“I mean, what kind of a narcissistic society is it that ­people want to put out there, This is my life, and this is what I did yesterday? I mean … good grief. Doesn’t that strike you as strange? I think it’s strange.”


Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, admitting he doesn’t have many Facebook friends


“If I’m applying the First Amendment, I have to apply it to a world where there’s an internet, and there’s Facebook. And there are movies like The Social Network, which I couldn’t even understand.”


Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer


“V-chips won’t work?”


Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, wondering if TV technology can be used to censor violent video games


“Could Quon print these spicy little conversations and send them to his buddies?”


Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, inquiring on the possibility of printing text messages


“Well, I didn’t — I wouldn’t think that. I thought, you know, you push a button, it goes right to the other thing.”


“Does it say: ‘Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?’”


Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, asking what happens when a text is received at the same time another is sent


“Maybe everybody else knows this, but what is the difference between the pager and the email?”


Chief justice John Roberts


“The court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email.”


“We had a taste of what The Wire was before The Wire came out when they did The Corner. It was like Star Trek compared to Star Wars. Star Trek was good, but you wanted to see more detail. I wanted to see some space fighting. When Star Wars came out it blew my fucking mind.”


Method Man (“Cheese” Wagstaff), on The Wire


The Economist:

There is something dangerous lurking in the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea. Nearly 70 years after the victorious Allies dumped thousands of tonnes of Nazi chemical weapons and chemical agents into the Baltic Sea, experts have warned of an environmental disaster as the weapons corrode and their deadly contents spill into sea.

Under an agreement reached at the Potsdam Conference in 1945, Britain and the Soviet Union dumped around 65,000 tonnes of Germany’s chemical weapons stockpile into the murky depths of the Baltic Sea in 1947-48. Since then the threat posed by the shells and drums full of hazardous waste has been subject to speculation and research. Some scientist called it a “ticking time-bomb”.

It now appears the ticking has got louder. Recent research by Poland’s Military University of Technology has found traces of mustard gas on the sea bed just a few hundred metres off the Polish coast, in the Gulf of Gdansk. This indicates corrosion of the metal, and that poisonous chemicals are now leaking into the water and could be absorbed by fish, entering the food chain. Scientists are concerned, but not just because containers are leaking. There should be no chemical weapons in the Gulf of Gdansk as this was not a dumping zone. Stanislaw Popiel, from the team of the military university, which carried out the research, said that it was hard to say where the contamination came from.

Good grief.


The American Reader:

I have a fun game/exercise that I play with my rhetoric classes. I pick a seemingly innocuous phrase that is (over-)used in mass media, then I ask the class to explain what it means. No matter what they say, I either pretend not to understand, or ask “no, but what does it mean?” The students think it’s frustrating, then funny, then, frustrating again. A favorite phrase for this game is “senseless violence.”
The point of the exercise is to examine some of the contradictions or confusion we use in everyday language. I feel this way about the phrase “faith in humanity,” and especially “restore [my/your/anyone’s] faith in humanity.” What is humanity, what does it mean to have faith in it, and why does the faith need to be restored? I assume that humanity means something close to “the goodness of human nature,” and not “the essential or unifying nature of personhood,” but I’m really not sure. At the very least the repeated recycling of this phrase should serve as a reminder of the Sisyphean task of restoring faith in humanity, whatever it may mean. Humanity is always already in doubt; our faith must endlessly be restored.

This exercise is one of our most potent writing tools for Cards Against Humanity, dissecting bullshit mass media language is a goldmine for us.

(via merlin)


Anonymous asked: “patrick I loved your panel about Internet harassment but I can't help but feel there was a bit of tone deafness on your part due to holding it at PAX East given Penny Arcade's association with harassing people, especially those belonging to marginalized groups. I don't want to make this seem like a personal attack it just seemed a bit strange.”


PAX is a strange one for me. It’s entirely true that I have deep problems with it, but I also recognize what PAX means to a great many people who a) don’t realize the problematic issues surrounding PAX or b) don’t have anything else like it and deeply love PAX for how it enriches their lives.

Everything in life is a cost-benefit analysis. It’s impossible to live everything by your values, but we use them to guide us. PAX is one where I take the hit on my values and make up for it with what I have a chance to do while there. Giant Bomb is a community-driven website with limited resources (we seem mightier than we are) and would not survive without the support of the people who visit (and pay) for the site. It’s what makes PAX so important: it’s the only place we have to interact with those people face-to-face. It’s the only place where I can thank them for what they do.

So I end up doing the panel with Zoe Quinn, figuring if I’m going to be at a place like this, if there are other people going to be at a place like this, I should try and do some real good. And by real good, I don’t mean interviewing a developer and publishing a podcast. I mean trying to make a difference in someone’s life. I feel like we took step towards that at our panel. It’s possible that I could be doing more, but that’s always the case.

It is not a perfect solution, but it is the one that I’ve made my peace with.

The notion that “you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution” is an impossible standard that impedes actual social progress, which always happens incrementally. A much better way to make a difference is to contribute as little as possible to the problem while contributing as much as you can to the solution.

It’s important to hold yourself and others to a high standard, but when people try to do good and you punish them for not doing enough, it makes it hard for them to try again.



after weeks of traveling, this is now my favorite spot in the universe.


New York Times:

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.

Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.

In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.



Avoid the Polaroid (Reblog Edition): 
When reblogging photo posts, follow these 10 steps to add images to Tumblr photo captions — without displaying the gray “Polaroid” icon for external images on the Dashboard. (Note: A caption image appears at a maximum width of 125 pixels on the Desktop Dashboard but expands when clicked.)

If you are creating a photo post and want to add an image to the caption, see the original version of this post.

Note to self: If users of something I make are ever sharing infographics describing the ten steps necessary to use a feature I don’t offer, just offer the feature.