Linkage: 26/3/11

Nuclear power, technology lock-in and safety issues, considered by the Boston Globe and an old Adam Curtis documentary.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Counterinsurgency: Rolling Stone tells the story of how a couple of twentysomething stoners became arms suppliers to the Pentagon’s war effort in Afghanistan.

Changing attitudes to Wikipedia in universities. I’m always heartened when institutions stop trying to reject/ignore irreversible change, and start working out how to deal with it.

Speaking of which … turns out filesharing isn’t killing off the music industry. I’m hopeful for more sensible policies from labels and industry bodies, but I’m not holding my breath.

Writing, expectations and disappointment: “I think disappointment is evidence we’re on the right track. I think it means we’re after the things that matter. I think we should stop being afraid of getting caught caring about our failures.”

The Economics of Niche Programming at Overthinking It: why some cult shows thrive and some fail.

And last but not least: “The Quintessentially Victorian Vision of Ogden’s “The Wire””:

The Wire began syndication in 1846, and was published in 60 installments over the course of six years. Each installment was 30 pages, featuring covers and illustrations by Baxter “Bubz” Black, and selling for one shilling each. After the final installment, The Wire became available in a five volume set, departing from the traditional three.

The serial format did The Wire no favors at the time of its publication. Though critics lauded it, the general public found the initial installments slow and difficult to get into, while later installments required intimate knowledge of all the pieces which had come before. To consume this story in small bits doled out over an extended time is to view a pointillist painting by looking at the dots.

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