Thursday, May 28, 2009

Media Bias

The "oh they are biased" argument springs eternal, yet no one does anything about it. Why? Because that's what most people want. You'll hear a conservative Republican complain about the bias of, say, the New York Times or a liberal Democrat about Fox News simply because they hold the opposing view (let's assume their reporting is factual, which is a huge assumption). You won't see the Rep. complaining about his beloved Fox or the Dem. about NYT.

People don't want their views challenged, they want them reinforced and so seek outlets that affirm their beliefs. In Sunstein's new book Going to Extremes he talks about how polarizing the online news world is because we filter news into a "Daily Me" of only reinforcing information. I think this is absolutely true, but extends to traditional media as well as the web.

The solution is easy: get a wide range of views and begin coming to your own conclusions. Start reading some of that "garbage" from the other side. I would recommend getting a little news from each side the spectrum along with some international outlets. I, for example, use all of the following for my "Headlines" category in my RSS feeds: BBC, Reuters, NYT, NPR, Financial Times, Slate, and (occasionally) the Washington Post. Wall Street Journal used to be on there until they decided to start charging. I don't read every story, but I browse through them all.

In the end it comes down to wanting to challenge yourself and your views. I think once you get into the swing of things you'll appreciate the new perspective.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Week 15 - 100in1001

Wow. This post is really late. But this time I have a decent excuse. I was in the Baltimore/Wash. DC/Virginia area having some fun!

The trip began as interviews for possible government jobs in the area. During this time I was able to hit four of the disc golf courses in Maryland and, overall, they were solid venues. The four I got to were Patapsco Valley, Rockburn Branch, Druid Hill, and Seneca Creek. The last was definitely the best; you can see my reviews of them on my DGCR profile.

Also during this time I was able to explore a bit of Baltimore. Went to the Inner Harbor a couple of times and got some good Salmon and Tilapia while I was there. Note that this is saying a lot because I'm not a big seafood eater! I was able to climb up to Federal Hill, which gave me a great view of the harbor and surrounding area. There was a lot of neat sites like the Domino Sugar factory and the ugly new condo/apartment building that Dave (someone who showed me around and had dinner with) and I dubbed the Lego building. I also went to the George Washington monument and the Basilica/Cathedral a little more inland. The Basilica is awesome and quite beautiful. Apparently you can arrange to get up on the top of it and check out the inner dome, something I'd love to do if I get back there. The GWM was a high circular tower that affords an excellent view of Baltimore once you hoof it up the 228 (?) steps.

After this I hopped down to Arlington to visit my friend Katie. Had a great time here also, though I think all the bikers and tourists there for Memorial Day weekend were a bit annoying. Yes I realize the irony in that I was a tourist, let's just ignore that for now. I got two whirlwind driving tours of the monuments and Katie got lost once, though I can't blame her, the roads are not planned well for a modern city. I'd like to go back and actually see them up close sometime but this was not the weekend due to the sheer number of people walking around. Also got out to a vineyard to sample some wine and take in a little folk music, got in a small hike at Greak Falls Park (on the Potomac), and got to Arlington Cemetary on Memorial Day itself. Didn't see the President, but got to check out the grounds, the Lee house, and the changing of the guard. The CotG ceremony was interesting to watch for the sheer focus and precision the guys go about it and I wish I knew more about why everything happens the way it does. I have to note that it has an air of unnecessary military procedure though :)

The most important thing is that visiting Katie was one of my 100in1001 items so got something big knocked off the list, woohoo! I had to put a hold on my exercise items because, well, it as just too hard to keep up in the hotel and such. I'm starting back on it today though!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Worst hotel keycard ever

As some of you may know, right now I'm in the Baltimore/DC area for a job interview. I arrived today, checked into my hotel and unpacked. It was late afternoon so, after wasting some time, I headed out for dinner and a round of disc golf at Patapsco Valley State Park. Upon getting back to the hotel I march up to the side door, swipe my card, and.... red light. Stupid cards, swipe again. The red light just laughs at me. Hmmm. Walk to the other side door same story with the same mocking light. Fine, I'll use the main entrance. I get to the room only to find yet another red light staring blinkingly at me. Grrrr. So back to the lobby I head where I get my card fixed. When the attendant returns my card I am informed that "the card will demagnitize when it is near credit cards or a cell phone." Immediately the who, what, where, and why came to mind...

What?! Who thought this was a good idea?! Where am I supposed to keep the thing, in my shoe?! Why doesn't it work like every other hotel keycard I've had?!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Week 14 - 100in1001

Yet another week of incremental updates... I'm starting to feel like a broken record here. I've added some new items to the list but I haven't pulled the trigger on removing some of the ones that no longer apply. I bought a jump rope to get on that list item but I've mostly been relying on Wii Fit for my exercise (other than pilates) since I relocated to KY.

This week I mostly just spun my wheels and prepped a little for a job interview in DC. I've got to give a half hour long "tech talk" as part of the process so I've been trying to put something together for that. I have gotten in plenty of disc golf games and practice. It is kind of frustrating because I've definitely reached a distance plateau that Blake T. talks about at ~350ft. On the practice field I can concentrate on getting a snappier elbow release but on the course I just devolve back into the old motion that is a bit too much of a windmill. Also, I keep making subtle changes to my grip based on how I'm throwing each day; I need to find a nice consistent one that I can stick with.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joe's Woes

I've moved from the Ferrari of oat cereals to the Cavalier and I'm jonesing for the good stuff.

Let me explain.

I'm a big time cereal eater. Love the stuff. Eat it for breakfast almost every day and usually for lunch too. Nothing like a big bowl of cereal with LOTS of cold milk (you people who like your cereal practically dry are heretics!). Through most of my life Cheerios have been a mainstay in the rotation; the core of my cereal diet if you will. Cheerios and I were happy. I moved to Raleigh however, and a young sexy thing in a hotter yellow box lured me away. Joe's O's became my new favorite, for both taste and price. Now my affair with Joe's has come to a forced end due to my moving away from Raleigh so I'm stuck with boring old Cheerios. They no longer taste as good nor have the right thickness nor the proper crunchiness.

Now that I'm no longer anywhere near a Trader Joe's I've fully been hit by how much I liked that quirky little grocery store. I still have some Soyaki socked away in the cupboard, but what is really giving me the parting blues is no more Joe's O's.

Week 13 - 100in1001

Another slow week, mostly due to an absurd amount of disc golf and procrastinating on several job related items. The biggest news is the completion of the Harry Potter series. Despite their considerable length towards the end of the series I think I made pretty good time, at least for my reading pace. I can't hold a candle to say, Kate, but hey I do what I can.

The books felt pretty epic and reaching the end was bittersweet. Rowling created a delightfully quirky universe hidden beside our own that probably makes it more approachable to people resistant to fantasy literature. Though a bit predictable, I think she brought things together well for the end and didn't spell too much out while also not leaving anything important dangling. My only real disappointment was the final showdown where Potter faces off with Voldemort felt a bit anticlimactic, but battle scenes haven't Rowling's forte throughout the entire series really. The characters were the most important part and she gave them a lot of depth, especially for a kids book, tied to a fairly complex plot. Now to await the drawn out releases of the last few movies....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Week 12 - 100in1001

Well this week was the big move back home to KY. I'll be going back to the Triangle to teach at Duke in June and July, but I needed to get all my stuff out of the apartment so here I am. Spent most of the week disc golfing and packing things so not a whole lot of progress really.

My main concern at this point is some of the items have become outdated or unreasonable or some other excuse. I may continue graduate school (immediately or in the future), but until that time some of the list items just don't make sense. There is also so much reading that it is probably insurmountable in the time frame. I think I will go through the list soon and pare down some items. I'm still not up to an actual 100 things so I'm going to have to think hard about some things to add! One thing I'm putting on now is being able to jump rope for ten minutes straight. I remember my Uncle Mike telling me about how he took on this challenge when he was younger due to some fitness expert saying it's a measure of being in really good shape. Mike said it definitely is hard and it took him some time to build up. I figure this is a great addition to my pilates and 100 push-ups so up it goes!