aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, September 26, 2005
Blinded by the light
My dog ran into the screen on a patio door tonight and though uninjured, was reluctant to try a second time. That’s nothing; I had no idea that millions of birds die each year from crashing into glass:
Tourists have always flocked to see the bright lights of New York City, but starting this week, the city is dimming parts of its renowned skyline to ward off one group of visitors: migratory birds. The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, the Citigroup Center, the Morgan Stanley Building and the World Financial Center are among the high-profile high-rises that have agreed to requests from the city and the Audubon Society to dim or turn off nonessential lighting at midnight.
Toronto, cool Canada, started dimming in 1993, Chicago in 1999:
The combination of glass, tall buildings and bright light is extremely dangerous for birds, according to Daniel Klem, an ornithologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He says that a conservative estimate is that more than 100 million birds die each year from crashing into glass on structures of all types, even houses.
“Here is the bottom line: Birds just don’t see glass,” said Professor Klem. “The animals are not able to recognize glass as a barrier and avoid it.”
And lights, particularly those from skyscrapers, distract migratory birds from the visual cues they receive from the stars and the moon, said Douglas Stotz, a conservation ecologist at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Yahoo! wants to be a media company that mixes content with distribution. They’ve got Lloyd Braun, formerly chairman of ABC’s entertainment group, to do it:
“I come from a medium which allows you to represent a pretty static linear picture,” Mr. Braun said. “It’s very passive.” At Yahoo, he does not plan any half-hour or hourlong programs, but shorter segments that users can assemble into longer experiences of their own choosing.
The Internet reflects what Mr. Braun calls “the A.D.D. generation,” where people watch TV, read something online, chat on a cellphone and send instant messages - all at the same time. He talks of short, frequent video segments, surrounded by other information that users can interact with in their own way and contribute to as well.
One of Yahoo’s secret weapons, Mr. Braun says, is that it can personalize information for the interests of each user, such as its My Yahoo page and the song recommendations provided to users of its music service. Mr. Braun is weaving this technology into a video player Yahoo will introduce near the end of the year.
“It will almost be like a television set,” Mr. Braun said, except as people watch one program, on the center of the player, other areas will offer additional programming choices, based on their past viewing habits. It will let them use Yahoo’s video search to find programs from amateur videographers and video bloggers. And it will, of course, promote the glitzy shows Mr. Braun is creating.
“People want the freedom to do exactly what they want to do,” he said. “But they also like to be programmed to and reminded of the different things that exist. Yahoo is in a position to do both of those.”
That’s the first I’ve heard of the video player. I’ll be interested to see how it develops. As to their business strategy, I’m glad to see user created content featured in their four pillars:
First, is search, of course, to fend off Google, which has become the fastest-growing Internet company. Next comes community, as he calls the vast growth of content contributed by everyday users and semiprofessionals like bloggers. Third, is the professionally created content that Mr. Braun oversees, made both by Yahoo and other traditional media providers. And last, is personalization technology to help users sort through vast choices to find what interests them.
RELATED: Yahoo! hired nine financial writers.
No school today
The governor cancelled it. Democrats think that a bad idea:
“Right now, half of Georgia is saying, ‘Just how out of touch is this guy?’ and that’s going to be remembered,” said Morton Brilliant, campaign manager for Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who is challenging Perdue. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, another Perdue opponent, also criticized the move.
“When he made this hasty decision, Gov. Perdue obviously didn’t take into account the family needs of parents and students and didn’t seem to understand that this could easily create a panic that will drive up gas prices and hurt consumers,” said Kristi Huller, Taylor’s spokeswoman. “Sadly, it’s part of a pattern. With Gov. Perdue, schools, students and families always come last.”
Democrats also argue that Perdue’s call to remain calm in the face of possible fuel shortages caused a rush to the pumps, similar to what happened just after Katrina.
“This is typical of him. He has an idea, he doesn’t talk to anyone, and he does it,” said Rep. Bob Holmes (D-Atlanta), a Clark Atlanta University political scientist.
I’m not a fan of Perdue but I’m not sure what I think of the decision to close schools. There was a Katrina gas rush in my town too; maybe suspending school and the gas tax has kept us calmer this time around.