The Wednesday Four (08/26/15)

After nearly a month long hiatus, the Wednesday Four are back! Let’s get to it.

bad weather on the Serengeti plains

 bad weather on the Serengeti plains (photo (c) Anna)

The Wednesday Four (07/29/15)

I really like the second article because I find any discussions about evolution to be interesting.

  • The Post-Ownership Society How the “sharing economy” allows Millennials to cope with downward mobility, and also makes them poorer. (Washington Monthly)
White arctic wolf

White arctic wolf: Very nice Arctic wolf (originally from Canada), relaxing on a rock (photo (c) Tambako The Jaguar)

The Wednesday Four (04/22/15)

Hey, look, some links!

  • The future of loneliness  As we moved our lives online, the internet promised an end to isolation. But can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance? (Guardian)

As someone who has a social life divided by the internet and the physical world, I found the first article to be fascinating, if somewhat ill-informed. I truly believe that friendships you make online are just as real as those you make in person. Actually, I don’t just believe this, I know it. I have several very close friends who I only know through the internet. I’ve met a couple of them in person and I was the bridesmaid in another’s wedding. But there are others who I may never meet, as we live oceans apart. This doesn’t devalue our friendships in any way, shape or form.

I believe the crux of the problem is relying on the idea that followers on social media are the same as tangible friends — the ones you talk to (you may email them every day, or every week, month or even once or twice a year — but they are your friends and not just people you happen to know). I have over 100 followers (each) on twitter, tumblr and on Facebook. I would only consider a handful of these to be actual friends and of those, even fewer who are close friends. If you confuse friendship and followers, then you’re missing two things: the point of social media is not to create a super large group of actual friends and friendships cannot be bound or determined by anything other than the relationship between two people. I feel that the author, at the end of the article, came to realize that it is the quality of the friendships, not the quantity of the ‘friends’ that really matters.

Monday Links

Here are some links that I’ve come across over the past few days.

The Apollo 11 Journey in Photographs (The Atlantic): Some pretty cool photographs of Apollo and the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Including the photo to the left

Alone in the Ocean (Now I Know): A short article about a whale, called the 52 Hertz whale, who speaks at a different frequency than other whales and is, therefore, forever alone. Poor guy, though he/she seems to be surviving just fine, somehow.

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life (TED): I think I was linked to this via Library Link of the Day, but I don’t remember. It’s a 20 minute video about McGonigal, who designs games, and figured out a way to make our lives better. I actually recommend the video because it’s interesting, kind of cute and really fun(ny).

Guest Post: The Truth Behind TSA Backscanners: Are They Safe? (Smaller Questions): A surprisingly interesting and easy to understand post about the scanners we go through at the airport. I completely agree with this part of the post as well:

The individual cancer risk from this amount of radiation pales in comparison to lifestyle risk factors for cancer like smoking, diet, and fitness.  However, one of the central tenets of radiation protection is a concept called ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  The idea is that one should only use as much radiation as is needed, and no more.  Given that there is a perfectly good alternative that doesn’t use ionizing radiation (microwave-based scanner), in my opinion it is irresponsible to use radiation when it isn’t needed.

Living With Voices: A new way to deal with disturbing voices offers hope for those with other forms of psychosis (The American Scholar): I’m not that familiar with people who hear voices (external or internal), aside from what I’ve seen in TV shows (mostly likely wrong, too) so this article was both interesting and enlightening.

Deniers, disgust, and defamation (Bad Astronomy): My favorite Astronomer, Phil Plait, talks about the anti-science movement and how they’ve taken to personally attacking scientists (because they can’t attack the science). It’s pretty gross, but at least people are standing up against them.

And, finally, have a picture of a newly born baby manatee (to a rescued mother) and a series of photos of Kang Daesung, my favorite member of the Korean group Big Bang, from a recent concert in Shanghai, China.

Friday Links (aren’t feeling very newsworthy)

Today’s links are mostly a bunch of pictures/videos, but I suppose that’s the way things end up. I’ve been watching more Wimbledon than anything else, to be quite honest. But we’ll start with a few blog posts.

    • In a lot of geekish circles I read/travel in, gaming and women has been a pretty hot topic. There’s been a lot of drama about women playing video games, about who the audience of games are and so on. Skepchick has a really good article about the lack of women characters in World of Warcraft, but the article is more meta that just that. I recommend giving it a read.
    • Phil Plait, of Bad Astronomy always posts really good time-lapse videos (which I really love) and the other day he posted a great one by Tor Even Mathisen, filmed in northern Norway, it includes auroras and snow — the perfect thing to watch since SE Michigan is under a heat advisory at the moment.
    • I recently finished a great Korean drama (tv show) called Hero (2012/OCN). I plan to review the whole show (it’s only 9 episodes) eventually, but if anyone is interested in what it is I like, you can watch the whole show on Hulu. Also, be sure to check out the kdrama City Hunter on Netflix Instant, it’s also good.

Friday Links (on Saturday)

I know, I haven’t updated it over a week. Things got a bit busy (at life/work/etc), but I’m updating again and will try to do better. So, have your Friday links, but on Saturday, because I can.

  • China dissident Chen Guangcheng heads for US  (BBC) Ever since Chen escaped from house arrest and showed up  at the US Embassy, I’ve been following this story pretty closely. I’m relieved that he and his family finally were able to get out of China, but it’s clear that there are a lot of forces at work and not all of them good. Especially because Chen’s family and friends have been beaten/attacked by Chinese government officials. While I’m interested in Chinese culture (both history and popular), there are still plenty of things wrong over there.
  • May 16th’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is absoutely stunning: Star Formation in the Tarantula Nebula (APOD/NASA)
  • Two articles (relevant to me) about Comcast and their datacap of 250Gb. I download/stream a lot of stuff, but I’ve never come close to 200GB, much like 250GB. I find it interesting that Comcast is getting rid of the 250GB  limit and possibly making it 300GB, with the option to buy more. I don’t think it’ll have any impact on me, but it’s interesting, none the less. Comcast suspends 250GB data cap—for now and Comcast answers data cap questions (Ars Technica)
  • File-Sharing Is Linked to Depression, Researchers Find (TorrentFreak) I’m just sharing this post because it’s hilarious, placed in the context of the fact that when I was in college, a friend of mine and I were in a course called Religion in Popular Culture. For our final project, we managed to do a presentation/report about how downloading music could be a religious experience. We totally got an A, too.
  • I’ve always been a big fan of renewable energy and wind farms are completely awesome and fascinating to me. So I totally hope this ends up working: East coast wind grid gets a go ahead (Ars Technica)
  • Flight of the rays (KQED) I’m not sure how to describe this, except that that’s a lot of manta rays, amazing, and it reminds me of scenes from Jurassic Park and a children’s book of my sisters, about a dinosaur (but I can’t remember the name of it*).
  • And now for the fun stuff: Vampire Prosecutor vs. Vampire Idol (Dramabeans): I adore VP and desperately want to watch VI, and this Thing vs. Thing just makes me want to watch it more; some adorable pictures of my favorite mandopop singer JJ Lin (fyjjlin) at the Singapore e-awards (that vest is totally doing it for me); and, lastly, my favorite kpop band, CNBlue, posing like the Beatles (cnbjonghyun).

*My sister suggested that the book I’m thinking of is Maia: A Dinosaur Grows Up  by John R. Horner