quinta-feira, maio 28, 2009

Um ex-comunista é uma espécie de altifalante fora de controlo e com vida própria, que tudo amplifica e que a determinada altura começa a funcionar em roda livre, embora sempre com base na instrução que recebeu inicialmente. Se se pedir a um ex-comunista para dar um pontapé numa parede, o mais provável é vê-lo ao volante de um bulldozer a demolir a casa inteira. Se se pedir a um ex-comunista um copo de vinho, há elevadas hipóteses deste iniciar um microPREC sobre toda uma exploração vinícola, com manifs de trabalhadores, amanhãs que cantam e patrões corridos à paulada.
Foi mais ou menos isto que aconteceu a Sócrates nestas Europeias: duvido que, ao pedir a Vital Moreira que promovesse uma candidatura "de esquerda" em nome do PS, o PM tivesse a noção de que estava a contratar um autêntico jagunço político, diariamente preocupado em malhar na oposição (Santos Silva hoje parece um menino de coro), em apresentar propostas sectárias (Durão Barroso fora da CE apenas pelo facto de não ser do PS Europeu) ou ideias ideologicamente profundamente contaminadas (imposto único europeu).
VM não é apenas mais papista que o Papa - a reacção amplificada do candidato do PS ao seu caderno de encargos faz dele o próprio emissor da doutrina política da sua candidatura, claramente em voo já distante e delirante a caminho da Europa.


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segunda-feira, maio 25, 2009

Isto está, de facto, mau para os bloggers! É agora que começa a verdadeira prova de resistência - se aguentei até aqui com tão pouco assunto, hei-de aguentar pelo menos mais algum tempo - quem não lê um blogue durante 5 anos e meio, pode bem não o ler durante outros tantos...

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Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004

By Paul Boutin Email 10.20.08
Photo: Todd Tankersley

Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug.

Writing a weblog today isn't the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It's almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

If you quit now, you're in good company. Notorious chatterbox Jason Calacanis made millions from his Weblogs network. But he flat-out retired his own blog in July. "Blogging is simply too big, too impersonal, and lacks the intimacy that drew me to it," he wrote in his final post.

Impersonal is correct: Scroll down Technorati's list of the top 100 blogs and you'll find personal sites have been shoved aside by professional ones. Most are essentially online magazines: The Huffington Post. Engadget. TreeHugger. A stand-alone commentator can't keep up with a team of pro writers cranking out up to 30 posts a day.

When blogging was young, enthusiasts rode high, with posts quickly skyrocketing to the top of Google's search results for any given topic, fueled by generous links from fellow bloggers. In 2002, a search for "Mark" ranked Web developer Mark Pilgrim above author Mark Twain. That phenomenon was part of what made blogging so exciting. No more. Today, a search for, say, Barack Obama's latest speech will deliver a Wikipedia page, a Fox News article, and a few entries from professionally run sites like Politico.com. The odds of your clever entry appearing high on the list? Basically zero.

That said, your blog will still draw the Net's lowest form of life: The insult commenter. Pour your heart out in a post, and some anonymous troll named r0rschach or foohack is sure to scribble beneath it, "Lame. Why don't you just suck McCain's ass." That's why Calacanis has retreated to a private mailing list. He can talk to his fans directly, without having to suffer idiotic retorts from anonymous Jason-haters.

Further, text-based Web sites aren't where the buzz is anymore. The reason blogs took off is that they made publishing easy for non-techies. Part of that simplicity was a lack of support for pictures, audio, and videoclips. At the time, multimedia content was too hard to upload, too unlikely to play back, and too hungry for bandwidth.

Social multimedia sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook have since made publishing pics and video as easy as typing text. Easier, if you consider the time most bloggers spend fretting over their words. Take a clue from Robert Scoble, who made his name as Microsoft's "technical evangelist" blogger from 2003 to 2006. Today, he focuses on posting videos and Twitter updates. "I keep my blog mostly for long-form writing," he says.

Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004. You'll find Scoble, Calacanis, and most of their buddies from the golden age there. They claim it's because Twitter operates even faster than the blogosphere. And Twitter posts can be searched instantly, without waiting for Google to index them.

As a writer, though, I'm onto the system's real appeal: brevity. Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Times. Twitter's character limit puts everyone back on equal footing. It lets amateurs quit agonizing over their writing and cut to the chase. @WiredReader: Kill yr blog. 2004 over. Google won't find you. Too much cruft from HuffPo, NYT. Commenters are tards. C u on Facebook?

Paul Boutin (paul@valleywag.com) is a correspondent for the Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag.

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sábado, maio 23, 2009

Hipótese B


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Uma boa epidemia não pode passar sem uma boa teoria da conspiração. Esta parece razoavelmente bem fundamentada, embora também seja verdade que na hipótese contrária (isto é, se a gripe A fosse simplesmente um produto do acaso) dificilmente não haveria quem ganhasse alguns milhões com isto...
Mas cá fica:


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terça-feira, maio 19, 2009

A partir de agora os meus posts no Twitter (http://twitter.com/VladeRunner) também aparecerão na coluna da direita. Sou ainda tosco a usar o Twitter e o Facebook... mas nos próximos tempos as coisas melhorarão:)

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sexta-feira, maio 08, 2009

No New York Times...

Debating the Wisdom of ‘Swine Flu Parties’

What at first appears an absurdity — seeking out infection with swine flu instead of avoiding it — is being actively debated on flu Web sites and by some flu experts.

Infectious-disease specialists say they understand the logic: surviving the current, apparently mild strain of the virus may be protective if a more virulent strain emerges next fall. But they are generally against it.

Dr. Anne Moscona, a flu specialist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, said she had been called by a reporter for a women’s magazine “asking if mothers should hold swine flu parties, like chickenpox parties.”

(Chickenpox parties, at which children gather so they can all be infected by a child who has the pox, are often held by parents who distrust chickenpox vaccine or want their children to have the stronger immunity that surviving a full-blown infection affords and are willing to take the risk that their child will not get serious complications.)

“I think it’s totally nuts,” Dr. Moscona said. “I can’t believe people are really thinking of doing it. I understand the thinking, but I just fear we don’t know enough about how this virus would react in every individual. This is like the Middle Ages, when people deliberately infected themselves with smallpox. It’s vigilante vaccination — you know, taking immunity into your own hands.”

The idea has arisen from the history of the 1918 Spanish flu. A mild spring outbreak was followed by two deadly waves in the early and late winter of 1918-1919. Some believe, although there is little evidence beyond anecdotal reports in old newspapers, that those who got sick in the first wave were less likely to get sick in the second and third.

Many cite as the source of their thinking the book “The Great Influenza,” a history of the 1918 pandemic by John M. Barry.

Mr. Barry, in a telephone interview, said he had never publicly suggested deliberate self-infection, “but I used to joke with my wife, and I may have jokingly said it in speeches, that if a virus emerged and looked mild, I’d be on an airplane to Indonesia.”

He referred to Indonesia, he explained, “because that’s where the action is with H5N1.” The highly pathogenic H5N1 is the avian flu strain circulating in poultry in Indonesia, Egypt and China, occasionally passing into and killing people. Since 2002, international health authorities have feared that it will become pandemic.

Those toying with the idea of self-infection with the current H1N1 swine flu strain now circling the globe doubt that there will be enough effective vaccine to stop the virus if it returns in the fall, especially if it swaps genetic material with the H5N1 strain or has picked up resistance to the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Even if drug makers switched to making a vaccine against a pandemic strain now, their total capacity is enough to make only one to two billion doses in a year, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. Triage decisions would have to be made about which of the world’s six billion people got the vaccine.

The online debates are often over details. Should you wait to self-infect till the season’s end, when the virus has evolved into the strain most likely to return in the fall? Should you get Tamiflu and take it at the first symptom? Should you check to see if local hospitals are empty, in case things go wrong and you need to be on a ventilator?

Michael Olesen, chief of infection control at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and a flu pandemics expert, said he was not planning to seek out infection but was “taking a passive approach to getting infected.”

When he heard about the outbreak in Mexico, he said, he bought extra N95 face masks and had been planning to wear one on a flight to Detroit soon.

“Now I’m thinking of taking my chances” and forgoing the mask, he said. “That’s a change from a week ago. I think to myself, yeah, I’ll be miserable for a week — but that’ll beat maybe being seriously sick later.”

One of the first open debates of the idea of intentional self-infection was on Effect Measure, a public health blog with many posts by thoughtful people who say they are clinicians, epidemiologists, veterinarians and other professionals, sometimes in government, but who post under pseudonyms to speak freely.

On April 28, a user calling herself OmegaMom posted: “Just a quick note — I just got a Tweet from a mom suggesting ‘swine flu parties’ because the U.S. version seems to be a mild version. Can you speak to the utter insanity of doing this, please?”

Several posters weighed in to say it would be foolish given the number of deaths in Mexico, the lack of information on the virus and the unpredictability of flu.

The chief moderator of another blog, flutrackers.com, who posts as Florida1, said one of her members, GaudiaRay, had raised the idea for debate three days ago. She called him at home, she said, and he told her he had decided not to put his family at risk.

Dr. Andrew T. Pavia, chairman of the pandemic influenza task force of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, opposes self-infection.

“Twenty years ago, it might have made some sense,” he said, “and with 20/20 hindsight, getting infected in the spring wave of 1918 probably would have been highly protective.” But by getting deliberately infected, “you’d really be jumping into the unknown,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not posted guidance on the question yet, but Dr. Richard E. Besser, the agency’s acting director, was asked about it this week and said, “We don’t have a firm answer, but it’s our belief that protecting people from this infection is the right way to go.”

In any case, many experts noted that there was a big flaw in any self-infection plan: it is not easy to find and cuddle up to someone with swine flu. There were only 642 confirmed cases in the country as of Wednesday.

One obvious place to look would be St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, the epicenter of New York’s outbreak.

The principal, Brother Leonard Conway, was asked if any of his students had been asked to spare a few germs.

“I have not heard of anyone being approached,” he replied in an e-mail message. “That surely is a different idea.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 8, 2009
An article on Thursday about the young age of people who have developed serious swine flu complications misstated the number of vaccine doses that drug makers could produce after receiving a seed vaccine, according to World Health Organization estimates. It is 1 billion to 2 billion doses in a year, not 1.2 billion in six months. The error also appeared in an article on Thursday about the idea of trying to become infected with the virus now to provide some immunity in case swine flu comes back stronger later


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