B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Archive for the ‘journalism’ tag

Reading Around on August 9th

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Some additional reading August 9th from 11:29 to 13:20:

Dictation at the Chicago Daily News

  • What’s a Big City Without a Newspaper? – NYTimes.com – “But parts of the system are actually not broken at all. Journalists still know how to gather news. And the Internet is a step forward in disseminating it. What’s broken is the pipeline that sends money back to where the content is created. Most of it is available to readers online, free, including on newspapers’ own Web sites, where it is not sufficiently supported by advertising.”
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  • Flickr “Not Currently Working” on Account Restore Feature After Users Suffer Losses of Thousands of Photos | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection – “s it stands now when a user’s photostream is deleted at Flickr it is gone. Erased. Permanently and irrevocably. Many Flickr users are appreciably nervous about this fact, especially after reading stories about hackers infiltrating flickr accounts or when overzealous underlings in the Flickr Censorship Division seem to overreact to minor Flickr Community Guidelines violations by nuking users’ photostreams.

    When Flickr nukes a user’s photostream, it’s not just the users’ photos that are gone. It’s all of the rich, important and vibrant social metadata around the photos that are gone with it. I’ve had many very long engaging conversations around my and others photos on the site. When Flickr nukes your stream those all get erased from existence.”

  • Make A Messenger Bag From Plastic Bags (Video) | TakePart Social Action Network™ – “Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a reusable messenger bag out of all of the plastic bags that have accumulated in your house? Well, Make magazine shows us that for a fun Sunday project you totally can, all it takes is a little ironing and sewing.

    Ideally we want to stop using plastic bags all together, so they don’t contribute more waste to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and continue to create a demand for oil used to produce them”

Written by swanksalot

August 9th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Reading Around on July 21st through July 30th

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A few interesting links collected July 21st through July 30th:

  • caravaggio-bacchus-1596.jpg
  • The Nichepaper and the Failure of the Fourth Estate – Umair Haque – HarvardBusiness.org – “Where was the fourth estate when our political, economic, and social institutions were being systematically dismantled? What has happened to our economy parallels what Mugabe did to Zimbabwe. Was the fourth estate asleep while this happened? Like other power brokers, it was negligent — and, perhaps worse, complicit.If newspapers had protected the public interest like they were meant to, they would be more profitable. Everyone would be better off today — including newspapers — if newspapers had chronicled this transfer of value. Yet, by failing to protect the public interest, they helped create the conditions for the transfer of value away from people who do stuff, to people who speculate on stuff.”
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  • Plagiarism Checkers: 5 Free Websites To Catch The Copycats – “The use of this rooster of article plagiarism checking apps should be enough to make us all tread on the side of caution and keep our creative spirits intact. If you write (or publish)…do you check? Let us know.” Image: swanksalot
  • Go `Birthers’ go! – Medved has been quoted as saying that Birthers are “crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitative, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters” and “the worst enemy of the conservative movement.” The “movement “makes us look weird. It makes us look crazy. It makes us look demented. It makes us look sick, troubled, and not suitable for civilized company.”


    If you know any Birthers, please encourage them in their efforts and don’t, whatever you do, show them these Web links (call it a Nutburgerbliography):

Written by swanksalot

July 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Reading Around on July 20th

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Some additional reading July 20th from 09:53 to 19:30:

  • The Return of the Pay Wall | The Big Money – The summer of 2009 is a terrible time to start charging for what was free. …

    So is this really the best time to start charging for online news? No. The best time was back in 1994, when the Web made online publishing to the masses a snap. And now that newspapers are finally making the move, they're applying a 1994 solution to the 2009 Web. Today, online publishers are seeing more and more traffic coming through blogs, aggregators like Google News, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ignoring them is even more perilous to a paper's image than it was two years ago, when the New York Times tore down its Times Select pay walls. The hypertext link that made the Web unique is even more powerful today, and pay walls that break those links send would-be readers a clear message: Don't bother.

  • pandagon.net – these things don't just blame themselves – Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in.. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.
    He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. …
    Now, I can understand why the police might think that a middle-aged black man was breaking into a home during lunchtime by trying to ram the front door with his shoulder, because it’s what many middle-aged black men do with their time, between Young and the Restless commercial breaks.
    … I’m sure that a significant number of people will read this and think that this is just a black man screaming racism because he handled a situation poorly, because a significant number of people like being dead fucking wrong.
  • The Return of the Pay Wall | The Big Money – The summer of 2009 is a terrible time to start charging for what was free. …

    So is this really the best time to start charging for online news? No. The best time was back in 1994, when the Web made online publishing to the masses a snap. And now that newspapers are finally making the move, they're applying a 1994 solution to the 2009 Web. Today, online publishers are seeing more and more traffic coming through blogs, aggregators like Google News, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Ignoring them is even more perilous to a paper's image than it was two years ago, when the New York Times tore down its Times Select pay walls. The hypertext link that made the Web unique is even more powerful today, and pay walls that break those links send would-be readers a clear message: Don't bother.

  • Hullabaloo – Wrecking Ball – Davis really had only bumped the fee back to its historic level: to 2% of a vehicle's value, rather than a recently enacted 0.65%.

    Schwarzenegger's canceling of the fee hike actually amounted to the single biggest spending increase of his reign. That's because all the revenue from the vehicle license fee had gone to local governments, and Schwarzenegger generously agreed to make up their losses by shipping them money from the state general fund.

    The annual drain on the state treasury was $6.3 billion until February. Then the governor and Legislature raised the fee to 1.15% of vehicle value, saving the state $1.7 billion.

  • Kennedy ’suicide ramp’ improvements to increase suicide rates | The Daily Blank – "According to an official Illinois Department of Transportation report, the notorious “suicide ramps” on Chicago’s downtown Kennedy Expressway will undergo much-needed improvements in order to bring the annual number of suicide deaths back up from what has been a startling decline in the past decade."

Written by swanksalot

July 20th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Reading Around on June 29th through June 30th

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A few interesting links collected June 29th through June 30th:

  • Matt Taibbi – Taibblog – On giving Goldman a chance – True/Slant – I intentionally put a lot of yes/no questions on that list. If the underlying thinking behind any of those questions was faulty, it would have been easy enough for them to say so and to educate us as to the truth. Instead, here is the response that we got:

    “Your questions are couched in such a way that presupposes the conclusions and suggests the people you spoke with have an agenda or do not fully understand the issues.”
    …That this is a non-denial denial is obvious, but what’s more notable here is that they didn’t stop with just a flat “no comment,” which they easily could have done. No, they had to go a little further than that and — and this is pure Goldman, just outstanding stuff — make it clear that both I and my sources are simply not as smart as they are and don’t understand what we’re talking about. So the rough translation here is, “No comment, but if you were as smart as us, you wouldn’t be asking these questions.”

  • Dean W. Armstrong: The intersection of the online/sharing culture, copyright, and photography – The issues are completely muddy and complex–as a photographer, for instance, I feel I should be compensated for my work. Websites like say Chicagoist or Treehugger use flickr CC shared images to illustrate their stories. In the traditional media, the photographer would be compensated for their work, either by being employed or by a fee. This is not being done at all for most of the non-traditional sites on the internet. It is also a truth that these sites probably couldn't afford the going rate for photographs. Getting your image out for people to see for a photographer is a very important thing, but is it driving the image creation business out of a profession and into the hands of casual photographers? (The latin term amateur is perfect for here but misused–these photographers love what they do and are often just as good as a pro, but the amateurs are not paid).
  • My Dinner With Andre :: rogerebert.com :: Great Movies – Someone asked me the other day if I could name a movie that was entirely devoid of cliches. I thought for a moment, and then answered, “My Dinner With Andre.'' …impressed once more by how wonderfully odd this movie is, how there is nothing else like it. It should be unwatchable, and yet those who love it return time and again, enchanted.…
    We listen with Wally as Andre tells of trips to Tibet, the Sahara and a mystical farm in England. Of being buried alive and conducting theatrical rituals by moonlight in Poland. Of being in church when “a huge creature appeared with violets growing out of its eyelids, and poppies growing out of its toenails.'' After this last statement, Wally desperately tries to find a conversational segue and seizes on the violets. “Did you ever see that play `Violets Are Blue'?'' he asks. “About people being strangled on submarines?''

    Like many great movies, “My Dinner With Andre'' is almost impossible to nail down.

Written by swanksalot

June 30th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Is Free the Future?

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The New York Times allowing one of its staff to advocate stealing images from Flickr is one thing, but Chris Anderson wants to expand upon that equation.

“Free: The Future of a Radical Price” (Chris Anderson)

Malcolm Gladwell of The New Yorker reviews Chris Anderson’s new tome to the mantra, information is going to be free, bitches, so relax and enjoy it.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill in May, James Moroney, the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, told Congress about negotiations he’d just had with the online retailer Amazon. The idea was to license his newspaper’s content to the Kindle, Amazon’s new electronic reader. “They want seventy per cent of the subscription revenue,” Moroney testified. “I get thirty per cent, they get seventy per cent. On top of that, they have said we get the right to republish your intellectual property to any portable device.” The idea was that if a Kindle subscription to the Dallas Morning News cost ten dollars a month, seven dollars of that belonged to Amazon, the provider of the gadget on which the news was read, and just three dollars belonged to the newspaper, the provider of an expensive and ever-changing variety of editorial content. The people at Amazon valued the newspaper’s contribution so little, in fact, that they felt they ought then to be able to license it to anyone else they wanted. Another witness at the hearing, Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post, said that she thought the Kindle could provide a business model to save the beleaguered newspaper industry. Moroney disagreed. “I get thirty per cent and they get the right to license my content to any portable device—not just ones made by Amazon?” He was incredulous. “That, to me, is not a model.”

Had James Moroney read Chris Anderson’s new book, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” (Hyperion; $26.99), Amazon’s offer might not have seemed quite so surprising. Anderson is the editor of Wired and the author of the 2006 best-seller “The Long Tail,” and “Free” is essentially an extended elaboration of Stewart Brand’s famous declaration that “information wants to be free.” The digital age, Anderson argues, is exerting an inexorable downward pressure on the prices of all things “made of ideas.” Anderson does not consider this a passing trend. Rather, he seems to think of it as an iron law: “In the digital realm you can try to keep Free at bay with laws and locks, but eventually the force of economic gravity will win.” To musicians who believe that their music is being pirated, Anderson is blunt. They should stop complaining, and capitalize on the added exposure that piracy provides by making money through touring, merchandise sales, and “yes, the sale of some of [their] music to people who still want CDs or prefer to buy their music online.” To the Dallas Morning News, he would say the same thing. Newspapers need to accept that content is never again going to be worth what they want it to be worth, and reinvent their business. “Out of the bloodbath will come a new role for professional journalists,” he predicts, and he goes on:

There may be more of them, not fewer, as the ability to participate in journalism extends beyond the credentialed halls of traditional media. But they may be paid far less, and for many it won’t be a full time job at all. Journalism as a profession will share the stage with journalism as an avocation. Meanwhile, others may use their skills to teach and organize amateurs to do a better job covering their own communities, becoming more editor/coach than writer. If so, leveraging the Free—paying people to get other people to write for non-monetary rewards—may not be the enemy of professional journalists. Instead, it may be their salvation.

[Click to continue reading Malcolm Gladwell reviews Free by Chris Anderson: Books: The New Yorker]

After the Revolution is Over
[After the Revolution is Over]

So is it true? Are paid content creators going to be the 21st century version of hansom cab drivers? I’m still not convinced. If I have the choice, I’d rather pay The New Yorker for a subscription to their magazine1 so they can pay writers like Malcolm Gladwell instead of paying nothing and reading hacks like the writers of B12 Partners Solipsism on my kindle-like device. I would not assert there are zero non-hack writers who write for free, but if one made a list of all the blog writers who do their own original reporting without relying on the resources of paid journalists and journalistic institutions, the list would be surprisingly short. Especially since billmon retired.

Ballad of the West Loop - Kodachrome version
[Ballad of the West Loop – Kodachrome version]

Malcolm Gladwell is skeptical as well:

Anderson is very good at paragraphs like this—with its reassuring arc from “bloodbath” to “salvation.” His advice is pithy, his tone uncompromising, and his subject matter perfectly timed for a moment when old-line content providers are desperate for answers. That said, it is not entirely clear what distinction is being marked between “paying people to get other people to write” and paying people to write. If you can afford to pay someone to get other people to write, why can’t you pay people to write? It would be nice to know, as well, just how a business goes about reorganizing itself around getting people to work for “non-monetary rewards.” Does he mean that the New York Times should be staffed by volunteers, like Meals on Wheels? Anderson’s reference to people who “prefer to buy their music online” carries the faint suggestion that refraining from theft should be considered a mere preference. And then there is his insistence that the relentless downward pressure on prices represents an iron law of the digital economy. Why is it a law? Free is just another price, and prices are set by individual actors, in accordance with the aggregated particulars of marketplace power. “Information wants to be free,” Anderson tells us, “in the same way that life wants to spread and water wants to run downhill.” But information can’t actually want anything, can it? Amazon wants the information in the Dallas paper to be free, because that way Amazon makes more money. Why are the self-interested motives of powerful companies being elevated to a philosophical principle? But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Keep reading

  1. as I have done for nearly 2 decades []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 29th, 2009 at 9:04 am

Rumors Vs. Press Releases

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Tech Crunch and the Gawker empire have a pretty cynical view of journalism. Damon Darlin reports on the sites that promulgated the Apple is about to purchase Twitter rumor, and other allegations that later turned out to be false.

Topic of the Day

A few days later, Mr. Lam1 could claim vindication when Apple announced that Mr. Jobs was taking a leave of absence because of his health. To this day, it is unclear how much his health figured in Apple’s decision to withdraw from the MacWorld show. Nevertheless, Nick Denton, Mr. Lam’s boss and the founder of the Gawker blog network, crowed, “This is why access is overrated.”

Mr. Lam says it taught him a lesson. “If we don’t have rumors, what do we have as journalists?” he asks. “You have press releases. So maybe there is some honor in printing rumors.

[Click to read more: Ping – Get the Tech Scuttlebutt! It Might Even Be True – NYTimes.com]

Really? These are the only two choices? Reprinting rumors or reprinting press releases? What about doing a little research of your own? What about fact-checking? Making some inquiries into interested parties? Even using critical thinking? The yellow journalism aspirations of both Tech Crunch and Gizmodo are why those web sites are visits of last resort: I don’t trust much of what I read there, so why waste my time rolling my eyes reading thinly-sourced rumors?

There’s even the time tested yet still reprehensible journalistic technique of “he said, she said”, as throughly and thoughtfully explained by Jay Rose:

Quick definition: “He said, she said” journalism means…

There’s a public dispute.
The dispute makes news.
No real attempt is made to assess clashing truth claims in the story, even though they are in some sense the reason for the story. (Under the “conflict makes news” test.)
The means for assessment do exist, so it’s possible to exert a factual check on some of the claims, but for whatever reason the report declines to make use of them.
The symmetry of two sides making opposite claims puts the reporter in the middle between polarized extremes

[Click to continue reading the discussion of PressThink: He Said, She Said Journalism: Lame Formula in the Land of the Active User ]

At least this shortcut forces the reporter to attempt to include multiple points of view, and not just rely upon rumor.

  1. Brian Lam built Gizmodo, owned by Gawker []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 7th, 2009 at 10:57 am

Posted in Apple,Business

Tagged with , , ,

Smearing Izzy Continued

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“The Best of I.F. Stone” (I. F. Stone)

I.F. Stone was before my time, obviously, but as a student of history, I’ve read a lot of his reporting. Eric Alterman defends Izzy Stone, again:

the twentieth anniversary of Tiananmen Square puts me in mind of the death of I.F. Stone, which happened right around the same time. It was one of Izzy’s charms that it is entirely believable that, while in a hospital in Boston where he would finally give out, he awoke briefly from a lengthy period of unconsciousness to ask his doctors about the fate of the young protesters there. (His opposition to Chinese Communist oppression was of a piece with his brilliant exposes of the abuses of Soviet psychiatry at the end of his six days career. These do not of course “make up” for the mistakes he made defending Stalin half a century earlier, but they do provide context for those who would paint his politics as monochromatic.)
This is yet another column about the attempts to smear Izzy’s reputation. I’ve written about him quite a lot during the past twenty or so years beginning with a profile in Mother Jones back in June, 1988, which you can find here. I’ve also done some first-hand investigation of the nature of the charges against him, which I described here and here I was a close friend of Stone’s during the final decade of his life and so I was pleased when Tina Brown asked me to take a look at charges on the day that they appeared for her website, The Daily Beast. I was amazed at the disconnect between the inflammatory language employed by the authors and the skimpiness of their evidence. That is here.

[Click to continue reading ‘Smearing Izzy Continued,’ Continued…]

The Tighty-Righties have never allowed facts to get in the way of their jeremiads, the reputation of I.F. Stone as a Stalinist among conservatives is just but one small example of this tendency.

And so it was odd that both the Wilson Center and the CWIP agreed to provide a forum for the series of wild allegations leveled by their authors. Radosh was actually invited to chair a panel. And panelist Max Holland speculated that Stone had received KGB funding both for the publication of I.F. Stone’s Weekly and his book on the Korean War, again with absolutely nothing in the way of evidence. Other panels, including one on the Hiss-Chambers controversy and one that dealt with Robert Oppenheimer were similarly stacked. (Martin Sherwin, who co-authored a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Oppenheimer with Kai Bird, was not invited to be a panelist even though he lives right there in Washington.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 5th, 2009 at 9:59 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Reading Around on May 12th through May 14th

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A few interesting links collected May 12th through May 14th:

  • Ivory sculpture in Germany could be world's oldest – The Boston Globe – "BERLIN – A 35,000-year-old ivory carving of a woman found in a German cave was unveiled yesterday by archeologists who believe it is the oldest known sculpture of the human form.
    The carving found in six fragments in Germany's Hohle Fels cave depicts a woman with a swollen belly, wide-set thighs, and large, protruding breasts.

    "It's very sexually charged," said University of Tuebingen archeologist Nicholas Conard, whose team discovered the figure in September."

  • High-end Bicycles | Dailyxy.com – (Photo courtesy of swanksalot on Flickr)
  • Chicago Reader Blogs: Chicagoland – Local News – "This has historically been one of the advantages of the newspaper model – you can use profitable bottom-feeding to float much less popular beat reporting that's only of interest to a small audience. But as newspapers move to the Web, courting the social networking audience and zeroing in on the traffic generated by specific stories, I'm terrified that reporters on such beats will feel pressure to abandon them.

    I am impressed that the Trib, which is upending its business model as quickly as any major media organization and has been pilloried for some elements of that, is doubling down on local watchdog info, going so far as to court the FOIA-filing crowd."

Written by swanksalot

May 14th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Death of Newspapers as explained by David Simon

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David Simon1 was interviewed by Bill Moyers (video here if you missed it) about what fictional tales like The Wire can say about our corrupt institutions that journalism cannot. About 2/3 through the interview, Mr. Simon reminded me of how newspapers, as a business, made decisions to increase their profits at the expense of newsgathering, and thus sowed the seeds of their own destruction:

BILL MOYERS: I read something you recently told “The Guardian,” in London: “Oh, to be a state or local official in America…” without newspapers. “It’s got to be one of the great dreams in the history of American corruption.”


DAVID SIMON: Well, I was being a little hyperbolic. But-

BILL MOYERS: But it’s happening. I mean, it’s becoming true.

DAVID SIMON: Yes. It absolutely is, it absolutely is. To find out what’s going on in my own city I often find myself at a bar somewhere taking, writing stuff down on a cocktail napkin that a police lieutenant or some school teacher tells me. Because these institutions are no longer being covered by beat reporters who are looking for the systemic. It doesn’t exist anymore.

And this is not all the Internet. This was a– you know, there’s a lot of the general tone in journalism right now is that of martyrology. Of-

BILL MOYERS: Being martyrs, right.

DAVID SIMON: Yes, we were doing our job. Making the world safe for democracy. And all of a sudden, terra firma shifted, new technology. Who knew that the Internet was going to overwhelm us? I would buy that if I wasn’t in journalism for the years that immediately preceded the Internet because I took the third buyout from the “Baltimore Sun.” I was about reporter number 80 or 90 who left, in 1995. Long before the Internet had had its impact. I left at a time– those buyouts happened when the “Baltimore Sun” was earning 37 percent profits.

You know, we now know this because it’s in bankruptcy and the books are open. 37 percent profits. All that R&D money that was supposed to go in to make newspapers more essential, more viable, more able to explain the complexities of the world. It went to shareholders in the Tribune Company. Or the L.A. Times Mirror Company before that. And ultimately, when the Internet did hit, they had an inferior product– that was not essential enough that they could charge online for it.

I mean, the guys who are running newspapers, over the last 20 or 30 years, have to be singular in the manner in which they destroyed their own industry. It– it’s even more profound than Detroit making Chevy Vegas and Pacers and Gremlins and believing that no self-respecting American would buy a Japanese car in 1973. That– it’s analogous up to a point, except it’s not analogous in that a Nissan is a pretty good car, and a Toyota is a pretty good car. The Internet, while it’s great for commentary and froth doesn’t do very much first generation reporting at all. And it can’t sustain that. The economic model can’t sustain that kind of reporting. And to lose to that, because you didn’t– they had contempt for their own product, these people. I mean, how do-

BILL MOYERS: The publishers. The owners.

DAVID SIMON: Yes, how do you give it away for free? You know, but for 20 years, they looked upon the copy as being the stuff that went around the ads. The ads were the God. And then all of a sudden the ads were not there, and the copy, they had had contempt for. And they had– they had actually marginalized themselves

By the time the Internet had its way, I mean, they’re down to 180 now. You don’t cover the City of Baltimore and a region like Central Maryland with 180 people. You don’t cover it well.

And the institutional knowledge of the place disappears. And so that was– I was being a little flippant with “The Guardian” but what I was saying was, you know, there’s going to be a wave of corruption until they figure out the new model and reestablish– the institutional memory of these places, there’s going to be a wave of misbehavior.

[Click to read more of Bill Moyers Journal . Transcripts | PBS David Simon]

Remember this fact next time you hear a Sam Zell type complain about why they are cutting staff, again.

  1. famously of The Wire, but other things too, including a series in production about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans called Treme, in post-production []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 20th, 2009 at 8:12 am

Reading Around on April 12th through April 14th

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A few interesting links collected April 12th through April 14th:

  • Adventures In Foodie Land: darkness, lasers, ninjas, and child labor » NileGuidance: A Travel Blog – “Moto: In Chicago, the epicenter of the molecular gastronomy, Moto is the place to go for an adventure in food technology and what even qualifies as ‘food.’ Listed on the edible(!) menu are post-modern, multi-sensory concoctions by chef Homaro Cantu using mediums such as liquid nitrogen and Class IV lasers. Chili-Cheese Nachos as a dessert, made with chocolate and flash-frozen mango? Sounds like an adventure to me.

    photo of swanksalot

  • The Inevitable Clash of Management and Unions | new curatorWhat’s the best way to diffuse a situation between the management of a museum and a union representing your disgruntled workers?

    Hint: Don’t go saying they give “the public sector a bad name”.

  • Can the Statusphere Save Journalism?Recently, I enjoyed a refreshing and invigorating dinner with Walt Mossberg. While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the discussion shifted to deep conversation about the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?”
    [photo by swanksalot]

Written by swanksalot

April 14th, 2009 at 9:01 am

Reading Around on April 9th through April 12th

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A few interesting links collected April 9th through April 12th:

  • Technic News » Can the Statusphere Save Journalism?Recently, I enjoyed a refreshing and invigorating dinner with Walt Mossberg. While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the discussion shifted to deep conversation about the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?”

    photo by swanksalot

  • Gapers Block : Mechanics : Chicago Politics – The Erosion of Daley and the Coward DefenseThe excuse we always hear (off the record of course) from Aldermen, community groups, think tanks, and the rest, is that taking on the Mayor is just too darn scary. He’s too powerful. But what makes him powerful, like all bullies, is the constant refusal of anybody to stand up to him. And of course, it isn’t fear: its convenience. That whole “…but he’s our sonofabitch” mentality. We saw how well that worked with Augusto Pinochet and Saddam Hussein.
  • Washington Post Reporter Says It’s Not His Job to Check the Accuracy of People He’s Quoting – talk about stenography to the powerful. Why would anyone read the Washington Post with this sort of attitude towards politicians? Can just read press releases at the Senator’s website for all the good Paul Kane does.

    Pathetic. and this quote makes me laugh, perhaps not in the way Mr. Kane intends:
    Someone tell Media Matters to get over themselves and their overblown ego of righteousness.

Everything In Its Place

Written by swanksalot

April 12th, 2009 at 7:00 am

Reading Around on April 9th

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Some additional reading April 9th from 09:50 to 15:24:

  • Fair Use for Fair People – Anil Dash – “Both independent bloggers on the web and the Associated Press are in the news this week for asking for appropriate credit for their work when it’s excerpted for fair use by online news aggregators. But the web natives frame their argument in terms of respect for the reader and defending the credibility of the information being published, assuming correctly that their businesses will grow if they honor these principles. In contrast, the AP leads with its business argument first, establishing an atmosphere of legal threats and aggrieved arguments about licensing fees with no mention of what readers want, or what respect they have for the very stories they’re ostensibly fighting to present.
  • Daring Fireball Linked List: Kottke on Extreme Borrowing – “And yes, this is yet another instance of me standing up and saying that I’m doing it right where others are doing it wrong, so suck it.

    quoting myself (Twittered):
    I’ve had a blog nearly ten years, and visitors hardly ever click-thru to the original article. Like 1 in 10, or 1 in 20. I don’t know if the click-thru failure is a failure on my part (probably) or on the part of my visitors (maybe), but hasn’t changed w/ time. So when big-dog blogs like AllThingsDigital or HuffPo take 3 graphs from an indie blog, doubt much traffic gets generated to the indie blog. Of the last 100 visitors to my (tiny) blog, 3 clicked to another site (and 2 more clicked a photo, and one to an Amazon link).

  • Extreme borrowing in the blogosphere – “So I guess my question is: why is All Things Digital getting put through the wringer receiving scrutiny here for something that seems a lot more innocuous than what thousands of blogs are doing every day? Shouldn’t we be just as or more critical of sites like Huffington Post, Gawker, Apartment Therapy, Engadget, Boing Boing, Buzzfeed, Lifehacker, etc. etc. etc. that extensively excerpt and summarize?
    More discussion (with interesting comments) of the All Things Digital mini-dustup which feeds into the whole copyright vs. blogosphere vs. corporate media discussion that is the story of 2009 so far.
  • Chicago Reader | FAIL: The Story of Chicago’s Parking Meter Lease Deal – How Mayor Daley and his crew hid their process from the public, ignored their own rules, railroaded the City Council, and screwed the taxpayers | By Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke – “How Daley and his crew hid their process from the public, ignored their own rules, railroaded the City Council, and screwed the taxpayers on the parking meter lease deal“For me, am glad I hardly ever use meter parking (CTA, bike, walking are always better options), but I can see why folks are outraged.

Written by swanksalot

April 9th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Links

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Reading Around on April 6th through April 8th

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A few interesting links collected April 6th through April 8th:

  • Attribution and Affiliation on All Things Digital – Waxy.org – ” Also, where the source of the article is acknowledged, there’s no corresponding link to the page/URI to which it refers (something I’d regard as a convention that’s at least a decade old now). “
  • Roger Ebert’s Journal: Roger Ebert: April 2009 Archives – awesome remembrance of the long-ago vanished world of print journalism. “One of my editors at the Sun-Times once asked me, “Roger, is it true that they used to let reporters smoke at their desks?” This wasn’t asked yesterday; it must have been ten years ago. I realized then, although I’m only writing about it now, that a lifestyle had disappeared. “
  • Audio: Bob Dylan on Barack Obama, Ulysses Grant and American Civil War ghosts – Bill Flanagan: In that song Chicago After Dark were you thinking about the new President?Bob Dylan: Not really. It’s more about State Street and the wind off Lake Michigan and how sometimes we know people and we are no longer what we used to be to them. I was trying to go with some old time feeling that I had.

Written by swanksalot

April 8th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Reading Around on February 27th through February 28th

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A few interesting links collected February 27th through February 28th:

  • Debunking the Clean Coal Myth : EcoLocalizer – “There is no such thing as “clean coal” in the U.S. today. Coal is responsible for 32% of CO2 emissions in this country and 83% of the CO2 emissions from producing our electricity. In theory, we could retrofit this nation’s coal plants to capture their pollution and store it. Here is my question: If every single coal plant needs to be revamped to be truly “clean,” why not just invest that time and money in truly clean, renewables?” [Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Seth Anderson]
  • April Winchell » Barack Obama is tired of your motherfucking shit – Ray, a fellow classmate of Obama’s, was also bi-racial, and also trying to define himself. But what set him apart was his colorful manner of self-expression. Ray cursed like a motherfucker.

    This would all be snickerworthy enough, but it turns out that Obama actually read the audiobook version of Dreams From My Father.

    And that means he read Ray’s quotes.

    And that means you’re about to hear the President of United States using language that would finish Cheney off once and for all.

  • Chicago Reader Blogs: Chicagoland Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all: The Chicago Journalism Town Hall – “In other words: journalism isn’t dying. (Journalists are dying, of course, but even I don’t blame the Huffington Post for that.) The institutions are dying. That’s it. We’ve isolated the problem!

    Journalists (I will irresponsibly use this as a synonym for “people who work in broadcast or print,” even though we’re all kind of journalists, which I will get to later) blame the bloggers (ditto, for people who work online). Bloggers blame the journalists. Everyone blames the economy, and management. Was it Ben Goldberger in the Blog with the Aggregator? Or was it Eric Zorn in the Newspaper with the Inverted Pyramid, or Sam Zell in the Boardroom with the ESOP?”

  • John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago | Mother Jones – “Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.”


  • BULLS: Sam Smith: He was always Stormin’ – “Chicago understood Norm because it is known as the Second City. It is in the flyover region. Norm couldn’t crack the big time and run with the big boys, not among the playing elite and not afterward. But he never accepted being less than them and always was sticking his foot in the door to remind them he wasn’t going away.

    Norm was like us. Never really appreciated despite working so hard at it and giving everything he had every time. Norm broadcast harder than some guys played the game, and he let them know it. Someone was speaking up for us, and we loved Norm for that. And he loved us because he understood, if not accepted, rejection.”

  • SLAM ONLINE | » First Person: Norm Van Lier – “It was my dad who helped me let go of my anger. Before he died in 1988, we watched “The Godfather” together. Afterward my dad asked me, “Why do you think the Bulls owe you anything?”

    I told him about this and that, slights and slams, stuff that had grown into huge obstacles in my mind.

    “Did they pay you on time?” Yes, sir. “Were their checks good?” Yes, sir.

    “Well, then they don’t owe you a thing. So get up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and go to work.”

    I swear, from that moment on, my attitude was completely different. I’ve not looked back since.”

  • The Sports Guy: Bill Simmons Welcome to the No Benjamins Association – ESPN Page 2 – Ru-oh.
    “For once, the league’s problems have nothing to do with talent, drugs, racial issues or how the sport is being played. With the country embroiled in its worst economic crisis in 80 years, the NBA is quietly bracing for its own little D-Day … only outsiders don’t fully realize or care. Clearly, we wouldn’t put this budding debacle on par with the Gulf War, the collapse of American car companies, the real estate quagmire, the implosion of Wall Street, the decline of the American dollar, the shaky footing of previously untouchable media institutions (newspapers, magazines, TV networks, movie studios and publishing companies), or even Vegas and the porn industry caving financially. “
  • Media Matters – Media Matters: In support of shunning – Will has made false claims about the Voting Rights Act and the New Deal. He made a claim about China drilling off the coast of Florida that was so wrong, even then-Vice President Cheney — who cited Will in repeating the claim — acknowledged it wasn’t true. When even Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far in spouting pro-drilling falsehoods, you have a problem. But neither Will nor the Post corrected the error.

    Last year, Will claimed in his Newsweek column and on ABC that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Not true. He claimed that McCain won more votes from independents during the primaries than Obama did. Wrong. He claimed most minimum-wage earners are students or part-time employees. False. Will has even lied about Hillary Clinton’s Yankees fandom.

    Basically, George Will routinely makes false claims large and small, holds politicians to disparate standards, and engages in ethically dubious conduct on behalf of his preferred candidates.

  • The George Will Affair : CJR – Undeterred, on Tuesday, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, and Media Matters for America sent a joint letter to the Post reiterating the call for some form of correction or clarification. It cited three key problems with Will’s column: that he misused data on global sea ice levels from the Arctic Climate Research Center; that he misrepresented the World Meteorological Organization’s position on global warming and climate trends; and that he “rehashed the discredited myth that in the 1970s, there was broad scientific consensus that the Earth faced an imminent global cooling threat.”

    “George Will is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts,” the letter concluded. “We respectfully ask that you immediately make your readers aware of the glaring misinformation in Will’s column.” But the Post’s position remains the same.

Reading Around on January 26th

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Some additional reading January 26th from 10:22 to 22:31:

  • The Washington Monthly – This Explains a Lot– “On the one hand, the Bush administration released some detainees who apparently turned out to be pretty dangerous. On the other, the Bush administration refused to release other detainees who weren’t dangerous at all, and were actually U.S. allies.How could this happen? In light of these revelations about the lack of files, it starts to make a lot more sense.But to put this in an even larger context, consider just how big a mess Bush has left for Obama here. The previous administration a) tortured detainees, making it harder to prosecute dangerous terrorists; b) released bad guys while detaining good guys; and c) neglected to keep comprehensive files on possible terrorists who’ve been in U.S. custody for several years. As if the fiasco at Gitmo weren’t hard enough to clean up.”
  • The three primary roles your local website should play | yelvington.com– “Journalists tend to gravitate to only one of these roles: the town crier, the quaint colonial-era village character who walks around ringing a bell telling you what’s happening. It comes naturally. This is why 24×7 coverage teams and the “continuous news desk” concept take root so quickly when newsrooms suddenly awaken to the urgency of taking the Internet seriously.
  • But the other roles aren’t secondary. They’re coequal, and they’re grossly neglected by most local news websites.Moreover, they consistently surface in qualitative research as poorly met needs. The language people use is a little different, but recognizable: “Help me connect with people.” “Help me get answers I need.” “Help me find people like me.” “Help me pursue my interests.”
  • drop.io: simple private file sharing, free internet file sharing – Hmm, seems useful
    “Use drop.io to create drops and privately share your files by web, email, phone, fax, and more. Drops are protected from search engines so you can conveniently share what you want, how you want, with whom you want.”
  • Undercover Black Man: Bad news for David Milch fans– “Now I hear that HBO has pulled the plug on Milch’s latest project, a New York City cop drama set in the 1970s called “Last of the Ninth.”They filmed a pilot episode… with British actor Ray Winstone (pictured) as one of the leads. Evidently HBO was not digging it.That’s a show I wanted to see. Since the ’90s, Milch has talked about creating a series based on Bill Clark’s early career in the NYPD.

    Clark spent two years undercover as a white radical. He hung out with Black Panthers (including Tupac’s mama).”

  • Food Is A Weapon
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Errol Morris Blog – NYTimes.com– Awesome! “Photographs make this somewhat more difficult. They are a partial record of who we were and how we imagined ourselves. …The traveling pool of press photographers that follows presidents includes representatives from three wire services — AP (The Associated Press), AFP (Agence France-Presse) and Thomson Reuters. During the last week of the Bush administration, I asked the head photo editors of these news services — Vincent Amalvy (AFP), Santiago Lyon (AP) and Jim Bourg (Reuters) — to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration. …. It is interesting that these pictures are different. They may be of the same scene, but they have different content. They speak in a different way.(The photos are reproduced here with their original captions, unedited.)”
  • Tijuana Bibles– “If you are offended by depictions of sodomy, bestiality, “alternative sexual practices,” racial and ethnic stereotypes, or just about anything else, you should leave now.Tijuana Bibles were pornographic tracts popular in America before the advent of mass-market full-color glossy wank-fodder such as Playboy. A typical bible consisted of eight stapled comic-strip frames portraying characters and celebrities (eg. John Dillinger, Popeye, Disney characters) in wildly sodomistic situations. Many could be considered grossly racist, sexist, and otherwise wholly “politically incorrect.” Browser discretion is advised.”

Written by swanksalot

January 27th, 2009 at 5:00 am