Journalists: Remember your humanity. Remember that, when someone’s life has absolutely been turned upside down, one piece of normalcy makes a difference.
And put the microphone down and help the lady.
This is remarkable in that random way that you find lot of the things that happen during and after a cataclysmic event. What a story. And the reporter is … very poor. “Are you able to comprehend yet what happened here?”
The woman is looking over the wreckage of her life. Yes, she has a good grasp on things. Based on the reporter’s speechlessness and poor questions I’m guessing she was either in shock herself or well out of her depth. Even still.
I do like that you can clearly hear that lady say to the journalist “Help me.” We all need to hear that now and again.
Sometimes we should reconsider what being a part of the story is. (Stations write promos about this sort of thing after all, “Our community” and all that.) I don’t have a problem with the position of remove, but not every circumstance warrants it. The dog seemed to be fine in the longer video, for example.
But what if that was her grandchild’s arm reaching out?
It is a tricky thing.
Saw Star Trek: Into Benedict Cumberbatch’s World today:
He’s way too good for this film, and the film is pretty good.
It was a nice summer blockbuster type movie. I’m not convinced these are really Trek films — but that is OK, too. I don’t think you could really make a successful movie — or traditional Trek TV — these days.
My biggest things might be more about me than the movies, but the Kirk swagger now seems more of an impetuous teenager than the devil-may-care, I’m-out-on-the-frontier-making-this-up-as-I-go mentality of the old days. Maybe it is just that I watched the old stuff as a child and saw the Wild West Roddenberry was going after whereas now you see all these layers of bureaucracy because that’s what the world is. Also, the 21st century modern conceits sneaking in as futuristic things I’d rather forego for the bygone 1960s bravado. “You were in a firefight? You need a checkup!” Can you imagine Deforest Kelly saying that to William Shatner? But that’s also what the world is, and it will become, no doubt, more so over time.
Karl Urban is terrific, though. And Simon Pegg has his moments. Zachary Quinto would take over Spock if they’d leave Leonard Nimoy out of it — falling back to him thing is just annoying. Every now and then it seems like Chris Pine is getting the Kirk thing, but I think that he’s just going to kind of stay as he is. Which is fine, these movies are movies for movie fans, not just Trek fans. That’s great. Why would you want to try to reproduce Shatner, anyway?
You know what is most interesting about the entire thing is that comic book fans will accept relaunch after relaunch after relaunch, but Trek fans find this to be a non-starter, hence the alt-universe thing. But, if you think about, if you read comics you’re probably watching Trek. So why will people accept some reboots and not in other universes? Isn’t that interesting?
I think it is because that has happened in the comics for forever, but these characters on screens are more real and perhaps more beloved, at least in a parasocial interaction sense. So you can’t just flip this and start over. Not in Trek. Perhaps in Trek the least of anything. What a weird and wonderful thing.
Biggest problem in the movie? They still aren’t making the ship a character. That’s what is missing. They almost did, but not quite, not really.
One of the more knowledgable people in our section — as opposed to the guy last night that called every ground ball a “can of corn” and his date who thought the umpires should reverse their hand signals for out and safe — said this evening that whomever scored a run would win. And he was right.
Game two of the last series of the season was a fine one. Auburn put Mike O’Neal on the mound. Check out this delivery:
Have you ever seen a pitcher get that low to the ground with an overhand delivery? I’ve seen submariners with scrapped up knuckles, but this is a different thing. That’s long been O’Neal’s style, though, and I’m sure that’s what stymied Florida through nine innings last weekend in the most heart-breaking loss of the season.
But O’Neal shook it off, took the ball and delivered again. Seriously, though, the guy is down if he played college football:
O’Neal allowed four hits and one run through seven innings and 100 pitches. The junior has had some hard luck lately, with a record now sitting at 8-4, but he’s got a great command of the mound.
Tonight he just happened to be facing the guy who is perhaps a first-round pitcher:
Seriously, between Arkansas’ Ryne Stanek and two LSU pitchers, we’ve watched a major league pitching corps this year. Stanek scattered six hits and four walks in seven and two-thirds innings and was never not in control of the game. Just a rock steady performance as Arkansas defeated Auburn 1-0. The guy in our section was right.
Here are the highlights, including a 98 mile per hour fastball from Stanek. He was throwing into the mid-90s in the sixth inning:
Auburn did, by virtue of other teams’ play, manage to secure their 10th seed in next week’s SEC baseball tournament. Now they have to go out and beat Arkansas tomorrow to end the season on a high note.
Things to read and watch: This video is described as “A crowd-funded video trailer boosting America’s future in space” which is in the trailer package of the new Star Trek movie. It was shot in Huntsville, which is reason enough to watch it I guess. I share it because it looks pretty awesome, and someone booked Optimus Prime to do the v/o.
Murder rates? Early data suggests way down. How far down? Century-record lows. There’s an interesting hypothesis:
Analytically speaking, murder is an especially interesting crime because we have pretty good homicide statistics going all the way back to 1900. Most other crimes have only been tracked since about 1960. And if you look at the murder rate in the chart below (the red line), you see that it follows an odd double-hump pattern: rising in the first third of the century, reaching a peak around 1930; then declining until about 1960; then rising again, reaching a second peak around 1990. It’s been dropping ever since then.
This is the exact same pattern we see in lead ingestion among small children, offset by 21 years (the black line). Lead exposure rises in the late 1800s, during the heyday of lead paint, reaching a peak around 1910; then declines through World War II; and then begins rising again during our postwar love affair with big cars that burned high-octane leaded gasoline. Lead finally enters its final decline in the mid-70s when we begin the switch to unleaded gasoline.
This is powerful evidence in favor of the theory that lead exposure in childhood produces higher rates of violent crime in adulthood.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. …
If you’ve been glossing over the IRS hearings, that’s a good place to start.
Meanwhile, also in Washington, D.C. …
My second-favorite part of that Eric Holder press conference, after when he ignored a reporter’s question of about if the attorney general can see how the media “would find this troubling” was that claim about national security. That, with the actual timeline in place, stood up to scrutiny for several full minutes:
(I)t seems fairly clear that the claim that this leak was among the most damaging in American history simply doesn’t add up. If that’s the case, then why would the CIA have told the AP that the national security concerns it had previously expressed were “no longer an issue?”
All of this took about six seconds to become political. There was probably never a time when we seized on things purely in the pursuit of good governance, but I wish that time were now.
Finally, I’ve probably talked about helmets and bicycle crashes enough here in the past year. The farther removed from all of the events of last summer the more convinced I am about how lucky I was, head trauma-wise, and how bad that hospital was, head trauma-wise. (Here’s my helmet after the crash. The sum total of my head exam was telling a triage nurse I was cognitively fine. That’s it. Frightening. I have some generally spotty recollections of things between the trauma and the surgery and the recovery. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to hear about things I don’t remember, or read things I have no recollection of writing after the fact. And my old helmet, by definition, more or less completely did its job.) Anyway, this is one more story worth reading, and probably Bicycling’s best piece in some time:
If you crash and hit your head, there are two types of impacts. One is known as linear acceleration. That’s the impact of skull meeting pavement. Today’s helmets do an excellent job of preventing catastrophic injury and death by attenuating that blow.
The second type is known as rotational acceleration. This is where things get tricky. Even if the skull isn’t damaged, it still stops short. That causes the brain to rotate—the technical term is inertial spin—which creates shear strain. Imagine a plate of fruit gelatin being jarred so hard that little cuts open throughout the jiggly mass. That strain can damage the axons that carry information between neurons.
There are other factors involved, but research has consistently pointed to rotational acceleration as the biggest single factor in a concussion’s severity. The CPSC helmet benchmark is based solely on linear acceleration. There’s never been a standards test, required or voluntary, for rotational acceleration.
A report last year by the International Olympic Committee World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport summed up the state of the art in a sentence: “Little has changed in helmet-safety design during the past 30 years.”
There may never be an improved government standard for bicycle helmets. Experts may never come to a consensus on a standard for testing the forces most closely associated with concussions. But one test can be administered now: the market test. After all, new technology costs more. “Adding that upcharge to a $50 helmet,” Scott Sports designer John Thompson told me, “is a harder sell.”
This is the bike-helmet industry’s air-bag moment. The new rotation-dampening systems may not be perfect, but they are the biggest step forward in decades. The choices cyclists make with their money matter. You can pretend to protect your brain, or you can spend more money and get closer to actually doing it.
The science isn’t settled by a longshot, the industry is filled with legal frights and there are all kind of marketing concerns. But there’s also plenty to consider in that full piece, which is worth a cyclist’s time.
Sunny. No shade. And 84 degrees in the prime of the day. Spring has arrived. I went for a ride in it.
And this is the wall I hid behind about three-quarters of the way through my ride. A banana, a bit of water, a deep breath.
My bike is dirty.
It was good to get outside. I spent time today grading and coordinating student-journalists who were covering the second student death in the last two weeks.
You hate that all of this happened — another young person taken far too soon — but at the same time I can’t help but be proud of my particular students. They did a fine job in challenging circumstances. This time our paper is on hiatus for the summer, our new editor is still building his new staff and the students had just started taking finals.
Samford student Caroline Neisler died this morning. The university held a memorial service this evening. Our student-reporters got a couple of quotes, some art and wrote a story, all within a few hours, and under finals pressure.
I didn’t know Caroline, but having read the things her friends are writing about her she seemed like a fine young lady:
So I downloaded Vine. I haven’t done anything with it yet. I’m waiting to see something amazing and use it one time, and then walk away. (At some point you have plenty of ways to capture atmosphere, after all.)
Like other newsrooms, KSDK uses Vine to show the personalities and the processes behind the curtain, but Anselm says the tool is also useful for finding stories.
She suggests searching local hashtags, like #STL in her area, and #breaking. “A lot of people think it’s a really lighthearted, fun thing, but you can get serious content from it,” Anselm says.
There is a video, which is useful. Just like Vine, it is 9:13 long.
The next video is more entertaining. Someone mentioned the Golden Trailer Awards earlier this semester. Those are the awards given for best movie trailers. The Golden Trailers began in 1999. That’s because in 1989 they saw the best trailer ever, recovered for a decade and then started judging every other inferior product.
This being the best one ever:
This movie, Captain Phillips, is coming out in October:
You might remember the circumstance behind it in 2009.
This part better be in the story. They downplay it here, but this an impressive series of shots by the SEALs:
Zachary is a fourth grader at a large New York City public elementary school. Each day he reads the Department of Education lunch menu online to see what is being served. The menu describes delicious and nutritious cuisine that reads as if it came from the finest restaurants. However, when Zachary gets to school, he finds a very different reality. Armed with a concealed video camera and a healthy dose of rebellious courage, Zachary embarks on a six month covert mission to collect video footage of his lunch and expose the truth about the City’s school food service program.
A spokeswoman for the Education Department, Marge Feinberg, said in an e-mail that vegetables and fruit were served daily and she suggested that Zachary must have chosen not to take the vegetables served in his cafeteria.
“It would not be the first time a youngster would find a way to get out of eating vegetables,” she wrote. Zachary responded that he always took every item he was offered.
On Monday, Zachary thought he was in trouble again when he was sent to the principal’s office and found two men in black suits waiting for him.
They turned out to be representatives from the Education Department’s Office of School Food, he said, who complimented him on his movie, asked for feedback on some new menu choices, and took him on a tour of the cafeteria kitchen.
Then he sat down for lunch with the officials. The adults ate the cafeteria lunch of chicken nuggets, carrots and salad.
Zachary had pork and vegetable dumplings – brought from home.
Went running tonight. We realized that the trail near our home is measured out perfectly, so I can say that, this evening, I shuffled along a 5K, here:
It is blurry because, when my feet are pounding and I have no breath and the blood is flowing everything sort of looks that way. But at least there was honeysuckle:
So there we were this evening beside the green leaves, the light green weeds, over the brown runoff dirt and through the honeysuckle, running and walking and shuffling five kilometers. I do not know what is happening.
(This phrase is now protected as winded-intellectual property. It will probably be used quite often.)
(So is the expression “winded-intellectual property.”)
Every year, at the end of the year, I buy dinner for the people who work on The Samford Crimson. There is a giant platter of Roly Poly.
That night was tonight. We commemorated it with a Twitter photograph:
Not everyone is there, of course, but there is a fair amount of talent sitting at that table, and a good bit of potential beyond that, too.
Later in the evening, we’d worked our way down to the “I-can’t-believe-it-is-over” end. The outgoing editor and the incoming editor, putting this last paper to bed:
Katie Willis, who aspires to run her own photography business, handed the reigns to Zach Brown, who draws philosophical stick figures for fun. We asked Katie to consider running the paper last year on the basis of her success at everything and a year’s experience as the editor of the literary arts magazine on campus. She is an incredible talent and she proved it again this year.
She’s worked for me in some way or another all four of her years on campus. I’d like to find a way to prevent her from graduating, just so she has to stick around for one more.
Zach, meanwhile, is someone I met in perhaps his second semester in school. I gave him advice on his website and watched him handle everything in the class with ease. He’s a thinker, sharp guy. He’s been the opinions editor for the last three semesters and one of those people who, you can tell, is probably going to do big things. I expect him to start doing those big things next fall with the paper.
We get some fantastic students in our program. At the picnic last week the faculty sat and observed many of the seniors, who’d naturally circulated to the same tables. We were impressed by the collection of their talent. The hardest working of them all come through the Crimson and spend time working over InDesign and getting their hands dirty with newsprint. And even when the seniors move on, there is always another group of promising students who eagerly jump in as freshmen and sophomores. Would that they all did, but I’m proud and grateful for all those that do.
And so at the end of the night, right around midnight, they sent the final copy to the publisher. The last speeches, the last jokes. Everything was commemorated with Vine, which is how things must be done these days. Programs were closed. Lights were turned off. Doors were shut.
New ones are opening.
And then my phone rang: “My car won’t start. Can you help me?”
Sure. Of course.
If there’s anything better I haven’t found it, and only because I’m not looking.