Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blogworthy: The Great Incomprehension

Okay, here is the third edition of 'Blogworthy'. I am a dork, I know.

1. "If Only Literature Could Be a Cellphone-Free Zone" [The NYT]

This is one of the most amusing, and clever pieces I have read recently. Imagine if Romeo and Juliet lived in the cellphone era!

2. "The iPhone Gold Rush" [The NYT]

Speaking of cellphones, the recession might be kicking everyone's butt. But, software engineers, and programmers can find some sort of refuge under the Apple umbrella.

3. "Generation OMG" [The NYT]

So what of the youth shaped by what some are already calling the Great Recession? Will a publication looking back from 2030 damn them with such faint praise? Will they marry younger, be satisfied with stable but less exciting jobs? Will their children mock them for reusing tea bags and counting pennies as if this paycheck were the last? At the very least, they will reckon with tremendous instability, just as their Depression forebears did.

I remember the '90s. The huge bonus checks, and the I.T. bubble. But, my generation, which is the oldest of the recent "Recession Generation", does not have the luxury to make grand plans about the future. I know three people who got laid off this past week. And, one of them has decided since the job market is so bad for the engineers of the world, he would be better off going back to school, than finding another job.

Things are bad, and this article discusses the affects the recession is having on the recent graduates, university students, and the high schoolers. We do not know how long this recession is going to last, and what sort of lifestyle changes we would be required to make. But our youth culture is embedded in commercialism, and consumption. I wonder, if people can make the same sacrifices that our predecessors did in the '30s.

4. "Help, My Degree Is Underwater" [Slate]

The article poses the question, "In the recession, does advanced education really pay off?" More people are going into "safer" professions, such as teaching. When the tuition is sky high, and over-qualified university graduates cannot find jobs, does it really pay off to go to university?

5. "Torture Versus War" [The NYT]

When the Central Intelligence Agency obliterates a dozen suspected terrorists, along with assorted family members, with a missile from a drone, the news rarely stirs a strong reaction far beyond Pakistan.

Yet the waterboarding of three operatives from Al Qaeda — one of them the admitted murderer of 3,000 people as organizer of the 9/11 attacks — has stirred years of recriminations, calls for prosecution and national soul-searching.

What is it about the terrible intimacy of torture that so disturbs and captivates the public? Why has torture long been singled out for special condemnation in the law of war, when war brings death and suffering on a scale that dwarfs the torture chamber.

Obama has strongly condemned waterboarding, and other terror tactics that the previous administration used, to interrogate "enemy combatants". However, he supports the drone airstrikes, which have killed hundreds of Pakistanis, children and women included. This article explains what makes torture the subject of public outrage, and the airstrikes unworthy of the same outrage.


Maria Sondule said...

I like the first article.
That's why books are slowly evolving to be about different sorts of things, things that don't necessarily revolve around not being able to contact people. In fact, I recently saw a book that was written all in im talk. I couldn't understand half of it... shows you how techie literate I am...

Zany said...

Maria the book you mentioned, the idea of it, sounds very creative. But, you are right, technology has taken away the mystery.