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Wonderfully Detailed Tribute to 1970s British TV Show Space: 1999

“A middle aged geek” puts it well: “Utter nonsense, yes, but very well-made nonsense.” The incredibly detailed miniature effects and feature film production design of Moonbase Alpha make the original Star Trek’s balsa wood & cardboard sets look like a fifth grade play. While the story of ‘unknown magnetic radiation’ causing crewmen at the base to go mad is never really resolved (some genuinely sloppy writing), it doesn’t really matter; the stage…

In 2019, I have a college student who annotates readings like this!

I asked students in my online “Dystopia in American Literature” class to demonstrate “whylighting” — not just highlighting a passage, but adding a note explaining why it’s worth noticing. If this were an in-person classroom, I’d just walk around the room and glance over their shoulders to confirm that they’re dong the work. In this online class, I asked students to post screenshots and a brief reflection. Students who aren’t…

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Too Short a Season (TNG Rewatch: Season 1, Episode 15)

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. I was underwhelmed. The Enterprise delivers an elderly Admiral Jameson on a mission to negotiate with terrorists on a planet where he brokered a hostage release decades ago. The regular cast has very little to do because the story follows the visiting admiral, who ends up being rather unlikable. When we meet him, he’s obviously played by a much younger man in heavy make-up.…

This is what happened when a KDKA-TV journalist showed bias

Social media platforms are full of people who complain “the media is biased” against whatever side they support. When my students repeat this claim, I ask them to supply an example. They usually point to a meme that supplies a biased headline to a real news story. The story itself is fine, but the text in the meme makes it look like a wildly inaccurate or unfair statement from “the…

Columbia Journalism Review

Journalism is now the second draft of history

The unavoidable truth is that first draft of history is no longer written in tomorrow’s newspaper. Instead, it’s tapped out on new and social media, which is thick with rumor and conspiracy. There’s little journalists can do about crap on the internet; taking aim at disinformation is like firing a machine-gun at an unruly flock of birds. What we can do is to get our own house in order. Amid…

Twitter and the “Two Minutes Hate”

Another of the many, many reflections on the big story of the weekend. In 1984, George Orwell famously described a totalitarian political order in which people were kept as docile subjects in part by a daily ritual called “Two Minutes Hate” in which the population directs all of its pent up fury at “Goldstein,” a possibly fictional enemy of the state. Thanks to Twitter, we now know that the same dynamic…