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Who the people?

It seems there's a new war on the media taking place.  Maybe it's par for the course when elections begin to heat up (and the pollsters regain their dubious authority). I clicked Glenn Greenwald's rant against David Broder and Beltway journalists. Not too distant, Firedoglake takes a shot at old school media types who distort the blog audience. Elsewhere: "Together, our community at techRepublican will think, discuss, read, collaborate, criticize, share, and act to make a difference." The thrust of this essay is that Republicans suffer for not being Webbier because they're missing the people -- or they will be when the people aren't kids anymore.

And Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been making a lot of noise online (or at least, his supporters have) not about bias so much as outright lack of coverage in spite of his apparent popularity and strong showing in the debate. They've even got an MSNBC.com conspiracy theory. (They're talking about this. If I get a hold of the politics editor today I'll let you know if there's any worthwhile internal perspective.  I'm not expecting any though.)

In case you're not seeing what I'm seeing, what unites the links above is a general concern for making sure "the people" are being correctly represented and/or interpreted. It's been my experience that individuals are notoriously bad at assessing the tastes of "the people."  The blogosphere hasn't helped any, expanding the "everyone I know" test to "all the blogs I read" to confirm one's opinions about the public's mental state. I had hoped to find a lesson in the course of assembling these links but I'm afraid I don't have one. I suppose it's just that "the people" are an elusive bunch so beware their representatives.

Speaking of assessing the people, Pew's new study goes really well with the Forrester study we looked at last week.   This one is about how people use the Web, breaking the online population into three categories and ten subcategories.  See page three for a handy chart.  Don't be intimidated by the length of the report, there are a lot of graphics that make it pretty easy to scroll through.

Speaking of We the People, the Appeal For Courage is a petition by military members asking Congress to stick it out in Iraq.

And the people of the online left are rallying in support of habeas corpus rights.

Speaking of bias battles, The Minnesota Star Tribune is in the midst of a debate over the extent of its liberalness.

I don't recall if I've posted this already but I've definitely seen it before and I alternately think it's no big deal or only a little bit of a big deal but today I feel like it's worth mentioning.  The Imax version of the movie poster for the new Harry Potter movie makes Hermione's boobs a little bigger. The reason I can't get too worked up about it is that it's not like they turned her into a Bond girl. A different posture and bra could probably have produced the same effect.

Speaking of movie posters, Polish movie posters. (Remember the Russian ones?  These are better.)

Snopes confirms the story in one of those mass e-mails you may have received.  The mail tells the graphic story of two white people who were brutally raped and murdered by a group of black people and accuses the media of racism for not covering the story like the Duke rape case.  Snopes suggests an explanation for why there hasn't been more coverage of the story in the last paragraph. I'm not sure that's the one I'd give.  I don't know the story and I haven't been in on any editorial assessments of it but I have some idea of what it takes to make a long dragged out TV show trial.  One thing that will kill a crime story right away is if there's no video or image collection.  The TV folks need stuff to show on the screen, even if it's just background while a reporter speaks over it. If there aren't a lot of photos and movies of the victims (not to mention a media-friendly surviving family) then TV probably won't go there.  Also there often has to be some contention.  If these killers confess and take a plea, the story goes away a lot faster. I have to wonder if the nature of the crime put off some media.  Is there such a thing as a crime too horrible to report?  Lastly, it could be purely a matter of scheduling that bumps a crime story.  Maybe some news organizations had plans to cover it and something else happened that demanded immediate coverage.  By the time that was over, the rape/murder story was old news. I recognize the media has certain storylines it likes to follow and that may be part of the appeal for stories like the Duke rape case, but I don't agree there's no place for deranged killer stories in the media. Snopes says they're still awaiting trial. It could very well be that the folks at Court TV have the trial on their calendar and if it actually happens, plan to use that as the news peg for reporting the story.  Once the trial produces enough imagery, don't be surprised to see it as a piece on a show like Dateline.

10 useful knots

In need of a break from Desktop Defender I've been playing Tactics 100, which reminds me a little of Wizards' Chess from Harry Potter.  You position your guys and attack your opponent's guys.  There's a live feature which probably appeals to folks who are good at these kinds of games.  For me I just like to see what kind of score I get for finishing the first round (actually finishing it isn't that hard).

Is virtual rape a crime?  "Last month, two Belgian publications reported that the Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape -- in Second Life."  This may be the weirdest story ever.  Here's the main argument: "If it is a criminal offense to sexually abuse a child on the internet, how can we say it is not possible to rape an adult online?"

Sort of related: German officials are investigating the trading of child porn in Second Life. That includes virtual children and people acting online like they're children or acting online like they're pedophiles (which, let's be honest, if you're acting online like a pedophile...).

Speaking of bad for children, this is probably something everyone saw already while I was on a plane, but the David Hasselhoff drunk video is mostly funny but then once I realized the kid shooting the video was calling him "dad" it became a really sad scene.  I guess it's mostly just his hair that makes me laugh. Good luck kid.

I agree with Kevin Drum about the new Bill Richardson ads. Yes it's funny and yes I think it'll make people ask themselves who that guy is, but since the answer is not "he has a new show on Comedy Central" I'm not sure the ads really serve him.

Electromagnetic "wormhole" results from turning invisible sphere inside out - This actually makes sense when you read it.  If you can understand the idea of bending light around an object to make the object invisible, think about what it means to bend light through an object like a tube.

Looks like it's time to learn terms like "geoweb" and "earth browser."  There's a new Google maps blog.  The first entry compares pre and post-tornado Greensburg imagery.

Top ten body hacks - No, this isn't another "get into shape for Summer" link.  Meanwhile, even after following the annoying number of extra links I still can't whistle with my fingers.

As a sort of digital Noah's Ark, this site plans to give every living thing on Earth its own web page. I wonder how they start a project like that.  "Well... let's see, you got your cows, pigs and chickens... and then there's monkeys..."  Actually, if you watch the promotional video it's a little more orderly than that.

So that big Digg controversy?  Turns out, at the very least it was a traffic win for Digg.

Speaking of "The Number," own your own integer.

Sports fans will have to let me know how newsworthy the photos are of the freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford lifting a keg and being generally happy. It reminds me a little of the woman who got in trouble for having a picture of herself drinking from a plastic cup.
Damning photos do show up online but it's a bad idea to assume what the photos don't show.

At the beginning of the week I'd read about new regulations imposed on military bloggers.  Later I saw some kind of clarification had been made.  Trying to find the latest I was scrolling through BlackFive and found a link to this NPR story that covers things well.

I got a laugh from this clip promoting the movie Goodbye to the Normals.  Unfortunately there's not much more (actually even less) to be found at the official site, and it looks like the movie itself is only playing a few festivals so far.

How to value a MySpace mega group - The reason I was out in Redmond was to speak at a few meetings about online trends.  The value of online communities to news organizations has figured heavily in those discussions.  In case you haven't followed it, the Obama campaign has been dealing with an unusual challenge.  A fan of the senator already booked Obama's Myspace URL, apparently robbing the campaign of the opportunity to do it themselves. This essay is about trying to figure out the value of the work done by the fan.

Commuter Click:  Seven pages in the New Yorker on Banksy. I don't know if I'll make it through seven but I made it through the first one pretty easily before realizing what I was about to invest in.  I'm mostly curious to find out what more than could be to say beyond this first page.

Open Source Video - If there's such a thing as video kneading, this would be it.  They're asking people to remix and re-upload as a statement about digital media rights. (Judas Priest vs. LL Cool J)