Thursday, February 23, 2017

Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers Is Out

I will be using parts of this book next semester for my incoming freshman comp students.

Back before the election I was working on a book on the problems of living in “the stream” — this endless flow of stuff we read, retweet, and react to. My argument in that still unfinished work was that while the stream is useful and exciting it also warps our sense of reality in unhelpful ways. Forced to decide within seconds to retweet an inflammatory tweet or share a headline on Facebook we tend to make bad decisions that pollute the information environment and reduce the depth and complexity of our thought. The 2016 primary elections in the U.S. were going to be Exhibit A of this trend, with a nod toward the acceleration of these trends in the 2016 general election.

It was going to be a condemnation of the attention economy we’ve developed and its whole rotten ad-driven substrate, followed by a plea to return to some older visions of the web.

After the general election I felt both vindicated and weirdly distant. As I continued to work on the book it occurred to me that what the world needed, much more than a scholarly book or extended philippic, was a textbook or field guide that explained how to survive in this world of viral information flows and social media firehoses.

So in November I switched gears and began to write a textbook for web literacy that focused on the question of what web literacy for stream culture looked like. What I found is that it had to be quick and tactical. Users are presented with hundreds of headlines and statements a day through social media, and asked to retweet or share that information with little or no background. Students need skills that help them to get closer to the truth in betwen the few minutes between when they see something and when they decide to share it. Conversations with researcher Sam Wineburg confirmed this need for quick and frugal fact-checking basics.

So I wrote this book: Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers. It’s still rough and unfinished in places, but it’s in a shape that’s suitable for classroom use.

I don’t mean it to replace what we do with critical thinking and web efforts around digital identity, making, and collaboration. But I think it fills a gap that I’m not seeing other resources address. And it’s a real important gap.

Here are some other formats:

MOBI (Kindle)
PressBooks XML

Comments and suggested edits are welcome, but for maximum efficiency I’d ask you communicate comments about specific pages or passages using on the web version of the book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

224 Books About Music in David Byrne’s Personal Library

David Byrne promotes libraries in all their physical presence. We need them now more than ever. I really love this Open Culture article and it's amazing list of Byrne's own library. Included is a link to a BrainPickings article that includes World Cat links to nearby libraries where you can find the books. I am planning on getting out my Interlibrary Loan card and going wild. (One of the few remaining perks of my university job is free interlibrary loan requests.) Wheeee! Ima gonna get George Prochnik's "In pursuit of silence : listening for meaning in a world of noise" first. Can't wait.

Image by LivePict, via Wikimedia Commons

The meaning of the word “library” has never been more ambiguous. When we can virtually carry library-sized collections of images, music, literature and reference data in our pockets, what are physical libraries but museums of a sort? Of course, from the point of view of librarians especially, this isn’t true in the least. Libraries are fortresses of free speech, public education, and “information literacy” at the community level. Rather than obsolete or secondary, they may be more necessary than ever.

On a larger view both of these things are true. For millions of people, physical libraries have become secondary and will remain so, but they also remain community resources of paramount importance. As Ted Mills posted here in the summer of 2015, Talking Heads frontman, “polymath and all-around swell person David Byrne” affirmed that latter status of the physical library when he leant out 250 books on music from his personal library to themselves be leant out at a library hosted by the 22nd annual Meltdown Festival and London’s Poetry Library.

“I love a library,” wrote Byre in his own Guardian essay announcing the project.

I grew up in suburban Baltimore and the suburbs were not a particularly cosmopolitan place. We were desperate to know what was going on in the cool places, and, given some suggestions and direction, the library was one place where that wider exciting world became available. In my little town, the library also had vinyl that one could check out and I discovered avant-garde composers such as Xenakis and Messiaen, folk music from various parts of the world and even some pop records that weren’t getting much radio play in Baltimore. It was truly a formative place.

Having grown up in the DC suburbs in the years before the internet, I can relate, and would add the importance of local music stores and affordable all-age venues. But Byrne has never stayed tied to the media of his youth. During his several decades as a cultural critic and arts educator, he has made ecumenical use of mundane new technologies to interrogate the status of other older forms. One recent project, for example, consisted of a 96-page book and 20-minute DVD about his experiments in PowerPoint art. One of the questions raised by the project, writes Veronique Vienne, is whether the book is “an antiquated cultural artifact” in an age of hypervisualization.

Clearly for Byrne himself, the answer is no, and that answer is closely connected to the question of commodification verses open access, whether through libraries or free online archives. “The idea of reading books for free,” he writes, “didn’t kill the publishing business, on the contrary, it created nations of literate and passionate readers. Shared interests and the impulse to create.” Byrne’s library reflects a lifetime of shared interests and creative inspiration. He himself has spent his life writing about music in spite of the clever maxim that such a venture is like “dancing about architecture.” It is, he writes, “stimulating and inspiring nonetheless.”

In the spirit of sharing information and championing libraries, Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova published a list of nearly all of the titles in Byrne’s lending library, with links to public library editions near you through WorldCat. Find the full list below, courtesy of David Byrne’s site, and see Brain Picking’s list and short essay here.

1. 40 Watts from Nowhere: A Journey into Pirate Radioby Sue Carpenter
2. A divina comedia dos Mutantes by Carlos Calado
3. A Photographic Record: 1969–1980 by Mick Rock
4. A Thelonious Monk: Study Album by Lionel Grigson
5. A Whole Room for Music: A Short Guide to the Balfour Building Music Makers’ Gallery by Helene La Rue
6. Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life by Brandon Labelle
7. Acoustics for Radio and Television Studios by Christopher Gilford
8. Africa Dances by Geoffrey Gorer
9. African Music: A People’s Art by Francis Bebey
10. African Rhythm and African Sensibility by John Miller Chernoff
11. Afro-American Folk Songs by H.E. Krehbiel
12. AfroPop! An Illustrated Guide to Contemporary African Music by Sean Barlow & Banning Eyre
13. All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman
14. Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafè by Miguel Algarin & Bob Holman
15. An Illustrated Treasury of Songs by National Gallery of Art
16. And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey by Studs Terkel
17. Arranged Marriage by Wallace Berman & Robert Watts
18. Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music by Cristoph Cox & Daniel Warner
19. Austin City Limits: 35 Years in Photographs by Scott Newton & Terry Lickona
20. Bachata: A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music by Deborah Pacini Hernandez
21. Bandalism: The Rock Group Survival Guide by Julian Ridgway
22. Beats of the Heart: Popular Music of the World by Jeremy Marre & Hannah Charlton
23. Best Music Writing 2001 by Nick Hornby & Ben Schafer
24. Best Music Writing 2002 by Jonathan Lethem & Paul Bresnick
25. Best Music Writing 2003 by Matt Groening & Paul Bresnick
26. Best Music Writing 2006 by Mary Gaitskill & Daphne Carr
27. Best Music Writing 2007 by Robert Christgau & Daphne Carr
28. Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne
29. Black Music of Two Worlds by John Storm Roberts
30. Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific by Heidi Carolyn Feidman
31. Blues Guitar: The Men Who Made the Music by Jas Obrecht
32. Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music that Seduced the World by Ruy Castro
33. Botsford Collection of Folk Songs Volume 1 by Florence Hudson Botsford
34. Botsford Collection of Folk Songs Volume 2 by Florence Hudson Botsford
35. Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie
36. Bourbon Street Black: The New Orleans Black Jazzman byJack V Buerkle & Danny Barker
37. Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship by Idelber Avelar & Christopher Dunn
38. Brutality Garden: Tropicalla and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture by Christopher Dunn
39. Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg
40. But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz by Geoff Dyer
41. Cancioneiro Vinicius De Moraes by Orfeu
42. Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music by Mark Katz
43. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White
44. Chambers by Alvin Lucier & Douglas Simon
45. Chinaberry Sidewalks: A Memoir by Rodney Crowell
46. Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and the Advent of Punk by Deborah Harry, Glenn O’Brien & Shepard Fairey
47. Clandestino: In Search of Manu Chao by Peter Culshaw
48. Clothes Music Boys by Viv Albertine
49. Cocinando! Fifty Years of Latin Cover Art by Pablo Yglesias
50. Conjunto by John Dyer
51. Conversations with Glenn Gould by Jonathan Cott
52. Conversing with Cage by Richard Kostelanetz
53. Copyrights & Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity by Siva Vaidhyanathan
54. Dancing in Your Head: Jazz, Blues, Rock and Beyond by Gene Santoro
55. Desert Plants: Conversations with Twenty-Three American Musicians by Walter Zimmerman
56. Diccionario de Jazz Latino by Nat Chediak
57. Diccionario del Rock Latino by Nat Chediak
58. Driving Through Cuba: Rare Encounters in the Land of Sugar Cane and Revolution by Carlo Gebler
59. Drumming at the Edge of Magic: A Journey into the Spirit of Percussion by Mickey Hart & Jay Stevens
60. Essays on Music by Theodor W. Adorno
61. Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond by Michael Nyman
62. Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2 by Negativland
63. Fela Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore
64. Fetish & Fame: The 1997 MTV Video Music Awards by David Felton
65. Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954–1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim
66. Folk and Traditional Music of the Western Continents by Bruno Nettl
67. Folk Song Style and Culture by Alan Lomax
68. Folk: The Essential Album Guide by Neal Walers & Brian Mansfield
69. Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition by Iannis Xenakis
70. Fotografie in Musica by Guido Harari
71. Genesis of a Music by Harry Partch
72. Give my Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman by B.H. Friedman
73. Gravikords, Whirlies, & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments by Bart Hopkin
74. Guia Esencial De La Salsa by Jose Manuel Gomez
75. Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning by Gary Marcus
77. Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening, and Modernity by Veit Erlmann
78. Here Come the Regulars: How to Run a Record Label on a Shoestring Budget by Ian Anderson
79. He Stopped Loving Her Today: George Jones, Billy Sherrill and the Pretty-Much Totally True Story of the Making of the Greatest Country Record of All Time by Jack Isenhour
80. Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music and Graffiti by Steven Hager
81. Hit Men by Frederic Dannen
82. Hitsville: The 100 Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazines 1954–1968 by Alan Betrock
83. Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why by Ellen Dissanayake
84. Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture by Alice Echols
85. How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond by John Powell
86. Hungry for Heaven: Rock and Roll and the Search for Redemption by Steve Turner
87. I Have Seen the End of the World and it Looks Like This by Bob Schneider
88. I’ll Take You There Mavis Staples: The Staple Songers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway by Greg Kot
89. In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise by George Prochnik
90. Indian Music by B. Chaitanya Deva
91. It Ain’t Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues by Paul Myers
92. Japanese Music and Musical Instruments by William P. Malm
93. Javanese Gamelan by Jennifer Lindsay
94. Jazz by William Claxton
95. Knitting Music by Michael Dorf
96. La Traviata: In Full Score by Giuseppe Verdi
97. Laurie Anderson by John Howell
98. Leon Geico: Cronica de un Sueno by Oscar Finkelstein
99. Lexicon of Musical Invective by Nicolas Slonimsky
101. Light Strings: Impressions of the Guitar by Ralph Gibson & Andy Summers
102. Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music by Eric Weisbard
103. Listening Through the Noise: the Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music by Joanna Demers
104. Listen to This by Alex Ross
105. Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981–2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany by Stephen Sondheim
106. Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Music Made New in New York City in the ’70s by Will Hermes
107. Love in Vain: The Life and Legend of Robert Johnson by Allen Greenberg
108. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture by Tim Lawrence
109. Low by Hugo Wilcken
110. Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-dirty in Seventies New York by James Wolcott
111. Macumba: The Teachings of Maria-Jose, Mother of the Gods by Serge Bramly
112. Mango Mambo by Adal
113. Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song: MPB 1965–1985 by Charles Perrone
114. Max’s Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock and Roll by Steven Kasher
115. Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James and the Shondells by Tommy James
116. Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe
117. Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an imaginary Soul Superstar by Dori Hadar
118. Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and “Inventor of Jazz” by Alan Lomax
119. Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture by Thurston Moore
120. Music by Paul Bowles
121. Music and Communication by Terence McLaughlin
122. Music and Globalization: Critical Encounters by Bob W. White
123. Music and the Brain: Studies in the Neurology of Music by MacDonald Critchley & R. A. Henson
124. Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr
125. Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations between Music and Possession by Gilbert Rouget
126. Music Cultures of the Pacific, The Near East, and Asia by William P. Malm
128. Music in Cuba by Alejo Carpentier
129. Music, Language and the Brain by Aniruddh D. Patel
130. Musica Cubana Del Areyto a la Nueva Trova by Dr. Cristobal Diaz Ayala
131. Musical Instruments of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia with More than 4,000 Original Drawings by Ruth Midgely
132. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks
133. My Music by Susan D Crafts, Daniel Cavicchi & Charles Keil
134. New York Noise: Art and Music from the New York Underground 1978-88 by Stuart Baker
135. Noise: A Human History of Sound & Listening by David Hendy
136. Noise: The Political Economy of Music by Jacques Attali
137. Notations by John Cage
138. Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds by David Toop
139. On Sonic Art by Trevor Wishart
140. Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Opera by Fred Plotkin
141. Patronizing The Arts by Marjorie Garber
142. Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music by Greg Milner
143. Pet Shop Boys: Literally by Chris Heath
144. Popular Musics of the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey by Peter Manuel
145. The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the Science of Song by Elena Mannes
146. Presenting Celia Cruz by Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte
147. Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
148. Queens of Havana: The Amazing Adventures of the Legendary Anacaona, Cuba’s First All-Girl Dance Band by Alicia Castro
149. Recordando a Tito Puente: El Rey del Timbal by Steven Loza
150. Reflections on Macedonian Music: Past and Future by Dimitrije Buzarovski
151. Remembering the Future by Luciano Berio
152. Repeated Takes: A Short History of Recording Music and Its Effect on Music by Michael Chanan
153. Revolution in the Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties by Ian Macdonald
154. Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans by John Broven
155. Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Pay: The History of Politics in the Music Industry by Steve Shapple & Reebee Garofalo
156. Rock Archives by Michael Ochs
157. Rock Images: 1970–1990 by Claude Gassian
158. Rock Lives: Profiles and Interviews by Timothy White
159. Salsa Guidebook for Piano & Ensemble by Rebeca Mauleon
160. Salsa: The Rhythm of Latin Music by Gerard Sheller
161. Salsiology: Afro-Cuban Music and the Evolution of Salsa in New York City by Vernon W. Boggs
162. Samba by Alma Guillermoprieto
163. Sonic Transports: New Frontiers in Our Music by Cole Gagne
164. Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear by Steve Goodman
165. Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture by Kevin Phinney
166. Sounding New Media: Immersion and Embodiment in the Arts and Culture by Frances Dyson
167. Soundings by Neuberger Museum
168. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous by John Broven
169. Spaces Speak, Are You Listening: Experiencing Aural Architecture by Barry Blesser & Linda-Ruth Salter
170. Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music by Angelique Kidjo
171. Starmaking Machinery: The Odyssey of an Album by Geoffrey Stokes
172. Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer by Jonathan Cott
173. Stolen Moments: Conversations with Contemporary Musicians by Tom Schnabel
174. Stomping the Blues by Albert Murray
175. Tango: The Art History of Love by Robert Farris Thompson
176. Text-Sound Texts by Richard Kostelanetz
177. The ABCs of Rock by Melissa Duke Mooney
178. The Agony of Modern Music by Henry Pleasants
179. The Anthropology of Music by Alan P. Merriam
180. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
181. The Beatles: Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn
182. The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Dougherty
183. The Brazilian Sounds: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil by Chris McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha
184. The Faber Book of Pop by Hanif Kureishi & Jon Savage
185. The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places by Bernie Krause
186. The Human Voice by Jean Cocteau
187. The Kachamba Brothers’ Band: A Study of Neo-Traditional Music in Malawi by Gerhard Kubik
188. The Last Holiday: A Memoir by Gil Scott-Heron
189. The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States by John Storm Roberts
190. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Quasar of Rock by Charles White
191. The Merge Records Companion: A Visual Discography of the First Twenty Years by Merge Records
192. The Music Instinct by Philip Ball
193. The Music of Brazil by David P. Appleby
194. The Mystery of Samba: Popular Music and the National Identity in Brazil by Hermano Vianna
195. The New Woman Poems: A Tribute to Mercedes Sosa by Nestor Rodriguez Lacoren
196. The Performer Prepares by Robert Caldwell
197. The Rational and Social Foundations of Music by Max Weber
198. The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl by Trevor Schoonmake
199. The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg
200. The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross
201. The Rolling Stone Interviews: The 1980s by Various
202. The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice by Greil Marcus
203. The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World by Trevor Cox
204. The Sun and the Drum: African Roots in Jamaican Folk Tradition by Leonard Barrett
205. The Thinking Ear by R. Murray Schafer
206. The Traditional Music of Japan by Kishibe Shigeo
207. The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art by Tim Blanning
208. The Veil of Silence by Djura
209. The Wilco Book by Dan Nadel
210. This Business of Music: The Definitive Guide to the Music Industry by M. William Krasilovsky & Sidney Shemel
211. This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin
212. Through Music to Self by Peter Michael Hamel
213. West African Rhythms for Drumset by Royal Hartigan
214. What Good are the Arts? by John Carey
215. White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960’s by Joe Boyd
216. Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History 1955–Present by Gail Buckland
218. Whose Music? A Sociology of Musical Languages by John Shepard, Phil Virden, Graham Vulliamy, Trevor Wishart
219. Why is This Country Dancing: A One-Man Samba to the Beat of Brazil by John Krich
220. Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein
221. The Rough Guide to World Music: Latin and North America, Caribbean, India, Asia, and Pacific: An A-Z of the Music, Musicians and Discs by Simon Broughton & Mark Ellingham
222. The Rough Guide to World Music: Salsa to Soukous, Cajun to Calypso by Simon Broughton, Mark Ellingham, David Muddyman & Richard Trillo
223. World: The Essential Album Guide by Adam McGovern
224. Yakety Yak: The Midnight Confessions and Revelations of Thirty-Seven Rock Stars and Legends by Scott Cohen

Related Content:

David Byrne’s Personal Lending Library Is Now Open: 250 Books Ready to Be Checked Out

David Byrne & Neil deGrasse Tyson Explain the Importance of an Arts Education (and How It Strengthens Science & Civilization)

David Byrne: How Architecture Helped Music Evolve

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Crazy Collaborative Dictionary Project: From Amic to Zzaj

The most appealing and intriguing idea here in Kevin's post is the notion of legacy and continuity so that the idea of coining your own words is paired with the larger idea of creating a commons, a shared play space that defies time for at least as long as the server carries on. The next step is to move it to in-house servers maintained by students from year to year. I expect you to begin to have 'homecomings' soon, Kevin, because you are also creating an extended family of learning.

New Words 2017

Now in our 12th year of collecting newly invented words (ranging alphabetically from Aamic to Zzaj) from sixth graders, our Crazy Collaborative Dictionary is pushing nearly 1,000 invented words. The invention of language is part of our lessons around the origins of words, and the roots of the English Language, and we have a blast with this word-invention activity.

But what amazes me is that this year’s class of word inventors weren’t even born when the first class of word inventors began making up words in 2005. Actually, we didn’t use a wiki until 2006, I think, but we used to publish the words as an in-house dictionary document. We started with an old wiki site called Seedwiki, and then moved to Wikispaces when Seedwiki kicked the bucket.

Once I had the first version of the wiki dictionary up, we shifted to the online dictionary concept (as well as lessons about this thing called the Internet and what in the world Wikis were). I’ve had them submit words all sorts of ways. This year, we set up a Google Form to collect words into a database.

A few years ago, we added podcasting to the activity, giving students a chance to record their word and definition. As I now pitch it to them, their voice will be forever (well, we’ll see about that, right? Forever is a long time in Internetland) linked to their word, in this moment in time. Five years, or ten years, from now, they should be able to “listen” to their sixth grade self, reading out their word and definition at the Crazy Collaborative Dictionary. (I am still connecting podcasts to this year’s collection of words)

I think that idea is pretty nifty, as is the concept that many of my students are now “collaborating” with older siblings, some of whom have graduated and are in college, or in jobs. But their words are there, in our dictionary, as are their siblings’ new words. As a father of three kids, I find that idea of cross-year collaboration pretty magical indeed.

Peace (words matter),

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Tracing Photo Back to a Personal Account

Hapgood shows us a "work outloud" on fact-checking, news checking, and the unsung art of the crap detection. I will be using this example in my class next semester as well as creating a few of my own for the new year.

Another quick lesson in sourcing viral user-created content. Here’s a picture that showed up in my stream today.


OK, so what’s the story here? To get more information, I pull the textual information off the image and throw it in a Google search:


Which brings me to a YouTube video that tells me this was taken “outside a Portland, Oregon Walmart” and has been shared “hundreds of times since yesterday”. So back to search. This next result shows you why you always want to look past the first result:


I type in Portland OR, but the fourth result looks like it is reporting the story as a “local” story (look at the URL) and its location is not Portland OR, but Biddeford, Maine. Further indications here that it might be a good source is that I see in the blurb it mentions the name of the photographer “Matthew Mills”. The URL plus the specificity of the information tell me this is the way to go.

That article points me to what looks like the source where it went viral.


We see here that the original news report had a bunch of things wrong. It wasn’t in Portland, Oregon — it was in Biddeford, which is near Portland, Maine. It hasn’t been shared “hundreds of times” it’s been shared hundreds of thousands of times. And it was made viral by a CBS affiliate, a fact that ABC Action News in Tampa doesn’t mention at all.

OK, let’s go one more step. Let’s look at the Facebook page where Matthew Mills shared it. Part of what I want to see is whether is was viral before CBS picked it up or not. I’d also like to double check that Mills is really from the Biddeford area and see if he was responsible for the shopping carts.

The news post does not link back to the original, so we search on Matthew Mills again, and see some news outlets mentioning the original caption by Mills: “This guy got a lesson in parking”.


That’s not the same as the caption that the news station put up. So we pump that into Facebook, and bingo: we get the original post:


And here’s where we see something I really dislike about news organizations. They cut other news organizations out of the story, every time. So they say this has been shared hundreds of times because in order to say it has been shared hundreds of thousands of times they’d have to mention it was popularized by a CBS affiliate. So they cut CBS out of the story and distort the truth.

On the other hand, one of the good effects of it is sometimes it makes it easier to track something down to the source. News organizations work extra hard to find the original source if it means they can cut other news organizations out of the picture.

But it also tends to distort how virality happens. The picture here did not magically become viral — it became viral due, largely, to the reach of WGME.

Incidentally, we also find answers to other questions in the Matthew Mills version: he didn’t take the picture, and he really is from Old Orchard Beach.

Just because we’re extra suspicious, we throw the image into Google Image to see if maybe this is a recycled image. It does not appear to be, although in doing that we find out this is a very common type of viral photo called  a “parking revenge” photo. The technique of circling carts around a double-parked car dates back to at least 2012:


When we click through we can see that the practice was popularized, at least to some extent, by Reddit users. See for instance this post from December 2012:


So that’s it. It’s part of a parking revenge meme that dates back at least four years, and popularized by Reddit. It was shot by Matthew Mills in Biddeford, Maine, who was not the one who circled the carts. And it became viral through the re-share provided by a local Maine TV station.

Again, all of this takes some time to write about. In practice, though, it doesn’t take much time at all to check.







Friday, December 23, 2016

Democrats need to stop giving up on rural voters, opines Center for Rural Strategies president

Amen bro.
Dee Davis
Democratic candidates have cut themselves off from rural voters and it cost them at the polls in November in the presidential election and congressional races, opines Dee Davis, director of the Center for Rural Strategies, in the Daily Yonder., which the center publishes: "Democrats have a progressively hard time talking to rural voters: no communications channels, no cultural connection, no common vision. And that made a critical difference in 2016 when rural turned out and urban votes declined."

"Democrats seem to say, 'Rural America, vote your pocketbooks,' or 'Vote for us because our policies make your life better,'” Davis writes. "But that kind of electoral transaction rarely happens. That is what Larry Bartels at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions calls the 'folklore of democracy.' And it is only that—a story we tell ourselves about self-government. People vote their identity. They vote their culture, their church, their family, their neighborhood. Politics today is about creating, maintaining and expressing social identity."

"The Trump campaign took advantage of cultural identification in building their 'us-against-the-elites, us-against-the-press, us-against-the-world' community'" he writes. "Most of his voters were not convinced Hillary was going to confiscate their guns or that Trump was going to breathe life back into necrotic coalmines and steel mills. But they saw more of themselves in that storytelling community, comprised of hunters, miners, and millhands—part of an iconic America where folks like them were still valued."

"Democrats have relied on a 'demographics-is-destiny' approach that seeks to take advantage of increasing urbanization, increasing racial diversity, and increasing education levels for party growth while moving away from traditional constituencies like rural and white blue-collar voters," he writes. "One goal of this plan has been to turn dynamically changing states like Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Georgia into blue states in short fashion. But the hemorrhaging of blue-collar white voters keeps pushing the timeframe back."

"Another Democrat goal of 2016 was to use Donald Trump’s charged rhetoric against Mexican immigrants to win over wavering Republican states," he writes. "However, half of Latino voters reside either in California, a reliably blue state, or Texas, a reliably red one. Latino votes did not flip any state to the Democrats."

Colleges face a new reality, as the number of high school graduates will decline - MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN, Hechinger Report

These are some eye popping numbers for publicuniversities Though the country’s number of high school graduates grew by 30 percent between 1995 and 2013, to 3.47 million students, by next year colleges will see a high school graduating cohort that is smaller by 81,000 students – a dip of 2.3 percent. After a few years of some growth, the report projects that from 2027 to 2032 the annual graduation totals will each be smaller by 150,000 to 220,000 people than the ones the nation had in 2013. Fueling the decline will be decreases in the overall student population and growth among specific student groups. An increase in low-income and minority-group students will challenge colleges to serve them better.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A year in books

Sooooo much to consider and read and do in this midsummer's light. Fire in stove, bright white reading light, mate in a mug.

All stories are really fragments of one story.
— Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

We often ignore the importance of language: it’s ability to uplift us, or to shape the way we see and therefore act in the world.
— Alan Moore, Do Design

The closing weeks of a year are often filled with review pieces. Despite myself, I am always drawn to the literary reviews, partly in the hope of discovering something new, partly out of curiosity. What are other people reading? What has attracted them? What have they taken away from the experience?

Reading other people’s recommendations prompts my own reflections. What have I read this year? Why did I read it? Was it because of a steer from a friend, something that I had long anticipated or a serendipitous discovery? Did I delve into the footnotes or bibliography of another book before tracking down this new work? Did I heed the prompt of a newspaper journalist or a blogger or someone I follow on Twitter?

Of course, Austin Kleon is right to sound the alarm about publishing year-in-review lists before the calendar year is even out. After all, there are still a lot of reading days left to discover new pleasures, or to dedicate time to those tomes that have been sitting too long on the to-read pile. Nevertheless, we can be a little fluid about the twelve-month period under consideration.

The following are a few of the books that moved me, delighted me or inspired me in one way or another since the start of the year. I have confined myself to books published either in 2016 or, in several cases, during 2015 but that took time to worm their way into my consciousness. Excluded from consideration are any books I have worked on myself either as author or editor.





The second collection of images are of books awaiting my attention or currently being read. These I fully expect to enthral to the same degree as those already mentioned. It always feels good to have something to look forward to, to be surrounded by potential and anticipation. What Umberto Eco referred to as an anti-library; what Marcelo Gleiser might identify as fish to be caught from the waters that surround the island of knowledge.




What have been your own reading pleasures and discoveries this year?

All writers are puzzle makers. As models of our experience, stories and novels aim not to reduce that experience, or to simplify it, but to reflect its pleasures and sorrows, and to bring its mysteries into sharp focus.
— Peter Turchi, A Muse and A Maze

Writers and storytellers had been nesting their narratives for centuries, of course, in an effort to approximate the networks of story that ramify and complicate our experience of everyday life.
— Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends


Pulling together the above material led me to reflect further on what I have read this year. Some of if was related to the writing of The Neo-Generalist, especially until mid-March. Some of it was early research for a ghostwriting project on Scandinavian leadership. Some of it reading in support of my work as editorial adviser and mentor to other authors. Much of it, however, was simply for pleasure or prompted by curiosity. One way or another, the effects of all this reading find their way into my own writing, whether in articles, blog posts or longer-form books. Reading is how I learn to write.

Paul Auster, ‘City of Glass’ in The New York Trilogy (Faber & Faber, 1988)
Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan (Penguin, 2004)
Robin Chase, Peers Inc (Headline, 2015)
David Hutchens, Circle of the 9 Muses (Wiley, 2015)
Herminia Ibarra, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015)
Herminia Ibarra, Working Identity (Harvard Business School Press, 2004)
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Vintage, 2004)
Peter Turchi, A Muse and A Maze (Trinity University Press, 2014)

Marci Alboher, One Person/Multiple Careers (HeyMarci, 2012)
Charles Baudelaire, The Painter in Modern Life (Penguin, 2010)
Adam Grant, Originals (W. H. Allen, 2016)
John Hagel III, John Seely Brown & Lang Davison, The Power of Pull (Basic Books, 2010)
César Hidalgo, Why Information Grows (Allen Lane, 2015)
Jamie Holmes, Nonsense (Crown, 2015)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan (Penguin, 2010, rev. ed.)
James Watts, Business for Punks (Portfolio Penguin, 2015)
Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly, Vivienne Westwood (Picador, 2014)
David Whyte, The Three Marriages (Riverhead Books, 2010)

Jean Gimpel, The Cathedral Builders (Evergreen Books, 1961)
Claudia Hammond, Time Warped (Canongate, 2013)
Sarah Kay, No Matter the Wreckage (Write Bloody, 2014)
Milan Kundera, Slowness (Faber & Faber, 1996)
Sue Roe, In Montmartre (Penguin, 2014)

Ellis Bacon & Lionel Birnie (eds.), The Cycling Anthology, Volume 6 (Peloton Publishing, 2015)
Paul Halpern, Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat (Basic Books, 2015)
Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dream (Corsair, 2012)
George Monbiot, Feral (Penguin, 2014)
Marianne Moore, Observations (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2016)
Claudia Rankine, Citizen (Penguin, 2015)
Douglas Rushkoff, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (Portfolio Penguin, 2016)

Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café (Chatto & Windus, 2016)
Seamus Heaney, Human Chain (Faber & Faber, 2012)
Milan Kundera, The Festival of Insignificance (Faber & Faber, 2016)
David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks (Sceptre, 2015)
Alan Moore, Do Design (Do Book Company, 2016)
Max Porter, Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber & Faber, 2015)
James Rebanks, A Shepherd’s Life (Penguin, 2016)
James Sallis, Night’s Pardons (Five Oaks Press, 2016)

Jan Carlzon, Moments of Truth (Ballinger Publishing, 1987)
Don DeLillo, Zero K (Picador, 2016)
Patrick Kingsley, How to be Danish (Short Books, 2013)
Ian Leslie, Born Liars (Quercus, 2012)
Henrik Norbrandt, When We Leave Each Other (Open Letter, 2013)
Philip Parker, The Northmen’s Fury (Vintage, 2015)
Robert Penn, The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees (Particular Books, 2015)
James Sallis, Willnot (No Exit Press, 2016)
E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful (Vintage, 2011)
Steve Strid & Claes Andréasson, The Viking Manifesto (Marshall Cavendish, 2007)

Anonymous, The Poetic Edda (Oxford University Press, 2014)
Julian Barnes, Keeping an Eye Open (Jonathan Cape, 2015)
Jessica Helfand, Design (Yale University Press, 2016)
Idra Novey, Ways to Disappear (Daunt Books, 2016)
Michael Puett & Christine Gross-Loh, The Path (Viking, 2016)
Helen Russell, A Year of Living Danishly (Icon, 2016)
Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking (John Murray, 2015)

Michael Booth, The Almost Nearly Perfect People (Vintage, 2015)
Patrick DeWitt, The Sisters Brothers (Granta, 2011)
Kyna Leski, The Storm of Creativity (MIT Press, 2015)
Charly Wegelius & Tom Southam, Domestique (Ebury Press, 2014)

Marcelo Gleiser, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected (ForeEdge, 2016)
Ian Goldin & Chris Kutarna, Age of Discovery (Bloomsbury, 2016)
Dave Gray, Liminal Thinking (Two Waves Books, 2016)
Michel Houellebecq, The Map and the Territory (Vintage, 2012)
David Mitchell, Slade House (Sceptre, 2016)
Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (Penguin, 2009)

Manuel Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope (Polity, 2015, 2nd ed.)
Harold Jarche, Working in Perpetual Beta (Tantramar Interactive, 2016)
Ian McEwan, Nutshell (Jonathan Cape, 2016)
David Millar, The Racer (Yellow Jersey Press, 2015)

Sean Bonney, Letters Against the Firmament (Enitharmon Press, 2015)
Lauren Elkin, Flâneuse (Chatto & Windus, 2016)
Ernest Hemingway, The First Forty-Nine Stories (Arrow Books, 2004)
Jennifer Kronovet, The Wug Test (Ecco Press, 2016)
Ian McEwan, The Children Act (Vintage, 2015)
Sharon Olds, Odes (Jonathan Cape, 2016)
Sharon Olds, Stag’s Leap (Jonathan Cape, 2012)
Alice Oswald, Dart (Faber & Faber, 2010)
Grayson Perry, The Descent of Man (Allen Lane, 2016)
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby (Granta, 2014)
Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark (Haymarket Books, 2015, 3rd ed.)
Ali Smith, How to be Both (Penguin, 2015)
Kate Tempest, Brand New Ancients (Picador, 2013)
Kate Tempest, Hold Your Own (Picador, 2014)
Kate Tempest, Let Them Eat Chaos (Picador, 2016)
William Carlos Williams, Selected Poems (Penguin, 2000)
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much (Button Poetry/Exploding Pinecone Press, 2016)

Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed (Hogarth, 2016)
Paul Beatty, The Sellout (Oneworld, 2016)
Jane Clarke, The River (Bloodaxe Books, 2015)
James Gleick, Time Travel (Pantheon Books, 2016)
Deborah Levy, Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)
Emma Sedlak, What Slight Gaps Remain (Blue Hour Press, 2016)
Nathan Ward, The Lost Detective (Bloomsbury, 2015)
Arnold Weinstein, Northern Arts (Princeton University Press, 2011)

Intermittent dips throughout the year
Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions (Penguin, 1998)
T. S. Eliot, The Poems of T. S. Eliot, Volumes I & II (Faber & Faber, 2015)
Ted Hughes, Collected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2003)
W. S. Merwin, Migration (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)