Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What will happen when bin Laden dies
Nobody’s really trying to catch him — he’s too useful as a bogeyman

How the rest of the Iraq war probably will play out
Military expert William Lind explains how the Shi’ites are using the Americans to get back at the long-incumbent Sunnis

Best-sellers
What do I mean by "reporting bias"?

Imagine asking a random sample of people what books they read. It’s not hard to imagine they might name some impressive, prestigious books which they imagine a high-toned person ought to be reading. Now imagine how different your results might be if you simply slipped into their houses and looked to see what books and magazines are actually sitting on their night stands. Want to bet some pornography and far-from-prestigious paperback Westerns and bodice-rippers and – oh, I don’t know, gardening books, vacation travel guides – might not feature far more prominently in the second list?

Well, who’s to say bookstore managers doesn’t show a similar reporting bias?

Imagine you’re an independent bookstore manager, perhaps one favoring contrarian titles – Austrian economics, anarchist or lesbian literature, whatever. You buy from publishers outside New York (heaven forfend) and sell quite a few of those titles. So you answer the phone to name 10 books
The New York Times (Publisher’s Weekly, whatever) editors have never even heard of, published by outfits whose ads do not grace their pages. Think you’ll get called again next week?
From LRC.

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