Monday, December 08, 2014

Monday Forum – what are your favourite blogs, why?

This post began as Sunday Snippets focused on history blogs, but has now become the Monday Forum post. The topic today is what are your favourite blogs, why?

The History Blog reports Shackled remains found in Gallo-Roman necropolis, along with Lost avant-garde painting found in Stuart Little’s living room.Stuart Little & the sleeping lady The piece begins:

Art historian Gergely Barki was watching Stuart Little with his daughter Lola on Christmas Day 2008 when he recognized a painting above the living room fireplace as Sleeping Lady with a Black Vase, a lost masterpiece by Hungarian Avant-Garde painter Róbert Berény. Berény painted Sleeping Lady with a Black Vase at the turn of 1927/1928. The model was his second wife, cellist Eta Breuer who posed for several of her husband’s post-Impressionist works, often with her cello even though she had stopped playing professionally when she married Berény.

In History News, Christopher Moore muses on the Canadian position:

There used to be an arm's length principle in public funding for art and culture: the funders of culture should not get to determine what gets produced. But that has been going by the boards. Funding is tough to come by, and where's the harm in a little compromise? But gradually all our independent historical and heritage agencies begin looking like government advertising.

Here in Australia something of the same thing has been happening. Sadly, the focus on remembering the events of the First World War has become yawn-making. Is any one listening or watching out there?

A lot of history is actually quite boring, except to the specialist. It is only later when all the bits are fitted together that it becomes of interest to a broader audience. Then it challenges our basic conceptions.

John Hawke’s blog does a pretty good job in combining the immediately technical with the broader. These are the titles of some recent posts:

I suspect that most of us still carry the perception that Neanderthal man was wiped out in a Darwinian style battle. In fact, we are all  Neanderthal. The genes live within us.

ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly continues to be one of my favourite blogs, although it had been a little time since I visited. That was a mistake. If you just browse, you will see what I mean.  


Anonymous said...

Hi Jim

As nobody has taken you up on nominating their favourite blogs and the like, I thought I might pass on a link to a story I found on one of my own favourite blogs (that is, apart from your good efforts, of course). As seems always with stuff I link to, it takes a little bit of a read, but I think it is worth it:

I guess it might be best if you read the story yourself, before reading the following, but I’ll assume you haven’t yet clicked, and so summarise thus:

Harvard Associate Prof orders some chinese takeaway from a local business, by referencing their website. He is overcharged $4, and makes a complaint via email; he is politely dealt with; he escalates both claim and consequences; in short, he becomes what our American cousins refer to as ‘a douche’ - on a rather grand(iose?) scale.

(I assume we in Australia suffer the same sort of accidental/deliberate overcharging, and have somewhat similar consumer protection laws – but I don’t really know this for a fact.)

So… over-qualified (economics, law) Harvard professor sticks it to Chinese immigrant mum and dad small business?

I think the facts and law associated with this very small incident are well worth thinking about – given that most small businesses now have websites; given that most of those were set up in a rush and badly, if ever, updated. And also given that the good prof is (very highly) qualified in the area of ‘internet presence’ and has some quite celebrated internet-related wins against the likes of Google, Facebook et al.

The commentary on the incident seems to suggest there should be a difference between the treatment of the ‘mom and pop’ business and that of larger chain operations – McDonalds, Henny Penny etc. – i.e. how and where should the law apply? “One equal law for all” used to be a ‘good’ principle – but I wonder sometimes.

Much is also made of the fact that the sum involved was $4 – too petty to get so exercised about. But against that, one can assume that the business in question has either deliberately or accidentally been overcharging many of its clients, and for some years. So $4 might easily actually be $400 or more per day, or per week – which is not insignificant. And in the case of our very own Woolworths – now with internet ordering not to mention home delivery – it could be extremely significant.

When was the last time you checked your supermarket docket for accuracy of item charge, never mind total? I bet close to never :)

This is the sort of thing I would have pointed to Legal Eagle back in the day; it is a problem, and I suspect we will see more of it – with the ‘legal targets’ becoming smaller and smaller in terms of business size – and more particularly if insurance companies offer to cover this sort of exposure for small businesses.


Jim Belshaw said...

Sorry for the slow response here, kvd. It's an interesting case, and interesting too in the way you have generalised it.

One problem is that the law may be equal, its application is not. I know of no solution.