October 7th, 2010

didn't realize I could be that offended by a subject line

Okay, _yes_ I can be that offended. But when I'm busy deleting "special offers" from the usual suspects in my e-mail inbox (Sierra Trading Post, drugstore.com, etc.), I barely notice the subject. This one, however, really jumped out at me:

[my first name deleted] -- Columbus Discovered America. You'll Discover Great Savings.

Hey, B&N: I was feeling a little bad about completely abandoning you, after shopping on and off at your stores for a decade or more. Just because Prime shipping and the kindle make it almost impossible to shop for book-like things anywhere else is no excuse. I like your display tables. You serve decent coffee. If you had vegan or even just dairy free goodies in any of the stores I've been to on the East Coast, I might still be a regular.

But I don't feel guilty any more.

Someone in the publicity department needs sensitivity training. Columbus "Discovered" America? Someone should have told that to the millions about to die of smallpox and other diseases which arrived with the explorer.

ETA: After further consideration, I unsubbed to future e-mails and found a way to contact customer service via their website to explain to them why I did so.

progress on bees

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/science/07bees.html

This is kind of cool. The article plays up some of the serendipitous aspects to make it more of a human interest story, but the real tale here is that some very brute force techniques have identified a fungus + virus in all the analyzed bee colonies.

I have this weird feeling we're going to be vaccinating beehives a few years in the future. What an odd world we live in.

I wasn't going to blog about this

Because I don't think the headline is fair, and I think the author has really taken an idea a little further than it should have been taken.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-09-29/news/white-america-has-lost-its-mind/

However, the people he is talking about went way too far first.

Also, I'm seeing evidence of the more limited form of the thesis (specifically: if you're white, male and born before about 1965, you probably hold political opinions that used to be perfectly fine in mainstream society, but are now widely perceived as extremely uncivilized).

Some housekeeping

I've redone the journal layout (sorry if that was really upsetting to any of my readers) and taken advantage of Expressive's sticky text feature. I'll probably fiddle with the details over the next few weeks (or not).

I also took advantage of a related feature over on the profile page in FB. I mirror LJ on FB as a courtesy. For people still getting the hang of this, that means that the public posts here on Livejournal are automatically duplicated (mirrored) over in Notes on Facebook. The good news is, a whole lot of people who read FB (Facebook) can get immediate access to my bloggy goodness without having to figure out where livejournal is (which has been an issue). The bad news is, the commenting feature over on FB is pretty awful.

I put a little text on the profile page in FB to try to discourage back-and-forth in the comments of mirrored posts. The amount of text and the interface to commenting makes it almost impossible to post something well-thought-out, and then on top of that, you can't even edit what you posted for clarity or typos or whatever.

I'm going to look into the whole FB groups feature, and pay attention to how it develops over time. I'm hoping that it will supply a little more nuance in moderation. When I was getting my undergrad at the UW, the bb developed by K. and (never-to-be-sufficiently-damned) W. had some fantastic moderation features that I've never seen matched much less duplicated. But we can hope. Banning and de-friending are _way_ too blunt for what I'd like to do.