During the recent restoration of Pinturicchio‘s Resurrection fresco (1494) on the wall of the Hall of Mysteries in the Borgia Apartment at the Vatican has revealed what may be the first images of Native Americans in European art. Vatican Museums Director Antonio Paolucci believes a detail in the artwork refers to the natives of the American continent that explorer Christopher Columbus encountered when he travelled to the New World for the first time.
In the beginning of GoldenEye, Dame Judi Dench’s M labels Bond “a sexist, misogynistic dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War,” which is the best one line description of Ian Fleming’s character out there. Having watched all the Bond films with the exception of Skyfall, I’m currently making my way through Fleming’s novels and so far Casino Royale (1953) has provided a wealth of opinions on women, none of which are very favorable. For incidence, here’s Bond after Le Chiffre has kidnapped Vesper from the casino:
This was just what he had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man’s work. Why the hell couldn’t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men’s work to the men. And now for this to happen to him, just when the job had come off so beautifully. For Vesper to fall for an old trick like that and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly bitch.
In contrast to the Bond in the movies, Fleming’s creation is repulsed by the idea of sex on the job:
Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around.
When Bond meets Vesper for the first time he notes the “hypocrisy of his attitude to her. As a woman, he wanted to sleep with her, but only when the job had been done.” Over dinner later that night Bond becomes irritated with himself when he allowed the conversation to grow too intimate, confusing “what was only a working relationship.”
We’re now less than two months ago from Google Reader disappearing and its former users being cast off to wander the Internet searching for a replacement. It’s probably safe to say those hoping Google would reverse the decision aren’t going to get their wish granted, which is a good thing in the long run. Luckily new RSS readers have begun to spring up with new and interesting features that hopefully foreshadow lively development and competition in the post-Reader era. Unfortunately none of the alternatives come close to meeting what Google Reader, even in its unsupported state, provides. With less than sixty days left to make a decision about where to go come July 1st, here’s a few alternatives to consider.
Best straight alternative to Google Reader’s web interface
If you interact primarily with Google Reader through the web interface The Old Reader comes closest to replicating the experience. The service was built to bring back Google Reader’s social functions after Google turned them off at the end of 2011. The site design and usage mostly copies Reader so most people will feel right at home. However the service is run by a small team of developers and currently doesn’t have an API for third-party developers. The API is currently a work in process, so at some point you may see developers add support for the service but for the time being you’ll have to be content using the web interface alone. If this one adds an API and gains traction among developers it could become a serious alternative to Reader because in my testing it’s the only service that correctly parsed two problematic feeds.1
Best all-around alternative
For me personally, Feedbin currently sits in the lead for alternatives. The service costs $2/month or $20/year and provides an appealing web interface and has some third-party support with others undoubtedly coming in the future. There are some growing pains for the service—site slowness being the biggest one—but overall Feedbin provides a sustainable alternative. That being said, the abilities to rename feeds, batch editing, and additional keyboard shortcuts (e.g. tag a feed) would be nice additions.
Best promise down the road
There’s minimal and then there’s Feed Wrangler. Currently Feed Wrangler defaults to showing you a stream of unread items with options to view all stories and starred items. There’s no ability to use folders, no decent way to view each individual feed, no keyboard shortcuts, and no autoloading of additional posts when you hit the end of the page. Additionally, the service cuts off the end of some post titles. All that being said, the service’s smart streams, which allow you to create virtual feeds based on a certain search criteria, and filters to automatically mark certain items as read highlight the interesting development future of RSS readers. While the service has a universial iOS app, you’ll probably be best served holding off paying the yearly $18.99 fee until it has time to mature.
One I’d ideally like to use
I’ve owned a license for Fever˚ for quite a while now and it’s attractively designed and has a small amount of support from third-party apps. Unfortunately the app has some issues and the developer has rightfully put development on the backburner for the time being. Fever˚ generally works, so if you don’t mind throwing down thirty dollars and having to put up with issues for an extended period of time I’d at least give it a look (seriously). That being said, Fever˚ is the only app tested that failed to parse both of the problematic feeds and it has a variety of usability annoyances. For one, the app defaults to refreshing feeds when you load it and then refreshing the browser interface when the feed refresh is complete. This is annoying because unless you wait for it to finish refreshing you’re reading will be interrupted, which is even more annoying when you have Fever˚ set to mark items as read when you select them. If you use Fever˚ definitely disable the option in the settings. Additionally hitting “z” will mark unread recently read items, but there’s no (apparent) way to toggle the unread state of a single item. Finally Fever˚’s hot list, which shows heavily discussed links on a temperature scale (relative to average body temperature), works best with a lot of feeds and a long history. On a previous host Fever˚ seemed sluggish when you threw in a lot of feeds and the hot list items can be repetitive and have odd titles.
Ones you may want to check out, but I couldn’t spend five minutes with
Newsblur may have some good features, but I couldn’t get past the web interface (both the standard version and the developmental one), it just looks ugly and cluttered. It’s also the priciest of the lot ($24/year for full access), but that being said it has apps for iOS and Android and provides the ability to extract the article text for excerpted feeds (think Readability). Side note: if you sign up for the service it’ll tell you that free accounts are currently disabled, however it actually creates the account and you can use it simply by hitting back or going to the homepage. Additionally, in quick testing it failed to parse the two problematic feeds.
Feedly has been around for quite a while and provides a slick interface for interacting with your feeds. However it defaults to a magazine view, which is pretty but less helpful for getting through your feeds quickly. You can change the settings to list view, but overall Feedly doesn’t seem to handle list view very well. For one you can go to the next feed or category with a keyboard shortcut, but not the previous one. There’s also no keyboard shortcut to expand/close a category and there doesn’t seem to be a way to always show the feeds list.
Where to from here?
Digg/Betaworks have yet to announce their planned RSS reader and some other alternatives will undoubtedly spring up in the coming weeks. Hopefully none of the options will become a dominate 800 pound gorilla like Reader was, but some will undoubtedly pick up more traction than others. I’ve migrated to Feedbin now that Reeder on the iPhone has support for it while still watching Fever˚ for any future developments.
The Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s Jane Cowan travels to Wounded Knee to look at the potential sale of 40 acres of land by Jim Czywczynski. She leads with “…an ancient culture feels very much alive” which is problematic because, well, it is alive. Additionally she follows others (who probably read the Wikipedia entry) and claims an FBI agent died during the Wounded Knee occupation. The agent suffered a gunshot wound during a firefight but didn’t die, he went on to testify at the joint trial of Dennis Banks and Russell Means the next year.
On April 19th, the University of Tulsa announced the $300,000 installation of new FieldTurf at H.A. Chapman Stadium had been finished. The new turf, which reduces surface temperatures by up to 20 degrees and is only used by two other Division I programs replaced the turf put in five years ago when the stadium was renovated. The University also announced a new 80-foot LED sign would be installed later this summer.
Three days after TU showcased the new turf, a much quieter announcement went out to residents of Fisher South, the all-freshman dorm roughly 350 yards west of the stadium on Eighth Street. Emails from the building’s resident director and University Housing announced that heating and air conditioning would be shut off to the building indefinitely due to leaky pipes:
Physical Plant has notified us that there is a leak in the lines that carry the water for the heating and cooling systems for Fisher South. Due to this emergency issue, Physical Plant has decided they need to cut the heat and A/C to the building for an indefinite time. Housing will be in constant contact with Physical Plant during this time and will forward on any information we will receive. While the heating and cooling systems will not be working, you still will receive hot and cold water to the building.
Luckily temperatures were mostly pleasant last week and outside of mid- to upper-80s today and the next two days, temperatures look relatively comfortable for the foreseeable future. Which is a good thing given Monday is the last day of classes and finals start on Thursday.
It’d be interesting to know how old the heating/AC infrastructure is on campus, but it’s undoubtedly much older than the recently replaced stadium turf. Regardless, as SB Nation highlighted in a recent story on Spelman College’s decision to leave the NCAA, improvements to athletic facilities directly benefit a very small number of students.
John McCain—along with best friend Lindsey Graham and fellow Republicans Kelly Ayotte, and Peter King—called for the president to declare Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother in the Boston Bombings, an enemy combatant. The group released a joint statement which read, in part:
“The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans. The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent.”
While the use of the term “enemy combatant” is a post-9/11 development, I thought it’d be interesting to see what McCain had to say in the wake of Oklahoma City Bombing, which occurred eighteen years ago yesterday and killed 165 more people than the attacks in Boston.
For those hoping for a quote where McCain defends McVeigh’s or Nichol’s right to an attorney or to be made aware of their rights, I couldn’t find any. But John McCain did have some stuff to say, primarly relating to his demand for a sixth investigation into siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Here’s McCain on the April 28, 1995 edition of CNN’s Crossfire:
JUAN WILLIAMS: Thank you, John.
Senator McCain, you wrote a letter to Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in which you said that you believe that Waco was an ill-conceived action by the government. It was one that was- really fanned the flame of discontent on the part of the American people. This kind of language at this time- doesn’t it lend support to the terrorists who did that awful bombing in Oklahoma City?
Sen. JOHN McCAIN, (R-AZ): Juan, what I said was that there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the situation, and as John just said, there’s been this kind of a cult arise about it and a lot of allegations that, frankly, have not been resolved. Now I’m aware that there have been numerous investigations, and you are, too, but I liken a little bit- it a little bit to the POW/MIA issue. As you remember, there was theories of massive conspiracies to keep hundreds of Americans alive- who were alive in Southwest Asia hidden and cover-ups and all that, and we had hearings led by Senator John Kerry on the POW/MIA Committee. I’m not even saying we need those kinds of full-blown hearings, but when there is so much mythology and rumor and innuendo, and I have no idea, frankly- I’ve read the reports, but I have no idea exactly what the facts are, and-
JUAN WILLIAMS: But, Senator-
Sen. JOHN McCAIN: I think a hearing is called for, Juan, but-
JUAN WILLIAMS: But, Senator-
Sen. JOHN McCAIN: -I’m not trying to fan the flames. I’m trying to put those flames down. Let me-1
There’s a lot more of that in both the interview and the database. Other than that McCain has little to say on the subject, but clearly he wasn’t concerned with limiting the rights of an American citizen who carried out the deadliest act of terrorism in US history up to that point.2
John McCain, interview by Juan Williams and John Sununu, Crossfire, CNN, April 28, 1995, in LexisNexis Academic, http://lexisnexis.com (accessed April 20, 2013).↩
He testified a year later in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose a provision in the 1996 defense funding bill that would have allowed the Department of Defense to supply assistance to events like the Olympics on the grounds the provision was illegal (under the Posse Comitatus Act), a waste of money (claiming it was a subsidy to the Olympics group), and harmful to small businesses (who would lose bus driving contracts to the miliary), and harmful to the athletes (military personnel weren’t professionals) and the military (diverted attention). He cited Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center bombing to argue we needed security, just not the army.↩
If you zoom in you’ll notice there’s a baseball stadium between Brady and Archer from Cincinnati to Detroit, a block west of the current ONEOk Field. The drawing could be a reference to Association Park, which was located between Archer and First from Elgin to Cincinnati according to a timeline of Tulsa’s baseball stadiums. Association park, however, closed in 1917.
Regardless of accuracy, the map provides a nice reminder of how much Tulsa has grown (or sprawled) in the last hundred years. Even by 1926, Tulsans considered the current fairgrounds, then a cow pasture, “so far out in the country.”
We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity
There’s been quite a few people1 posting about how the Boston Globe announced a controlled explosions before the two bomb blasts at the end of today’s Boston Marathon and pointing to the events as a clear “false flag operation.” Those who are doing so are completely and factually false, unfortunately the fog surrounding events like this and the mindset of conspiracy theorists means this idea will probably live on for years to come.
Here’s the first tweet from the Boston Globe announcing reports of explosions at the marathon’s finish line:
As the timestamp indicates, the tweet came at 11:57AM Pacific Daylight Time, or 2:57PM Eastern Daylight Time, shortly after the bombs went off. Now here’s the tweet that will fuel conspiracies:
It came at 12:53PM PDT (3:53EDT), nearly an hour after the first reports. The unfortunate thing about Twitter’s timestamps is that they don’t include a timezone and seeing as how they default to Pacific time—either when you’re not signed in or haven’t set the timezone in your account settings—it’s easy for someone to use the second tweet and note the 12:53PM but not codify it’s relation to the first tweet or time zone differences.
Feel free to use this, or the more direct version, to tell conspiracy theorists to kindly shut up.
Including a former third-party presidential candidate and six term congresswoman who I won’t bother giving any more unwarranted publicity to.↩
Remember Robert Johnson? He wrote that really bad article about the Wind River reservation. Remember the one where he talked about the Sand Creek Massacre and got the facts wrong? The one where he used a picture of the Alberta tar sands as a stand-in for Wind River with a “you get the picture” caption? That guy. Well he’s back.
Well, actually he returned at the end of March and I missed the news about his “glossy travel guide” to Gitmo:
But none of that is a problem for Robert Johnson. He recently took a trip to Guantánamo – approved and arranged by the US military. He saw parts of the camp – the parts the US military showed him and wanted him to see. He spoke with camp officials and guards, but not any detainees. From that extremely selective picture, he pronounces: “When I visited Guantánamo earlier this month, it was hard not to see things from the military’s point of view.” He further decrees that “the overriding philosophy on base these days is to treat the detainees really well.” One by one, he declares each detainee grievance to be invalid – based exclusively on what camp officials told him and showed him. Shiny pictures with his article are included, accompanied by glib and playful captions such as “Here’s what Guantánamo detainees could be eating” underneath a photo showing food in styrofoam containers, and “Detainees get to play sports too (be careful the ball doesn’t get caught in the barbed wire)” under a photo of a soccer ball on top of a fence.