aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I’m not watching!
The Times says, in the anchor derby, CBS is betting on folksy:
It’s a scary world, except on CBS News, where it seems downright cuddly.
“Well, Jim, this is some pretty strong talk,” Bob Schieffer said companionably on Tuesday after the CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod described Washington’s reaction to the Bush administration’s plan to allow an Arab-owned company to manage six American ports. “This is fairly weird; there is no other way to put it.”
Summarize the news of the day in five minutes or so; spend a big chunk of time—10 minutes or so—on covering one really good story; and give people even more to think about by ending with opinion.
I still wish they’d adopt that format - with or without Katie in the anchor seat (the Times, “rumors are rife"). I’m watching less and less television news as it gets more and more vacuously formulaic.
I really don’t see that - or “spunky interactive features like “Assignment America,” which allows viewers to vote online for the Friday feature story” - effectively attracting the viewers they crave.
When robots meet in London Fields
You may recall that upon the announced
death discontinuation of the Aibo, I said I much prefer the open source Feral Robot Project discussed by Natalie Jeremijenko in the ITConversation podcast Social Robotics, Smocial Robotics.
These feral robot projects take commercially available robotic toy dogs, modify and adapt them, then release them to investigate contaminated urban sites. The roving robot dog packs create mediagenic events that draw attention to and visualize the environmental findings. The whole endeavor is, in essence, an open source robotics project.
Cool, eh? Great idea!
Today Giles wrote to update me on a recent project in London:
A group from Proboscis (Giles Lane, Sarah Thelwall, Orlagh Woods and Camilla Brueton) and Birkbeck College Computer Science dept (George Roussos and Dima Diall) braved the freezing weather to test the robot out in the field. We adapted a Locustworld meshbox to act as a battery powered mobile mesh node with SPACE Media’s wifi network broadcasting into the southern part of London Fields… The robot took sensor readings (air quality and carbon dioxide) approximately every two seconds, together with a GPS location fix to enable the reading to be correlated with a map and with other forms of local knowledge posted on the UT platform. Alongside our own feral robot, we gave a robot designed by Natalie Jeremijenko for the Ark Centre in Dublin last summer a test run in the fields, its sensor attuned to ‘solvent vapours’. However, as it isn’t able to store or transmit its readings we were not able to determine what, if anything, it encountered.
Here’s an online visualisation of the test results and video footage from the test.
Thanks Giles! Keep up the good work. I look forward to the day I’m posting about some projects on our side of the pond. In the meantime, we have… public pillowfights in our parks.
Jack Shafer says it’s clear that many female newscasters lie about their true hair color—notice all those blondes?—every time they appear on television. TV newsreaders go blond to appear younger and thus more fertile. “The disturbing suggestion here is that men who watch lots and lots of TV news are cruising for vigorous virtual mates at the same time they’re grazing for news,” writes Shafer. “Ladies, don’t leave your husbands alone with the TV.”
Answer sites: ask a question, get an opinion
The answer space is a “space” I wish would be effectively developed. It’s not:
Search engines are great for pointing people to information that can help them find a good deal on a laptop, the correct spelling of an obscure French writer’s name and the latest news stories on the Iraq war. But how well does the Web do answering full questions that involve some research or critical thinking? [...]
Not surprisingly, the answers from free Web sites were long on opinion and humor but short on facts. They tended to be good for gauging public opinion but not very helpful in finding explanations for difficult questions.
The man’s ingratitude
Fred Clark at The Slacktivist says Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is a petulant jerk:
Venezuela’s Citgo Petroleum Corp. is offering heating oil at a 40 percent discount to low-income families throughout the American Northeast.
Here are some of the words Rep. Barton has used to describe this assistance: “unfriendly,” “belligerent,” “hostile.” Barton is chair of the House Energy Committee, whose spokesperson, Lisa Miller, also chimed in on the fuel assistance for poor families, calling it “obnoxious.” Barton and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., have launched a congressional investigation of Citgo.
Citgo is being investigated by the GOP Congress for helping low-income American families. Joe Barton seems to think launching such an investigation—trying to stop, or at least interfere with, such assistance—is his job as a member of Congress.
So who, exactly is Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas? His opponent in November, David Harris, tells us:
* Joe Barton is the bought-and-paid-for servant of the American oil industry.
* Joe Barton is a personal contributor of $5,000 to Tom Delay’s defense fund.
* Joe Barton has been recognized as a ”Clean Air Villain of the Month.”
* Joe Barton voted against aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina.