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Web Monitor

15:43 UK time, Monday, 7 December 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Today in Web Monitor: Not what you expect, a win for physics and a different kind of identity theft.

Malcolm Gladwell• Noughties nostalgia is breaking its stride, with magazines trying to sum up the decade. Alex Pareene at New York Magazine thinks counterintuitive thought has been the prevailing trend of the last ten years. Pareene reckons book deals are to be had from ideas such as being smart doesn't help you get ahead; amateurs are better than experts and car seats are unsafe:

"The shocking hidden side of everything became the only side of anything worthy of magazine covers and book deals. Social scientists applied their techniques to the problem of climate change; liberals who wanted to be taken seriously had to come up with arguments for conservative policies and vice versa. Everywhere in the media, the former creators of mass consensus devoted themselves to contradicting the conventional wisdom."

Bank in November, John Hudson at the Atlantic Wire had already noticed a backlash against the biggest success of this trend, Malcolm Gladwell, with many critics seemingly admitting they hated him because they were jealous.

Steven Kurutz at Wall Street Journal has found an unlikely consequence of Tiger Woods' recent car crash: a jump in sales of a physics book called "Get a Grip on Physics" by John Gribbin. Kurutz says it played a minor cameo in the story after being seen on the car floor. Gribbin tells Kuruz he has a theory why Woods would have a copy:

"The obvious speculation is he saw the words 'get a grip' and thought it would help with his golf grip."

• Web Monitor can understand the motivations behind the kind of identity theft that gets your money stolen out of your account. But stealing your identity to write a blog supposedly as you still baffles WM. Technology boffins seem to be a favourite choice when looking for someone to impersonate in a blog. First there was fake Steve Jobs - co-founder of Apple (as mentioned in Web Monitor previously), then fake Ed Parsons who works on Google Maps. As a reaction to one location technology fakester, another internet map maker, Steve Coast, has had his own fake blog Fake Steve C for the last two years, starting with this entry:

"So on the way back from the office tonight I'm going to crowdsource a bus (hitch a ride) and it just totally subverts all the big guys and you have to keep up. The bus guys have been spending all this money on hardware (bendy buses) and we're like that's so over. Apparently there are some guys at Waterloo Bridge who have crowdsourced their income by asking lots of people for a little bit of money each, maybe I'll stop by and check these guys out."

Links in full

Alex Pareene | New York Magazine | The Encyclopedia of Counterintuitive Thought
John Hudson | Atlantic Wire | Hating on Malcolm Gladwell: Are Reviewers Just Jealous?
Steven Kurutz | Wall Street Journal | How to Boost Book Sales?
Fake Steve Jobs
Fake Ed Parsons
Fake Steve C

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