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January 24, 2008


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Philippe Bradley

interesting to come across this on the same day as interviews with Second Life virtual citizens bemoaning the interference of Second Life's designers for stepping in and regulating the in game banks (which have been undergoing a run recently and people have lost their virtual savings, in other words, real money (you buy Linden dollars with US$)). They are facing the death of an anarchist (in the nicest sense of the word) utopia. Shame, really. Reality bites.


Interesting, Philippe. Can you say more or point to a good link? Is the meltdown in Second Life related in any way to real world subprime meltdown? Are banks in Second Life regulated now? And by whom? Who has standing, since real money is involved? Do the Second Life staff have the legal standing to regulate virtual banks?

Bitney's Peers

PBS Frontline - Growing Up Online
Just how radically is the internet transforming the experience of childhood?

Geezer network, pretty good show.


If they don't get it figured out soon, the SEC and banking commissions will be shutting them down and/or subjecting them to existing regulations. As soon as someone loses their money, the authorities may have to get involved. Not so different from events we have seen recently, but money will get you into the law and courts faster than words and bullying ever will.

Bitney's Peers

Remember, old cabbage: Amplify, Accelerate

It's the only way you'll ever keep up. Word!


Virtual worlds, real harms. You know regulation will come, particularly as more and more people get online, and expect it to be like the mall.

JJ Commoner

Remember, old cabbage: Amplify, Accelerate

Nah .. it's:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

(To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark)

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, do not mess with Mister In-Between
Do you hear me, hmm?

.. and lower interest rates - then everybody stays happy.

Hayek Crashes Neverland

Also from Stanford (via Harvard), the Well's successor.


Thanks, JJ, blogged the link.


Virtual worlds, real harms. You know regulation will come, particularly as more and more people get online, and expect it to be like the mall.

You know that real markets are no less virtual than the spaces created as services on this partially complete network of global span. The orderly, safe and secure operation of any market is the common property of the market participants, and arguably even non-participants have an interest. When markets are operated as gambling casinos rather than as financial tools in the service of wealth creation, the possibility of a market may be destroyed.

I would argue that the level of basic foundational thinking represented by the liberal arts, the trivium, must come prior to any measurement. They serve to define the questions and shape the arguments at the level where public decisions can be made about whether a market is a gambling casino or a useful tool of wealth generation. The numbers don't tell you that, you must ground assessments of meaning and value by connecting facts (measurements, numbers, etc.) with judgments, and the assessments must be made under the guidance of a competent theory and practice.

As a practicing engineer, there is no question that numbers matter, but they have to be good numbers or they are worse than useless. That said, operating blind is worse. Bad numbers might at least tell you something is wrong, the magic isn't in the numbers but in the skill of the engineers interpreting and acting on them and the systems they have it place to identify, track and repair the problems that inevitably come up. It is best to operate from a position of humility and assume you are wrong until proven otherwise. It can also save one from a lot of embarrassment when you find your mistake after self-righteous protestations that your code is working. Tact is when someone else does this and you privately point out the mistake, public humiliation is saved for the truly deserving.

Bitney's Peers

I prolly don't fully understand this but...

Worse than worse than useless

Now that's interesting.

good numbers .. bad numbers .. [no numbers] .. bad numbers .. good numbers

Props, old cabbage, you go.

Bitney's Peers

(p.s. Some bad numbers I know from.)


Ok, so not quite useless, better than nothing, but not much. A bad statistic might cause you to look further, or try to make a better measurement, whereas if you do not test, you are guaranteed to be wrong a high percentage of the time.

Bitney's Peers

Those props were straight up, Mr. G. I wasn't trainspottin' on ya or nuthin.

Worse than worse than made me think of my ex.  :-)


Thanks Bitney. It's one of those constructions you get when you start to say one thing and realize it needs a little more which makes the original phrasing a little awkward, but you keep going with it 'cause it sort of makes sense still.

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