We’re in Denial About the True Cost of a Twitter Implosion

The public disintegration of a platform that millions of people used every day has been painful to watch. Now that Google’s search results seem almost completely colonized by AI-generated crap, it will be harder for me to listen in on and learn from a wide range of everyday people sharing their opinions and talking to each other. Elon Musk’s platform may be hell, but it’s also where huge amounts of reputational and social wealth are invested. All of that is in peril. […] The jokey mood around Twitter’s failure right now may be a way to temporarily push aside the…

Crime coverage on Fox News halved once US midterms were over

In the weeks leading up to the US midterm elections, the message from Fox News was clear: violent crime is surging, cities are dangerous hellscapes and Democrats are responsible. With the vote over, however, the rightwing news channel appeared to decide things weren’t that bad after all, and decreased its coverage of violent crime by 50% compared with the pre-election average. —Guardian

The White House’s plan to colonize the moon, briefly explained: Putting humans on the moon is more political than you might think.

Political tensions alone could be a major source of conflict, according to Michelle Hanlon, the co-director of the Air and Space Law Center at the University of Mississippi law school. For one, there still isn’t a globally shared vision for what the future of the moon should entail. Just over 20 countries have signed the US-led Artemis Accords, a set of principles for, among other things, exploring and using the lunar surface. The former head of Russia’s space agency, unsurprisingly, said that the country would not support the Artemis program in its current form, and Congress has barred NASA from working with China since 2011. And…

Adobe steals your color

What a horrible situation. The Adobe monthly leases are way too expensive for a student paper that only prints a few magazines a term. The software costs more than the printing process, and about the same as the web hosting service. Just not worth the expense. We are making do with free alternatives. For people who work in prepress, a key part of their Adobe tools is integration with Pantone. Pantone is a system for specifying color-matching. A Pantone number corresponds to a specific tint that’s either made by mixing the four standard print colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black,…

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Media Bias Chart version 10 — Left / Center / Right; Fact vs Fabrication; (Ad Fontes Media)

The very useful “media bias chart” is one of several useful ways to classify sources of journalism. While individual items published by any of these sources can vary considerably from the general location depicted in this chart, the takeaway message is that journalism can still be valid and useful even if it has a slant. I make sure to check in regularly with sources above the green line. If I find myself spending a lot of time with the sources in the yellow box, I will hop across the aisle regularly to make sure I understand what credible voices on…

Destiny (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 15) An ancient prophecy tests Kira’s faith and Sisko’s patience

Rewatching ST:DS9 The station prepares to welcome Cardassian scientists who will open a communications link to the Gamma Quadrant. While Sisko and Quark are hopeful, Downer Dax raises doubts about the technobabble, and points out Quark’s bottles of Cardassian booze have spoiled.  The vedek Yarka warns Sisko that letting the Cardassians establish a relay link through the wormhole will fulfill an ancient prophecy that foretells doom. Kira seems to find his interpretation credible enough to consider, even though the prophecy mentions “three vipers” but there are only two Cardassian scientists. Sisko is respectful but remains committed to the project. Yarka…

AI-generated essays are nothing to worry about (opinion)

After reviewing 22 AI essays I asked my students to create, I can tell you confidently that AI-generated essays are nothing to worry about. The technology just isn’t there, and I doubt it will be anytime soon. […] The students in this class were mostly juniors and seniors, and many were majors in rhetoric and writing. They did great work, putting in a lot of effort. But, in the end, the essays they turned in were not good. If I had believed these were genuine student essays, the very best would have earned somewhere around a C or C-minus. They…

Heart of Stone (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 14) Odo tries to keep Kira’s spirits up as she is slowly consumed by a crystal; Nog seeks Sisko’s help to join Starfleet

Rewatching ST:DS9 In a runabout, Kira bickers with a grumpy Odo.  Kira: You’re right. Next time we are invited out for dinner, I’ll make sure you are the one to say no. Odo: I’d appreciate that. There’s warmth under the snark on both sides, though as usual Kira isn’t aware of how much she means to Odo. A distress call leads them to chase a Maquis raider into a plot contrivance particle field, and thanks to a commercial break and dialogue, the director didn’t have to show us the raider crashing and Kira and Odo pursuing the pilot into a…

FBI Raids Star ABC News Producer’s Home

In April, the FBI raided an ABC journalist’s apartment. James Gordon Meek abruptly resigned, and his former colleagues say they haven’t seen him for months. Rolling Stone just broke this story. Multiple sources familiar with the matter say Meek was the target of an FBI raid at the Siena Park apartments, where he had been living on the top floor for more than a decade. An FBI representative told Rolling Stone its agents were present on the morning of April 27 “at the 2300 block of Columbia Pike, Arlington, Virginia, conducting court-authorized law-enforcement activity. The FBI cannot comment further due to an ongoing investigation.”…

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Life Support (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 13) Bashir keeps the gravely injured Bareil alive to help Kai Winn secure a treaty with the Cardassians

Rewatching ST:DS9 An accident aboard a transport arriving at the station rattles Kai Winn and seriously injures Vedek Bareil. Winn suspects the accident may have been sabotage, infodumping to Sisko that Bareil is crucial to the success of secret peace talks with Cardassia. Winn admits that since she won the election as Kai, her former rival has proved himself a loyal aide, and she not only credits him but admits she doubts she would have been as forgiving. Bareil does not fare well, despite Bashir’s best efforts. Bashir tells Kira he is on life support, and never regained consciousness. But…

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

In June, 2002, I was blogging about… a female autistic scholars lament, Dr. Seuss, Orthodox Christianity and coding, Shakespeare, and weblogs after 9/11

In June, 2002, I was blogging about A female autistic scholar’s lament The origins of Horton Hears a Who A NatGeo article on the media-saturated life of Iowa college students The function of “er” in speech A Pravda article on parallels between Orthodox Christianity and computer programming Dr. Toast’s Amazing World of Toast (I really miss the Internet that contained such marvels.) The world has changed, but Shakespeare asked questions that are still worth asking.  How innocent we are were. In 2002 we were blogging about “A Writer’s Perspective on an Emerging Medium,” by which was meant electronic text. A…

Engrossing but difficult to watch: “Man in Cave” documentary on caver Floyd Collins

I’m conflicted. This is a very well done animated documentary, creating visuals that were not part of the original press coverage of Floyd Collins, the caver trapped in Sand Cave in 1925, and the subject of the first media circus, fed by the emerging new medium of radio journalism. The animation adds sight gags and sometimes crude humor, which is juvenile and not particularly funny. This story happened to real people, and I’m uncomfortable their suffering has been turned into entertainment. Yet here I am, watching. (That’s part of the discomfort I feel.) Even though I know how this story…

Another social media post attacks journalists for doing their jobs — Updated Elijah McClain autopsy

If you’ve been following the sad story of Elijah McClain, a Black man who went into cardiac arrest and died in police custody in a Denver suburb in 2019 (after telling the officers who were arresting them that he was unarmed, that he doesn’t even kill flies, and that he loved them) you might know that Colorado Public Radio and several other news organizations took the local coroner’s office to court in order to gain access to an updated autopsy report that specifies the role played by forceful restraint and the ketamine that was injected into McClain during the incident.…

Let’s Make the Academic Job Market More Humane

It’s been decades since I’ve had the “I’m in school again and I forgot to study for the test” nightmare, but it hasn’t been so long since I’ve had nightmares about the faculty job search. I did have one nightmare campus visit, where I was told I was one of six candidates brought to campus to interview for two positions, and that one of the other candidates was “unbeatable.” For my job talk I chose a topic related to the technical writing / media position I was applying for, and after it was over I saw the crowded room full…

The Abandoned (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 6) A genetically engineered baby and Sisko’s son both grow up quickly

Rewatching ST:DS9 Quark scowls as a lucky customer cleans up at a dabo table. Jake blows a kiss at the attendant, who must be Mardah, his girlfriend (of whom we have heard but never seen). Mardah encourages the customer to play one more round, which he loses. He aims to console himself with Marda’s attention, but she blows him off and sits with Jake. She says Sisko asked her to dinner tomorrow. This is news to Jake. An alien offers to sell Quark some salvage; he’s more interested in her company, but she talks him into the purchase. When Quark…

A Las Vegas public official is held on open murder charge in connection with the killing of an investigative journalist, sheriff says

An elected county official in Las Vegas is being held on a murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of a veteran journalist who had reported on the official’s purported wrongdoing, a sheriff announced Thursday – a case that raises questions about press freedom in America. Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 45, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the killing of Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, days after the reporter was found stabbed to death outside his home, officials said in a news conference, echoing earlier reports by the newspaper that cited Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. […] “We are ……

Reading fiction early in life is associated with a more complex worldview, study finds

This study relied in part on the repondents’ self-reporting of what they read as children, but it was a complex study that approached the core issue from multiple angles. The researchers note that an “association” is not a “cause” — yet the correlation is still worth reflecting on: Those people who did not read fiction in early life have a fundamentally different worldview than those who did. Research has demonstrated that people who read more fiction tend to have better perspective-taking abilities. Now, new research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has found that reading more fiction early in life is…