Echo chamber of the annointed

Mike Sanders makes an interesting observation on the Echo Chamber question:

It seems to me that an Echo Chamber is a group that ignores other opinions to their own detriment. I keep on thinking that David’s defense of the EC is rooted in an idea from Arnold Kling’s Downfall of the Annointed post in which he pointed out that some feel that trying to change people’s minds is a waste of time. Instead they just rally their supporters and wait for those who disagree to see the light

The essay he links is right on as well. Weinberger’s sticking to his guns on this issue, despite the fact that nobody agrees with him.

How ironic.

Dean still confused

Howard Dean is still confused about his big flame-out, having just posted this to his blog:

Today my candidacy may come to an end–but our campaign for change is not over.

“May” come to an end? Howard, your campaign came to end weeks ago in New Hampshire. The people have spoken, it’s over, face the music and move on.

Apparently, Dean can’t stand the prospect of going back to private life and will try and put together some sort of an organization that will make him a permanent nag of all Democratic Party candidates, kinda like Nader only not as destructive at the polls. It’s hard to say what Dean’s organizational or policy contribution really is, however. It’s not like the Internet candidacy was his idea or even that good an idea in the long run, and on the policy front he’s just a standard issue DLC guy with a little post-Vietnam pacifism thrown in for flavor.

Maybe he’s going to train future candidates on public speaking (rimshot).

UPDATE: New York Times blogger Matt Bai thinks Dean has a legacy.

Cingular/AT & T Wireless merger

The merger of Cingular with AT & T Wireless is probably going to be less controversial than the Comcast/Disney dealie, and makes more obvious business sense. Cingular gets a good GSM network, a ton of subscribers, and a boat load of towers, but best of all:

AT&T Wireless also has a significant amount of spectrum, the licensed airwaves that carry cellphone signals, while Cingular has been hungry for more.

Just in time to be aced out by Wi-Fi’s new channels. Only kidding. They both need more coverage, so the merger makes sense from that perspective. Now if these guys can just figure out what all that GSM stuff is really good for, they’ll have a chance to survive for a while longer.

VC flowing to startups

Venture capital is up 20 percent in the 4th quarter in Silicon Valley:

Venture capitalists invested $1.62 billion in Bay Area companies in the fourth quarter — up a strong 20 percent from the $1.35 billion the quarter before, according to the MoneyTree Survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association.

This is obviously a good sign, by itself, for Silicon Valley folks, but what about the rest of the nation? It strikes me that investors really should be warmer toward investing in areas with lower living costs, such as the rain cloud area where I live.

The old model where industries clustered in “centers” alongside their competitors made sense when the industry had a natural geographic tie to the area because of resources (steel mills where the iron ore is, canners where the fruit is, etc) but in the knowledge industry you simply need to be where people want to live. It’s not at all clear to me that biotech will cluster, or that Silicon Valley will remain the center for chips and networks.

The upside for clustering is local talent, but the downsides are losing your trade secrets to somebody’s next door neighbor, and a little too much imitation in product design. For Intellectual Property businesses, these hazards are unacceptable risks, so you don’t see a lot of genuine research labs in the Valley.