Mar 09

Daily Links for March 12th through March 13th

  • Small Car, Big Shadow — The American, A Magazine of Ideas – Throughout the 1950s Romney inveighed against “dinosaur” size cars. He popularized the phrase “gas guzzler” (at a time when gasoline was about a quarter a gallon!) and he brilliantly finessed the American public’s perceived negative impression of small cars by calling his Ramblers “compacts.” By 1959 the public was at last paying attention. The Nash name (and Hudson’s too) had by then been relegated to the scrap heap of automotive history. But the original 1950 Rambler had become a pop culture icon thanks to a song called “Beep, Beep.” Sung by a now forgotten group called the Playmates, it had made the charts in late 1958 with its whimsical tale of a Cadillac driver who spots a “little Nash Rambler” in his rearview mirror.
  • Balkinization: The Stewart-Cramer interview and the predicament of journalism – We should congratulate Jon Stewart for outstanding television, and for an absorbing interview that raised really important issues. In this sense, he is doing great journalism. But we should not assume that regular journalists could simply imitate his mannerisms and his aggressive questioning tactics and turn journalism around. Their subjects will not behave like Jim Cramer, a journalist, did. Professional journalists must abandon the bad habits of contemporary journalism, and the sycophancy, corruption, and complicity that come with them; but to do that, they also have to find some way to free themselves from much larger social and economic forces that lead to co-optation.
  • Frank Schaeffer: Open Letter to the Republican Traitors (From a Former Republican) – The worsening economic situation is your fault and your fault alone. The Republicans created this mess through 8 years of backing the worst president in our history and now, because you put partisan ideology ahead of the good of our country, you have blown your last chance to redeem yourselves. You deserve the banishment to the political wilderness that awaits all traitors.
  • CMS-Watch-subway-map-2009-large.jpg (image)
  • American adults flunk basic science – Over the past few months, the American government has allocated hundreds of billions of dollars for economic bailout plans. While this spending may provide a short-term solution to the country's economic woes, most analysts agree that the long-term solution must include a transition to a more knowledge-based economy, including a focus on science, which is now widely recognized as a major driver of innovation and industry. Despite its importance to economic growth, environmental protection, and global health and energy issues, scientific literacy is currently low among American adults.
  • Pew Research Center: Socialism, American-Style – We love the free market, but fear corporations and global competition, and depend on Uncle Sam to keep us safe
  • FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Americans Losing Their Faith in Faith … And Everything Else – The longstanding project called the General Social Survey, which has polled Americans about their feelings on a variety of political and social issues for more than 35 years, just recently came out with their preliminary 2008 data (which, I should warn you, is a little bit cumbersome to access). One of my favorite sets of questions on the GSS is one that asks Americans about their degree of confidence in various social institutions; here is what those numbers looked like in 2008 as compared with eight years earlier before George W. Bush won the Presidency, as well as in 1976 when this question was first posed:
  • Pew Research Center: Stop the Presses? Many Americans Wouldn’t Care a Lot if Local Papers Folded – As many newspapers struggle to stay economically viable, fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community "a lot." Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available.
  • Interactive Map Showing Immigration Data Since 1880 – Interactive Graphic – NYTimes.com
  • The Economic Meltdown Comes To Prime Time – It's clear that the not-so-great depression of our times has come to the vast wasteland that persists just beyond the LCD screens in America's living rooms. The New York Times runs through some recent and upcoming episodes of popular shows that have dealt with the [economic] crisis.

Feb 09

Daily Links for February 2nd

  • Blambot Comic Fonts and Lettering – Who knew there was the equivalent of an AP-style book for comic book lettering?
  • T-Mobile Announces Installment Plan for Devices – This is a great idea – but one that highlights the general weakness in the economy as well as the sensitivity to consumption for the handset manufacturers and carriers.
  • Stimulus Watch: Keeping an Eye on Economic Recovery Spending – StimulusWatch.org was built to to help the new administration keep its pledge to invest stimulus money smartly, and to hold public officials to account for the taxpayer money they spend. We do this by allowing you, citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed "shovel-ready" projects in your city, to find, discuss and rate those projects. These projects are not part of the stimulus bill. They are candidates for funding by federal grant programs once the bill passes.
  • New Illness: Facebook Depression? – ReadWriteWeb – This may sound like a joke, but it's not: researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have found that too much Facebook usage can leave you more prone to anxiety and depression…that is, if you're a teenage girl. In a study, a group of 13-year old girls were evaluated by psychology professor Dr. Joanne Davila and her colleague, Lisa Starr. A year later, the researchers followed up with the girls, testing them for depressive symptoms.
  • EconomPic Data: Global Unemployment – Though the data is slightly dated, the CIA's 'The World Factbook' shows that the U.S. unemployment ("officially" at 7.2%) is still the envy of every war torn nation.
  • Sunlight Foundation » USA.gov. Government Gadget Gallery – USA.gov has posted a gallery of online gadgets (or widgets) that other Web sites can display.
  • Comparisons of Inaugural Addresses – This is interesting, especially if looking back at the rhetoric the Chief Executives have used and how that same rhetoric indicates and reflects how their Presidencies are remembered and recorded by history.
  • visualcomplexity.com | Visualizing Online Media – Instrument collaborated with JD Hooge of Gridplane to conceive and produce designs for a data visualization project for Google. The concept revolved around the idea of aggregating and visualizing the scale and pace of activity as well as the influence of social media over time. The end result of this effort would harness the power of Google Analytics and other data from varied sources and display them in a flexible interface.

Jan 09

Daily Links for January 21st

  • Going.com – Newspapers Covering Obama’s Inauguration – A collection of front pages.
  • A face you can trust – Boston.com – Princeton psychologists recently showed that certain faces, even when expressionless, strike people as trustworthy or untrustworthy. Features like the shape of the eyebrow are part of an unconscious language of trust that powerfully affects human interaction.
  • Barack Obama Said 44 Men Have Taken The Oath Of Office For President. Was He Right? – Yahoo! Answers – OMG. I don't even know where to go with this? The only proper response is to mock the true-believers.
  • Bill Gallo on Obama: Draws an interesting parallel to Babe Ruth after the Black Sox scandal | Crooks and Liars – Will Barack Obama be able to restore the public trust in our government after the disastrous tenure of George Bush? If a Babe Ruth was able to come along at the right time and restore the dignity to a sport that had been destroyed, then there is some real hope that perhaps Obama can do the same in the world of politics.
  • Official Google Blog: Search findings from the U.S. presidential inauguration
  • YesButNoButYes: The Famous "44" – Apparently a notable number with regards to sports…
  • Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » What Drives Republicans Insane About the Media – Obama jumped in early, interrupting the first part. Roberts was then thrown off, and misplaced the word faithfully. Obama then started to recite the portion, got to the part where faithfully should have been, smiled at Roberts, Roberts corrected, and then they kind of just said to hell with it and went forward.


    But to pretend it was some sort of super-human Presidential moment on the part of Obama is as silly as the earlier comments on PUMA websites that ZOMG OBAMA MESSED UP THE OATH HE AIN’T REALLY PREZNIT! There really is no fault on the part of either one, and the smiles on both of their faces show that they know what happened. They both sort of goofed, and that really should be the end of that.

  • Obama’s New Robots.txt : Codeulate. – Within a few moments of President Obama being sworn in, a new whitehouse.gov was revealed. The new site looks great, and promises greater transparency about the actions of our President and government. [Bush's robots.txt file was ~2400 LINES. Obama's is 2. Transparency comes to Washington, DC].
  • Whitehouse.gov: Looking Back at 12 Years of the US President’s Web Presence – ReadWriteWeb – As the eyes of the world were focused on the pomp and circumstance of Barack Obama moving into a new role as President of the United States, Obama's Web team was hard at work – with far less fanfare – moving their Web property to a new address: whitehouse.gov, the official Web site for the President. And while, at first blush, the site may appear similar to Obama's President-elect site, change.gov, it is strikingly different than the predecessors who have occupied whitehouse.gov over the past 12 years. How different? Let's take a look.
  • iGov – The Atlantic (January/February 2009) – “Data sharing is no longer an afterthought,” Elin explained. “You begin with the notion that you’re going to share information. And you’re going to make it easy for people.” (Compare that with the approach of the Federal Communications Commission, which allows only limited searching of filings and comments; or that of the Department of Justice, which puts out data on foreign lobbying in unwieldy PDF format and binders.) An API also encourages the release of data in real time, instead of in occasional reports, like Federal Election Commission figures, or earmark spending.
  • How big will inaugural crowd be? Do the math – Inauguration- msnbc.com – After gathering data on numerous demonstrations, Jacobs came up with some rules of thumb that still are used today by those serious about crowd estimation. A loose crowd, one where each person is an arm's length from the body of his or her nearest neighbors, needs 10 square feet per person. A more tightly packed crowd fills 4.5 square feet per person. A truly scary mob of mosh-pit density would get about 2.5 square feet per person.