Raw Thought

by Aaron Swartz

Blogs I Would Like to Read

(in no particular order)

The Wonk Wing: Thoughtful exploration of important policy issues by decent writers who are clearly fascinated by their subject. Not only would you get a first-class education in the relevant issues around health care, global warming, urban sprawl, zoning, traffic, sewage, etc. but you’d have fun while doing it. Think Ezra Klein for more than just health care. Think The Wonk Room but more Sorkin and less Pennebaker. (Sorry, Wonk Room!)

Perfect Devices: Coverage of things which are simply the best-in-the-world at what they do, and the stories of how they got there. I want stories from the people who calibrate bathroom-mirror lighting to be the perfect combination of brightness and diffusion “so that it’s diagnostically acute without being brutal” (ASFTINDA, 302). I want stories about the kitchen at French Laundry and Alinea. I want the start-to-finish story of HF&J designing a typeface. (Yes, I’m eagerly awaiting Objectified.)

17th and Pennsylvania: This is the address of the Starbucks outside the White House, where apparently executive branch officials regularly grab coffee, chat, and meet with a wide variety of famous-for-DC types. Why doesn’t an enterprising Gawker Stalker simply sit there and write down what happens?

This Academic Life: Stories of new papers and research results — not just a summary of the work itself, but the story of how it fits into the field’s debates, the personal intrigues of the players, the implications for the wider world. Basically, Lingua Fraca returning as a blog.

Evisceration Quarterly: A daily selection of the finest in insults, takedowns, and general argumentative evisceration. The motto: teaching you how to think by showing you how not to. And, to not be entirely negative, the occasional model of clarity. With special blogging consultant, Brad DeLong.

You should follow me on twitter here.

November 25, 2008


I’d like to point out that we actually do have fun at the Wonk Room.

posted by Brad Johnson on November 26, 2008 #

You do read Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools, right?

posted by Yatima on November 26, 2008 #

I have long thought that “This Academic Life” would be a great blog to read. I was quite tempted to try writing it when I was in academia. The problem, though, is that academics can anonymously torpedo each other’s careers in tenure meetings and grant reviews, so it’s important to avoid publicly embarrassing other academics — and especially important to avoid embarrassing or irritating your boss — while you’re still working in the field as a junior researcher. So science is a very polite field, in the way that, e.g., the world of the Three Musketeers was polite — if you insult someone they’re liable to nail you to the ground with a rapier, so everyone has really good manners.

I’d like to think that, were I retired and looking for a hobby, I might try writing that blog from outside the field…

posted by Mike Booth on November 29, 2008 #

I think it would also be interesting to see a ‘Development Blog’ that focused just on basic policy construction for the developing world. For that matter, a local government blog would be really interesting too. These would help people keep up to date on the most cost-effective infrastructure and policy means, and steer people to well reviewed research. Taking that together with aggregate statistics from local governments (or developing country governments) would allow for good grading of policy. Add it to the Wonk Wing.

posted by Mr. L on November 30, 2008 #

These comments totally suck. I expected someone to reply having found each and every one of these awesome blogs.

posted by David on March 24, 2009 #

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