Writing at the lefty quarterly journal The Baffler, Stanford Social Innvoation Review editor (and former Boston Review editor) David V. Johnson offers a critical look at Ezra Klein's and Matt Yglesias's Vox.com. He labels it "explatainment" and considers its relative sucess at one of its intended central missions, to become an authoritative source of information (not merely journalism) in the style of Wikipedia. Vox's well-known penchant for liberal-educated-white-guy mansplaining is addressed, as well the biases (hidden and not-so-hidden) inherent in modern hybrid information-entertainment delivery.
Security researchers Charlie Miller (@0xcharlie) and Christopher Valasek (@nudehaberdasher) have found an exploit for Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system allowing for remote control of many vehicle functions including climate control, audio, braking, and under certain conditions, steering. They plan to release details during a talk at next month's DEFCON 23 hacking conference. Chrysler has already issued a patch for the vulnerability, but it requires a manual update.
Can Politico make Brussels sexy?
In other words, the appetite for Politico in DC existed before Politico did. The audience for a digital-first gossip-mongering Brussels-based Anglophone pan-European publication does not yet exist, and each one of those constitutive elements presents its own problem. Continental Europeans are not used to a headlong online media culture of breaking news. They remain much more committed than Americans to a separation of serious reportage and entertainment, and they are more inclined to doubt the journalistic value of moral scandal. They view Brussels as, at best, a grey backwater of minor trade quarrels and, at worst, an abscess of smug antidemocratic technocrats bloated with regulatory power. And, finally, there’s the question of whether a “pan-European” outlook can even be said to exist.
Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:[more inside]Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
Some of the biggest questions/That's ever been asked/Do you know where life is going/Can you tell where it starts?
Assignment details: Discuss the following: We know that life exists on Earth, and has taken billions of years to evolve into the things we see today. But has this happened anywhere other than Earth? Well, to help sort out this headscratcher of a question, NASA has commissioned MC Oort Kuiper, aka Jonathan Chase, a grad student at the University of Glamorgan, to write a rap about it. "Astrobiology" appears in the European edition of Astrobiology Magazine.
Rice, the rocket. Secretary of State shares fitness tips with early-morning DC news. Next week: Cyclin' with POTUS (schedule subject to change).
Easy grades, light reading loads, and above all a professor you can enjoy. Today’s university culture is one of all entertainment all the time.. an essay by Mark Edmunson based on his new book Why Read? about the the "crisis in the humanities", called the most provocative look since Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. (via Arts and Letters Daily)