Review: Moonbattery

From the story: “In November, Local 6 broke the story about the controversial garden after the city [of Orlando] told the Helvenstons their 25-by-25-foot front yard vegetable garden was not in compliance with the city’s code.

After hundreds of emails supporting the couple flowed in and initially allowing the Helvenstons to keep their garden, saying it will hold off on violations, the city has since asked the couple to uproot the garden and replace it with a lawn or face fines.”

I just don’t get it. At what point do we say enough? It is a garden for cripes sake. City code…for a garden? What is the garden hurting. What is the thinking behind this? Replace the garden with a lawn? I don’t understand how that will enhance their neighborhood.  I would think that in these uncertain times a garden would be infinitely more useful than a lawn! Not only that, lawn maintenance is just a waste of money when compared to a garden that produces healthy food. I have had large gardens most of my life and I know that a garden that size would provide for a pretty good size family year round if you canned your produce! I couldn’t afford to keep the garden, I would end up losing the house. I would love to be able to stick to my convictions like these people.

Don’t you wonder what is next?


Review: Link found via Moonbattery

I think I just found a story that shows that Shirky is right. Social media does make it possible not only to organize but to mobilize groups of people. Unfortunately it is for nefarious purposes, but it is still true. Flash mobs are being used to rob people. Kids (and I doubt it is only kids) are getting together via twitter and other social networking sites to rob stores. They flood a store, rob it  and then disappear into the crowd before the police show up. Thieves then use the same social networking sites to offload their ill gotten gains.  It is pretty ingenious actually, and it certainly proves that groups can be organized and such via Twitter!

Take that Gladwell!

Here we go again….

I seem to be on a role today with the rape stories. This one is from the good ole U.S of A. Two teens are accused of assaulting a young lady at two separate parties while she was passed out. The electronic devices of all involved were confiscated by police and as a result the young men were arrested and charged.

Both the prosecutors and the defense attorneys are going to be using evidence from these electronic devices to try and prove their cases. This really couldn’t have happened ten years ago. I think it is going to be a really interesting (if tragic) case to follow. The case takes he said-she said to another level because now we have the actual words of those involved. It is going to be hard to dispute something written and put into the world via Twitter or Facebook.

Here is the story:

I think that the justice system is going to be inundated with cases that are going to use social media as evidence. I also think new laws will have to be drafted to cover what is admissible in court. Police departments are watching social media sites to predict gang activity and, judging from the idiot who bragged on Twitter that he killed someone, seems like a really good idea. It seems like the justice system learned something from the “flash mob” phenomena. I like it.

What the heck!!!!

We have been talking about the effect that social media and technology has had on the world. This morning while having my coffee I was checking out the stories on my Yahoo home page and came across the story of a girl in India who was beaten and gang raped to death on a bus in New Delhi. A prominent yogi had this to say about the attack:

“Guilt is not one-sided,” the guru, Asaram Bapu, told followers this week, adding that if the student had pleaded with her six attackers in God’s name, and told them she was of the “weaker sex”, they would have relented.”

I could list everything wrong with that statement, but I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who sees the stupidity judging from the world-wide outrage that his opinion sparked. They were burning the guy in effigy in near his offices in India. I wish I could say I was surprised that this attitude still exists in 2013-but I am not. Apparently, many people in India and around the world feel that he is correct.

The point of this whole post is this: if we were not so interconnected via social media and the internet this woman’s death would have been swept under the carpet and she would have went to the grave being blamed for her death. The internet gave this story legs and I think that those of us who feel that the yogi is a moron outnumber those who think a short skirt is an invitation to rape. Because we are so connected, many people in India and around the world are being forced to change their views (or at least examine them) because there are more of us who realize that a  woman’s clothing does not give a man the right to attack her. She could be dressed in Saran Wrap and that still is not an excuse to gang rape her.

The status quo is no longer OK.  I think that is fantastic!

To read the whole story:

MoonBattery Posts

I am not really one for political soap boxing but this really chaps me!

I am a gun owner. I have guns in the house. My husband is an avid gun enthusiast and collector.  I don’t shoot much, mainly because of carpal tunnel in both wrists (thanks WalMart), but I know how to and would have no problem defending myself. My husband has a concealed to carry permit as well as clearances up the wazoo for his job.  I don’t consider us gun nuts at all, even if our collection is up there in number…

Over that last few weeks with all these shootings the media has been all over gun laws and restricting owner ship. Why then do we hear nothing about this attempted shooting in San Antonio? Is it because the guy was stopped before 70 people were injured by a gunman? Is it because a woman with a gun brought an end to the rampage? Why is it that I had to go to this site to find this story?

8.5 Cognitive Surplus Chapter 2

Chapter 2 blog prompts: One of Shirky’s points is that the idea of a separation between “cyberspace” and the “real world” is increasingly becoming irrelevant– the real and virtual worlds are becoming one. Do you see this happening in your life or people you know? If so, what are some of the characteristics of this coming together? If not, do you think Shirky is wrong or overstating the case and why? When Shirky talks about the current revolution that is similar to the revolution of the printing press– giving many more the means to make and publish– he notes that it is similar but has significant differences. What are some of those differences? How does the idea of operating in a culture of “abundance” differ from once of “scarcity?” Shirky notes that the idea of citizen reporters and journalists have changed the way we find out about news and events, using the London subway bombings as an example. The web has become a source of news that outpaces traditional media: is this a good thing? Where do you go for news that is happening right now as opposed to a week ago (or even yesterday)?


I do think that the separation between “cyberspace” and the “real world” is becoming less relevant, but I do not believe the worlds are becoming one. I can see the characteristics of the “coming together”-I am a gamer after all!  I can talk to someone in another country that I am supposed to not like while we blow up bad people together online! A less tongue in cheek example would be how we can now track different viruses planet wide because we are connected to hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and researchers everywhere. Therefore, I understand his statements.  Shirky’s example of the Pickup Pal service is just a small example of how people are using the Internet to make things better. In that, way I can see the line between “real” and “cyberspace” fading a bit.

I was intrigued by the idea of cyberspace being the new printing press. I spent a couple of days digesting that section of the chapter trying to find other things in history that also facilitated that type of upheaval. If I remember my history right, the invention of the press was the precursor to all sorts of unrest and innovation. Control was leaving those who held all the information to those who could now access information and make their own decisions on how to react to the knowledge.  I was thinking it was a lot like the early trade routes. I learned in a recent history class that what we know as globalization started a few hundreds of years ago when traders began their exploration of the world and new cultures. Trade routes established access to new cultures that dragged many a country kicking and screaming out of their dark ages. The internet is a lot like that as well. Where we used to be transported to places in books, we can witness things with just a few well-placed clicks. People were brought together by technology (telegraph, telephone, television, autos) and separation by great distance is slowly becoming outdated. I can talk to my aunts in Texas on Skype if I want to see them, I do not have to hop on a plane. The internet is just the latest in a long line of “get together” technology-at least that is my take on it. If I were to name a difference it would be that the risk that printers had to take on new work as opposed to just printing the tried and true (Aristotle, the Bible…) is no longer there. I can put whatever I want in my blog. Of course that means the quality might not be very great, but it is still my form of new expression. Therefore, I guess I would have to consider it creating for the act alone, not thinking to receive anything but a satisfaction that I put something on the screen.

The ideas of abundance and scarcity are still a bit foggy for me. As a consumer I understand the idea that if there is not a lot of something the price goes up. In Shirky’s book, he says that while the quality of what is published goes down the tradeoff of the ability for the public to have a hand in the process of creating is a fair trade off. It has led to experimentation across the board!  My favorite example of this is the month long Nano Wrimo writing challenge that happens every year! I have yet to finish 50000 words but I give it a go every year! For all the schlock that is written, the occasional author is “discovered” (here is a list people who got their Nano Wrimo books published: I also love hearing about people discovered because of YouTube and the like.

Citizen reporters and journalists can pose a problem. I mentioned the tragedy in Connecticut in my last blog. The people feeding information to the professional reporters were all sure they had the correct information and for the most part, they were horribly wrong. That poor guy not only lost his mother and brother, he was vilified for an act he did not commit-all over the internet. I think that while the advent of smart phones and other sorts of mobile picture and video taking devices has been great for information as a whole, we sometimes have too much of a good thing. In certain instances, we need a bit of scarcity.

I do have friends that have escaped into the internet and sort forgot to come back. It is easy to do because you can be anyone online. In general, though I think most people are well informed enough to be able to sort through the obvious pitfalls. (I am an optimist at heart.) I have a close friend who lives for Facebook (and has the car accident reports to prove she is addicted to texting and tweeting while driving….) and Twitter and her online “following.” She would rather sit in front of her keyboard tapping away all night than go to a movie. I believe it can be a double-edged sword, like anything else. On the other hand, there is my mother who hates her cell phone and only uses her computer to play solitaire and enter Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. I think it is all a matter of degree!

I get my news from my local news station mostly. I do surf online for some things like my hometown newspaper. I do look online if I am curious about something, but for the most part, I save my newsgathering for 6 and 10! I will also go to my local stations webpage.