Snapshot Tuesday: hot spring in Yellowstone National Park

photo from Yellowstone National Park

Hot spring from Yellowstone National Park

National Park Service: Hot Springs and how they work

A few summers ago, we took a family vacation to Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, plus an afternoon and evening in Jackson Hole.  Lots of hot springs and geyser activity in Yellowstone, where we learned that we were touring above one of the world’s supervolcanoes, the Yellowstone caldera. What would happen if …..

There was a recent earthquake and some animal migrations that had the ‘Net buzzing with speculation that the supervolcano was going to blow … the USGS say that it’s business as usual at Yellowstone, that the accounts are exaggerated.

So I dug up a snapshot from that trip in honor of Snapshot Tuesday.  Enjoy!

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What doesn’t come up in the political debates: “let them eat cake?”

This is the real story – told in Chrystia Freeland’s book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.  

In this video clip, Bill Moyers talks to the author, Chrystia Freeland, and Rolling Stone magazine’s Matt Taibbi. I’m going to vote for Obama – no question – I don’t want anyone as wealthy as Romney entrusted with my democracy. Can you say “let them eat cake” ?

This video was posted on Alternet – an independent source of news that I’m going to return to again.

“AlterNet’s Mission: AlterNet is an award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources. AlterNet’s aim is to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more.”

Uneasy about Google’s new privacy policy?

NYT, 2/28: France Says Google Privacy Plan Likely Violates European Law

The headline is a bit bland for the digital privacy issue.  What the French are saying is that Google’s “proposed policy [is] murky in the details of how the company would use private data.”   Should I be concerned about “murky in the details”?

I have to admit, I’m one of the 88 % of Google users who has not read the new policy that takes effect tomorrow.

From the letter sent by the French privacy agency, “Rather than promoting transparency, the terms of the new policy and the fact that Google claims publicly that it will combine data across services raises fears about Google’s actual practices. Our preliminary investigation shows that it is extremely difficult to know exactly which data is combined between which services for which purposes, even for trained privacy professionals.”

Okay … combining data from my Google searches, YouTube searches and my Android smartphone.  “Don’t do evil”  … right?

France has asked Google to delay the new privacy policy for a few weeks, so they can “assess its compatibility with European Union law.”  Google said “no” – “we are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles.”  Also – they’re too big and too rich to care?

Somehow “don’t do evil” doesn’t make me feel any better.  And yet, I’ll probably Google something else today.  Maybe it’s time to check out Yahoo.

Alien invasions or pandemics? How much do we need radio?

Found this piece in On The Media radio archives, called “Covering the Apocalypse” – about the role of journalists during the apocalypse if the Mayan prophesy of the world ending 12/21/2012 happens … or the world ends on any random Tuesday for that matter.  Started off as a whiteboard discussion at  conference I didn’t catch the name of.  Here’s a link to the piece :

Covering the Apocalypse – On The Media.

One of the things Andrew Fitzgerald says in this radio piece is that the first thing to fail will likely be the communications network we depend on for news. Ironically ham radios might become the most reliable place to get news.  Which is why I may have to play this in my Radio & the Internet course later in the semester … the history of early radio starts, not with Amos ‘n’ Andy or jazz music, but with hobbyists – ham radio operators.

Hmm… so Brooke Gladstone and Andrew Fitzgerald are having lots of fun with this, but I’m still going to think about this again.  How dependent on streaming have I become?  Could I get news another way if I had to?

has our technology surpassed our humanity?

I was struck by the story A Tragedy That Won’t Fade Away in this week’s issue of Newsweek. It’s about a family’s legal battle for privacy. Their daughter died in a car accident and photos from the crash site have gone viral on the web. There’s not much the family can do through the legal system to stop it, but they’re trying.

Why are human beings so fascinated with images of death? It strikes me that our morbid fascination is nothing new … what’s new is the power of digital technology and of the web to disconnect images of people from the communities that know them.

I’m reminded of the Einstein quote I saw on a bumper sticker at the Visual Arts Center … “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.”

Another aspect of this is public humiliation, covered in this related article: The Flip Side of Internet Fame

in praise of yellow journalism

I heard this five minute clip from On The Media a few days ago and thought it was worth sharing.

http://www.onthemedia.org/flashplayer/mp3player.swf?config=http://www.onthemedia.org/flashplayer/config_share.xml&file=http://www.onthemedia.org/stream/xspf/127841

The April 3 show also had segments on “is google making us stupid?” and “what happens to local democracy when all the local newspapers die?”

wuthering heights of interdisciplinarity

Tonight my mom’s book group is talking about the classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Mom didn’t like it – says she doesn’t like gothic horror. I told her that I remember loving Wuthering Heights, but I also read it a long time ago. Maybe in high school, but I think as an undergraduate at Wellesley. I read it for school, like most people do. How many people pick up a classic novel to read for fun?

In a few minutes I have to finish reading chapter four from Moran’s Interdisciplinarity. Not a bad book, but not a novel either. I’m not doing much reading for pleasure these days … too much required reading and writing and making instead.

I am following a few blogs … the most consistent bloggers I’ve found so far are the genre writers. To promote his horror novel Afraid, J A Konrath is doing a month-long blog tour. Every day this month, he’s “appearing” on another writer’s blog … sometimes he’s interviewed and sometimes he writes a guest blog. I discovered him as a guest blogger on Murderati, a mystery / horror writers’ group blog and followed his link back to his home blog where he posts his itinerary. All in the name of marketing.

Took a break to watch Rachel Ray today and learned of a new women’s news / blog site backed by some powerful and wealthy women in the entertainment / news field. wowOwow which stands for women on web, I think. Candice Bergen is involved, as is Whoopi Goldberg. An interesting and varied site of stuff. That’s why they were on Rachel Ray … more marketing.

I find information flow a fascinating phenomenon to watch. How do we know / learn what we know? What writers / information purveyors do we trust and why? Flow … a good word for it. Seems tidal and organic in the web-world we’re in now. No wonder most people aren’t worried about the death of newspapers. Should they be?