Posted at 10:32 AM on April 20, 2009
by Than Tibbetts
Watch this incredible audio slideshow, and ask yourself, "Can I say this?"
It stops your motivation for a little... (but) we continue to do what we need to do, 'cause this is our job. We love doing what we do.
That soldier had just lost one of his comrades to an improvised explosive device.
My TPS reports feel a little lighter this morning.
Posted at 11:36 AM on April 20, 2009
by Than Tibbetts
The Obama administration's announcement of $8 billion for high-speed rail development around the country certainly made a splash, but it's not going to put many new trains on new tracks in the near-term. It's hard enough to build a baseball stadium for less than a billion dollars these days.
Here, we're talking about spreading $8 billion around to 10 rail corridors across the country, plus an additional $1 billion a year for 5 years.
While we can admire the rail-centric Europeans or the sleek bullet trains of Japan, is it worth trying to shift the primary mode of transportation for a significant number of Americans?
If you're a frequent traveler to Chicago, what's the threshold at which you'll consider switching from plane to train? A 6-hour trip? 4 hours?
Update: In the comments, Tyler notes that the point of this all is that it's high-speed rail.
However, the U.S. actually has different standards for what qualifies as high-speed rail than the European Union, for example. The EU says it's a top speed of 125 mph or more, while 90 mph will earn you the status of "Emerging High-Speed Rail" in the U.S. — or, for the politically expedient, "high-speed rail".
For the interested, the Federal Railroad Administration's high-speed rail strategic plan (pdf) is worth a read.(9 Comments)
This year's Pulitzer Prizes were just announced. Here's the bulletin from the AP:
The New York Times took five Pulitzers on Monday, including one for breaking the call-girl scandal that destroyed Gov. Eliot Spitzer's political career.
And the Detroit Free Press won for local reporting for obtaining a trove of sexually explicit text messages that brought down the city's mayor.
Is this all that's left of top-notch journalism? Surely there's more to great reporting than politicians getting their jollies...
(Yes, I realize Kwame Kilpatrick's sexting adventures came in the context of a felony investigation.)
Update: More uplifting copy from the AP's story...
No Pulitzers were awarded for coverage of the biggest financial crisis since the Depression. And despite a rule change that allowed online-only news organizations to compete for Pulitzers for the first time, none of them won any prizes.(2 Comments)
The awards were announced after one of the most depressing years the newspaper industry has ever seen, with layoffs, bankruptcies and closings brought on by the recession and an exodus of readers and advertisers to the Internet.
Speaking of the New York Times and this morning's post, this really irked me in the comments section of the Afghanistan story:
Of the nearly 200 comments NYTimes.com readers left on a very poignant and important story, an editor assigns the vaunted "Editors' Selection" badge to a comment boo-hooing the decline of the newspaper industry.
I wonder if that comment will make its way into the dead-tree version of the Times?
(Nevermind the fact that the unknown editor works for the Times' online crew...)
My sense is that this sense of (impending) loss is all but lost on the large contingent of news consumers who have already given up on newspapers in their paper form.
Pity is not a business model.4 Comments)
Posted at 5:36 PM on April 20, 2009
by Julia Schrenkler
Can exposure to our fears, via the Internet, help us conquer them?
This video was passed to me with the note, "I will give you five bucks if you can watch this without your palms sweating." Sorry folks, that offer was only good for me, and needless to say the sendee won't have to pay up. It wasn't quite fear, though, something more like straight-up adrenaline that caused my reaction. See for yourself:
While this is an amazing feat, the revealing story is in the reactions. The comments on the video range from admiration to astonishment with some good old, "That is so terrifying!!!" remarks thrown in for balance. This got me thinking about how we address our own fears, and wondering if people attempt to do this online.
According to an article from Backpacker Magazine, we can acquire skills to face our fears in the virtual world, "'The gold standard for treatment is in vivo exposure therapy,' Anderson says, but virtual exposure through computer simulations can be a good alternative when real-life contact is too difficult or expensive, such as in a fear of flying."
But can - and do - we actually undertake this? Do you challenge yourself to overcome fears by watching videos?
h/t for the video, Michael Wells(6 Comments)