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‘WE OWN YOU: Pay Us For Your Privacy’: New York Post Cover for April 7, 2018

Source: New York Post

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‘I AM Big. It’s the Devices that Got Small’

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How the Smartphone Ushered In a Golden Age of Journalism 

For WIRED writes: When I first arrived in New York, some time back in the last century, I gazed in awe and fascination at subway riders reading The New York Times. Thanks to a precise and universally adopted method of folding the paper (had it been taught in schools?), they could read it and even turn its pages without thrusting them in anyone else’s face. The trick? Folding those big, inky broadsheets into neat little rectangles—roughly the same size, in fact, as an iPad. It’s as if they were trying to turn the newspaper into a mobile device. And that, we can now see, is precisely what news is meant for. Today, New York newspaper origami is an all-but-lost art; straphangers have their eyes glued to their smartphones.

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Illustration by Oliver Munday

“Like Twitter, mobile has long been underestimated: People assume that because the screen is small, the content should be too. That’s turning out to be both simplistic and wrong.”

Journalism, however, is holding its own. Statistics from the Times say roughly half of the people who read it now do so with their mobile devices, and that jibes with figures from the latest Pew report on the news media broadly. But if you were to assume that means people have given up reading actual articles and are just snacking instead, you’d be wrong. The Atlantic recently reported that a gorgeously illustrated 6,200-word story on BuzzFeed—which likewise gets about half its readers through mobile devices—not only received more than a million views, it held the attention of smartphone users for an average of more than 25 minutes. (WIRED‘s in-depth web offerings have also attracted audiences. A profile of a brilliant Mexican schoolgirl garnered 1.2 million views, 25 percent of them from phones, and readers spent an average of 18 minutes on it.) Little wonder that for every fledgling enterprise like Circa, which generates slick digests of other people’s journalism on the theory that that’s what mobile readers want, you have formerly short-attention-span sites like BuzzFeed and Politico retooling themselves to offer serious, in-depth reporting. “Maybe we’re entering into a new golden age of journalism,” venture capitalist Marc Andreessen mused in a recent blog post, “and we just haven’t recognized it yet.”

Even just two years ago, such an assessment would have seemed almost ludicrous. Read the rest of this entry »


Mollie Hemingway: Who Has It Worse? Women In America Or Elsewhere?

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 writes:  Who could deny that the problems identified by feminists in America are serious? Here are just five recent examples of how bad women have it in the States, each followed by a look at a minor problem faced by women in other parts of the world.

 

American Problem #1

Gendered toys being distributed McDonald’s.

Did you know that McDonald’s distributes toys with its so-called Happy Meals? And that these toys come in “boy” and “girl” varieties? Can you believe what a human rights violation this is? Slate is on it, thank goodness. This must be stopped.

Global Problem #1

234 girls kidnapped from Nigerian schools last week by Islamist extremists.

As the Associated Press reports:

The kidnappings are believed to have been carried out by Nigeria’s Islamic extremist rebels, known as Boko Haram. Boko Haram — the nickname means “Western education is sinful” — is violently campaigning to establish an Islamic Shariah state in Nigeria, whose 170 million people are about half Muslim and half Christian. Boko Haram has been abducting some girls and young women in attacks on schools, villages and towns but last week’s mass kidnapping is unprecedented. The extremists use the young women as porters, cooks and sex slaves, according to Nigerian officials.

American Problem #2

High school boys asking famous people to the prom.

Reigning Miss America Nina Davuluri was at a high school assembly recently to discuss the importance of science and math. Male aggressor Patrick Farves took the opportunity to ask her to prom. He was suspended.

Feminist leader Amanda Marcotte called this practice what it really is: sexual harrassment of the worst kind imaginable.

Global Problem #2

Iran to hang 26-year-old rape victim.

Rayhaneh Jabbari, a 26-year-old former interior designer, was scheduled to be hanged after serving seven years in prison for stabbing a man she claims drugged her and attempted to rape her. The execution has been postponed, but is still pending.

American Problem #3

Banning the word “bossy.”

In March, high-achieving women such as Beyonce and Condoleezza Rice joined Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign to ban the adjective “bossy.”

And no, it’s not bossy that all the cool and beautiful girls who are super-popular and wealthy got together and decided that not only were they not going to use a word but that no one else could either. Why do you ask?

Beverley Hill, the founder and President of a women rights organization “Gendercide Awareness Project”, which was formed to combat prejudice and injustice against women, has said that China is leading in Gendercide index and India is at second place. Addressing a special meeting of South Asia Democracy Watch Board of Directors, Ms. Hill said that her group is fighting a systematic mass genocide of women population, through selective abortion in many countries of the world.

Global Problem #3

Gendercide

According to a Pakistani media outlet this week:

Beverley Hill, the founder and President of a women rights organization “Gendercide Awareness Project”, which was formed to combat prejudice and injustice against women, has said that China is leading in Gendercide index and India is at second place…

Read the rest of this entry »


Barbie B.S. and Bossy B.S.

barbi-averageThough these two articles aren’t directly related, they share a common theme: “Girl Power”!

First, commenting on the real vs. unreal-proportions Barbie debate, is author , in an essay provocatively titled called ‘Average’ Barbie Is Just as Fake’, Postrel begins with reflections drawn from her own childhood experiences with dolls:

“When I was a little girl, my favorite dolls came from Mattel and had wildly inhuman proportions. To me, they were magical and special and didn’t look the least bit strange…”

Then gets into the business with Mattel:

“…As a mass-produced product, a doll represents a single version of female proportions. Taken as a role model, any single standard excludes those with a different build. Celebrating “average” doesn’t solve the problem. Instead of trying to create a plastic role model, it’s both kinder and more honest to treat a doll as an object of escapist fantasy — a plaything.

Barbie’s popularity is waning, a fact Lammily boosters rarely fail to mention. But Mattel is in the business of selling play, not social commentary…”

Like most guys, other than G.I. Joes (and nobody really talked much about the Joe’s body image) I have no experience with dolls (honest!) and defer to thinkers like Postrel for insights. Put those dolls away and read the whole thing.

[Check out Postrel’s book “The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion” at Amazon]

ban-bossyThe second article involves the recent “Ban Bossy” campaign — featuring the comments of a author Jonah Goldberg, who I’m sure would agree is equally knowlegable discussing Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, or Foghorn Leghorn — and who also draws from personal experience.

“…It seems patently untrue that a) Bossiness is the same thing as “leadership,” b) That bossiness is a gender-specific issue for kids, c) That girls are falling behind in leadership nationally or in schools. Some of my views are based on the fact that I am the father of a little girl and some of it is based on informed common sense…”

And questions the premise that girls are disproportionately disadvantaged in the first place:

“In every conceivable way women are doing better and better. Sheryl Sandberg is herself proof of that. No rational or objective person believes that things aren’t getting better for women in the workplace or the executive suite.

Read the rest of this entry »


Not Leaning In, Leaning Back: Do women really have it better in Sweden?

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Margaret Wente writes: Oh, to be in Sweden, a feminist paradise on Earth! Gender equality is baked into the nation’s DNA. Swedish women have advantages we can only only dream of – free universal child care, for example. Mothers and fathers get 480 (!) days of parental leave. An extensive welfare system makes it easy to balance work and family life.

The result is that nearly 80 per cent of Swedish mothers are in the work force. (In the United States and Canada, it’s about 73 per cent.) Women also make up 45 per cent of Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag.

The country is zealously tearing down the barriers that hold women back. Preschools go to extraordinary lengths to encourage non-gendered play. One school is experimenting with a gender-neutral pronoun, “hen,” so that kids will think of one another not as boys or girls but as “buddies.” Gender-neutral toy catalogues show boys playing with dolls and girls playing with water guns. Some Swedish movie theatres have introduced a gender rating for films, called the Bechdel test. (To pass, a movie needs to have at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.)

Sweden and the other Nordic nations always seem to lead the rankings of the world’s best countries for women. (Canada is lucky to crack the top 20.) So they’re an ideal laboratory for finding out what women really want. What choices will women make when the playing field is as level as social policy can make it?

I’m afraid the answers will disappoint a lot of people. That includes Sheryl Sandberg, the famous author of Lean In, who wrote, “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies, and men ran half our homes.”

The trouble is that the world’s most liberated women aren’t leaning in – in fact, many are leaning back. They work fewer hours and make less money than men, just as Canadian women do. In fact, Swedish women are much more likely to have part-time jobs and far less likely to hold top managerial positions or be CEOs. On top of that, Scandinavian labour markets are the most gender-segregated in the developed world.

Read the rest of this entry »