Links for 4th June 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Abortion and the Architecture of Reality

    "At this point, a lot of impatient people declare that morality and ethics are simply impossible in such a world, and storm out in frustration. But this is the world in which we actually live, so storming out is not a productive response. Morality and ethics are possible, but they’re not to be found in Natural Law — they are the creation of human beings, reasoning together on the basis of their shared feelings and experiences. Human beings are not blank slates, nor are they immutable tablets; we are born into the world with certain wants and desires and natural reactions to events, and those feelings can adapt and change over time in response to learning and reasoning. So we get together, communicate, understand that not everyone necessarily agrees on how the social world should be organized, and try to negotiate some sort of mutual compromise. (Or, alternatively, try to impose our will by force. But I like the mutual compromise approach better.) That’s how the world actually works."

    Tagged with: sciencephilosophyreligionpersonhoodabortiondebate

  2. Warrantless surveillance lawsuit thrown out

    "The warrantless surveillance program is one the more contentious controversies that still lingers from Bush's tenure in office. The Bush administration attempted to leverage the State Secrets privilege to block litigation that aimed to hold participants in the surveillance program accountable for violating privacy laws. When it became clear that the courts were going to allow the lawsuits to move forward, Congress intervened and passed a FISA amendment to grant the telecom companies explicit immunity. President Obama voted in favor of immunity, despite consistently promising to oppose it." Selah.

    Tagged with: surveillanceprivacyEFFACLUNSAlawsuit

  3. Stop selling scarcity

    "We in media – including us online with our banners and buttons – are still selling scarcity – and pricing it that way – when there is no scarcity.[…]

    I’ve been wanting for sometime to have users vote on ads and tell a site which ads are worthwhile to them and which are not. This creates data that valuable for the advertiser (who likes me, who doesn’t?) and it enables media and marketing to become far more effective (Google allowing us to correct the targeting assumptions it makes about us reduces our irritation with irrelevant ads and improves Google’s effectiveness).

    The future of advertising needs to be selling – that is, enabling – relevance instead of selling scarce space, time, or eyeballs. The future needs to be about adding value – relevance – rather than selling scarcity (extracting what the market will bear). "

    Tagged with: social-mediamarketingeconomicsadvertisingscarcity

  4. What percentage of our laws actually come from the EU?

    "These figures (or, at least, figures in this rough ballpark) are widely accepted, with everyone from universities to charities seeming to accept them at face value. But are any of them actually true? And which is it? 84%? 80%? 75%? 50%? Or some other figure? Because they can’t ALL be right." Very enlightening, and confirms a belief I've long held.

    Tagged with: ukpoliticsEUEurpoelegislaturelawsbureaucracyburdenstatistics

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