This message is sent in memory of Bad Man Jose's Mexican Grill, Hillcrest,
San Diego, purveyor of the finest burrito ever to walk the earth.  I ate
about a hundred of the darn things during the final summer-long death march
of finishing my book, and now they're gone forever.  The Bad Man also used
to be open in San Francisco at 4077 18th St in the Castro, (415) 861-1706,
but he's not answering his phone -- an ominous sign.

As a periodic reminder, to end your subscription to RRE, send a message that
looks like this:

  Subject: unsubscribe

May I humbly suggest that you create a bookmark in your web browser for the
RRE home page:

This excellent page includes instructions for unsubscribing, a link to the
many Frequently Asked Questions, and links to two different web archives of
past RRE messages.  The email-based "RRE Archive" of RRE messages is no longer
functioning, or at least no longer being kept up to date, but a couple of
outstanding volunteers still automatically archive every RRE message at their
own sites, one chronologically and the other alphabetically by subject line.

Here are some more spam resouces:

CIAC recently put out a bulletin entitled "E-Mail Spamming countermeasures".
It probably won't tell you anything new, but it's reasonably official.
It's on the Web at

A lawyer named David Loundy has written about FTC efforts at cleaning up
online fraud:

More anti-spam mechanisms, emphasis on blacklisting -- obviously something
that has to be done carefully:

I am told that the address to get a fraud report form from the US Postal
Service is, though I haven't tried it myself.

The Historical Spam Museum and Archive:

Spam Haiku:

I received several erudite messages about cheap pens.  Several readers told
me to check out the newish so-called gel pens.  These seem to be essentially
old-fashioned ballpoints with a new kind of ink that flows more smoothly.
Joe Betts reported that they are "not only unimpedingly inviscid, but also
lubricious".  Having gotten a fistful of them at Sterling Art in Irvine, I
can confirm that they are indeed lubricious, although I'm not sure I concur
with their inviscidity.  They might be good for people with wrist problems.
Sterling had several models; I bought the Sakura Jelly Roll and the Marvy
GT-700, both from Japan.  I don't have a clear favorite yet, but I am finding
that they are not very good for writing at strange angles, which is important
for me because I do not like to sit at a desk, and that they share one of
the problems with traditional ballpoints that the new liquid-ink pens solve:
those annoying clots of ink that you have to wipe off the tip occasionally.
There are other models of these gel pens, such as the waterproof PaperMate
Gel Writer that Joe recommended in particular, but I haven't tried them yet.

It also seems that I was inaccurate in characterizing the novelty of the pens
I was describing.  So-called roller ball pens have used liquid ink since the
1980's.  I don't have the technical vocabulary to explain what is new about
the pens I recommended, but I can certainly testify that they feel completely
different than even the best of the older roller ball pens.  The difference
may simply be that they produce more ink.  In any case they do not last
extremely long, although part of the problem there might be psychological,
given that you can actually watch the ink being depleted.

At Sterling I also encountered several brands of liquid ink highlighters that
I had not encountered before.  I got a few of them but haven't had a chance
to test them yet.  I will report any great discoveries.  Glenn Stauffer ranted
about the Avery EverBold Hi-Liters that he bought at WalMart, but I haven't
gotten myself over to WalMart yet to get some myself.

Some relevant Web sites:

Rotring, who make Xonox pens:
Levenger, much-recommended mail-order dealer:

Some useful articles that I have read recently:

Martyne M. Hallgren and Alan K. McAdams, The economic efficiency of Internet
public goods, in Lee W. McKnight and Joseph P. Bailey, eds, Internet
Economics, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997.  These authors try to make economic
sense of the phenomenon of free software that emerges from universities and
becomes a de facto standard in the information infrastructure.  They point
out that free software is a public good: unlike more tangible commodities,
everyone can use it simultaneously without using it up.  And they suggest
exploring in a principled way the relationship between the Market System
based on the price system and the University System based on grants and peer
review.  Whereas the Market System is well adapted for providing appropriable
things like cars and sandwiches and poorly adapted for providing public goods,
the University System is well adapted for providing public goods and poorly
adapted for providing appopriable things.  This is an important insight
because universities are often criticized these days for not being more like
companies, to the point where many people want the University System to be
subsumed by the Market System.  We probably cannot stop the University System
from intertwining with the Market System, but we can -- and should -- reason
about their proper relationship.  For example, we should explore whether it
would be efficient, given the specific economic properties of software, to
greatly expand the amount of grant money available for the academic creation
of software that is intended to become freely available.  To take another
example, unlike many of my colleagues I think that the market already plays
a positive role in certain aspects of academic evaluation and promotion.  In
many fields you need to publish a book to get promoted, and the book market
provides a very rough check that your book is actually of interest to someone,
even though there's no way that anybody could make a living on royalties from
such books.  The recent shift in the direction of a blockbuster publishing
model at Basic Books and Routledge is sorely to be regretted because of the
role that these publishers play in bridging between academic and general
audiences.  Still, the broader point remains.  Economics hardly provides the
only language for reasoning about the role of the university in a democratic
society; academic freedom, after all, is a noneconomic concept that has an
important political role in a free society.  (As I pointed out here once
before, if ideas are simply an economic public good, why shouldn't we get
all of our ideas from the government?)  But the economics is one part of the
story.  Many people resist economic language because that language has been
used in a simplistic way by people who want to grind an ideological axe by
pretending that reality conforms to the built-in assumptions of a particular
theory.  Once we slough off the ideology and look seriously at the actual
dynamics of a world full of network externalities, increasing returns to
adoption, public goods, and so on, economic language starts to become more
useful and easier to integrate with other, equally valid kinds of language.

Paul A. David, Standardization policies for network technologies: The flux
between freedom and order revisited, in Richard Hawkins, Robin Mansell, and
Jim Skea, eds, Standards, Innovation and Competitiveness: The Politics and
Economics of Standards in Natural and Technical Environments, Edward Elgar,
1995.  This is a good, thorough introduction to the economic issues that
surround technical standards.  I've mentioned Paul David before; he is one
of those rare economists who understands the math but gives priority to
qualitative investigation of history and social process.  That makes him
well-suited to putting the economic phenomena of standards into intellectual
perspective, and doing so in a way that is simultaneously more intellectually
sophisticated than standard economic treatments and more accessible to a
general audience.  The problem is that technical standards, particularly
for information networks, activate just about every possibly type of market
failure according to the dominant neoclassical economic framework that has
saturated both everyday economic rhetoric and academic economic theorizing.
David understands and explains these phenomena, but his great strength is
that he doesn't see standards as pathological just because they violate the
standard theory.  Quite the contrary, he sees them as expressing some core
features of social order.

Bruno Latour, Socrates' and Callicles' settlement, or, The invention of the
body politic, Configurations 5(2), 1997, pages 189-240.  An awful lot of very
visible, very unpleasant intellectual debate in recent years has concerned
the alleged outbreak of relativistic nihilism in the academy -- social studies
of science, standpoint theories of knowledge, historical study of literary
value, and so on.  Some of these charges are accurate, but most of them lie
along the spectrum between uninformed distortions and malicious, ideologically
motivated distortions.  Bruno Latour, a flamboyant sociologist of science in
France, has been the object of some of the more obnoxious criticisms.  Rather
than shoot back, he has written this eye-opening paper about the origins of
a very important tension between science and democracy -- that is, between
the reason of an expert elite and the supposed manias and brute force of the
crowd.  I say "supposed", of course, because this opposition has always been
framed by the experts in a self-serving way that inevitably treats popular
involvement in scientific and technical matters as tantamount to fascism.
This view is not new, but in fact can already be found in recognizably modern
form in classical Greece.  Latour returns to the origins of the dichotomy
in Plato and reconstructs the outrageously elitist and antidemocratic way
in which the epistemological privilege of science is framed from the outset.
Does this mean that Latour is "against science"?  No, not at all; anybody
who has really read his books understands that he celebrates the stuff in
a way that is remarkably uncritical for someone supposedly so radical and
nihilistic.  His point is simply that it becomes possible to reason about the
apparent dichotomies and tensions once we have become aware at last of the
prejudices that were built into them at their founding.

Raymond T. Nimmer and Patricia Krauthouse, Electronic commerce: New paradigms
in information law, Idaho Law Review 31, 1995, pages 937-966.  Computers and
computer networking are causing all sorts of assumptions to resurface for a
fresh examination.  This process is particularly interesting in the common
law, where most of those assumptions originated historically with cases that
involved physical objects.  As precedents from those cases are applied to
new cases that involve digital objects, conceptual tensions become apparent.
This particular article, which is tough sledding for non-lawyers but rewards
the effort, concerns the concept of negotiability.  A piece of paper can be
negotiable, and the concept of negotiability is ultimately modeled on the
paradigm of a piece of paper.  But the authors argue that the concept of
negotiability has no role to play in the electronic world.  They argue that,
in retrospect, the law has been moving away from a concept of negotiability
toward a more fundamental conceptualization of the actual relationships and
functions in a transaction.  The point generalizes, I think, to all areas of
law and morality in electronically mediated human relationships.  Our ideas
about privacy, for example, presuppose a whole set of assumptions about the
physical world and the capabilities of our senses, and yet those assumptions
are rapidly being invalidated in electronic settings.  As a result, we need
new conceptualizations of human relationships that are grounded more directly
in morals and ethics, without presupposing a specific form of embodiment.

Here are some books for anyone who might have found some value in the articles
I've written here about religious conservatism:

Gil Alexander-Moegerle, James Dobson's War on America, Prometheus, 1997.

Bruce Bawer, Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, Crown,

Alec Foege, The Empire God Built: Inside Pat Robertson's Media Machine, Wiley,

Robert C. Fuller, Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession,
Oxford University Press, 1995.

Linda Kintz, Between Jesus and the Market: The Emotions That Matter in
Right-Wing America, Duke University Press, 1997.

Donald E. Miller, Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New
Millennium, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, Random House, 1995.

Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado, No Mercy: How Conservative Think Tanks and
Foundations Changed America's Social Agenda, Philadelphia: Temple University
Press, 1996.

A. N. Wilson, Paul: The Mind of the Apostle, Norton, 1997.

And here is another batch of new books in the technology-related areas that
this list has covered:

P. M. Asaro, Transforming Society by Transforming Technology: The Science and
Politics of Participatory Design, Champaign: University of Illinois Press,

Stephen R. Barley and Julian Orr, eds, Between Craft and Science: Technical
Work in the United States, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Brian P. Bloomfield, Rod Coombs, and David Knights, eds, Information
Technology and Organizations: Strategies, Networks, and Integration, Oxford
University Press, 1997.

John L. Casti, Would-Be Worlds: How Simulation is Changing the Frontiers of
Science, New York: Wiley, 1997.

Richard Cornes and Todd Sandler, The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods,
and Club Goods, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Carl J. Couch, Information Technologies and Social Orders, New York: Aldine de
Gruyter, 1996.

Ruth Schwartz Cowan, A Social History of American Technology, Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1996.

Alfred W. Crosby, The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society,
1250-1600, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

James Curran, David Morley, and Valerie Walkerdine, eds, Cultural Studies and
Communications, London: Arnold, 1996.

Judith Wagner DeCew, In Pursuit of Privacy: Law, Ethics, and the Rise of
Technology, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Wilson Dizard, Meganet: How the Global Communications Network Will Connect
Everyone on Earth, Westview Press, 1997.

Gerhard Dohrn-Van Rossum, History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal
Orders, University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Peter Droege, ed, Intelligent Environments: Spatial Aspects of the Information
Revolution, Elsevier, 1997.

Tom Ferguson, Health Online: How to Find Health Information, Support Groups,
and Self-Help Communities in Cyberspace, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1996.

Kimball Fisher and Maureen Duncan Fisher, The Distributed Mind: Achieving High
Performance Through the Collective Intelligence of Knowledge Work Teams,
AMACOM, 1997.

David H. Freedman and Charles C. Mann, At Large: The Strange Case of the
World's Biggest Internet Invasion, Simon and Schuster, 1997.

James E. Gaskin, Corporate Politics and the Internet, Prentice Hall, 1997.

Teresa M. Harrison and Timothy D. Stephen, eds, Computer Networking and
Scholarly Communication in Twenty-First-Century University, State University
of New York Press, 1996.

Horst Hendriks-Jansen, Catching Ourselves in the Act: Situated Activity,
Interactive Emergence, Evolution, and Human Thought, Cambridge: MIT Press,

Lynn Hershman-Leeson, ed, Clicking In: Hot Links to a Digital Culture,
Seattle: Bay Press, 1996.

Ravi Kalakota and Andrew Whinston, Electronic Commerce: A Manager's Guide,
Addison-Wesley, 1996.

George Kozmetsky and Piyu Yue, Global Economic Competition: Today's Warfare in
Global Electronics Industries and Companies, Boston: Kluwer, 1997.

Martin C. Libicki, Information Technology Standards: Quest for the Common
Byte, Digital Press, 1995.

Jerry N. Luftman, ed, Competing in The Information Age: Strategic Alignment in
Practice, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Donald Mankin, Susan G. Cohen, Tora K. Bikson, and Don Mankin, Teams and
Technology: Fulfilling the Promise of the New Organization, Harvard Business
School Press, 1996.

Robin Mansell, The New Telecommunications: A Political Economy of Network
Evolution, Sage, 1994.

Thomas P. Moran and John M. Carroll, eds, Design Rationale: Concepts,
Techniques, and Use, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1996.

David C. Moschella and David Moscella, Waves of Power: Dynamics of Global
Technology Leadership 1964-2010, Amacom, 1997.

Rolland Munro and Jan Mouritsen, eds, Accountability: Power, Ethos and the
Technologies of Managing, International Thomson Computer Press, 1997.

Robert E. Neilson, Collaborative Technologies and Organizational Learning,
Idea Group, 1997.

Michael A. Noll, Highway of Dreams: A Critical View Along the Information
Superhighway, Erlbaum, 1996.

Gregory J. E. Rawlins, Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer
Technology, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997.

Samuel Weber, Mass Mediauras: Form, Technics, Media, edited by Alan
Cholodenko, Stanford University Press, 1996.

Deone Zell, Changing by Design: Organizational Innovation at Hewlett-Packard,
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.