1

The Homecoming (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 1) War hero rescued by Kira has feet of clay

Rewatching ST:DS9 Quark receives a Bajoran earring that gets Kira pumped (for reasons we don’t know just yet). Jake has successfully asked a Bajoran girl out on a date. “I can see you’re not ready to have this conversation yet,” Jake tells his nervous dad. Kira asks Sisko to borrow a runabout, and only reluctantly tells him why. The earring belongs to the legendary resistance leader Li Nalas (that we’ve never heard of before), and she wants to rescue him from a Cardassian prison. In a remote area of the station, O’Brien finds graffiti that Sisko identifies as referencing The…

How a billionaires boys’ club came to dominate the public square

The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, attacked a publication owned by the world’s third-richest man, Jeff Bezos, last month for reprinting a column published by the world’s 13th-richest man, Mike Bloomberg. The Bloomberg opinion article, posted by The Washington Post, asked whether Musk’s recent investment in Twitter would endanger freedom of speech. “WaPo always good for a laugh,” Musk wrote in a tweet, with smiling and crying emoji. The jab underscored an unusual and consequential feature of the nation’s new digital public square: Technological change and the fortunes it created have given a vanishingly small club of massively wealthy individuals the ability…

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.…

What Was the TED Talk?

The title borders on clickbait, but the self-aware irony of the catch-phrase “Thank you for attending my TED talk” does suggest the concept has long ago escaped the lab. “We live in an era where the best way to make a dent on the world… may be simply to stand up and say something.” And yet, TED’s archive is a graveyard of ideas. It is a seemingly endless index of stories about the future — the future of science, the future of the environment, the future of work, the future of love and sex, the future of what it means to…

War via TikTok: Russia’s new tool for propaganda machine

“This is the way they go to war; it’s a central part of Russian doctrine,” said Jim Ludes, a former U.S. defense analyst who now directs the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University. Ludes said Russian disinformation campaigns are intended to galvanize Russian support while confusing and dividing the country’s opponents. Russia tailors its propaganda message for specific audiences. For Russians and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the message is that Russia is trying to defend its own people against Western-fueled aggression and persecution in Ukraine. Similar tactics have been used, including by Nazi Germany…

The Protagonist’s Best Friend Would Like to Stop Having to Shoehorn So Much Exposition into Their Dialogue

Look, it’s just—now that you’re the protagonist of this movie, I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure to dispense clunky exposition in my conversations with you, and I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s not that I don’t love talking to you, dude. Of course I do—you’re my best friend! And you’ve been my best friend since we were kids. I still remember how we met in Mrs. Wilson’s class: You let me copy your social studies homework, exemplifying how you’re always willing to help people, even if it means breaking the rules a little. But who am I…

He dedicated years of his life to QAnon. One day made him question it all.

Thoughtful analysis structured around one man’s personal journey away from QAnon. No single online platform is responsible for QAnon’s rapid rise. YouTube hosted the videos that many members credit with their “red pilling,” the favored term for a supposed enlightenment or exposure to conspiracy theories. Facebook allowed for easy conversation, meme sharing and organizing. Twitter, Justin’s favored platform, provided fertile ground for QAnon influencers and their lies. “It was an amplification machine,” said Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy Inc., a global research organization that studies disinformation and extremism, referring to Twitter. Jones found QAnon followers (identified by the QAnon identifiers in…

2

Father David Hudgins RIP | In His Own Words

My friend from high school passed away a few days ago. What an amazing preacher. So intelligent, so approachable, so passionate. What a loss to the Diocese of Lansing and everyone who knew and loved him.   I am laughing through my tears at his aside, “I want to smack ’em!”   (I knew him through the Drama Club and really enjoyed our scenes together, especially in Our Town, where I played the Stage Manager and he played George.)  

1

Chain of Command, Parts 1 & 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episodes 10 & 11) When Picard’s reassigned, the new captain’s a grind (there are four lights)

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is relieved of command and assigned to a special ops mission, as the Cardassians provoke a war with the Federation. The new CO arrives with plans to reorganize every department. Jellico is very hands-on, giving Riker specific details for reworking the shift rotations, and crawling trough the Jeffries tubes with LaForge. He cheerfully shows Troi pictures drawn by his son, but he’s bluntly not interested in listening to anyone else’s input. Instead of actually showing Picard’s team surreptitiously making their way to an illegal Cardassian weapons lab, we get a budget-friendly scene in a bar where the…

1

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 reassures her dad that having an imaginary friend is perfectly normal. A scene that fleshes out the dad’s character a bit also develops LaForge’s backstory. The entity calling itself Isabella…

Hear That? It’s Your Voice Being Taken for Profit.

Why do tech companies give us these cool free digital voice assistants? (Hint: If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product being sold.) Because of recent major advances in natural language processing and machine learning, individuals will soon be able to speak conversationally not just to their phone assistant or smart speaker but to their dedicated bank assistant, kitchen equipment, restaurant menu, hotel room console, homework assignment, or car. […] It could all seem like a small price to pay until you project out the use of this tech into the near future. An apparel store clerk uses an…

In-person classes heighten age-related hearing problems (opinion)

My family tells me I’m starting to speak louder than I need to around the house. On my campus, all students are required to be vaccinated or masked. I can hear my students much better now that most students aren’t masked, rather than last term, when everyone was masked and practicing social distance. Today I got several emails alerting me that students are in quarantine or isolation, and that they should contact me about how to make up missed work. Four in-person students stayed after class today. One was having problems using his blog. Two had very good questions about…

1

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 and the engineer Hannah strike up a good working relationship, which gets a bit awkward when LaForge gives a disability-rights speech (“I guess if I’d been conceived on your world,…

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 to an audio adaptation while they read, but I also point out that our task in the classroom is to study Shakespeare’s words and the historical context in which he…

In major step, UCSF scientists translate unspoken words of paralyzed man into writing

The “neuroprosthetic” technology involved installing a credit-card-sized electrode panel on the surface of a volunteer’s brain, then collecting electrical signals as the person — a man completely paralyzed by a brain-stem stroke 15 years ago — tried to form words. Over a period of several months, scientists worked with the man to develop a catalog of 50 words that could be translated from his thoughts into hundreds of phrases and sentences, such as “I am thirsty” and “I need my glasses.” The translation produced up to 18 words a minute with 93% accuracy. Results of the trial were published Wednesday in the…