Eclecticity: Dan Shafer's Web Log : Where author, poet, sports fanatic, spiritual teacher, and dabbler in things Pythonesque and Revolution(ary) Dan Shafer holds forth on various topics of interest primarily to him
Updated: 11/13/02; 1:52:20 PM.


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Friday, October 25, 2002

A Sad Day, A Major Loss

This is very sad news to all Americans, but particularly those like me who bemoan the virtual absence of liberal leadership these days.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Paul Wellstone, an outspoken liberal Democrat locked in a re-election battle considered key to control of the Senate, was killed in a plane crash today in northern Minnesota along with his wife, daughter and five others." [Scripting News]

2:11:40 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Of Rebels, Patriots, Terrorists and Journalists

I grew up as a journalist in the Old School, when objectivity was valued and words were chosen for their lack of emotionalism. So my viewpoint on this topic is admittedly jaded and probably outmoded. But I don't think so.

This morning I read a story about the seige in Moscow, in which about 50 Chechen partisans are holding an entire theatrical audience hostage and threatening to kill them unless Russia pulls its troops out of Chechnya.

The story I read consistently characterized those holding the hostages as "rebels." This gives them the cachet of being defenders of a lost but just cause. They are "rebelling" against something, presumably categorized as oppression of some flavor. Clearly the reporter who wrote the story and/or the editor who prepared the copy for publication at the very least bought into someone's idea of their status. Perhaps he/she/they sympathize with the cause as well.

If they didn't, I suspect the story would use the word "terrorist" every place where "rebel" now appears. On the other hand, if the story were being reported in the Chechen media, they'd be called "patriots." Same group. Same objective. Different spins.

Perhaps reporters and editors need to think more clearly about their reportage. The fact is we don't know if these people are patriots, rebels, or terrorists. The media should report facts, not opinions about those facts, at least not in news stories. What do we know here, for example? We know that about 50 people claiming to be Chechen supporters have invaded a theater and are holding some number of people hostage. We know they are demanding certain things. We can safely characterize them as "Chechen" because they have done that and the word is objective. We can safely call them people or collectively a group, and we can safely say they are armed. So instead of rebels or patriots or terrorists, a "good" journalist in my day would have written: "A group of 50 armed men and women stormed into a theater on the outskirts of Moscow and threatened to kill one or more of their 200 hostages if their demands for a Soviet pullout from Checnya were not met within seven days."

Objective reporting but, I submit, no less exciting or interesting than unnecessarily emotionally charged writing.

I'm on a crusade.
11:38:58 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

My Favorite Scripting Tool Gets Major Update

Runtime Revolution, the real "HyperCard on Steroids" (as opposed to SuperCard, which has only been labeled as such by people happy with single-platform tools), will release Version 2.0 next month (November).

If you're seriously interested in creating software that runs on Mac Classic, OS X, Windows, and *nix, with a slick UI, and with few if any code modifications across those platforms, you just have to check this out. Particularly if you're not a full-time professional coder.
11:22:32 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

No Argument Here, Dave

Someday, not very long from now, we'll argue over bragging rights for who has the first All-Web-Services-Authored weblog. For the record, that's this site, Scripting News. [Scripting News]

I'm not actually sure we'll end up arguing about this, but if we do, I'm going with Scripting News unless someone has hard evidence to the contrary.
11:09:45 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Turns Out SUVs Aren't Even Safe!

I've thought privately for many years that it was a huge mistake for car companies to create and for the government to permit the manufacture and sale of that perfidious class of vehicles known as Sport Utility Vehicles, or SUVs. I detest the fact that these beasts are classified as trucks so as to avoid pollution-control rules, yet licensed as passenger vehicles so as to avoid the higher vehicle-use fees that might otherwise at least slow down their acceptance.

Every SUV owner I know has always said the same thing in response to my criticisms: "I bought it for my family's safety." Now there's a new book called High and Mighty: SUVs--The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way" by Keith Bradsher that promises to become the Unsafe at any Speed of the Yuppie generation.

Is there a movement out there seeking to ban these ugly, nasty, polluting, and unsafe things from our streets? Should we start one?
11:02:00 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Does Jaguar Fix the Screen Saver Memory Eater?

I took screensavers out of play in OS X 10.1 when several message boards indicated that might be the source of the only crashes I was seeing. Now Ken Bereskin at least implies maybe it's OK to turn that beautiful feature back on.

I'm going to give it a try.

The built-in screen saver in Jaguar (now called Screen Effects) includes a new default effect called Flurry. Flurry was one of the most popular screen saver downloads for 10.1 so we were thrilled to be able to include it and make it the default in 10.2.

[Ken Bereskin's Radio Weblog]
10:47:32 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Here's Jake's Take

Giants Win Game #5 by 12 Runs: Film at 11.. I took a bunch of pictures at World Series Game 5 tonight at PacBell Park in San Francisco. Since there's no game on Friday, I'll post a little slide-show here so you'll have something to look at until the Giants win Game 6 down in Anaheim.

Yes: The Giants do eat monkeys for breakfast. [Jake's Radio 'Blog]

Can't wait to see the photos, Jake! Thanks for making it a virtual "there".
10:41:25 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

© Copyright 2002 Dan Shafer.

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