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OSO CAN YOU SEE?
Mar 26th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

'before shot' via nytimes.com; many of these home lots were second or summer homes

As many of you know, I grew up in northern Snohomish County.

Arlington, Darrington, Oso, Smokey Point, and the Mountain Loop Highway are all places I regularly visited with my mother on antique-buying trips, or bicycled through, or on church or school trips.

My parents briefly owned a second home in what became the landslide zone.

My brother still lives near there.

He has a friend-of-a-friend who was one of the first landslide victims helicoptered to Harborview. Another friend-of-a-friend is the parent of one of the still-missing children.

If you pray or meditate, the still-missing people there, and their loved ones and/or survivors, are worth remembering.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/31/13
Aug 31st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

soundersfc.com

  • Turns out there’s a word for these massive fan-made visual displays at soccer matches. The word is “tifo.”
  • The NY Times notes that Amazon hasn’t asked for a dime in extra tax breaks for its big Seattle development schemes.
  • Meanwhile, could Amazon start its own wireless cell-phone network?
  • Even the rarified realm of Seattle sushi, there are problematic “bigot diners.”
  • After almost 50 years, the Francine Seders Gallery in Phinney Ridge closes this December.
  • After 22 years, the radio station known as “The Mountain” is leaving the air, sort of. An Internet feed and a digital sub-channel will continue the format (but will they have live DJs?).
  • The UW experiment in “mind control” won’t immediately lead to anything useful, like helping disabled people regain control of their limbs or anything.
  • “Celebrity architects” don’t always design monumental, scenery-dominating houses in the countryside for fat cat clients. Sometimes they do it for themselves.
  • In keeping with my occasional claims that we’re entering a long attention span generation, the Guardian claims that big epic novels “are back.”
  • It’s not just McDonald’s workers who are getting screwed over. Franchise operators allege the company’s been overcharging them with rent and fees.
  • Coca-Cola’s marketing a stevia-sweetened “Coca-Cola Life” drink, with vague claims of “healthiness,” but only in Argentina.
  • Could the building blocks of life on Earth have come here from Mars?
  • It turns out that Larry Summers, the onetime Harvard president who may be nominated to head the Federal Reserve, was involved in the World Trade Organization and its 1999 efforts to force big financial deregulation upon all its member countries. (You may remember a little protest when the outfit had its convention here.)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/6/13
Aug 6th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via adweek

  • Insurance companies should not change their logos often, if ever. The branding “mystique” for insurance ought to be about stability, reassurance. Well, one company had the dumb idea to “modernize” its identity. Yep, it sucks.
  • The owners of Greenwood’s Couth Buzzard bookstore (where I had a lovely book presentation in ’11) have created an ongoing art and music project in memory of their daughter, who died from cancer at age 18.
  • The NY Times picked up the story of the local woman who wrote her own, lovely, Seattle Times paid obit.
  • The feud between Geoff Tate and the other original members of Queensryche: it’s gettin’ brutal. And not in a fun “shredding” sort of way.
  • Seattle Weekly’s got a keen piece about graffiti artists in the abandoned Fisher flour mill.
  • Folks in this state drink less beer than folks in most any other state.
  • Here’s how the Sounders got Clint “Don’t Call Me Patrick” Dempsey.
  • Sorry, Capt. Kirk: Teleportation is scientifically impossible, at least with living human subjects. The brain is just too complex to be instantly copied and re-built.
  • Meanwhile, the next star of Doctor Who is 55, the same age First Doctor William Hartnell was at the show’s start a half century ago.
  • A Miss Utah contestant was charged with throwing firebombs from a car.
  • 24/7 Wall St. lists once-mighty restaurant chains that are either mostly or wholly disappeared.
  • Books that are under copyright but out of print become part of a “hole in our collective memory.”
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/26/13
Jul 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seattle.curbed.com

  • The Eitel Building on Second and Pike has been the topic of several aborted “restoration” and redevelopment schemes over the years. Now some new players have declared new plans for the 109-year-old Eitel, including a rooftop-deck restaurant space.
  • A “Seattle-based adult app store” has made what it claims is the first “porn film shot with Google Glass.” It’s a total meta-fictional farce, of course; but (at least in the censored version hereby linked) it’s a funny one.
  • My ex-boss Mr. Savage wants all gays and their supporters to fight the increasingly, cruelly anti-gay regime in Russia, by boycotting Stoli vodka. I presume a little more pressure than that will be required.
  • Puget Sound Business Journal headline: “Is Microsoft pulling out of Issaquah?” Make your own dirty-joke punchline here.
  • Jeff Bezos got him some engine parts from the Apollo 11 moon rocket, which fell into the ocean 44 years ago this week.
  • In other space-case news, are faster-than-light space ships really possible after all?
  • Landline phones: More than two-thirds of Wash. state people still have ‘em.
  • The UW may be doing a lousy job at attracting state funding or keeping in-state tuition anything approaching reasonable, but it’s booming as a “business incubator.”
  • Did you know that clean, green Oregon had more than a century’s worth of systematic racism in its history? (I did.)
  • Health Scare of the Day: Imported hot sauces could have traces of lead within their hotness.
  • New York mag talks to an economist who claims America’s mid-century mass prosperity was the result of historical conditions that can’t be brought back.
  • The above claim notwithstanding, some folks have a new marketing scheme for economic policies that would put middle-class workers n’ consumers first. It’s “Middle-Out.”
  • The Feds might outlaw menthol cigarettes.
  • How not to live like an “ironic hipster:” First, admit to yourself that the “ironic hipster” is a media stereotype with few, if any, actual living examples.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/23/13
Jul 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

city of seattle via slog.thestranger.com

  • You know that big palatial boulevard the politicians have promised to turn Seattle’s central waterfront into? It now looks like it could become something else. Like, a highway with as many lanes as the viaduct (or more!), only side by side and on ground level. (Via my ex-housemate Fnarf.)
  • The Feds want to crack down on The Art Institutes. They charge the chain of for-profit art schools (including a major Seattle branch) with…

…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.

  • UW scientists recorded, then time-compressed, the sounds made by an Alaska volcano just before it blew.
  • Congrats to the local makers of the Carter Family graphic bio-novel for winning (er, co-winning) a major industry award.
  • Nice to see Seattle Weekly regaining some of its old form, even if that includes its old cranky-baby-boomer bashing of the Stranger and youth culture.
  • As expected, the living members of Nirvana played at McCartney’s Safeco Field show.
  • Alas, it’s illegal to ride down Capitol Hill streets in an office chair.
  • MillerCoors wants the Feds to investigate the Wall St. bigshots’ manipulations of aluminum prices.
  • Do you know the difference between North and South Carolina? Nike didn’t.
  • Why can’t Third World people speak for themselves on the “global stage,” instead of questionable, self-appointed spokespeople such as (the highly corporate-connected) Bono?
  • R.I.P. Helen Thomas, first lady of the White House press corps and the textbook example of a “tough dame” who speaks her mind and never gives up.
  • While (or because) nobody was looking, Yahoo quietly shut down the pioneering search engine AltaVista.
  • Business Insider posted a promo spot for a Milwaukee TV newscast circa 1980. Frenetic stock music! Jump cuts! Reporters in the field! Huge “mini” cams held by muscular cameramen! Typewriters! That’s infotainment.
  • Do you or someone you know listen to too much Coast to Coast AM? Still? Then follow this handy conspiracy theory flow chart.

the reason stick at blogspot

HERE WE GO LOOP-DE-LOOP?
Jul 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

shutterstock via gizmag.com

In one of my several unpublished fiction manuscripts, I have a futuristic travel tube that whisks people between cities at almost the speed of sound.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk now says he’ll soon have a working schematic for such a device. He’s calling it the “Hyperloop.”

Until Musk releases any real specs, observers are speculating about how it would work and what its limitations might be.

Some believe it could only travel in straight lines, which means (1) serious tunnel and bridge costs, and (2) potential big bucks to property owners along the way.

If it really works (safely) and if it can really be built at a recoverable cost (remember, dot-com and housing-bubble speculators redefined the degree of speculativeness people will invest in), it would change intercity travel forever, in all the populated/affluent parts of the world.

And it would potentially devastate (or, in Internet-age newspeak, “disrupt”) the existing airline industry and its suppliers, including Boeing.

Boeing had been involved in experimental high-speed rail development programs in the past, and could theoretically bid to help design, build, and equip Hyperloop lines in this and other countries.

Of course, that might require leadership at Boeing that knew what it was doing, which the company seems to not have now.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/16/13
Jun 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • The only thing more improbable than the idea that the average human 100,000 years from now will have Margaret Keane painting-size eyes is the idea that the average human 100,000 years from now will be white.
  • Novelist David Guterson gave a commencement speech at his alma mater,Roosevelt High. Some parents booed the speech, apparently believing it was too “negative” for their precious children. The speech itself turns out to be skeptical about the pursuit-O’-happiness thang but still relatively upbeat at its conclusion.
  • So soon after getting our collective hearts broken over the NBA (again), Seattle sports fans have a new thing about which to blindly hope against hope. It’s the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes. They’ve been floundering down in the desert. The league supposedly has a plan to move the team here, perhaps as early as next season.
  • KING-TV and its sister operations (KONG, NW Cable News) are being bought out by Gannett, along with the rest of the A.H. Belo Corp. Like Belo (which began as the publisher of the Dallas Morning News) had done when it bought KING, Gannett’s strategy here is to add profitable (for now) broadcast properties to help shore up its more troubled newsprint assets. (Update: Gannett only bought Belo’s broadcast properties, not its newspapers.)
  • Tacoma really doesn’t like citizens painting “rogue crosswalks.”
  • CBS News’s smartypants explain “why geniuses don’t have jobs.”
  • Time quotes some security-establishment defenders who really, really want to see the whole anti-domestic-surveillance crusade crushed.
  • An Australian ad agency asked feminist writers to write about the meaning of artificial sweeteners in women’s lives, and to do it for free. Here come the brutally snarky retorts.
  • This list of words remembered today only as parts of hoary catch phrases leaves out such personal favorites of mine as “petard,” “Gangbusters” (originally a radio show), and “poke” (as something you shouldn’t buy a pig in).
  • You remember how Facebook first started as a “hot or not” listing of Harvard women? There’s a new “hot or not” application on the site. It’s just for women. It uses male FB users’ profiles without their permission.
  • It’s the 50th birthday of one of my favorite forgotten childhood icons: Mr. ZIP!

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/18/13
May 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Happy Mt. St. Helens Day!
  • Nordstrom was caught capturing and tracking the smartphone data of users who wandered through its (real-world) stores. Once the story broke out, the retail said it wasn’t doing it anymore.
  • A UW prof’s using meditation to teach students to conquer online distractions.
  • I’m still trying to determine if the Milwaukee slam poet Matt Cook, publicized in the hereby-linked page, is the same guy who was the Stranger’s first editor (and an unsung co-creator of that publication’s informal-snarkiness aesthetic).
  • Just as there are with vinyl records (and even 8-track tapes), there are people who staunchly defend VHS videocassettes and the culture they engendered. (Before VHS’s 30-year run as an active medium, the idea of “owning” your favorite movies was little more than a fantasy.) These analog nostalgists now have a documentary about them, taped in part at Seattle’s Scarecrow Video.
  • Carl Gibson at the political blog Nation of Change believes we should “move beyond ‘left vs. right,’” just before he iterates what is basically a center-left political platform.
  • Frank Zappa, as you all know, loathed drugs but loved him some hot groupie sex. His personal secretary, however, was allowed to turn him down.
  • Abstinence-only education, and the growing evidence that it’s really harmful, has proven to be one of the (many) topics that bring web comment trolls into full rabid-bigoted rage.
  • The UK’s Daily Telegraph refers to the Fast & Furious action-film series as Hollywood’s first “bisexual blockbuster.”
  • Does the still relatively little-used Google Plus have an alluring “tragic beauty” to it?
  • From all the hype you can hear about it these days, 3-D printing is either the best thing since sliced bread or the best thing since “industrial hemp.”
  • After just three weeks, the online revivals of All My Children and One Life to Live are each cutting back from four half-hour episodes a week to two.
  • Here’s a cool public art piece in Australia. It’s a hugeass hot air balloon in the form of a fantasy whale with human breast shapes stuck on, apparently just for fun.

junkee.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/8/12
Oct 8th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

kurzweilai.net

  • Did the U.S. Air Force really think up plans for a supersonic flying saucer in the 1950s? And would it have been practical (i.e., would it fly)?
  • What does it mean to be “indie rock royalty” these days? It means you can play Radio City Music Hall and still have to share a studio apartment. Speaking of which….
  • KEXP’s pledge-drive playlist of the most important records of the past 40 years is essentially a canon of “indie” music classics, plus a few “mainstream” mentors. Nevermind predictably tops the listener survey. The list is top-heavy with the Pixies, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., New Order, Arcade Fire, etc. etc. The list’s only surprise is its paucity of female artists. The top woman-fronted act, the Pretenders, appears at spot #51.
  • A HuffPost blogger disparages Vancouver as “No Fun City,” a place where nightlife is essentially nonexistent. I can recall ages ago when I looked up to Van as having the bars and live-music venues Seattle could only dream of having. Since then, Seattle has vastly changed while Van has, if anything, become more moribund.
  • The Olympic Peninsula’s northwest tip has no teen vampires, but it is an ideal spot to measure climate change with solid empirical data.
  • Even “underground food market” dining operations (one-night-only food courts) have to have health permits.
  • Nintendo’s next game machine will be a tablet. It will also stream video content to TVs. It could be big.
  • Amazon’s paying a cool billion to buy the Paul Allen-owned buildings it occupies in South Lake Union.
  • Stalking and harassing apartment residents is no way to sell cable TV.
  • Seattle’s next would-be mega-developers? The Bill Pierre car-selling family.
  • Can the waterfront tunnel be built without massive city subsidies (that the city really doesn’t want to pay)?
  • Stranger staffer Kelly O tells a San Francisco website “12 Things You Should Know About Seattle.” These things include (too much) pot, (endangered) graffiti murals, and (yummy) street hot dogs.
  • White cops shooting at nonwhite civilians with little or no true justification: it’s not just happening here.
  • I had a boring and/or miserable time in the Boy Scouts. But, as we’re all learning, it could have been worse. Much, much worse.
  • CNN contributor Simon Hooper asks if we can finally get over Beatles (and James Bond) nostalgia now.
  • A self-described “middle aged punk” gives forth a back-in-my-day-sonny lament, nostalgizing about getting beaten up by jocks.
  • Don’t look now, but Walmart workers are trying to organize.
  • Having solved all of the world’s other problems, 60 Minutes sics its fangs on the designer-eyeglass-frame monopoly.
  • Today in right-wing sleaze, two GOP senators are asking defense contractors to fire thousands of people just to make Obama look bad; while Arizona is suppressing the votes of up to 200,000 Latino-descent citizens in the name of “cracking down on illegals.” Also, a Legislative candidate in Arkansas says parents should be allowed to put “rebellious children” to death.
  • The University of Idaho’s getting the world’s biggest collection of historic opium pipes. Hey, you gotta have something to do out there.
  • Forbes contributor Steve Cooper believes content-based websites could make more money by directly selling stuff on their sites, instead of running low-profit ads for other companies selling stuff. That biz model might work for sites focused on entertainment or lifestyle topics (music, food, bridal, travel, etc.). For local newspapers’ sites, it’d be a tougher fit.
  • Don’t look now, but rain (remember that?) might finally appear locally later this week.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/29/12
Aug 28th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Today’s historic-preservation outrage involves the Jefferson Park Golf Course clubhouse. It’s a magnificent structure, “homey” yet elegant, that’s served city residents for more than 75 years. The City wants to raze it to put up a new driving range. It’s rushing through a plan to deny landmark status to the building, in cahoots with the architects that are planning the redevelopment scheme.

  • This week, the southeast corner of the United States has been hammered by a massive destructive force of nature, devastating the people and the land with its wind and fury. There’s also a tropical storm.
  • A deaf woman in Tacoma was arrested for a crime she was really the victim of. She was tasered and held for 60 hours without access to an interpreter. She’s now got a global support network.
  • The stretch road in front of the J.P. Patches statue in Fremont may get the honorary second name of “J.P. Patches Place.”
  • Dan Froomkin doesn’t want more jobs. He wants more decent-paying jobs than today’s corporate sector seems willing to provide.
  • As Seattle’s libraries and their patrons endure their fourth annual end-o’-summer closed week, the son of an ex-Seattle Public Library bigwig believes libraries need to reinvent themselves by ditching those dumb ol’ books, or at least stuffing them in some inaccessible-by-the-public storage facility. Uh, thanks but no thanks.
  • Meanwhile, the volunteer-run “People’s Library” at 23rd and Yesler plans to remain open after the city libraries reopen, at least through the end of this month.
  • Pierce Transit, already socked by over-dependence on local sales tax revenue, could face potential total shutdown (or something close to it) if a tax increase measure doesn’t pass.
  • An extreme-right-wing militia cult wanted to bomb a Wash. state dam and poison the state’s apple crop.
  • Higher prices, less selection. Isn’t liquor privatization wonderful?
  • In the no-rules/new-rules world of self-e-publishing, you can get your book all the rave reviews it needs, and for a reasonable price.
  • Bill Nye, who’s usually right about these things, proclaims that creationist fantasy is not healthy for children and other living things.
NEIL ARMSTRONG, 1930-2012
Aug 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The first human on the moon turned out to be just two weeks younger than my mother.

The “Space Race,” begun with the Soviet Sputnik satellite’s launch, was only four months younger than me.

I was 12 when Apollo 11 landed. The perfect impressionable age for a young male.

The moon landing meant to me what it meant to a lot of guys my age:

The ultimate adventure.

The first steps of “Man” to a strange new world.

The first day of a new era.

I don’t have to tell you things turned out differently.

But we still dream.

Particularly during the 50th anniversary of the Century 21 Exposition.

As part of that, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s staging a “Celebrate Seattle” event on Sept. 16, with astronauts real (Cady Coleman) and fictional (Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols). The Ballet’s orchestra will play parts of Holst’s The Planets and Dvorak’s Song to the Moon.

It’s good to remember yesterday’s future.

But let’s also build ourselves some new dreams for a real future.

A future in which the work of Armstrong and the entire NASA team behind him will not have been in vain.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/10/12
Aug 9th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • To be celebrated this weekend: one hundred years of Volunteer Park.
  • Paul Constant attends an “American Idol for Startups.” He finds a bunch of hopeful entrepreneurs showing off gimmicky little smartphone apps based on “tiny little ideas, ideas that are almost petty in their inconsequentiality,” and promoted using jargon “as tepid and lifeless and dumb as any language that ever existed.”
  • Now that all companies, nonprofits, and individuals in the western world have been exhorted to revamp their entire existences around the Web, they’re about to be exhorted to forget all that and re-revamp their entire existences around “mobile media.”
  • We knew it was coming (it’s in the way of Amazon’s TriTowers HQ project), but it’s still sad to see the King Cat Theater closed for good.
  • The “24 hour news cycle” is sooooo day-before-yesterday. But it does make for a lot of fun reporting mistakes.
  • Meet this election’s top right wing attack groups (or at least as much about them as has been uncovered to date, which isn’t much).
  • A Portland motivational blogger meets one of the original computing pioneers, and gets, well, motivated.
  • Media reports about Olympic champion Gabby Douglas have been loaded with racial dog-whistle jargon.
  • A self-professed “skeptic” and “rationalist” claims to be more skeptical and rational than other self-professed “skeptics” and “rationalists”:

Let’s admit it, skepticism does have a way to make us feel intellectually superior to others. They are the ones believing in absurd notions like UFOs, ghosts, and the like! We are on the side of science and reason. Except when we aren’t, which ought to at least give us pause and enroll in the nearest hubris-reducing ten-step program.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/9/12
Aug 9th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

wikimedia commons

  • The warm weather’s speeding up the life cycle of the aphids spreading “zebra chip” disease to Washington’s potato crops, making the spuds unsalable.
  • Let’s raise a thousand guitar picks to the 10th anniversary of Seattle’s All Ages Dance Ordinance, and the repeal of the infamously restrictive “Teen Dance Ordinance” (which had banned almost all all-ages live music shows for nearly two decades). A lot of people worked a lot of years to make that happen. They can tell you that change doesn’t really happen any other way.
  • It began in ’10, took last year off due to funding problems, but is back this weekend. It’s Seattle Founders Days in Belltown, a weekend celebration of one of America’s liveliest neighborhoods, its spectacular past and its portentious future.
  • When truly affordable housing remains in short supply anywhere in Seattle, should the Seattle Housing Authority sell off huge chunks of Yesler Terrace to “market rate” developers?
  • RealNetworks, after many losses, turned a profit this past quarter. But it’s only because they sold a bunch of patents to Intel.
  • Now that the reservoirs are all lidded, your best chance for a peek at Seattle’s water supply comes with a “Tap Tour” to the Cedar River Watershed.
  • Romney outrage of the day (this will probably be a regular department for the next 90 days): Bain Capital’s original investors included figures tied to El Salvador’s murderous right-wing death squads.
  • One more reason why no state can afford a Republican one-party government: Louisiana’s set to dole out public education bucks to anti-science fundamentalist private schools.
  • The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced new national bosses, who might (just might, mind you) end the homophobia and Planned Parenthood-bashing of the group’s recent past. But it’ll probably remain an outfit less interested in health care than in big-bucks corporate sponsorships.
  • We here in BlueStateLand like to scoff at slimy voter suppression tactics elsewhere. But why aren’t Washington’s own majority-Hispanic pockets seeing more majority-Hispanic voting profiles?
  • You could live directly above the future U District light rail station, as soon as 2021.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/3/12
Aug 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

google earth via rhizome.org

  • Clement Valla at Rhizome.org finds beauty and “the universal texture” within the mistakes of Google Earth’s 3D geographical simulations.
  • The musicians’ union would like to create “sustainable” opportunities for local club bands (i.e., gigs with decent pay). Considering how fiscally precarious so many bars and clubs are, this may be a challenge.
  • Amy Rolph at SeattlePI.com, trolling for weird items on Amazon to laff at, found a CD of “lullaby renditions of Nirvana songs.” Rolph calls the electronically-rendered music “creepy.” I call it more like a failed attempt to update the shtick of Raymond Scott’s old Soothing Sounds for Baby LPs.
  • It’s not that “oldies” music is selling more these days. It’s that present-day music is selling less.
  • When classic films meet know-nothing online reviewers, magic happens.
  • Apple has again become the world’s #1 personal-computer maker, if you count iPads as computers.
  • At last, a new job in this town that doesn’t require programming experience. It’s the making of fake poop, to demonstrate new third-world toilet designs for the Gates Foundation.
  • Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet believes today’s Republicans are “a truly toxic aberration,” an outfit that can only win elections by voter-suppression and other dirty tricks.
  • The “future of news” gurus have long claimed that media companies only needed to hustle for all the web hits they could get, and ad revenue would naturally follow. That’s turning out to not be the case; especially with tablet and smartphone users.
  • Here’s one Russian guy’s idea of how humans could live forever, for just $50 billion in startup costs:
  1. First, invent remote-controlled, humanoid robots.
  2. The next generation of the robots would contain transplanted human brains.
  3. By the year 2045, people’s memories and personalities would be transferred as software into robotic brains. (As we always say with stories like this, “Nothing can possibly go wrong….”)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/18/12
Jun 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ford 'seattle-ite xxi' car display at the world's fair; uw special collections via edmonds beacon

  • In the revived Baffler, self described “anthropologist and anarchist” David Graeber has a long “salvo” of an essay that starts out by asking some of the questions a lot of folks have asked during the World’s Fair semicentennial: Where the heck are the flying cars, missions to Mars, or other techno-wonders we were promised back then? Graeber smoothly segues from that into a more general modern malaise, in which nothing seems to be getting better except info-tech—and that’s turned us all into serfs to bureaucracy, even in our private lives. His answer: a more egalitarian economy. (I know, easier to say than to make.)
  • Online Media Shrinkage Watch: The combo of Crosscut and Publicola turned out to be more of a springtime fling than a marriage. Crosscut’s cutting back. Not just on its new hires (Publicola founders and city hall insider reporters Josh Feit and Erica Barnett), but the site’s existing staff and freelance budgets. Three big funding sources are expiring around the same time. Crosscut founder David Brewster says a new funding scheme (and a reorganization, with Brewster stepping back from full hands-on management of the site) is on the way. And Feit’s talking about restarting Publicola with his own new reorg. Weezell see….
  • As Wash. state’s privatized booze biz rolls on, could people actually start drinking less?
  • Attendance at Occupy Seattle’s “general assembly” meetings has plummeted. Is the organization fading away? If it does, its range of causes has not and will not go away. Tactics change. Goals remain. Eyes on the Prize and all that.
  • While the alpha-male hustlers running most all of America’s tech companies (and the equally estrogen-lacking tech journalists and bloggers) weren’t noticing, Internet usage has become majority female. So are the usages of GPS, e-book readers, Skype, text messaging, mobile-phone voice usage, and more.
  • The Waterfront Streetcar might or might not run again. If it does, it won’t be for at least seven years.
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