Winer on Money vs. Ideas

BTW, just an example of what I mean about the beauty of David Winer’s vision of the web. On Scripting News, Winer linked to a Fortune magazine featuring his views/impressions of the whole dot-com phenomenon:

It’s boring. Money is boring. And party conversation about money is even more boring. I want to know what people think, and I want to know what their passions are. I want to be inspired by them. I want them to do beautiful things that entertain me. I want my beautiful things to entertain them. The Internet is a fantastic technology that helps me do these things.


The Children Are Great, the Adults Are The Rude Ones

My wife and I took our daughter to one of those chain pizza shops geared toward younger kids, complete with video arcade, ball pits, etc. Although kids pumped up on caffeine, pizza and video games can be occasionally rude, I’m continually amazed at how well young kids thrown together like that get along. Some of the adults, however, I could do without.

The place was very crowded and people swiped my booth not once but twice. The first time I left my jacket in my seat as an indicator that the booth was taken while my wife went to order pizza and I wandered off to try to track down my daughter. When I returned somebody was sitting else was sitting in my booth. I let them slide because they were sitting on the other side of the booth from where I had left my jacket and they were very apologetic (though come on — in a crowded restaurant with kids you have to do more than a casual scan.)

Determined not to let this sort of ambiguity in temporary property rights over our booth happen again, I took my jacket and sprawled it over the table — there’s no way anyone could miss it. Again, my wife was stuck in the slowest pizza line in the world and my daughter was doing something that looked rather dangerous at the time so I vaulted across the place to explain to her about the safe way to play.

When I return there is a family of about six sitting in our booth. They had taken my jacket, scrunched it all up, and set it on the no man’s land dividing the booth from the one next to it. My wife would have probably had some choice words for those folks, but I’m pretty much flabbergasted when I run into such bizarre levels of rudeness — I just gave them The Glare while snatching my jacket and found another booth.

Unfortunately I see such routine rudeness on a regular basis. As I’ve mentioned before, I work at a university and one of the things I’m dismayed at is the complete lack of manners and respect for others that a significant minority of students, professors and administrators have. A few weeks ago at the McDonald’s inside the student union, a mid-level manager simply cut in front of about 50 people (and either didn’t hear or chose to ignore the vulgar mutterings from those in line). Another time I saw a woman in her late 20s get in a shouting match with one of the McDonald’s register folks — her son had tried to cut to the front of a line about 12 people and the person behind the register politely but firmly explained this was rude behavior which just set the mother off.

The other day I was in line behind a professor in a cafeteria who ended up being very mean to a new Malaysian trainee who was moving a bit too slow and had difficulty understanding the professor’s requests.

Is it really asking too much for such people to be a little less impatient and a little more polite?

As If RU-486 Needed Any Additional Controversy…

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally approved RU-486, it would not release the name or location of the company that would manufacture the drug for the U.S. market citing safety and security reasons. In fact it looks like it wanted to avoid a public relations problem that it’s going to have to deal with anyway — Hua Lian Pharmaceutical Company in Shanghai, China, will produce the drug.

Clearly the FDA was less concerned about safety concerns than getting attacked by anti-abortion activists for awarding the contract to China with its repressive dictatorial regime and history of extreme population control measures.

National Right to Life’s Douglas Johnson quickly attacked the FDA after the Washington Post revealed where the drug would be manufactured, telling the Associated Press,

They said they wanted to protect the company from violence or protests, but it’s ludicrous to say that it is an issue in China, where demonstrations aren’t permitted. It’s a public relations problem they want to avoid — they don’t want the association with Chinese coercive abortion practices.

This is just going to increase the level of controversy surrounding the drug and create a public relations nightmare for anti-abortion groups to latch on to. This FDA decision is likely to prove a disaster, and the FDA should seriously try to find a manufacturer in a more democratic nation to produce RU-486.


China plant to make U.S. abortion pill. The Associated Press, October 12, 2000.