Saturday, July 25, 2009

science & religion today

I need to make a quick shout out for my friend Heather's website, Science & Religion Today. Yes, she's my friend, which makes this an overt plug. But the website is elegant and filled with good content. It's especially useful for people like me, who sometimes, rather hastily, think science and religion are like oil and water--they don't mix, and that's a good thing. Yet the truth is that they do mix, or are mixed, insofar as how billions of people think about and behave in the world. Exploring this intersection, then, is probably a worthwhile pursuit.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

fragrance communication

This is from a Japanese news item that I saw last month. (And you thought internet video was impressive.)

Internet users can already listen to streaming music while viewing other sites, but NTT Communications Corp. wants to entertain the sense of smell as well, using a technology it has dubbed Fragrance Communication. The company will begin field trials on a pair of Internet-based services this July using a fragrance generator called the "i- Aroma," which connects to the PC and will make and emit specific aromas based on fragrance recipes downloaded from the service sites. Participants in the trials will have the opportunity to experience some 14-18 aromas over the course of the day as the different recipes are transmitted from the services.

Monday, July 20, 2009

state of the biz

Is the fate of journalism really so ominous? This mock charity ad a friend sent me sums up the feeling within the biz.

For newspapers, Buy One Anyway feels just about right. But here and there for journalism as a whole, there are glimmers of hope. GlobalPost, which I wrote about earlier, is of interest, although it's not exactly new to imagine (read: wish) that people will want to pay for good journalism. More interesting, I think, are grant programs to help make good stories happen in light of the fact that traditional media outlets are too broke (and cheap) to fund enterprising work. Two to watch: Spot.Us and ProPublica. I haven't turned to these sources yet, but I'm keeping these links close at hand. If these projects are successful, they will make resources available for good reporting on a much wider scale than some of the uber-prestigious grantors out there, such as the Alicia Patterson Foundation. A new model for journalism? Probably not, but it's sumtin'.

And there's more. A fellow writer recently pointed me toward Pitchtopia. Billed as a meeting place for writers, editors and agents, the website lets writers post pitches for editors and agents to browse. It remains to be seen whether it will work. As I see it, writers will try anything and everything to get their ideas out to the world because they're always in need of a gig. They'll sign up in droves. On the other hand, editors may already have plenty of their own resources for finding and developing stories, as well as many capable writers in their stable. Because of that, I'm not sure I see the incentive for editors to sign up for--and actually use--Pitchtopia. But what do I know? If this thing is good for journalism and the writing profession in general, I'd love to be wrong.