Our Amazing Interwebs, Episode CCXXIV

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In case you haven’t heard, a guy named Gene Marks wrote a column for Forbes magazine called “If I Were a Poor Black Kid.” Mr. Marks is manifestly not (and never has been) a poor black kid, and his column is full of all sorts of helpful advice – including a rah-rah listing of technology (Mr. Marks’s usual beat is business tech) – to help someone who is a poor black kid overcome the disadvantages of being a poor black kid, just like Mr. Marks never had to.

Here is Mr. Marks’s column, which has been virally infesting all corners of the Internet this afternoon. Go read it. Then click the logo above and read Jeff Yang’s reply column, posted on wnyc.org. Mr. Yang, like Mr. Marks, is not a poor black kid. Nor is he a rich white dude, but he has written a column ostensibly from the perspective of a poor black kid, full of actually useful advice about how a rich white dude can avoid coming across as a snotty, ignorant jackass when discussing something about which he is entirely uninformed. (Spoiler: It involves getting informed.)

I am not confident that Mr. Marks will learn anything from this episode. The snark and derision of the Interwebs are more likely to make him defensive than contrite. And rich white dudes are so hard to teach. But one can dream.

The Interwebs Continually Amaze and Astound

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Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is an absolutely brilliant webcomic retelling of the story of Pied Piper of Hamelin. The art is terrific but the use of technology to enhance the visuals – you’ll see what I mean as you scroll rightward on each page – makes it a truly engaging piece of work. I was sad to see that only three (long) pages are done so far; I’m looking forward to the rest.

Click old Ratty up there to see it all.

Welcome to the future

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

Holy. Freaking. Crap.

I don’t think there is a better argument for continued efforts in space travel than the sheer gorgeousness of this video. Sure, you can talk all you want about scientific benefits, improved understanding of our world and the universe, not having all our eggs trapped in a single fragile basket, and so on. But I find the surge of awe and wonder engendered by this video to be far more inspiring than any of that.

Be sure to embiggen the video. It deserves your full screen.

Linguist Llama

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Dammit. I am no longer a linguist, so these things are mostly going right over my head.

But it’s a llama. Goddam comedy gold.

How amazing would it be if a lolllama meme made me want to study linguistics again? (Not to mention how unlikely. There may be some Tennessee whiskey involved in my current thought processes.)

But come on. A llama. And linguistics. It’s destiny.

Grayson 2016? Pleaseohpleaseohplease?

I can’t believe Grayson’s district voted him out of office in the midterms, but I am glad to see he is still around and still schooling the right wing. (And I’m sorry, P.J. O’Rourke, you were funny in your National Lampoon days, and you are kind of funny on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, but your politics are abominable. Seriously, “get him a bongo”?) Not visible on this clip – the standing ovation Grayson got.

Grayson could very well get my vote in 2016. He could even be the seed of a viable new party. (OK, that’s probably just wishful thinking.)