Archive for the 'News' Category
July 3rd, 2007
The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail brings us a story of 29,000 rubber ducks that were spilled from a cargo ship in 1992 and will soon be washing up on British shores. I agree with the comment left at the bottom of the article; this event really would make a great animated movie!
June 13th, 2007
First AT&T wanted to spy on all our phone calls (or at least allow the NSA to). Now it looks like they want to spy on our Internet traffic (this time without any involvement from the NSA). According to the LA Times,
AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.
The San Antonio-based company started working last week with studios and record companies to develop anti-piracy technology that would target the most frequent offenders, said James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president.
This sounds really scary. The only conceivable way to implement this would be to inspect all packets going through their network. As an AT&T DSL subscriber, I certainly don’t want AT&T looking at the content of all my traffic.
A couple months ago, PBS’ Frontline had a great episode called “Spying on the Home Front” which covered AT&T’s wiretapping of United States citizens’ phones. You can watch the episode online for free on the Frontline Web site.
May 21st, 2007
Sure, you could look up the definition of irony but I find learning by example much better. For example, take two stories from the LA Times. The first is about California State Senator Carole Migden who was involved in a car accident over the weekend when she reached down to get her cell phone. The ironic part? She voted for a bill this year that would fine people for talking on their cell phone while driving their car. Example number two comes from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who rode a city bus last week to a meeting about reducing fossil fuel usage. After the meeting, he climbed into a GMC Yukon SUV (a car that gets horrible gas millage and burns a lot of fossil fuels) and drove off. I guess he’s taking a page out of the book of Arnold.
May 16th, 2007
According to WMAQ in Chicago, a McDonalds employee accidentally gave a child a Happy Meal with pot and a lighter in it. I can’t think of a stupider place to hide your pot than a Happy Meal but if you can, feel free to let me know.
In other news, if you’re thinking about peeing on your old Playstation 2, you should unplug it before you do so or you’ll end up like this guy.
May 16th, 2007
The Today Show and Zagat (apparently pronounced “Zuh-GAT” although the battle rages on) have come out with the Zagat/Today Show Fast-Food Survey which chronicles the best of the worst fast food and chain restaurants out there. In the category of Top Food, Wendy’s gets the prize trailed by Subway. In fact, Wendy’s has top honors in three out of the four categories. Now, if only they could stop calling things “biggie” I might be more inclined to go there (not really) but to me “biggie” is the equivalent of “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity” in the breakfast world. In other words, I’m not saying it so I’m not ordering it.
May 4th, 2007
According to National Geographic, the United States ranks next to last (second only to Turkey) in believing “human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” Even more scary is the finding that over the past 20 years, the population of the United States has grown more uncertain about evolution’s validity.
Poor Darwin .
April 25th, 2007
Since last Monday, I’ve largely been avoiding the mainstream media, especially coverage of the “Virginia Tech Massacre.” Sure, I know the horrible things that happened that day and how a deranged gunman killed 32 people and injured 29 but beyond that, I don’t see much value in knowing the gruesome details of the day’s events. What possible good could come from knowing minute details of the killings or watching interviews with the family and friends of those who were lost? In my opinion, those stories only bring heartache and depression.
This country has an odd way of coping with unexplainable loss. Last week’s American Idol controversy was ridiculous. I don’t watch the show but caught a glimpse of some of the highlights and try as I might, was unable to avoid hearing about the Simon Cowell’s infamous rolling of his eyes. Why anyone cares what that self serving creature does is beyond me but how ludicrous is it that a show like American Idol took time out of the show several times during the episode to express sorrow about the events at Virginia Tech. What family, student, or friends of the victims would be watching American Idol the day after the killings? After tragedy, it’s become hip in Hollywood to express faux sympathy and sorrow. Live show after live show awkwardly threw in an “our hearts are with you, now let’s get on with superficiality.”
Of course the American Idol controversy was short lived. NBC News’ airing of the killer’s video and photos quelled that controversy and started a new one. Should NBC News have aired that video? I believe that as a news organization, NBC News should do whatever NBC News wants. I believe the airing of the video and photographs had extremely questionable news value but in an industry driven by ratings, NBC News clearly wanted to take advantage of the moment and grab some viewers. And, it worked. People often decry ratings, blaming them for all the problems in our society, but when you think about it, what’s more democratic than ratings? Ratings are based on what people are watching. NBC News’ airing of that footage (and the subsequent rise in their ratings) only demonstrates that people were willing to watch the footage. As a result of the ratings boost, given the chance, I bet they (and others) would do it again in a heartbeat. We need to blame ourselves for watching when companies say and air things we don’t agree with. Had people tuned out (like I did), NBC News would not have been rewarded for their actions.
All in all, I think last week’s attempt at avoiding anything but the bare details of the Virginia Tech tragedy proved that it’s all but impossible not to one way or another get swept up in the news cycle of these events. The real tragedy here is that at the end of the day, after all the coverage and money spent on this event, nothing will be learned. Preventing incidents like these aren’t solved by 24 hour news coverage detailing gruesome details of the killings but rather examinations of our society, our interest in violence and sensationalism, and our treatment of the mentally disturbed.