on my brain today …

1. bird flu is coming ─ yikes. maybe i’m just chicken, but this really scares me.

a virulent strain of bird flu is gradually spreading around the world, most recently appearing in france. it has infected more than 160 people, killing 90. but experts say that nearly all of the infected people had direct contact with infected birds, and that a pandemic would result only if the virus mutated enough to spread easily from human to human. whether such a mutation is likely anytime soon is unknown.

2. blog book maker ─ cool.
wish i had encountered this before i obliterated my previous 3 years of blog posts.

3. today on youtube.com ─ exile in wimpville.
as one who often complains about the irritating lack of confidence on the part of modern men, this short film provides an alternative perspective. i’m nice and all the girls are mean. wah!

4. dave chapelle ─ straight trippin’. threatening comedy central not to air shows composed of outtakes cobbled together from his prior seasons. he says: “that will damage our relationship.” i love dave. love him and really enjoy his work (looking forward to seeing block party), but come on! the guy walked out on a $50 million contract, leaving “chappelle’s show” in mid-production. damage the relationship? the guy flaked out and better check himself lest he further exacerbate his reputation for being an operational risk.

5. googlemania – i have it too. but is it healthy? i watched google’s analyst meeting webcast today. eric schmidt said the goal is to become a global $100 billion company this year. they are very ambitious, very smart. and they have a lot of bright people. one thing that disturbed me, though, was schmidt’s request to all businesses: “give us all of your product.” he and google are asking companies to essentially outsource all of their advertising efforts to google, and to trust google to be the sole arbiter of global advertising roi. a worthy pursuit for google, but not, in my opinion, a healthy dynamic for world commerce or communications. at some point someone asked why businesses and individuals should trust google with its information. larry said that it’s in the company’s business interest to be trustworthy. but that’s not enough, in my opinion. i think google is great and i trust it right now. but absolute power corrupts absolutely. there ought to be a couple of viable competitors in this race “to organize the world’s information.” since google is going after all advertising revenues ─ a market it estimates is equivalent to $238 billion domestically ─ and it already has a pretty significant partnership with time warner, i’d like to see another partnership that marries technology with ad revenue-producing capability. i don’t believe in having one portal for information. there is too much power inscribed in it. last week barron’s speculated about a disney/apple union. jobs and iger dismissed it. i hope for everyone’s sake that some action is in fact underway, if not on that front then on another.

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3 Comments

Filed under media, music, uncategorized

3 responses to “on my brain today …

  1. Kate

    Rather than scaring me, the bird flu reporting makes me angry, because it strikes me as such a prime example of wildly premature alarmism designed to do nothing but scare, so we’ll keep tuning in. I saw an ad last night for a Weather Channel program called “It Could Happen Tomorrow”–next episode is about a combo earthquake/tsunami wiping out the Pacific Northwest. The tag line was literally something like, “We don’t know when or if it’ll happen–but IT COULD HAPPEN TOMORROW.” Well, yeah, it could, but… That’s how I see the bird flu thing–we don’t know when or if it will become transferable by human contact, but we can’t pass up an opportunity to get people good and panicked.

    What’s so scary is, we have absolutely no control over whether it happens–and that’s exactly why it’s a good story to repeat ad nauseam with no real new info. All individuals can really do to protect ourselves at this point is not touch sick birds, which most of us were probably doing anyway. There’s nothing we can do about whether the strain mutates or whether we come into contact with someone infected. So what is the purpose of warning us, again and again, that this might become a problem? How is that helping the public stay safe? Oh, right, it’s not. It’s just keeping us glued to the paper/TV in fear.

    Sorry if it sounds like I’m picking on you for being anxious–I’m not. This kind of reporting just makes me irate. Look at the facts in the piece you quoted–there have only been 90 deaths worldwide, almost all of them had direct contact with birds, it’s spreading “gradually,” and it’s not spreadable by human contact at this point. That doesn’t sound very scary. But the spin makes it so.

    Finally, I highly recommend Barry Glassner’s The Culture of Fear, if you haven’t read it.

    Second finally, I’m with you on Chapelle.

  2. colleen

    after 9-11 and katrina, there is a greater emphasis on risk assessment, prevention, and disaster/recovery in both government and business. this is a good thing. journalists, on the other hand, have been playing that card all along as a means of selling papers and tv shows.

    the reason the bird thing is so scary to me personally is that i have read a lot about the black death . it’s my own wild imagination that is scaring the shit out of me in this case.

  3. Kate

    Oops, yeah, I meant to say something about particular scares that resonate more than others for some reason–I’ve certainly got my own list of those–but since I was already taking up a mile and a half of comment space with my ranting, I didn’t get to it. I should have moved the rant over to my own blog earlier. Your fault for always making me think, dammit. 🙂

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