Thursday, June 22, 2006

Resistance Is Futile?

by Tom Bozzo

I'd had a brief exchange with Xtin of the brilliant Xtinpore over the merits of divulging the contents of one's e-mail to the Googlenet by using Gmail, where the quid pro quo is that Google's incipient artificial hive mind scans your e-mail and presents supposedly targeted advertisements. So what are the capabilities of Google's formidable computing cluster? I suggested it might be a fun blog feature to take a look at just what ads are being served up by Gmail.

To Xtin's credit, she did not actually say this was a good idea. But she has added a Question Hour post of her own, and I can't resist awarding a "Sorry I Wasted Your Time, Dude" prize. So here goes. Most of these are based on blog comments that get echoed to my Gmail account.

1. First, from "pose," proprietress of You Go Now:
I've never been able to stop in [at the iPod store on the west side of Madison] because they have really odd hours that don't allow us 9-5'ers to get there.
That gives four links promising assistance with elite university (Ivy League and Stanford) admissions. Like I'd be caught dead in one of those dumps. (Note, if you're an Ivy League administrator offering a named chair with tenure (*), JK!)

2. Elsewhere in that comments thread, I offered:
Daddy wants a MacBook Pro.
Hey, "free iBook G4!" Spam spam spam spam spamity-spam! And I said I want a MacBook Pro, goddammit!

3. Meanwhile, in response to Kim's post on how not to draw readers into your paper — and bad as Kim's example was, she obviously doesn't read the Journal of Econometrics — slumming-at-Harvard Jeremy writes:
I missed the first entendre.
This yielded truly bizarre results: a site for tracking one's menstrual cycle, another offering suggestions for dealing with a daughter's first period. While I expect that Julia will seem to have covered the next 11 or 12 years in what will seem to be a blink after the fact, this is not well targeted to say the least. I also wonder how such ads would play in the chastity-pledging belt.

4. Announcing his nuclear demolition insult of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, Corndog posted:
Because you asked so nicely and because Griffin pisses me off so much, I came up with a special edition insult over at my place.
Almost nada. The sole link offers me "Free Marginal Utility info from the experts at the Finance Encyclopedia." Thanks a lot.

5. In response to news of the end of Julia's overnight feeding wake-ups, Tina (late of Pub Sociology, RIP) says:
Another oddity: "I Make More in a Day [link omitted] Than most people make in a month. And I can teach you how to do it." What is the borg thinking? Opera tickets aren't *that* expensive.

6. As part of an exchange cementing a permanent blog-exchange treaty, Drek wrote:
I've returned to the DrekCave and will probably resume blogging pretty soon.
The first link offers free space for my blog at Blogger. Fancy that. Score one for relevance, but +10 million for the "Sorry I wasted your time, dude" award.

7. Last but not least, in response to one of the posts on the Archmere controversy (which made it to ABC's Nightline earlier in the week, adding electronic media insult to the W$J's previous injury), "Ernie Chambers" notes:
The WSJ article pointed out that Ma and Pa Capano actually raised four criminals -- the murderer, the two accessories to murder (one of whom, Louis Jr., was also arrested years later for bribing a public official), and a son arrested for rape and subsequently convicted of lesser related charges.
Not a single sponsored link there, not even "Watch 'The Sopranos.'" Guess there's no commercialization of outright criminality. Archmere administration, take note. Please.


(*) An irony of my present situation is that to replace my income with an academic job, I'd need to make full professor-of-economics money, but since my publication record befits a non-academic consultant, it's unlikely that a university that could afford me would have me.
For a laugh or two on this thread, see
Gene Weingarten's article
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