Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CBS: Watch the Casey Anthony Case on your iPhone? I think not!

What do I see when I log in to my home page this morning? The above-referenced headline from CBS: Watch the Casey Anthony Case on your iPhone. It might be that I am in the midst of the post-sinus-surgery-crankies, but..... somehow I doubt it. If anyone has time to spend watching a trial on an iPhone, keeping in mind the size of the iPhone screen, they have far too much time on their hands. I am somewhat familiar with the case, as everyone in the western hemisphere with any electronic device must be, and me from logging into my home page, it is yet another desperate and unbalanced woman, in desperate trouble, for the whole world to see. What would possess anyone not connected to the case to voyeuristically log in and watch? What is it about American society that we cannot help but consume time watching misery for others when it pales in comparison to those fighting for their lives across the world, from the 'safety' of our iPhones? Those in straitened circumstances need our attention and compassion much more than anyone from the outside of the Anthony Case can command. And, with many of our troops around the world in peril, they need our immediate and constant attention and compassion as well as energy and intelligence applied to get them home. The only excuse I can imagine from CBS, is that it sells advertising, This is hardly an excuse, but it is a reason. What it says about our societal values is far more disturbing than the headline suggests. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Introducing Dot!

Introducing Dot! Dot is an outlier data point, and with that comes a different perspective on anything, and potentially everything. Dictionary .com defines an outlier as: "[a] data point on a graph or in a set of results that is very much bigger or smaller than the next nearest data point."

During my brief sojourn as an experimental scientist, I was regularly confronted by Dot, and had to explain Dot if possible. Dot as an entity is, almost by definition, an irritant and something that must be explained empirically whether as an anomaly, or true data point that is part of a societal trend, or any other kind of data set. Over time I have begun to see Dot differently, and suggest that the view from that standpoint could be both valuable and instructive. I look forward to considering questions, data sets, and current events from Dot's perspective, and hope you will too.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Eminent Persons and their sex lives

Is anyone else absolutely sick to death about learning of other peoples' sex lives and indiscretions? I feel confident that I am not alone in my irritation at having my sphere of life and activity besmirched by the sordid details of the sex lives of others. There is a solution to my irritation over these events of course, which is to dial down every media source that would befoul their sites and/or airways with such topics. I used to be a news-maniac, continuously seeking out news about current affairs (not the sordid variety) both local and not, and could never have anticipated that I would run away from news in general. As someone who works primarily from home, and who relies on radio and online news sources, I have sequestered myself from the commercial news media to a great extent. I now feel that I need to further withdraw from sources that will, and also those that might, report on such stories as those featuring Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards, and the like (not leaving out the semi-distant escapades of Bill Clinton, that have relegated him to a quiet corner of world affairs that his brain-power could have so easily served from a much more significant platform. I wonder if he feels marginalized by his inability to control his behavior?). It may be that I will organize my online news array into the following categories: 

Will report on something smutty (100% chance of seeing something distasteful): DO NOT click on anything!
May report on something smutty: Proceed with caution
Might report on something smutty: Still a risk, but not a significant one
No news at all: I have a bag over my head while working on the computer to avoid seeing anything distasteful 

I am also an avid listener of my local NPR station, mostly for company, but also for headline news. Even NPR has and does report on breaking smutty news stories such as the one wherein a congressman of some variety (House or Senate) photographed his private part(s) and uploaded said pictures onto YouTube. I ask you! How many of us want to hear about that? Why is it that the wealthy and/or powerful (I suspect that they go together) have to misbehave to such an extent, such that we are all bombarded with their private, but not any more!, behavior. 

My appeal to the news media: I know that scandals, and especially those related to sex, sell ads on which your income is based. Aren't you sick to death of it too? Can't you dial it down a bit? Those of us who are very interested in keeping up with local, regional, national, and global news, would be very grateful to be able to avoid learning about someone who has exposed himself on the world stage for international critique. I am appealing to all of your best instincts that do not include anything sordid. Please!