The other day, someone pointed out to me that my blog is read by more people than 95% of all the magazines published in the US. She wanted to know why I don’t try to monetize it. “Run ads,” she said. “Or find a sponsor, or maybe even charge for it!” That’s a lot of nickels, after all.
I tried to sum it up like this: Not only can’t I imagine charging for my blog, I’m practically in debt to the people who read it. I ought to pay them, not the other way around.
Every time you read something I write here, you’re giving me a gift… attention. It’s getting more precious all the time, you have more choices every day, and it’s harder and harder to find the time. I know. I’m grateful. I’m doing my best to make your attention worth it.
The other day I used the phrase “the coast is clear” and wondered what it originally meant. Here’s the answer:
The phrase first appears in print in 1531 where it describes a vessel which had safely cleared the coast, then later Shakespeare used it in Henry VI as a reference to visibility. Neither of these references touch on its true insinuation; it is a reference to smuggling … or some nefarious operation. (source)
The placebo response is about far more than the pills – it is about the cultural meaning of a treatment, our expectation, and more. So we know that four sugar pills a day will clear up ulcers quicker than two sugar pills, we know that a saltwater injection is a more effective treatment for pain than a sugar pill, we know that green sugar pills are more effective for anxiety than red, and we know that brand packaging on painkillers increases pain relief.
The law of competition implies that many competitors, competing on the “free market” without restraint, will ultimately and inevitably reduce the number of competitors to one. The law of competition, in short, is the law of war.
[Berry is rhetorically winsome here, but I disagree with him. The law of competition is at work in nature, yet it rarely reduces the number of competitors to one. (And when it does, the winner loses.) It rarely reduces competitors to one in a free market, either. This may change with large technological companies because of the tremendous start-up costs and knowledge involved (notice that there are really only two big CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD), but so far the American free market has not reduced all competitors to one, and it's been going on for quite a while now.
What's the alternative, anyway? Socialism isn't any better – see any economic analysis on the Soviet Union. It was horrible. A free market lets scarce resources get to the most needed places at the right prices very quickly. I'm not aware of any other economic system that is comparably efficient.]
Kindle is Amazon’s attempt to make an e-reader that someone would want to crawl in bed with. It’s a nice try, but it’s incredibly ugly and clunky looking. They should have worked with the Apple designers, because that thing looks straight out of 1985.
When there is a beautiful leather-bound e-book reader that is intuitive, DRM-free, doesn’t have dozens of buttons, lets me underline words, write in the margins, and doesn’t look like a technological dinosaur, let me know.
So the Kindle proposition is this: You pay for downloadable books that can’t be printed, can’t be shared, and can’t be displayed on any device other than Amazon’s own $400 reader — and whether they’re readable at all in the future is solely at Amazon’s discretion. That’s no way to build a library.
I’ve been reading Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell for a while now and have found it helpful and readable. But Yoram Bauman has a knack for making economic principles really simple and funny. Who knew a “stand-up economist” was possible?