Category Archives: Various and Sundry

The Internet’s Altar of Umbrage

I’m working on some other posts related to fandom. One is a follow-up in the Crisis of Infinite Star Treks series (where I talk about fan involvement with Star Trek throughout, but specifically go into more here and here.) I’m also working on a longer piece about getting one’s own creative work out there and developing fans oneself.

One struggle I’ve had of late has been how much the Internet thrives on hate and outrage. I don’t just mean comments at the bottoms of articles which, by and large, are probably better left unread. I don’t even mean how social media discussion threads can go horribly hateful, though that’s certainly something to always be wary. I’m thinking more along the lines of every fun Internet series like Honest Trailers, there’s a more bile-infested series along the lines “Everything wrong with [Movie]” or “Why [Movie] Really Sucks” or so on. Pair that with all the ‘clickbaity’ article headlines of the “[Thing] will complete shock you” variety and, well, guess why some of those social media threads devolve?

I realize this is neither a new nor uniquely groundbreaking observation, but it’s been on my mind given the pieces I’ve been working on, with two articles particularly making me think about the course of events.

Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic back in January about how the Internet has eroded the ability for people to, well, essentially, curate their identity in different places. You still can, but the unification of self everywhere on every channel is problematic. The fact that this erosion is fueled by outrage does not help matters.

The other factor is how corporations are adopting this particular Internet flavor of umbrage as a standard advertising tactic, as Luke Winkie wrote today in Vox.

I guess I just don’t want anyone to feed the trolls even if they think they know how to use the trolls for their own ends. Don’t we have countless cautionary tales about how well that sort of thing turns out?

Time, Autonomy, and Value Found in Work

I recently read an article by Kara Baskin about a 2016 workplace study. The professors (from MIT and the University of Minnesota) were experimenting with elements of the oft-invoked, but not always defined “work-life balance.”

The link above is to the article, not the study itself and is worth the quick read, even if the conclusions don’t necessarily come as a shocker. For example, having more control over one’s schedule including to be able to accommodate the ups and downs of everyday life is a positive for workers. Being aware of the number of meetings a worker had also came into focus.

In many cases, this reminded me of Drive by Daniel Pink and Finding Flow, the less academic summation of some of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research. People like levels of autonomy and to develop mastery over much of what they do.

I don’t begrudge the study going over familiar ground, however. Given the propensity for organizations to ‘maximize synergistic innovations’ or opaque initiatives, it’s nice to add to the body of work that pushes them to think of their people.

The Name is Bond. Bond Villain

I respect the ranking that Mr. Jacob Hall has done in ranking every Bond villain.

Think Local, Legislate Local

Perhaps it’s the fact that we had primary elections in my county yesterday… or that I got to know how much local politics mattered when covering city council meetings in college, but this article from the Guardian made me hopeful that the solution to a lot of things is some people standing up to get things done.

In Space, No One Can Hear You…

Hopefully you’re not having a crappy Monday, but if you give a crap or, rather, need to crap, Daniel from Spacedock understands.

Also, why YT-1300 freighter designers, WHY?!? Have you no concept of personal space?

Clash of the Streaming Titans, Revisited

Just about a year ago, I was musing about the future of streaming TV –which seems to pretty much be “the future of TV”– and well…

Things have gotten a lot more complicated.

Content to be the Content Gorilla, Disney is poised to unleash its streaming juggernaut this Fall, basically giving us the Vault in on-demand form. All those lovely Disney properties on Netflix, of which there are many, will be gone too soon.

Meanwhile, AT&T, still digesting its acquisition of Time Warner, is planning its own streaming service. And it too is planning to pull its goodies from Netflix and elsewhere.

Something tells me things will get messy.

The Uncomfortable Value of Networks in Creative Pursuits

Someone posted an article by Casey Lesser on Artsy about one of those things we creative folks already knew.

Having a network is important.

In this case, some MOMA researchers looked at artists in the 20th century, their personal networks of colleagues, and their work to do analysis on how much “who you know” helped.

How to network is worth its own series of posts, but reading some of the observations was interesting… and there’s also an interactive map that you can play around with.

Having just been at Escape Velocity last week, I was reminded how meeting complete strangers can be energizing: knowing what excites them can in itself spark creativity. And then there’s articles like this that remind one we can’t be islands surrounded by vacuum. We need to be part of an ecosystem, durn it!

TV Staying and Going – 2019 Edition

For those of you wondering what’s staying and going across the various networks, Vox has its usual list.

If you’re like me, there’s going to be at least one “oh, that’s too bad” and one “really, that’s still on?”

I should make Bingo cards one year.

Where I’ll Be: Escape Velocity 2019

Wow, has it really been over a month since I’ve posted anything?

Okay, well, I can’t go into everywhere that I’ve been, but I can tell you where I will be this weekend: Escape Velocity!

Escape Velocity 2019 Promo from Museum of Science Fiction on Vimeo.

I’ll be part of two panels and one performance….

Friday @ 8:20pm: Alien: 40 Years of Fright

I get to chat with Charles de Lauzirika all about Alien and such.

Saturday @ 3:30pm: Nostromo 2: Electric Alien Boogaloo

If you don’t know about Jabberwocky Audio Theater‘s live performance lovingly sending up Alien and Buck Rogers, you clearly haven’t been to our website.

But even if you didn’t know until now, join us as we give you more sci-fi references than a Cyberman can shake a Dalek plunger at.

Sunday @ 12:15pm: So You Want to Make a Film? A legally-sound producer’s guide

For those of you who aren’t adverse to making lists and know that producing a film means you need to know what Inland Marine insurance is, this is the nitty-gritty (albeit lightning-paced) panel for you as we go through the unglamorous aspects of filmmaking.

Isaac Asimov Predicts the Distant Future of 2019

Back in 1983, prolific writer Isaac Asimov was asked to imagine what the world would be like well into the 21st Century: 2019 to be precise.

Now, considering that much of his prolific writing was science fiction, it’s well worth reading. Remember, this is the guy who wrote the Foundation series which had the field of “psychohistory” that was able to predict future trends. I found his predictions to be prescient in some aspects and hopeful and others. I suppose someone might find that in and of itself unremarkable, but just as with much of Asimov’s fiction, the fun part comes from how he analyzes how society fashions itself.