The Atlantic: The Art of Staying Focused in a Distracting World.
The New Yorker: Spalding Gray’s Catastrophe.
“One of the special features of Spalding’s monologues was that, onstage at least, he rarely repeated himself; the stories always came out in slightly different ways, with different emphases. He was a gifted inventor of the truth, of whatever seemed true to him at the moment.” I consider myself privileged to have seen him perform live twice, at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Riveting, both times. Both before his accident. RIP, Spalding. RIP.
BBC: Does a US child go missing every 90 seconds?
Of those missing, the ‘truly’ kidnapped are more like ~1:7000 (if I did my math correctly; doubtful after this day). I believe the likelihood of a 20-something dropping dead is 1:2000, last time I looked. We don’t wrap 20-year-olds in bubble wrap and store them in closets. Let kids walk to school, play in playgrounds.
@SnoreWell: How to start a creative agency.
The Morning News: Binge Reading Disorder.
“The typical American consumes more than 100,000 words a day, and remembers none of them. When everybody’s reading, but nobody’s smarter, what value has the word?” Personally, I don’t speed-read. I deep-read. If it’s not going to ‘stick’, I usually don’t bother. I just started ‘Outlander’ (I was curious). It may go into my ‘abandoned’ list. “The stone screamed ... (extensive snip) ... it was the sort of scream you might expect from a stone.” Really? Seriously? I expect the TV show is better? I’ll soldier on, however. Paid for it. Might as well bull through to see if it picks up. I hear more and more people discussing the show, so I feel I need to know something about it for my own adaptation to culture.
Nautilus: Reviving the debate about the immune system and mental illness.
“In a field known as immunopsychiatry, researchers are exploring the possibility that inflammation, or an overactive immune system, is linked to mental disorders that include depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimers’ disease.”
Observer: Nootropic Brain Drugs Rise in Popularity for Today’s Cutthroat Corporate Climbers.
Reminds me of salespersons popping Prozac for its ‘mood brightening’ capabilities in the ‘90’s. There was a belief system that grew around it; if you didn’t pop ‘Prozac-Pez’, you couldn’t compete effectively with those who did.
JunkCulture: Artist Transforms Washed Up Plastic Pollution into Beautiful Site Specific Installation
I’ve asked it before, I’ll ask it again. As photographers, what are we actually doing when we portray trash beautifully?
PS Mag: Want to Be More Creative? Get Out the Electrodes.
WSJ: Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College.
“Why mental illness seems to be rising among college students is unclear.” Really? See earlier today. If kids can’t venture out on their own, there’s no foundation of confidence to rely on. You go ‘solo’ in college; if you’re not a self-starter, you’ll have issues.
Guardian.UK: ‘Free-range’ kids taken into custody again - parents had to sign ‘safety plan’.
I oppose this idiocy with all might and main. Why they even need to be labelled ‘free-range kids’, boggles my mind. I learned SO MANY important things out on my own. Parents and schools can only do so much. Kids must be so impoverished these days. The tyranny of constant tracking and observation.
I feel for these parents. Once CPS gets involved, your life is hell. All those social workers, looking for advancement. “True believers.” You as a parent are ‘guilty’ until ‘proven innocent’ by extremely dubious standards of measure.
99U: Why It’s Selfish to Avoid Giving Negative Feedback.
“Explaining to someone the modifiable, external factors that contributed to their poor performance (“this article fell short because it wasn’t based on enough research insights”) is more likely to result in them reacting in a constructive way to the criticism, as if their priorities are more about learning than showing how good they are.”
Political Wire: Liberals Try to Push Clinton Left.
Better to run Center, then move Left. Question is, how will she move in office? How does one signal that to the party, without tipping off the opposition? Maybe it’s the blue pantsuit.
WaPo/On Leadership: Gretchen Rubin on successful people’s habits.
Absolutely. Not to say you can’t learn some new tricks from self-help books, but don’t mistake ‘research’ for procrastination.
Blogging outside one’s “common sense” zone; otherwise known as being a jerk.
I think this is a problem. Not just for the Babe, but for bloggers in general. How many bloggers out there are doing the same thing? They choose a niche, build a following, and then extend their blog posts farther out than their actual expertise can support.
I suspect, in short order, we’ll see some media takedowns of some niche blogger prominente.
Some will say that Babe has a right to express her opinion. What is the value of worthless opinion? Normal people self-censor in the wider world, in a world where they may get feedback from experts. A layman would have the wisdom not to open their cakehole about nuclear physics in the presence of a professor of physics; or at least express reasonable tentativeness in their opinions. Some conversation, rumination, is exclusively for the back fence; a limited audience. The internet is not, and has never been, a back fence.
We saw this effect in early blogs. Those who started stepping outside their circle of expertise. Many would usually swoop down and offer correction. Respect was displayed by newbies to seasoned users. The internet’s bigger now - folks who post online should realize how broad, how deep their audience is. Yet they don’t. Canny as a lead pipe. With no polarity on traffic stats, sensationalism remains seductive. Mouths run significantly ahead of brains.
What’s worse is, many of the tone-deaf amateurs find enthusiastic willing-to-misplace-common-sense audiences. Why does it always seem that the farthest-out bampots have the strongest magnetic fields? Speaking of attraction, how often is physical attraction a factor in the equation? Fulfilling the audience’s fantasies. Health blogs chug this technique right out of the internet’s blender, but other niches are just as guilty.
It still comes down to a little submit button on a blog interface. So easy to do. So simple. So ... local. So minor. I think pressing that button should trigger an explosive bang ... or simply a fullscreen animation of the post going out to the entire world. Sort of a reverse-animation of how Google Earth opens. I would hope we’d end up with significantly fewer ‘jerks’ on the ‘net.
It’s a teaching moment, IMHO. Yes, you can be popular for posting eyeball-gathering sensationalist crazy stuff. But should you? Blogging’s not a game. One should at least go through the motions of actually thinking about the consequences of any given post. Reflect on what professionals might read your post, and then spare a moment for the less-enlightened individual who might take you at face value.
[And yes, I’m blogging about blogging. The sin. See Ouroboros.]
Later, related: I am horrified to see various “blog niche” sites advocating rewriting blog posts in your archives. How terrible! How could one ever track one’s changes in opinion, taste, intelligence? Yet there it is. Those people you read today, who seem trendy, could be trendy only because they’ve rewritten their pasts to match their current trendiness. The snake eating itself [Ouroboros], indeed. I suppose I should have expected it, given the profit-motive driving some blog niches. Still ... it hurts. Literally makes me sick to my stomach. What you’re reading today is possibly a temporary truth. I can swear right now to you all that I’ve NEVER, EVER rewritten any of my archives or past postings.
Even later: Some of us who have weblogged for a long period, have been starting to make noises over the relative locked-in features of current weblog systems. Perhaps now is the time to propose something new. Imagine a blog entry interface, that had a live readout over on the side. It parses keywords in your ongoing writing, and when clicked, displays search results for the subject you’re writing on. Something akin to how iA Writer Pro is able to pull out verbs, nouns, etc. Live research — but also a live ‘warning.’ Might cut down brash, unreflective postings. Some might complain of a ‘chilling effect’; my answer to them is do a couple of online searches, and get real about signal-to-noise ratios.
terribleminds: I Gotcher Blog-Writin’ Advice Right Here.
“One of the most recent posts is a promise to post more posts, to blog more blogs, to blargh more blarghs, and that post was three years ago. Two rats chew on a third rat. The ground is salted and dead.” All the uses of the word “blog” made me grab an entire package of toilet paper, in case the blogs leaked out of my monitor.
Spectator.UK: Stolen kisses & naked girls - much to wonder about in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland
Shades of photographer David Hamilton (I won’t link; NSFW, perhaps distasteful to many).
Memory vs. intelligence.
I’m reminded of a story I heard about a friend. A headstrong individual, he felt the power of mind overcame all obstacles. He read a very detailed book about parachuting and decided he had all the knowledge required to succeed without having to waste time with ‘boring instruction’. He convinced a buddy to take him up and ... broke his leg into about a dozen pieces upon landing.
There’s book learning, and there’s practical application. Mentorship seems to get short shrift sometimes. The above example should make clear how handy a good mentor is. Saves one from excessive ... legwork.
Later, footnote: Zhuangzi and education.
Pacific Standard: Searching the Internet Creates an Illusion of Knowledge.
“Surely you have noticed: A lot of people who have no idea what they are talking about are oddly certain of their superior knowledge.” Guilty as charged. All these years blogging, I have an incredibly broad and shallow base of knowledge across many subjects. On occasion, I walk too far out on the plank and it breaks, dropping me back spluttering into the Sea of Knowledge (née Reality). I call it a case of ‘insufferable-knowitall-itis.’ Say it ten times fast.
McSweeney’s: Turn Your Life Into the Story You’ve Always Known It Could Be.
“Ever wish you could invent your own dogma?” Tongue-in-cheek.
The Millions: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids.
“The perfect life does not and never will exist, and to assert otherwise perpetuates a pernicious fantasy: that it’s possible to live without regrets. Every important choice has benefits and its deficits.”
NY Times: Grown-Ups Get Out Their Crayons.
Youtube: AAA video analysis provides shocking results among teen drivers.
Ouch. Important to watch this; you’ll drive all the more defensively now. The way I used to cure this, was to have kids learn to drive a stick shift. No automatics until good driving skills are ingrained. The eye/hand/foot coordination required by shifting relieved boredom, and served to keep handheld distractions at a minimum. Not to mention that being able to disengage the engine via clutch in emergency situations saves lives. Via Cam Barrett on FB.
Politico: Hillary Clinton seeks clean slate with press.
“... Clinton said she was ‘all about new beginnings…. A new grandchild. A new hairstyle. A new email account. A new relationship with the press. No more secrecy, no more zone of privacy ... After all what good did that do for me?.” I had to double-check to be sure this wasn’t the Borowitz column or something similar. I suspect she’s speaking jokingly to her audience ... ?
NY Times: A Sucker Is Optimized Every Minute.
“The gut is dead. Long live the data, turned out day and night by our myriad computers and smart devices. Not that we trust the data, as we once trusted our guts. Instead, we ‘optimize’ it. We optimize for it. We optimize with it.” Optimization = pablum.