/blog > Transparency

photogallery

Are you posting photos online? You may be sharing more information than you want to…Read More…

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Filmmaker Werner Herzog has created a short documentary that captures the devastating effects of driving while texting. This is transparency at its most brutal. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but everybody should. Especially those who insist on fiddling with their phones while they drive.Read More…

528px-Punishment_sisyph

So here’s the deal.  A psychology professor at the University of New Mexico sent out the following fat-shaming tweet: Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth. This statement is absurd as it is obnoxious. Even if you buy into the idea that obesity represents a character flaw, that anyone who is obese must have become so out of a lack of “willpower,” there are too many successful obese people in the world for this to be remotely true. Plenty of fat people have written dissertations. #truth. So this guy is a jerk, stipulated. Still, I’m not sure that even I would be ready to lay on him the battery of punishments he is being subjected. He is being required to: Not serve on any committee involving the admission of graduate students to the…

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hafid

Back when I first started this blog I write a piece about how difficult a bell can be to un-ring in the digital age because of the magnificent infrastructure we have created which enables information to persist. But transparency takes many forms, and it isn’t always the information itself that persists, so much as it is the infrastructure for capturing and relaying it. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the case of the young woman whose iPhone was stolen from her on a beach in Spain. The thief has been making good use of her phone ever since, which she has been able to track because all of the photos taken on the phone are still going straight to her drop-box (oops.) Not one to waste this wonderful digital content that is coming her way, the phone’s original owner has started a unique blog over on Tumblr: Life of…

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DesignersAstronauts

…why this New York design agency makes its employees pose naked for official staff photos. Moreover, even after you read the story linked in the previous sentence that purports to tell you why they do this…you still won’t know why they do it. However, you will find a link within that story to this video (warning: some NSFW content) in which Jessica Walsh, one of the partners with the firm, doesn’t really explain why they do it, but does say that having done it proved to be a “highly functional piece of design.” What she means by this at that when the design firm sent out announcement featuring naked pictures of its staff, those announcements immediately received a huge amount of social media response: blog posts, re-tweets, etc. In other words, these people are taking off their clothes as a means getting attention. My two-year-old often does the same thing,…

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startrek

[Note: this piece contains a few minor spoilers for Star Trek Into Darkness.] An unexpected aspect of the appeal of Star Trek, as explained by Virgina Postrel: For many viewers, it turns out, Star Trek represents the ideal workplace. “I was most attracted to the competence of the characters,” said a Tennessee businessman. “It would be nice to live in a world or even work in an office where everyone was dedicated to their jobs and to each other and good at their work.” In retrospect, this escapist appeal makes sense. In Star Trek, the work is meaningful; the colleagues are smart, hard-working, competent and respectful; the leaders are capable and fair; and everyone has an important contribution to make. Star Trek features what law student Cindy McNew described as “a close-knit group of colleagues whose abilities complement one another and who don’t seem to take out their animosities or…

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NASAsnacks1

One area where we’ve come to expect a good deal of transparency is in the food we eat. “Read the label,” we are told if we want to know where the substances we put in our bodies — in particular the highly processed ones — are actually coming from. People want to know whether those bratwursts contain MSG, whether that breakfast cereal contains high fructose corn syrup, whether those peas have been genetically modified only by nature, or perhaps more recently in a lab somewhere. The need for accurate food labeling may take on a bit more urgency now that the idea of 3-D food printers is starting to catch on. NASA has just funded a company that intends to produce such a device, with the aim of making food handling and production much easier on long space voyages and — the company’s founder believes — possibly curing world hunger…

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google-glass

Nick  Bilton tells the story in The Wall Street Journal: As I approached the line to the restroom, I took a deep sigh, thinking that I might find some respite from the hundreds of cameras strapped to people’s heads at the conference. Yet when it was finally my turn to approach the rows of white urinals, my world came screeching to a halt. There they were, a handful of people wearing Google Glass, now standing next to me at their own urinals, peering their head from side to side, blinking or winking, as they relieved themselves. Welcome the future, where we have no secrets. I’m (obviously) a big believer in transparency and in the power of technology to keep people from hiding things from us that we have a right to know. But then there are those things that we want to keep — if not hidden — at least private. That’s going…

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elwood

…is that they are talking points. The recent revelations about Benghazi have drawn attention to how the official talking points about the tragedy were altered. There is a lot of focus on why and by whom. This is all well and good, but may I just ask a fundamental question about all this? Why the stink is our government handing us “talking points” to begin with? Let’s review what talking points are.  I grabbed the first few definitions I could find: Dictionary.com a fact or feature that aids or supports one side, as in an argument or competition. Merriam-Webster.com something that lends support to an argument; also : a subject of discussion TheFreeDictionary.com Something, such as an especially persuasive point, that helps to support an argument or a discussion. Wikipedia A talking point in debate or discourse is a succinct statement designed to support persuasively one side taken on an…

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ronburgundy

Ah, transparency in action. Rookie news anchor A. J. Clemente pulls a full Ron Burgundy, spewing  out nervous obscenities preparing for his first TV appearance: No doubt, there are lessons to be learned here about proper language in the workplace, knowing when a microphone is turned on or not, paying attention as to whether you’re on live television — all crucial considerations for a news anchorman. Still, I think most of us can’t help but feel sorry for him (and his poor co-anchor). What an excruciating experience, and what a humiliating way to lose your job. But all is well. When the video of Clemente’s disastrous debut went viral, it led to more than his dismissal from his new job at that North Dakota TV station. Apparently he was featured on the Today show this morning and will be on Letterman tonight. I’m guessing he will land on his feet,…

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