“The Gates”

I was lucky enough to see the Exibit, on the second day. It was a beautiful day with blue sky. Conciously, we entered the park on 86th Street (West Side), as we correctly assumed it would be less crowded there than on 59th Street. The first impression was… anticlamactic. After having seen pictures of the German Reichstag, initially, the installation felt small. But after strolling through the park for only a few minutes, everything started to sink in, and it was a beautiful, meditative experience. There was so much to discover, everybody had time and it felt like learning to see all over again. Did you ever have the experience of visiting a new city, looking at every building and going “wow”? Did it ever occur to you that you’d do the same in your home town, if it wouldn’t be your home town?

We strolled through the park for three hours, and it was worth it every minute of it. As a highlight, we saw Christo and Jeanne-Claude drive by in a limo with their entourage. I didn’t feel the need to come back – still today, they day the installation is taken down, I feel a little melancoly and still happy that I was lucky enough to experience this.

Tsunami Disaster

I was shocked and speechless, as within a few days the death toll from the Tsunami rose from 10,000 to over 130,000, and still rising. Please donate!

Bias in the Media?

The Christian Science Monitor argues that American News covers a wide range of opinions, which allows consumers to pick the perspective they’re interested in. They also argue that politically interested people usually consult a range of publication, thereby preventing to consume only one point of view. I find that quite reasuring.

Also interesting was the view of one person towards NPR: “He also listens to National Public Radio, another source that is perceived by many as liberal, but he contends has gotten more conservative since the 1991 Gulf War.”

This leads to Goldberg’s book “Bias”, where he argues that American TV News have a Liberal Bias. Personally, I find his book extremely biased, and I am ready to put it away. He compares his peers at CBS to the Mafia, and argues that heterosexual AIDS is a myth (hint to Goldberg: Maybe, just maybe the alertness of the press prevented heterosexual HIV to spread to the extend it does spread in, say, Africa!). Even though he explicitly denies it, his book strikes me as a personal vendetta against Dan Rather. Don’t waste your time and money on this book.

Fremdenhaß per Spam

Ich habe die Spams bemerkt, weil mein Filter sie (noch) nicht als Spam erkannt hat. Außerdem sahen die Nachrichten fast wie normale Emails aus. Der Inhalt: Meistens ein Bericht, der fast wie ein Zeitungsartikel geschrieben ist, aber mit dem Hinweis, daß die Medien sich geweigert haben, über das Thema zu berichten. Das Thema ist der Mißbrauch des deutschen Sozialwesens von Ausländern, Aggression von Ausländern gegen Deutsche, etc.

Erschreckend: Nie ist eine Quelle dabei, im besten Fall gibt es Referenzen zu Vornamen (“Maik T.”), aber nie konkretes. Woher sollen wir wissen, ob die Nachricht nicht fabriziert ist? Diese Nachricht versucht Leute zu finden, die sagen: “Siehste, hab ich’s doch gewußt”, und die Nachricht ausdrucken und an Freunde verteilen, oder an den gesamten Freundeskreis weiterschicken. Ohne auch nur zu prüfen, ob etwas wahres dran ist.

Aber selbst wenn es wahr sein sollte: Ohne Quelle sollte schon prinzipiell nichts für wahre Münze genommen werden (besonders im Internet!). Aber abgesehen davon bringen uns Stammtischdiskussionen und heimlicher Fremndenhaß nicht weiter. Wenn das System mißbraucht wird, ist zumindest zur Hälfte auch das System schuld. Wenn wir die Situation in Deutschland verbessern wollen, dann sollten wir nicht per Spam den Fremndenhaß füttern.

Quick! Download those songs for 7 cents a track!

Well, 7 cents per track is not completely accurate, as you pay per data volume, not per track. And whether it’s legal or not is not quite clear either. Still, it’s not illegal (probably a gray area), so even if there is a problem, it would affect the company, not the consumers using the service. There is good coverage by The Sydney Morning Herald

Got my check from the Record Labels

You can read all the details about the case here. In a nutshell, the “Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants conspired to illegally raise the prices of prerecorded Music Products by implementing Minimum Advertised Price policies, in violation of State and Federal laws. All Defendants deny all claims of wrongdoing asserted by the Plaintiffs.” Denying or not, they payed up.

Turn off your TV!

Not owning a TV myself, this certainly rang a bell. The site contains a collection of essays, commentary, etc. about that topic. Now don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with TV – as there is nothing wrong with handguns or prisons. They’re just tools. They can be used for good and bad things. However, there are two problems (in my opinion) with TV: (1) There is far more bad programming than good programming; (2) A lot of people use it as their only source of information.

I love to use a TV to watch rented movies (so I can decide what to watch and when), and sometimes it’s nice to watch news (though I prefer the in-depth printed news, again, where I can decide which news clipping I’d like to read). However, I can watch rented movies on a computer, and there are a few TV stations that have streaming news shows (e.g. Tagesschau). I don’t see a TV coming to my place any time soon.

Isabel in Philadelphia

This is one of the times where I am glad that I don’t own a TV. This must have been a hype without end. When Isabel hit, it was merely a category 2 event. “Sixty-five worse storms — Categories 3, 4, and 5 — have made landfall in the United States in the past century, according to NOAA”. I am sure it was worse on the coast, but besides the three power outages I witnessed (one at work, two at home), this storm wasn’t a big issue. The next morning, there were leaves and branches on the roads, but not much visible damage.

But hey, the media loved it…