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The Masterpiece Society (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 13) Space Thing Threatens Genetically Perfect Colony

Rewatching ST:TNG When a Space Thing threatens a genetically perfect colony, the wary inhabitants resist Picard’s offer to evacuate. Humans on Moab IV have for two centuries enjoyed a carefully designed society. The charismatic leader Conor speaks glowingly of fulfilling the role he was genetically engineered to hold, while the rigid traditionalist Martin undiplomatically scoffs at LaForge’s blindness. Conor is taken with Troi, who seems charmed by his attention. LaForge…

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Violations (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 12) Telepathic Memory Assaults Beset the Enterprise-D

Rewatching ST:TNG A small group of aliens (with bumps on the *sides* of their heads) demonstrate their ability to collect memories telepathically. The leader, Tarmin, helps Keiko recover a pleasant memory of her grandmother. After Tarmin offers to help Beverly remember more about her first kiss that she’s currently thinking about, his son Jev scolds him mildly for probing a memory without permission. Later while sharing his grandiose plans at…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In September, 2001 I was blogging about…

With a grant from UWEC, I was able to invite foundational computer game designer Scott Adams to a seminar on Storytelling in Computer Games. I used tiny analog tape recorder at the speaker’s podium, and later worked with my student Matt Hoy to post a hyperlinked transcript to go along with the audio. (This was really cutting edge stuff 20 years ago, and I’m glad the site still works. This…

What Is Newsworthy? (10m animated lecture)

How do journalists determine what events are worth covering? “Dog bites man” is routine, but “man bites dog” is unusual, so it’s more newsworthy. Unusual events are more newsworthy than ordinary events. Important people, and ordinary people who do important/unusual things are more newsworthy than ordinary people who do ordinary things. Events with a significant impact are more newsworthy than events with a trivial impact. Events that affect many people…

Brett Favre Urges Ban On Youth Tackle Football, Pleads For No Hitting ‘Til 14

Concussions in sports often a topic my students pick for their researched term papers. Most seem to put their trust in mandating better training for coaches, funding for better equipment, education to make sure players are wearing their equipment properly, or better treatment for players who end up disabled. The idea of fundamentally changing the sport to make it safer (at least for kids) rarely comes up, so here’s a…

It is often said that autistic people lack empathy. Some autistic people are told that they can’t be autistic because they are too empathetic. Let’s explore what this means and why. – a thread.

@ItsEmilyKaty supplies another excellent thread. It is often said that autistic people lack empathy. Some autistic people are told that they can't be autistic because they are too empathetic. Let's explore what this means and why. – a thread. /1 — Emily♡ (@ItsEmilyKaty) August 2, 2021

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In August, 2001 I was blogging about…

Broken Links and Poor Information Architecture (and of course the link to that article had broken, and the site taken over by low-value clickbait… but the Internet Archive preserved the original article) Helvetica Bold Oblique Sweeps Fontys (satire from the Onion, from an alternate timeline where typefaces get the respect they deserve) Boys and handwriting (from “equal-but-different” feminist Christina Hoff Summers) Velma from Scooby-Doo (a year or so before the…

Tell-all crime reporting is a peculiarly American practice. Now U.S. news outlets are rethinking it

Journalists should balance the public’s “right to know” with the public’s “need to know,” mindful of the potential harm caused to people named in stories — including people who have been charged with a crime. In America, we are all presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but American culture often focuses on the punitive aspect of the justice system, while in some other countries, citizens perceive…

Amanda Knox responds to high-profile movie profiting off of her name

American student Amanda Knox was wrongfully convicted of the murder of her roommate. Eventually her conviction was overturned and she was exonerated, but only after her personal life was totally upended. She lost years of her young life on trial, in prison, and facing the public eye as she simply tries to live her post-exoneration life. She’s been targeted by all sorts of strangers, and accused of stealing the spotlight…

I studied philosophy and engineering at university: Here’s my verdict on ‘job relevant’ education

She double-majored in engineering and philosophy. Fifteen years later, which degree is more relevant to her success? She says that even with an engineering degree, she was criticized for not knowing specific skills that she never actually used (such as drafting by hand) or that she learned quickly on the job (such as the specific CAD software her company used). And after 15 years, most of those specific job-ready skills…

Am I being rude or is my autism not being understood and accommodated for?

A valuable thread that explains many of the differences that make autistic people seem “rude” to neurotypicals (who are more comfortable with unspoken rules, fuzzy categories & eye contact, and who get annoyed by unfiltered honesty, stimming & requests for clarification). Am I being rude or is my autism not being understood and accommodated for? – a thread. /1 — Emily♡ (@ItsEmilyKaty) July 31, 2021  

Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Elizabethan Theater

Somewhere during my education I picked upon the meme that “Shakespeare’s contemporaries referred to ‘hearing’ a play, not ‘seeing’ a play,” and I regularly trot it out to emphasize how growing up in an auditory culture meant that the average Elizabethan probably got a lot more out of casually attending a Shakespeare play than the average student gets from studying an annotated script. Practically speaking, I encourage students to listen…

As White Evangelical Vaccine Refusal Reminds Us, Sometimes Religion is the Problem

When reality contradicts the truths that define group membership, the evangelical community circles the wagons and puts the power and influence of its tight institutional network behind the assertion that, in fact, the emperor is wearing clothes, and anyone who says otherwise is a dirty godless liberal intent on persecuting Christians. How do I justify such a frank, unflattering assertion? Well, I’m not only well-versed in the relevant data and literature,…

The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’

It is 50 years since I first collected those caterpillars in the school playground, and every year that has passed there have been slightly fewer butterflies, fewer bumblebees – fewer of almost all the myriad little beasts that make the world go round. These fascinating and beautiful creatures are disappearing, ant by ant, bee by bee, day by day. Estimates vary and are imprecise, but it seems likely that insects…

NYC sent non-police teams to respond to mental health calls for a month. Data shows that more people got help and fewer were hospitalized.

Remember that meme that shows two cops smirking while the text describes a (not-pictured) man having a mental breakdown? The idea is that a man having a difficult public mental health episode requires the attention of law enforcement officers (who are trained to use violence). Here’s what really happened when NYC tested out deploying trained mental health experts instead of cops to assist people in mental distress. If the 911…

‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’: Alabama doctor tells unvaccinated, dying COVID patients

Donald Trump is vaccinated. Mitch McConnell is vaccinated. Fox personalities Hannity and Doocy and FOX owner Rupert Murdock are all vaccinated. “They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were…

Journalists should not amplify the ableist biases of untrained sources

Being a cop, lawyer, patriot, protestor, or journalist does not qualify you to diagnose mental illnesses. Journalists are trained to cite credible sources, which would not include citing a random ableist conjecture voiced by a decision-maker or witness. If the source has verifiable knowledge of an actual diagnosis, and the diagnosis is legitimately relevant to the story, that’s a different matter. (Verify or duck.) Avoid unsubstantiated statements from witnesses or…

Reporters’ Privilege Compendium | Pennsylvania Shield Laws Guide – RCFP

The Pennsylvania Shield Law and the First Amendment reporter’s privilege provide broad protections to reporters in Pennsylvania who are subpoenaed for their notes, documents and/or testimony. The Shield Law is an absolute privilege that precludes the compelled disclosure of confidential source information. Conversely, the First Amendment reporter’s privilege is a qualified privilege that protects both confidential and non-confidential sources, as well as a reporter’s resource materials and unpublished and even…

Vaccine hesitancy morphs into hostility, as opposition to shots hardens

What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether. The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump, on a par with assertions…

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Disaster (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 5) Picard Trapped in Elevator with Weeping Moppets

Rewatching ST:TNG A character-based bottle episode (no off-ship locations), in which the Enterprise randomly bumps into a Space Thing that gives the writers an excuse to force all the main characters into odd groupings where they must act against type. The grumpy captain is trapped in an elevator with weeping moppets; the warrior must deliver a baby; the optimistic counsellor faces a difficult pragmatic command decision; the doctor and the…