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Baubauhaus. On Being "Wrong" on Iraq. This is not another article about Christopher Hitchens.

On Being "Wrong" on Iraq

This may come as something of a relief, given the spilling of ink occasioned by Hitchens’ untimely death last week, with Neal Pollock’s fine parody hopefully bringing this outpouring to an end. After an initial set of hagiographies, it was encouraging to see a number of pieces reminding readers of Hitchens’ role in forcefully and bloodthirstily advocating for the war on Iraq, and for the “war on terror” more generally, as part of a deeply racist and Islamophobic current in his work over the past decade (or more). What has struck me in the articles that have followed, both those that praise and those that condemn Hitchens’ work, is the recurring use of a phrase to describe Hitchens’ advocacy on behalf of the invasion and occupation of Iraq: he was, we are told by the most perceptive commentators on his work, “wrong on Iraq.”

The existence of this too-easy conscience is especially apparent when it comes to Iraq. By The Numbers: Today's Military. Aggregation dynamics. The social world starts with social individuals.

Aggregation dynamics

So how do we get more complex social outcomes out of the actions and thoughts of independent individuals? How do the actions and thoughts of individuals aggregate into larger social happenings? How did the various religious, political, and relational attitudes of rural Kenyans aggregate to widespread ethnic violence a few years ago? What sorts of conditions lead to interactions that bring about unexpected outcomes?

And, of course, how do larger social happenings impinge upon individuals, leading to characteristic kinds of socialized behavior? These are questions I've usually addressed from the other angle -- the "dis-aggregation" angle. Here are some examples of the kinds of happenings and situations that we might be interested in: Some social outcomes are essentially agglomerative. Tim Harford - Failure: It’s everywhere. I wrote this essay for the Freakonomics blog.

Tim Harford - Failure: It’s everywhere

In 1982, the management consultants Tom Peters and Robert Waterman published In Search of Excellence, a colossally popular business title. The book aimed to learn lessons from the world’s best companies, and Peters and Waterman produced a list of 43. But just a couple of years after In Search of Excellence had been published, BusinessWeek ran a cover story with the simple title: “Oops! Who’s Excellent Now?” Almost a third of the companies singled out for praise by Peters and Waterman were in financial trouble. My aim isn’t to mock Peters and Waterman, but to point out that the rise and fall of business models is an unavoidable part of economic growth.

The curious thing is that these individual failures need not be a problem for the economy as a whole. But if this is true, it makes nonsense out of much of the way we approach complex problems in the world – anything from fighting wars to fighting poverty. I’m not sure I’d blame the politicians. Podcasts » Glenn Greenwald, Presentation, 8 March 2011 – Video. Recorded at the James A.

Podcasts » Glenn Greenwald, Presentation, 8 March 2011 – Video

Little Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 8, 2011. Glenn Greenwald is an attorney and the author of three books: How Would a Patriot Act? , A Tragic Legacy, and Great American Hypocrites. In 2009, he received an Izzy Award by the Park Center for Independent Media for his “pathbreaking journalistic courage and persistence in confronting conventional wisdom, official deception, and controversial issues.” LinkedIn Weak Links. “I know a guy...”

LinkedIn Weak Links

Is LinkedIn anything more than a resume warehouse? Is it simply a web-based Rolodex to make it easier to stay up with your business contacts? I don't know the business model for the company, and don't have any basis to comment on its long-term prospects, but in a somewhat stream-of-conciousness mode, I hear the “linked” in LinkedIn, and it starts me thinking about network theory, and the place LinkedIn most naturally fills in that space, which is to establish weak links. In partiular, LinkedIn is an application of a theory the sociologist Mark Granovetter proposed in a 1973 paper.

Granovetter looked at how job seekers used their social connections in their search. The reason these second-order relationships, which he calls weak ties and which network theory refers to as weak links, are so valuable in the job search is that they have information that is outside the sphere of the tighter circle of friends. Marginal Revolution — Small steps toward a much better world. MegaUpload / Universal. Who owns what ?

First Monday. First Monday is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals on the Internet, solely devoted to the Internet.

First Monday

Since its start in May 1996, First Monday has published 1,361 papers in 215 issues; these papers were written by 1,850 different authors. Swift. Despite the fact that political blogs seem to be just as dominated by elites as traditional journalism, networks of individuals play an essential role in spreading arguments in the political blogosphere.


The hyperlinking economy of political blogs is powered by competition, elevation, and access. This economy values networks of individuals just as much as — if not more than — it values elite top–tier bloggers. ContentsIntroductionCascading hyperlinksCredibility cascadesCascades and “second order” diversityConclusion Introduction Aaron Bady’s blog,, was just another WordPress blog. Up until late 2010, his blog received a respectable number of views per day, but nothing astronomical.