2) Boy, money always trumps everything. I was listening to a radio program about the history of tornado reporting and the national weather service was actively discouraged from reporting on them and collected no data for years between the late 1800s until after WWII. The reason? The federal government feared it would discourage people from moving out west. ( Read more... )
3) Speaking of radio programs, I was disappointed to hear that our local NPR station is cutting one of the last major original programs they produce to one day a week. ( Read more... )
4) Can literature decrease racism?
5) Atlantic's dark power of fraternities article is a good read, though perhaps a misleading one since the usual crimes of fraternities are focused on less than their insidious lobbying and liability protection schemes.
-- Every news outlet -- newspaper, website, tv network, radio station -- has biases. Every reporter has biases. This does not mean you should trashcan them, because if you know their biases they can be very useful, if only as indications that something is happening and you should look elsewhere for actual facts. Test them. Check the facts in some stories. Are they reported accurately? Are they exaggerated? In what way? Are they misinterpreted? To whose benefit? Who is the winner and who is the loser?
-- There is no one true news source. Ever. There never has been, Walter Cronkite and the evening news or anyone else. The best you can hope for is someone who can honestly give you as much as possible of what is happening, explaining the context, and avoiding adding personal bias to it. Christiane Amanpour does the best I've seen in international coverage, currently, but she's not the only one.
-- All real news is local. It affects real people. It affects you, whether you know it or not, and your relatives and friends and community. What you do not know can affect you more than what you do know.
-- Find a handful or more of news outlets whose biases you are familiar with, who offset each other, who disagree with each other, who cover the same things from different angles. Read them together. See what is left out, and what is covered. What do you want to know more about after reading them? How complete a picture do you have of what is happening?
-- News aggregations sites can help you get a cross-section of coverage of an event. News.google.com is only one of them; there are others. You don't have to be satisfied with whatever is put on the front page; you can search them. I have searched news.google.com for events happening in the little 12,000-circulation weekly newspaper I used to work for, and found them. Just because a site aggregates the biggest stories on the front page does not mean you cannot look for what you want.
-- If you want a full picture of what is happening in your country, read news written outside the country. I did not find out from American news that the Democrats had the LA police chase beachgoers away with mounted patrols before and during the national Democratic Convention out there a few years ago; I saw the video of it on the BBC. It's important to remember that each country's news organizations may report according to different rules than in your own country -- for instance, coverage of trials after a certain point is barred in Britain and Canada and possibly other places as well, while it is allowed here. There are other differences as well. However, take these into account and read widely, and get the view from beyond the ponds of what is happening.
In international news sources, notice what is taken for granted, what is covered, what topics and issues are not covered at all.
-- Check for independent news sources for specific events. I aggregated news on arrests during the Republican National Convention in New York City based on on-the-spot reports over cell phones that were sent to www.indymedia.org. This is not unbiased, but it is fast and can be more accurate than anything else out there in a breaking story like this.
-- Unnamed sources can be unnamed for many reasons, not just to protect their own jobs and lives. Some organizations (notably government agencies) use unnamed sources in order to leak information unofficially. Some use them to leak information that is not exactly truthful, but slanted in some direction or other, as a smoke screen to hide what is happening. Watch out for the use of descriptive phrases that don't really describe anything. "A source close to the President" could be someone in the West Wing; depending on context, it could also be someone homeless camping out in Lafayette Park, next to the White House. Learning to parse what is said, and who is saying it, is important. In military organizations, the person who responds to the press must do so with the blessing of the higher command, or face disciplinary action, often as not. Can you tell where the unnamed source sits in the hierarchy/structure based on what is said?
-- Check the biases. When different sources and outlets use the same words, do they use them in the same way, with the same understandings? What history is embedded in the way certain issues are reported? What is left to the understanding of the reader? What do you not know that is keeping you from understanding how something is reported.
-- Check your own biases at the door. Check your political correctness. This is about how other people are viewing the world and the issues, not about how you see them. If you want to know what others think, find that out first and take it in and consider it, rather than immediately dissing it because it's not said as you would say it.
-- Put the pieces together. If this, then that. Look for answers. Be informed. Inform others. Pass along what you find that you consider helpful or reliable. We all benefit from being informed.
-- If there is not news coverage about an area, a country, a topic, ask why. Is it because of a power grab? Is it political unrest? Is it a cultural matter? Is there a physical breakdown in the transmission of news -- a natural disaster, power outages, large-scale medical emergencies, roads washed out? Is there civil unrest so dire that it is unsafe for reporters to be present?
-- Accept that you will never have the whole story of anything. You will have, at best, enough to work with, to make decisions on, to pull together into a coherent -- if incomplete -- picture of events so that you can make decisions, support or oppose issues, and live your life as well as possible.
-- Not all news is bad news. Bad news tends to get more coverage because of a bias on the part of editors that bad news is important to more people. But there is good news as well. Learn to look for it. Look at percentages in news -- if there are 20% of people affected badly, it may well mean that 80% are not, and that it used to be 70% and something went right. This is the kind of thing that can be checked.
-- I am not dissing or ignoring blogs -- but blogs tend to be reactive, not active; they are second-day news. Ahh. yes. First-day news is fresh, what has just happened immediately, action and thought and event, with a little context: the Challenger disaster, the Boston Marathon shooters, from international natural disasters to the village council changing the parking zones. It's the newest thing that has occurred. Second-day news is what happened next, referring back to first-day, but including more context, follow-up, more reactions (first-day should have reactions, too). Third-day and after is continuing story coverage -- think of war reporting, where there is a ton of backstory and context but something new has happened on top of it, or more is known about what happened last week. Hurricane Katrina coverage varied between first-day and third-day styles as the hurricane went on, as we learned more about what was going on. But to get back to blogs -- blogs tend to be opinion pieces for or against something that has happened or is about to happen. They are not necessarily only hard news. They are not necessarily only factual reporting, because the blog author often does not have the training or experience to do that kind of writing OR because the author is not in a situation that would allow him or her to be on the scene and doing the work. Blogs are vital and fascinating -- and they will point you in directions you would not otherwise go -- but they are a starting point, not an ending point. Verify, verify, verify.
-- Check charts and graphs whenever you doubt them or are unsure of their use. Look at the detail on charts and graphs -- is that tremendous change in the budget a difference of 10 to 100 or a difference of 10 to 11? Or 10 to 1? Does it read from right to left or left to right? What assumptions are made in the way information is presented?
-- Please do not let yourself be discouraged. The world is a large place, with many viewpoints and cultures affecting and affected by those viewpoints. News will not always make sense, or agree, even when it is completely factual, because we do not ever know everything. But you will have a far better picture of where you are and what is happening than by not trying to understand.
-- When you can't check something online, consult your local librarian. A lot of the sources that used to be freely available are now only available to those who pay for them -- such as Facts on File and the Federal Budget Appendix. Libraries have them, and your librarian can help you find what you want, in a source that is accurate and factual. And if such a source does not exist? That should tell you something, also.
-- On the local level -- if you find that a reporter has done a poor job on something you know about, call the news outlet, ask to speak to the reporter and tell them why you believe they are wrong and what needs to be corrected. This is important, because reporters can only report what they know about and they don't know everything, any time.
-- News outlets I have consulted, including news feeds: New York Times (has several feeds); Washington Post (has swayed to the right horribly in some coverage, but not in other parts of it); McClatchy news service (the remnant of the Knight-Ridder news service, with independent coverage, leaning toward the midwest in focus but interesting); BBC and BBC-America (not exactly the same coverage); San Francisco Chronicle; LA Times; Le Monde; Times of India; Dawn (Pakistan)... there are many others.
If you want to know more, ask me...
This meme began on tumblr, and involves "answer the questions, here or in your own space, then make up more questions for other people." I'll do those in another post.
1) What do you have in your pockets? / What stuff do you carry with you?
Right now, nothing; I'm wearing a grey fuzzy bathrobe and I tend to keep the pockets empty. Normally, I wear a belt-thing with pockets, something like this one (a google for [renfaire pocket belt] turns up similar images but no official sales site), only with more purple. I carry a *lot* of things in it--my Blackberry, my ereader, ID cards, money, BART ticket, keys, etc. (It's a pretty big etc; I carry a lot of tiny things.) I like having a purse that can't be yanked off my shoulder and doesn't unbalance me when I walk.
Because I wear that, I keep pretty much nothing in my normal clothes pockets anymore.
( 10 more, because Glitchen like doing things in elevens. )
Got an appointment with my doctor tomorrow afternoon. Maybe it was just a freak occurrence.
Over the weekend, I had another clueless dude try to give me crap for “working so hard to manufacture outrage,” and for always “choosing to be offended.” It’s a tired and unoriginal refrain, but I’m going to try to do something a little different this time. I’m going to agree with clueless dude, at least to an extent. Because he’s right. For me, a great deal of the things I write about, and the fact that I’m upset by some of what I see in the SF/F community, these are choices.
A few of the things I’ve chosen to be offended about lately…
- Big name authors publicly mocking and belittling people for asking for representation in SF/F.
- The rewriting of history to present last year’s SFWA Bulletin mess as being about a single cover as opposed to an ongoing problem, one that culminated with two big name authors using the Bulletin as a platform to accuse those who disagree with them of being “liberal fascists” and anonymous cowards.
- A major convention belittling concerns about sexual harassment and refusing to implement a policy … and then minimizing and belittling the experience of multiple individuals who reported being sexually harassed at that convention.
- The backlash against a Hugo host being transformed into a factually incorrect narrative that rakes an individual woman over the coals in major media outlets for the crime of expressing her fear and anger.
Generally, when folks recycle the accusation that people are looking for things to be offended by, the word “offended” is used as a minimizing tactic. It suggests overly fragile and sensitive individuals with bruised feelings. A more accurate choice would be “pissed off,” “hurt,” or “sick of this crap.” Kameron Hurley uses the term “rage” when explaining that the anger doesn’t come from a minor, isolated incident.
The thing is, most of these incidents don’t hurt me directly. Representation in SF/F? As a straight, white, American male, I’m incredibly overrepresented in my genre. Conventions that don’t take steps to reduce sexual harassment? I’ve been harassed a total of once in more than a decade of congoing, and it’s not something I’m particularly worried about happening to me again. The threats, hatred, and vitriol aimed at women online and in the real world? Hey, it’s not coming toward me, so who cares?
When you’re not the one being hurt, you might not even notice the problem. You might decide it’s all blown out of proportion. Or maybe you admit that yeah, there might be a problem here, but you blow it off because the solution would inconvenience you in some way, or make you uncomfortable.
When you see someone saying they’re hurt or afraid, you can choose to mock that person. You can choose to ignore their concerns. You can choose to blow them off by saying they’re manufacturing outrage and looking for reasons to be offended, as if pain and anger and fear are just another hobby, like collecting spores, molds, and fungus. You can choose to ignore the evidence, to disbelieve the repeated stories of ongoing harassment and the countless people speaking out about specific incidents that make them feel unwelcome and unwanted in your community. You can choose to interpret anger as “bullying,” and calls for inclusion as “political correctness run wild.”
You could also choose to listen. You can choose to believe that when someone says, “Hey, this is hurting me,” they’re telling the truth. You can look around at how racially homogenous most conventions are and believe the people telling you why they feel unwelcome, instead of dismissing it as a coincidence or making up falsehoods about how “those people” just don’t read or don’t care about SF/F. You can recognize that just because a problem might not directly affect you, that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant.
You’re right. I choose to be
offended angry. I see people talking about how finding someone like them in a SF/F story literally saved their life. And then I see people responding with mockery and derision to calls for broader representation. I see people who have traditionally been ignored and silenced raising their voices to speak about their experiences, only to have those experiences dismissed as “butthurt” by those who haven’t had to live through them.
When I choose to be angry, and to speak out about things, it’s because I see people hurting.
No, that’s not quite right. It’s because I see the that the things we’re doing are hurting people. That pain isn’t imaginary. It’s not a cover to try to take over the genre and control everyone else, as one commenter suggested. It’s real. And I’ve got to believe that if more people could get over their discomfort and defensiveness and just listen, they might see it too. They might even be able to help solve some of the problems.
Basically, when people talk about something that’s hurting them, you can choose to care. Or you can choose not to.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
thatyourefuse loves ELDO's Rien. She also has a question:
Okay, perfume humans. I have a question to pass along for you. (Attention Hunger Games fans.)
musyc has been testing many BPALs, and also Shalimar, and has some imps looking for a good home.
lindensphinx likes Guerlain Nahema quite a lot.
recessional continues writing up BPAL and pokes at mainstream perfume.
synecdochic has an epic, epic BPAL smelling notes write-up.
2. I introduced him to Brooklyn Nine-Nine and we watched a bunch of episodes and he's totally hooked. :D
3. Irene is coming out here to visit next week and is going to be moving back here at some point in the near future. Lotta stuff going on right now. I'll make a post at some point when I know more, but yeah.
4. I'm enjoying my new position at work. Still spending a fair amount of time helping out Favorite Coworker as he takes over my old position, but I also spent a lot of time today (and some on Saturday) thinking about what I want to do to improve my departments.
5. The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers were back this week, finally! And there were two episodes of The Simpsons! They were both good (especially the Sideshow Bob one, because Sideshow Bob episodes are always great), but Bob's Burgers was just awesome. I want to say one of my favorite episodes yet, but I love them all so! But really, it was great. (And I watched all three with Alexander, so that was fun.)
6. It was horrible awful hot weather yesterday (high 80s in fucking early March wtf) but today was much cooler.
So, my time at my current gig is up at the end of this week. There's a whole long, painful backstory that goes with that, but I am not invested enough (anymore) to write it all out. Just know this is a good thing. Currently waiting to see where I'm going next. I'm hoping for Portland. I'm guessing Boston.
Watched Believe. Enjoyed it. I didn't really pay attention to the teaser for the second episode, but I think the main guy cut his hair off. We'll see if the show is good enough to hold my interest despite that unfortunate circumstance.
CeeLo is no longer going to be on the Voice (and wasn't this season anyway) so I can watch it again! :D Mostly I'm not paying much attention yet because the auditions are mostly only interesting because of the judges. Can't wait for the battle rounds, though!
All the fic going by on my feeds is crap. Utter crap. Either it's poorly written, or it's not really written, it's an outline (WHY. WHY WASTE A BRILLIANT IDEA IN SUCH A WAY. D: D: D: ) or it has tags like "so many angst" and I just... can't. I really like my fics-in-progress and am slowly working on them, but I want them to be done NOW because I want there to be fic for me to read. Even if it's my own. Again I say: BLAR.
But my wife is coming down to visit me tomorrow and will be spending the rest of the week with me here! :D :D :D This is of the moast excellent. Also, despite the fact that my current assignment is ending early, I have plans to meet up with folks semi-nearby at the end of the month and I am super-duper excited. I'm going to try betaing in person and we'll see how that goes! (Answer: AWESOME. I just have a feeling, okay?)
And weirdly, I feel way better than I did when I started this post, so that's a major win. I'm going to finish up SYTYCD season 2 and try to write some. :D :D :D
Thanks to FFA thread International Fast Food, I want to do a World McDonald's Tour. Like, all the McDonald's, everywhere, so I, too, can try the McFood Item Here.
It's not just that, though; this food tour would be all-encompassing. As someone in the thread pointed out, I live in the state of "If It Exists, We Can Fry It and Put it On a Stick (Let Us Show You How!)"; this would be like an odyssey to see all the things we have yet to fry and put in sticks (yet). I know for a fact that huevos rancheros kolaches are a thing that are delicious and also, in case you don't know this, can easily be breaded with a delicious Bisquick mix and placed, yes, on a stick, and apply deep fryer.
...I can't think of anything you can't fry and put on a stick, actually, which probably says a lot more about me than anything. I guess beverages, but honestly, I have a deep fry and a deep desire to prove it's possible, so maybe some inventions should not be in the province of humankind. Might also technically defeat the purpose of being a beverage as well, IDK.
ETA: linking amireal to the world of kolache, found Klobasnek, which is the non-dessert version of kolaches. I have never heard this before and I grew up in Czech/German descent households. This is so cool and surreal. Also, the picture shown there is deliciousness personified, jsyk. A less delicious (but still delicious) version is sold at the convenience store, including one stuffed with jalapeno sausage and egg and cheese and slices of jalapeno just in case you missed it in the sausage. Your tongue may scream "OH GOD WHAT DID NOT SEE THAT COMING" but your soul says "Milk please before I take another bite."