comedy, journalism, videos, web

Mostly Memorable Media: Links for July 7

A irregularly published assortment of the best reads on the web.

The future

Whither office parks? Younger workers would rather live and work in cities (NYT). But aren’t cities prohibitively expensive? Seems easier to spruce up these parks with nice strips of restaurants and other diversions. That’s basically what Tysons Corner is doing on a Very Large Scale.

Bubbles vs. climate change: MIT scientists have a Montgomery Burns-ian solution to climate change. Make a Brazil-sized shield of bubbles in space. Not from champagne, sadly. (Freethink)

Photo by pineapplelove 🙂 on Pexels.com

Doomscrolling

Give up on Manchin already. Try Collins or Murkowski. And just get some climate deal done before the GOP potentially takes the House. (WaPo)

We nearly had another mass shooting July 4. But an anonymous tip led to arrests that may have prevented countless casualties in Richmond, Va. (Axios Richmond)

Who killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh? We’re not sure it was Israel. But we’re pretty sure it was Israel. (Politico)

News deserts abound … Roughly one-fifth of the country lives in or is likely soon to live in an area not covered by local media, allowing elected officials to do their dirty work unwatched. Newspaper newsroom employment has dropped by nearly 60% since 2005. (Northwestern/Medill)

… while a prominent J-school collapses. The once-proud University of North Carolina journalism school is turning into a wingnut’s plaything. (Poynter)

COVID is outrunning the vaccines. Thanks in part to the FDA’s sloth (Matthew Yglesias). But that’s about to change (Reuters). And these variants continue to be less scary, especially if you have any kind of vaccine protection (Yale). Less than one-third of people studied (disclaimer: it’s self-reported) are even reporting a fever (NBC). If it’s up to me, everyone would either be up to date on vaccines (preventing serious illness and hospitalization) or wear a mask (preventing infection). We don’t have the political will to mandate that, so we’ll have to rely on the honor system. Which would be easier if we were honorable people.

Will Trump ever really get caught in a legal quagmire? Probably, but not by the Jan. 6 committee, which is more about Trumpism than it is about Trump, no matter how many revelations remind us that the ex-president will forever be in the conversation as the Worst Ever. But it’s in Georgia where the man who’s as orange as a peach is likely in real trouble. (The Atlantic)

Insight

Why Russians believe the “Nazi” tag in Ukraine: It’s not just misinformation. It’s a different way of looking at Nazis, rooted in WWII:

The common Russian understanding of Nazism hinges on the notion of Nazi Germany as the antithesis of the Soviet Union rather than on the persecution of Jews specifically said Jeffrey Veidlinger, a professor of history and Judaic studies at the University of Michigan. “That’s why they can call a state that has a Jewish president a Nazi state and it doesn’t seem all that discordant to them,” he said

Also noteworthy in this story: “We tolerate in most Western democracies significantly higher rates of far-right extremism,” said Monika Richter, head of research and analysis at Semantic Visions and a fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. Ouch. (WaPo)

Silly rabbit. Twitter is for journalists! Among U.S. journalists, 69% take Twitter Very Seriously, a number that rises to 83% for young’uns. How many average Americans get news from Twitter? Just 13%. And they say we’re out of touch. Oh, wait, they’re right. (Pew)

And on the lighter side …

Problems explained in pizza: Canadian comedian Julie Nolke is back with Part 7 of her “Explaining the Pandemic to Her Past Self” series, and this one tackles other issues.

Metal marching, I’ve been told! Metal marching, I’ve been told! Keeps our Navy feeling bold. Keeps out Navy feeling bold. Andres Antunes, the man who made Kenneth Copeland’s judgment on COVID-19 go viral (sorry) with a metal remix, has done it again with a terrific Navy marching cadence.

Rock on.

web

Sure, CDs are toast, but DVDs?

Came across an interesting (though old) Facebook meme today that listed all the things people supposedly don’t keep around today:

I have all five, and I can make a case for all of them …

DVDs: Look, Netflix doesn’t have everything. Maybe you can just rent from Redbox, but why throw something out if you’re just going to want to rent it again? I just re-watched This Is Spinal Tap with the band doing commentary in character. Not sure you can even find that anywhere today.

CDs: OK, this is the least essential today, but there are still a handful of songs you can’t find anywhere online.

File cabinets: Where else would you keep owner’s manuals and tax documents?

Wall calendars: It’s just art today. No, you don’t really need it to know what day it is. (Unless the power goes out.)

Take Out Menus: We have some, but we could probably do without them. The apps and sites are more likely to be up to date. But print menus are easier to browse.

So I have all five. And I’m not that old.

web

The Internet — a global force for go- … OK, evil

In 1995, a perceptive astronomer named Clifford Stoll warned that the Internet was going to open a gateway to a flood of misinformation and hostility.

In 2010, Stoll hopped into a conversation about his supposed error. The Mission’s Rob Howard summed up what happened:

Everyone appears to have missed the irony that a bunch of anonymous Internet commenters were trolling a renowned scientist, 15 years after the fact, for accurately predicting the proliferation of anonymous Internet trolls.

(Reminder: In 2000, some hack grad student at Duke said roughly the same thing, only not as brilliantly.)

 

web

Guardian: Is Tinder really creating a ‘dating apocalypse’?

Short answer: Yes.

After that Vanity Fair article about dating apps and the “hookup culture” that surrounds them, an unknown Tinder employee tweeted out a storm of protestations, including: “Our data tells us that the vast majority of Tinder users are looking for meaningful connections.” Now as anyone who has ever used the app can tell you, that’s just not true. Tinder is for finding casual sex, and everything about it is casual and its unique selling point is a parade of noncommittal sex partners to be pursued, or disregarded, by such a lackadaisical, non-committal gesture as a swipe.

via Is Tinder really creating a ‘dating apocalypse’? | Technology | The Guardian.

web

How I got W3 Total Cache and WPTouch to co-exist

Years ago, I was ahead of the new media curve. Now, I’m not. I confess that I did not have a mobile-friendly theme for SportsMyriad.com until Google sent me the notice that I needed to do that or my site would be buried under 10,000,000 porn sites or something like that.

So I installed WPTouch, and … it didn’t work. After some research, I found that the issue was that I also have W3 Total Cache, which I believe I installed when my 2012 medal projections crashed the site.

After some painful searching (um, Google, shouldn’t we get the most useful stuff first?), I wound up on WPTouch’s page for working with caching plugins:

That might have done the job on its own. But I also found another little trick buried in the otherwise useless support forums:

Check your W3 Total Cache settings:

In WordPress admin, go to Performance-> Page Cache -> Advanced -> Never cache the following pages.

Add mobile-detect\.php

So there you have it, one way to make W3 Total Cache and WPTouch work. It’s not at all guaranteed, and it’s being passed along by a guy who has no intention of researching this any further. Back to the stuff I actually do.

If this works for you, great. If it doesn’t, please feel free to comment on what’s supposed to be done instead. I’m just writing this in the hopes that other people will find ways to do this more quickly than I did. Maybe people will find this post and get the solution, or maybe my links will help boost these pages’ search ranking. Whatever. Peace out.

web

Misadventures in ebook publishing

As you may know from reading my other blog or my Twitter feed or from bumping into me any time in the past six months, I’m writing an ebook on the Washington Spirit.

I’ve just about finished the editing phase, so now I’m looking into ebook formatting and distribution. It all seems so easy, and everyone recommends two major services: Smashwords and calibre (yes, it follows e.e. cummings lowercase style).

Smashwords referred me to a 90-page style guide. Page 12 offers two examples of perfectly formatted files. The first veers wildly between regular text and allcaps. Then if you happen to read a bit of it, you’ll be surprised to learn you’re reading an erotic novel.

calibre’s site has ads that look like part of the site. They’re offering … downloads of calibre! Which, unfortunately, come with all sorts of malware.

Maybe I’ll just email this thing to people who pay me through Paypal.

(UPDATE: calibre’s users guide says you can’t use it for editing, and you should use either Sigil or Book Designer. I followed the link to the Book Designer site. It’s in Russian.)