Sunday, June 01, 2003

Scare, sell, blog

NY Times SARS quarantinee account:
As the mayor of Taipei was ordering everyone to wear [masks] on the subway, the SARS czar, a very respected doctor, was politely saying that masks were medically pointless because the only people who need them are those with SARS and those treating or living with them. A mask does far more good on a sick person, keeping the germs in, than on a healthy one.

But the mayor was right: Masks are a huge psychological barrier. If you can scare everyone into wearing them, then the tiny minority who really need them aren't ashamed to.

via Michael Taht, Economist articles on the current real estate bubble
...overvalued house prices cannot regain their long-term equilibrium mainly through inflation, as they have done in the past. Instead, house prices will have to fall by at least 20% in money terms in most of the countries with bubbles.

If the housing bubbles burst, the economic consequences will be much more severe than those of the recent stockmarket crash, because more households own homes than own shares, and because home-owners are up to their necks in debt.

Keep in mind that they correctly predicted the double-dip recession.

via Tom Nadeau, Guardian's If you really want to know, ask a blogger, which handily covers (and deflates) the "weblogs aren't journalism" and "their Google page ranks are too high" claims:
Assiduous students of the print media will have noticed its practitioners becoming increasingly exercised about 'blogging' - the practice of publishing web-logs or online journals...
when it comes to many topics in which I have a professional interest, I would sooner pay attention to particular blogs than to anything published in Big Media - including the venerable New York Times. This is not necessarily because journalists are idiots; it's just that serious subjects are complicated and hacks have neither the training nor the time to reach a sophisticated understanding of them - which is why much journalistic coverage is inevitably superficial and often misleading, and why so many blogs are thoughtful and accurate by comparison.
One reason blogs show up so prominently in Google searches is because weblogs are available on the web while Big Media sources increasingly are not. Instead they are locked behind pay-for firewalls.

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