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.

politics

Old-guard GOP offers to fix problem GOP thinks doesn’t exist: climate change

Ted Halstead of the Climate Leadership Council says the political left and right have stalled on climate action in part because they disagreed about the means to fixing the problem.

I’d argue it’s because the right has convinced its followers that climate change doesn’t exist. Nice of ExxonMobil to sign on to this and to do all those ads touting their search for climate change solutions, but how can you offer to fix the sky if you don’t first admit it’s broken?

And the logic is puzzling. If you think there’s a 1 percent chance that someone will break into your house, you buy a deadbolt or maybe even a security system. If there was a 5 percent chance of a giant meteor hurtling toward Earth, we’d demand that the government do everything it possibly could to research it and then either stop it or mitigate the damage.

Well, the odds that we’re going to suffer the impact of our neglect of the climate is a hell of a lot greater than 5 percent. And we have people in government — at several levels — who want to silence scientists from even talking about it.

So Godspeed, old-guard GOP. Maybe they’ll listen to you, because they sure as hell aren’t listening to anyone else.

journalism

The media’s role in climate-change denialism

False objectivity, postmodernism, getting “both sides” — by any name, it’s a problem:

As Kenner sees it, on any issue, there are typically three groups: true believers; nonbelievers; and the vast, confused middle. It’s not the middle’s fault it’s confused: Kenner blames the Marc Moranos of the world, who are paid to sow not just doubt but fear. (“Fear is a big part of it,” he says.) The media share much of the blame. Kenner singles out newspapers — this one in particular — for his harshest criticism of what he calls their tradition of “false balance”: the insistence on always presenting two sides of an issue, even when there aren’t two.

via ‘Food, Inc.’ director’s new project shines light on climate-change deniers – The Washington Post.

An honest debate on climate change would include several qualified people discussing how bad it’s going to be and how we should fight it and/or adapt. Not outright denialists. You wouldn’t include a Flat Earther for “balance” in a discussion on air travel, would you?

journalism

The lines of legitimate debate: Climate change edition

Not quite as clever as John Oliver doing the “representative” climate change debate with 97 people vs. 3. But still an interesting pushback against the idea that “both sides” need to be represented when the two “sides” are clearly not equal.

News shows don’t put on a flat-earther whenever they show a map. They don’t get an opposing opinion from a young-Earth creationist when a new dinosaur fossil is found. They don’t interview an astrologer when a new exoplanet is discovered. So why put on a climate change denier when we’re talking about our planet heating up?

via Crackpottery: BBC journalists told to stop interviewing science deniers..

The funny thing is that you could certainly have a good debate about climate change without the denialists. How serious is the problem? How do we combat it? These are not easy questions, and there are more than “two sides” even without the crackpots and politicians.