Qaeda Quality Question Quickly Quickly Quiet

Posted: 2010-12-03 23:51   |  More posts about america art film media oddities short film war words

I rather like the "A", "Amer-kawh", "and", "for" and "great" bits.


Torture and the media

Posted: 2010-07-01 13:29   |  More posts about america media news politics war

Abstract from Desai, Pineda, Runquist, Fusunyan et al. (2010), emphasis mine:

The current debate over waterboarding has spawned hundreds of newspaper articles in the last two years alone. However, waterboarding has been

the subject of press attention for over a century. Examining the four newspapers

with the highest daily circulation in the country, we found a significant and

sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding. From the early

1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered

waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was

torture: The New York Times characterized it thus in 81.5% (44 of 54) of articles on

the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3% of articles (26 of 27). By

contrast, from 2002‐2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to

waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or

implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so

in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as

torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding

torture or implied it was torture. In addition, the newspapers are much more

likely to call waterboarding torture if a country other than the United States is

the perpetrator. In The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with

a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or

implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States

was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in

91.3% of articles (21 of 23) when another country was the violator, but in only

11.4% of articles (9 of 79) when the United States was the perpetrator.

Read the entire paper here.


Andy Irvine Live at the Embankment

Posted: 2010-06-08 17:08   |  More posts about ireland irish language media tv

Two noteworthy things I came across on TG4, our Irish language TV station, this weekend: An Crisis and Ar Stáitse. An Crisis is an excellent sitcom featuring Risteard Cooper of Apres Match fame which tells the story of the fictional government department "ACT" (An Chomhairle Teanga -- The Language Council), seemingly based on An Gúm, being audited during the recession. Funny, clever and slightly absurdist, it's well worth following.

On Ar Stáitse, remastered recordings of old concerts in Ireland are shown. I watched the Andy Irvine one and was absolutely blown away. This is Irish trad at its very best. Here it is in 4 parts, with my (probably slightly inaccurate) translations of the Irish that appears during the video.


Comments Big Picture Cataloguer

Posted: 2010-05-12 20:02   |  More posts about art code computers internet media photography politics

I'm a big fan of The Boston Globe's photojournalism series, The Big Picture. So much so, in fact, that I decided to dedicate a few hours this week to building a program that would not just download the entire series, but add caption metadata to each photo, since many are informative and look very nice in Picasa, for example.

Now, I'm happy that the application is stable enough to release to the world in the Code section of my website.

Since I don't want people to be hammering The Boston Globe's servers, I've made the script wait a fraction of a second between each request, and since I don't want people to be able to disable this functionality, unfortunately only binaries will be available for the time being. Windows binaries are available already, OS X and Linux binaries to come in a few days.

Indeed, if those at The Boston Globe have a problem with how the program operates, they need simply contact me and we can come to an agreement, but I've worked hard to make sure that the program contacts their servers as little as possible.

Bug reports will be automatically submitted through this website too, but if you have any unforeseen problems (e.g. a crash or a hang), email me with as much information as possible (text describing the "Traceback" printed before the crash, what album/photo the program was working on, etc).

What can you do once you've got the entire 2GB collection of photos downloaded? Well, you can simply look through them at your own pace and comfort, or indeed choose to create a montage screensaver from them (although be warned - a screensaver that fades from a beautiful Antarctic landscape to a bloody photo of a victim of the war in Afghanistan might not be exactly what you had in mind.)

But in any event, hopefully it'll be of some use. Enjoy!


Don't hold your breath for tolerance.

Posted: 2009-10-17 02:25   |  More posts about gay rights idiots media news politics

In the past week, Stephen Gately, former member of Irish boy-band Boyzone, died. Jan Moir of the Daily Mail wrote an incredibly repulsive article on the subject and Charlie Brooker responded indignantly.

Meanwhile, a Ugandan minister of parliament has proposed legislation to enforce a penalty of death for the "offence of aggravated homosexuality."

Well then.


Ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia to be fined for speaking their own language

Posted: 2009-09-01 23:05   |  More posts about linguistics media news politics words

Daniel Tencer has posted his English translation of an article in Gazeta Wyborcza from Warsaw, Poland, which describes a new law which imposes a fine of five to ten thousand euros for publicly speaking Hungarian in Slovakia:

Ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia are planning to protest today in the city of Dunajska Streda against a law they say violates their basic human rights. Under a penalty of five to ten thousand Euros, as of today it will be a crime in Slovakia to use the Hungarian language in public places. As the Hungarian weekly Heti Világgazdaság states, every Hungarian doctor in Slovakia will from now on be required to speak Slovakian with their patients, even ethnically Hungarian patients, even if neither party wishes it so. [Explanatory note: There are 550,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia. They are there because after the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in World War I, the Allied Powers drew the borders of Hungary in such a way as to marginalize the Hungarian nation. A full 3.3 million Hungarians were left out of Hungary, and have been living as minorities in Slovakia, Romania, etc. for the past ninety years.] The protest marks the culmination of several nightmarish weeks in Hungarian-Slovak relations, during which time the Slovak government refused entry to the Hungarian prime minister, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences declared the new Slovak language law a violation of fundamental human rights.
It's always a thorny issue when governments get involved in mandating and prescribing the use of language in their respective societies, but it's surprised me that such an incredibly racist law brought in in Eastern Europe has gone almost completely unnoticed in the news media -- especially when one considers the background to the Hungarians' presence in Slovakia.

Edit: Ah. Literally minutes after I clicked "Publish" (I didn't know my blog was that closely watched! ;) ), a story about this appeared in the third most prominant position on the BBC News website.



Posted: 2009-06-30 00:34   |  More posts about funny media news

Michael Jackson died and Charlie Brooker wrote a great blog post about the death and how the media's handled it:

I was at Glastonbury when Jacko died. That's not a factual statement, but a T-shirt slogan. The day after his death, souvenir tops with "I was at Glasto 09 when Jacko died" printed on them were already on sale around the site. In fact, when Jacko died, I was at home playing Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on a Nintendo DSi. I am 38 years old.


The next day he was still dead, but somehow deader than the day before. He was all over the radio and papers. The TV had clips of Thriller on heavy rotation, which seemed a tad inappropriate, what with him playing a decomposing corpse in it. If Bruce Willis died falling from a skyscraper, I doubt they'd illustrate his life story by repeatedly showing that bit from Die Hard where he ties a firehose round his waist and jumps off the building.

Across all the networks, a million talking heads shared their thoughts and feelings on his death. They had rung everyone in the universe and invited them on the show. On This Morning, a Coronation Street actor revealed he had once had tickets for a Michael Jackson concert but couldn't go because of the traffic. It was a sad day indeed. At 3pm, his death was still "BREAKING NEWS" according to Sky, which has to be some kind of record. Even 9/11 didn't "break" that long.

He ends with a well-expressed sentiment I share completely:

But the news is not the place to "celebrate" Jackson's music. The Glastonbury stage, the pub, the club, the office stereo, the arts documentary: that's the place. The news should report his death, then piss off out of the way, leaving people to moonwalk and raise a toast in peace.


Is this some kind of sick joke?

Posted: 2009-06-11 22:02   |  More posts about idiots media music news

From BBC News:

John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has been given a lifetime achievement honour at Mojo magazine's awards in London.

Mojo chief editor Phil Alexander, who hosted the event, praised Ono, 76, as "a huge influence on modern music".