A Note to My Remaining Students at the Close of the 2021 Fall Semester

Of course, the power outage meant that we missed three weeks of class, but when I was able to finally meet up again with the few of you who returned, I really felt we got a lot done. Until the fires. Who knew that plugging all of our electrical infrastructure into the same outlet would turn the entire west side into a giant ball of flame? Not me. But I…

Lies about history in Texas can be traced to the Lone Star State’s own Big Lie: The Alamo

Yet many Texans feel they need the Alamo story. As one of the authors of Forget the Alamo stated, the myth speaks to what many Texans desperately want to believe about their state: that it arose from heroic circumstances, and that there’s a reason Texas is special. This includes the current crop of Republican Texas legislators. Instead of allowing critical thinking and a serious examination of the historical record, Abbott and his allies decided to…

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Imaginary Friend (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 22) Glowy Alien Befriends Moppet

Rewatching ST:TNG If there’s one thing fans of Star Trek apparently need, it’s more scripts featuring space moppets! The episode delivers just what the cigar-chomping producer demanded: a glowy Space Thing burrows itself into an adorable sprout’s french-braided head, reads her cute-as-a-button thoughts, and manifests as her imaginary playmate — a blond lass with a poofy-sleeved dress and a hollow stare. After enjoying a tea party with munchkin Clara, Troi…

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The Perfect Mate (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 21) Picard fails to bore an empath

Rewatching ST:TNG A fussy ambassador on his way to stop a centuries-old war asks Picard to take special care of his fragile, irreplaceable cargo, but by the end of Act 1, a Ferengi has strolled into the unguarded (and apparently unlocked) cargo bay and knocked over a glowing, floating pod, from which a beautiful woman emerges. The ambassador intends to give Kamala as a gift to seal a peace deal.…

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Cost of Living (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 20) Alexander’s Jolly Holodeck Holiday with Lwaxana

Rewatching ST:TNG Who’d love to see another whacky Lwaxana episode? Who can’t get enough of little Alexander? Who wants a Space Thing subplot that has absolutely nothing to do with the main plot? Because a cigar-chomping producer demanded an action sequence in the teaser, there’s tense music, a kinetic camera, and a photon torpedo kaboom in the first 10 seconds… and that’s about all the action for this episode.. The…

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The First Duty (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 19) Cadet Wesley’s Academy Crisis

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise is en route to Earth so that Picard can give the commencement address at Starfleet Academy, when word arrives that Cadet Crusher has survived an accident that killed another student. When we last saw Wesley (s5e6 “The Game“), he was cheerful and well-adjusted; however, Picard and Dr. Crusher are surprised he not only won’t open up to them, but politely asks them to toddle off when…

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Media Bias Chart 8.0 (Liberal / Moderate / Conservative on the X axis; Factual / Opinion / Misinformation on the Y axis)

Don’t reject a news source just because it slants against your own slant, and don’t accept a news source just because it slants the same way you do. If you find a news source where you agree with all the content all the time, that doesn’t mean the source is 100% reliable. It just 100% shares your bias.

Missouri governor vows criminal prosecution of reporter who found flaw in state website • Missouri Independent

I’m shocked… shocked that a reporter published a newsworthy story about a rookie cyber-blunder made by a powerful government agency. A reporter viewed the HTML code (a one-click process on many web browsers) and noticed that the social security numbers of school teachers and administrators were embedded in web pages served up by Missouri’s department of education. The reporter contacted the agency, and held the story until the problem was…

Shatner’s live, extemporaneous post-touchdown monologue on mortality was better than Kirk’s death scene

After returning to Earth in Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin private spacecraft, Shatner is delivering an extemporaneous monologue about viewing Mother Earth and reflecting on death. “I hope I never recover from this,” he says, of the emotions he experienced. Much better than Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations. Someone (I was listening, not watching… I think it was Bezos) says “Beautiful,” and Shatner thinks he’s commenting about the view…

“Your resume is not about you:” Insights from a journalism hiring manager on how to succeed in applying for internships and jobs

Your resume is not about you. It’s about ME, the hiring manager. If I move your resume through the stack, I am attaching my reputation to yours. I am being judged in large part by my hires. Don’t ever forget that. When I am looking at a resume, cover letter and portfolio, I am not looking at what you’ve done. Frankly, I don’t care. What I care about is how…

How to lie with charts, by the @NYTimes

I tend to defend journalism when showboaters & slogan-quoters attack “the media” in general, but I’m eager to read legitimate critiques of individual news stories. Here’s one that seems to manipulate data out of context to support a fearmongering narrative. (Don’t do this!) 1. Data not normalized2. Not the appropriate visualization3. No differentiation between data and projections4. Not the whole story5. No contextualization of risk And NOT a @nytimes staffer;…

Why I Left Academe to Become a Science Communicator: The pursuit of academic research was too narrow for me.

From explaining the effectiveness of social distancing for preventing the spread of COVID-19 to communicating earthquake preparedness plans to the public, scicomm efforts are vital for helping turn research into action. Yet despite scicomm’s importance, it remains a hugely overlooked, underdeveloped and unknown area in academia. Academics are trained to communicate with other academics, and jargon-filled research papers prevent broad audiences from engaging with and understanding impactful scientific discoveries.

Media Bias Chart 8.0 (Left vs. Right; Fact vs. Propaganda; Complex vs. Clickbait; Idle Chatter vs. Original Reporting) Version 8.0

From AdFontes Media. If you never disagree with the slant of your news source, then you probably aren’t reading a balanced news source; you’re just reading a source aligned with your bias. A truly informed person will consult credible sources (above the green line) on both the left and right. Know where your biases are, and make an effort to read credible, fact-based news and analysis that presents views that…

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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…

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…

Unvaccinated dad records days of regret in hospital — and makes heartbreaking request for daughter’s wedding in case he dies

Between difficult breaths of supplemental oxygen, Travis Campbell is fighting to relay a message about his battle with Covid-19 in a Virginia hospital. He really regrets not getting vaccinated. And while he hopes he’s turned a corner, for a very scary stretch, he thought he needed to make arrangements to die. —CNN