Misc Links, etc

February 23, 2010 at 4:43 am 2 comments

| Gabriel |

  • David Grazian has a two part interview with the rock critic Chuck Klosterman at the Contexts podcast (part one and part two). There’s a lot of neat stuff in there about cultural reception, but the thing that really grabbed me was that Klosterman has become cynical about the interview as being anything more than an arena for cultural scripts, a suspicion I’ve shared.
  • There was just a big lawsuit over age discrimination in Hollywood (Variety and KCRW’s The Business). I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but my bet is that at least one Bielby testified given that they published on exactly this issue in this industry and they do the expert witness thing very effectively.
  • Slate has just started a series of stories on how the army used social network analysis to get Saddam Hussein. So far it looks well worth reading but the “never before told” puffery is more than a little exaggerated. I remember hearing this story years ago and when David Petraeus rewrote the army field manual on counter-insurgency he added a (very good) chapter on social network analysis. Furthermore, Mark Bowden tells a similar story (albeit without the formal analysis) in his amazing book on the decline and fall of Pablo Escobar.
  • On a less grim, but equally sociological, note, Slate had a very cute video slide show on how films use class markers to make glamorous actresses look and sound working class.
  • In yet another Slate article, Reihan Salam writes a whimsical tongue-in-cheek rant about how white the Winter Olympics is. I think the article is funny, but what’s really interesting is the comments thread, most of which has completely missed the sarcasm of the article and imagines Salam as some kind of ethnic grievance monger rather than what he actually is, which is a Republican policy wonk with a weird sense of humor. There’s got to be a story in this about framing, political discourse, and all that Bill Gamson type stuff.
  • The Wall Street Journal has an article on autism research that relies heavily on Peter Bearman’s ginormous autism project. It’s a good article but if you’ll permit me my own grievance mongering, I think it’s interesting how the scientific pecking order comes through. The article doesn’t include the words “sociology” or “sociologist,” instead identifying him only as “Dr. Bearman” from “Columbia University.” In contrast, the other experts interviewed for the piece are identified as “a child psychiatrist at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment” and “a CDC epidemiologist,” or generically as “medical experts.” That is, it seems like the journalist, probably correctly, thought it would diminish from the authority of the report to attribute it to somebody who doesn’t own a lab coat.
  • Turns out the reliability problems of the cloud aren’t just an issue with airplanes but, you know, at my desk. For the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of trouble reliably connecting to any Google service from UCLA. (No problems from home). This is just annoying when I want to read my RSS feeds but is a real problem when I’m trying to do thing like check my calendar to make appointments. As such I’ve increasingly been migrating my stuff off the cloud and onto local applications on my laptop (which I have with me pretty much all of the time), treating the cloud as little more than a syncing platform. For instance, I access GMail through Mail.app which lets me compose and read old mail even when I can’t connect to the service. For search I’ve mostly been using Bing for the simple reason that it’s more reliable, even though I prefer Google. The promise of the cloud was supposed to be that you can access your resources from any computer but it’s turning out that I can’t access it from the place I work most. I had been considering getting an ARM netbook running Android or Chrome, but what’s the point if it would turn into a paperweight whenever the server is lagging?

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Soc of Mass Media, weeks 6 and 7 Soc of Mass Media, week 8


  • 1. Noah  |  February 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    You think the UCLA service issues are cloud related? I think it’s the Haines wireless access this quarter. Whenever I am in the office, I’ve got to plug the laptop in to an ethernet cable. Then everything runs fine (for example, Chrome).

    • 2. gabrielrossman  |  February 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      i have been having trouble with wi-fi too, especially when i’m lecturing and trying to show the students something on the internet. however i use ethernet in my office and still have trouble using google calendar. the strange thing is that i have better luck using Google cloud stuff on my 7-year-old Xubuntu desktop than on my 1-year-old Macbook laptop.

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