Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday Night Links

with 3 comments

* The local alt-weekly asked me to write a short piece about Facebook as part of their cover story on social media and The Social Network. Here’s what I came up with.

* Science fiction comes alive: we’re discovering tidal-locked Earthlike planets with thin habitable bands and an approximately 100% chance for life and building artificial wombs.

* The headline reads, “Swanky new Vegas hotel’s ‘death ray’ proves inconvenient for some guests.” Case’s fancy Frank Gehry building has a similar heat-ray side effect, with bonus surprise avalanches throughout Cleveland’s miserable ten-month winter.

* We must desecrate Muslim graves, or the terrorists will win.

* A judge has decriminalized prostitution in Ontario on the grounds that existing anti-prostitution laws hurt women. This is a big step forward, if at the same time something like the lesser of two evils. Legalization by itself is not a panacea.

* Rumors of Wes Anderson’s next. I’m not happy about this:

But The Playlist talked to sources and heard that Anderson is seeking to cast a boy and girl, each 12, for the lead roles. That leads to supposition that Anderson might be moving forward in a mode inspired by Fantastic Mr. Fox, which would be not such a bad thing at all. Younger characters, a more youthful tone and/or family-oriented story?

* It is really hard to win the Mega Millions lottery. So hard that it can be difficult to comprehend what long odds confront its players.

Why not try for free on this Mega Millions lottery simulator? You’ll be able to try the same numbers over and over, simulating playing twice a week for a year or 10. You’ll never win. Via Cynical-C.

* John McCain, climate conspiracy theorist.

In 2007, McCain said of global warming: “Unequivocally I believe that it’s real.” He also accurately predicted that global warming means “much more violent weather patterns that are going to — and then of course that increases the disasters that befall countries like Bangladesh.” Sadly, now that Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have faced catastrophic floods of an unprecedented scale during the hottest year ever recorded, McCain is a global warming skeptic. The Straight Talk Express has derailed into the Tea Party abyss.

* James O’Keefe, huge dirtbag. More here.

* James Cameron vs. the tar sands.

* And these hot new doctoral rankings have been scientifically engineered to make everyone feel as bad as possible. Enjoy!

3 Responses

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  1. In The New Yorker interview, Zuckerberg says that his IMs were immature and he has since grown up but that it’s difficult for people to separate the 19-year-old from the current. That same distrust makes it difficult for some people to trust the purity of his interests in openness and sharing. We can never be sure what he intends to do with this information.
    My own view is that it’s difficult to trust a young man who hides under a hood like Emperor Palpatine.

    As for a parallel between social networking and the suburbs, not everyone fled to the suburbs, and even fewer people–despite what Malvina Reynolds’ sings–go to college to experience that dorm life you mention.
    On the other hand, as Witold Rybczynski argues in Last Harvest, most of us want to live in single-family detached homes but we live in shoe box apartments in the city because that’s where we can find work. Maybe more Facebook users would prefer to stay private, keep the “important” things to themselves, but in order to maintain friendships (with real-life confidants) or maybe just to promote their work in the most convenient way, people endure the hustle and clutter of social networking.
    Maybe we really don’t like Facebook at all and we’re simply compromising.


    September 30, 2010 at 9:27 am

  2. I wasn’t trying to imply the universality of either the suburbs or college experience, just trying to show that our vision of what constitutes “the good life” seems to be changing.

    I like the idea that we don’t like Facebook at all and we’re really just compromising — but with what? I suppose the idea would be that what we want is genuine communal living, but the degraded, corporate-owned Facebook form is the only type available. For what it’s worth I think that’s the subtext of what I wrote.


    September 30, 2010 at 9:49 am

    • I see what your saying. Perhaps I took your suburban comment to be a bit more sweeping. That’s the defensive ex-suburbanite in me.

      To keep stretching this facebook/suburb idea, when using facebook, just like living in the city, we are able to join that community but at the expense of our privacy and, what we fear most, our security. But I might also argue that we give up nature. Facebook and other social networking sites are redefining relationships. We have friends in real life and now Facebook friends…people who, as you say, may not be your friend at all. A facebook user might communicate, sometimes confide, more often in a virtual world than they do in person. Facebook is their roof-top garden, for a lack of a backyard or nearby forest.
      Ok, maybe that doesn’t work at all.

      Facebook is like Olive Garden? When your on Facebook, your family?

      No? ok.

      Anyway, I don’t think Facebook reduces internet anonymity much more than your typical forum.


      September 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

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