Here are today's must-reads:
I woke up late Friday morning and posted my latest comic before realizing no one would be talking about it or any other issue that day except the latest massacre unfolding before our eyes – this time involving children. Not “this time.” I mean “again.” As I had done not one week earlier when there was a mass shooting a few miles from my home in Portland, I watched the real time updates, trying to wrap my mind around being a part of the human race.
CNN named Ryan Lanza as the suspect before noon based on a police source. Within minutes, journalists at several outlets were not only reporting the name, but passing around a link to Ryan’s Facebook account. And people I knew were suddenly telling me, dude, you are Facebook friends with the suspect. His wall was set to private so I was one of the only people seeing Ryan post “Fuck you CNN it wasn’t me” and “IT WASN’T ME I WAS AT WORK IT WASN’T ME.” Networks were broadcasting photos pulled from the account on national television. Buzzfeed and Gawker, in a race to snatch traffic, ran headlines speculating if this was the shooter. (Headlines with question marks now being a thing that media does.) I posted a screen shot to Twitter and Facebook to let everyone know that this Ryan Lanza, at least, was not dead at the scene of the crime. That’s when things got crazy for me.
The screen caps spread fast and I found myself inundated with messages, some from journalists seeking confirmation, many from people saying angry and bizarre things to me or about Ryan. One demanded to know how I could be friends with such a monster. Could I help a random internet sleuth create a “psychological profile”? Did I see warning signs in Ryan? Why did I suspiciously post cartoons about mass shootings only days before? That was very tasteless. A text to my phone from an unknown number read “looks like this killer is a fan of yours.” A Twitter user declared me a “snitch” for sharing Ryan’s post. Someone accused me of having something to do with the killings, “which you take delight in,” they wrote, and hoped the FBI would hold me accountable.
I don’t know Ryan Lanza. I assume he’s like most of my Facebook friends in that he likes to follow my work, which is what my account is for. He’s someone who today is dealing with his brother murdering his mother before massacring school children, and the fact that he was accused of the killings.
I especially love The Economist at this time of year. Holiday parties abound, which creates a constant need for the kind of fancy-pants knowledge the journal confers. I love the wry, punchy leads and the adorable British spellings (“globalisation”) and the concern the magazine engenders in me over whether the president of Colombia can regain his momentum (that would be Juan Manuel Santos, obviously); or whether we will learn of sufficient progress in the development of a “virtual liver” at much-awaited conferences next year in Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands. Damn, gotta book those plane tickets.
December also marks the arrival of The Economist’s annual look-ahead issue: a confident and sophisticated accumulation of factoids and predictions for 2013 that can make you seem not only smart but also visionary. I make a point of reading The Economist’s “The World in ____” issue every year (well, not really). Cover to cover. And not because the boss is making me read every word of the “The World in 2013” edition, which came out last week, and which I devoured like a big plate of Swiss chard. Or, better yet, like quinoa, because the U.N. says 2013 will be “the International Year of Quinoa,” as I now know.
Here are 17 things I learned.
Especially for a tune so closely associated with the holidays, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is icky at best, at worst reprehensible: It describes what may be a date rape. Let’s examine the situation: A woman has stopped by to visit a man, and he connives to keep her from leaving. “My answer is no,” she states, but he pours on the charm: “It’s up to your knees out there.” His seductions become increasingly smarmy (“What’s the sense of hurting my pride?”) and eventually sinister. At one point she exclaims, “Say, what’s in this drink?” Is he being generous with the alcohol, or has he slipped her something stronger? At this point, the Wolf and Mouse designations are redundant. It’s all too clear that he’s a predator and she’s prey.
These are some of the other things I've been tweeting about over the past few days:
- "Southwest Owes 5.8 Million Free Beers To Passengers" http://pjblack.me/VKOMKv
- "Advertising for weapons designers" http://pjblack.me/ZbYltF
- "Newtown shooting: police warn of prosecutions for misuse of social media" http://pjblack.me/U46Q4Z
- "Making Gun Control Happen" http://pjblack.me/VKOMdt
- a good collection of links from propublica: "The Best Reporting on Guns in America" http://pjblack.me/VKOHqb
- "I am Facebook Friends With Ryan Lanza, Which Became A Problem" writes @mattbors http://pjblack.me/VKONhm
- "What makes America’s gun culture totally unique in the world, in four charts" http://pjblack.me/VKONhv
- "Roger Ebert on the media's coverage of school shootings" http://pjblack.me/ZbYltz
- "The three must-read tweets on the school massacre were all written before a single shot was fired" http://pjblack.me/ZbYnl5
- "Interactive Map: The U.S. Shooting Epidemic" http://pjblack.me/ZbYpcX
- i don't have this feature yet - do you?: "Twitter Rolls Out Downloadable Tweets to Select Users" http://pjblack.me/TqEqkl
- "It’s our duty — all of us — to fight for the open web" http://pjblack.me/U3wg2z
- "What’s Facebook’s responsibility when the nation seeks to lynch someone on only a name?" http://pjblack.me/TpHAF5
- "Operation Delirium: Inside the U.S. Military’s Chemical-Weapons Tests" http://pjblack.me/TpHmOf
- "A Eulogy for #Occupy" http://pjblack.me/TpGXex
- "Parents of micro preemie face heart-wrenching decisions" http://pjblack.me/TpGER2
- possible dates for the federal election next year: "2013 Federal Election Calender" http://pjblack.me/U3DbZG #auspol
- "5 ways journalists can mitigate stress on the job" http://pjblack.me/VKPmYc
- chicago finds it's not ready for an all-digital future: "The dream and the myth of the paperless city" http://pjblack.me/U3vB0U
- "Why do teenage girls dress like sluts? Because they’re teenagers." http://pjblack.me/TpoSNQ
- "Sexy Baby: A new documentary explores sex and the Internet" http://pjblack.me/SYAw21
- "The Instagram URL Game" http://pjblack.me/Wa79OX
- "Rebooting the Gaming Industry" http://pjblack.me/SYAvLF
- "Why White Tigers Should Go Extinct: Zoos shouldn’t raise these inbred, ecologically irrelevant animals" http://pjblack.me/TposH5
- "Twitter Bots Are Becoming More Like Us. One Problem: We're Horrible" http://pjblack.me/SYAaIX
- "How Rabbits Can Save the World (It Ain’t Pretty)" http://pjblack.me/SYA8Rm
- "Why school shootings don’t lead to tighter gun control in the US" http://pjblack.me/U3gXqy
- "Programmer creates 800,000 books algorithmically, starts selling them on Amazon" http://pjblack.me/SYAvLB
- "Rapid HIV test approved for Australia" http://pjblack.me/12iZK0g
- next time you drop your phone in the toilet, remember this: "How To Rescue Wet Gadgets" http://pjblack.me/U3gLaO
- "What Were the Last Words Spoken on the Moon?" http://pjblack.me/TmnATx
- challenge accepted!: "The art of the filibuster: How do you talk for 24 hours straight?"http://pjblack.me/UbLv7y
- some of these are pretty bad: "14 Most Pathetic Corporate Facebook Updates" http://pjblack.me/UoX9eN
- "In Defense of the Wall Street Bonus" http://pjblack.me/12avbcZ
- "These May Be The Most Beautiful Hamburgers You'll Ever See" http://pjblack.me/U2u1MR
- "Why One Newspaper Is Backing Away From Facebook" http://pjblack.me/SYAxmC
- an unusual museum that actually sounds pretty cool: "Museum of Mathematics at Madison Square Park" http://pjblack.me/TnMORC
- they're singing this at #oscarcarols but this is all i can think of: "Is 'Baby, It’s Cold Outside' a date-rape anthem?" http://pjblack.me/12phGW9
- "The five most disruptive technologies of 2012" http://pjblack.me/ZoNNGu
- "Social media shows its bias" http://pjblack.me/12p5xQS
- this is a pretty cool app: "Soundtracking’s New Twitter Cards Music Integration Lets You Hear Photos Within Tweets" http://pjblack.me/ZoNviI
- this sounds like an awful idea for a tv show: "TLC orders 'Best Funeral Ever' reality show" http://pjblack.me/UoWZ71
- this link seems appropriate for this time of night: "11 Bad Habits Drunk People Have" http://pjblack.me/12p2NTA
- "8 Dumb Criminals Caught Through Facebook" http://pjblack.me/ZoFs5D
- this is so true: "More Than Privacy Controls, Facebook Needs Our Trust To Keep Growing" http://pjblack.me/12p2Grb
- "Why hypochondriacs keep us healthy" http://pjblack.me/VBz1p9
- facebook can lower your self esteem: "Can Facebook Make You Fat and Poor?" http://pjblack.me/UoX0Yw
- "Crazy contraband" http://pjblack.me/ZoAe9T
- is this good or bad?: "Google tweaks image search to make porn harder to find" http://pjblack.me/VByVxC
- "The 17-year-old who won over Murdoch with a hot news app" http://pjblack.me/12oZVGq
- obamacare is hardly universal healthcare: "Obamacare everywhere: U.N. votes in favor of universal health coverage" http://pjblack.me/12avcgU
- a useful guide: "Facebook's New Privacy Settings, Explained" http://pjblack.me/12avchb
- "Portraits of People Who Look Alike But Aren't Related At All" http://pjblack.me/UoWWIx
- "New Study Reveals Risk of Texting While Walking" http://pjblack.me/ZorgcJ
- "17 Things I Learned From Reading Every Last Word of The Economist's 'The World in 2013' Issue" http://pjblack.me/TXHVzW
- "More papers, better papers? The curious correlation of quality and quantity in academic publishing" http://pjblack.me/ZjUSrz #highered
- "Behind the scenes with the world's greatest 'Star Wars' collection" http://pjblack.me/12mSMpX
- "Meet the Assadosphere, the Online Defenders of Syria's Butcher" http://pjblack.me/VBz6t1
- the rise of redneck television: "‘Duck Dynasty,’ ‘Buckwild,’ ‘Honey Boo Boo,’ and the 99 Percent" http://pjblack.me/UbLuk1
- "Why Online Porn May Make You Forget" http://pjblack.me/ZsPJxz
- "Intermission: Here's What Happens When a Piano Is Abandoned on the Streets of Manhattan" http://pjblack.me/12qLq4W
- "If It's for Sale, His Lines Sort It: N. Joseph Woodland, Inventor of the Bar Code, Dies at 91" http://pjblack.me/12qK1LG
- the end of homework?: "Today's Assignment" http://pjblack.me/ZjK9NY
- this is interesting: "Shamed by Mugshot Sites, Arrestees Try Novel Lawsuit" http://pjblack.me/ZjFfRb
- "2012: The Most Outlandish Stories from the Drug War in Mexico" http://pjblack.me/VBz7gl
- "2012: The Year in Review - The Atlantic" http://pjblack.me/ZjEOGm
- "Guy Fieri's Restaurant: 'Ironic Dining' Mecca" http://pjblack.me/12mOrmN
- what is twitter's core competency?: "A question that Twitter needs to ask itself" http://pjblack.me/ZjuRbV
- "Actually, 2012 wasn’t such a bad year for magazines after all" http://pjblack.me/12mKRc9
- "The State of Intellectual Property Around the World" http://pjblack.me/12mKzlC #lwb486
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