Thursday, January 8, 2009

Friday Diversion

After a three week hiatus, the Diversion makes its triumphant return with a slew of dotcomrade recommended reading. As always, here's a little something to help you celebrate the fact that fan favourite Ron Cherry was givin' em the business as the head referee in last night's BCS National Championship game. Atta boy Ron!

Greening the Ghetto
By Elizabeth Kolbert

A fascinating look at the life of Van Jones ("The Green Collar Economy"), and his ambitious ideas for improving both the environment and the economy. Critics denounce Jones' ideology for being too lofty, but as Jones himself points out:

"We used to have a country, allegedly, but you couldn’t drive across it, because all we had was a bunch of old dirt roads. Somebody, in the name of national security, said, ‘Hold on a sec. What if we get invaded on the West Coast, how can we get troops from the East Coast?’ So we created an interstate-highway system that connected the country to itself.”

He lowered his voice to a grumble: “ ‘Oh, we can’t afford to do it! This is insane!’ We couldn’t afford not to do it. Because the minute you did that the economy went through the roof. It was such a good idea that we did it again. In the name of national security, people in the Pentagon said, ‘If we have one big communications tower, and somebody knocks it out, then we’re blind, deaf, and dumb. We’ve got to figure out a way to distribute our information system.’ So they came up with the idea of the information superhighway—for you young people, that’s what we call the Internet. ‘We can’t afford to do this!’ We couldn’t afford not to do it. The minute we connected the country to itself, the economy went through the roof. All we’re saying is, let’s do it again. But this time, instead of connecting the country to itself to move bodies and vehicles or data around, let’s connect the country to itself so we can move clean-energy electrons around. Then you’ve got the strongest economy in the world.”

Inspiring. And I couldn't agree more.

The End of the Financial World As We Know It
By Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis explains how the implosion of Wall Street was a result, not simply of greed ("we are as likely to eliminate greed from our national character as we are lust and envy"), but of an almost comical lack of checks and balances, and an inherent system of misaligned interests that bordered on the criminal.

Thanks to Flats for the link.

The Ponzi Scheme in Every Hedge Fund
By Ari J. Officer

This article from Time Magazine explains how every hedge fund is essentially a watered down version of Madoff's $50 billion swindle

It is articles like the two listed above that almost make me happy about the fact that my complete lack of financial stability has resulted in my only ever being able to invest in second hand vinyl and copious amounts of hard liquor with which to stonewall my liver.

Thanks to Rosco for the hookup.

How To Save Rock and Roll
Rolling Stone Magazine

A short piece about how Arts & Crafts founder Jeffrey Remedios is helping to change the face of modern music, and in turn indirectly granting me access to more shows than one fledgling blogger should be allowed to attend.

Thanks to Browner for the nod.

Spend Less Time Online, More Time Face-to-Face
By Joshua Errett

A few tips on how to avoid wasting your life away on sites like the one you are currently wasting your life with.

Into The Woods
By Sasha Frere-Jones

A look into the sound of Bon Iver, "Northern Exposure", and the act of turning heartache to phonic gold.

The YouTube clip of the week comes courtesy of G-Town Petey. I'm a huge fan of all urinal related humour, and needless to say, if I were a Brit, I would describe the following sequence as "fucking brilliant":

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