aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Think Secret no more: keeps sources, shuts down
Remember how back in 2005 Apple sued Think Secret, one of the most infamous Apple rumor sites on the block? Apparently TS’s publisher Nick Ciarelli (aka Nick DePlume) settled and even managed to keep his inside sources hidden (and the man has many), but paid the ultimate price: he’s agreed to shut down the site, presumably for good—at least in its current incarnation. [...]
Update: It’s real alright. Nick just wrote back: “I’ll just say that I’m very satisfied with the settlement, and that I’d like to thank the Electronic Frontier Foundation and my attorney, Terry Gross of Gross & Belsky, for their support.”
Happy Blogiversary Digby!
Five years of Hullabaloo:
The blogosphere is changing, becoming much more sophisticated and much more innovative. It has to. I’m a dinosaur in many ways, still plugging along on my own, writing on a random daily schedule and basically following my bliss. It’s not necessarily the smart move, but it’s the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done and I’m loathe to change it. Perhaps, for a while, there’s still a place for the (almost) lone blogger like me to keep doing this the old fashioned way.
I, too, am an old fashioned blogger in that dinosaur mold. There’s a place for us…
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Content creation by teens grows: girls lead
A new Pew report finds:
Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004.
Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation. Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys, however, do dominate one area - posting of video content online. Online teen boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online somewhere where someone else could see it. [...]
There is a subset of teens who are super-communicators—teens who have a host of technology options for dealing with family and friends, including traditional landline phones, cell phones, texting, social network sites, instant messaging, and email. They represent about 28% of the entire teen population and they are more likely to be older girls.
Britney’s little sister Jamie Lynne is pregnant at 16
Davey D wonders, should we blame hip hop?
So yesterday word came down that Britney Spear’s little sister Jamie Lynne is pregnant at age 16. Yep, the little sis who is a frequently trotted out as a role model on the Nickalodean channel. This comes at the heals of her mom getting ready to drop a book on parenting. How ironic is that?
I’m not gonna take any sort of glee in that. Teenagers getting pregnant has been going on since human beings showed up on the face of the earth. It happens. I’m just wondering what will happen in the aftermath. For example will conservatives trot Lynne Spears out and give her major kudos for NOT getting an abortion? Or will they pound their chests and say this is the result of not teaching enough abstinence? I’m asking this because Lynn who lives in the Bible belt comes from a place where teaching abstinence is mandatory… maybe that course of action ain’t working.
Cynthia Tucker recently opined in the AJC that Bush policies are to blame for the sudden increase in teen births. And the number of states refusing federal money for “abstinence-only” sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.
I do know that we are already hearing praises being heaped upon her for ‘being responsible’ and keeping the child. We rarely hear those praises for young Black and Brown mothers who have kids at a young age. We look at them and say the country is in crises. ... Jamie Lynn’s boyfriend-Casey Aldridge. He’s 19 years old. Now I know many of you who are reading this will say what’s the big deal? Teenagers are teenagers? In a sexually charged environment should we not be surprised that folks get together?
Well lets keep this in mind several years ago a young man who was an honor student and home coming king by the name of Genarlow Wilson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having oral sex with his 15 year old girl friend. Wilson was 17 at the time. His sentence was recently overturned, but not after he had to under go the horrors of being in the state pen for a few years. Will the heavy hand of the law come down on Jamie Lynn’s boyfriend? Isn’t it against the law to have sex with a minor? Here in the Bay Area about 10-11 years ago, rap star Ray Luv spent a year in jail after it was discovered thathe got with a 16 year old while he was 19 and we are liberal as hell. What’s gonna happen to this Casey guy? It’s interesting to note that many of the news agencies aren’t stating his age. Instead they are sugar coating things by saying things like ‘long time boyfriend’ and ‘boyfriend who she met in church’.... mmmmmm thats the sort of thing that makes you wonder. Lets keep an eye on this one folks…
CNN reports it. In entertainment news:
Spears, the star of Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101,” told OK! Magazine that she’s pregnant and that the father is her 18-year-old boyfriend. [...]
In Louisiana, where Spears lives, it is a misdemeanor for someone age 17 to 19 to have consensual sex with someone age 15 to 17 if the difference between their ages is more than two years.
In California, where she sometimes tapes her television show, it’s a misdemeanor to have sex with someone younger than 18 if the offender is less than three years older. Someone more than three years older could be charged with a felony.
We need statutory rape reform. Let’s stop criminalizing our kids for being kids!
Speaking of odious, the baseless Edwards rumors first flacked by Mickey Kaus showed up in the National Enquirer as
Breaking News! yesterday, disappeared for a while this morning [Enquirer ed. tells Wonkette: “Due to a website malfunction a summary of the story went live last night for a brief time. It was then taken down because it was scheduled to be released this morning."] but is back again and smelly as ever right now.
I’ve been seeing people’s politics peeking through in their reactions all day; I have to wonder if I, myself, would think twice before jumping on, say, a National Enquirer story that Huckabee has a love child on the way. I like to think I would and that a search of this blog would bear me out.
On the story at hand, Ezra Klein looks to the facts as reported in the story:
Right now, the only known facts are that a pregnant former-Edwards staffer moved to North Carolina to be nearer to the man she claims to be the father of her child. This man agrees that he is the father of her child. But The Enquirer needs to sell copies, Mickey Kaus needs to ruin Slate’s reputation, and Andrew Sullivan doesn’t like John Edwards. With each step away from the source, the facts of the article are further ignored, till they’re no longer even mentioned—all that’s uttered is that Edwards is embroiled in a paternity scandal. As of now, there’s no evidence for this, and those publishing the rumors should be ashamed. Though the shame they should feel over their journalistic practices pales in comparison to the shame they must feel over their amorous feelings towards goats.
LATER - from the father:
Statement On Behalf Of Andrew Young
December 19, 2007
As confirmed by Ms. Hunter, Andrew Young is the father of her unborn child.
Senator Edwards knew nothing about the relationship between these former co-workers, which began when they worked together in 2006.
As a private citizen who no longer works for the campaign, Mr. Young asks that the media respect his privacy while he works to make amends with his family.
Pamela J. Marple
Attorney for Mr. Young
An avalanche of misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton
I’ve been watching with disdain the odious glee some folks are getting from passing around a not-so-flattering picture of Hillary Clinton. Limbaugh pushed me over the edge:
There is this thing in this country that, as you age—and this is particularly, you know, women are hardest hit on this, and particularly in Hollywood—America loses interest in you, and we know this is true because we constantly hear from aging actresses, who lament that they can’t get decent roles anymore, other than in supporting roles that will not lead to any direct impact, yay or nay, in the box office. While Hollywood box-office receipts may be stagnant, none of that changes the fact that this is a country obsessed with appearance. It’s a country obsessed with looks. The number of people in public life who appear on television or on the big screen, who are content to be who they are, you can probably count on one hand. Everybody’s trying to make themselves look different—and in that situation, in that case, they think they’re making themselves look better. It’s just the way our culture has evolved. It’s the way the country is. It’s like almost an addiction that some people have to what I call the perfection that Hollywood presents of successful, beautiful, fun-loving people. So the question is this: Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?
BILL MOYERS: When they talk about men, they have Ronald Reagan, cowboy. When they talk about Hillary Clinton or they depict Hillary Clinton, it’s Hillary Clinton the witch.
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: There’s also, however, another way to read this piece. What is Hillary Clinton actually doing? Frightening Reagan conservatives a whole lot. One of the things I think that happens with many of these visual depictions is that the people who are producing them are trying to attach what scholars call negative affect to Hillary Clinton… To the extent that you have negative feelings, have basic affect when you see something. If I can attach that to something, I can make you feel uneasy about it. I can increase the likelihood that you’re going to vote against Hillary Clinton. So we know, for example, that if I show you a picture of someone who’s smiling and feels comfortable and it’s a pleasant video, that’s that Reagan-
BILL MOYERS: Right.
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: You think more positively of the person, even if you don’t know who the person is. Then I show you a scary picture, an off-putting picture. You react negatively. You respond negatively. I can increase the likelihood that you’ll say you’ll vote against that person even if you know nothing about them.
So some of this is what we used to call visual vilification. But it’s also attaching an emotional response to the picture to say feel uneasy, feel uncomfortable. And as a result, keep that emotional tag tied as you hear her explaining positions on issue. Keep that discomfort. Hold onto it till you go into the voting booth. Stay with that comfortable issue and comfortable image of Ronald Reagan.
Moyers noted that you can “discuss this avalanche of misogyny directed at Hillary Clinton without endorsing her campaign.”
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: ...The misogyny that is present on the Internet right now about Hillary Clinton is, I think, something worthy of public discussion. ...One of the complications of this is we’re moving into new linguistic territory. And we haven’t found a way to discuss this. When a woman stands up and asks Senator McCain, “How do we beat the bitch?” and there isn’t a clear statement by Senator McCain that that’s not the way one characterizes, you know, my opponent on the Democratic side. And there’s not a public commentary that surrounds it the way there was a public commentary about the statement by Imus or about the comedian from SEINFELD. Essentially what we say to the culture at large is that must be appropriate discourse to apply to a female candidate running for office - or at least this female candidate.
BILL MOYERS: It’s okay to talk this way.
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: It’s okay to talk this way. ... language is constantly open for discussion. We know what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate by the way in which society responds, what our peer group responds, the community we turn to responds. And so when someone uses language that is considered inappropriate and there is a national discussion, we dampen down that use. That’s what happened with Imus, who is now just coming back on the air. When something like this happens and we don’t have the discussion, we move it in to acceptable use.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Polyface Pigs (reprise)
Last summer we visited Polyface Farms. This is how pigs should live…
Sustainable’s not just another word for nothing left to lose
I know there are still skeptics - we’ve got plenty of them around here - but it seems we’ve reached something of a global consensus that global warming is a real and man-made phenomena.
So now I’m wondering, in a similar vein, how long is it going to take us to believe that pumping animals full of antibiotics is the way to grow super-killer-bugs?
Michael Pollan had a piece, Our Decrepit Food Factories, in the NYTimes Magazine Sunday. In it he tells two stories:
The first story is about MRSA, the very scary antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus bacteria that is now killing more Americans each year than AIDS - 100,000 infections leading to 19,000 deaths in 2005, according to estimates in The Journal of the American Medical Association. For years now, drug-resistant staph infections have been a problem in hospitals, where the heavy use of antibiotics can create resistant strains of bacteria. It’s Evolution 101: the drugs kill off all but the tiny handful of microbes that, by dint of a chance mutation, possess genes allowing them to withstand the onslaught; these hardy survivors then get to work building a drug-resistant superrace. The methicillin-resistant staph that first emerged in hospitals as early as the 1960s posed a threat mostly to elderly patients. But a new and even more virulent strain - called “community-acquired MRSA” - is now killing young and otherwise healthy people who have not set foot in a hospital. No one is yet sure how or where this strain evolved, but it is sufficiently different from the hospital-bred strains to have some researchers looking elsewhere for its origin, to another environment where the heavy use of antibiotics is selecting for the evolution of a lethal new microbe: the concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO.
The second story looks at Colony Collapse Disorder in bees:
In 2005 the demand for honeybees in California had so far outstripped supply that the U.S.D.A. approved the importation of bees from Australia. These bees get off a 747 at SFO and travel by truck to the Central Valley, where they get to work pollinating almond flowers - and mingling with bees arriving from every corner of America. As one beekeeper put it to Singeli Agnew in The San Francisco Chronicle, California’s almond orchards have become “one big brothel” - a place where each February bees swap microbes and parasites from all over the country and the world before returning home bearing whatever pathogens they may have picked up. Add to this their routine exposure to agricultural pesticides and you have a bee population ripe for an epidemic national in scope.
I imagine Pollan’s AIDS reference in that first story to be purposeful. I was at ground zero for the AIDS epidemic and read Randy Shiltz’s 1987 book, And The Band Played On, in which he describes a so-called Patient Zero, a gay flight attendant who had sex with men around the globe and was, for a time, considered by some to be the original source of the HIV epidemic among gay men.
While that’s no longer a credible theory, they do still say that HIV came to the US ”probably via a single person.” Now one of the things I thought then, back when everyone around me was dying, was that if anything good was going to come of this it would be that we were going to see huge leaps forward in medical research and our scientific understanding.
What I’m seeing in the case of those bees is that, instead, we act as if we’ve learned nothing and have to start all over again from scratch!
Pollan starts his piece by noting that “sustainability” is the word of the moment, but he wonders if we haven’t succeeded in defining sustainability down:
To call a practice or system unsustainable is not just to lodge an objection based on aesthetics, say, or fairness or some ideal of environmental rectitude. What it means is that the practice or process can’t go on indefinitely because it is destroying the very conditions on which it depends. It means that, as the Marxists used to say, there are internal contradictions that sooner or later will lead to a breakdown. [...]
We’re asking a lot of our bees. We’re asking a lot of our pigs too. That seems to be a hallmark of industrial agriculture: to maximize production and keep food as cheap as possible, it pushes natural systems and organisms to their limit, asking them to function as efficiently as machines. When the inevitable problems crop up - when bees or pigs remind us they are not machines - the system can be ingenious in finding “solutions,” whether in the form of antibiotics to keep pigs healthy or foreign bees to help pollinate the almonds. But this year’s solutions have a way of becoming next year’s problems. That is to say, they aren’t “sustainable.”
From this perspective, the story of Colony Collapse Disorder and the story of drug-resistant staph are the same story. Both are parables about the precariousness of monocultures. Whenever we try to rearrange natural systems along the lines of a machine or a factory, whether by raising too many pigs in one place or too many almond trees, whatever we may gain in industrial efficiency, we sacrifice in biological resilience. The question is not whether systems this brittle will break down, but when and how, and whether when they do, we’ll be prepared to treat the whole idea of sustainability as something more than a nice word.
FCC scraps Media Ownership Rule
Bill Moyers knew they would. Here’s his update from late last week:
Mike Huckabee Extremism
Jon Perr of Perrspectives, produced the Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee’s Extremism last week:
[D]espite emerging stories from his checkered past such as the Wayne Dumond affair or his past AIDS bigotry, a true portrait of Mike Huckabee as a radical reactionary and dangerous extremist has yet to be painted.
Here then, are the Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee’s extremism:
This week he told Pam, “his outrages occur far more quickly than can be documented.”
Here, then, are 10 More Moments in Mike Huckabee’s Extremism:
Monday, December 17, 2007
Faster firewire coming
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London:
The speed of FireWire is set to quadruple next year after the group behind it announced a new specification for the networking interface.
FireWire is the best-known brand name for the 1394 standard, which is also known as i.Link. The technology is used as a high-speed data interface for linking devices such as external hard drives and camcorders to PCs.
On Thursday, the 1394 Trade Association announced the S3200 electrical specification for FireWire. The specification builds upon the existing IEEE 1394b standard by boosting the maximum speed from 800 megabits per second to 3.2Gbps. Importantly, S3200 can use the cables and connectors already in use for FireWire 800 products, the association claimed.
How did I miss this? Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia plans to launch a new social network and user-generated content website to be called Marthapedia:
Martha Stewart, the paragon of expertise as content, is adopting the style of social media for her next website—to be called “Marthapedia.” But Ms. Stewart, who didn’t get where she is by suggesting that the hoi polloi know more than she does, made clear that Marthapedia will not be so freewheeling as, say, Wikipedia. Editors at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will check to see if the public’s ideas are better than their own, she said.
The site initially will be seeded with existing content from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, such as Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, but will open for information and suggestions from the public, Ms. Stewart told an Advertising Week audience this morning. “It will be a very interesting site,” she said.
Martha’s not known for her community spirit; and Marthapedia won’t change that. It looks more like the ploy of a savvy marketer to co-opt and cash in on the wiki cache than to really open up to the unwashed masses:
It’s important to be in the print and online worlds; that’s where the customers are-both places. Magazines are not going to go away. They are still a viable form of communication. The magazine is core to our business, and from there, we expand to all other media. You go to our Web site for information, for inspiration, a recipe, a how-to and for pleasure. Our traffic is building quite nicely.
We’re working on a new project called a Marthapedia that [is based on] my home-keeping handbook, which is an encyclopedia on how to take care of everything around your home. There will be user-generated information that is edited. Not like a Wikipedia, but more like comments and communication that are edited.
1 down, 36 to go: NJ abolishes the death penalty
In a 44-36 vote last week, the Democrat-run New Jersey state assembly replaced the death sentence with life in prison without parole.
Gov. John Corzine is expected to sign the bill into law today.
On Saturday the NYTimes editorialized that it was a long time coming:
By clinging to the death penalty, states keep themselves in the company of countries like Iran, North Korea and China - a disreputable pantheon of human mistreatment. Small wonder the gyrations of New Jersey’s Legislature have been watched intently by human rights activists around the world.
Spurred in large part by the large and growing body of DNA-based exonerations, there is increasing national unease about the death penalty. The Supreme Court is poised to consider whether lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them amount to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, an exercise bound to put fresh focus on some of the ugly details of implementing capital punishment.
SEE ALSO: Are you one of those who buy into the death penalty as deterrent argument? Then let’s test it!
Saudi King pardons rape victim
You’ll recall that a Saudi court sentences a 19-year-old gang-rape victim to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male. When her lawyer appealed the court upped the punishment to 200 lashes.
Today comes word that King Abdullah has pardoned the victim. But, says a spokesman, the pardon does not mean the king doubts the country’s judges:
‘’The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair,’’ al-Jazirah quoted al-Sheik as saying.
It’s unlikely that the king would want to eliminate the kingdom’s strict segregation of the sexes even if he could, but in that light it’s worth revisiting the May Atlantic’s The Kingdom of the Closet to understand some of the unintended consequences of such restrictions.
The piece opens with a young gay man, “Yasser,” touring the article’s author, Nadya Labi, around the gay spots of Jeddah:
Yasser turned onto a side street, then braked suddenly. “Oh shit, it’s a checkpoint,” he said, inclining his head toward some traffic cops in brown uniforms. “Do you have your ID?” he asked me. He wasn’t worried about the gay-themed nature of his tour-he didn’t want to be caught alone with a woman. I rummaged through my purse, realizing that I’d left my passport in the hotel for safekeeping. Yasser looked behind him to see if he could reverse the car, but had no choice except to proceed. To his relief, the cops nodded us through. “God, they freaked me out,Ã¢â‚¬Â� Yasser said. As he resumed his narration, I recalled something he had told me earlier. “It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here,” he had said. “If you go out with a girl, people will start to ask her questions. But if I have a date upstairs and my family is downstairs, they won’t even come up.”
Om Malik: the New EchoStar Should Buy TiVo
Satellite TV company EchoStar recently decided to spin off its set-top box and other non-broadcast businesses into a separate company, EchoStar Technologies Corp. (ETC), betting that this standalone business will grow with the demand for smart, next-generation set-top boxes. ETC has one big problem, though: It has inherited the bitter patent feud between EchoStar and TiVo. One way to end that feud for ETC — buy TiVo.
The move has more upside than the chance to put an end to the legal drama. It could make ETC, which also includes the recently purchased Sling Media, a set-top box powerhouse. [...]
TiVo (TIVO) sued Englewood, Colo.-based EchoStar (DISH) in 2004, alleging that it stole TiVo’s DVR technology for pausing, fast forwarding, and rewinding live TV shows. The Patent and Trademark Office recently sided in favor of TiVo, putting EchoStar at a serious disadvantage. In fact, in documents filed with the SEC, EchoStar listed the TiVo patent case as one of the big risks to spinning off its hardware unit.
With a market cap of $811 million, Om says TiVo’s an affordable consumer-friendly product with good brand recognition and the potential to become a compelling next-generation device to satellite, IPTV and cable TV service providers:
TiVo, which led the time-shift revolution, missed the place-shifting movement spearheaded by Sling Media. When you combine those two features, and layer Internet downloads (TiVo has deals with Amazon Unbox and several independent video content creators like Rocketboom), digital music and home networking capabilities, you have a set-top box that does it all — minus the clunkiness normally associated with set-top boxes made by Motorola and Scientific Atlanta, or the complexity of Microsoft Media Center. And the Sling and TiVo brands are strong enough to withstand any challenge from newfangled IP set-top boxes being offered by companies such as Amino.
Given the Patent and Trademark Office’s recent decision, this patent fight may not be one that EchoStar can win. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Hallelujah Chorus Nuns
Change the Juvenile Justice code in Georgia
The AJC has a Q&A with former prosecutor and DeKalb County district attorney Tom Morgan:
A 17-year-old high school student takes a nude picture of his 17-year-old girlfriend and sends it via cellphone to his friend.
Does he realize he’s trafficking in child porn?
Two things I’ve learned from working with teenagers,” says J. Tom Morgan, former DeKalb County district attorney. “Either, one, they don’t know the laws, or two, they don’t appreciate the consequences of their actions.”
Know the laws??? How could they??? Morgan says himself that he didn’t know of the one above until it resulted in child porn charges against both the sender and the recipient of the photo. And what public policy good do such laws serve?
Here’s the lesson we teach - uneven application of the law, there’s no rhyme or reason and happenstance gets you caught:
Q: How do you tell a kid to drive 55 mph on I-285?
A: There is no good answer. Don’t kill the messenger because you don’t like the message. It’s 55. You may be the one busted for driving 70.
I tell the college kids at school that they are our future, that they can accept a system with such bad outcomes or they can go out and fix what my generation has so clearly screwed up!
In the meantime, I support the efforts of JUST Georgia to change the juvenile justice system in Georgia. I’ll do everything in my power to help them.
RELATED: The NYTimes says Missouri has turned its juvenile justice system into a nationally recognized model of how to deal effectively with troubled children:
The military’s “Lie and Hide” enforcement plummets
That’s what Stephen H. Miller calls “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and he points to tonight’s 60 Minutes for this:
Discharges of gay soldiers have dropped dramatically since the Afghan and Iraq wars began, from 1,200 a year in 2001 to barely 600 now. With the military struggling to recruit and retain soldiers, gay soldiers claim that commanders are reluctant to discharge critical personnel in the middle of a war.
Comments Miller, “So much for the argument that gays must be drummed out to preserve the ‘unit cohesion,’ especially among our fighting forces.”
More pandering to paranoia in the guise of public safety
Texas plans to do criminal background checks during emergency evacuations before allowing evacuees to board rescue busses. Er, why?
The idea, according to Jack Colley, is to keep sex offenders and others who may be wanted by police off the same buses used by the most vulnerable during an evacuation: the elderly, disabled residents and children.
“This will allow us to help them evacuate,” Colley said of sex offenders and others wanted for crimes. “We’re not going to leave anyone.”
Oh, how kind of them. They’re going to help the criminals and sex offenders evacuate.
And how, precisely, will they handle that in the chaos of an emergency evacuation?
“We’ll have procedures and we’re not going to advertise what they are,” [Mr. Colley] said.
Gee, golly. That makes the confidence just rise up inside of me!
Via Maggie at Of Counsel, who wonders what the public safety issue really is:
The article doesn’t say this is a response to any incident that’s previously occurred. And given that buses are full of people and people have eyes, it’s not going to be the easiest thing to “vicitmizeÃ¢â‚¬Â� a fellow busrider. [...]
They claim they are after only those with outstanding warrants, sex offenders, and parolees. I’m not sure why they’ve chosen these three groups. If you’re evacuating the jail, what are you going to do with a person with an outstanding warrant? Are local police really going to have time to deal with that in an emergency?
Yes, I’m real sure their super-secret procedures will work all of that out.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Facebook Questioning: Coming Out the Facebook way
A potential suitor I had scoped out for my nephew changed his “interested in” status on Facebook today. Having my nephew living here has given me some insight into how young people come out these days in this rural southern college town… They change their “interested in” status on Facebook!
There’s plenty of room for mystery in these declarations. They change with a frequency that baffles people of my generation.
My nephew has no clue about the Beacon debacle.
Beacon, you will recall, is the ad program that sends word of your web purchases from sites like Fandango and Overstock.com to be listed in your Facebook news feed.
That and the story on the lawsuit brought by former Harvard classmate associates questioning the provenance of Facebook - which has elicited further fumbling on Zuckerberg’s behalf - have convinced me that those questions are legitimate.
Earlier this week AdAge’s Simon Dumenco had a fun column suggesting other apps Facebook users will “love” one day. Here’s the first one:
Are you a closeted homosexual in a small Southern town? Facebook Questioning will automatically suggest to those friends and colleagues who are able to “read between the lines” that maybe you’re “questioning” your sexuality. It does this by comparing Beacon data with thresholds of what’s considered “normal” heterosexual behavior by marketers. “The purchase by an unmarried, middle-aged male of more than two movie-musical soundtracks or DVDs per quarter doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s gay,” says a Facebook veep. “But it will raise a rainbow-colored flag within our algorithm and might even help certain in-denial Facebook users with their own voyage of self-discovery. After a while, we believe that our users will fall in love with Facebook Questioning.”
So my nephew’s been reluctant to pursue that nice young man I’ve been encouraging him to get to know better because he had listed his status as “interested in women.”
Well this morning, my nephew tells me, he changed his “interested in” status from women to men. And listed that he’s “engaged to” a well-known openly gay local pleasure-seeker.
My nephew’s considering his next Facebook move. A poke? Some writing on the wall? Give a virtual gift? Ahh, youth…
Google’s Wiki variant
Google is testing a new Web service intended to become a repository of knowledge from experts on various topics, one that could turn into a competitor to Wikipedia and other sites.
If it attracts a following, the service could accelerate Google’s transformation from a search engine into a company that helps create and publish Web content. Some critics said that shift could compromise Google’s objectivity in presenting search results.
The service, called Knol, which is short for knowledge, would allow people to create Web pages on any topic. It is designed to include features that permit readers to submit comments, rate pages and suggest changes. However, unlike Wikipedia, which allows anyone to edit an entry, only the author of a “knol,” as the pages in the service would be called, would be allowed to edit. Different authors could have competing pages on the same topic.
Google said that a main idea behind the project was to bring attention to authors who have expertise on a particular topic.
Jimmy Wales said, “I’m looking forward to seeing what it ends up looking like.”
Yeah, me too…
New Coin: the Bush Doubloon
Via Blog for Democracy.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I mentioned earlier this week the exoneration of John White after he was shown by DNA evidence to be innocent of a 1979 rape. As previously reported, there was a “cold hit” from the DNA to another person in Georgia’s database. Turns out it was to James Parham, who was in the same lineup that White was picked out of nearly 30 years ago. It’s an amazing coincidence, since White was the suspect police had their eye on and Parham was used only because he was already in the local jail. Worse, the description the victim gave didn’t even fit Parham. (She wasn’t wearing her glasses. Cliche, but true.)
This information surfaces on the final day of hearings for the House Study Committee on Eyewitness Identification Procedures. Hearings started back in September and they’ve heard from those falsely identified as well as those who made false identifications. White himself was brought to today’s hearing. Law enforcement has argued against regulations. I am very very hopeful that we can take some strong steps forward. Very few states have ventured into this territory and there’s a lot of information out there that needs to be disseminated to the public and the legislatures. A proposed draft of legislation was put out at today’s hearing.
RELATED - Justice is the victim.
Needed: Regulation to Prevent Journalists-Turned-Professors from Embarrassing Themselves
The Center for Citizen Media’s Dan Gillmor on David Hazinski’s ‘citizen journalism’ too risky:
It is false, of course, that anyone who’s serious about this field argues that it’s entirely accurate or reliable (though it is often independent, and often covers what traditional media can’t or won’t spend time on). In fact, as many of us have been noting for years, accuracy ane reliability are key areas for improvement.
Then, having kindly allowed that this new media “has its place” - use the servant’s entrance, please - Hazinski removes it entirely from the realm of journalism, which is literally absurd.
And then, with the kind of hubris that sounds like a lampoon of a Big Media guy turned professor, he demands that the news industry regulate it all. (Could they first turn some of that regulatory sternness on themselves? More on that in a minute.)
Let’s note the one sound point in his generally bizarre piece: To the extent that traditional media organizations are going to bring their audiences into their journalism processes, they should insist doing things in an honorable and journalistically sound way. If he’d left it at that, Hazinski would have had a reasonable argument. But with dismaying lapses in fact and logic, he goes much further. [READ ON]
Good for Jodie!
Gay internet gossip sites were abuzz last week after Jodie Foster appeared to make a tacit coming out speech at an awards banquet.
Foster, long suspected by some of being a lesbian, concluded her speech at the Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast on Dec. 4 in Los Angeles by thanking “my beautiful Cydney, who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss.” The Cydney in question was largely believed to be Cydney Bernard, a film producer thought to be Foster’s partner of 14 years.
Adding to the melee was another rumor about a potentially lesbian star: Queen Latifah. Some sites claimed the singer-turned-actress was about to wed her female personal trainer after a blind item in the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column implied it first.
Publicists for both stars did not respond to requests for comment for this article, but Latifah did respond to the rumors with a reporter from the Chicago-Sun Times.
“When you’re famous these days, it’s just part of the deal - unfortunately,” Latifah told the paper. “People will make up all sorts of things that are not true. There ain’t going to be no wedding.”
From the quotes that appeared in the Sun-Times, Latifah didn’t appear to deny or affirm whether she is dating her trainer. [...]
WRITER DAVID EHRENSTEIN, who wrote “Open Secret: Gay Hollywood 1928-1998,” denies that the closet even really exists in Hollywood anymore.
“Nobody can pull this closet crap anymore, even Jodie [Foster] has realized and finally come to her senses after eons of closetiness and [her former publicist] Pat Kingsley making reporters sign contracts before interviewing her to make sure they didn’t ask anything about topic A,” Ehrenstein says.
He, too, points to Harris and Burtka as Hollywood’s hot new couple gracing the red carpet.
“The major leaders in what’s coming down the pipe now is the lovely Neil Patrick Harris and his lovely boyfriend David Burtka - who were never in the closet anyway,” Ehrenstein says. “The two of them have just been out and about everywhere, not that they weren’t before. But now even more so, and they’re gracing red carpets. This makes everybody else’s reticence look terribly silly.”
Nonetheless, not everyone who’s gay is out in Hollywood, a phenomenon Ehrenstein says is shifting.
“It’s habit, and it’s also I would say, publicists who are behind the times on things,” Ehrenstein says. “But this is something that I think is really rapidly changing. It used to be a lot more rigid and when somebody was coming out it used to be a huge deal, but there’s less and less of that now. It’s because of the decline of the studio system - the decline of the kind of control that Hollywood used to have over the culture, certainly the movies.”