The power of Twitter Dooce spends $1,300 on a new Maytag washing machine, it breaks, she has a nightmare getting it fixed, and a customer service rep sneers when she makes a veiled threat to Tweet her woes to the world. Big mistake.
A study shows women can tell when women are flirting (as opposed to merely being friendly), but men can’t. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, this raises the obvious question, WTF?
How did we get to a point where female signals intended for males are missed by the males but picked up by the females? Is female flirting some sort of territory-marking behavior, intended to signal other women rather thanthe man? Or has modern life just gotten everyone so conflexed and perpused that signals are getting crossed?
On a somewhat related note: Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature focuses hugely on sex –especially polygyny – and not so much on other aspects of what evolutionary psychology tells us (accurately or not) about human nature. Some of it veers dangerously close to the kind of stuff that gives Ev Psych a bad name, but it’s still worth taking a look.
(pic — and shirt — via Zazzle.com)
Darwin’s First Clues National Geographic uses annoying 9-page format for a nice piece by David Quammen, IMO the best living science/nature writer, throwing light on what really got Darwin thinking about evolution (in contrast to the usual story about the finches):
Darwin’s first real clue toward evolution came not in the Galápagos but three years before, on a blustery beach along the north coast of Argentina. And it didn’t take the form of a bird’s beak. It wasn’t even a living creature. It was a trove of fossils. Never mind the notion of Darwin’s finches. For a fresh view of the Beagle voyage, start with Darwin’s armadillos and giant sloths.
Geoff Manaugh takes issue with those who like to put down people who write with their thumbs:
Now that suburban housewives in Missouri are letting their thoughts be known via Twitter, it’s as if writing itself is thought to be under attack, invaded from all sides by the unwashed masses whose thoughts have not been sanctioned as Literature™. In many ways, I’m reminded of Truman Capote’s infamous put-down of Jack Kerouac: “That’s not writing, it’s typing.”
And in We Are All Writers Now, Anne Trubek says Facebook and other technologies can foster creativity and self-expression:
Take the “25 Things About Me” meme that raged around Facebook a few months ago. This time-waster, as many saw it, is precisely the kind of brainstorming exercise I used to assign to my freshman writing students decades ago.
(cartoon via Neuroanthropology blog, which also has some useful insights)
Joshua Glenn says the last 10 years of the Baby Boomers were really the Original Generation X (and has some revisions to other traditional “generation” labels). I kind of like this — I’ve always felt out of place as a Baby Boomer, though technically I am one — but I’m still at the trailing edge of this new demographic (born 1954-63) as well. (via Kottke)
Life lessons from real-life “Ferris Bueller” Some good advice here from a high school buddy of John Hughes, along with some interesting revelations, even as he tries to downplay the notion that he was an inspiration for the character:
I’ll admit that Ferris-ian high jinks were the everyday stuff of our boyhood lives. Ferris clocked in at nine absences his final high school semester. My own was a breathtaking 27. That might explain the dean’s pursuit. The key was, from the time I entered high school, all sick notes from our mom were actually penned by our sister Sheila. Even the real ones.
He was probably the inspiration for the car hijinx as well: … we secretly borrowed a car almost as ridiculously conspicuous as the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT in the movie: my dad’s purple Cadillac El Dorado (yes, purple). Put an extra 113 miles on the odometer. Hoping to erase that telltale mileage, we raised the back on a pair of jacks and ran the car in reverse. The Caddy did not fly backward into a ravine, as in the film. What it did do is quickly take off a clean 10,000 miles. Oops. (Yes, you bet he noticed.)
Slate media critic Jack Shafer looks at print media’s war on radio in the 1930s and finds lots of parallels to today’s skirmishes.
It’s actually a review of a 1995 book by Gwenyth L. Jackaway, but that book was written in the days when newspapers were in their “just a passing fad” phase WRT the Web.
Some print journalists and industry leaders claimed that radio content was inaccurate, skimpy, sensationalist, and trivial and that its practitioners were amateurs. When radio news was accurate, they asserted, it was either a bunch of headlines from a newspaper or a story directly pilfered from one. Does any of this sound familiar?