Saturday 20 June 2009

Afternoon roundup

Finally, a break from blogging the BERL report. Apologies for the tedium for those not interested in that thread.
  • Will Wilkinson nails the "green avatar" signaling issue
    So folks on Twitter have been turning their avatars (little profile photos) green to show solidarity with the protesters in Iran. There are websites to help you do this. But why do this? How does it help? I want the Iranian people to live in freedom, just as I want all people to live in freedom. But the point of the gesture eludes me, unless the point of the gesture is to be seen making the gesture by others who will credit you for it. Like so many political gestures, it is vanity dressed up as elevated moral consciousness. It doesn’t help. Is it harmless?
  • Radley Balko in The Atlantic (part 2) (part 3)
  • Harford on retrospective voting
  • More reasons to not to ban genetically engineering crops


  1. I think of it in the same way as the people who lined the sides of the road in this video of the funeral of Staff Sgt John Beale. It is sad that people would think of it as vanity, purposeless, or even politically crass. There are many ways people express their support; I just thought of it as one way to do so.

  2. Wilkinson worries that it helps build support for US military intervention in Iran. Plausible argument.
    I set my Twitter time zone to Tehran to help confuse the censors there somewhat instead.