that she will choose to sit. She requires that every three hours there is someone to hear her output. That is, she has synthesized the information and determined what is important for people to know, and she needs them to respond to her. She needs someone to say, “Yeah, that’s a good one.”
That's a pretty good definition for "blogger."


  1. It's an interesting point you make about Trunk's friend essentially doing what a blogger does. Yet visiting a blog is (usually) enjoyable; visiting that room where Melissa is sitting sounds torturous.

    I mean, I get your point--you digest lots of stories and pick the things you find most interesting to blog about, and we come and read it and write comments like this. How do you decide, though? Is it all exclusively what you find interesting or is it also partly what you think we might find interesting and/or what you think might drive up your traffic (regardless of how interested you are in it personally)?

    Apart from trying to make you see that you are not Melissa (if you even thought that), I'm also curious as to what your answer is to that question. I read here ever day (and try to comment at least a couple times a week). Your number of posts were down (by almost half) in 2012 from previous years, so I'm wondering whether your criteria have changed?

  2. I post what I find interesting and what I think my readers will find interesting/haven't already seen elsewhere. I don't worry about traffic. Otherwise, I'd steal content (instead of sending people elsewhere) and mix in sex like the bigger blogs.

    Post count's a little misleading. I split off about half of what I post onto my Tumblr.

  3. Thank you for the reply, John. I wasn't going to re-reply to this, but then I saw the comments on your Beasts of the Southern Wild review this morning, and I changed my mind.

    --I don't think I've ever seen another blogger write that they "don't worry about traffic." I don't blog, so I don't know how much traffic matters, but I assumed it was important, so I'm curious. Do your sponsors not ask about the traffic numbers? Do you not watch to see which posts get more traffic than others?

    --I always forget about your Tumblr. And then I get to view a month's-worth of postings all at once, which is nice, but I never remember. Maybe return to the periodic reminders?

    --I like the "link roundup" style of posts, similar to the way Largehearted Boy posts, but I imagine they are a challenge to assemble regularly.

    --I don't know that I always agree with your movie or book reviews, but I would never suggest that you stop posting them. I read (and loved) Ready Player 1 a year ago, and your recent review made me re-consider it a bit. Still not sure I agree with you, but your points had validity. I loved The Magicians but really disliked its sequel (and wish you'd have actually written a more extensive review of it). How long do you wait after seeing a movie or reading a book before posting your review/opinion? Hours, days, weeks?

    I hope the comments don't discourage you from posting reviews. Maybe people only want to read positive reviews?

  4. I've chiefly had the same sponsors for years and make no effort to find new ones.

    I don't know what to say as to The Magicians. I thought Julia's story was incredible. I love the concept of alternate reality games, and that's basically what it was. She unravels an ARG that starts in a chatroom and spills into the real world, and finds herself in a very real fairy tale.