But It’s In the New York Times, So It Must Be True…

The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech - NYTimes.com

Incredible Editor’s Note following Thursday’s article by New York Times “tech” writer Nick Bilton

The Disruptions column in the Styles section on Thursday, discussing possible health concerns related to wearable technology, gave an inadequate account of the status of research about cellphone radiation and cancer risk.

Neither epidemiological nor laboratory studies have found reliable evidence of such risks, and there is no widely accepted theory as to how they might arise. According to the World Health Organization, “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all said there is no convincing evidence for a causal relationship. While researchers are continuing to study possible risks, the column should have included more of this background for balance.

In addition, one source quoted in the article, Dr. Joseph Mercola, has been widely criticized by experts for his claims about disease risks and treatments. More of that background should have been included, or he should not have been cited as a source.

An early version of the headline for the article online — “Could Wearable Computers Be as Harmful as Cigarettes?” — also went too far in suggesting any such comparison.

via The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech – NYTimes.com.

Discworld Reading Order Guide

With the death of Terry Pratchett last week, I realized it was my obligation to read the Discworld books (most of them again). I loved Pyramids, Going Postal, and The Fifth Elephant but I wasn’t sure exactly where to hop back into things.

This helps. I think I’ll start with Pyramids again and then skip over to the “watch novels” before circling back around.

“So much universe and so little time.”

the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg (1000×1795).

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett

I first encountered the Discworld books as a young reader trying to find something interesting at our public library, and they changed the way I thought about science fiction, satire, and our own world. I’m sad there won’t be more from him (his daughter might continue the series), but what a legacy (and a good way to leave this world)…

It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce that author Sir Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66. Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015.

via Terry Pratchett / Paul Kidby Discworld.

Colonizing the Colonials


To get the full implication of this piece, you have to listen to the Thinking Religion that Thomas Whitley and I recorded yesterday. Great show and the thought piece at the end regarding post-colonialism and the import of valuing plays in nicely with this…

In the same period, American public diplomats tried to influence education reforms in Western Europe, in view of the integration of North-Atlantic school systems and their cooperation in cold-war competition. Not by chance, in the 1950s Conant and his collaborators visited West Germany, Italy, Britain, and Switzerland as policy advisers.

via Why the US liberal arts tradition failed to take hold in Europe.

Dura Europos Looting and Devastation Update

Tragic.

“There is a complete and massive change to this site,” Wolfinbarger says, comparing the pre-war images to those collected in 2014 of the renowned archaeological treasure.

British soldiers discovered Dura Europus in the 1920s. They hit on the wall of the ancient city while digging a trench during World War I. Excavation revealed a provincial Roman town founded in 300 B.C.

Brian Daniels, director of research at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center in Philadelphia, describes Dura Europos as “a snapshot in time.”

“It has the oldest synagogue known in the world and it also has one of the oldest house church known in the world,” Daniels says. “The level of looting and devastation that’s happened to Dura Europus is heart-breaking.”

via Via Satellite, Tracking The Plunder Of Middle East Cultural History : Parallels : NPR.

GigaOm or How Not to End A Great Tech Site’s Existence

I started reading and writing about GigaOm way back in 2006 or 2007 with the advent of CostPerNews. When Arrington sold TechCrunch, I was glad that at least sites driven by their creators such as GigaOm were still there (post Read/WriteWeb etc etc).

I was sad to see that GigaOm and company are now shutting down due to lack of funding.

The web is changing and all things drift towards entropy. But GigaOm was one of those sites that employed tech writers I loved to read like Kevin Tofel and Matthew Ingram. It’s disheartening to see an outlet like that not able to survive in 2015.

Here’s to a better web that supports great writers.

I’m guessing this was written by someone who either was callous or someone who was disinterested…

A brief note on our company

Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along.

— Gigaom management

Writing Is Dead

Beautiful (and horribly depressing) read:

It is not just that people with degrees in English generally go to work for corporations (which of course they do); the point is that the company, in its most cutting-edge incarnation, has become the arena in which narratives and fictions, metaphors and metonymies and symbol networks at their most dynamic and incisive are being generated, worked through and transformed. While “official” fiction has retreated into comforting nostalgia about kings and queens, or supposed tales of the contemporary rendered in an equally nostalgic mode of unexamined realism, it is funky architecture firms, digital media companies and brand consultancies that have assumed the mantle of the cultural avant garde. It is they who, now, seem to be performing writers’ essential task of working through the fragmentations of old orders of experience and representation, and coming up with radical new forms to chart and manage new, emergent ones. If there is an individual alive in 2015 with the genius and vision of James Joyce, they’re probably working for Google, and if there isn’t, it doesn’t matter since the operations of that genius and vision are being developed and performed collectively by operators on the payroll of that company, or of one like it.

via The death of writing – if James Joyce were alive today he’d be working for Google | Books | The Guardian.

Is the Original New Testament Lost?

House of Cards is fun, but take a few mins to watch something a little more substantive this weekend (like this):

As you might expect, I argue that even though we have thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament,  we do not have many *early* ones — and hardly any *really* early ones.  That is why we can not (always? ever?) know with absolute certainty what the authors of the New Testament originally said.   That matters for lots of reasons, one of which is that fundamentalist Christians but their faith in the very words of the Bible.  But what if, in some passages, we don’t know what those words were?   Dan, also as expected, argued that we have such extensive evidence for the New Testament — more than for any other book from the ancient world — we can trust that we have what the authors originally wrote.

via My Debate with Dan Wallace: Is the Original NT Lost? – Christianity in Antiquity (CIA): The Bart Ehrman Blog.

My Tweets, Links, Music, and Books

Tweets, Links, Music, and Books - Sam Harrelson

I’ve put together a page here on my blog to aggregate all of my updates, music listening patterns, bookmarks on the web, and books I’m reading:

Twitter: updates etc

Music: iTunes / Spotify / Google Play Music / Pandora / Last.FM

Bookmarks: Pocket and Pinboard

Reading and Books: Goodreads

I was pretty proud of myself. I like having all of my consumption in one spot. I’m working on Instagram now, but they don’t have RSS feeds and clearly aren’t fans of users pulling their own pics out of their silo.

Tweets, Links, Music, and Books – Sam Harrelson.