September 12th, 2008

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

A couple of interesting pieces ...

... that have little in common with each other save for the fact that both were published at Edge:

  • What Makes People Vote Republican? by Jonathan Haidt (More on it from The New York Times.)

    (Give him a few paragraphs ... he does eventually acknowledge his own arrogance and condescension for looking at others from an ivory tower perspective as an anthropological analysis of primitives.)

    After reading it, I thought of the following statement made by Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager:
    Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain's presidential bid, insisted that the presidential race will be decided more over personalities than issues during an interview with Washington Post editors this morning.

    "This election is not about issues," said Davis. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates."

    The numerous responses to the article are worth reading as well. Roger Schank, who lives in Florida, says:

    Republicans do not try to change voter's beliefs. They go with them. Democrats appeal to reason. Big mistake.

  • Gin, Television, and Cognitive Surplus, by Clay Shirky

    This article explains a lot about why I and many people who are younger than I am do not watch much television. It’s not that the stories aren’t engaging, it’s just that they aren’t engaging enough. It’s great to be told a story, but it’s much more interesting to be part of the story. We have the option of interactivity in computing. Given the choice between the active participation offered by the computer and the passive participation offered by the television, we’re frequently choosing the former.

    Consider the difference between these two statements:

    “Last night, a tiger attacked me, but I defeated it! It was very exciting!”
    “Last night, on The Show, John Smith defeated a tiger that attacked him. It was very exciting to see!”

    There’s no choice involved in the passive story. In the active, you could have fled that tiger. The tiger could have won. In the passive watching, you are on rails, taking the train to its destination. You’re the passenger, rather than the driver.

    It’s not that we always want to be the narrator or that we always want control. There is value in learning from a great narrative and in seeing things from the writer’s perspective. Must-see television still exists. Must-read books are still compelling. They just have to compete now: each form of entertainment has to earn its place in the time budget.

    “Here's something four-year-olds know: Media that's targeted at you but doesn't include you may not be worth sitting still for.”

Both provide some food for thought.

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

Hurricane Ike

Y'all just go on and start writing a check to the relief organization of your choice if you're inclined to do so, 'cause Ike is really bad news.

At the time of this writing, it has overflowed Lake Pontchartrain, Pascagoula's getting very high waves (I care about Pascagoula - a dear co-worker of mine grew up there and has family there), guild mates of mine are likely to get hit in Houston and Louisiana, and so on.

Gas price gouging has already started. Despicable, and quite illegal, but calamities do tend to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.

As for Galveston, why the heck 40% of the population has stayed after the "certain death" mandatory evacuation is beyond me. I'm not talking about the folks who cannot leave - that's not 40% of the population there. I'm talking about the people who can, and just aren't going. These kids, for example, are just foolish, in my opinion. A little bit of plywood isn't going to keep this out.

Ike is around 100 miles from landfall, and already it looks like this.

Here's an in-progress blog.

If you're reading this and you have family there, I hope that they are safe.