Monday, April 18, 2005

Editor fight! John Robinson calls out John Hammer: "He doesn't cite any supporting data, which suggests to me that he simply made the numbers up." JR also questions Hammer's consistency on the question of out-of-town publishers, of which the Rhino is one.

Certainly Hammer doesn't understand blogs: "Blogging can be entertaining but until someone figures out how to make money on it, blogging is just a hobby," he writes. Leaving aside the fact that some bloggers are getting paid these days, Hammer has confused making money with making a difference. Tell Dan Rather it's just a hobby, John. 

Amateur scientists helped shape the modern world, amateur athletes have fevered followings, amateurs in all manner of volunteer activities make a huge impact on the local scene...why should amateur journalists be any different?

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The Independent: "Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri...In the past four days alone, Oxford's classicists have used it to make a  series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament." (via Backwards City)

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A big year at the Yosties for the extended Cone took home the coveted Best Political Blog award (without even bribing Yost -- good thing Capo didn't give him a cheerleader's phone number) and my distant cousin Alan Bulluck scored in the Best New Rhino Writer category.

Luna was one family member who did not win, losing out to Mina Hammer for Best Downtown Dog, but she graciously told me that it's an honor just to be nominated. In a stunning upset Yost, to whom Alan, Luna, and I are not related, snagged his own award for political reporting.

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Engelbart's Law? Lacks euphony, but may be Moore accurate.

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Cunning Realist: "Asking the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors what he thinks about real estate is like asking a mortuary owner if he's bullish on death."

Semi-related: This sad story from the N&R about local people losing their savings in an investment scam. My favorite line: "Hays said if the agents didn't know Mobile Billboards was a scam, they should have. Some of them earned 28 percent commissions at a time most brokers got 1 or 2 percent commissions."

Semi-related: "Since 1998, Ohio has invested millions of dollars in the unregulated world of rare coins, buying nickels, dimes, and pennies. Controlling the money for the state? Prominent local Republican and coin dealer Tom Noe."

The last reminds me of a story meeting at Forbes, circa 1987, where an editor named Bill Flanagan pitched a story about bad investment opportunities in gold coins. "How bad is it?," asked editor-in-chief Jim Michaels. Said Flanagan, "Jim, the doctors are buying."

Maybe that's funnier if you grew up as I did, listening to your doctor dad describe all the dumb things physicians do with their investment money, but I still use that line today.

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Eric Muller, appalled at a Christian-themed book in his third-grader's school library that denigrates Buddhism, now finds another in the same series that whacks Islam.

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Project wiki for the Hoggard fundraiser.

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Coincidental to my brief mention of the Pop the Cap campaign in yesterday's column, Mark Binker has a front-pager in this morning's N&R on the effort to raise the alcohol limit in beer sold in NC...

...I was wrong that the current limit is 3.2%, it's actually 6%: more info on 3.2 beer here, and alcoholic content in beer here.

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