Link roundup

Catching my breath for the first time this week, and there are some interesting things going on out there:

  • Diebold’s voting machines failed miserably in the Alaskan preliminary and ballot measure election yesterday, forcing a hand recount. Surprised?
  • Navarro Vineyards Wine Grape Juices, which sound like a great alternative to wine on the table—good for pregnant women and diabetics, among others. Available in Gewürtztraminer and Pinot Noir (thanks, BoingBoing)
  • In New Jersey, insurance prices are falling substantially following some selective deregulation, for some drivers as much as 30-40%. Hear that, Massachusetts?
  • Cautions on the Long Tail from the WSJ. I think The Long Tail’s argument countering the winner-take-all madness with some real thinking about the shape of the overall distribution is worthwhile, particularly in the music business. But I’m also glad to see some skeptical analysis—at times I was gasping for air in the optimism of the book. One point to consider: arguing that it’s harder for new acts to get recognized is different than making a choice about putting back catalog material online where it can be more easily discovered and downloaded; indeed the latter is a far less costly proposition and could probably generate a lot of value. So why isn’t every Sting b-side, for instance, available online already?
  • At the Parkhaus, a wall comes down—more progress in their ongoing substantial house expansion.
  • Is it any wonder if homeowners are confused about lead paint removal in Massachusetts? The Boston Globe asked 12 area paint stores about stripping paint and got approximately 12 different answers.
  • Alas, poor Pluto. It was inevitable, really, with all the other minor planets being discovered. (And thanks, Tin Man, for getting the best soundbite in about this: “On the other hand, isn’t it wrong to allow an unelected body to redefine the word ‘planet’ for all of us? Shouldn’t we let the people decide?”)
  • And finally, it’s a good day for The Boy (must we now call him The Man?) as Dark Esther has her way with him in Scary Go Round. So the news isn’t all bad…