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I know that content wants to be free on the Internet. I know that the horse was long ago shown the barn door and that, belatedly, the idea of creating a new revenue stream from online subscriptions seems daunting and dangerous. I know that commentary—the froth and foam of print journalism—sells itself cheaply and well on thousands of blogs. I know that the relationships between newspapers and online aggregators—not to mention The Associated Press and Reuters—will have to be revisited and revised. True, all true. Most of all, I know that here you are being individually asked to consider taking a bold, risk-laden stand for content—that antitrust considerations prohibit the Times and The Post, not to mention Rupert Murdoch or the other owners, from talking this through and acting in concert. Would that every U.S. newspaper publisher could meet in a bathroom somewhere and talk bluntly for fifteen minutes, this would be a hell of a lot easier. And yes, I know that if one of you should try to go behind the paywall while the other’s content remains free, then, yes, you would be destroyed. All that is apparent. –“Build the Wall,” David Simon, Columbia Journalism Review
Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used. Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs. — “A.P. Cracks Down on Unpaid Use of Articles on Web,” Richard Perez-Pena, The New York Times
Former CIGNA executive talks about health care with Bill Moyer;
deep-vein thrombosis risk overestimated?;
Berlusconi may have admitted architectural crime to escort;
five Roman shipwrecks;
the Oprah neuron (via)
Not two weeks ago, Yu Wan Mei was ebullient with anticipation of inescapable success upon acquiring the Onion newspaper! With our belief that the distribution of information was a profitable endeavor, joy leapt supreme. Yu Wan Mei, all were certain, was moments away from resounding triumph, from expanding once more and growing in both size and influence. But now, desolate unhappiness. It appears that in America the very business of published news is in the midst of widespread atrophy, and now carries forward as does a sickly and aging man, coughing up blood and gasping for breath and bearing the pronounced stench of inevitable failure. Why did no one inform us of this? Great shame must now consume those who kept silent about the 87 percent decline in newspaper readership nationwide. Great shame must now consume those who did not open their lips before our dealings were done, and allowed the industrious and cherished Yu Wan Mei Group to sink itself like a granite stone. –“Why Did No One Inform Us Of The Imminent Death Of The American Newspaper Industry?” by Zuo Xiabing, CEO of Yu Wan Mei Group, The (newly Chinese-owned) Onion.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”