And, eventually, you’ll be able to find what she spent a good deal of her life preserving online, according to a story Thursday by Sarah Kessler in Fast Company.
Kessler writes that Stokes, who died in 2012 at 83, was a former Philadelphia librarian and civil rights activist who began taping the news when big events happened, “and when cable transformed it into a 24-hour affair, she began recording MSNBC, Fox, CNN, CSNBC, and CSPAN around the clock by running as many as eight television recorders at a time.”
An idea for a news org… The weekend before an election publish a copy of the local ballot on your website, exactly as it will look in the voting booth. And for every race link the candidates’ names to all the articles and reporting you have done (even better, link to your competitors’ coverage…
“The polarized political map is now accompanied by a media ecosystem that is equally gerrymandered into districts of self-reinforcing discourse. Justice Scalia and millions of news consumers select and assemble a worldview from sources that may please them, but rarely challenge them.”—David Carr, It’s Not Just Political Districts. Our News is Gerrymandered, Too.NY Times.
Ah, the Millennials… the much probed and analyzed generation who are often (simplistically?) characterized as being less religious than previous generations. According to a poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 1 in 4 people of current 18-29 year olds say they have no religious affiliation.
While it’s true that Millennials are questioning the cultural and religious norms, these data are often reduced to headlines about Millennials being a godless lot who lack a spiritual mooring. And yet, 4 in 10 Millennials report praying every day, which is the same rate as Generation X’ers did at a similar age in the 1990s.
Polls also show that this generation has a personality distinct unto itself. They are confident and upbeat, self-expressive and open to change — whether they are secular Jews from the heart of New York City or evangelical Christians embedded in the heart of the Bible belt. They can no longer be defined in such narrow terms, neither boxed in by reductionist media framing or traditional institutional containers that once served their parents and grandparents well. They’re better educated in a way that no other generation in U.S. history has seen. And Millennials are more ethnically and racially diverse.
As Dante Chinni, director of the American Communities Project, says in his interview with The Takeaway's John Hockenberry (audio above), Millennials are shaped by the urban and rural landscapes around them to some degree.
For the next week, we’re partnering with The Takeaway on their series “Young Nation Under God?” John Hockenberry and his producers are exploring the shifting landscape of religion in the U.S. by having a series of roundtable discussions with four groups: with secular Jews, Christians-turned-humanists, American-born Muslims experiencing a clash of cultures, and African-American millennials who remain as committed to their faith as their parents’ generation. It’s a prompt for a building dialogue about what these new demographics and cultural sensibilities mean for the future of the United States’ identity as “one nation under God.”
Each day I’ll be blogging about these roundtables, asking for your input, and asking questions of my own. For example, there’s a presupposition that America’s relationship with religion and faith is dramatically shifting:
Is it? How so?
Is the religious landscape shifting in seismic ways or is the expression of what it means to be faithful changing?
What’s the nuance that’s missing from this discussion?
How is your personal faith changing over time?
These are some of the questions we want to explore with you. Leave me a comment here. Or, better yet, inform the discussion taking place at The Takeaway each day this week. This Friday (Oct 18) at 2 pm Eastern, participate in a live chat about the role of faith in America with John Hockenberry and Lisa Pearce, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. It could be fruitful!
“In the past months, though, the Western fawning over Malala has become less about her efforts to improve conditions for girls in Pakistan, or certainly about the struggles of millions of girls in Pakistan, and more about our own desire to make ourselves feel warm and fuzzy with a celebrity and an easy message. It’s a way of letting ourselves off the hook, convincing ourselves that it’s simple matter of good guys vs. bad guys, that we’re on the right side and that everything is okay.”—Max Fisher, The Nobel Committee did Malala a favor in passing her over for the peace prize, The Washington Post
“Another aspect of recall is emotional memory, when we relive how we felt at moments in the past — elated, sad, depressed, or angry. When we lose emotional memory of our own youth, we find that we no longer understand young people. If this forgetting progresses, we begin to lose touch with ourselves. And if we allow our emotional memories to disappear, as happens with Alzheimer’s patients, we will find a stranger staring back at us from the mirror.”—Richard Restak in The Art of Doing, h/t Brain Pickings, also a good read on why refining emotional recall is the secret to better memory.
Syria & A Biblical Prophecy: Who does Fox News actually appeal to?
The News: Fox News discusses the possibility that the Syrian War fulfills a biblical prophecy about the end of times. Tim Murphy writes over at Mother Jones:
As I reported last week, popular evangelists and writers like Joel Rosenberg have spent much of the last five years talking up the possibility of a conflict that might fit the one outlined by Isaiah and Jeremiah in the Old Testament, in which Damascus is reduced to rubble. On Saturday, Rosenberg spoke about the Isaiah prophecy in Topeka, Kansas, at the invitation of Republican governor Sam Brownback. On Monday, he appeared on Fox News to elaborate on his views.
Rosenberg wasn’t ready to definitively say that an American war in Syria—which is looking less and less likely by the day—would necessarily match the description of the Old Testament. But it was definitely a possibility. “It’s impossible for us to know that yet, and I think it’s wrong for people who teach Bible prophecy to try to guess, in a sense, to try to say for certain that it’s going to happen now,” he told host Neil Cavuto. “But you have seven million Syrians are already on the run—two million have left the country; five million are internally displaced. The Jeremiah: 49 prophecy says that people will flee, but there’ll still be people in Damascus when the prophecy happens. So the bottom line is we don’t know.”
A Question: Ari Kohen, Schlesigner Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wonders who Fox is actually appealing to. He writes on his blog:
How many people in the U.S. are actually excited about the prospect of the End Times and are therefore hoping for a military intervention in Syria because they believe we’re on the cusp of fulfiling a biblical prophecy regarding the end of the world?
Like, who is Fox News appealing to here?
Can we do a survey about that?
Some Research: The FJP does some afternoon googling on the topic and comes up with this (and more):
Christian News Wire reports that “41% of all U.S. adults, 54% of Protestants and 77% of Evangelicals believe the world is now living in the biblical end times.” The findings are from a recent poll conducted by the Barna Group, a faith and culture polling firm.
LAKSHMI GANDHI is co-founder and editor of The Aerogram, a new South Asian web magazine that focuses on news and pop culture. She began the site with her colleagues Pavani Yalamanchili and Kishwer Vikaas to create a place where second generation South Asians can read news they can relate…
"While consumers strongly prefer tablets to smartphones for website visits, they still use desktops and laptops the most for website visits, even though the tablet and the desktop and laptop engagement levels are comparable. As the tablet market matures, the advantages of desktop and laptop browsing will erode, causing consumers to use tablets to visit websites more frequently. To engage customers who use tablets, companies should adopt tablet-specific strategies, instead of offering experiences identical to those of smartphones or desktops and laptops."
As soon as I try to write about what I’ve learned, my brain begins a conversation with itself and with those hundreds/thousands of sources I’ve read. I begin to understand what my book is about and what all those primary and secondary sources mean. And of course the meaning of those sources changes as I begin to examine them in relation to each other.
NY Times article this morning: "U.S. Adds Only 88,000 Jobs; Jobless Rate Falls to 7.6%" None of the people quoted in the article actually point to frustratingly slow growth. True as it may be, why say “only”? Think of all the people who aren’t going to read the article, only see the headline and go about their day more hopeless than ever.
“I wade through content and stories, sending links to Read Later, following blogs, creating different-colored Stickies on my desktop, and making fragments of notes in Evernote. The insides of my Evernote account? Oh my. It’s scary hunting in there: those are the half-thoughts and ideas in my brain — and the bits of data and links I’ve collected to support them — all laid out, in a digital filing system of notebooks.”—
Really worth the read from Cheri Rowlands on how she deals with the deluge of content, media, to-do’s and expectations in our tech-saturated world. It’s a topic that’s dear to me: the relentless focus on the now and ‘what’s next’; the absence of care that our favorite tech products give towards the things that have been created and consumed in the past — or perhaps the things that have been displayed but never really acknowledged — before the next wave of news and memes come along.
I believe that we’re at the cusp of understanding and parsing the data that comes at us each day. The revolution of the web gave rise to a new breed of creators — we all can be makers of content and stories and data — but the revolution isn’t complete, because the other side of the equation, how we are wired to make sense of and group and understand this exponential increase in information volume, how we can analyze the data more effectively, has largely been ignored.
In some ways (shameless plug), the ideas we’re toying with at Imagist reflect my wrestling with this idea: that there’s more to information than the baubles of “what’s new” and the ADD tendency to reflexively consume bits of information that’s no better for our brains than junk food is for our waistlines.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”—Henry David Thoreau (via Brain Pickings)
The very interesting question that has arisen as the U.S. has pioneered this technology is: What happens when the Russians, say, send an armed drone into Georgia to the south claiming that there’s a Chechen terrorist that’s hiding in Georgia? And they have no other way to kill him and so they’re going to kill him with a drone missile?
“It’s going to be a very interesting moment internationally and for the United States, because the Obama administration — if that’s who’s in power — is going to have to say, ‘We accept this because they’re doing exactly what we do,’ or they’ll have to somehow make a distinction between what the Chinese or Russians are doing and what we’ve done in the past.
Are you watching the President’s address tonight? We’ve pulled together key Pew Research findings across 10 topics that Obama is likely to discuss. Get the data so you can follow along. Here are the highlights:
72% of Americans now say reducing the deficit is a top priority, up from 53% in Jan. 2009, including 84% of Republicans, 67% of Democrats and 71% of independents.
Majorities of Americans oppose most deficit reduction measures, including reducing funding for education (77% disapprove), reducing transportation funding (67%) and reducing funding to help low-income people (58%).
There are wide partisan gaps on many debt reduction proposals, including reducing military defense spending (+35 points Democrats) and reducing funding to help low-income people (+29 points Republicans).
74% say a combination of program cuts and tax increases is the best way to reduce the deficit.
The median income for a middle-income, three-person household fell to $69,487 in 2010 from $72,956 in 2000 (in 2011 dollars.) Median net worth among the middle-income tier fell 28% to $93,150 in 2010 from $129,582 in 2000.
85% of those in the middle class say it is more difficult today than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living.
The middle class blamed their difficulties on: Congress (62%), banks and financial institutions (54%) and large corporations (47%).
Middle-class adults say they are: Democrats (34%), Republicans (25%) and independents (35%); conservative (39%), moderate (35%) and liberal (22%).
51% of Americans say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 45% say it is more important to protect gun rights.
47% say mass shootings reflect broader societal problems, 44% call them isolated acts of troubled individuals.
There is broad public support for background checks for private and gun show sales (85%) and laws preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns (80%).
There are large partisan divides on creating a federal database to track gun sales (35-point gap, Democrats favor), implementing a ban on assault-style weapons (25-point gap, Democrats favor) or having more teachers and school officials with guns in schools (33-point gap, Republicans favor).
“I wonder if Plath would have been saved had she been born in a different time: in a time when psycho-pharmacologists are no more shameful to visit than hairdressers and women write celebrated personal essays about being bad mothers and cutters and are reclaiming the word slut. Would she have been a riot grrrl, embracing an angry feminist aesthetic? Addicted to Xanax? A blogger for Slate?”—Lena Dunham on Sylvia Plath, who took her own life on this day in 1963 and whose relationship with life and death was quicksand of existence. (via explore-blog)