December 29, 2001
What is?

Michel Foucault: What is Enlightenment?

NYTimes: Afghan Journalism's Postwar Mission (login/pass: cypherpunk40)

Noam Chomsky: The World After Sept. 11

Washington contemptuously dismissed the tentative offers to consider extradition of bin Laden and his associates; how real such possibilities were we cannot know, because of the righteous refusal even to consider them. This stand adheres to a leading principle of statecraft, called "establishing credibility" in the rhetoric of statecraft and scholarship. And it is understandable. If a Mafia Don plans to collect protection money, he does not first ask for a Court order, even if he could obtain it. Much the same is true of international affairs. Subjects must understand their place, and must recognize that the powerful need no higher authority.

The best free reference websites, according to the American Library Association.

The US is still throwing $2.5 billion in foreign aid to Israel annually, most of which is used to buy arms from the US.

Google's end-of-year Zeitgeist

Big domains are getting bought by companies who put their own system behind the old interface.

So KB Toys, for example, now operates an online store that has the name and colors of the defunct but popular eToys and that mirrors its own Web site. (news/quote) is similarly presenting the face of, which is no more.
What I find interesting is that internet retailers haven't had the same idea, except the other way around. What if Amazon (for example) let folks set up a virtual bookstore, providing the same information as amazon, but putting a different "skin" on it. All the shipping, warehousing, and ordering would be handled by Amazon, but there would be a commission in it for the person running the site in question. There would probably be a lot of crappy knock-offs, but maybe there would be some good ones too - in any case, all the money would go to the same source, and the time and effort wouldn't be wasted on trying to promote the front end. If it worked, the physical goods and front end would be effectively split off from each other, and each part would be slightly more commoditized. A lot of folks would probably be layed off or paid less, but the resulting proliferation of online "storefronts" would be interesting. It's not much different than amazon's affiliate program, except that the "branding" and access to features and information would be closer to complete.

posted by dru in us