Friday, August 13, 2004

The Banquet Roves from List to Blog

Browsing the comments to Glen’s most recent post, I saw Mike Linksvayer’s name. Sure enough, it’s the same Mike I met back in Chicago, nearly 15 years ago, at an outing to Gilbert and Sullivan’s most anarcho-capitalist musical, Utopia, Limited. (Hi, Mike!)

Mike and I used to hang out on the Extropy email listserv. I don’t subscribe to that or many other email lists anymore. More accurately, I simply stopped getting messages from the list and never got around to doing anything about it. It had grown too noisy for my tastes, as email lists generally have since I’ve started reading blogs.

Mike has an interesting blog, which I can suggest to anyone interested in the social impacts of technology. Consider, for instance, his most recent post, which inquires whether the porn industry—so often a technological bellweather—will embrace digital rights management. (My guess: No. Porn consumers seem content with cheaply produced and only modestly original works. Porn producers thus need not recover the sort of fixed up-front costs that plague the traditional film industry.)

Mike’s blog informed me that Perry E. Metzger—ever brilliant, prolific, and unwilling to suffer fools—has a blog. I know Perry from the (now defunct?) Extropy listserv, too. From a post on Perry’s blog, I learned that Robin Hanson et al. plan a workshop on information markets (sometimes called “idea future” or “decision” markets) next February. If you don’t already know about Robin Hanson’s work, well, you should. Brace yourself for some assumption-kicking, first, though!

I’ve already written to Robin inquiring whether he plans to include any discussion of the legality of such markets. I’ve for some years been trying to get The Simon Market in Science Claims off the ground, focusing (naturally enough, given my aptitudes) on the legal and regulatory issues. For my law review article on the topic, check out Gambling for the Good, Trading for the Future: The Legality of Markets in Science Claims, 5 Chapman L. Rev. 159 (2002) [PDF format].

I offer this somewhat rambling post as a first-hand account of the blogohypercube’s (the traditional “blogosphere” just does not cut it) serendipitous ways. What a pleasant surprise that so many of my former listserv correspondents have resurfaced in this new medium! I’m tempted to say more, most notably about how blogging does not appear to encourage the same sort of back-and-forth that characterizes—and sometimes plagues—email lists. But if you will excuse me, I’ve got yet more blog links to follow.

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