Sunday, February 20, 2005

Numb3rs: a hallmark of an age of optimism

For all those who see pop culture as a wasteland, as proof that we are facing apocalypse now, I always like looking for signs of optimism.

I was reading today about McDonalds and their new apple slices that replace fries in happy meals. As society has become wealthier, we face new problems, but though it takes time, institutions exist to deal with them. The media hype over obesity worked, the trend has reversed.

The ever increasing crime of the 70's and 80's has reversed. Amazingly, New York is the safest city in the country.

The cold war solved itself without nuclear winter.

Democracy unrelentingly has spread across the globe.

Science and technology continues its inexorable advance.

Harry Potter (despite its flaws) has reinvigorated reading for children. Has made it cool again.

On television, the highest rated show is CSI, a show that reifies science. West Wing made a good run, idealizing government. Even the Apprentice, which makes business exciting.

Things to get kids excited, to inspire.

Numb3rs is particulary exciting. Though I felt it can't possibly last, and I still don't expect it to last the season, it is somehow the highest rated Friday night show (which doesn't say that much). It totally feels like a public service show, but good for CBS.

Eric and I are annoyed that the main character is a mathematician rather than an economist, but the principles are the same.

If the show can get kids excited about math, especially the "girls of Summers," then I dunno. Good things. We live in exciting times.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

cool ibm ad

Cool IBM banner ad with soothing ibm branded music drew me to a very nicely done flash ad. Impressive.

ibm ad

I'm always on the lookout for innovative internet ads. I understand that advertising is the key to maintaining high quality free content. For the longest time, I made an effort to click on banner ads that appealed to me and resisted pop-up blockers until they just became so damn obnoxious.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Movie Reviewlet: The Corporation

Part of a disturbing trend in recent film-making where complex ideas are expressed as propaganda rather given a fair airing. The film displays a complete unwillingness to understand economics. It includes comments by eminent economists only to mock them. It fails to understand Adam Smith's age old point that "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

The film does contain kernels of truth and does package the ideas in an entertaining way, but by allowing no room for dissent, it is merely preaching platitudes to the choir.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Democracy in Iraq

So it shouldn't mean anything. The Elections in Iraq that is.

I tend to believe in the Hegelian view of the state, that the state is a reflection of the people regardless of the technical details.

Or Dewey's view of democracy, that it's not process that defines a democracy, but that democracy is government by the aggregated ideas of an entire populace, the collective will manifested.

But it's still nice. Heartening. Photos of courageous happy people coming out of voting booths. Democracy in action.