Archive for September, 2008

Mythical Myths No 7

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

In “The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons”, Ian Angus claims that the phenomenon commonly called a “tragedy of the commons” is a myth. But he is wrong. Anyone who is aware of the fate of the Atlantic cod fishery must know the tragedy of an unregulated commons, so the phenomenon is surely real. It is real, and Angus has been blinded by his anger at those who have (ab)used the phenomenon into denying the phenomenon itself rather than the arguments by which it has been (falsely) claimed to justify privatization of public assets. (more…)

Online Literacy Is Lesser Than What? – Bauerline earns an ‘F’

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

OK this is Mark Bauerline again, this time writing in the ChronicleReview.com with a rehash of the ideas he expounded in ‘The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future’ and particular emphasis on the discovery by Nielsen et al in 2006 that “Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern”. Now, Nielsen’s discovery is actually not surprising since much if not most web content is designed to be skimmed in search for particular items rather than to be read completely; Nielsen both acknowledges other possibilities with his “often” and doesn’t claim any earth shattering implications other than to make reasonable conclusions about how to design web pages of the kind intended for skimming in such a way that that skimming will be effective. But Bauerlein infers a lot more. Mostly unfounded nonsense. (more…)