Critical Ignoring as a Core Competence for Digital Citizens

I used to spend a lot of time on Twitter. I’ve deleted the app from my phone, and check it a couple times a day from my laptop. I’ve been reading more news and fewer tweets. I followed a Twitter bot that reminds me to go do something else that’s not scrolling slack-jawed through tweets. Low-quality and misleading information online can hijack people’s attention, often by evoking curiosity, outrage, or anger. Resisting certain types of information and actors online requires people to adopt new mental habits that help them avoid being tempted by attention-grabbing and potentially harmful content. We argue…

Thinking a lot lately about masking and empathy, and my role as educator.

Thinking a lot lately about masking and empathy, and my role as educator. Finding the right balance between making people uncomfortable by avoiding eye contact and making people uncomfortable by staring is one of the many unwritten rules I’ve seen autistic people struggle to master. I still mention “eye contact” in my rubric for student video projects, but it’s now just one of many several different ways to be “engaging,” rather than a stand-alone category, and students don’t have to make videos at all — they could do an audio-only project, or a hypertext. Group work can also be a…

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Two decades of Alzheimer’s research may be based on deliberate fraud that has cost millions of lives

Over the last two decades, Alzheimer’s drugs have been notable mostly for having a 99% failure rate in human trials. It’s not unusual for drugs that are effective in vitro and in animal models to turn out to be less than successful when used in humans, but Alzheimer’s has a record that makes the batting average in other areas look like Hall of Fame material. And now we have a good idea of why. Because it looks like the original paper that established the amyloid plaque model as the foundation of Alzheimer’s research over the last 16 years might not just…

People who caught Covid in first wave get ‘no immune boost’ from Omicron

Science deniers who expect medical research to be as tidy and predictable as a chapter in a middle school textbook sometimes see conspiracy theory when they look at the twists and turns in the scientific community’s response to the COVID-19. The scientists themselves would say they are doing science in real time, adapting to the evidence they find. That’s why the scientists “keep changing their story,” because science is all about changing your understanding of the world by consulting the best possible evidence. As our understanding of a thing develops, new evidence emerges that sometimes confirms, and sometimes challenges our…

Melora (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 6) Bashir floats a relationship with an officer from a low-gravity world

Rewatching ST:DS9 Bashir shows off an electric wheelchair that he replicated to accommodate the mobility needs of Ensign Pazlar, a newcomer from a low-gravity world, and whose usual anti-grav unit “just isn’t compatible” with the station’s Cardassian design.  When she arrives, Pazlar is brusque and not interested in socializing. (She is probably physically exhausted adjusting to the high gravity and needs to relax in her zero-g quarters, but the scene emphasizes Bashir’s disappointment.) Quark is closing a lucrative deal with one alien, when a second alien arrives and threatens to kill him. Later, Quark tries to mollify him with gifts.…

Ambiguous language in journalism: Monkey Pox and Camel Privates

Amazing lead: A veterinarian prescribed antibiotics Monday for a camel that lives behind an Iberville Parish truck stop after a Florida woman told law officers she bit the 600-pound animal’s genitalia after it sat on her when she and her husband entered its enclosure to retrieve their deaf dog. —Yousssef Rddad, The Advocate Note that this lead emphasizes the news — the most recent detail is the fact that the biting victim has received treatment for an incident that occurred earlier. Because journalism emphasizes recent events, this lead properly emphasizes the treatment that followed the incident, but in this long…

Disability advocates: Don’t drop COVID-19 safety measures

With the lethal threat of COVID-19 on the decline, many colleges are relaxing policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Disability advocates fear that high-risk individuals will suffer. “Universities aren’t necessarily listening to disabled students,” said Eiryn Griest Schwartzman, who co-founded COVID Safe Campus, an advocacy organization for students and employees with disabilities. “That push to return to normal has persisted. It gets demoralizing, and it gets harder to continue to advocate. And it could potentially result in people stopping their education if they feel like they don’t have the resources to keep going and feel undersupported.”–Inside Higher Ed

Perspective | Whoops of selfish delight

The whoops echoed through airplanes as flight attendants and pilots announced midair that a judge in Florida had tossed out the federal mask mandate that has been in effect since January 2021. On a Southwest flight from Nashville to Charlotte, passengers hooted and hollered and twirled their freshly ditched masks in the air with giddy delight. They reveled in the knowledge that while they might be required to buckle their seat belt, turn off their cellphone, put their seat backs in the upright position and refrain from smoking on their grueling one-hour-and-20-minute flight, the one thing they would not have…

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

In April, 2002, I was blogging about an autistic person’s guide to asking a girl on a date; The Inform 6 Beginner’s Guide; broken links;

In April, 2002, I was blogging about Instructions for “Asking a Girl on a Date” (autistics.org) The Inform Beginner’s Guide (I edited this book on programming text adventure games in Inform 6) Broken Links: Just How Rapidly do Science Education Hyperlinks Go Extinct? (yes, the link was broken but I linked to the backup on the Internet Archive) Faking It: Sex, Lies and Women’s Magazines “Prenatal memory and learning” (language acquisition begins before birth) “Did I Miss Anything?” (poet’s creative response to a “question frequently asked by students after missing a class”) A Salon article mocking the New York Times…

Please use the microphone at public events (I have an auditory processing disorder and can’t understand you — even if you shout really loudly from your seat)

Still recovering from this morning’s three-hour training session. Huge echoey room. Lots of masked people talking, some of whom were shouting their comments and questions from their seats instead of using the microphones.   When we were asked to share a time we felt excluded, I went up to the mic, mentioned my auditory processing disorder, and said I feel excluded right now by the people who weren’t using the microphones. “If you want me to hear you, you will have to use the microphones.”   Afterwards several people thanked me, saying I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t hear.…

Hoarding disorders have increased during the pandemic. Here’s how to help a loved one who hoards.

Hoarding disorder — a mental health condition in which people have trouble getting rid of possessions because of a perceived need to save them — affects about 2.6 percent of people worldwide, according to the American Psychiatric Association. There are higher rates in those over 60 and people who have other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety or depression, but its frequency doesn’t seem to be affected by country or culture. Despite the cat lady stereotype, it affects men and women equally. Friends and family members of those who hoard can find it difficult to control their feelings of anger and helplessness.…

Brain activity of a dying man suggests we do recall memories at death

The 87-year-old man developed epilepsy and was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, before dying of a cardiac arrest. […] “As a neurosurgeon, I deal with loss at times. It is indescribably difficult to deliver the news of death to distraught family members,” [Dr. Amal Zemmar] said. “Something we may learn from this research is: although our loved ones have their eyes closed and are ready to leave us to rest, their brains may be replaying some of the nicest moments they experienced in their lives.” —Daily Mail

It’s not just you — we are all more forgetful during the pandemic, experts say. Here’s how to fix it

Pandemic living can make it much more difficult to form a memory at all, let alone call it back when we need it, said Yassa, director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine.   “Sometimes we’re a little bit harder on ourselves. We think, ‘Oh, how did I forget this? This is something that should be so natural for me to store,’” he said. “But it turns out that something happened during encoding that made it actually impossible for you to even get this memory onboard to begin with. “So, if…

Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Emotions

A history of the beginning of the pandemic, oragnized around emotions. More recently, the Museum of Contemporary Emotions—a project of the Finnish government’s Finland Forward pandemic communications initiative—picked up Ekman’s work as its scaffolding. The Museum, really an interactive website, is a kind of digital archive of experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, styled with the sans-serif aesthetics of a direct-to-consumer startup and the haunting, echoing soundtrack of a post-apocalyptic Catholic Mass. The events of the pandemic are positioned on a timeline—the discovery of the virus, the toilet paper panic, the ban on events, and so on—and a click on any one…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article on my colleague Lee McClain), but I’m definitely not as good as I was in my youth, when I spent more of my day around a flow of people whose…

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, who testified unmasked at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, has since tested positive for the coronavirus, the airline said in a statement.

Kelly testified at the hearing that he believes masks do not add substantial protection to airplane passengers and cited aircraft ventilation systems.

“I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,” he said. “It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”

The hearing lasted approximately three hours. Five witnesses were seated in close proximity and went most of the hearing unmasked.

Kelly was seated between American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. Kirby tested negative, the airline said. American said that “Doug is symptom-free, fully vaccinated and getting tested this afternoon.” –CNN Business