NPR and the 24-hour News Cycle

A common critique of the "current state of things" is that we are so thoroughly saturated with information, especially news reporting, that we've lost our attention span and are more easily convinced of certain positions via sound bytes, talking points, and the like.

I always figured that with an entire channel (in fact, multiple channels) focused solely on news, 24 hours a day, that there would be enough time to really get into issues, showcase all points of view, have legitimate discussion/debate, and so on. For whatever reason, this isn't the case.

I think, like a lot of people in my generation for sure but probably a lot of people more generally speaking, I haven't really "read" a newspaper in a long time. I have a hard time reading through an entire news article and instead usually skim headlines, get the relevant details, and then impress people at parties and gatherings by appearing to be "abreast of all of the relevant issues." Just don't ask me any questions about details or specifics.

The 1st Quarter Double-take

UPDATE: I got a cease & desist order from Blogger. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),  my mix was copyright infringement. So all of the links have been taken down. I guess I'm flattered that they found my blog? Anyway, e-mail me, I suppose, if you are interested in the mix. Am I allowed to say that? I won't e-mail you the link. We can just talk about the songs...

Although Carles and his commenters seem to think 2010 has been the "worst first quarter of a decade ever for relevant music," I've been thoroughly enjoying most of what I've heard that's been released so far this year. Fluxblog already made a 1st quarter mix, and it is excellent so check that one out. But while I enjoyed almost everything on that playlist, I couldn't help but feeling that Mr. Perpetua left some really good stuff out.

The reason for the "double-take" moniker is this: I didn't want to put songs on my mix that were already on the Flux mix. Other times I couldn't decide what my favorite song from a recent album was. So instead of make difficult choices, or put in a less-excellent song just because Matty got to it first, I decided to put two songs from each album, which I like because it gives you a little bit better sense of what these bands are all about. Ever listened to a mix and really liked a song, and then got their album and were really disappointed? Well, have no fear - the Double-take has you covered.

One other thing I noticed that's important - this mix is 1.5 hours long. Whoops! Can't fit that on a CD. So I guess this is an internet/iPod/computer-only mix. Sorry to all the Luddites out there without standard current technology :(

Download after the jump.

Bite-Sized Musings: Death/Lack of Control

Editor's note: "Bite-sized Musings" is a blog topic theme developed in response to a criticism of this blog by Steve Norberg - friend and editor of Scan My Life - that the posts are too long and don't have enough pictures/bullet points to be digested easily. BSMs are short, relevant questions about important topics intended to generate discussion. They can only work if the "comments" feature is utilized. Please comment; thank you! <3

A Christian friend visited Sula House recently, and we "had a pow wow" and talked about theology. Of course heaven/hell was mentioned, and she asked me: "Are you afraid of death?" Because I'm not really a Christian, the question was kind of: "Aren't you afraid of Hell?" I'm not, because I don't really believe in it.

But I think the question has a more interesting philosophical underpinning - a lot of people who don't believe in Heaven or Hell still fear death. But why? I have a theory - because death is inevitable. I think that people who fear death also have an inherent fear of the inevitable.

Responses to Inevitability
1. Worry/Fear - Many people develop fear of "inevitables" because they cannot be controlled or avoided, despite human effort. "You can't stop it or change it! It's coming no matter what! There is no control! Doesn't that freak you out? There's nothing you can do about it!"

2. Indifference - Fewer people feel that because nothing can be done, there is no use worrying about something that cannot be avoided. "Well, I'm going to die someday and there's nothing I can do about it - so why waste the life I do have worrying about something I can't change?"

This doesn't just apply to things like death and (blaugh) taxes. You've already taken an exam and your professor is grading it. Do you worry about the outcome or relax because post-exam, it's completely out of your hands?

-> Do you worry about the inevitable or are you indifferent?
-> Are you afraid of death?
-> What other examples of "inevitables" can you think of?
-> Does your response to the "inevitable" change depending on its severity (i.e. I'm not worried about my exam score but the thought of death paralyzes me?)

The New Busy

If you live in Seattle (or one of the three other metro areas in which the campaign has been launched) then you have probably seen the new ads for Microsoft Hotmail. If you haven't, click the link, and the above image will make more sense. I actually think the campaign is sort of clever, though most everyone else on the internet that has commented about them tends to disagree.

Surely there are lots of reasons to dislike the campaign, but mine is less marketing-specific and more an underlying philosophical critique - what is the deal with championing a busy lifestyle? Do people these days really need to be more busy?