Today’s weekly news chum stew leads off with a few items related to radio and items on the radio…. and goes rapidly downhill from there:
- Living By The Clock. This is an article from a few weeks ago, but it’s still interesting: On November 18th, NPR changed their news magazine clocks. Now you probably have no idea what this means. The clocks are the second-by-second scheduling of what happens when during the newsmagazines, including newscasts, music beds and funding credits. They also affect when stations can insert their own local content. In announcing the date for implementing the clocks, NPR also said that it will not impose limits on stations’ ability to replace newsmagazine segments with programming from other producers. That proposal had prompted criticism from station programmers, who argued for control over programming choices, and producers, whose programs would be excluded under the rule. This directly relates to the next article: some of those producers are podcast producers, whose segments are often included in NPR news magazines (and thus, it brings them in money).
- The Podcast Is The In-Thing. If you listen to podcasts (as I do), you know we’re in a new era of podcasts. The “This American Life” podcast has spun off a new #1 podcast, “Serial“. Roman Mars, of 99% Invisible (who was very concerned about the above clock change) used his Kickstarter success to create Radiotopia, and expanded it with this year’s Kickstarter to add new shows. Producer Alex Bloomberg left Planet Money to found a new podcast company, Gimlet Media, and is documenting the process in a new podcast. The Verge has an interesting article on this phenomena: “The New Radio Star: Welcome to the Podcast Age“. Never mind the fact that the “pod” has been discontinued, and no one really “casts” anymore. That’s like saying television is confined to networks over the air.
- You Can Get Anything You Want. Traditions are funny thing. Who would think a TV show would span a tradition that revolves around a pole? Here’s another one for you: A tradition of listening to a particular song on Thanksgiving, simply because the event described in the song happened on Thanksgiving. This latter one, of course, is referring to Arlo Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant”. Here’s an interesting article about Arlo looking back on the song, which turned 50 this year.
- Shaming and Discrimination is Never Acceptable. The events in Ferguson and in New York have finally started to make people aware about White Privilege, and being aware is the first step to doing something about the problem. But there’s another type of privilege people aren’t talking about: Thin Privilege. Our society is biased towards the thin — all it takes is one airplane ride or sitting at a booth in a restaurant to realize that. Thin Privilege can also be life threatening. Here’s an interesting article that explores that aspect of fat hatred: the particular fact that the auto industry refuses to make large-sized crash dummies, and so crashes are more likely to be fatal to the obese than the thin.
- Fighting Antisemitism. Here’s an interesting Indiegogo project: Yaakov Kirschen of Dry Bones is fundraising to turn Dry Bones into an antisemitism fighting engine. If you’re not familiar with Dry Bones, look here. I haven’t yet decided if this is an effect tool in the fight, or an attempt by Yaakov to obtain steady funding (after the success of his Dry Bones Haggadah). Still, anything that fights is a good thing.
- Your Username is Invalid. We’ve all been taught in security that you shouldn’t give away information in the login error message, and so you don’t indicate whether it was the user name or the password is bad. But here’s an article that points out that such care doesn’t buy you anything. It’s an interesting point of view.
- Should I Upgrade? For years, I’ve been using Paint Shop Pro. I’m currently on the last JASC version, Paint Shop Pro 9. PCWorld has a very interesting review of the current Corel Paint Shop Pro X7, and I’m debating upgrading. Thoughts?
It’s Saturday, and we’re overdone for some stew. I’ve been on vacation last week, and I left some links at work when I left before vacation, so this is a short list:
- Tower No More. Those who have driven the Hollywood Freeway near Sunset remember two major icons: The studios of KTTV-11 and KMET, and the tower for KTLA. The first came down a long long time ago to be replaced by a high school. The second came down just last week — yes, they have (supposedly, temporarily), taken down the KTLA tower.
- Olive Oil No More. According to the LA Times, there has been a major Olive Oil disaster, and olive oil is about to get much more expensive.
- Gluten No More. Unless you are Celiac or actually sensitive to gluten, it turns out a gluten-free diet does not make you healthier.
- You Bought What? Looks like about 30,000 may have bought a literal box of cowshit.
- Interesting Art. Posted on my Facebook: Here’s an interesting article on a man who uses crayons as pixels to make art, and assigns letters to each crayon to embed messages in the pictures.
- Puppeteer No More. Alas, long time Los Angeles puppeteer Bob Baker has passed away.
As you can see by my previous two posts, yesterday was a busy busy day. So today, while I eat lunch, let me share with you some news chum stew items for the week:
- Public Media Losses. Last week, I had to report the sad news that Tom Magliozzi had past way. This week brings news of the loss of another public media personality — this time from the public television side. Yes, Jovian, the lemur better known as Zooboomafu, has passed away.
- Cast In… Iron. Sometimes, the best thing is the simplest. Consider the cast iron pan. I have quite a few of them, inherited from my grandparents. You’ve probably heard bad things about cast iron, but here is the truth.
- Irvine. When you hear the word “Irvine”, what do you think of? Robert Irvine of Restaurant Impossible? UC Irvine (one of the blander UCs out there, although it is a good school)? A very homogenized Orange County community? If you’re old enough, you will think of Lion Country Safari, which used to be in the Irvine hills. Here’s a look back at Lion Country Safari.
In contrast to previous weeks, I found lots of articles of interest this week. I was so busy I couldn’t assemble them into a themed post, so you get a kitchen sink of stew:
- Numbnuts. Although it is old news by now, I do want to comment on the passing of Tom Magliozzi of “Car Talk”. I have memories of paying bills while listening to Car Talk in the late 1980s, and I would still listen to it, off and on, until they went to repeats. Car Talk opened up public radio to be more than music and news, and it was just great. Supposedly, Ray will be doing a tribute show to Tom today; I plan to download that podcast and listen to it.
- 1980s Sitcoms Gone Warped. I happen to be a big fan of TV themes. Having been a teen in the 1970s, I grew up with the sitcom, and the particular type of sitcom opening where the characters were introduced with this odd look at the camera. Yesterday, I learned of a wonderful and warped parody of all those openings called “Too Many Cooks”. I found the video on YouTube and it was great. Here’s an article that discusses the parody and provides the video.
- Like Sand in the Hourglass. You go to the beach, and you think the sand is endless. The truth, however, is much worse. We’re running out of beach sand.
- Held Up By A String. This seems like a regular occurance: An article about the future of Bob Baker’s Marionette Theatre in Echo Park. This time, the concern isn’t the property. The property was sold and a new development is going up, but they are building around the theatre and incorporating the theatre. However, Baker himself is in hospice, and the concern has never made money. I have vague memories of going there when I was a child in the 1960s — this is an LA treasure.
- Milk Chocolate. If you’re a chocolate lover, you tend towards the dark chocolate, and look down on milk chocolate. However, there can be great milk chocolate, and here’s an article on some awesome milk chocolate.
Here’s a collection of articles and opinion pieces that all seem to fall within the theme of things that are good, while really being bad:
- Dogs. We all love our dogs. Our friendly canine companions have been shown to be good for our mental health and well being. But are they good for the environment?
- Fake Grass. Here in California, we’re in the midst of a bad bad drought. The DWP (Department of Water and Power) is offering incentives for people to rip out their lawns and replace them with less water-hungry alternatives. Some go with fake grass (the modern-day equivalent of Astro-Turf). But is fake grass good for the environment?
- Anesthetics. One of the things that makes modern medicine possible are anesthetics. But — especially in the elderly — they have their drawbacks — memory-loss. Here’s why.
- It Does a Body Good. We’ve been taught that “Milk Does a Body Good” and that you should drink cows milk every day to get Calcium. The problem? Too much milk doesn’t do a body good. In fact, a recent study found that, in both women and men, higher milk consumption correlated with higher rates of death. And in women, those who consumed more milk were also more likely to have fractured a bone, not less. The fault may lie with lactose. In fact, fermented dairy products may be better for you — yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, and possibly cheese.
As a reminder, I’m still trying to find the album title, album artist, and song titles for the album mentioned in my previous post. While you’re searching (I did find some stuff searching in Hebrew, but I couldn’t read it) and translating/transliterating, here’s some news chum to keep you busy:
- It’s Back! It’s Back! The Empress Pavilion in Chinatown is back, under new owners, dispensing dim sum from carts in Chinatown. This is good news, as we were never able to find a place we really liked in Monterey Park (which was a schlep anyway). Sounds like a grand excuse for a dim sum run.
- It’s Dead! It’s Dead! What happens to you when you die? I don’t mean meta-physically, I mean physically. There’s a body farm in Texas that is exploring the question, placing bodies out in fields and watching their decay. The article is a fascinating read — but be forewarned that it does include pictures of dead bodies in various stages of decay and decomposition. It isn’t as bad as you think (although you don’t get the smells), and it is comforting to think of your final act being to provide nutrients to other living things.
- It’s Voting! It’s Voting! Of course, I shouldn’t need to remind you to vote on Tuesday (and if you need, here’s my ballot analysis: Part I (major offices); Part II (propositions); Part III (judges)). If you’re in LA County, you’re voting on the old Inka-Vote system. That may soon be going away: LA County has let a contract for a new electronic voting system. Based on what is described in the article, they may actually be doing it right: the County owns the code; the vendor that writes the code cannot operate the voting system; the voting machine prints a paper ballot to be tallied (hopefully legible to the voter).
- It’s, umm, I forget. Recently, we’ve been dealing with the slow memory deterioration of my mother-in-law. It’s hard to deal with, and sad to see. This article — My Mom Has Dementia and Other Good News — was recently going around Facebook. It is an interesting take on the problem.
- It’s Old! It’s Old! You know I like history, and that I like theatre. Here’s an interesting combination: the history of the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. It was once a movie theatre, and recently has been the site of numerous rental productions. We saw Marvellous Wonderettes, Pump Boys and Dinettes, and at least one other show there.
- It’s Pastrami! It’s Pastrami! We’re seeing fewer and fewer true Jewish delicatessens. Here’s an interesting article on how one deli, Katz’s in New York, stays in business. Quoth the article: “But with a throwback menu comes a throwback business model, the downsides of which are especially apparent in these days of astronomical beef prices. That’s one reason why Dell—whose grandfather purchased Katz’s in 1988 and who in recent years has taken over most day-to-day oversight from his father and uncle—is fretting. If you want to fully appreciate why a place like Katz’s is special, you have to appreciate its odd economics, which pretty much ensure there will never be another deli quite like it.”
I know, I’ve been abnormally quiet the last two weeks. Combine business travel, coming back with a cold, a busy week, and planning for a golf tournament (you can still sign up to play) and… whew! Still, I’ve got a few articles accumulated:
- Passwords. Passwords of the bain of our existence online. For the longest time, I resisted the pull of password managers, keeping my passwords on a card in my wallet in 4 pt type or smaller, with only a code for the account and the password. Even that got unmanagable, and based on the recommendations of a number of others, I went with Lastpass. That’s all in the way of leadin to this article on what you should consider in a password manager. I looked for one that never handled the decrypted password vault in the cloud, and that could support two-factor authentication. It has certainly moved me in the direction of having longer and stronger passwords, which is a good thing. What is annoying, however, are the large number of accounts out there that do not provide anyway to change your passwords once established. Here’s a related useful article on how to enable two-step authentication on almost everything.
- Getting the Youth. The Golf Tournament I mentioned above is for the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom. We have a problem: often, when I’m in a meeting, I’m the youngest in the room. How do we get college age kids active and involved? Here’s an interesting article from the Forward on Open Hillel, and how they got young folks back. Interesting thoughts. Intellectual debate about religion. Whou’da thunk it?
- Abandoned Malls. I haven’t seen the movie “Gone Girl”, but here’s an interesting article on the abandoned mall in the movie — which is in Southern California. Abandoned things are interesting — I still remember as a young child of perhaps 12 or 13 visiting some abandoned homes near my grandmothers in West LA that were about to be torn down. I go to that block today (1 block south of Santa Monica off Veteran) and all those homes have been replaced by large apartments. I still see the homes.
- A Nobel Cause. I almost had a theme to post here last week: I had an article on how to dissolve your Nobel prize, and an article about carrying a Nobel prize through an airport. Never could find a third Nobel prize article.
- Halloween Ideas. Seen on the news: The Teal Pumpkin campaign to indicate houses safe for those with food allergies.
- Microsoft Patches. Lastly, I lost a good hour this week to failed Microsoft patches. I warned folks on Facebook, but here’s an article on the problem from Information Week.
This has been a busy weekend, what with Yom Kippur and MoTAS building the Sukkah on Sunday. As a result, the posting of the usual News Chum stew got delayed until today. Hopefully it didn’t get burned sitting on the stove for so long.
- Looking Back at the Past. A few computer related articles looking back at the past. With the announcement of Windows 10, this made a number of people look back at the history of Windows versions. This is significant, as it appears Windows 9 was skipped as a name due to all the software that checked for Windows 95/98 by testing for “Windows 9″. In other “old” news, IBM dropped support for Lotus 1-2-3, and what happened when someone was forced to use Mac OS 9 for a few days.
- Dogs and Hogs. Two animal related items. The first looks at “hog processing” — that is, what happens in the pork industry, and how they are one of the most efficient industries in how they use the animal. I feel that if animals must die for food, it is good that they are completely used and their death isn’t wasted. The second looks at the mythology of dog years — the notion of multiply dog years by 7 to get the human equivalent is false. The real answer is that it is much more complicated.
- The Human Brain. Two articles related to dealing with the human brain. The first deals with those fearful of flying, and how an innovative special effects studio is utilizing their terminal and aircraft sets. The second looks at Costco, and the psychology behind the “free samples” you enjoy when you are there.
- 15 and 15. Two items with counts of 15. The first provides some observations 15 lessons from 15 years of blogging. The second looking at 15 interesting places in the valley, including a few that are very near us.
- Cybersecurity Twosome. Two cybersecurity articles: The first looks at how medical records are much more valuable to hackers than credit card records. The second is an announcement from the FDA on how they are increasing the cybersecurity of medical devices.
- Two Singlets. Two unrelated items, which are paired because they are unrelated. The first is about YidLife Crisis, the first Yiddish sitcom. The second is about a restaurant reviewer in Dallas, who wanted to pay for his meal, but the restaurant refused. Here’s the reviewer’s side of the story. This last one is significant to me: I write up theatre shows I go to, and I (in general) pay for every ticket. I’m offered comp tickets and press reviews, but do not take advantage of them — for the same reason. I feel it taints the reviewer and creates the appearance of “pay for play”. That doesn’t fit with my ethics.