Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Felix Salmon attacks the NYT paywall from a new angle: that it’s designed to shore up the print subscription base. He also mentions this fact:
Gapper makes great play of the fact that websites can target ads more accurately when readers are registered, but you can’t target ads at readers who no longer exist. And the NYT is a mass-market general news publication: it’s not the kind of place where high-end business-to-business advertisers will pay $90 CPMs to reach C-suite executives. Or if it is, the numbers involved would be so small that they wouldn’t make a visible dent in its overall online advertising revenues.

Could it be that the mass-market general news publication—even a spectacularly successful one from the content perspective—can’t survive in our media environment. That is, won’t a mass-market general news publication’s audience be too big to successfully target a lucrative demographic? I think it’s plausible, right? Just a little bit? Or am I crazy.

Evan Osnos circulates a post from a Baidu engineer that was censored in China. Very interesting.

Jeffrey Toobin asks, “What’s the matter with the judges?” You might expect this is to devolve into a Senate-bashing genre exercise, either on my end or his—but it’s at least partially Obama’s fault (though the Senate has been slow about getting its votes together).

The Guardian writes that the British Museum is a museum to emulate. And it’s true. I’d say the British Museum is either my favorite or second favorite museum I’ve been to, worldwide, because a) it’s got so, so much stuff and so many antiquities and b) they’re so accessible. I remember when I went there were docents with various artifacts from their storage room , and you could touch them and feel their heft and their age as the docent explained, in detail, what was going on: I touched a Roman coin and a Mongolian belt buckle. It was cool in a way these words don’t indicate.

Testimony from a Democratic Senate aide should up your loathing level vis-à-vis Democrats.

And Nouriel Roubini makes clear what we’re in for:
If America’s Democrats lose in the mid-term elections this November, there is a risk of persistent fiscal deficits as Republicans veto tax increases while Democrats veto spending cuts. Monetizing the fiscal deficits would then become the path of least resistance: running the printing presses is much easier than politically painful deficit reduction.

But if the US does use the inflation tax as a way to reduce the real value of its public debt, the risk of a disorderly collapse of the US dollar would rise significantly. America’s foreign creditors would not accept a sharp reduction in their dollar assets’ real value that debasement of the dollar via inflation and devaluation would entail. A disorderly rush to the exit could lead to a dollar collapse, a spike in long-term interest rates, and a severe double dip recession.

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