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Bloggers vs. newspaper columnists

Bloggers vs. newspaper columnists
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First Published: Sun, Feb 11 2007. 11 58 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Feb 11 2007. 11 58 PM IST
Arnold Kling finds bloggers more valuable than journal editors. Richard Florida says bloggers are more interesting than newspaper columnists: Columnists have to cover a wide range of turf, are forced to write in a formulaic 850-word framework, can’t hyper-link to source material and other content, and often are writing in areas and on subjects where they are not really experts. Plus they have “artificial” deadlines and can’t engage their audience. It seems to me that the online future favours bloggers over columnists in a big way.” Who are we to disagree?
McKinsey Quarterly adds to the mounting evidence that the mobile phone is The Best Thing Ever. From this month’s edition: “We surveyed more than 600 workers in China who travel for their jobs: taxi drivers, plumbers and salespeople, for example. Mobile phones... offer these workers time savings of nearly 6%—a productivity gain worth $33 billion in 2005. Part of the value of these gains goes to operators as service fees, and workers hold the (rest) as part of their end-user surplus. …The benefits of mobile phones, to the economy and to individuals, increases as penetration increases. No surprise there. Of India, China and the Philippines, India has the lowest penetration... For India, we forecast that a 10% increase in penetration would add $2.3 billion to the end-user surplus and a further $6.2 billion in operator revenues.”
I’m looking forward to the rash of stories that will come out next year on how the Blackberry has increased productivity, but increased job stress, reduced family time, and killed the idea of a vacation—for a net loss to humankind. Grameen, please stay away from the Blackberries.
Jonah Goldberg writes: “Earth got about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer in the 20th century ,while it increased its GDP by 1,800%, by one estimate. How much of that 0.7 degrees can be laid at the feet of that 1,800% is unknowable, but let’s stipulate that all of the warming was the result of our prosperity...That’s still an amazing bargain. Life expectancies in the US increased from about 47 years to about 77. Literacy, medicine, leisure and even, in many respects, the environment have improved mightily over the 20th century, at least in the West. Given the option of getting another 1,800% richer in exchange for another 0.7 degrees warmer, I’d take the heat in a heartbeat.”
I (had) calculated the (rise) in world GDP as being close to 50 times more GDP, although only nine times more GDP per capita. But the point about the trade-off is the same. To be fair, it is not the global warming that has people’s knickers in a twist. It’s the...project(ions) for the future. (But) I do not think that the climate modelers have enough data to make usable predictions.
About 99% of the people who knowingly tell you that global warming is real and that the science is conclusive have no clue about statistical modeling. The challenges of climate modeling that scientists understand are quite different from the popular conceptions that imagine some concrete certainty. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never before in the field of public policy have so many had such confidence in model forecasts based on so few meaningful observations.
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First Published: Sun, Feb 11 2007. 11 58 PM IST
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