The Five Ages

The current state of the distant future

Ancien Régime

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I don’t like AdSense-style ads, and I’m contemplating shelling out $29.95 so that readers of Molybdos and The Five Ages won’t have to see them. If you’re seeing an ad related to this post, it’s courtesy of, not yours truly.

It’s not that I’m against advertising. I like looking through the ads in the New York Times Style Magazine — ads that impart a vicarious aspirational buzz, I especially approve of. This past summer, when I was in Paris, I saw the whole machinery of the advertising industry in full swing. At mid-morning, in the midst of my seminar on Gliese 876, the tranquility of the Paris Observatory grounds was abruptly shattered by the diesel roar of generators and the clangorous shouts of workmen.

The tree-lined promenade along the Paris Meridian leading up to south-facing exposure of the grand Seventeenth-century observatory had been rented out to Lacoste in order to stage a runway show. The interior of the observatory was, additionally, off-limits to astronomers, as there was a champagne reception in the Cassini Room in association with the show.

Having seen the writing on the wall first hand, I spent some more time looking into Demand Media’s business model. It seems almost alarmingly feasible to set up a content farm sourced with NLG-generated articles. In fact — and here’s the tie in to The Five Ages — I think the entire universe could very well be a content farm…


Written by Greg Laughlin

March 4, 2011 at 3:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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