Tag: New York Times

The Digital Public Library of America

by on May.02, 2011, under Articles, Books, Computers, Information Technology, Internet, Politics, Technology

Ruling Spurs Effort to Form Digital Public Library By Miguel Helft [New York Times]

This news header caught my eye because the concept seems like almost a no brainer. Except that copyright and laws are all confusing in the idea since digital media is so easily transferable as compared to physical media. Still an online public Library of America is a great idea and I hope it gets off the ground and becomes popular enough to stay alive.

 

 

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New York Times, Women, and Game of Thrones, which of these things doesn’t belong?

by on Apr.29, 2011, under Articles, Blog, Comic Links, Comics, Entertainment, Television, Visual Media

First off I haven’t gotten to see the first episode and sadly it is unlikely I will until the DVDs come out as my television time is limited and I am only half way through the first book.

Secondarily, I’m sure you’ve heard of the article by Ms. Ginia Bellafante fromThe New York Times regarding her views on A Game of Thrones.  No? Well you’re in for a treat. Ms. Bellafante is not a fan of the Game of Thrones television series or, it seems, fantasy novels in general, and feels no women really are. She actually goes so far as to suggest the sex scenes were added to the show in order to attract a female audience.

This, obviously, is causing some outrage.

Ladies the New York Times Thinks You Hate Fantasy [SillyBean.net]

A Live Woman Who’d Gladly Watch A Game of Thrones (Even Without the Sex Scenes) [GeekMom.com]

And my personal favorite:

Weregeek: 2011-04-21: Game of Thrones

And to finish it all off, George R. R. Martin himself has broke his no comment rule to comment upon the article linked above.

Boy Fiction? [Not A Blog (The Live Journal of George R. R. Martin)]

 

Angry Sarah is cute.

 

http://www.weregeek.com/2011/04/21/

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Nuclear power plant explosion!

by on Mar.13, 2011, under Articles, News, Politics, Science

Doom! Gloom! Japan’s nuclear power plants are exploding!

Explosion rocks Japanese nuclear power plant; 5 reactors in peril by Steven Mufson [Washington Post]

It really does amaze me sometimes what passes for news. I realize that news can be boring if you don’t editorialize or sensationalize it but… dammit if the news is boring, let it be boring. Don’t put your unintentional spin on it. Read the above article. It is kind of hard to get away from the tone of ‘OMG nuclear plant is exploding! Japan is going to die!’ but if you read it critically, you can see the few statements where someone other than a journalist, a specialist who understand the situation, is talking about the situation and explaining that while things are broken, the safety precautions are working to keep people safe. The seriousness of the situation is in the damage and possible loss of a functional nuclear power plant, not in radiation exposure or nuclear explosions.

A good article would present the facts. Tell the problems. Give interviews, even provide links to where readers can find more information about the facts such as the Wikipedia entry and entries on HowStuffWorks.

[spoiler show=”Lets analyze this article a little”]Lets analyze this article a little.

Page 1

Opening line: “An explosion rocked one of Japan’s nuclear power plants Saturday, causing a portion of a building to crumble, sending white smoke billowing into the air and prompting Japanese officials to warn people in the vicinity to cover their mouths and stay indoors.”

 

Doom & Gloom: “In what may become the most serious nuclear power crisis since the Chernobyl disaster”

 

Within the first two paragraphs we’ve already set the tone for the article. This isn’t telling you about how nuclear power plant have triplicate power safety systems or shielding that worked make the explosion damage everything but the key systems that could lead to radiation getting released. Instead we focus on the scary parts and make a rather gross comparison to the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history.

Page 2

News & Follow up: “Earlier, NISA said no dangerous radioactive material had been released, but the government evacuated people as a precaution nonetheless.”

 

Relevant News: “Edano said the explosion blew off the roof and walls of the building around the containment vessel but did no serious damage to the container itself.”

 

Immediate Followup: “However, authorities widened an evacuation zone to a 12.5 mile radius from the plant and prepared to distribute iodine tablets to people in the vicinity to protect them from exposure to radiation.”

 

By page two we finally start to learn that officials and specialists say there is no actual radioactive danger and that the government is being cautious. With plenty of right to be. There are non-nuclear explosions happening in an earthquake and tsunami torn area! But the annoying part is for every interviewed statement regarding safety is immediately followed up with words like “but” and “however” with a reinforcing statement showing how people are acting like there is a danger.

Page 3

More doom and gloom followed by statements, at the end, regarding how officials say that none of this is harmful. The actual amount of talking about how things are going wrong is a ratio of 209 words to 29 words. Which do you think has more of an impact?

 

The rest of the article barley focuses on the plants and instead points out American involvement or lack of involvement.[/spoiler]

The Irony

I find this statement on the second page to be the most ironic: “In the United States, it was likely to deal a severe blow to advocates of a nuclear power renaissance.”

And why do you think that is after such an article was written? And don’t think that I’m trying to pick on the Washington Post. Actually I am but there are other such media outlets that report on nuclear energy in a similar fashion, such as the Huffington Post.

Perhaps the most is by the New York Times that did give an equal balance between what officials were saying and what events were actually happening, without need to refer to other disasters or report on non-factual comments like ‘nobody knows about this possible danger’.

In the end it should be you who goes and finds out what is happening. Ever source has a bias. Look at me, I’m trying to convince you that nuclear power is safe and that all the action being taken now in Japan is apart of what happens because nuclear power is safe but I’ve also done research and listened to experts on the subject and I encourage you to do so.

Here is a link to get you started: http://www.epa.gov/radtown/nuclear-plant.html

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App Store suddenly not so friendly to eBook apps

by on Feb.03, 2011, under Articles, Books, Comics, Computers, Information Technology, Technology

The other day Apple rejected Sony’s eReader app for the App Store/iOS platform. This wouldn’t have made much news, since Apple has a history of rejecting it’s competitors in certain markets regularly. What made it news was the new policy behind the rejection: All “storefront” Apps must use Apple’s in app purchasing (IAP) system when purchasing content for the app.

And from a standard perspective, this makes sense, if perhaps a little greedy. You use Apple’s device, apple wants a cut of everything you sell to the user via their device. Not a standard computing concept but we’ve all come to love the mostly fascist control of software/Apps on the iOS and the marketplace that distributes it, so perhaps it is the standard these days. I digress.

If you dig a little deeper, you find that this appears to be a maneuver by Apple to push out competing eBook distributors while appearing to be simply capitalistic rather than monopolistic. Let me explain.

Apple, way back in January of 2011, pushed for eBooks to be sold via the Agency Model like most standard books are sold. In the Agency Model, rather than the distributor purchasing books and then re-selling them at whatever price they prefer, the publishers set the price and there is an agreed percentage that the distributor gets from the cut. Most big publishers, back in the spring, adopted at 70%/30% agency model with distributors like Sony, Amazon, Apple, and others. So when you’re purchasing a book off your Kindle there is a very good chance Amazon is only getting 30% of the price you’re paying.

Now the Agency Model isn’t bad. It has it’s upsides and downsides but the publishing industry is used to it. Where the problem lies is in Apple’s rules regarding IAP. Apple gets a 30% cut of anything sold via IAP. Starting to see where this is going? So if you have an eBook, and you’re say, Nook, Barne & Noble’s eBooker Reader, and you’re now forced to sell your books via the IAP, here is how your profits for selling eBooks is going to look: 100% – 70% Publisher – 30% Apple = %0 profit for B&N.

You can replace B&N with any non-Apple eReader device that does deals with major publishers. Take into account the fact that running a storefront app does require manpower, and therefore has an upkeep cost, and not only are getting no profit, you’re losing profit. Apple has basically just said: eBook readers, get out of our App Store, without having to say that specifically and looking like the bad guy.

Now there are some defenses Apple has. For example they are now disallowing purchasing via non IAP routes. Storefront apps can still send you to the App owner’s website to purchase. They are only requiring the capability of IAP. Even so, it’s easy to see that from a user-friendly perspective, the majority of users are going to choose an IAP route unless App designers make using IAP within their app more difficult than using a webpage that the app switches to. Additionally Apple has stressed that it is not cutting off content purchased outside of the App Store from Apps but in my opinion, these are flimsy defenses compared to the obviously anti-competitive strategy. Combine this with the fact that Apple obviously knows that 30% is the agreed upon Agency Model and Apple really starts to look like it’s maneuvering and trying to throw its weight around.

This doesn’t sit well with me and something tells me there won’t be enough Apple user outcry to have Apple back peddle on this like it has on some other usability features. After all money is on this line this time.

This decision doesn’t just affect eBooks, of course. The rules apply to all storefront apps. Dark Horse comics has announced “unforeseen setbacks” in regards to their digital comics distribution system they were developing very quickly after Sony’s eReader App was rejected.

I gathered the above information from several sources, some of which explain the effects of Apple’s decisions with more in-depth. If you want to know more, follow these links:

SillyBean: Apple and the ebook apps

Comics Beat: Apple goes from savior to Overlord with new app purchase enforcement

Alan Quartermain: iBooks & the App Store vs. The Rest

New York Times: Apple Moves to Tighten Control of App Store

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Lost at Sea & Scott Pilgrim (manga reviews of Bryan Lee O’Malley works)

by on Sep.29, 2010, under Articles, Comics, Reviews, Writing

So Bryan Lee O’Malley is the creator of Scott Pilgrim. Scott Pilgrim, before it was an awesome movie that nobody but a few people and some critics watched, is a manga. It’s sister manga, Lost at Sea, was written by O’Malley prior to the first novel of Scott Pilgrim. I’ve read both. I consider them both excellent examples of how visual medium and text medium can be combined to write meaningful and entertaining stories. But don’t just take my word for it:

Before ‘Scott Pilgrim,’ a Girl Adrift By Jennifer B. McDonald (New York Times Review)

Pilgrim’s Progress By Charles Yu (New York Times Review)

For my female friends who managed to see the movie but not read the manga, who took except at the lack of dynamic female characters, I highly suggest reading the first link by Jennifer McDonald, in order to get a better feel for how the source material portrayed the female characters of Scott Pilgrim before they went through Hollywood filtering.

Anyway again I highly suggest both series. For my friends, I might be willing to loan out copies. Also note that Bryan has announced on his blog that a box set of Scott Pilgrim with fancy new art box and a poster will be released in the new future. Le sigh… sometimes being a fan costs way too much money.

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Why I hate Telecoms controlling our mobile computing

by on Jun.04, 2010, under Articles, Computers

The Heaviest Users of Phone Data Will Pay More (NY Times) by Matt Richtel

NY times journal tries to explain why AT&T was good in pulling its unlimited plan. Comparing people who actually use their mobile devices to their fullest extent to “hogs” who just eat everything out of the trough and make it hard for the rest of us to eat.

I find this kind of hard to swallow. (See what I did there?). What I know of computer networks does suggest that streaming items can slow down access of other smaller operations but not to the level of issue that we find with AT&T’s network. I understand that AT&T needs to tone down its data usage because, in reality, their infrastructure can’t handle it. But that is mostly heresy.

What I don’t like is this article’s tone and spin. It makes the users out to be the bad guys. I’m not one of these so called “Data hogs” but I’m also not a fan of information volume based limits. Limit my speed but don’t limit how much data I can pull and push.

What sparked this is this blog post by Murr Lafferty.

She took offense at the wording as well, if you can’t tell by the title
“well shit, we didn’t think anyone would actually DRIVE the car…”

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Tiny Drug Transporters – Carbon Nanotubes

by on Dec.30, 2008, under Articles, Science

*************************
Handle With Care
New York Times Aug. 11, 2009
*************************
A growing number of experts say it
is time for a broad discussion of
environmental effects of emerging
geoengineering projects. Examples of
such projects include “fertilizing”
parts of the ocean with iron, in
hopes of encouraging
carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton;
and injecting chemicals into the
atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting
mirrors…
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/science/12ethics.html?_r=2&ref=science&oref=slogin

*************************
Tiny Drug Transporters
Technology Review Aug. 29, 2008
*************************
Research from Stanford University
has shown that carbon nanotubes
loaded with anticancer drugs can
target tumor cells while avoiding
healthy tissue. The researchers
coated the nanotubes with a molecule
called polyethylene glycol (PEG) and
attached molecules of the anticancer
drug paclitaxel to each branch.
Tumors treated by nanotube delivery…
http://www.technologyreview.com/Nanotech/21316/?a=f

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Tubes de Nano no Carbon

by on Dec.24, 2008, under Articles, Science

*************************
Enough Atoms for a Cannonball? Or
Just a Small Splash?
New York Times July 22, 2008
*************************
Physicists at the University of
California, Berkeley have developed
a nanomechanical sensor — a
cantilevered carbon nanotube — that
can weigh an atom, replacing a large
mass spectrometer. The mass is
determined by sending a
radio-frequency signal to the
nanotube and measuring its resonant
frequency, which changes when
different atoms are…
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/science/22obweig.html?_r=1&ref=science

*************************
‘Nanonet’ circuits closer to making
flexible electronics reality
PhysOrg.com July 23, 2008
*************************
Researchers at at Purdue University
and the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign have overcome a
major obstacle in producing
transistors from “nanonets” —
networks of carbon nanotubes. The
technology could make it possible to
print circuits on plastic sheets for
applications including flexible
displays and an electronic skin to
cover…
http://www.physorg.com/news136037378.html

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