Archive for April 27th, 2010
A few years ago, I could make her spin either way. I’m having trouble with her tonight. She strongly wants to spin clockwise (relative to the floor). To make her spin counterclockwise, I need to cover her top half, then focus carefully lest she slips into the clockwise spin again.
What an incredibly elegant illusion! In fact, she is one of Wikimedia Commons’ “Featured Pictures,” “which means that members of the community have identified it as one of the finest images on the English Wikipedia . . . ”
This NYT blog entry identifies the creator of this image: Nobuyuki Kayahara.
The silhouette image of the spinning dancer doesn’t have any depth cues. As a result, your eyes will sometimes see the dancer standing on her left leg and spinning to the right. And sometimes they will perceive her as standing on her right leg and spinning to the left. Most people, if they stare at the image long enough, will eventually see her turn both ways.
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is offering its five finalists for worst toy of the year for those who would like to cast their ballot:
CCFC will present its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the worst toy of the year. From thousands of toys that promote violence and/or precocious sexuality to children and push branded entertainment at the expense of children’s play, CCFC has selected five exceptional finalists.
I have occasionally ruminated our improved ability to see and understand the universe around us. On this blog, it usually is in terms of comparing the Young Earth view with what we’ve learned in the last few hundred years. Posts such as The Universe is not Specified to Human Scale and My limited vision make the point.
But I’ve started another blog that focuses less on politics and culture, yet found that one of my first posts again addresses the issue of how we’ve improved our vision of the world around us in the last few dozen generations. Please peruse The Object At Hand: Light Lens a Hand, to Help us Understand and see if I am off the beam.
I just watched a Fresno local news report regarding a Tea Party protest of William Ayers. Watching this TV report reminded me of the adage about a tree falling in a forest: If Bill Ayers simply came to California to give a talk, but there were no Tea Party demonstrators in sight, you wouldn’t hear anything about it on the news. But when a smattering of Tea Party folks comes out to protest Ayers’ right to say anything, it becomes news. Once again, we can see that raw, visceral, uninformed conflict is driving our news–not ideas and certainly nothing productive.
The bottom line take-away from this report appears to be a reinforcement of the Manichean world view. This TV display of lots of heat and not much light is standard fare for television news. Hence, my term, “conflict pornography.” This type of consciously-injected agon is furthered by flashy banners and the sound effects, as well as terms like “Action News!” All of these media tricks smoothly tap into that inextricably deep human misconception that “Movement is Progress,” combined with our deeply rooted xenophobic impulses: Keep moving! Outsiders are threatening you! Keep fighting! Pay attention! Buy this! Buy that!
But back to this TV news report. Consider the opening line of the news anchor in the video: “One of the leaders of a radical movement of the 60′s and 70′s . . .” Note the sarcasm dripping from her voice when she reports that Ayers is claiming that “he has something in common” with the protesters.
I think that it’s time for these reporters to take a deep breath and focus on the bigger picture: what was the context of the “radical” actions of Ayers? I would suggest that many (maybe most) modern Americans would agree with most of the principles of his “radical movement” (that “Terrorism was what was being practiced in the countryside of Vietnam by the United States.” And see here). On the other hand, I would agree that most Americans would disapprove of the use of any sort of bombs, even where the bombs were carefully planned to explode in empty offices, so as not to cause any injuries. And further consider the failure of this report (and most others about Ayers, especially during the Obama campaign) that Ayers has repeatedly questioned his own tactics.