Props of a sort to the Trib, for launching this new blog. It's called "Innovations," and it's supposed to cover "the latest science, engineering and computer science developments from Western Pennsylvania's universities and research institutions."

In a purely academic sense (and I use that phrase with all the positive connotation I can muster), this is a great thing. Seriously: there's a lot of first class research going on in labs around the region, and this is a way to learn about some of it without going to conferences and reading really, really boring papers.

In a practical sense -- and to most people living in the region, this is the only sense that matters -- the blog is almost useless. At best, it's misleading, since it suggests implicitly that this stuff will help people, or will help Pittsburgh, or both. But that's wrong. Pure "scientific breakthroughs," whatever they are, very rarely affect people's lives, or the life of the region. Science needs the energy of investment and management. It needs people and firms with the vision to build products and offer services. If the Trib wants to do something, well, innovative, it would report on venture deals and the technology behind up and coming companies.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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