Wednesday, April 20, 2005

First Post

Well, here is my first post on this Blogspot site. I'll be writing about media, the business of politics, technology, cars, and whatever else. Generally, this page will be what the title currently is, "Virtual Scratchpad." I'm planning to relocate soon to a domain of my own, but right now I need a place to hang my hat on the web. (Or not.)

A little personal info: I'm 28 years old and live in the Washington, DC area where I work as a media/technology consultant while also writing articles for assorted publications. I'm primarily from the Kansas City area.

In 2000, I co-founded which achieved some notoriety, being mentioned in most major American newspapers, radio shows as well as all the cable news channels. I currently am executive editor of I'm also an occasional lecturer at the National Press Club and other places in DC on media and technology topics.

In college, I switched majors a few times before finally settling on political science. Prior to that, I shifted between computer science, journalism, politics, and philosophy. I'll probably head back to school for some sort of postgraduate work (law?) but I have no plans to do so at this point. I've written for a few publications and designed and edited newspapers back in college.

Politically, I'm somewhat of a mix. I'm ambivalent on the Iraq war. I liked the idea in theory (though not the "preemtive" justification) but think it's too soon to tell if the Bush admin or its critics are correct. Generally, I would classify myself as an constructivist who believes human rights should be a fundamental (though not always sufficient) factor in foreign policy. I disagree strongly with the idea that representative government somehow reduces terrorism.

Economically, I'm mostly pro-market, but I also don't really have a problem with "big government," either, so long as it focuses more on providing services transparently and efficiently, and less on trying to control the economy. I don't believe that any ideology can reliably predict the market or shape it in any meaningful, positive macroeconomic way.

On the other issues, I believe in what I call liberal conservatism, which I intend to spell out somewhat on these pages. Mainly, it's an open-ended version of traditional European conservatism which is respectful of established cultural mores but a willingness to change some things. I oppose almost any restriction on political speech but believe there are limits to free speech in other (offline) areas. On abortion, I hold the view that it should not be up to the states and that it should not be outlawed before viability. In less than 25 years, I believe that abortion will disappear entirely as an issue as new birth control and artificial womb technologies emerge.

As far as religion goes, I was raised Mormon but don't attend any church now. Most religions have serious logical, historical, or moral problems in my view though I have more distaste toward people who try to fit their religion into a political worldview instead of vice versa. My view of the divine tends toward agnosticism. I dislike positions of complete certitude on the question of god(s).

Technologically, I favor Linux and Windows on the desktop and Mac on the laptop, though I move freely between platforms depending on the task at hand. I used to be more into developing os-native applications but with the advent of DHTML, I made that my preferred platform. Over the years, I have been involved in various capacities with several open-source software projects.

I'm also a big fan of extremely portable computers (palmtops) like the Sharp Zaurus. I've always hated the PalmOS and dislike Windows CE or whatever Microsoft is calling it these days. Ironically, though, my phone (Motorola Q) is running on the Windows Mobile platform. My preferred server platform is either Linux or FreeBSD. For blogs, I'm a big booster of Drupal and WordPress.

My research interests include marketing, new-vs-old media, technology policy, political ideologies, the relations between online communities, and the societal implications of technology.