The Wednesday Four (09/02/15)

The first article in this week’s post is very relevant, considering how much news we get from Facebook. As an aside, I get most of my news in my inbox (newsletters) and via twitter, less so from Facebook, but still some.

LOVE

LOVE (photo (c) abon)

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 (07/15/15)

I guess I should apologize for having three Buzzfeed links, but that would require me to be sorry about it. Which I’m not. Also, there’s a link from Fusion, which if you don’t read, you should. Their stuff’s pretty interesting. My only concession about Buzzfeed is that their headlines suck, but then again everyone’s using headlines that are basically clickbait — does that make it okay? I don’t know, but I don’t have to like it.

IMG_2335

Lake Michigan, South Haven, MI (photo (c) Eve Hermann

The Wednesday Four (07/01/15)

A lot of these are depressing. Apologies in advance. To make up for it, there’s a picture of a kitten at the bottom of this post.

  • Split Image: On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend. But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on. (ESPN)

 

Our new kitten Shetti

Our new kitten Shetti (c) Merlijn Hoek

 

The Wednesday Four: (06/03/15)

What a strange mix of links today.

Of those 100 books, I’ve read four: Eleanor & Park, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Before I Fall and Station Eleven. Of those, I would only recommend two of them. Before I Fall was an enjoyable fantasy-esque novel about a girl who only has one day to live. Station Eleven is a truly excellent piece of dystopian fiction set in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Hollywood and Toronto. I cannot recommend Station Eleven enough. Go read that one.

I don’t remember why I don’t like Daughter of Smoke & Bone, except that I didn’t find it interesting in the least and wasn’t fond of the main character. I did like Eleanor & Park, though I didn’t love it (I also didn’t like Rowell’s other YA offering, Fangirl). But a friend of mine sent me a link (I’ve long since lost it) that explained why E&P is a terrible novel and the more I think about the book, the more I agree. Though I can’t find the original link, here are some other reviews that sum up why I no longer like nor can recommend E&P.

As for the rest of the list? I can think of plenty of YA, Science Fiction and Fantasy titles that should be on that list that aren’t. I don’t really understand why there are so few of them, but there are some popular (to library patrons, at least) titles on the list. It’s worth checking out, even if I think they give short shrift to YA, SF&F books.

The Wednesday Four (04/29/15)

Today’s links want you to binge watch, I think you should just marathon. Also, as an aside, there’s a link here from Vice and while I’m not a huge fan of the site, this article is actually quite interest.

  • HBO to Netflix: Bring It On How HBO’s quest to win the streaming wars becamse a binge-worthy drama as juicy as Game of Thrones. (Fast Company)

I would be interested in HBO if they included TBS, TNT and TCM content — except for two things. The first is that, as of launch, it will only work on Apple device (which means I can’t watch it on my computer, tablet or TV) and it costs $14.99 a month — which I find to be a ripoff. Sure, I’d like to get the content, but I can get two difference services (Hulu+ and Netflix) for only a couple of bucks more. That’s not to say that I don’t pay for other services, I do (Dramafever and, at some point, I’ll start paying for SoompiTV again), I’m just saying that $14.99/month is way too much (even Prime’s $99/year is cheaper, when you break it down). C’mon, HBO, make it cheaper, you won’t regret it.

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.

Thurday Ten

Today’s bonus links aren’t as fun as previous weeks. Instead, we have an interesting (if with a happy ending) story about the impact of social media and how to follow Scotland’s historic independence referendum. A note that some of the main links might be triggering to victims of domestic violence/etc.

  • Ray Rice and His Rage: The sordid Ray Rice scandal has opened a much-needed dialogue about domestic violence. (New York Times)
  • ‘What is reality?’: A Q&A with the artist who used social media and Photoshop to fake an epic trip even her parents fell for (Washington Post)
  • Comment sections are poison: handle with care or remove them  Comments are often regarded as a right but they can do more harm than good. In the absence of strict moderation, we’d be much better off without them. (Guardian)
  • When You Can’t Afford Sleep: Many low-income workers get just four or five hours of rest each day. Research shows their bodies might never recover. (The Atlantic)
  • Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium? The idea of putting a mind-altering drug in the drinking water is the stuff of sci-fi, terrorist plots and totalitarian governments. Considering the outcry that occurred when putting fluoride in the water was first proposed, one can only imagine the furor that would ensue if such a thing were ever suggested.The debate, however, is moot. It’s a done deal. Mother Nature has already put a psychotropic drug in the drinking water, and that drug is lithium. Although this fact has been largely ignored for over half a century, it appears to have important medical implications. (New York Times)
  • Ticks and Cowboys:  A handful of federal agents stand between the U.S. and a devastating pest. (Modern Farmer)
  • Smartphones Are Used To Stalk, Control Domestic Abuse Victims: But there’s another kind of privacy concern that is a lot more intimate. You could call it Little Brother, though it’s really more like husbands and wives, lovers and exes who secretly watch their partners — from a distance. They are cyberstalking — using digital tools that are a lot cheaper than hiring a private detective. (NPR)

Bonus:

Links: July 18-24

Drone Pictures: Best Aerials Recognized in New Contest (National Geographic)

Netflix says ‘no rules’ would be better than FCC’s net neutrality proposal: Netflix filed a comment with the FCC yesterday strongly condemning the commission’s new net neutrality proposal, which would allow internet service providers to offer so-called “fast lanes” to companies that can afford them. “No rules would be better than rules legalizing discrimination on the internet,” Netflix writes in a lengthy reply to the FCC. Netflix argues that the new rules will turn the goal of an open internet “on its head,” making the internet look more like the convoluted and stagnating cable TV landscape than the innovative and quickly developing platform that we’ve come to see the internet as. (The Verge)

Yes, Facebook is sucking your soul: Once again, social science has done what it so often does: Proven that which we already knew deep in our souls.  In this case, it’s that Facebook is bad for us. (Marketplace)

Intimate Photos Of How People Eat In New York City: Photographer Miho Aikawa explores how the evening meal is evolving in two of the world’s biggest cities. (Fast Company/Co.Design)

The Downing of MH17: A New Precedent for the World’s Battlefields: What the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet says about the military role of non-state actors (The Atlantic)

With jet crash, news media again weigh where to draw the line on graphic photos: As news about the Malaysia Airlines jet crash began breaking Thursday, the Reuters news service tweeted what it described as the first photo from the scene in Ukraine. The image was ghastly: It showed a man hosing down the shattered, still-smoldering remains of a plane that just moments before had carried 298 people. (Washington Post)

A guide to winning the customer service cancellation phone battle: If you want to cancel your account, you must prepare to be (occasionally) nasty. (Ars Technica) Note: I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it’s interesting nonetheless. As are some of the comments. 

Ars editor learns feds have his old IP addresses, full credit card numbers: FOIA request turns up 9 years of records, including plaintext credit card numbers.  (Ars Technica)

Japan’s vending machines: a shopping spree (engadget)

Riding the Juggernaut That Left Print Behind: Even if you aren’t one of those people worried about media consolidation — there are many in that number — the big bolt of lightning last week that pierced a summer of ennui in entertainment and publishing news was hard to resist. (New York Times)

Hong Kong: Hong Kong is an unbelievably beautiful city and it makes you willing to come back. People there are kind and responsive. You feel respected no matter if you are local or a foreigner. Moreover, the main thing for me is that I never get bored there. The rhythm of life is comparable to Moscow. However, unlike Moscow, Hong Kong only retained the best of it. (ontheroofs) Note: These pictures are truly amazing.

From On the Media:

The End of the Gun Report: The Gun Report was a New York Times blog that chronicled daily shootings across the country in an effort to highlight victims of gun violence between mass shootings.

The Kiss That Saved The Sims: The Sims is one of the most popular video games of all time. But the game came very close to never being released. Bob talks with journalist Simon Parkin about how an unplanned kiss between two Sims characters at a gamer conference created enough buzz to launch the game.

Gaymes: Only a handful of mainstream video games feature gay characters. Bob talks with Samantha Leigh Allen, a transgender writer and academic, about some of the commercially successful games to include LBGT identities.

From NPR:

The Opposite Of Schadenfreude: Vicarious Embarrassment: Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman says he suffers from vicarious embarrassment, and can’t watch cringe-inducing viral videos.

Watch Out For That Butterfly: The Lure Of Literary Time Travel

People Share Moon Landing Memories On YouTube Channel: Sunday is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Buzz Aldrin about his new YouTube channel, where anyone can share memories from the historic day.

 

Links: July 12-17

A whole host of links covering everything from China to Vicks VapoRub (no, really). Look forward to a sports-only links post later in the week.

When You’re Poor, Money Is Expensive: For tens of millions of Americans without a bank account, paying a bill isn’t just an odyssey. It’s a part-time job.  (The Atlantic)

Tangled Web of Memories Lingers After a Breakup: The last thing I remember was the tears running in rivulets down my cheek as I confirmed that, yes, I did want to delete the picture on my Facebook page.  Several hours later, I, grossly hung over, was awoken by a flash flood of the rising sun through my hotel room. My face looked like Bubble Wrap after I fell asleep (likely with a thud) on the carpeted floor. And a bottle of whiskey, now empty, lay stranded amid a ruin of scrunched tissues, dried from my tears and snot, which sat in a makeshift shrine around me.  For a moment, as I started to piece together where I was, how I got there and what had happened the night before, I looked over at my laptop, which was clammed-open on the floor, and I felt sick to my stomach, not from the hangover but even worse, from what might be waiting to greet me on the Internet. (New York Times)

Naked selfies extracted from ‘factory reset’ phones: Thousands of pictures including “naked selfies” have been extracted from factory-wiped phones by a Czech Republic-based security firm. (BBC)

Why Google’s Waze Is Trading User Data With Local Governments: In Rio de Janeiro most eyes are on the final, nail-biting matches of the World Cup. Over in the command center of the city’s department of transport though, they’re on a different set of screens altogether.  Planners there are watching the aggregated data feeds of thousands of smartphones being walked or driven around a city, thanks to two popular travel apps, Waze and Moovit.  The goal is traffic management, and it involves swapping data for data. More cities are lining up to get access, and while the data the apps are sharing is all anonymous for now, identifying details could get more specific if cities like what they see, and people become more comfortable with being monitored through their smartphones in return for incentives. (Forbes)

Vicks VapoRub and Me: How the nostril-stinging salve helps me overcome chronic olfactory sensitivity, an Object Lesson (The Atlantic)

Getting Fired for a FOIA: A Chicago crime reporter, cold cases and more. (On The Media)

A New Narrative on Israel-Palestine: The latest surge of violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel was fueled by a horrific series of events involving Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. Brooke talks with Philip Weiss, co-editor of Mondoweiss, about coverage of these recent events, and how the view of the conflict is shifting in the media. (On The Media)

Behind the Border Crisis: For the past few weeks the media have been reporting on a surge in unaccompanied minors who are crossing the border illegally, bringing attention to the latest immigration crisis. But the reality of the situation is far more complicated. Brooke talks with reporter Bob Ortega about what’s really happening on the border. (On The Media)

George Clooney Is Right About the Daily Mail: The world’s most popular online newspaper does not deserve to be taken seriously. (Slate)

Watch: Sneaky Octopus Dismantles Camera: A sneaky octopus tried to literally steal the show when he recently took apart a camera off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. (National Geographic)

Nature’s Most Perfect Killing Machine: Ebola is nightmare fuel: a biological doomsday device conspiring with our bodies to murder us in uniquely gruesome fashion. It’s also killed fewer than 2,000 people. How has a virus with such a modest body count so fiercely captured the darkest corners of our imagination? (Hazlitt/Random House)

A moth, a fern, a feline: a species name story (Lyman Entomological Museum)

What Will America Look Like in 2024? 25 charts that show what the nation expects over the next 10 years (The Atlantic)

Sandra Fluke: The Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women: How is birth control different from blood transfusions and vaccines? It’s not. (Washington Post)

In Hong Kong, a Potent Visual Echo of Tiananmen: Cecilia Ng was born seven years after the Goddess of Democracy statue in Tiananmen Square was destroyed during the bloody 1989 suppression of student-led protests. A quarter-century after the crackdown in Beijing, she and 10 of her friends made a smaller replica of the statue that on Tuesday was planted in the middle of one of central Hong Kong’s busiest streets. (Sinosphere/NYT)

Data Doppelgängers and the Uncanny Valley of Personalization: Why customized ads are so creepy, even when they miss their target (The Atlantic)

Understanding Facebook’s Lost Generation of Teens: The social network’s struggle to woo kids isn’t because it’s also their parents’ favorite social network (Fast Company)

How’s My Driving?: Car insurance companies want to track your every move—and you’re going to let them. (Quartz)

The Brilliant Machine That Could Finally Fix Airport Security: That machine is the Qylatron Entry Experience Solution, and it could soon replace a crappy experience of going through security checks at airports and other venues with one that’s faster and less invasive. Instead of having a human poke around in your bag, the machine scans it for a variety of threats in just a few seconds. Searching those Aussies and other soccer fans may prove to be a watershed moment for the system, a successful test of how well it can spot trouble and move people through security, efficiently and with their dignity intact. (Wired)

Spies Like Us: Is it because they know us so little — or because they know us too well — that the Americans can’t stop spying on us Germans? (New York Times)