Bullets

  • Lotta people blogging this announcement from Google that they’re taking on Wikipedia. I like calling individual articles, “knols.” Interesting conspiracy theory backstory: I read somewhere else that a while back Google was having problems with the results of their searches constantly bringing up “spam” blogs, blogs that had content that appeared to be valid to its results engine, but actually was just semi-readable text put together in millions of different permutations by bots. So to fix the problem, Google tweaked it’s algorithm to promote Wikipedia results so they would show up higher in the list and viola, problem solved. Now, the thinking is that Google is eager to take some of that market share back from Wikipedia. I call it a conspiracy theory because I read it on a blog in the past couple of days, and now I can’t find the post, so I don’t know how accurate it is.
  • Speaking of Wikipedia, they’ve gotten some bad pub recently for not being as open and democratic as they claim.
  • Robert Scoble says that the new feature that lets you view your friends Shared Items from within Google Reader has a major flaw. If you have thousands of friends like he does, you get duplicate items in all their shared feeds. Sounds like an easy fix, and Scoble has the megaphone to get it noticed. I’ve wondered myself what the outcome is for anyone who I’m “friends” with if I Share an item that they have shared. That seems like a logical behavior since while we may have friends in common, that isn’t an exclusive set and I could theoretically think that others viewing my Shared Items would be interested in it as well. But it would probably result in the original person who shared the item seeing it again in my Shared Items feed.  (UPDATE: before I was even finished writing this post, Scoble posted a workaround.)
  • I visited the excellent Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms today. The Churchill Museum was probably the most informative and interesting, although it was cool to see the recreations of the secret underground HQ from which they planned WWII. Also, went back to the Imperial War Museum, because on my last visit I didn’t have time to watch the documentary about Crimes Against Humanity and explore the Holocaust Exhibition. The latter was extremely in-depth and very moving. Not exactly an uplifting way to end the day, but worth it nonetheless.
  • The new Will Smith movie “I Am Legend” is getting positive reviews and apparently is on its way to setting a box office record for opening weekend receipts (a record for a movie opening in December, opening on a day ending in an even number where the leading man’s last name begins between M and Z in the alphabet and the movie also includes a dog–can you tell I get tired of reading how every new blockbuster that comes out sets a record, followed by a list or ridiculous qualifications? actually in this case it’s a short list, but still I felt I needed to make the point.) New dog owners take note: the dog in the movie is a German Shepherd and The Fresh Prince has conversations with the dog throughout the movie because he’s the last “man” alive in New York City. Also, as though we needed it, there is movie version of Alvin & the Chipmunks.
  • Bill Buckley sums up what I don’t trust about populists succinctly in this column about John Edwards. (It could just as easily be applied to Mike Huckabee.)
    • “In more recent times, there has usually been a presidential candidate out there who took the populist line, endeavoring to distinguish himself from the establishment, and inviting followers to join him in heterodoxy. He draws attention to the special fragrance that rises from the fetid pools of power — big business, big unions. However, his remedies usually rely on another of those pools: big government.”
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