Kiss My Ass, Chronicle

This article in the Chronicle, describing confused visitors to the city of San Fransisco during a power outage, is just over the top. Its treatment of the suburbanites who subsidize San Francisco’s excesses is offensive, and I hope they get called on it.

You know, we don’t need to come to Union Square to shop. We have malls in San Mateo and Santa Clara county too. Perhaps we only go to the City because we have some deep seated desire to be insulted by the city dwellers, to be reminded of how inferior our suburban lives are. Or maybe we come offering a few dollars of tax revenue that your city can use to get the bums off your streets, so that we can bring our relatives to your city next summer without being ashamed by it.

Get off your high horse, and show some humility, Chronicle.

That is all.

A Taste of Things to Come?

This article details a successful attempt by a Chinese man to get real-world repayment for stolen virtual goods.

What effect will it have on the economies of the world when the economies of virtual worlds are harmonized and integrated into the real economies? One of the central ideas of the Western, market based economy is that infinite growth (or at least, growth for the forseeable future) is possible. I’ve always considered that idea suspicious. Perhaps these virtual spaces will give the real economy more room to grow. At least the virtual economies do not yet seem to have the same old externalities (pollution, class divides, mono-culture, etc). What externalities do these economies have that we just haven’t noticed yet?

That virtual and real economies will merge is a difficult idea to take seriously right now. One sure bet is that wherever humans go, they will take their cultural institutions with them.

On a somewhat related note, this Salon piece mentions the troubles the makers of The Sims Online are having with virtual prostitution, perhaps involving underage people. If no real-world sex happens as part of the transaction, is it still prostitution?