22: A Lot To Think About

February 1, 2013

1. Rise Of The Indonesian Apes

Ryan Broderick, BuzzFeed:

Earlier this week, a group of about ten monkeys went on a rampage through the Eastern Indonesian village of Toddang Pulu. The gang of monkeys broke into homes, attacking and biting villagers and sending the community into a panic.

Uh oh.

When the Gibbons turn, it’s time to panic.

2. Europe Hates The Mac Pro

This is interesting. Because of an EU amendment, Apple won’t be able to sell the current Mac Pro in Europe after March 1st, 2013. I’m curious how much Apple honestly cares about this news, because A) it had to see this coming and B) I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Apple sells no Mac Pros in Europe on most days. Certainly if the Mac Pro was currently important enough for Apple in Europe, it would have been updated to get around this amendment a while ago.

Honestly, the Mac Pro being unavailable for sale in Europe is probably a minor inconvenience for Apple at worst. I could be completely wrong, but that’s my guess.

via FlipBoard for iOS

3. US Senator: Video Games Are A Bigger Problem Than Guns

And politicians like Senator Lamar Alexander are a bigger problem than both.

4. Warm Bodies Expected To Be Hot

ScreenCrave is predicting that Warm Bodies will pull in $15 million over the weekend, despite being Super Bowl weekend.

I hope that this turns out to be correct — from what I’ve seen so far, Warm Bodies looks like it’s going to be a welcome addition to the zombie-comedy subgenre. It’s generally not a good idea to hold your breath, but at least cross your fingers.

5. I Don’t Know Whether To Root For Selena Or Feel Bad For Justin

Way to kick a guy when he’s down. Selena Gomez is tweeting pictures of herself being overjoyed, apparently to “send a message” to Justin Bieber, her ex. I tend to disagree with the expression “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, but if Selena is intentionally teasing Justin, dang, that’s cold… albeit vaguely entertaining. I have a sudden desire for popcorn.

via @cambio on Twitter

6. Speaking Of Senators

Love or hate Senator Al Franken, he does say some pretty sensible things. For example, at a Senate hearing on gun violence, he said the following:

I want to be careful here — that we don’t stigmatize mental illness. The vast majority of people with mental illness are no more violent than the rest of the population. In fact, they are more likely to be the victims of violence.

I agree completely. The fact that the gun control debate has been stigmatizing mentally ill people is disconcerting. Particularly in my network, what I hear from the opponents of sweeping gun control laws, is that it’s mentally ill people that need to be kept away from guns. Call my experiences anecdotal, but I’m glad that a senator is addressing it.

via Al Franken on Facebook

7. Cutting The (Vocal) Cords

Over the past few days I was tasked with babysitting my younger brother and his dog, and the dog was sometimes a little bit loud. Joking around, I did a search to see if surgery exists to remove a dog’s vocal cords, and I was shocked to find that the surgery does exist.

It’s called “devocalization” and it’s basically cutting the vocal cords of a dog or cat. That’s kind of an abhorrent practice, and the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) is looking for volunteers to lobby congress to make devocalization illegal. The problem is that ISAR is a nonprofit and can’t lobby congress, so it needs other people to.

Here’s hoping that ISAR succeeds. It’s not often that a joking search turns into a harsh realization.

8. Best Practices For Humor On The Web

Jim Cooke, Gawker:

It’s unfair of us, America’s self-indulgent online writers, to expect the average reader to be able to tease out these hidden meanings. Going forward, we recommend the following guidelines when using “humor” online—so everyone can enjoy the fun.

  • Blinking text: When the reader sees the text blinking, he will say to himself, “Ahoy! Humor ahead.”
  • Spanish punctuation: It’s a stretch to imagine that readers can pick up on subtle humor when it’s formatted so that it blends seamlessly into the rest of the text. But what happens when they come across an exclamation point… that’s upside down? Ay, dios mio!
  • Footnotes: All instances of humor should be fully explained with footnotes. A simple rule. Follow it.
  • Pictures of clowns: Not everyone is a librarian type who can understand and appreciate the meaning of words, punctuation, footnotes, or writing in general. Pictures of clowns send a clear message: humor, in this vicinity.
  • The article is a little bit satirical, however it does drive home an irritant that everyone who communicates in text over the Internet has to deal with. It’s very tough for emotion to shine through, and the inventor of emoticons is a genius — the winky face has protected me from a lot of misinterpretations.

    via Gawker on Facebook

    9. How Jason Bateman Convinced Melissa McCarthy To Star In Identity Thief (Video)

    Check out this interview with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.

    I’m kind of excited for Identity Thief — I’m a Jason Bateman fan and I know someone who’s experienced identity theft, so it might be fun to see Bateman take on that role.

    Another fun thing, though, is that apparently alcohol was involved when Jason Bateman convinced Melissa McCarthy to play the identity thief. Awesome.

    via IMDb

    10. The Most Valuable Feedback

    I mentioned in yesterday’s post that the most valuable feedback that one can give is negative feedback, and maybe it’s time to expand on that.

    In my mind, the saying that “if you have nothing good to say, you shouldn’t say anything” is misguided. How do you know what problems that you need to work on if people don’t tell you? People who are honest and strong enough to tell you that you suck, at risk of your ire, are the people who help you grow.

    As an example, if I received no negative feedback from my college instructors, I’d still use contractions in formal papers. Today I reserve contractions for informal writing, such as on this blog.

    Speaking of this blog, honestly its biggest problem is that very few people give me any negative feedback — in fact, I haven’t seen much negative feedback at all in my more than two years blogging. If you compare my very first entry to today’s, the difference in writing quality is surreal. I’ve had to identify almost every problem on my own, which isn’t a big deal, but I’ve received the exact same “good” feedback since the mediocre first post.

    If you have something negative to say about my work or anyone’s work in any industry, say it. We can’t work on fixing our flaws if we don’t know what they are, and if we aren’t aware of flaws it can severely affect our professional lives. If I think that I’m an awesome writer but I’m not, I wouldn’t have a single gig outside of this blog.

    I’ve been told that I’m a good writer enough. While I appreciate having readers that like me, I need to make clear that I don’t care to know if you think that I’m a good writer today. If you want to take the time to give me feedback, tell me what I need to know to be an even better writer tomorrow. Tell me how to properly use and ; since I regularly confuse the two.

    Obviously not all negative feedback is fantastic. For example, a straightforward disagreement of opinion helps nobody. “Trolling” helps nobody. If you tell me that my blog sucks because Apple sucks, I’ll point you to blogs that you’re more likely to appreciate.

    Negative feedback, as long as it’s constructive, is volumes better for people than positive feedback. Receiving negative feedback can suck particularly for people that pour time, energy, and money into something that they regard as their baby, and they may (will) retaliate. But at the end of the day there are few better ways to show respect.

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