Saturday, April 4, 2009

Extra - NY Times threatens Boston Globe

The New York Times Company, owners of the Boston Globe, have threatened to close down the nation's 14th largest daily newspaper. Faced with a projected loss of $89 million in 2009, and on the heels of newsroom job cuts, ownership demanded $20 million more in labor union concessions.

From: The Boston Globe, April 4th.

In The Name of Love

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King...
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and
we are bound
-- James Taylor

The Last Days of MLK

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." -- Edward M Kennedy (Augst 12, 1980)

Video: NBC News Archives - Narrator: Brian Williams

Friday, April 3, 2009

Real Life "Anchorman" Retires

The real life inspiration for Anchorman's Ron Burgundy is said to be longtime LA newscaster Paul Moyer, who recently announced his retirement. Co-anchor, Veronica, was inspired by Ann Martin, who went off air last year.

Both went on to separate careers at different LA stations, but a rare video exposes how they really felt about each other during their years of smiling for the camera together at KABC (NSFW).

Cheese Factory contributor: Ken Morgan

Reel Life 'ER' Closes

USA Today critic says:
"It's about time 'ER' was taken off life support."

USA Today,
April 1st.

Future Forecast for Prime Time

As TV networks tighten belts, look for fewer stars, fewer risks.

Article: USA Today, March 31st.

The Lens of History

Only two originals remain of the dozens of telescopes Galileo Galilei built in the 13th century. One of them is now on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, as the centerpiece of a new exhibit: “Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy.”

Robin Young talked with Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute who has peered through Galileo’s looking glass that changed the world.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, April 2nd.
Photo: Franklin Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts examining Galileo's original telescope. (Franklin Institute)
IYA - the International Year of Astronomy, celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Car Sick

Charles Osgood: The U.S. Government paid good tax money to GM and Chrysler, and (unlike Wall St.) is now calling the tune.

Southwest Airlines is Fly

Even folks who wouldn't normally pay to go to a rap concert enjoyed David Holmes' impromptu one on the flight line!

Men to Mars via Moscow

Six volunteer astronauts from Russia, France, and Germany are in an experiment to see if human beings would be able to withstand the two-year journey to Mars and back. The volunteers begain the second stage of the experiment in Moscow, March 31st They will be locked inside a mock spaceship module until July. The BBC’s Richard Galpin reports.

BBC video: Human flight to Mars experiment.

It's In The Way That You Use It

Before he was infamous for his extramarital hooking up, former Governor Eliot Spitzer was famous for making waves on Wall Street as NY's Attorney General.

He asks: "Does it strike you as odd that the American government has invested $115 billion in TARP money alone in Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America, fully 70 percent of their market cap ($164.5 billion, as of March 30), yet we have virtually no say in the management or behavior of these banks? Does it seem even odder that these banks are getting along extremely well with the government regulators who should be picking them apart for having destroyed the economy and financial system?"

Spitzer says: Washington had the power to regulate misbehaving banks. It just refused to use it.

Slate, April 1st.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

News Recap

Video: CBS Late Show with David Letterman, March 30th.

It's (Fill In The Blank) Day

Governors & Mayors find it's much easier to proclaim days, weeks & months to honor whatever makes you feel good than to actually solve problems. If you wish they'd stop clowning around, too late. August 1st officially marks the start of Clown Week in Wisconsin.

Article: USA Today, March 30th.

What We Call The News

Video: Jib Jab,March 28, 2007.

Miss Universe sent to Gitmo

Video: MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show. March 31st.

Free At Last

Video: Onion News Network, March 30th.

It's April Fool's Day

On April 1, 1970, John & Yoko announced their plans for dual sex change operations.

Wikipedia explains the rules and recalls famous pranks.

Illustration: On April 1, 1970,
John & Yoko announced their plans for dual sex change operations.

Absolute Elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This is his "good" look.

It's Vince the ShamWow guy... a would be Billy Mays, pitching products on TV and becoming a star.

And this is Vince's mug shot...

Not his best look. But after a 4 AM fight with a hooker, who looks their best?

The Smoking gun has the details from the actual police report.

See more ShamWow parodies on YouTube.

Take Me Out On A Stretcher

This season the West Michigan Whitecaps, a minor league baseball team, will be offering up major league cholesterol, carbohydrates and 4800 calories in an enormous 4 pound hamburger... enough to feed an adult for 3 days.

Photo: Rex Larsen / AP, March 24th.

Spanish Island Nears Energy Independence

After 10 years of planning, the infrastructure is being put in place to transform the island (with its population of 10,000 inhabitants) into a fully self-sufficient zone. There will be no back-up power connection to other islands or the mainland.

A variety of renewable energy systems are being used, with an emphasis on wind and solar. They also plan to implement hydrogen cars and ban oil completely from the island.

The Architect Is In

Twice laid off from Seattle architectural firms in the past year when work dried up, John Morefield knew something had to change.

The 27-year-old, with a degree in architecture - but no state license in Washington, was inspired by public radio’s “Ask an Iraqi” show and Lucy’s psychiatric help stand in the comic “Peanuts.” He decided to set up a booth at a local market and offer cheap advice on home remodeling for 5 cents a shot...
And the hope new contacts would turn into design jobs.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition, March 25th.

Does A Free Press Have A Future?

This 3/27/09 cartoon in The Denver Post.

Significantly, Denver's other daily newspaper (The Rocky Mountain News) went out of business this year. The Christian Science Monitor and Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped printing and went online only. The Detroit Free Press has daily papers at the news stand but only Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions (the days with the most ads) will be home delivered. The Washington Post & Newsweek contracted their resources to NBC, where they have become regulars on MSNBC's lineup of political news talk hours. The San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times are rumored to be near bankruptcy. The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune are already there.
President Obama blew off the spring dinner/roast held by the "Gridiron Club" of newspaper reporters and columnists (March 21st) and in a prime time news conference (March 24th) Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press got the first question, but he didn't call on a single big city daily member of the White House press corps.

Are newspapers the dinosaurs of the digital age?
When Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bill that would allow newspapers to operate like nonprofit organizations -- kind of like public broadcasting stations, CNN's Jack Cafferty asked "Should government be involved in saving newspapers?"
334 answers from "definitely" to "definitely not" poured in and are posted at his blog.

Conservative political commentator/writer S.E. Cupp, co-author of the book Why You're Wrong About the Right, is also a regular contributor to's The Arena and a frequent quest on Fox News. Her writings have appeared at The Washington Post, The American Spectator, Human Events, Slate, Maxim, and Sports Illustrated.
Cupp opined the Death of Newspapers Isn't Death of Journalism.
When unable to follow the NCAA tournament, she checked scores throughout the night on her Blackberry... Unable to imagine being forced to wait until the next morning, when the newspaper came out, to get a recap of her team’s exploits the prior night.
She asserts newspapers have failed to adjust to the faster currents of this century’s technology tidal wave. Thanks to the cumbersome and time-consuming production of printing, they're chained to the past... And belong there.

Clay Shirky, in Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable writes:
"Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That's been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we're going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead...
"It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public  — has stopped being a problem...
"If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run... The expense of printing created an environment where Wal-Mart was willing to subsidize the Baghdad bureau. This wasn't because of any deep link between advertising and reporting, nor was it about any real desire on the part of Wal-Mart to have their marketing budget go to international correspondents. It was just an accident. Advertisers had little choice other than to have their money used that way, since they didn't really have any other vehicle for display ads...
"People committed to saving newspapers demanding to know 'If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?' To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the Internet just broke..."

All these items come from blogs, the 21st century analog of personal publishing, and via the Internet where anything available has effectively been released to the public domain... A virtual marketplace where information is free to those with the time and ingenuity to find it.

A Google Map of 2009 Newspaper Job Cuts.
USA Today profiles the latest changes at big papers.

Screen Caps

How do you spend your day?

If you're like most Americans, you spent more than a third of it looking at one sort of screen or another.

A study by the Council for Research Excellence found that adult Americans spend 8 1/2 hours a day looking at a TV, computer or cell phone screen.

A story about the survey in The New York Times offers a bit of sobering information about radio: While TV remains the dominant medium for media consumption and advertising, study data suggests that computer usage has supplanted radio as the second most common media activity. (Print ranks fourth.)

The Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence found that most of us spend more than eight hours a day in front of a screen of some sort — and younger-end baby boomers logged more than any others, including teens.

NPR's Neda Ulaby explains the Study Parses How, When We Watch

Article: New York Times, March 27th.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered, March 26th.

Hollywood's Anti-Piracy Triple Play

Movies are released in theatres on Friday. DVDs go sale on Tuesday.

Among those available on March 31st is Marley and Me, about a couple adopting "the world's worst dog."

It's also the first time you'll get a standard DVD, a Blu-ray Disc and a digital copy — all rolled into one package.

Disney & Fox have adopted triple play packaging as a strategy to keep people from simply downloading movies to their PCs... And charge an extra $10 per unit. Although theatre attendance is up in the current economy, DVD sales are lagging about 8% behind last year's pace.

Article: USA Today, March 31st.

A Bridge to Somewhere

American Public Media offers a preview of an American Radio Works documentary on the transformative nature of Depression Era construction by the WPA, PWA & CCC.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Robot Regionals

While hoops fans watched the final four emerge from the sweet 16, real high schoolers competed in Robot Regionals from Hartford to Honolulu to see whose bot had game.

Picture a Trillion

When people talk of a trillion dollar deficit you need a computer to even picture what it would look like, because their aren't enough bills to stack 'em up for real. At they used Google's Sketch Up 3D modeling software, and a lot of multiplication, to render a trillion as it would look if made out of $100 bills on double stacked pallets of $100 million each.

The red smudge at left is an adult human.

Cheese Factory contributor Mark Wilson of Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide

Audacity of Dope

America wants to know!

Last week's online Town Hall failed to weed out questions for the Prez about...

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me...

I'll get it...

Excerpt from: NPR/Chicago Publc Radio's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

On The Download

A band used to struggle for a major label contract, but recently bands like Barenaked Ladies have opted out. Selling their music without the middle man means lower sales, but more left for them.

Meanwhile, a poll out of Canada seems to suggest it's over. The music industry is never going to live the good life again, because whatever compunction people feel toward paying for something they can get for free is disappearing. If a majority of Internet users see nothing wrong with file sharing -- downloading digital music files or movies free, then file sharing is simply "the new normal." The market has spoken and placed the price of music at zero.

Where is the tipping point when a lack of revenue for music producers leads them to stop producing it?

Audio: APM's Future Tense, March 23rd.

Made in the Shade

The office of Swiss architects Herlach Hartmann Frommenwiler is located a few blocks from the Rhein in Basel. They were commisioned for the Waterville Golf Resort in Lijiang, Yunan Province in China.

Among the structures is a geometric design incorporating pentagons and the natural landscape into a guest house called "treehouse".

Suggested by: Alaskan Designer Jmozaic.

Melted Swiss

Italy & Switzerland have recenlty renegotiated their border because the old one melted. Global Warming redraws the map of Europe:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Those days are gone boys & they ain't comin' back

Lower cost labor is like crack for MBAs. Even the high skill/high wage jobs President Obama calls for in his stimulus strategy are exportable… Ask current, or soon to be former, IBM workers.

In small business, where the owners still get their hands dirty and know their employees’ first names & families, it’s different.

Made in Japan

Japanese solution to a single woman's' need to cuddle.

Killer Whales on Spring Break

No joke: Killer whales do roam warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts confirm sighting of up to 200 on one day, usually in pods of 15 or less. Their diet includes schooling fish, seals and even dolphins.

Additional Video: WKRG, Mobile-Pensacola.

Video Game Scoring

Video game music has come a long way since Pac Man. In fact, it’s becoming a venue for aspiring composers, and a popular course at Boston's Berkelee School of Music.

Here and Now’s Andrea Shea meets the Video Game Orchestra.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Video Game Schooling

Video Game Grad Programs Open Up The Industry

By focusing on games as a medium for artistic experimentation and collaboration, graduate programs in video game design are bringing change to an industry once known for its monoculture.

Audio: NPR's All Things Considered

American Idol - Afghan Star

Producers forced to confess: big group song & dance productions on 'American Idol' are lip-synched.

Individual singers aren't pre-recorded... Maybe some should be.

Even in the war zone, the show must go on.

US forces didn't bring "American Idol" with them. Britain's pop music talent show took root in the country hungry for entertainment previously Tali-banned. The most recent contest ended recently.