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Jun. 3 2010 — 12:36 am | 136 views | 1 recommendations | 2 comments

Paradigms Lost Programming Note

Portrait of John Milton in National Portrait G...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve received some messages from readers of Paradigms Lost asking what the future of the blog will be now that True/Slant has been sold to Forbes. Some of you may have noticed that I’ve stopped posting since news of the acquisition was announced. In a nutshell, I’ve decided to take a break from posting here until I hear from my friends in the management at True/Slant/Forbes regarding my own continued involvement with the company.

I remain grateful for the opportunities that Lewis Dvorkin and Coates Bateman have given me at both AOL and True/Slant, and I’ve enjoyed building up a community here of intelligent, funny, argumentative, and often irreverent readers. Will Paradigms Lost become just another paradise lost? I hope not. But committing to a blog requires the kind of attention and energy that, for this writer anyway, insists on a concrete sense of the possible future, too, if that makes sense.

When I learn this blog’s fate, I’ll be back to post an update.



May. 27 2010 — 12:40 am | 968 views | 1 recommendations | 1 comment

Did BP’s top kill work?

100421-G-XXXXL- Deepwater Horizon fire

Image by uscgd8 via Flickr

All we can do now is wait. After pouring 50,000 pounds of sludge on top of the gushing Deepwater Horizon well, still more patience will be required before we’ll know one way or the other whether BP will move on to shooting golf balls into the pipe.

“We will not be rushed,” BP’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said on Wednesday night. “It’s too early to know if it will be successful.”

So, when will we know, exactly?

“We’ve ridden a roller coaster and I think we just need to take the next 24 hours and see what the results are.”

With all due respect, a roller coaster has ups, downs, twists, and turns. This ride is more akin to a free fall of a very high cliff. We keep reaching for the parachute chord, but nothing ever seems to happen.

continue »



May. 27 2010 — 12:04 am | 297 views | 1 recommendations | 1 comment

And once again, Google is wrong about American Idol

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: ***NO ONLINE USE UNT...

Image by Getty Images for FOX via @daylife

Search traffic can tell you a lot of things about human desire. But it’s not so hot at predicting the next American Idol. For the second year running, the hotter search term following the night of final performances of the top two contestants has lost.

Last year, Adam Lambert lost to Kris Allen.

This year, Crystal Bowersox lost to Lee DeWyze.

In both cases, Google searches for Bowersox and Lambert trounced those for DeWyze and Allen in the moments after the last judging round.

So, maybe what this says is that for all the attention we in the new media place on what people are searching on their computers, there’s a bigger cross-section of Americans out there who have something else in mind. On a musical level, that’s too bad, as Allen and DeWyze appear headed to utterly forgettable music careers.



May. 26 2010 — 12:03 am | 780 views | 1 recommendations | 2 comments

Google says Crystal Bowersox is the next American Idol

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: (BOOK  Contestant ...

Image by Getty Images North America via @daylife

A quick check of Google Trends reveals what is both obvious, and may not be true: Crystal Bowersox will be crowned the next American Idol.

In its “Hot Topics” section, Crystal ranked number one and two for much of the west coast airing of the show. In other words, people searched her name more than any other single word or name while the show aired. Lee DeWyze was nowhere to be found in the top ten “Hot Topics” searches.

Meanwhile, in the “Hot Searches” list on Google, the term “up to the mountain” and “black velvet” ranked number one and two, respectively, at the show’s conclusion in Pacific standard time.

“beautiful day lyrics” was the third most searched term, and “everybody hurts lyrics’” was number five. Those were two of the songs DeWyze delivered in rather uninspiring fashion.

The judges, for what it’s worth, clearly preferred Momma Sox. So did I. Overall thoughts on the disappointing season here.



May. 25 2010 — 8:19 pm | 1,427 views | 1 recommendations | 11 comments

Live top kill: BP’s latest failed attempt to plug oil well

Let’s hope I’m wrong about that “failed” part.

After Congressional pressure, BP has switched course and will allow America to watch in real time as the company tries, yet again, to cap the gushing Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico.

This new attempt, called a top kill, has a 30 to 40 percent chance of failure, the company said Tuesday. But why should they be trusted when it comes to laying odds?

The plan calls for dumping 50,000 pounds of “viscous fluid” on top of the well. That may temporarily stop the oil, and give the company time to add concrete. If the initial attempts fail, BP says (and no, I’m not joking) that they will try to lodge a bunch of golf balls into the well. One wonders what the odds of success are for that plan.

Here’s your latest creative visualization for success.


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    About Me

    I've published two novels: The Secrets of the Camera Obscura (Chronicle Books), and The Third Eye (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday). I'm currently working as a journalist for AOL's Sphere. For the past three years I also spouted political opinion for AOL's Political Machine, which I also helped edit. My non-fiction has appeared in places like Men's Vogue, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, USA Today, Newsday, Travel + Leisure, GQ (Spain), and Vanity Fair (Italy). I've dabbled with short stories, publishing in Nerve and a few small journals.

    The other half of my split personality finds me playing a variety of instruments for a variety of bands, and writing songs for film soundtracks.

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    What I'm Up To

    Finishing screenplay

    In the home stretch now of a screenplay version of my first novel, The Secrets of the Camera Obscura. camera-obscura1