There was in our culture a fear of guns - fear in the Biblical sense of intense respect for their power. Almost everyone treated guns with great care; those few men in our community who fetishised guns were commonly thought to be poseurs and closet cowards. My wife grew up in Dallas, and, as is typical for urbanites, also developed a fear of guns. But hers is the more conventional kind: near-terror at the sight or thought of them. Because few if any people in her urban life hunted or had real need for guns, she associated them with criminals. Still does.
As someone who has lived in both town and country, I understand both sides. A 2011 poll by the non-partisan Pew Research Center found that one’s race and locality had a lot to do with one’s stance on gun control. Whites are far more likely to oppose gun control than blacks and Hispanics, who suffer disproportionately from gun violence.
Coastal America, where the biggest cities are, favour gun control more than the South and the Midwest, which are more rural. If you live in a big city, you’re far more likely to favour gun control. The opposite obtains in the country, while suburbia is split down the middle.
“I have lost track of the number of times I have either watched my friends dismiss lovely men because they didn’t match up to a romantic ideal that had lodged at some formative age or go, equally unhealthily, to the other extreme and insist that some absolute cretin was the perfect man because he apparently ticked all the boxes on that insanely superficial but persistent inner list, until the gulf between the ticks and the truth becomes so wide that they topple into the abyss.”—Lucy Mangan
“There are very few men and women in the first world who aren’t feminists; they just don’t know what the word is. This isn’t a failure of academic feminism; it’s just that popular culture dropped the ball. All women in the first world are feminist by default. You’re seen as a free agent, your paycheck goes into your bank. Unless you’ve gone and undone those feminist opportunities, you just are.”—Caitlin Moran for The Atlantic
“Office is designed to inputting with a keyboard, not a stylus or a finger,” the official says. “There were all kinds of personal prejudices at work.” According to Microsoft executives, the company’s loyalty to Windows and Office repeatedly kept them from jumping on emerging technologies. “Windows was the god—everything had to work with Windows,” Stone tells Eichenwald. “Ideas about mobile computing with a user experience that was cleaner than with a P.C. were deemed unimportant by a few powerful people in that division, and they managed to kill the effort.”—Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant | Vanity Fair
A management system known as “stack ranking”—a program that forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor—effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate. “Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes.
“If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,” says a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”
“For infants and toddlers, sensory testing is often conducted at home, since such young children are most comfortable sitting in their own highchair or eating out of their regular bowl. (There’s also less chance of misinterpreting a baby’s rejection of a food as a sign of dislike when it’s really a sign of discomfort at being in an unfamiliar setting, surrounded by unfamiliar faces.) Researchers rely on mothers to read and translate their babies’ facial expressions and transcribe them to a seven- or nine-point scale that ranges from “extreme liking” to “extreme disliking.” Of course, the simplest test to determine whether a baby likes something is to note whether the food has been swallowed and ingested or spat out.”—Consumer taste tests for children: how food manufacturers tailor research to the very young. - Slate Magazine
SecondLife has 1 million active users. That’s almost the exact same number it had at the peak when everyone was going ape-shit about it — when it was on the cover of BusinessWeek as the next big thing, when staid companies like IBM were building out SecondLife presences, when politicians were holding press releases inside of SecondLife, when Duran Duran and Depeche Mode were holding concerts there.
That number never fell. If that was an amazing accomplishment then, it should still be an amazing accomplishment now that they’ve sustained it in a world where websites are fads that quickly come and go. More impressive, there are $700 million a year in virtual goods transacted inside of SecondLife every year. That’s more than enough to make the company very profitable.
“Never turn down an open bar. Seek them out and make them a priority. Indulging in open bars when you’re older isn’t appropriate because a) people will think you have an alcohol problem and b) you’re supposed to have enough money to afford your own alcohol.”—21 Ways You Should Take Advantage Of Your 20s
“Sit down, unplug, and read non-fiction. Do this daily. None of your peers are doing it. They’re playing video games and refreshing Facebook and Gmail chatting about nothing in particular. After a month you’ll be smarter than all of them.”—21 Ways You Should Take Advantage Of Your 20s
“Compelling proof of sex addiction? Not even close. That’s the same part of the brain that lights up when we see a sunset, the Golden Gate Bridge, the perfect donut, a gorgeous touchdown pass, or our grandchild’s smile. Our brain, our blood, and our hormones always react to pleasure—including sexual pleasure. The last 150,000 years of evolution at least accomplished that much with us poor humans.”—You’re Addicted to What? | The Humanist
“The diagnosis of sex addiction is in many ways a diagnosis of discomfort with one’s own sexuality, or of being at odds with cultural definitions of normal sex, and struggling with that contrast. A sex-negative culture like America breeds that discomfort and contrast. Calling these symptoms of sex addiction entirely omits the role that sex-negative culture plays in shaping people’s distress with their sexuality, which they often channel into repetitive behavior (in some cases unsatisfying, in others highly satisfying) that can be hard to fathom.”—You’re Addicted to What? @ The Humanist
“The atmosphere among Guardian staff is turbulent. A reporter tells GQ: “There’s a lot of grumbling. People don’t like what the management is doing. They get that we’re losing money hand over fist and we need to stop the losses as much as we can, but they think that what’s being sacrificed is journalism.”
At the heart of the Guardian’s problems is a crucial question: how much does good journalism matter? Or rather: how much is it worth?”—Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian, phone hacking and the future of newspapers - GQ.COM (UK)
What matters here is that the same digital technologies derided by music purists contains the solution to what might be called music’s “quality problem.” It’s no longer enough to convince fans to buy a disc once; instead, artists and labels have to turn them into lifelong fans. The Beatles succeeded in doing that for generations. It eluded Milli Vanilli, another erstwhile chart-topper.
It is perhaps the height of irony. “Aren’t those the same services that rip off artists by paying a fraction of a cent per play as opposed to doling out 70 cents per song purchase the way iTunes does,” you might ask, “or paying even more per disc, the way those disappearing record stores do?”
Yes. This new phase of music consumption — represented by services that let you listen for free, or for $5, or $10 per month, or customizable internet radio stations that also pay out on a per-song, per-listener basis — is just what music fans who are sick of one-hit wonders and flashy pop hits need. By paying out only when people actually listen instead of suckering fans into buying something only to leave it on the shelf, Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody, and other on-demand unlimited music services build an incentive into the music business.
“Perhaps Steve Jobs’s most significant feat was somehow persuading AT&T to let Apple design the iPhone — both its software and hardware — without even letting the carrier touch it.
That was a break from the old tradition, in which carriers issued specific instructions to manufacturers and software makers about what would be on a phone. By asserting its authority over the iPhone, Apple was able to design a handset for the customer, not the carrier.”—An often overlooked but key component to the iPhone’s success
“It’s amazing how much media people now have woven into their days. A study shows that people are now spending 700 mins a day on media. Media is now a layer on top of people’s everyday experience. We looked at how a persistent story — a storm damaging a town — has been told throughout history. The single thing that stood out: We’ve gone from medium as an appointment you keep to media as a constant texture that both succors and buffets you.”—Joho the Blog » [aspen] Amanda Michel and Matt Thompson on how the media have changed recently (via paulisakson)