📰 Beauty is in the eye of the News Chum

Another area in which I collect news chum is titled “Size and Beauty”. Articles in this area explore body image, and society’s acceptance (or non acceptance) thereof. It also explore how we treat people based on their appearance. As I clear out the news chum, let’s see what’s in this area:

 

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The Times, They are a Changin’

I know, we’re all sick of Trump and news about Trump. So let’s take a breather. Here’s a collection of news chum that shows some other interesting ways that the times are a changin’:

  • Social Media Addiction. The New York Times is reporting that Generation X is more addicted to social media than Millenials. Again, read that headline: the younger kids (Millenials) are LESS addicated than the generation before them (GEN X, Adults 39-49). That, perhaps, explains the greying of Facebook. A Neilsen study found that adults 35 to 49 spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on the networks: an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week (and I’m part of this latter group). The report is based on smartphone and tablet use, and it found that in the United States, 97 percent of people 18 to 34, and 94 percent of people 35 to 49, had access to smartphones. Seventy-seven percent of those 50 and older used smartphones, the report found. The 29-page report was based on data from 9,000 smartphone users and 1,300 tablet users across the country from July through September. It also found that Facebook still dominated on mobile, with about 178.2 million unique users in September. It was followed by Instagram, with 91.5 million unique users; Twitter, with 82.2 million unique users; and Pinterest, with 69.6 million users.Snapchat, a favorite of younger users, was sixth on the list, behind the professional networking site LinkedIn.  This raises the next question: if Millenials are using their smartphones so much, and they aren’t on social media, what precisely are they doing? They aren’t making phone calls.
  • Screens on Airplanes. Another New York Times article has an interesting finding regarding screens: we are using our personal screens so much that airlines are phasing out seat-back screens (which saves them a hella-lot of money). With built-in screens, airliners provide passengers with a set menu of content through boxes that power the in-flight entertainment system. The screens appeared in their most primitive form in the late 1980s with a few movies played on a loop. By the early 2000s, they had advanced to allow passengers to make choices on demand. By streaming content over wireless systems, passengers will have a wider array of content and the carriers will not have to maintain screens because passengers will bring their own portable devices on board. For carriers that discontinue the screens, the savings can be significant. By one estimate, in-flight entertainment systems are the biggest expense in outfitting a new plane and can make up 10 percent of the entire cost of an aircraft. The screens and their wiring add weight to the plane, and when fuel prices are high, every pound makes a difference. Another financial incentive: Without the screens, carriers can install slimmer seats, which means they can accommodate more passengers and earn more money. The article makes one other very important comment regarding personal screens: Experts said that if airliners are going to rely on consumer electronics for in-flight entertainment, the carriers should be prepared to offer another amenity: outlets for passengers to charge their devices. Mr. Hoppe said it was “imperative” to have them available in all rows and seats, and “essential” to ensure that each one works.
  • Fashion Rules for Plus Size. Let’s break up the New York Times articles with a change of fashion. A bunch of editors at Buzzfeed decided to break the “fashion rules” for Plus Size women. You know what? They looked great.  This goes to show yet another change that is happening in society: people deciding not to follow arbitrary rules from someone else, and wearing and being what is right for them. More power to them!
  • Intel Dropping Out of Science Fairs. One last New York Times article: it appears that Intel is dropping its sponsorship of Science Fairs. As someone who judges at the California State Science Fair, this is bad news. I see the remarkable things kids do, and it restores my faith in our youth. I originally thought the reason might have to do with Trump — after all, Intel had been meeting with Trump and Trump hates science.  But the reason is due to a more fundamental change: [The traditional science fair’s] regimented routines can seem stodgy at a time when young people are flocking to more freewheeling forums for scientific creativity, like software hackathons and hardware engineering Maker Faires. That is apparently the thinking at Intel, the giant computer chip maker, which is retreating from its longtime sponsorship of science fairs for high school students. It has dropped its support of the National Science Talent Search, and is dropping support of the International Science and Engineering Fair. The article noted that this leads to broader questions about how a top technology company should handle the corporate sponsorship of science, and what is the best way to promote the education of the tech work force of the future. Intel’s move also raises the issue of the role of science fairs in education in the so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. All I know, as a judge, is that these fairs have encouraged some remarkable research by Middle and High School Students.
  • The Cost of Solar. As we keep debating the real costs of hydro-carbon based power, the costs of solar on an industrial scale continue to drop. Eventually, it may be that clean power is so much cheaper that we’ll be able to reserve hydro-carbons for the real thing we need them for: plastics. [And, believe me: if you think about a society without gas for your car is bad, just imagine a world with no plastics — not only no plastic bags and storage containers, but circuit boards, enclosures, insulation for wires, sterile medical devices — we need to save our oil for plastic]. Quoting from the article: Solar has seen remarkable cost declines and is competing in more circumstances with every passing year. But it is not the world’s cheapest source of electricity. Yhe main reason is that there is, at least currently, no such thing as “the world’s cheapest source of electricity,” if that’s taken to mean cheapest, all costs considered, in all places, at all times. No such fairy dust exists; different sources perform differently in different economies and different electricity systems. What can be said about solar is that it is rapidly increasing the range of circumstances under which it can compete on costs, without subsidies. This is a good thing. Together, wind and utility-scale solar are now the cheapest available energy sources in the places that are building the most of them. Utility-scale solar now has a lower total cost of power than natural gas.

 

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News Chum Stew for 170114: Theatre, Judaism, Feminism, and Zombies

To close out the week, a tasty news chum stew, wherein I pull out the chunks and provide commentary to chew on:

  • Dealing with Ticket Scalpers. Ken Davenport had an interesting commentary on the ticket resale market, triggered by the news that Hamilton in London is going to a ticketless system — instead, you swipe your payment card for entry. I have a number of problems with this — primarily, that it hurts legitimate patrons. Things come up in life, and occasionally you need to change your tickets to a different date — but they are non-refundable. You bought the tickets — you should be able to give them to a friend (possibly being reimbursed for cost), or donate them to a charity; these anti-scalping measures seem to prevent that. As for Cameron Macintosh and Hamilton, it is a very bad idea. Not only does it disenfranchise those with cash — who are often the younger audiences we must get into theatre, but how often had you had to ice a card due to fraud and replaced it with a new card and new number.  Unfortunately, it is a fact of life: when you have a limited highly desired product, there will be a secondary resale market.
  • Steve Allen Theatre Going Away. I received some sad theatre news this week in a mailing from the Trepany House Theatre Company: In Summer 2017, the CFI-LA building and the Steve Allen Theatre inside will be torn down this summer to make room for new condos. CFI-LA confirmed this in their latest newsletter: “CFI has accepted a favorable offer on the property where the Center for Inquiry–Los Angeles now resides, and this vibrant and active branch is expected to have a great new location by the fall. This is a positive development for CFI–L.A., which will mean a brand new home for the community, and the resources to keep it thriving.” This is sad — the Steve Allen Theatre was home to Meeting of Minds (which was created by Allen), and the memory of Allen is too important to disappear.
  • Jewish Feminism and Brotherhood Privilege. Soferet Jen Taylor Friedman created Tfillin Barbie a few years ago. In response to Mattel releasing a set of Barbies in all shapes, colors, and sizes, Jen has created an Intersectional Barbie Dream Minyan “because Jewish feminism shouldn’t be only for white girls.” I love the copy Jen wrote; here’s the first paragraph to give you an idea: “Maybe some of them are Sephardic and some are Maghrebi and one is an adult convert and one was adopted and converted as a child. One of them has blue hair. One of them has red hair, and one of them has red highlights. Nobody in this minyan ever says “But where are you really from?” or “But surely you weren’t born Jewish.” Some of them are what Mattel calls “curvy.” Some of them are short.” I especially the last sentence: “In principle, Kens are welcome in this minyan, but today they’re outside fixing breakfast, which is why you can’t see them.” That’s the men’s club for you. Always fixing the food in the back. I’ll bet they are using a BBQ.
  • Body Positivity and Modeling. If you’ve been reading here recently, you know I’ve been talking about body positivity. Perhaps it is because I find all people beautiful and enjoy watching the diversity (especially of the opposite sex) — and people are at their most beautiful when they are happy with themselves. That’s why I supported The Nu Project and its message. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a recent interview with Emme on the A-Plus blog caught my eye. In particular, I appreciate it when she said, “It’s not a hidden, hushed conversation anymore. Every day, women are showing themselves in all forms of dress (or undress) on social media where you would NEVER [have seen] this in the ’90s. A revolution of female strength and power — thin, medium, and curvy — is at hand. It’s a time to feel blessed to be in! It begs me to say men also are gaining from this liberation. Body image and self-esteem are not only a woman’s trip. Men are on it and dealing with very similar issues, but feel ashamed to speak up about it. The eating disorder clinics are full with young men, fathers, and boys — reflecting the phenomenon today.” This all goes back to the key line from my favorite musical, Two Gentlemen of Verona: “You can’t love another without loving yourself.”
  • Rights and the Backlash . Have you ever been somewhere where a group that was in the minority started exerting their rights, and the members of the formerly privileged group started fighting back? Did this fighting back often progress to violence against the minority group, disturbing images, and even more disturbing behavior? Was the end conclusion something you liked? I’m not talking about Donald Trump here (although I well could be); rather, my cousin has brought to my attention a very interesting article about the situation in South Korea between women and men. Feminism is rising in South Koren, and a deep-seated misogynist backlash is coming out (just like the “white privilege” backlash after #blacklivesmatter). It’s getting ugly. A really interesting article, well worth reading.
  • The Zombies of Penzance. Don’t you just love that title. The Zombies of Penzance is a new musical that is about to have a reading and a staging in St. Louis. I just love the description, and look forward to this being staged in LA: “In The Zombies of Penzance (subtitled At Night Come the Flesh Eaters), according to press notes, “Major-General Stanley is a retired zombie hunter, who doesn’t want his daughters marrying the dreaded Zombies of Penzance (for obvious reasons). According to documents found with the manuscripts, Gilbert and Sullivan finished work on The Zombies of Penzance in mid-1878, but their producer Richard D’Oyly-Carte refused to produce it, calling it vulgar, impolitic, and unchristian, and in one letter, ‘an operatic abomination, an obscene foray into the darkest of the occult arts.’ In a letter to his cousin, Gilbert expressed his deep disappointment, writing ‘I fear the walking dead shall be the end of me yet.’ Until now, music scholars had been baffled by that reference. After a battle that almost ended the partnership, the team reluctantly agreed to rewrite their show, and in 1879, D’Oyly-Carte debuted the much more conventional, revised version, The Pirates of Penzance, which added the characters of Ruth and the policemen, and eliminated all references to zombism.””
  • Genealogy and Personal Information. Genealogists have a hard problem — especially amateur genealogists. You want to share the information to get the most knowledge about your family tree, and you want to be able to research online, but you have to be careful about exposing PII (personally identifyable information). There’s loads of PII in genealogy: addresses, mother’s maiden names, birthplaces, school dates and locations, and such. You’ll see why that is a risk when you think about all those password questions you get. This has come to the forefront of people’s attention with a story going viral on Facebook about how one genealogy site has scraped public databases to get addresses, and has published them for free. This has everyone up in arms, but they are forgetting one fact: this is information that was already PUBLIC. If someone was stalking you, they don’t need this site to do it. The information is easily discovered with a bit of Google-fu. Still, you can opt out if you wish. I likely won’t bother: I was in my last house 10+ years, and this house 10+ years, and am easy to find. [Not to mention that of all the Faigin’s out there, I’m not in their database. Cousins are. I’m not.]
  • Housing Style. I live in a single-story ranch house. But what makes such a house a “ranch house”. What is “Cape Cod”? Here’s a handy guide on personal housing architectural styles. What type of house do you live in?
  • Gluten-Free and Fads. Lastly, an article that explores the question: Is gluten-free more than a fad? By that, the real question they mean is: Should gluten-free be for more than just celiacs? These other folks are known as “PWAGs;” in the medical jargon: “people without celiac disease avoiding gluten.” [Note that this is a very different thing than a PAWG, so be careful when you search, although a PWAG can be a PAWG]. They’re often stigmatized as faddish foodies or placebo-addled hypochondriacs who don’t understand the science behind a serious health problem. According to a new study published this month in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, their number tripled between 2009 and 2014, while the number of cases of celiac disease stayed flat. The article notes that there is growing evidence that severe gluten sensitivities exist outside the realm of celiac disease; further, researchers simply don’t know how many of the people following a gluten-free diet may actually have a legitimate health complaint.  It notes how many PWAGs (glad I didn’t mistype that) find relief in a gluten-free diet, and people still aren’t sure why.

 

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Looks Are Everything (and the Permutations Thereof)

Superficiality.

Alas, it today’s society, many have forgotten the adage not to judge a book by its cover (or for those who do not know what a “book” is, not to judge an album or movie by its cover art). Nowhere is this seen better than in our incoming President, who is the poster child for judging things based on looks. Not only do we have all the stories of how he has judged women on their looks, dismissing those who he views as ugly, but we have stories about how even his cabinet officers are judged based on looks: specifically, how he dismissed consideration of John Bolton for Secretary of State because of his mustache. In fact, looks have proven very important in how we select presidents in this country. We’ve all heard the stories about how one of the factors that gave us Kennedy over Nixon was Nixon’s “Five O’Clock Shadow” during the debates. Research has shown that voters are likely to stereotype bearded or mustachioed candidates as more masculine and less supportive of feminist policies, but less inclined to deploy force. It is also well known that you can’t have a small president in this country. Was Chris Christie’s campaign dead-on-arrival because of Christie’s shape? Could someone like William Howard Taft — who was both President and Chief Justice — get elected today (Taft weighed over 300 pounds and was bewhiskered)? Could one of the factors that sabotaged Clinton was her looks and how we judge women? Possibly.

After all, “society” often judges women much more on their looks, and this has significant impacts on women’s self-esteem, and from there, often on their mental and physical health. There is similar judging on men, but society seems to judge flaws in masculine appearance much less harshly — although such judging out there, especially with respect to physical fitness and obesity. But women have standards of beauty (often unrealistic) drilled into their heads by the media, and it is women who fight the bigger battle with self-esteem.

Perhaps this is why three articles from Ashton Kucher’s A-Plus blog caught my eye of late:

  • To Get Over Her Body Insecurities, This Plus-Size Woman Tried Nude Modeling For Art Classes. This article has some interesting observations, including the primary fact that pushing yourself to do things you’re afraid of can actually help to change the way you feel about yourself. In this case, it was nude modeling. The model discovered there was an advantage to curves and flaws, or as one artist put it, “It’s no fun to draw straight lines”. It is our imperfections that make people visually interesting. Art is what captures imperfections and allows us to see the beauty in them (as the folks behind The Nu Project know). How do we teach our children? We raise them not to love the imperfections, but to crave mass-produced images of beauty (cough, Barbie, cough).
  • Fitness Blogger Explains Why She Refuses To ‘Embrace Her Flaws’ In 2017, And Why You Shouldn’t Either. This article makes a similar point: how one refers themselves colors how the world is perceived. The title of this article makes you believe that the fitness blogger has a goal of having a flawless body. That’s true, but not in the sense you would think — this fitness blogger refuses to “embrace her flaws” because she doesn’t view what makes her body unique as “flaws”. In fact, to call them “flaws” or even “imperfections” colors one’s perceptions in a negative way, just as we view deviations from the normal as abnormal even though everyone is unique (and hence there is no normal to begin with)
  • These Curvy Women Fight Stigmas By Showing Yoga Can Be For Everybody And Every Body. But of course, perceptions just aren’t in the eye of the beholded. As we saw with Bolton and facial hair, others look at us and make assumptions as well. Often, it is that those who are larger have no will-power and do not exercise (irrespective of the fact that there are many factors that inhibit weight loss from medications prescribed to the internal microbiome to chronic inflammation). In this article, a group of women are fighting that stereotype by showing that curvy women can and do exercise. The goal is to encourage everyone — independent of shape or size — to be healthy.

I’m not trying to say that Trump should have chosen John Bolton as Secretary of State (although given his actual choice, it is scary to realize that Bolton might have been an improvement). Rather, we should not be like Trump, judging others based on their appearance. We should judge them based on what they have done and said, not how they look. More importantly, we should judge ourselves the same way, and learn to love what is in the package of our body, see that what it is that makes us unique is also what makes us special, and realize that the ultimate judge of ourself is ourselves.

(Or, for those who are religious, in the words of the Off-Broadway musical “bare: a pop opera“: “God don’t make no trash”).

My Big Fat Blonde Musical (HFF16)P.S.: I would be remiss in posting this if I didn’t mention an effort by Theresa Stroll, Co-writer/composer & performer of My Big Fat Blonde Musical. The musical tells “the story of Terri, an aspiring actress who dreams of the bright lights of Hollywood, only to learn all too quickly upon arrival that breaking into the entertainment industry is far from glamorous . . . or kind.   When it seems that all hope is lost, Terri decides to persevere and create her own opportunities, Hollywood be damned!” Terri is still persevering, this time turning My Big Fat Blonde Musical into a web series, with the goal of spreading the messages of learning to love yourself in the face of criticism and never giving up the pursuit of your dreams – no matter what tries to stop you!  She’s doing an Indiegogo to raise money for the series; she emailed me as we supported her after her Fringe, so I’m passing the information on to you.

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Average Privilege | Size is Relative

userpic=chicken-and-eggHave you ever wondered where our clothing sizes come from? I’m not talking about sizes that are clearly measurements, such as waist size, but the more relative sizes: small, medium, large, extra (excuse me, “xtra”) large, and so on. What about women’s sizes, which aren’t even consistent from store to store? A number of articles this week have made me think about this subject, as well as the connection to a recent podcast on a similar subject.

Let’s talk about the podcast first. On a recent 99% Invisible (which looks at hidden aspects of design), an exploration was made of the history of the notion of the average, and especially the average in terms of sizing. It is well worth a listen (it is one of my favorite short podcasts). It points out how the first notion of average size was from a survey done of Scottish soldiers, which showed that the average chest size of these soldiers was 39 and three-quarters inches.  This was deemed as the ideal size, and shortly thereafter, the notion of being the average became the ideal.  Here’s an interesting quote from the transcript that explains where our notions of Small, Medium, and Large came from (Quetelet was the fellow that did the Scottish study):

Lincoln, after a series of losses to the Confederacy, realized he needed more information about the Union army. He ordered a massive study to assess the soldiers physically and mentally, and, in strict adherence to Quetelet’s science, calculated averages of just about everything. These averages began to inform the distribution of food rations, the design of weapons, even the fit of military uniforms.

Before the Civil War, uniforms were custom-sewn. In this war, however, such a massive number of people had to be outfitted that uniforms needed to be mass produced. But they couldn’t all be one floppy size. Soldiers were put into subtypes: large, medium, and small—classifications that eventually found their way to civilian clothing.

This study found its way to the Army, where in 1926, when the Army designed its first airplane cockpit, they measured the physical dimensions of male pilots and calculated the average measurement of their height, weight, arm-length and other dimensions. The results determined the size and shape of the seat, the distance to the pedals and the stick, and even the shape of the flight helmets. This mean that, in part, pilots were selected based on their ability to fit into the cockpit designed for the average 1920s man. This fell apart in WWII, when suddenly pilots were dying, and the cause eventually turned out to be: the average size aircraft. This led to the ability to adjust seats and wheels (which made its way to cars), into the study of ergometrics, and so forth.

So we now see that S M L XL came from Civil War measurements (to this very day), but what about women’s clothing. This brings us to the articles I saw this week:

  • The Average Sized American Woman. You would think, with the notion of S, M, L, and so forth, the average woman would be in the “regular” size clothes, probably on the order of and 8-10 (given the bottom of the range is 0-2, and by 14 you are into the euphemistic “plus size”). Think again: The average American woman is not a size 14 anymore. Size 14, which would likely be a L, being the average came from an outdated study. A new study published in August in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education decided to create a more current report.What the study found was that size 14 is no longer accurate; the average American woman today is actually between a size 16 to 18.The authors of the study looked at recent data from the Center for Disease Control and compared it to the ASTM International body measurements for “misses” and “women’s plus-size” clothing for a sample of more than 5,500 women in the US who are at least 20 years old.The authors found that the average American woman’s waist circumference has increased 2.6″ (from 34.9″ to 37.5″) over the last 21 years, which accounts for the increase in clothing size. While 16-18 was the average size for all women, the study found that Black women in particular currently wear a size 18-20 on average.All this to say that the size-14 average is no longer accurate.  The average size is a plus size.
  • Plus Size Shopping Ain’t Easy. An interesting Vox opinion piece discusses the difficulty of plus size shopping. Its hypothesis is that the whole idea of “plus-size” clothes is outdated and degrading. It notes this weeks Washington Post op-ed by design guru Tim Gunn, where he blasted the fashion industry’s unwillingness to “make clothes to fit American women” — specifically plus-size women. This is because, despite the increase in size of the average American woman, many clothing designers and merchandisers still refuse to produce anything larger than a 12. Larger sizes are shuffled off into separate stores, separate departments (often physically separated from the rest of woman’s clothes). As the opinion author writes: “This is demoralizing for plus-size women — but it’s also one reason why clothes shopping can be so demoralizing for all women. We need women’s clothing sizes that make sense, and they shouldn’t be segregated into normal or plus or petite. Sizes should just be sizes.” I’m familiar with this first hand: for much of my married life, my wife has been plus sized, and I’ve seen this first hand (she’s gotten down to just below my weight, so she’s in the lower end of the range now). I’ve seen the segregation and the dearth of good looking clothes as she hunts to find something. There’s also some segregation for larger men, but it is no where near the shaming that goes on for women.
  • And Speaking of Fat Shaming… The last interesting article asks the question: Is it only acceptable to call out instances of “fat-shaming” when you’re not fat yourself? In other words, if an actress who is not visibly obese is called out for being “fat”, and she rails about the fat shaming nature of fans or the business, she goes viral. But if the same shaming occurs to a visibly obese woman, and she calls out the shaming, how is the obese woman regarded? Is she a hero? The opinion author writes: «So while stopping body-shaming is an admirable goal, we need to think beyond the individual level if we want to actually dismantle fatphobia and stop fat-shaming. And that includes supporting women of every size with the same enthusiasm we use to cheer when a size-6 celebrity charmingly dismisses a hater who calls her fat on Instagram. It means changing our responses from “But she’s not even fat!” to “It’s OK to be fat.”» Related to this, I’ll call your attention to a very interesting episode of the podcast This American Life from back in June, which explored the question of fat. In Act One of the podcast, Lindsey West talks about finding pride in her fat, and dealing with her boss and friend who decided to fat-shame women on his podcast. It is well worth a listen to see the impact of fat shaming and pride.

So how do we perceive the average? Do we assume — despite all the diversity in society in size, weight, shape, color, and everything else — that there is some sort special beauty in being “average”? Some benefit? You might say that there isn’t — after all, this isn’t like racism — but you would be wrong. Listen to Act Two of the This American Life previously mentioned. It demonstrates how people — especially women — are perceived differently when they lose weight. With recent dialogue, we’re well aware of the meaning of “white privilege”, and aware of the hidden discrimination that comes with being a person of color. But privilege and hidden discrimination isn’t just a skin color issue. It can go with nationality, it can go with religion, and yes, it can some with size. The links and stories above (as well as the remaining acts in the This American Life) are clear demonstrations of “average privilege” and size discrimination occurs in our society.

P.S.: After I posted this, a friend happened to post a link that is also relevant about the measurement known as BMI and why it is bullshit. I seem to recall one of the podcasts touching upon a similar notion — in particular, that BMI is as much a fallacy as the notion of an “average” size.

P.P.S.: Here’s another related link posted in the day-after window: 11 Reasons Your ‘Concern’ for Fat People’s Health Isn’t Helping Anyone. The article is about concern trolling – which is the act of a person participating “in a debate posing as an actual or potential ally who simply has concerns they need answered before they will ally themselves with a cause”. Interesting read in relation to the above and the fat shaming already going on in society.

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Saturday News Chum Stew: It’s On The Radio

userpic=masters-voiceToday’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?

 

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Tuesday News Chum: Cursing on TV, Facebook Panic Buttons, Accepting Women as They Are, and Baseball

Some quick lunchtime news chum for your dining enjoyment:

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Words of Wisdom: “Small minded = small bodied”

My daughter is so mature and intelligent (an extremely rare trait in a teen). I just had to share something she wrote on Facebook (with her permission, of course):

Small minded = small bodied
Large minded = large bodied

Sad thing is… it seems to be that way.

I’ve come to realize I am too fat for high school. I know, I know. This is where you all chime in, “Erin, you’re not fat.”

You’re right. I’m not fat. But I’m not skinny either.

And there’s been an increasing gap between the people who aren’t fat and the people who are skinny.

It’s ridiculous. Girls are striving to be sickly thin, going to extremes of not eating because of their low self image society has placed upon them. Perfectly beautiful and healthy girls. Just to be approved of. Just so boys will like them. Just to feel good about themselves.

Well fuck that shit. I want to EAT. And what’s so wrong with a healthy womanly figure? It’s not like I can’t move because I’m fat, I can move just fine. It’s not like I can’t find clothes anywhere because I’m fat, I shop in the same stores you do. And it’s not like I don’t see the same movies in the theatre, or go to different malls than you because I’m fat. I just like to eat. Because food is fucking good. And those skinny bitches (not to offend you. it just flows so nicely, don’t you think?) who walk around bitching about their thighs and how they haven’t eaten in a week need to sit down with me and eat a nice plate of ribs, because the goal is to eat ribs covered in barbeque sauce, not have your own ribs protruding from your chest.

But so many girls want that. So many girls think, “You aren’t thin until you can see bones.” No. You aren’t sickly until you can see bones. Healthy women have a nice percentage of body fat on them, it makes them more fertile and suprisingly prolongs their lives. So while you skinny bitches starve yourselves to fit into that size 0 jeans and die at 6, I’ll be eating ribs slathered in barbeque sauce till I’m 85.

But while I’ll be living to 85, I guess I’ll be living to 85 alone. Because it seems boys are in that same old malnourished bandwagon… BUT THEY GET TO BE FAT. Boys get to eat whatever the hell they want because they’re boys. Boys get to date whoever the hell they want because they’re boys. Meanwhile, us ladies either choose a life of loneliness accompanied by our plate of barbeque ribs, or we get to starve ourselves to death in order to find companionship.

Bull fucking shit.

Boys need to grow the fuck up.

Because, shockingly enough, fat bitches are nice too. And we’re probably better lovers than those skinny little bitches who are too tired from not eating to do anything. And some of us are intelligent bitches who can hold a conversation on something other than the fact that you burn calories by eating celery. And you know what? We can cook too.

Later, she added:

Or… what I really meant to say the first time less harshly. Love yourself. Because you’re beautiful and you don’t need to change yourself. Big, small, black, tall. We’re all beautiful.

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