Merl Reagle, the imaginative and irrepressibly amusing verbal virtuoso who created the crossword puzzles published each week in The Washington Post Magazine and in many newspapers, died Aug. 22 in a hospital in Tampa. He was 65. (Washington Post obituary) [more inside]
Intrade is a Prediction Market, where you make predictions by buying and selling shares on the outcome of real-world events. These events are always defined on Intrade as a YES/NO proposition. Shares are bought at some point between $0.00 and $10.00, based on whether the buyer believes the event will or won't occur (which correspond to $10.00 and $0.00 respectively). Most popular propositions at the moment are election related, though this week the market for the Best Picture opened. [more inside]
It all started on Sept 27, when Honey Boo Boo's Uncle Lee "Poodle" Thompson made his first appearance on the show. Not a week had passed before Karen Cox's October 3rd op-ed for the New York Times using him as an example for the encouraging state of being gay in the South. October 8th, Jonathan Capehart wrote his own op-ed column for the Washington Post taking Cox to task for painting too rosy a picture of what GLBT life is like in the South, and calling for Uncle Poodle to speak out. Finally, October 10, Lee Thompson did speak out, in a profile column with the GA Voice, Georgia's gay newspaper. And what he had to say is getting positive attention.
Can the New York Times and Washington Post survive on a pay-wall business model if they do it together?
In a new essay entitled Build the Wall, David Simon (who was a Baltimore Sun reporter before he produced The Wire) argues that if the larger newspaper industry is to survive, The New York Times and Washington Post must start charging readers for access to their websites (preferably done as a single action in concert with each other) — John Gruber, Dave Winer, and the folks at Gawker disagree, and Steven Berlin Johnson argues that while the future for newspapers might be quite bleak, the future for journalism and high quality analysis is actually quite bright. Meanwhile, the Times is currently doing market research to see if it's readers would be willing to pay $5 a month for online access, and the Associated Press announced it's intent to build a new news DRM system that will enable users to “consume, mash up and share AP content based on rights”.
The six finalists in the Pentagon Memorial design competition. The contest (official site) has "emerged as a kind of dress rehearsal" [NYT] for the upcoming World Trade Center competition. The Post reviewed the proposals, which will be narrowed to a winner on Feb. 21.
An Algerian defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).