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Friday Reading
Letter sent on Nov 13, 2015

Friday Reading S03E01

My weekly round-up of interesting things I found on the web about media, tech and politics, which I thought you might find interesting too…

There has been a lot of comment in the media about an attempt to exclude journalists from a self-declared “safe space” on a University campus, which has prompted much hand-wringing. It is maybe useful to remind ourselves of the context in which the student protests have been carried out:

“Mizzou is where I met my closest friends and fell in love with journalism, but it is also where I was called a n*gger for the first time that I can remember.”

I was a black student at the University of Missouri. Racism there is nothing new.” — Juana Summers

This is also an excellent read to the background of the Yale controversy: where the final straw was an email basically amounting to “Don’t call kids out for wearing racist costumes”:

“Christakis’ email was surely not sent from a place of malice; but any real attempt to understand and appreciate the concerns of those who disagreed with her was similarly missing. And in the specific context of ICA’s missive, her implicit defense of some costumes as ‘subversive’ — rather than, y’know, bigoted — is concerning.”

It’s an artificial situation, but this is quite thought-provoking on the way we unwittingly use certain types of image to frame the way we present people to our readers in our stories: “Photographers Took Wildly Different Pictures Of This One Guy Because Of Backstory” — Alan White

Shameless self-promotion klaxon: I wrote up “5 things I think journalism students need to know about technology” from a talk I gave last night at City University.

This is lovely on the back-story of how Rocket League became such an unexpected smash hit:

“People were frustrated that they couldn’t find a game because the servers couldn’t handle the traffic, naturally. But it was a good-natured frustration. Then the GIFs started rolling in, dangling the possibilities of the game before us. Rather than anyone constructing effigies of Psyonix with caps lock and vitriol, the mood was more like: wow, I can’t wait until this game works.”

8 Medium posts about what to do before breakfast that you MUST read before 8am

I saw this tweeted out with the phrase “Come here, athletics, and have a hug from cycling. Then take a seat. We have something important to tell you.

“According to WADA, the Russian system was state-sponsored and state-protected, the doping levels extreme, and yet Russian athletes were good — not dominant. You do the math.”

There’s a life-sized Lego TARDIS in Australia and I want one. That is all you need to know.

Oh, alright then, this is good on time travel too, and doesn’t involve a blue box.

“‘When the first time machine is turned on it will be possible for our descendants to contact us but we will not be able to contact our ancestors,’ he says. Theoretically, this would explain why we haven’t experienced time travel (or its effects) yet, because the first human scale time machine hasn’t been created.”

This man is closer than ever to building the world’s first time machine” — Hugh Langley

My 6 year old daughter has been using the Star Wars-themed “Hour of Code” to learn JavaScript this week. I was particularly impressed that it seems like all they way through they have used women coders who worked on Star Wars to present the tutorial videos.

One of the great absurdities of life is when sporting occasions meet Remembrance Sunday, and the mascots have to join in the silence.

This is an interesting take on football and Remembrance Sunday — arguing that by forcing Celtic fans to observe the silence footballing authorities are inviting disrespect. I can’t say I agree with the sentiment, but it is a useful read for context.

“We now have an annual festival of contrived outrage where it seems that there are those for whom scanning the airwaves and the television screen for signs of refusal to participate or, indeed, active dissent is more important than paying respect to the memory of those whom they claim to honour.”

Why forcing Remembrance Day into football results in dissent from fans” — Jeanette Findlay

A Sam Kriss flight of fancy about “The poppy conspiracy” that has some serious points to make in among the stretched-as-far-as-possible prose.

This is dark. But funny. But dark. You have been warned: “TIFU by not knowing how to deal with a girl having a crush on me.