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Debunking the “long tail”

It's not an attractive thing,  I-told-you-so-ism. And the joy of being proved right by an academic study ("and it took $100,000 to prove X Y or Z, when anyone with an ounce of common sense could have told you!") is usually dimmed by thinking about the good things one could have done with a similar amount of money.  But I am relishing the reports about how the "long tail" idea so eloquently promoted by Chris Anderson of Wired magazine is being shown up for the fantasy it is. It never [...]

May 26th, 2009|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , , |

A festive New York launch for the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

I'm on my way to New York for a remarkable "Berkshire" event tomorrow: a China celebration in New York on May Day that brings the renowned author Simon Winchester, a resident of the Berkshires and a friend of Berkshire Publishing, to a lunch hosted by Jones Day and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. Here's the invitation. More about the synchronicities tomorrow -- along with photographs! We are pleased to invite you to a luncheon program to hear renowned author, journalist, and broadcaster Simon Winchester discuss his latest book, The [...]

April 30th, 2009|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , , |

“Media in Chinese Politics” at Harvard Fairbank Center

Great conference, but what terrible timing: a freakishly beautiful and warm April Saturday and we spent all day inside learning about "Media in Chinese Politics" at Harvard's Fairbank Center. Indoors, in an underground lecture hall! Actually, it wasn't all day. In the morning we enjoyed breakfast on the hotel terrace, watching the rowing crews. In the evening, a walk across Cambridge to dinner with a number of renowned scholars. I spent a while in the morning puzzling over something called the  "eluding the cat case" but I finally got online [...]

April 27th, 2009|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

Was Töfood töo töo convincing?

I'm rather disappointed. People seem to have believed my April Fools Day joke. Tom says this means it was really good, but I'm not so sure. Anyhow, here it is for anyone who missed it, and do click that link at the end of the paragraph. China introduces global food sensation: Töfood An innovative Chinese company has made plans for the global launch of a vegetarian product popular throughout China after learning about the wildly successful introduction of SPAM® during the Great Depression. The Chinese canned meat substitute, made of [...]

April 1st, 2009|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , , |

Sweating and praying (sort of) in New York

At six o’clock this morning I was in a room in New York filled with the sound of chanting and dozens of sweating bodies. The astanga yoga studio I go to here opens at 5.45 and while we practice, traditional religious rituals are taking place in the elaborate altar area--a kind of gilt cabana with Indian elephant god statues, and flowers and food as offerings. There was also a fellow chopping vegetables in a back room, and after a while I could smell rice cooking, and butter heating (or was [...]

May 8th, 2007|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , |

March Madness strikes

I feel more comfortable talking about cricket than most American sports, but now that the college basketball championships are here, I have a new opportunity. Liz got a pool started this morning for March Madness, and we all made our predictions and agreed on a points system. Some people made their choices scientifically, but most of us seemed to be basing them on personal associations. I, for example, was born at Purdue University (my father was still a student), so I've picked Purdue to make it to the finals (but [...]

March 15th, 2007|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , |