I've long been making this same criticism but this is so well done and so forceful and eloquent that I just have to slap it up here on this blog. enjoy.
Related commentary here: http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2010/06/09/border-cities-are-safest-in-na...
The message U.S. Border Enforcement seems to be sending is that Read more>>>
I'm thinking a lot about crowd numbers estimating today. there's a wide range of counts for the march in Phoenix this past Saturday. Most mainstream media just say "tens of thousands". The cops refuse to say, but the AZ Republic says they overheard on police scanners officers saying 30,000. As usual, organizers and some partisans are talking way larger numbers than the police; some say 100K or even more (and I count myself as a partisan, I have a definite position and I don't claim to be "neutral" or "objective" - I am definitely anti-sb1070 and pro-migrant - i'm just not one of those partisans).
I honestly really don't know. I was there, but i was just one person, situated at one point on the march. Sometimes i stopped and shot video of people passing by, but unless you were there counting in one spot for the entire time, or in a helicopter, i don't know how you can have any degree of certainty about the numbers. This is how marches and rallies always are, but this one was especially hard to judge because it was stretched out and a thin line over many many blocks. I do know that the end of the march only reached the Capitol building destination at least an hour after the post-march speeches and such had been going on. So that's a lot of people, but I just don't know how you could say for sure it was a certain number.
I think it does the movement involved with an event, and journalism itself, even "citizen journalism", a disservice to throw around big attendance numbers and act like you're sure of them, and not at least provide sources or corroborating claims or explain the methods you used to come up with your numbers - or who was doing the counting and how. You blow your credibility and create more mistrust and conflict by making such unsupported and casual claims. C'mon people, progressives are supposed to be on the side of science and truth - the other side is the one that employs fantasy and "makes their own reality". Read more>>>
In the May 17 issue of The New Yorker there's a great piece profiling a brilliant inventor Saul Griffith. Griffith is involved with many projects, a large proportion of which have to do with alternative energy technologies or energy conservation devices. Two excerpts are really worth my time typing in here (the article is only available online to subscribers, though an abstract is here) and well worth your time reading.
The writer, David Owen, explains that limiting global warming to a level of 2 degrees C would mean replacing 13 of the 16 terawatts of total energy use that the human race uses with non-fossil fuel sources. Doing that, according to Griffith's calculations, would require that we build the equivalent of the following every second for the next 25 years: "a hundred square metres of solar cells, fifty square metres of new solar-thermal reflectors, and one Olympic swimming pool's volume of genetically engineered algae (for biofuels)" as well as "one three-hundred-foot diameter wind turbine every five minutes; and one hundred-megawatt nuclear power plant every week." Theoretically possible but probably politically and financially impossible.
So Griffith understands that a purely high-tech fix to generate the same amount of energy we use now is not the whole solution. He works on low-tech projects to make our livess more energy efficient, like cheap insulation for homes, but even with these advances we still as a society need to change the way we live and use resources. He describes a problem that I have observed over and over again, on the personal as well as public level:
"environmentalists... are bold-facedly hypocritical, and I don't think the environmentalism movement as we've known it is tenable or will survive. Al Gore has done a huge amount to help this cause, but he is the No. 1 environmental hypocrite. His house alone uses more energy than an average person uses in all aspects of life, and he flies prodigiously. I don't think we can buy the argument anymore that you get special dispensation just because what you're doing is worthwhile." Griffith includes himself in this condemnation. He said "Right now, the main thing I'm working on is trying to invent my way out of my own hypocrisy."
I've seen this hypocrisy many times, with professional enviros jetting around the globe so they can, for instance, hike up a mountain in order to publicise the plight of the Andean glaciers, or go to meetings about climate change. These people somehow think they have a magic pass to spew carbon into the air because their jobs have something to do with saving the world. This is simply not going to fly (pun intended). Read more>>>
My friend Jose writes on his blog about the shift from email to facebook as primary communication tool thanks to spam. It's a situation that feels like a 15-year long train wreck to me, watching the rising volume of unsolicited commercial email wash over the world like a giant tsunami ever since the start of the popularization of the internet.
Email, using a non-web client, is still the center of my daily time-management practice. it's how information flows from the world to my calendar and to-do list. it's still the killer app, for me. but i'm a power user. I spend a non-trivial amount of time every day categorizing and deleting spam, and some time on a less-frequent basis tweaking my various spam filters. It's something that works ok for me, but I realize that a lot of people don't have the tools or the time to live this way. However, I still can't stand when people try to organize and do business via facebook messaging - FB's interface is just so bad and annoying... but it's happening more and more, and i realize it's all because most people don't have the tech skils, resources, or patience to continue to battle email spam.
what would the internet look like if spam hadn't destroyed email for most users? sigh. the other thing i often forget and then re-remember is that for most people email IS the web - they just use a web app to get their email, which, even with gmail, is a poor interface compared to a dedicated client. so to a lot of people, facebook's UI is no worse than the yahoo or hotmail or squirrelmail interface that they once were stuck with.
it's interesting that one communication mode was destroyed by unethical marketing and is now replaced with another communication mode that is funded by another type of marketing, which, when you take into account the concerns about FB's escalating privacy-violating practices, is also probably unethical (and in a deeper way, is harming us) but is easier for the average person to put up with on a daily basis. Read more>>>
I've been editing video with Final Cut Pro for 9 years now, yes that's NINE YEARS. Yet today I'm wrestling with a problem that brings me to the brink of complete, throw-up-my-hands frustration. Absolute utter despair that makes me want to just give up being a filmmaker completely, or at least being an editor.
It's pretty much too complicated to describe here quickly and not have someone mistake it for a stupid mistake. Trust me, it's not a stupid mistake. I'm not an idiot, and, like i think i mentioned, I've been using FCP for NINE YEARS. Trust me when I say this is a completely new and weird fuck-up that is a total mystery and that you would probably have no idea how to solve either unless you have as much intelligence and experience with this software as I do.
In other words, I'm not posting this to ask for help. I'm just screaming my frustration. Thank you, Apple, for once again leading me to believe that I could trust you and your products. sigh. Read more>>>
Two weeks ago Greta, Josie, and I were in San Carlos, Mexico, on the sunlit eastern edge of the Sea of Cortez. I'm just now getting around to writing a bit about it.
When planning the trip, I wanted to not camp, because the week before I had just had a cold wet camping experience for a few days. I wanted a good ol' semi-luxurious vacation. I've never really done that. My travels have always been about cheapness, and hardship, and doing worthwhile things along the way, like activist projects or making films. For once I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. We also wanted to be sure to stay at a hotel that allowed dogs. I went online and found a sort of hotel search engine site for Mexico, and one of the criteria was permitting pets. When I chose that criterion, only one hotel in San Carlos came up - this place that looked quite fancy, the Paradiso Resort. However, it was within my price range and we decided to risk being surrounded by yuppies and shallow sorority girls and just go. Read more>>>
I've started following the blog of John Carlos Frey on Huffington Post lately and I'm surprised that even there on HuffPo there are some rather conservative people who are anti-immigrant and who are not very deep thinkers. And there's the same kind of tired old arguments that fail to address the real reasons for things. Even Frey's writing seems to miss (or avoid?) the big elephants in the room. After writing a long comment to his latest post and realizing there was a word limit that I went past, I decided to put my thoughts in full here. Read more>>>
I keep hearing about Lady Gaga all the time and even reading articles about her in the New Yorker, like the one about the hat that superstar architect Frank Gehry designed for her. But I'd never heard any of her songs till this morning in the car when I happened to have the radio tuned to some crap mainstream station. I knew it was her, just guessing based on the weirdness of it and the fact that part of the odd gobbledegook chorus was a repeated "ga-ga-oh-la-la" or something. I was so struck by the track that when I got home I looked her up on youtube and found the music video. It was called "Bad Romance" and when I watched it I was so disturbed that I literally cried. I don't mean cry as some kind of metaphor for frustration or anger or whatever. I mean I actually was so sad and upset that I started to break down and weep.
Now before I explain why let me make clear Read more>>>