wombatattack: “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart | Mon. Apr. 23, 2012 Inside the Political Curtain with John Oliver - Herman Cain: John Oliver sits down with former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to revisit highlights and lowlights from the campaign trail. At the very least, Cain was good enough of a sport to participate in this. I’ve got to give him that.
40,000: Number of cows tested a year for mad cow disease out of 34 million cows...– San Jose Mercury News, via Chris
I think both campaigns are silly to go after the youth vote…because they...– Bill Maher
Top Ten Television Shows: Honorable Mentions
Starting a blogging project that I’ve wanted to do for some time: ranking and reviewing my top ten television shows. I couldn’t narrow it all the way down to ten without doing an injustice to a few shows, so I’ve also included three “Honorable Mentions.” Here are a hand full of well received shows I simply haven’t seen, so they won’t appear on my...
My daughter brought home a black.– Tony Soprano talking to Dr. Melfi in S3E3, “Fortunate Sons”
On Loneliness & Technology
FJP: We've been reading different takes on digital social networks and how/if they impact solitude, loneliness, and offline socializing. Here is a mash-up of the conversations we've been following.
The Atlantic: Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.
NY Times: New communications technologies make living alone a social experience, so being home alone does not feel involuntary or like solitary confinement. The person alone at home can digitally navigate through a world of people, information and ideas. Internet use does not seem to cut people off from real friendships and connections.
The Atlantic: We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.
Slate: Articles about American alienation may well feel true to those who long for simpler, happier times, but they’re built on fables and fantasies. In fact, there’s zero evidence that we’re more detached or lonely than ever.
The New Yorker: M.I.T. psychologist Sherry Turkle, takes issue with the basic promises of digital connection. She thinks that togetherness, far from being strengthened by technology, has been crowded out by “the half-light of virtual community.”
The Atlantic: But it is clear that social interaction matters. Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy. The decrease in confidants—that is, in quality social connections—has been dramatic over the past 25 years.
The New Yorker: Klinenberg’s research suggests that our usual perceptions about life alone get things backward. Far from being a mark of social abandonment, the solo life tends to be a path for moving ahead, for taking control of one’s circumstances. And, rather than consigning individuals to suffer in their solitude, aloneness may come at a cost to the community. The single life is inherently self-interested: it calls for vigilance on matters of self-preservation both large (financial autonomy) and small (dish detergent), and, in many cases, it frees the solitary from the sorts of daily interaction that help craft a sense of shared responsibility.
NY Times: The Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community Survey — a nationally representative survey of 2,512 American adults conducted in 2008 that was the first to examine how the Internet and cellphones affect our core social networks — shows that Web use can lead to more social life, rather than to less. “Social Isolation and New Technology,” written by the Rutgers University communications scholar Keith Hampton, reveals that heavy users are more likely than others to have large and diverse social networks; more likely to visit parks, cafes and restaurants; and more likely to meet diverse people with different perspectives and beliefs.
The New Yorker: Given our digital habits, the question isn’t whether we should use technology to ease our loneliness. It’s how.
FJP (Jihii): Ah, key question. So, where do we stand? I'll quote Michael.
FJP (Michael): What do I think about social media? For my personal use it’s a bit of a time suck and I have to remind myself to step away from it, head outdoors and wrap my mind around something more substantive than the flurry of information I find myself in. For professional use it’s integral to the FJP’s ability to build audiences and engage with them. I can’t think of how we would be able to accomplish what we do without it. Societally, I’m a big believer in tools and platforms that allow people to connect, organize and share information. Social media increases the speed with which people can do so more than any other tool in history. This is great. My fear with it though is that people will increasingly build information silos around themselves and only hear and expose themselves to information that they want to hear, and from a partisan perspective from which they’d like to hear it. (http://bit.ly/HsAnMN)
FJP (Jihii): So yes, the power is in our hands, social media users. How do you choose to use your social networks? I think the key point is to continually check ourselves and reflect on just that.
PS: Sorry for the lack of links. This post format won't allow it. Here are links to the articles. (Note that both the NY Times piece and Slate piece are by Eric Klinenberg.)
NY Times: http://nyti.ms/I22q7e
The Atlantic: http://bit.ly/I0nwmI
The New Yorker: http://nyr.kr/InwNEz
Hunger Games survival analysis →
Incredible work by Brett Keller. Found via @trdeghett.
The Song Machine
How a Top 40 song by Rihanna is made. Or manufactured, depending on how you look at it. The New Yorker via Longform By John Seabrook
SportsFeat and Let's Get Critical on Hiatus
longform: A quick announcement: our two sister sites, SportsFeat and Let’s Get Critical, are taking a short break. Both will return soon, improved and far better integrated with Longform.org and Longform for iPad. How did I not know SportsFeat existed? Looking forward to its return.
On Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Caught the opening scenes of this film while flipping through channels. A few things I noticed: Charlie lives with all four of his grandparents, all of whom share a bed. Charlie’s Grandpa Joe was eating “cabbage water” for dinner. With Charlie’s first payday, he buys a loaf a bread, which Charlie’s mom describes as a “banquet.” After giving his mom...
Random Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 1
This post contains spoilers and will only make sense to those who have seen the first season in its entirety. As I finished the tenth and final episode of Game of Thrones Season One for the second time, I’ve concluded yet again that it is one of the finest single seasons of television that I’ve ever seen. Having read the first book, I can attest to that the show’s accuracy and attention to detail...