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A group blog for authors from a variety of backgrounds, founded on the notion that there's more than one way to skin Schroedinger's cat.
Interests: Culture. Art. Media. Science. Politics. Sex. Literature. Technology. Poetry. Blogs. Small engine repair. Podcasting. Oil painting. Archaeology. Chess. Diving. Wilderness. Net sociology. Simplicity. 'Leet. Football (American). Environmentalism (global). Quantum physics. Marine biology. Psychology. Taoism. The Church. Neo-paganism. Megaliths. Shakti. Rock and Roll. Blues. Jazz. Classical. Hip Hop. Remix. Mashups. Tofu. Communes. Libertarianism. Free expression. Networks. Grassroots. Journalism. Science Fiction. Travel. Tranquility. History. Futurism. William Irwin Thompson. John Steinbeck. Walker Percy. William Gibson. Patricia Anthony. Ernest Hemingway. Ken McCleod. Paul Di Filippo. Elmore Leonard. Raymond Chandler. Jack Kerouac. Paul Theroux. Graham Greene. Edward Abbey. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Susie Bright. Violet Blue. James Ellroy. Joseph Campbell. Carl Jung. Philip K. Dick. Russell Banks. John le Carre. Stephanie Yuhl. Shelby Foote. J.D. Lasica. Dave Winer. Dan Gillmor. Jay Rosen. Brian Greene. Seymour Hersh. Danny Schecter. Fred Alan Wolf. Amit Goswami. Masuri Emoto. Ramtha. Gary Synder. Allen Ginsberg. Neal Cassady. William Borroughs. S.V. Date. Arthur Phillips. Jim Banister. Jerry Bledsoe. Ed Cone. Kristina Borjesson. Doc Searls. Brian Hicks. Phil Jackson. Dean Smith. Molly Ivins. Carl Hiassen. Dave Barry. I.F. Stone. John Sack. William Grieder. Vine Deloria. Milan Kundera. Tom Wolfe. Thomas Wolfe. Orson Scott Card. Norman Mailer. Hunter S. Thompson. Jay Wentworth. Jim Shumaker. James Gleick. Winn Schwartau. Edward O. Wilson. Thomas A. Desjardin. Hyemeyohsts Storm. Gary Larsen. Charles de Lint. David Brock. Gary Trudeux. M.T. Reiten. Matt Bivens. A.S Byatt. Domanic Lawson. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Edward Hoagland. Kurt Vonnegut. Hafiz. Scott Cunningham. Raymond Buckland. Starhawk. Margot Adler. Gerald Gardner. Neale Donald Walsh. Stevee Postman. Tom Robbins. Andrew Vachss. Bruce Catton. Tony Kornheiser. Tony Horwitz. Ken Kesey. Nora Ephron. Clyde Edgerton. J.K. Rowling. Joseph Heller. Studs Terkel. John Nichols. Lee Breuer. J.D. Salinger. Stephen King. Timothy Goron Ash. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Flannery O'Connor. William Faulkner. Eudora Welty. Swami Muktananda. Rodney Rogers. Keith Olexa. Buddha. Richard Feynman. Carl Frederick. James Maxey. Lynne McTaggart. The Von Hoffman brothers. Al Goodyear. Dennis Stanford. Paul Graham. James Scott. James Shreeve. Anna Haynes. Cameron Crowe. Wendell Berry. Michael Rivero. Gary Webb. David Corn. Al Franken. Randi Rhodes. Stephanie Miller. Dave Slusher. Weldon Berger. Adam Curry. Gene Wolf. Daniel Abraham. Barry Jacobs. Lao Tzu. IP issues. Civil liberties. Robert Heinlein.
Recent Activity
The Opinel No. 10 wooden-handled lock-ring pocket knife. There is nothing fancy about an Opinel. It doesn't hold its edge, offer any special features, or do anything slick. It's just a functional, cheap, light-weight pocket knife with a nice wooden... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2014 at Xark!
Posted Jan 17, 2014 at Xark!
A few years ago, back when I was devoting much of my energy to developing semantic journalism products that seriously interested absolutely no one in the newspaper industry, there was one thought that could jolt me right out of any... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at Xark!
Posted Aug 29, 2013 at Xark!
So today is supposedly the day of reckonning for thousands of digital journaists who work for Patch, the horribly named AOL entry in the corporate arms race to "monetize the hyperlocal space." Big layoffs (nobody knows yet exactly how big),... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2013 at Xark!
Editor's note: i sold this 4,300-word feature story to The Charleston City Paper in June 2012 after spending a week as a volunteer at the annual Allendale Paleoindian Expedition. I'd kinda forgotten about it with all the other things I've... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2013 at Xark!
Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died at 83 last May. Before shuffling off this mortal coil, he left this remarkable interview with Emma Brockes, published in The Believer. Wrote Brockes: After his death, in May, much was written about Sendak’s... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2013 at Xark!
Our world operates on an evolved relationship between humans and machines, but the tricky part of that relationship is that many of the machines we rely upon most intimately function so far beyond a layman's capabilities that they might as... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2013 at Xark!
Long-time readers of Xark (and yes, my web analytics indicate you're still out there) will have noticed a number of changes over the years, but I'd say none have been more profound than my relatively recent decision to remove the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2013 at Xark!
Earlier this week, during a Facebook discussion about assault rifles on my friend Bill Strasburg's wall, one of his pro-gun-but-civil friends replied to something I'd written with this nifty artifact of today's bizarre conservative political culture: "Dan, When the gov't... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2012 at Xark!
The day after President Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press produced a “fact-check” that could be best described as the perfect parody of the systemic flaws I described last week. Rather than offering a limited, measured... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2012 at Xark!
My biases have changed over the years. One of the things I attempted to do here in 2005 was to declare them as formally as possible -- which is one way of driving a stake in the ground before surveying the ground. It also helps because if you've declared your perspective in advance, it's not quite as easy for others to ascribe their preferred biases to your motives in order to dismiss you. I'm glad that the mainstream press has begun to pick up on the problem of "view-from-nowhere" neutrality. Glad that there's at least some discussion of the role of the press in terms of trying to present and declare facts. But what I didn't like about the weekend fallout was the way the press effectively treated the Ryan/Romney fact crisis like any other pack-mentality meme. Once it was clear that everyone was going to challenge Ryan's honesty, everyone had to join in. It's only courageous when you're the first to take a risk.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2012 on Why Fact Checkers fail at Xark!
Back when I was working as a mechanic in a bike shop, I used to wonder whether a journeyman mechanic could make a living by offering a mobile repair service. Someone needs a tune-up, you schedule an appointment and show... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2012 at Xark!
My interest in fact-checking grew out of years of running political coverage in the Carolinas, in places where facts were often far less important than the nameless angers that animate our Southern culture. Doing that job is, in fact, a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2012 at Xark!
I heard a bunch of these back in the Army, and today there are multiple lists that purport to be The Laws of Combat. Most of these lists include plenty of rendundant, overly clever "laws" I never heard in uniform,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2012 at Xark!
If you've read this blog more than once, you probably know that I've been talking about ways to integrate data collection and storage into journalism for years now. Along the way I've learned things about data and standards and business... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2012 at Xark!
The other day someone I follow pointed to a post on Digital Tonto called "The 7 Greatest Ideas in History." And I thought, well, that's kind of a gimme. There are a lot more bad ideas out there than good... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2012 at Xark!
To recap Sunday's New York Times story about metro newspaper companies that are now cutting back from a daily publishing schedule, some companies are doing it because it no longer adds up for them to put out a daily paper,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2012 at Xark!
This list of facts about Hampton Park in Charleston, SC, was compiled by neighborhood resident Kevin Eberle and posted on Facebook on May 31, 2012, by Marshall Walker. I'm reposting them here to make this valuable community knowledge easier to... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2012 at Xark!
As a freshly minted (2010) soccer fan who has traveled for one U.S. Soccer tournament and hopes to make a second trip this fall, I've had the sense that I was riding a rising tide of American interest in the... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2012 at Xark!
Today's news about the Media General/Berkshire Hathaway deal reveals just how dire things have become for our newspaper princes. Unable to turn its newspapers around, Media General has traded its print properties and a big chunk of its future value... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2012 at Xark!
There's a nice little exchange going on between my friend Steve Buttry and Emily Olson, managing editor of the Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., about a powerfully evocative question: How can we recapture the joy and excitement that was once... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2012 at Xark!
Yep. Got it. I see the problem with writing rules that allow the "wrangling of every fact" (allowing for the diversity you speak of) as a top-down problem. It's created an infrastructure (XML/RDF/OWL/CURIE, etc.) that anyone can use, but it hasn't created incentives for enough people to use that infrastructure. We built it, but they didn't come. So I don't want to argue over whether dbpedia is an emergent property of Wikipedia (my point was that cooperation was the emergent property) or a better representation of the structured information within Wikipedia, or whether data (however acquired) has value outside of a structure. I'm interested in what we can do with this motion.
Back in 2009, while contracted to work on a doomed content-repository project, a flash of insight struck me: The problem with grand visions of the Semantic Web was that they all assumed a top-down structure. One wickedly clever set of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2012 at Xark!