More interesting articles from the last week or so……

The Comment Is King

A look at comments left on articles in The Washington Post and Slate, which does not bode well for those of us interested in creating commenting systems for science articles.

Will Wolfram make bioinformatics obsolete?
Interesting piece on the potential for Wolfram Alpha to be used as a much easier interface for bioinformatics questions.

Clay Shirky Debunks the WSJ’s “Bloggers For Hire” Feature
The increasingly ubiquitous Clay Shirky does a detailed analysis of Mark Penn’s Wall Street Journal article claiming that there are hordes of people who make their living blogging. Shirky’s pretty much shreds the poorly researched nonsense to pieces.

Too much free
Seth Godin notes that giving away your book or e-book (or whatever) for free is losing its novelty value as a marketing technique.

Wikipedia hoax points to limits of journalists’ research

Two good points made here. 1) Wikipedia is completely untrustworthy, and 2) newspapers continue to hasten their own doom by lowering the quality of journalism they perform.

Kindle wrap-up
New Kindle was announced this week, bigger, even more absurdly expensive, still black and white (which makes it a non-starter for textbooks). Hard to understand why students who are pretty much required to have laptops these days would want an extra big bulky device to lug around as well.
The Kindle Lets Amazon Make a Lot From the Few
Speculation on the Kindle’s business model. Steve Jobs was right, not enough people read to make lots of money selling a device, but Amazon thinks that small group of people will buy lots and lots of e-books, which is where the profit lies.
Publishers Nurture Rivals to Kindle
Meanwhile, publishers are unhappy with Amazon, looking to avoid turning control of their industry over to one company and repeating the mistake the music industry made in ceding control to Apple.

Google book settlement has librarians worried
Librarians weigh in on the increasingly problematic Google Book Settlement.

The Extreme Google Brain
Google’s lead designer left the company recently, and caused a stir with his revelations of how anti-design the company seems to be. This analysis looks at the extreme personality types that thrive in places like Google, and I couldn’t resist this vicious and hilarious description:

My impression of “Googlers,” which I concede is based on little direct knowledge and is prejudicial on its face, is one of undersocialized, uncultured, pampered, arrogant faux-savants who have cultivated an arrested adolescence that the Google working environment further nurtures. Their computer-programming skills, the sole skills valued by the company, camouflage the flaws of their neuroanatomy. Their brains are beautifully suited to the genteel eugenics program that is the Google hiring process but are broken for real-world use.