“Personality is composed of two fundamentally different types of traits: those of ‘character;’ and those of ‘temperament.’ Your character traits stem from your experiences. Your childhood games; your family’s interests and values; how people in your community express love and hate; what relatives and friends regard as courteous or perilous… innumerable cultural forces build your unique set of character traits. The balance of your personality is your temperament, all the biologically based tendencies that contribute to your consistent patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. As Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset, put it, ‘I am, plus my circumstances.’ Temperament is the ‘I am,’ the foundation of who you are.”—Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher in This Will Make You Smarter, a fantastic collection of short essays by 151 big thinkers, who each answered the question, “What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”
By Carlos H. Conde, NY Times, May 16, 2011 MANILA—When a panel of executives from the Philippines’ top broadcasting networks defended their industry last September before legislators examining the news media’s conduct during a botched hostage rescue, the fact that four of the five executives…
“Journalism is a manifestation of a basic human urge to know and to communicate our knowledge to others. Such an essential impulse is impossible to fully repress.”—
Joel Simon in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Annual Report. Via The Atlantic
CPJ’s findings reflect a profound shift toward reliance on Internet advocacy. “Blogging, video sharing and text messaging from cellphones now bring news from some of the most oppressive countries to the rest of the world,” the annual survey concludes, “Yet the technology used to report the news has been matched in many ways by the tools used to suppress information.” In Syria, for example, CPJ says, there is a practice that computer experts call “rubber-hose cryptanalysis,” which means, bluntly, the use of force to extract critical data from activists, including passwords and log-in details. As 2012 unfolds, the likelihood is that the governments and regimes where civil strife continues will keep up the pressure on journalists, and social media will defy the attempts to suppress it.
“As journalism and the habit of reading decline, it seems entirely possible that political intelligence will develop into a billion-dollar industry. People will still need information about government affairs, after all. But this information may become a luxury commodity for the very rich rather than something ordinary citizens consume by reading newspapers and magazines or listening to the radio or watching the evening news. Demand for all these mediums has dwindled, and the rise of the Internet doesn’t appear to have taken up the slack. Politicians, meanwhile, who after all have limited time on their hands, may increasingly wonder why they should spend any of it talking to a mere reporter when they can talk instead to a political intelligence consultant who just might reward the favor with a fat campaign contribution.”—
The News: The US House of Representatives killed a provision in an insider trading bill that would have required people involved in ‘political intelligence’ to register in the same way that traditional lobbyists do.
Political intelligence is a $300 million a year industry used by hedge funds and mutual funds to get information about which way politicians are going to vote — or what legislation will be enacted — that effect industries that they are invested in.
Information obesity, that is. Clay Johnson sums it up quite well in this LA Times piece.
The problem is that these days you can feast on information as never before, and you can do it without leaving the living room couch. But consuming too much of the wrong kind of information can lead to…
“His photographs from those days and nights in 2008 — and many more taken as a citizen tagging along with officers in 2009, after he resigned from the force to pursue photography full time — offer a unique and fascinating glimpse into the world of the housing police. They are at turns raw and tender, scary and sweet, and they humanize people on both sides of the badge — those who wear one and those who face them, night after night.”—The cop who takes photos. So moving. Read/View at the NY Times Lens Blog. Looks like citizen journalism to me.
“A nation’s journalists and writers, like its poets and story-tellers, are the eyes, ears, and mouths of the people. When journalists cannot freely speak of what they see and hear of the reality that surrounds them, the people cannot see, hear, or speak it either.”—
Russell Banks, American Author, to colleagues during a PEN International mission to Mexico that is encouraging law enforcement to better protect journalists.
The Most Important Point (for me) out of Obama's #SOTU speech tonight.
1. Obama’s about to get a lot of shit for his lofty laundry list that had most of the liberals on my feed happily tweeting quotes from the full transcript. I hate to fall to cynicism but this was all a bit too campaign-y for me. How much can be actualized? Seems like he’s in ‘get the middle-class / young voters excited again’ mode.
2. So I’ll just pick my favorite (yet untweeted) quote from tonight:
They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country’s future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last.
The problem is, we’re lacking that sense of shared responsibility. Does anyone really care about the next generation? About people across class lines? Doesn’t seem like it.
What distinguishes first-class individuals from others? In my view, it is essentially the fact that they focus their gaze on posterity and base their thoughts and action on the welfare of future generations. Those who do so have a vision. They are not swayed by short-term phenomena of the present.
So, do I give in to cynicism, or do I take Obama and Ikeda’s common point of great truth and try to live it out in my own life? What’s your vision for future generations? I dare you to believe in it…and if you’re young, like me, build a career with faith in the long road ahead.
In both cases, the children have grown up not knowing that their biological fathers – whom they have not seen in decades – were police officers who had adopted fake identities to infiltrate activist groups. Both men have concealed their true identities from the children’s mothers for many years.
This makes the phone-hacking scandal look like a beacon of ethical behavior. Wow.
“It was the power of American technology that helped drive the revolts — Google, Facebook and Twitter — and shared American values that shaped the demands of the demonstrators. Now, the question of American interests will be determined, in part, by a new Middle East that is likely to be more democratic, more Islamist and perhaps more volatile than ever.”
What are American interests? “American” technology helped drive the revolts. “American” values shaped the demands. But are American political and national security interests in the region really the same as the values and motives of the creators of Facebook and Twitter and Google? Are they the same Americans? I think it’s unfair to use “American” as a blanket term here, or ever, and yet we do it all the time.
“A rare moment of clarity came from Keith Kelly of the NY Post, who reminded his peers that despite their “high and mighty and noble” misconceptions, newspapers were created to sell ads, not serve the public. In true Murdochian style he urged everyone to remember that print “was an ad-driven vehicle at its inception…it was a vehicle for commerce.”—
Wow. 2,000? There are only about 19,000 named places in the US. Right now, API’s added in 2000 is greater than the number of daily newspapers by about 50%. At what point do APIs start to make a significant impact in how we consume news, or access civic information? Actually, they’re undoubtedly already significant — but when does the balance shift?
“With the new year here, everyone’s starting to set new resolutions. I really hope that one resolution that starts becoming more popular is individuals wanting to learn to program. You should learn to program, and now. Why? You interact with software on a daily basis. Software that will frustrate, annoy, help and/or let you get what you need done. If you understand what’s possible with software, you can understand why it works the way it does.
* Small programs can replace repetitive, boring manual tasks that you do on a daily basis.
* We need more programmers. Software development is a high demand field, especially for web programmers.
* It’s easier than ever to learn to program. There are a ton of free/cheap online resources.
Learning to program changes the way you think and approach solving problems.
So what are you waiting for? Go sign up at codeyear or codeacademy or tryruby or Khan Academy. I even teach ruby lessons as well if you want one on one help and instruction.”—
The International Journal of Communication has a new study that explores “information flow” during the Arab Spring. In particular, it looks at how Twitter promulgated information from Tunisia and Egypt to and among journalists, activists, mainstream media outlets and other interested parties.
The evolution of what media theorist Jeff Jarvis and others have called “networked journalism” has made the business of news much more chaotic, since it now consists of thousands of voices instead of just a few prominent ones who happen to have the tools to make themselves heard. If there is a growth area in media, it is in the field of “curated news,” where real-time filters like NPR’s Andy Carvin or the BBC’s user-generated-content desk verify and re-distribute the news that comes in from tens of thousands of sources, and use tools like Storify to present a coherent picture of what is happening on the ground.
The study makes the point that mainstream media outlets play a key role in the dissemination of news during such events (and also notes that journalists tend to retweet other journalists more often than they do non-mainstream sources), but it also makes it obvious that prominent bloggers and activists are crucial information conduits as well.
Humanistic Journalism exists! This is the best thing I’ve seen online in a long time, and kind of a dream come true for the online future I’m so sure we can build: An incredible new story-telling tool, Cowbird calls itself a public library of human experience, and it really is. It combines the best social media tools out there into clean, beautiful design to create a new, human, crowd-sourced community.
What can you do?
Document “sagas,” that is, big events going on the world, through collaborative journalism.
Contribute to a public library of simple human stories.
It was developed by a fantastic team including Jonathan Harris. He writes: “We are focused on a slower kind of storytelling than the frantic world of tweets and social networks. We use these tools (they are part of our consciousness now) but we also feel a craving for a longer-lasting kind of self-expression, so we have designed a space for self-reflection and deeper connection — a place for personal stories. Stories allow us to untangle experience, make sense of our lives, and find meaning. They are containers for wisdom and lifeboats for memory — helping us not to forget, and then later, not to be forgotten.”
And why is it called Cowbird? Best explanation ever: “We chose the name Cowbird to express the combined qualities of a cow and a bird. Cows are slow, steady, and grounded, while birds are fast, free, and full of joy. Most of the Internet — including websites like Facebook and Twitter — are all bird and no cow, while more traditional formats like novels and operas are all cow and no bird. Cowbird combines these two extremes to form a new kind of storytelling medium — mixing the slow, deeply rooted, contemplative idea of a cow with the fast, efficient, playful idea of a bird.”
You need an invite to sign up, which you can get by submitting a mini-application.
The Republican Governor’s Association met this week in Florida to give GOP state executives a chance to rejuvenate, strategize and team-build. But during a plenary session on Wednesday, one question kept coming up: How can Republicans do a better job of talking about Occupy Wall Street?
1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’
2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.
4. Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Talk about ‘careers.’
5. Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘waste.’
6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’
7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: ‘I get it.’
8. Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job creator.’
9. Don’t ever ask anyone you want them to ‘sacrifice.’
10. Always blame Washington.
Please click over to Yahoo! to read this article. And throughout the course of the year, I suggest revisiting it to see how Republicans follow through. Great lesson in messaging.
Shortformblog:“I think aid is all worthless. It doesn’t do any good to most of the people. You end up taking money from poor people in this country and it goes to rich people in other countries, gets used for weapons of war… the biggest threat to our country is our financial situation, and this is aggravating it.” — Ron Paul, answering a question initially posed to Herman Cain: whether he felt we could afford to continue foreign aid to Africa for things like AIDS, malaria, and the like. Worth noting: foreign aid presently makes up about 1% of the U.S. federal budget.
COES:Ron Paul was talking about the US financial situation with respect to both (paraphrase) endless military spending and endless foreign aid... you are misquoting and misrepresenting what he said, so that it appears as if he was talking solely about foreign aid.
Shortformblog:Point well taken on the military spending, Paul did indeed reference rampant war spending in the same passage, and we should have noted that as it’s quite relevant to his final point on financial stability. That said, we assure you we’re not aiming to misrepresent Ron Paul’s views. Since the question he was responding to (initially asked to Herman Cain) was explicitly about the U.S. foreign aid budget, and he voiced what we’d consider a fairly extreme view on that subject, we focused on that and cropped the non-aid related section. It can be hard to keep up with posting as the debates unfold in real time, and consequently we can have oversights sometime. Thanks for reading, and for being alert!
“One officer wearing riot gear told a group of protesters that he had worked 36 hours straight, with only a three hour nap. “If I keep getting paid, I can tough it out,” he said.”—NY Times article on this morning’s police-protester clash at wall street. I quoted the above because I find it quite ironic that a paycheck is such strong incentive for a person to keep at his job to restrain a group of people protesting against the very reason they don’t have paychecks.
Nicholas Kristof’s piece in the Times is incredibly moving. Read it! He writes, “Phung yearns to attend university and become an accountant. It’s an almost impossible dream for a village girl, but across East Asia the poor often compensate for lack of money with a dazzling work ethic and gritty faith that education can change destinies. The obsession with schooling is a legacy of Confucianism — a 2,500-year-old tradition of respect for teachers, scholarship and meritocratic exams. That’s one reason Confucian countries like China, South Korea and Vietnam are among the world’s star performers in the war on poverty.”
Makes me think…perhaps American students lack that reverence for schooling because we’re simply disenchanted by the state of affairs. No matter your schooling, it seems a steady career afterwards isn’t possible anyway. So what’s the point?
This lends itself to a strong argument for rethinking the point of school in the first place. Every since I was young: high school leads to college because college leads to job. But maybe that’s not the point and this is finally our chance to reclaim what school means to us. Recreate it.