Headline Dissonance

Observed simultaneously via Google News:

CNN: Brzezinski: U.S. seems to be on course for Iran war

Al Jazeera: Iran ‘not headed for war with US’

More typically the Google News groupings contain many articles with nearly the same content.

Are You Up On Your Internet Video Memes?

Via Tikirobot, a most exhaustive (and perhaps frightening) catalog of the Internet Video Memes to wash over us in the last year (or two?). How many do you recognize? The video is a good reminder of how short-lived these phenomena are:

(Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what they are talking about at 1:24-1:25. “Rocking Mo Manda?”)

Paul Graham on College

Great essay from Paul Graham about why college prestige doesn’t matter. (I wish I had both the time and ability to churn out his volume of high-quality writing.) My favorite parts were the following two footnotes:

…No one ever measures recruiters by the later performance of people they turn down.[2]…

[2] Actually, someone did, once. Mitch Kapor’s wife Freada was in charge of HR at Lotus in the early years. (As he is at pains to point out, they did not become romantically involved till afterward.) At one point they worried Lotus was losing its startup edge and turning into a big company. So as an experiment she sent their recruiters the resumes of the first 40 employees, with identifying details changed. These were the people who had made Lotus into the star it was. Not one got an interview.

…Obviously you can’t prove this in the case of a single individual, but you can tell from aggregate evidence: you can’t, without asking them, distinguish people who went to one school from those who went to another three times as far down the US News list. [3]…

[3] The US News list? Surely no one trusts that. Even if the statistics they consider are useful, how do they decide on the relative weights? The reason the US News list is meaningful is precisely because they are so intellectually dishonest in that respect. There is no external source they can use to calibrate the weighting of the statistics they use; if there were, we could just use that instead. What they must do is adjust the weights till the top schools are the usual suspects in about the right order. So in effect what the US News list tells us is what the editors think the top schools are, which is probably not far from the conventional wisdom on the matter. The amusing thing is, because some schools work hard to game the system, the editors will have to keep tweaking their algorithm to get the rankings they want.

As an alum of a fairly prestigious institution, I think I endorse Graham’s conclusions.

The biggest thing in their life is word of mouth

Spot-on profile of Rick Rubin and the future of music in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (probably already much blogged about):

The kids all said that a) no one listens to the radio anymore, b) they mostly steal music, but they don’t consider it stealing, and c) they get most of their music from iTunes on their iPod. They told us that MySpace is over, it’s just not cool anymore; Facebook is still cool, but that might not last much longer; and the biggest thing in their life is word of mouth. That’s how they hear about music, bands, everything.

That last point is key. If any new business model will thrive, it will be one that is built around the social graph.

[Tags]Social graph, Rick Rubin, Music, New York Times, Facebook, Myspace, iTunes[/tags]

Bourne Execution

Two words: flawless execution.

I can enjoy almost any movie that is well constructed, regardless of genre, plot, etc..

It did help to sit pretty far back in the theater, though.

If the CIA were really as clever and technologically sophisticated as it appears in the Bourne movies, the United States wouldn’t have so many foreign policy disasters on its hands (egregious constitutional violations notwithstanding).

[Tags]Bourne Ultimatum, Movies, Queasycam[/tags]