December 30th, 2010

green leaves

I signed up to a set of rules I did not fully understand....

Google has an evil streak. The link describes a business being damaged, possibly wrecked, because of google shutting down adsense for it and refusing to forward two months of income.
The Adsense contract is a beautiful piece of work. One of my subscribers is a lawyer. She looked at the contract and said “wow – this is a beautiful and incredibly expensive piece of work. These guys employ the best.” Her advice? Don’t bother fighting Google.

The contract is designed so that it is almost impossible not to break the Google rules. If you disclose site data then you are in breach. YouTube discloses just the sort of site data that would have me thrown out – but YouTube is Google which is Adsense.

If your subscribers are clicking on adverts and not buying, then you are in breach. This is a new concept – do not look at an advert unless you intend to buy.

Imagine if that were applied to TV adverts and hoardings. Do not look at them unless you intend to buy – very weird. Do not eat the sample of cheese being handed out in the supermarket – unkless you intend to buy. My website gave the advertisers a chance to get eyes on their products. If they did not sell is that my fault?

The website owner is to be held responsible for the activities of his site users. Imagine that being applied to cars or baseball bats or hamburgers.

Here is a great one – if you are an Adsense account holder and you hear of another Adsense account holder who is breaking the rules then you must report them to Adsense, otherwise you too are guilty by association and will have your account disabled.

Presumably since Youtube appear to be breaking the rules as well and I have not reported them to Adsense then I am breach of the contract I ticked.

Link thanks to andrewducker.

I've been looking at two new search engines: Blekko, which has some interesting features, and Duck Duck Go, which doesn't store information. They both do at least a decent job of giving results. I don't know how either of them are or will be financed. Any opinions on those or other non-google search engines?

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green leaves

CIA satirical novel

Intelligence by Susan Hasler is a hybrid bitter insider's look at being an analyst at the CIA and a romantic comedy.

Maddy is shell-shocked from not having the resources or trust to pursue leads that warned of 9/11, and now there are hints that a new major terrorist attack is getting developed. Furthermore , her horrible narcissistic mother has moved in with her and is driving her crazy.

The office politics are extremely plausible. The viewpoint of a terrorist not so much, and I have a tentative theory about why. The thing is, we get told about his miserable background and his ideological motivations (credit goes to the author for not including 72 virgins), but it seems generic. My experience is that people have something of a personal relationship with their ideologies-- they know who's influenced them and even if they're not involved in faction fights, they at least know more about the divisions than any but the most dedicated outsiders have ever heard of. All of that is missing.

The gender stuff is interesting, and I'm curious about what you guys think of this bit: All hell has broken loose in a way that involves the death of some children (I'm not calling this a spoiler-- anything resembling a normal novel which has an imminent terrorist attack will have a terrorist attack), and the female analysts are full of shock, horror, and rage. One of the male analysts is humming the Andy Griffith theme song, and a woman asks him how he can be happy. (From memory)--he says "This is the great war of my generation, and this is the front line. How can I want to be anywhere else?".

On the whole, I liked the book with a couple of caveats. All the fat characters are obnoxious. As might be expected, there is a coercive interrogation which is of a hateworthy person, produces reliable information, and has no unwanted side effects.

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green leaves

Hard science fiction

There isn't a lot of hard science fiction (and possibly less now than in previous years), and it doesn't have its own award.

I'm defining hard science fiction as stories which are dependent on science as it was known when the story was written.

In other words, I'm not going to insist that everything in the story be accurate science. I can live with ftl because I like alien planets.

I think the best (reasonably?) hard sf I've read lately is Stross' Saturn's Children. Any recommendations?

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