Imagine you're living in China, trying to work your way out of the family date farming business (which garners approximately $450 annually). You do all the right things. You apply for (and receive) Communist Party membership. You study literally to the point of collapse, and despite coming from coal-town origins, you score high on your gao kao ("high test," more-or-less the only thing that matters in getting into a Chinese university). Your already-poor family goes deep into debt to send you to college, and you even manage to come out with a degree. Classic rise-up-by-your-own-bootstraps tale, right? However, finally, when you go to apply for a job—your state-sanctioned educational, occupational, and political records are inexplicably, awfully gone. What has happened to that plain manila folder (!) that serves as your only legitimate, official history in Chinese society? Probably stolen and sold so a party official's child can get everything you worked so hard for. And then, of course, your family is detained by party officials when your parents demand to know where the hell your life went. Of course. [more inside]
Murder: New York City. A map pinpointing murders in the five boroughs of NYC from 2003-09. Broken down by time of day, weapon used, age, sex and ethnicity of both victim and perpetrator. Not surprisingly, in the heat of summer the body count rises. [more inside]
The NYTimes prevents leaks of its reporter's kidnapping from circulating on Wikipedia. [more inside]
Getting smart about personal technology. NYTimes publishes Sonia Zjawinski's assertion that other peoples' images on Flickr are probably OK to download, blow up and use to decorate her house: And if you’re wondering about copyright issues (after all, these aren’t my photos), the photos are being used by me for my own, private, noncommercial use. I’m not selling these things and not charging admission to my apartment, so I think I’m in the clear. [more inside]
To Marty, This bespells doom! A recent reading in Manhattan at the Strand bookstore by David Sedaris, whose most recent book is “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” may have offered a glimpse of the future. A man named Marty who had waited in the book-signing line presented his Kindle, on the back of which Mr. Sedaris, in mock horror, wrote, “This bespells doom.” (The signed Kindle was photographed, but its owner’s full name is unknown.)
Lens is the new photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it will draw on The Times' own pictorial archive, numbering in the millions of images and going back to the early 20th century. Features in their first week include: Essay: Slow Photography in an Instantaneous Age, about what it means to shoot on large-format film in the digital age; Showcase: A Prom Divided, a multimedia feature about a segregated prom in 2009 south-central Georgia.
My Personal Credit Crisis. By Edmund Andrews, economics reporter for the New York Times. I felt foolish, ashamed and angry.... Why had I been trying to live a lifestyle that I couldn’t afford? Why had I tried to keep up the image of a conventional suburban family man, when nothing about my situation was conventional? How could I have glossed over the fact that we had been spending about $3,000 more than we were earning, month after month after month? How could a person who wrote about economics for a living fall into the kind of credit-card trap that consumer groups had warned about for years? Via Brad DeLong.
"Once upon a time there was a game that nobody ever played, sitting on the floor in the back room of an empty arcade. The game was full of life and strife, mega-monsters and robot fights. We Are The Strange was the title. Now meet the players who live inside, idle." The story of filmmaker M dot Strange and his solo indie masterpiece, We Are The Strange. [more inside]
Letter from an AIG bonus recipient - The resignation letter of an AIG executive explaining his point of view on the bonus furor. The proverbial other side of the story.
Meet batting stance guy. The NY Times has a neat profile on Gar Ryness, who has the most marketable least-marketable skill in America. He does your favorite old-school players, as well as most of the current MLB team lineups, including the (non-Dutch) stars of the WBC. He's made video appearances for several teams (and MLB TV), and has quickly become a fan and player favorite for his uncanny depictions of players' idiosyncratic moves in the batter's box. In terms of virtual baseball, batting stance guy is slightly more awesome than this.
The NY Times Article Skimmer. A little more information. (still a prototype, but very nice way to browse)
Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print—the moment when, amid a panoply of flashing lights, press conferences, and elegiac reminiscences, the newspaper presses stop rolling and news goes entirely digital. Most of these scenarios assume a gradual crossing-over, almost like the migration of dunes, as behaviors change, paradigms shift, and the digital future heaves fully into view. But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May? [more inside]
XWord Info soberly describes itself as containing "data about NYT puzzles dating back to November, 1993, covering the entire time that Will Shortz has been Puzzle Editor," understating the cornucopia of geeky goodness within. See any crossword over that time. Look up every appearance of a word with every clue ever used for it. See the most frequently used 500 words, and the most popular by length. [more inside]
With the advent of December comes the annual ranking of the book industry's over-saturated market. Along with the garden variety Best Books of 2008 lists, niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks (baking and regular), most trustworthy business publications, best children's book illustrations, safest bets for literary holiday gifts, and, of course, the prettiest book covers.
Thanksgiving at Dan and Jane's by Dave Eggers. [Lech, 6, under the table, pretends to be dead, in a coffin raised over the heads of hysterical mourners.]
People All Over The World, Ride The Word Train! The Word Train! This is a neato thingy on the NY Times front page where you can enter a word that describes your mood on election day and compare with others. Best thing is you can change your word every 30 minutes. Next best thing - changing your word every 30 minutes might get your Virginia-baked ham away from the television/Internet/porcelain throne/medicine cabinet/gun closet while the election roars on....
Aptly named hardcore deconstructionists Fucked Up are slated to play a free, 12-hour show in NYC on Tuesday, October 14th. The show will feature appearances from the likes of John Cale, Matt Sweeney, David Cross, Mobb Deep, Akon, Vivian Girls, U2's The Edge, and others.
Why aren't men and women becoming more alike? A husband and a stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge. International Sexuality Description Project findings.
When is reading reading? Or, rather, when is it good for you? The New York Times looks at how the internet is changing the ways we think and how we learn.
On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble You’re probably guessing that because it involves “do no evil” Google, Fortune magazine’s “Best Company to Work For” the past two years, this is a heart-warming tale of a good company reversing a dumb decision. If only.
Party Like It’s 2008 [SLNYTOE] Almost every wrong prediction about this election cycle has come from those trying to force the round peg of this year’s campaign into the square holes of past political wars. That’s why race keeps being portrayed as dooming Mr. Obama — surely Jeremiah Wright = Willie Horton! — no matter what the voters say to the contrary. [more inside]
How far away from work do you live? How much of your pay gets used up to get you to and from work, get you around town, and pay for where you live? As gas and food prices continue to rise, "affordability" has become a more critical notion for everyday Americans. The Center for Neighborhood Technology developed their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which aims to help better inform renters and owners about the relationship of transportation options to where one lives.
Slow news day: One properly used semicolon inspires paroxysms of joy in the NYT.
In all its 55 year history, MAD magazine has been known much more for media satire than political satire... anything political was often camouflaged as a movie or TV parody and generally less partisan than most. (How can you take their politics seriously when they offered Alfred E. Neuman for President?) Another thing about MAD is how rarely it goes outside its "Usual Cast of Idiots" for content. Well, things have changed, as the MAD editors used 10 Pulitzer Prize Winning Op/Ed Cartoonists to illustrate the incendiarilly-titled “Why George W. Bush Is in Favor of Global Warming”. The usually web-shy MAD even allowed the New York Times to put most of the piece online in a slideshow. [more inside]
What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores - You've all heard the ads, here's how those companies try to raise your credit scores. The credit industry hates it, because it works, at least for now.
War Torn: kickoff of the New York Times' penetrating new series investigating the violence that comes home when our soldiers do.
This Flash tool from the New York Times shows you how many times each candidate has named each of the other candidates, suggesting which candidates the others perceive as worthy of addressing. It's a very neat and efficient visualization tool. Guess who everyone can't stop mentioning?
Reagan at Neshoba. Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok". Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator. By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB, via, additional context here]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes". [more inside]
In the wake of Rupert Murdoch's takeover of the Wall Street Journal, several of the paper's top reporters have left for safer ground. Among them is Tara Parker-Pope, who joined the New York Times on October 3rd. Her blog, Well, currently accounts for three of the paper's top ten e-mailed stories: in addition to number 1, Five Easy Ways to Go Organic, she has number 5, Shhh...My Child Is Sleeping (in My Bed, Um, With Me), and number 8, Drug-Resistant Staph: What You Need to Know. Touché Rupert.
"I called [Stephen] Colbert with a dare: if he thought it was so easy to be a Times Op-Ed pundit, he should try it. He came right over. In a moment of weakness, I had staged a coup d’moi. I just hope he leaves at some point. He’s typing and drinking and threatening to 'shave Paul Krugman with a broken bottle.'”
Susie Bright comments on the recent NYT piece about Israeli Nazi-themed porn. Andrea Dworkin wrote about this genre almost 20 years ago. There's a new film on the topic, which is what inspired the NY Times article.
David Pogue on the Power of Simplicity Complete with musical opening.
onoes! teenz on teh pr0n webs! It's been a year since I posted about Stickam, and in that time, one would be naïve to think that a community of unmoderated videos broadcast live from the private and semi-anonymous bedrooms of the world would not result in epic lulz (nsfw). To no one's surprise, disgruntled Stickam ex-VP Alex Becker says Stickam shares office space, staff, and equipment with live pornographic video providers -- this via NYT tech writer Brad Stone. Cue the "think of the CHILDRUNZ!" moral panic. But popular websites being related to or backed up by prurient interest are nothing new: Wikipeda predecessor Bomis was once accused of having "softore porn" in its "Babes" section, and of course everyone knows porn drives technology. What do you think the internet is for? But if you use Stickam and this bothers you, the burgeoning field of live embeddable Flash-based webcam video streaming is rife with alternatives: uStream.tv, Justin.tv, BlogTV, Mogulus, and Operator11, just to name some -- but there'll be naked girls on those too. I guarantee it.
"I just like to have the hottest of the hottest. Whatever's hot at the time" In the spring of 2007, Lauren Greenfield conducted interviews with Los Angeles teenagers on the subject of money and how it affects their lives. The link is a 15-minute selection of those interviews.
Marvin Schneider, New York City's Official Clock Master is responsible for keeping the giant public clocks of the five boroughs running smoothly; the beautiful photo essay with an accompanying interview is not to be missed for fans of giant gears & sprockets.
Are NBA referees racially biased when calling fouls? In a paper [PDF] released yesterday, economists Wolfers and Price claim that an all-white team would win two extra games over an 82-game season.
Facing Life With a Lethal Gene. Say you're in your early twenties. For years you've seen members of your family twist and turn invouluntarily and developing dementia due to your family history of Huntington's Disease. Even if you have the gene for the disease, the symptoms are unlikely to hit until you're 50. Would you want to find out if you're going to share the same fate as your relatives, or live life out as much as you can unaware if you're going to suffer from it too? Another touching human interest story from the NY Times which has had a bunch of these recently.
Same Old Dogs, Same Old Tricks. In a rare act of bipartisan cooperation, the House of Representatives passed a group of bills strengthening the FOIA (HR 1309), streamlining access to Presidential Libraries (HR 1255), and expanding safeguards for whistleblowers (still in process, HR 985), with those that were passed having a veto-proof margin. The White House sharply criticized these acts of transparency as unconstitutional, a threat on the established separation of Powers, and as a threat to national security [pdf]. All of which heralds back to an earlier time, that looks vaguely familiar...
If you have a *.edu email address, you can now access the normally for-fee New York Times TimesSelect service for free, which gets you access to archived articles and special content.
The Must-Do List. The NY Times lists the administration policies that congress must reverse if it intends to undo the damage done to America by the Bush Administration.
The New York Times on Being Black and Indie You're an African American, but you prefer Bloc Party to 50 Cent. Fear not, young "blipster," you're no longer the only black guy at the indie rock show! [via]
The right approach in dealing with childhood obesity? Several states in the US are handing out body mass "report cards" to better inform parents on the issue of childhood obeseity. Is this an effective tactic or will it lead to an increase in weight problems in the future?
Blacked out text in your newspaper. The White House has attempted to heavily censor parts of a proposed op-ed about Iran. So tomorrow, the NYT will run the op-ed with black redaction marks, and provide a list of non-classified sources for the exact material the administration claims is sensitive.
was there just a second ago... Cop Watch LA, a police watchdog group, posted the video on YouTube, said organizer Joaquin Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos said the video was shot by a neighbor of Cardenas with a cell phone camera. The neighbor gave it to Cardenas' family, who then gave it to Cop Watch, according to Cienfuegos.
The Plank started it, using a NY Times piece on MyDD.com founder Jerome Armstrong's recent settlement with the SEC to impune Daily Kos's integrety with accusations of graft and extortion, revealing a secret liberal-blog mailing list. Kos counterattacks. TNR expands their assault. David Brooks piles on. Kos's allies respond. TNR retracts (somewhat), and brings up another skeleton in Jerome's closet. Finally, the adults weigh in.