aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, January 29, 2007
Amero gets the Fox News treatment
Julie Amero, the CT substitute teacher facing a possible 40 years in prison because her malware-infected PC generated porn pop-ups during class, gets the fair and balanced Fox News treatment here.
Contrast Fox with this far more sane discussion with someone who actually knows something about the case listen to W. Herbert Horner, a computer consultant who examined her computer and testified on her behalf, interviewed on Public Radio’s Future Tense.
See also, State v. Amero, a blog from Austin, TX computer consultant Mike Conwell who’s angered at the injustice of the conviction.
LATER: Rick Green of the Hartford Courant weighs in, “To believe that Julie Amero deserves to go to jail for exposing her students to pornography takes some work.”
LATER STILL - A plea appended to all of my Amero posts:
WE NEED A COMPUTER FORENSICS INNOCENCE PROJECT; a Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld of the computer forensics world. We need experts who believe in the presumption of innocence and are willing to spend the time it takes to dig through logs, registry entries and hard drives to find exculpatory material when present. This is hardly the first case of its kind and, unfortunately, it’s not likely be the last. Prosecutors who look for - and presume - guilt do selective searches for data supporting guilt; those accused rarely have the resources to pay computer forensics experts to counter that selective evidence.
The Real McCain
Married____ Single____ Widowed____ Divorced____ (Reprise)
Regular readers will remember that I had quite a number of dealings with the rural Georgia medical establishment recently. Their profligate use of the Social Security number aside, a distinguishing characteristic of their paperwork is the limited number of relationship options offered.
They are: married, single, widowed, divorced.
The very order of these options seems laden with meaning. It honestly doesn’t occur to them that there could be any other. Then, under “who to notify in case of emergency,” they propose options: “mother, father, sister, brother...” Even “friend” doesn’t put in an appearance!
Two quick anecdotes…
In the first the nurse asks me, “Does your wife teach at the college?” She had my insurance card and I work at the college, so I was baffled that she had asked this question. Why would she think I am on my wife’s insurance? (Oh, now I get it, duh! Kind, friendly small talk.)
Given that I had just had a disconcerting experience with the surgeon, I wasn’t in tip top intellectual shape. So I blurt out, and again I have no idea why beyond awkward innocence, “No, my husband does.” Fumbling to fix that took us from bad to worse.
In my second anecdote, Doug and I show up for my surgery in the dark of morning after a long drive with no eating (or coffee) in prep for surgery and the nurse asks Doug, “Would you like to accompany your father to the room.” Father???
Doug, properly feeling as awkward as I, answers, “he’s not my father he’s my lover.” Now, I prefer the term “life-partner” (I’m not simply some hottie on the side) and I’m sure Doug does too but he was so nonplussed that the word lover was the one put out there. The nurse replied, “Hey that’s even better.”
These people may or may not have trouble dealing with the fact that I’m a gay man, but they give no indication that they do and so it just seems to me that it would be easier all around if the form could give them that little heads up that, hey, this guy’s not married, not single, not widowed and not divorced!
The lady of the house
I just got a call. This is exactly how I remember it:
THE CALLER: “My name is [something-or-other] and I’m calling from [someaudiencesurveycompany]. May I speak with the lady of the house?”
I ANSWER: “There is no lady of the house. You called a gay household and you just blew it!”
I hung up.
I’m really typically fairly sympathetic to the plight of the person who must earn a living making telemarketing calls, but whoever wrote that script deserve to be drawn and quartered. Somehow it just sent me over the edge.
Barbaro, who rocketed to a six-and-a-half-length victory in the Kentucky Derby last May but sustained a catastrophic injury two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes, was euthanized early this morning in Pennsylvania. [...]
More than 118,000 people at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and a national television audience watched on May 20, 2006, as Barbaro pulled up in mid-race, his fractured right hind leg dangling awkwardly, while his jockey, Edgar Prado, tried to soothe him.
The eight-month effort to nurse the horse back to health riveted enthusiasts around the world, and reminded casual fans about the beauty, mystery and heartbreak that is part of thoroughbred racing. [...]
Horses are often euthanized on the racetrack after sustaining severe injuries. But Barbaro was no ordinary horse; he was the Derby winner, with a value as a commercial stallion estimated at $30 million.
The Jacksons were also not ordinary owners. Roy Jackson’s grandfather was William Rockefeller, once the president of Standard Oil. For decades Mr. Jackson and his family had been substantial donors to Penn’s veterinary school. The Jacksons vowed to spare no expense in the hope that Barbaro could someday return to a normal, pain-free life.
I’m sorry for Barbaro’s passing. I harbor a secret hope that all those people who mourn his passing might also want a better life for all animals, particularly farm animals. If you wonder why it is that a broken leg can kill a horse - I did - the Slate Explainer has the answer.
Bugged by “photolurking”
Since the popularity of photo-sharing sites exploded, the lives of snap-happy citizen journalists have been there for the lurking. And like the experience of Robin Williams’ tragic photo developer in One Hour Photo, happy family photos offer the perfect escapism from an unpleasant reality. [...]
Researchers at Lancaster University uncovered this strange breed of web addicts while analysing the habits of photo sharing site users.
Their report said: “People do this for emotional kicks. Curiosity, loneliness, even jealousy are just some of the reasons people look at these images.” Wedding photos are extremely popular, and at the time of writing, on sites like Flickr there were 3,868,832 images tagged ‘wedding’.
Clickthrough the strange breed accusation for (little) more:
“Not only are people interested in looking at the photographs of people they know, but also the photographs of complete strangers....” said Haliyana Khalid, a Phd student in Lancaster University’s Computing Department. “...They also like to talk about them with their friends. It can become quite obsession for some people. It isn’t uncommon to find people who go onto one of these sites every day.”
This is a diagnosis in search of a disorder; there is no there there. Just exactly what did they find that justifies these conclusions of loneliness, jealousy and emotional kicks? And how is it that visits to an online photo gallery earned the ominous “lurker” label?
Label me suspicious. I see a newspaper industry threatened by new media realities taking advantage of old media dynamics by associating an obscure PhD thesis topic with a bad scary movie through a sensationalist headline to, voilÃƒÂ , achieve a circulation boost. I’ve even been known to try such tactics from time to time myself.
Somebody show me the qualitative difference between 1950s browsing of Life Magazine, or 1990s flipping through People or Us or picking up any Fleet Street rag - or its American cousin, the supermarket tabloid - today, and our innocent Flickr browsing for wedding photos. Then maybe I’ll find something unpleasant about the new reality.