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News Is Not Just Any Old Business

28 Aug

Somehow I missed this news about The Onion (via Tank Riot):

Andrea Hansen, advertising sales manager at Capital Newspapers, which publishes The Onion locally, sent out an email this week explaining that the newspaper was not renewing its contract with The Onion. Hansen could not be reached for comment. Todd Sears, Capital Newspapers’ general manager, did not respond to a request for comment.

Bob Marshall, a spokesman for The Onion’s corporate headquarters in Chicago, confirmed the news in an email.

“Unfortunately, yes, the Madison print edition will discontinue at the end of the month,” Marshall wrote. “The local readership of the paper remains strong, yet with the changing landscape of media, the advertising dollars needed to keep a Madison print edition going just weren’t there.”

I can’t help but lump this mentally in with the sale of The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, and related developments, such as the blog, The Monkey Cage, moving from independent to WaPo listing (via Marginal Revolution). Leaving aside that The Monkey Cage‘s new paywall deal sounds improvised, Neil Irwin at Wonkblog explains the problems newspapers have today.

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Schneier on Great Mistakes In Fighting Terrorism

11 Jun

Troubles in the Data MineWhen there’s a controversy, I can always depend on Russ Roberts to host an EconTalk podcast, that cuts through the hypocrisy and murkiness caused by biased press coverage.

Bruce Schneier talks about the mistakes the United States has made combating terrorism.

Guest: So, I’ll talk about two major mistakes. I could spend an hour on this topic. The first one is we over-exaggerate the threat. And in a lot of ways this is an effect of the psychology of terrorism–that it’s big, it’s spectacular. The media repeats it endlessly. And in our brains we think it’s a much larger problem than it is. We don’t say things like: well, every month a 9/11’s worth of people die in car crashes in the United States. We don’t say that pigs kill more people than terrorists every year. We believe terrorism is this huge problem and needs an inordinate amount of security and spending to mitigate. So I think that’s the first thing we get badly wrong. The second is that we worry about the specifics of what happened rather than the generalities of what could happen. So, we worry about terrorists taking over airplanes with box cutters. I mean, right now we’re worried about finish lines of marathons. It’s almost magical thinking, that we somehow have to secure the finish lines at marathons in this country. Because that’s what the terrorists did last time, and obviously that’s the place of worry. We see this in airplane security. Think of the history. We take away guns and bombs, they use box cutters. We take away box cutters, they put a bomb in their shoes. We screen shoes, they use liquids. We take away liquids, they put a bomb in their underwear. We put in full body scanners, they are going to do something else. Again, this overly specific focus on the details of the plot rather than the broad generalities. Those are the two major mistakes.

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Infidel Links, My Wife Is An Alien Edition

3 Jun

Microwavable Spotted DickOn Thursday, my wife got her IR-1 immigration visa for the United States. We’re leaving sometime in the next few months. It’s a short-term/long-term tradeoff: I don’t want to settle down in South Korea. I’ve been listening to podcasts, because of the travel time to Seoul and the U.S. Embassy and back and all that time waiting in lines and chairs.



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