First Post/Catalyst/Playback

08/27/2008 § Leave a comment

Previously, I’ve posted random thoughts, poems, and journal-like entries on Myspace but I’ve decided to switch over to WordPress.  So far I think this decision is a winning one.  

I’ve just finished posting all the introductory peripherals/supplements to this new blog… the “about” page describes this project and what to expect from this site in the future.  “Yellowknife Runners” page will have music that my roommate Kyle and I have done.  There are plenty of links to keep you busy if you have nothing to do.  

Since it will be Tuesday for another hour and fifteen minutes, I’ll post some short comments on… (have to look up what Tuesday is…) technology.  Recently I’ve heard of some interesting developments in catalysts for converting ethanol into hydrogen.  NPR’s Science Friday program hosted a doctor from OSU (Go Bucks!) who had made advances with catalysts that (I hope I am remembering this correctly) were extremely efficient in turning ethanol into hydrogen.  90% hydrogen with these advanced catalysts.  Catalysts speed up a chemical reaction or allow the chemical reaction to take place under different circumstances  (  There was some talk of  whether or not this would be a worthwhile venture.  I think this had to do with potential trouble getting the gas stations to host the converting catalyst technology.  I didn’t get to hear a full response but I did hear there was a good deal of effort to get them moving toward converting stations.  The main advantage of having hydrogen at gas stations at first seemed to be the potential for reduced emissions… seriously, fucking water.  The neat thing I learned was that hydrogen is an incredibly efficient fuel.  More-so than ethanol.  There were figures but I’m not sure exactly what concept they were attached to.  There’s a possibility that cars passing in the fast lane muffled this part of the interview and that’s why I’m not sure.  Ethanol was 20 and Hydrogen was 60.  Efficiency figures?  I think of the hydrogen bomb being ridiculously powerful and it makes sense.  Still, it’s an important part to miss, right?  And not the first time either.  I seem to miss or have to leave during very interesting programs quite frequently.  This problem is solved by technology #2 of this post.  Which I’ve been intending to go get but I’ve been thinking about other things… 

So… what is this “technology #2?”  Pod-casting.  I guess this can be considered a technology.  An innovative application for technology?.  Regardless, I hope you’ll click over to NPR and look up the Science Friday pod-cast and find that my summary of what was discussed is somewhat accurate.  I wasn’t really into pod-casting when I received my first iPod for Christmas several years ago.  Now I seem to use this feature more and more.  It is really nice to have the news audio file under my control so I can go back and listen to interesting stuff I don’t want to forget… or interesting stuff that I miss.  This kind of playback ability seems to be easier to do and more  widespread now with digital technology (e.g. DVR, Tivo, mp3, Mpeg).  But, I am not sure if some valuable applications have been widely realized…  well, realized enough to become a resource that will be frequently applied.  Yes, with this digital format we can fast forward through commercials.  Sweet.  We can start over if another party joins in, we can move the scroll bar back to hear, one more time, the bad-ass verse by our favorite rapper.  What comes to my mind is fact checking.  The news is infrequently thought of something that would need to be replayed; however, I feel that this is very important.  Even on reliable news broadcasts it seems that news stories stream by so fast and increasingly become more sensationalized that facts get left behind, go un-emphasized.  Especially with the noise  that the visual scrolling bars at the lower 3rd of the screen introduce*.  So… we usually sit back and soak in the news.  It’s hard work to go back and scrutinize… but now it’s not as hard as it was before… we don’t have to transform into the investigative journalist on the beat… we just have to rewind and stay alert.   If we don’t try it what we’ll remember later on is the sound-byte we heard, and maybe hazily, our objection to it.  Look at Fox News… as well as other mainstream media tycoons.  What is there?, Hmm: political spinning, rhetorical re-framing, surface analysis, lightning fast counter-arguments that go unexamined, mis-paraphrasing*.  This all gets complicated and tightly interwoven.   Well now we can go back… to revisit quotes, to hear figures one more time.  (Thanks DVR!, Tivo!).  We can just click an inch to the left on the progress bar and tada!, our valuable information.  Just think, before, where would we go to gather this information?  Would we hit up a search engine for a comment made by a certain person in a such and such place around an approximate time?  Then shuffle through all the results and hope to find line by line dialogue of what we were looking for?  Now… if you miss it, go find an audio file of dat shit.  If its still playing, scroll back.  Play it, write down what you need, use it, cite it.  Make it easier to discredit these broadcasts and maybe as the snowball builds to a glacier the current strategies of televised journalism will have to change.


* Check out “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdock’s War on Journalism” for some in-depth examples of the rhetorical strategies they utilize.  Something funny: pay attention to the voice they use for the daily memos for Fox News… demonizing… more creepizing.  They’re teaching us about these types of rhetorical strategies and they include one in their own documentary!

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