Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘MySpace

Sunday Sunday

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* The bizarre part is that the only people being asked to Seriously Question Their Motives and Practices, or who are facing scrutiny for what they did, are the climate scientists who just got robbed, even though there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they have actually done anything clearly unethical. (The worst bit is the suggestion as to deleting emails, something that everyone concedes is pretty bad and nobody is defending, though there’s no proof anything was ever deleted.) More important, nothing in all this nonsense even approaches a challenge to the science that shows the reality of global climate change, at least to a reasonable person.

* The Gambler Who Blew $127 Million. (via Eric Barker)

* Also from Eric’s blog: The Rise and Fall of MySpace.

* Casino capitalism: the foolproof path to prosperity. Via Atrios.

* The mayor of Arlington, Tennessee, is today’s douchebag of liberty.

Russell Wiseman (R), the mayor of Arlington, Tenn., posted an item to his Facebook page with a theory about the timing. Wiseman wrote:

Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch “The Charlie Brown Christmas Special” and our muslim [sic] president is there, what a load…..try to convince me that wasn’t done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation [sic] about it….w…hen [sic] the answer should simply be “yes”

This guy seriously believes the White House could have picked any date for the speech, but officials picked Tuesday because of an animated Christmas program.

The mayor added that the United States is now a “Muslim country,” and then pined for the days of yore. “[Y]ou know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has [sic] stayed in there, things would be different,” Wiseman wrote.

Palin/Wiseman ’12?

* Another publication has realized that the problem is the Senate. Via Yglesias.

* The headline reads, “McG Announces Two More Terminator Movies, Reality May Have Other Plans.”

Tuesday Links

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Tuesday links.

* Today, we are all already losers: Ed McMahon has died.

* TPM is reporting that Waxman-Markey may go to vote in the House this week after all.

* Beautiful demolished train stations.

* The dizzying fall of MySpace.

* Graphical Overview of Same Sex Marriage Debate, v. 1.3.

* What was once the most secret British government document is released to the public on Tuesday. The Government War Book, used during the Cold War, set out in great detail exactly what would happen in the days before nuclear weapons were fired. Much more here. Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm

YouTube Minute

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YouTube minute: MyHope and The Waldo Ultimatum.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2008 at 5:48 pm

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‘A dull and self-absorbed new generation of citizens falling prey to demagoguery and brazen power grabs’

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At 28½, I’m just old enough to look down on Mark Bauerlein’s “Dumbest Generation.”

The way Bauerlein sees it, something new and disastrous has happened to America’s youth with the arrival of the instant gratification go-go-go digital age. The result is, essentially, a collective loss of context and history, a neglect of “enduring ideas and conflicts.” Survey after painstakingly recounted survey reveals what most of us already suspect: that America’s youth know virtually nothing about history and politics. And no wonder. They have developed a “brazen disregard of books and reading.”

Things were not supposed to be this way. After all, “never have the opportunities for education, learning, political action, and cultural activity been greater,” writes Bauerlein, a former director of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. But somehow, he contends, the much-ballyhooed advances of this brave new world have not only failed to materialize — they’ve actually made us dumber.

The problem is that instead of using the Web to learn about the wide world, young people instead mostly use it to gossip about each other and follow pop culture, relentlessly keeping up with the ever-shifting lingua franca of being cool in school. The two most popular websites by far among students are Facebook and MySpace. “Social life is a powerful temptation,” Bauerlein explains, “and most teenagers feel the pain of missing out.”

This ceaseless pipeline of peer-to-peer activity is worrisome, he argues, not only because it crowds out the more serious stuff but also because it strengthens what he calls the “pull of immaturity.” Instead of connecting them with parents, teachers and other adult figures, “[t]he web . . . encourages more horizontal modeling, more raillery and mimicry of people the same age.” When Bauerlein tells an audience of college students, “You are six times more likely to know who the latest American Idol is than you are to know who the speaker of the U.S. House is,” a voice in the crowd tells him: “‘American Idol’ IS more important.”

Better pretend my last post wasn’t about comic books.

Magazine Catchup 2

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I’m still flipping through the last six months of magazines after a long and trying semester. A few highlights from New Yorkers past:

* “Numbers Guy”: Exploring the way our brains process math.

One morning in September, 1989, a former sales representative in his mid-forties entered an examination room with Stanislas Dehaene, a young neuroscientist based in Paris. Three years earlier, the man, whom researchers came to refer to as Mr. N, had sustained a brain hemorrhage that left him with an enormous lesion in the rear half of his left hemisphere…

Dehaene also noticed that although Mr. N could no longer read, he sometimes had an approximate sense of words that were flashed in front of him; when he was shown the word “ham,” he said, “It’s some kind of meat.” Dehaene decided to see if Mr. N still had a similar sense of number. He showed him the numerals 7 and 8. Mr. N was able to answer quickly that 8 was the larger number—far more quickly than if he had had to identify them by counting up to the right quantities. He could also judge whether various numbers were bigger or smaller than 55, slipping up only when they were very close to 55. Dehaene dubbed Mr. N “the Approximate Man.” The Approximate Man lived in a world where a year comprised “about 350 days” and an hour “about fifty minutes,” where there were five seasons, and where a dozen eggs amounted to “six or ten.” Dehaene asked him to add 2 and 2 several times and received answers ranging from three to five. But, he noted, “he never offers a result as absurd as 9.”

* “Friend Game”: Life in the wake of the famous Megan Meier MySpace suicide.

Shortly after Steve Pokin’s story broke in the Suburban Journals, Tina Meier ran into Lori Drew at a shopping center. Tina followed Lori to a pizzeria. When Lori walked out, Tina entered the store and spoke to the owner.

“Do you advertise with The Drew Advantage?” Tina asked. “If so, I advise you to take a look at the Journals. The girl involved was my daughter.” She did the same thing when Lori went to Divine Nails, several doors down.

“Tina, just please stop this,” Lori said, in the parking lot.

“Stop this? Lori, I will never stop this.”

* They’re horrid and useless. Why do pennies exist?

* Understanding the Coen Brothers.

* Fixing the planet ain’t easy.

n 1977, Jimmy Carter told the American people that they would have to balance the nation’s demand for energy with its “rapidly shrinking resources” or the result “may be a national catastrophe.” It was a problem, the President said, “that we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.” Carter referred to the difficult effort as the “moral equivalent of war,” a phrase that was widely ridiculed (along with Carter himself, who wore a cardigan while delivering his speech, to underscore the need to turn down the thermostat).

Carter was prescient. We are going to have to reduce our carbon footprint rapidly, and we can do that only by limiting the amount of fossil fuels released into the atmosphere. But what is the most effective—and least painful—way to achieve that goal? Each time we drive a car, use electricity generated by a coal-fired plant, or heat our homes with gas or oil, carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases escape into the air. We can use longer-lasting light bulbs, lower the thermostat (and the air-conditioning), drive less, and buy more fuel-efficient cars. That will help, and so will switching to cleaner sources of energy. Flying has also emerged as a major carbon don’t—with some reason, since airplanes at high altitudes release at least ten times as many greenhouse gases per mile as trains do. Yet neither transportation—which accounts for fifteen per cent of greenhouse gases—nor industrial activity (another fifteen per cent) presents the most efficient way to shrink the carbon footprint of the globe.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 18, 2008 at 4:24 am

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Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

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“Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism,” in The New Atlantis. Via my good friends at MetaFilter.

For centuries, the rich and the powerful documented their existence and their status through painted portraits…

Today, our self-portraits are democratic and digital; they are crafted from pixels rather than paints. On social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook, our modern self-portraits feature background music, carefully manipulated photographs, stream-of-consciousness musings, and lists of our hobbies and friends. They are interactive, inviting viewers not merely to look at, but also to respond to, the life portrayed online. We create them to find friendship, love, and that ambiguous modern thing called connection. Like painters constantly retouching their work, we alter, update, and tweak our online self-portraits; but as digital objects they are far more ephemeral than oil on canvas. Vital statistics, glimpses of bare flesh, lists of favorite bands and favorite poems all clamor for our attention—and it is the timeless human desire for attention that emerges as the dominant theme of these vast virtual galleries.

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September 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm

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