The third way of making money during one's lifetime: stealing, aka financial engineering

Stealing money is much more reliable than earning it. You can steal wealth slowly, the old-fashioned way, buried within the operations of trading for the house account. Or you can steal it quickly, by using obscure and poorly understood financial artifacts to produce the illusion of wealth creation. Then you take a piece of the illusionary wealth, as personal cash, now. Then you exit and duck for cover before the entire game blows up.

Can a free society continue to exist without healthy and vibrant newspaper journalism?

There is a lot of talk nowadays about what will replace the dinosaur that is the daily newspaper. So-called citizen journalists and bloggers and media pundits have lined up to tell us that newspapers are dying but that the news business will endure, that this moment is less tragic than it is transformational.

Well, sorry, but I didn't trip over any blogger trying to find out McKissick's identity and performance history. Nor were any citizen journalists at the City Council hearing in January when police officials inflated the nature and severity of the threats against officers. And there wasn't anyone working sources in the police department to counterbalance all of the spin or omission.

I didn't trip over a herd of hungry Sun reporters either, but that's the point. In an American city, a police officer with the authority to take human life can now do so in the shadows, while his higher-ups can claim that this is necessary not to avoid public accountability, but to mitigate against a nonexistent wave of threats. And the last remaining daily newspaper in town no longer has the manpower, the expertise or the institutional memory to challenge any of it.

Dunbar's number and social networks

People who are members of online social networks are not so much networking as they are broadcasting their lives to an outer tier of acquaintances who aren’t necessarily inside the Dunbar circle... Humans may be advertising themselves more efficiently. But they still have the same small circles of intimacy as ever.