.::making love to you with the best in Blogger interviews::.

Monkeys have accents too, experts say

November 30, 2005 at 12:11 pm | | Cool Stuff | | --Simon

There’s a cool article over here detailing how scientists have found that certain kinds of monkeys have distinctive accents:

TO the untrained ear monkeys of a certain species may all sound the same, but Japanese researchers have found that, like human beings, they actually have an accent depending on where they live.
The finding, the first of its kind, will appear in the December edition of a German scientific journal Ethology to be published on December 5, the primate researchers said.

“Differences between chattering by monkeys are like dialects of human beings,” said Nobuo Masataka, professor of ethology at Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute.

Man claims to be bullet proof, gets shot dead

November 30, 2005 at 12:03 pm | | News | | --Simon

I think we have a new nomination for the Darwin Awards here:

Two UAE nationals — Ali S. A. (38) and Abdullah M. S. (30) — were sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting dead a Sudanese national Abdel Monaim M. Y., who claimed to be bullet proof, was shot in the stomach and the head, resulting in his death.

The court found them guilty of premeditated murder.

Via Fark

Court weighs girls’ access to abortion

November 29, 2005 at 4:58 pm | | Politics | | --Simon

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Wednesday the US Supreme Court takes up a case that could change the abortion battle in a fundamental way, potentially allowing state lawmakers across the nation to enact more-restrictive regulations on a woman’s right to choose abortion.

The case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, examines the constitutionality of a New Hampshire law requiring teenage girls to notify at least one parent before obtaining abortions. It carries broad implications for reproductive rights nationwide, and could be a turning point in a debate that has divided the country for more than three decades.

We shall see if the court stands up against incremental change. If the pro-life supporters succeed in this realm, I’m left wondering what the next notch in the ladder will be.

Bloggasm Interview: Queerty

November 28, 2005 at 2:13 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

From Queerty’s “about” page:

Queerty was born out of a gaping void in online publishing. We looked near and far and just couldn’t find anything like the blog you’re reading right now: a healthy mix of style and fashion, entertainment and celebrity, news and politics and, yes, relationships and sex. If you’ve been surfing gay sites for even a day, you already know most of the content targeted toward the GLBT is porn, porn and, oh, more porn.

At Queerty, we want to take things up a notch. Or seven.

Simon Owens: As we progress into the 21st Century, many gays are starting to steer away from the label of being “gay” because they don’t like being categorized by their sexual preference. Do you ever feel limited by being labeled as a gay blogger?

Bradford Shellhammer: God no. Why would you not want to be labeled gay? Gay is a good thing. Hell, our whole site is based on how freaking amazing it is to be gay.

SO: What successes have you and other gay bloggers had in pushing for political change in terms of gay acceptance? Has there been any instances when you’ve been able to pull together a large protest or raise a significant amount of funds to help your cause?

BS: I don’t know how much success gay bloggers have had pushing political change. I can say that there are many I have inspired to dress better, so in a way, that helps the world. And no I have never held a protest or organized one. Living in San Francisco sours your attitude toward peaceful demonstrations. There was a rally or march every other day and it just got old fast. I’d rather stay home, drink champagne, and write a check to the organizations out there fighting for our rights.

SO: How close do you think we are to having the gay lifestyle accepted by mainstream society? We already have a show with gays on major network television (Will and Grace). Is this a reflection of the times changing?

BS: Will &Grace? Elton John? Queer Eye? I think it’s pretty accepted now. The times have changed. A lot. And it’s a generational thing. Give it a few more cycles. The biggots are dying and time is on our side.

SO: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading besides your own?

BS: They should read Jossip, because David writes me a check every two weeks and because he is funny as fuck. Gawker, because that is really how blogging should be done. Towleroad, because he’s the Newsweek to our People. Art is For Losers, because it is one big inside joke. Fleshbot, because there is always something to masturbate to.

Afraid of Commitment? Try a Pop-up Blog

November 17, 2005 at 4:57 pm | | Blog News | | --Simon

In a bid to lower the barrier to entry that keep many corporations from beginning to blog, marketing services firm ElectricArtists has come up with an option for the commitment-phobic — the “pop-up” blog.

Unrelated to the loathsome pop-up ad but akin to the pop-up store, the pop-up blog is created with a clear lifespan set before it is launched. It pops up and fades away, and its brief life span corresponds with an event, product launch, or other time-sensitive cause, Marc Schiller, CEO and founder of ElectricArtists, told ClickZ News. It’s a concept that others have employed occasionally in the past, but Schiller is the first to give a moniker to the phenomenon.

Read the rest over here.

Problems with Teen Blogging

November 16, 2005 at 11:19 am | | Ripple Effect | | --Josh

Cnet has an article about the problems associated with teenagers using blogs.

Read the rest over here.

Bloggasm Interview: Brutal Women

November 15, 2005 at 2:30 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

Bio:

I’m a bit of nomad, currently living in Chicago and moving to New York next year. I lived in Alaska for a couple of years, did a year and a half in South Africa, spent some vacation time in New Zealand. I need to cut down on the moving, though, as I’ve acquired too many books. My academic background is in South African political history, with a specialization in the history of women guerrilla fighters in Southern Africa. At heart, I’m a fiction writer, and some of my work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Talebones, and the internet mag Deep Outside. I’ve got a novel under consideration with an agent and another one about to go out. I attended the “boot camp” of speculative fiction writing in 2000, Clarion West, for six weeks. I currently cut out a living working for a telecommunications company and doing writing contract work. I’ve been keeping a blog at http://brutalwomen.blogspot.com for about a year and a half, and have picked up a lot of friends and feedback with it.

Simon Owens: Now that we’re in the twenty-first century, what are the current forms of discrimination that women are fighting against today?

Kameron Hurley I think that though we’ve gained ground on basic things like voting (!) and property rights (!), you’ll find that a number of the gains American women have been trying to achieve in the 20th century are still relevant in the 21st. Women are still making 17% less than men. We still don’t have any kind of universal healthcare system, which one may not see as a strictly women’s issue, but if you divide out who’s really gunning for universal healthcare, you’re likely to see a disproportionate number of women.

Hand-in-hand with that is the need for support services for women, particularly single mothers, in areas like childcare and children’s education. Women are still saddled with primary care of children, as they’re responsible for birthing them, though they certainly couldn’t *conceive* them on their own. We still have a very archaic worldview of the responsibility for children concieved by two partners.

While men and women argue over whether or not a woman can end a pregnancy, those same voices are eerily silent on how exactly they’re going to aid that woman in carrying a pregnancy to term and holding her partner accountable for half the genetic material needed to spark that gestation. While children are produced of a woman’s body, she can’t get knocked up on her own. You don’t see a lot of scare-headlines about all the “unwed fathers” out there knocking women up. Instead, women still get “blamed” for an act that takes two to begin, and her to body to end.

There have been studies done that say the best way to end poverty is to educate and provide proper healthcare to women. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men, and are more likely to be raising children in poverty. Uplifting women lifts up everyone.

We’ve also still got a long way to go regarding domestic violence and rape, which I think goes hand-in-hand with women being underpaid for their work and unable to find access to reasonably priced childcare. Women are more likely to stay in abusive relationships if they (and their children) are dependent on the abuser financially. A lot of these issues are very closely intertwined.

I’m also a big believer in teaching women how to be physically strong and stand up for themselves. Some people will knock you down anyway, that being their nature, but being able to defend yourself from a punch or walk into a room where your walk gives away the fact that you know how to defend yourself will dissuade a lot of trouble. That works for guys, too.

At a certain point, I think that women have to start taking care of themselves, because men and other women can’t be expected to. I would love a perfect society where nobody beat up on anybody else or used the threat of violence to control their partner(s), but I don’t live
there.

I think we’re at a point where women need to learn to be more vocal and stand up for their rights, for what they want, instead of accepting what they’re offered. We’ve reached a state of token-equality in this country, the sort that leaves us to think about how “lucky” we are “compared to women in other countries.” Well, sure, compared to Saudi Arabia, we have a lot of rights!

And it’s a sad fucking day when American women have to compare themselves to Saudi women in order to feel good about their lot in life.

Women are still underrespresented in television, movies, comic books, video games, sports, the House and Senate, the Supreme Court, the Executive Branch, the upper echelons of Fortune 500 companies, law, medicine, book reviewers (and books by women reviewed), magazine writers and editors, newspaper writers and editors, high-traffic blogs, non-romance writers, and etc. etc. The vast majority of our media, the view we’re given of the way men and women should be, is still a view primarily put out by men.

Women are also still fighting bogus or overhyped stories of gloom and doom about how men don’t want to partner up with educated women, strong women, smart women, women who are older than men, women who aren’t blond.

They’re still being told their eggs expire at 30, along with their looks.

In an effort to “fight” these “facts”, you’re seeing more and more women turn to surgery, botox, overtraining at the gym (which involves training for weight loss more often than muscle gain), and outrageous investments in cosmetics, clothing, and basic grooming. The hope is that if you don’t *look* like you’re over 30, you may still be worth something…

And it’s an incredibly sad day when anyone - male or female - judges their own self worth by how thin and blond they are.

We’re turning out young women who walk, talk, dress, speak and look the same. Women who hope to think just the same, as well. And if they don’t, they sure want to. It’s a 50s sort of conformity - everyone wants to look like Britney Spears and flaunt their sexuality like it’s
their only virtue.

And that’s fake feminism. Being able to flash my boobs in public and have lots of sex is great, but women and their bodies aren’t taken seriously at all (which is definately a social problem, and a great example of sexism). When you hit 30 and don’t feel like getting a boob job and your stomach stapled, what sort of self-worth does that leave you with at the end of the day in a hyper-sexualized society where 19 is the ideal?

When you wake up one morning and realize you’re an aging celebrity clone who forgot to go to college, doesn’t read anything but fashion magazines, and isn’t passionate about much of anything at all, what do you have left?

Our adolescent culture and its hyper-emphasis on sex and sexuality is a really effective way of keeping everybody’s energy focused on trivia, instead of stuff like the fact that we’re bombing other countries, the economy’s in the toilet, women’s rights are being eroded, we have no healthcare system, and our government in incompetent.

It’s a fun way to pass time. Wheeee!

SO: How does blogging factor in with the feminist movement? Do you find it increases organization and awareness?

KH: Blogging has been a fantastic tool, both to interact with the feminist community and raise awareness of events. I belong to a feminist blogs aggregate (http://www.feministblogs.org), and it’s been a fantastic way to meet like-minded women and men who both enjoy pointing out the absurdity of assumptions about men, women, and gender relations and learn about e-mail campaigns aimed at politicians who have a say on women’s health and equality issues.

Blogging helps bring more people out to protests, sure, and gets more emails out to politicians, but for me, it’s become more personal than that. On a more intimate level, blogging, for me, is about reaching women (and often, men) who may not hear a voice like mine where they’re living, people who read what I’m saying and yell, “Yes! Exactly! I thought I was crazy to think that, but look, here’s somebody else who feels the same way!”

And, even better, when I reach someone who’s never looked at a particular issue in the way that I’ve framed it, and after reading what I’ve written, goes out into the world and looks at it in a whole new way.

That makes it all worth it. That’s what I’m in it for. Those little moments.

I’ve received several emails from women who’ve been inspired to change thier lives because of something I’ve written.

That’s an amazing thing.

SO: What rights do you think are most at stake now that we have these new nominations to the supreme court?

KH: Well, we’re looking at more than abortion! And if guys aren’t worried about that one too, they should really be worried about the next one:

Availability of contraception.

The way you get rid of rights is to winnow them away. You ban “partial birth” abortion (not its technical name, BTW). You make underage girls get their parents’ permission to get abortions. You hold off on making the emergency contraception pill available without a perscription, though it’s been proven safe a billion times over. Then you start backing up pharmacists’ “rights” to not do their job and fill a prescription for contraception. Not just the emergency pill, which is basically just a big hormone dose that you can do at home yourself with your own BC, but regular birth control pills, too.

The Pill. The Pill that started the sexual revolution. The Pill that meant you didn’t have to marry the first guy you had sex with.

That’s some scary shit, letting that fucker get widdled away.

And it doesn’t happen all at once. That’s why you see people fighting and screaming every step of the way. It will be gradually. It will be one court case at a time.

And then one day men and women will wake up and realize they no longer have any control over their sexuality.

Shitty day.

The court could also have a lot to do with abitrating sexual discrimination cases, harrassment cases, rape cases, domestic abuse cases, and child custody cases, all of which should be important to both men and women, and particularly feminist men and women. These are issues where feminists have made some headway, but with an all-conservative lifetime-appointed court, I can see those rights being slowed tossed to the wayside over the next ten years as well.

If you don’t stay awake, people tend to take away your rights. It’s what people do.

SO: What are the five blogs other than your own that everyone should be reading?

KH: Definately read Feministing, a blog run by a bunch of smart, kick-ass women in New York; I Blame The Patriarchy, run by a brilliant, hilarious women in Texas who rants about everything from tacos to breast cancer, Black Feminism, an Atlanta blogger covering race and gender issues, and Amanda Marcott’s Pandagon, which has been picking up again after a bit of sketchy non-sequitor rants (we all go there at times), and has gone back to the usual witty commentary I so enjoy.

There are a lot more, but if you only want four….

I have more listed on my site. Check out the blogrolls at these blogs as well. You’ll find there are a lot of kick-ass women and men on the web with an eye on the state of gender equality all over the world.

Blogging Software Reviews

November 14, 2005 at 8:29 pm | | General Interest | | --Josh

Vinnie Garcia has posted reviews of the latest in blogging software on his website.

Read the rest over here.

Bloggasm Interview: Zoe Trope

November 13, 2005 at 5:59 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

Zoe Trope is the pseudonym of a 19-year-old Art History major. She often writes about school, knitting, kittens, and cooking in her Livejournal, which far too many people read. She is also the author of Please Don’t Kill the Freshman: A Memoir.

Simon Owens: Your book, Please Don’t Kill the Freshman, takes place when you’re in high school. Now that you’re in college, how have the people around you changed in maturity and how they interact?

Zoe Trope: I think the people that I’m around now haven’t necessarily changed in terms of maturity or interactions, but they’re simply different people. So immaturity and pettiness still abounds, but in different people and in different ways. In general, I’ve found that most of the people I’ve met here have been engaging, friendly, passionate, silly, and incredibly intelligent. I’m definitely much happier at college than I ever was in high school, but I don’t think that high school and college are entirely different.

SO: How successful has blogging been at providing promotion to your own writing?

ZT: Well, having a Livejournal/blog allows me to interact directly with readers. I can get their feedback, tell them about new projects, etc. When I made a ‘zine this summer, I had dozens of requests for copies that I couldn’t fill. It was a gratifying feeling to know that I could mobilize so many people to support my writing, and I try to use that sort of power to mobilize support for other things, too.

SO: Has blogging affected the way you write at all? Or are they just two completely different realms?

ZT: At this point, I’m not sure. Blogging helps me write more often that I would if I didn’t blog, so in a way it helps keep me in practice, but the voice I use in my blog and the voice I use in other writing are very, very different.

SO: What are the five blogs (besides your own) that everyone should be reading?

ZT: www.fluxblog.org — mp3 blog
http://copycommaright.blogspot.com/ — mp3 blog of obscure covers
http://www.batemania.com/bateman365 — not quite a blog, but a friend of mine has started a project to complete one animation every day for a year. so far he’s done animations of ted leo, deer hoof, jandek, elyse sewell and more. I love this because the animations are funny, serious, political, and some of them are just weird.
http://www.dailykos.com — I know a lot of people already read this one, but
I check it often for political stuff.
http://www.dieselsweeties.com/ – not a blog but a web cartoon. I love it all the same.

Michael Yuan’s Java Blog: “Is Ruby Replacing Java? – Not So Fast”

November 13, 2005 at 2:00 pm | | Blogger Gossip | | --Simon

Okay, I have heard it all: Ruby On Rails (RoR) is so much cooler and simpler than Java EE. It allows you to write web applications 10X faster. And Ruby has nifty language features we can only dream of in Java. So, Ruby must be replacing Java to become the “next” programming language just as Java “replaced” C++/COBOL and C++ “replaced” Fortran.

Read the rest over here.

Libya Jails Political Blogger

November 13, 2005 at 12:20 pm | | Blog News | | --Josh

Libya has sentenced a blogger to 18 months in prison after he criticised the government in his online articles, according to Human Rights Watch.

Read the rest over here.

Blogger Argues with NYT Food Critic

November 13, 2005 at 12:13 pm | | Blogger Gossip | | --Josh

Meet Julia Langbein, chief mocker of Frank Bruni - the chief restaurant critic of The New York Times.

Read the rest over here.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra launches blog

November 12, 2005 at 2:45 pm | | Blog News | | --Simon

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra launched a blog to share insights from musicians and others and engage the public in the orchestra’s activities.

“It was just another way for the orchestra to approach members of the community, to give them a behind-the-scenes look at what was happening,” said symphony spokeswoman Nicole Cerrillos.

Read the rest over here

Youths Use Blogs to Help Plan Riots in France

November 12, 2005 at 12:06 pm | | Blog News | | --Josh

CNN has an article about how police are dealing with bloggers coordinating attacks in France. “France’s government is policing cyberspace as well as rundown suburbs in the battle to end two weeks of rioting.”

Read the rest over here.

Best Practices for Business Blogging

November 12, 2005 at 2:45 am | | General Interest | | --Josh

EMediaWire has an article about the best practices for business blogging. “Business blogs can generate product buzz, increase customer loyalty and satisfy your employees. Follow these seven tips for an effective corporate blog.

Read the rest over here.

Testosterone-Free Blogging And More

November 12, 2005 at 2:41 am | | Ripple Effect | | --Josh

EWorldWire writes, “Women over 40 finally have an online resource just for them. Written exclusively for women, GreatIdeasforWomenOver40.com, provides middle-aged women with free expert information and guidance about leading more confident and successful lives.

Read the rest over here.

Bay Blogger Thursday

November 12, 2005 at 2:21 am | | Blogger Gossip | | --Simon

“Everybody and their mother seems to want to know what blogging can do for their business, especially for marketing, public relations and customer service. Conferences are organized around the concept, consultants hired, poor shmucks given the task of maintaining a blog for work, at work and for no extra pay. Folks still don’t really know what works, whether or not it’s worth the investment or how to do it in a way that draws customers in instead of alienating them.”

Read the rest over here.

Be a Blogger, Go to Jail

November 11, 2005 at 7:36 pm | | Blogger Gossip | | --Simon

Fair Measures Creates Blogging Toolkit to Keep Employees From Getting Dooced From their Jobs

That’s right. “Dooce” is not a typo, but a new word. According to the urban dictionary website “dooced” means “to lose one’s job because of one’s website.” Apparently, the term was created by Heather Armstrong who was fired for work-related comments on her blog “dooce.com” And Heather is not alone. Increasingly employers are striking back against employees for postings on their blogs. Employees are being terminated for blog content ranging from risqué pictures to sharing of confidential and proprietary information. Some employers are even searching the web as part of the hiring and recruitment process.

Read the rest over here.

Soldier Revives Banned Blog

November 11, 2005 at 3:06 pm | | Blogger Gossip | | --Josh

NPR has an interview with a soldier who kept a blog of his experiences in Iraq. “While serving in Iraq, Army National Guardsman Jason Christopher Hartley kept a blog of his experiences — until his commanders forced him to shut it down. Now back from Iraq, Hartley has incorporated his blog into a new memoir: Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq.”

Read the rest over here.

Senior Bloggers

November 11, 2005 at 2:54 pm | | Ripple Effect | | --Josh

CNN has an article about how blogging is being embraced by the elderly. “Web logs, more often the domain of alienated adolescents and middle-aged pundits, are gaining a foothold as a new leisure-time option for senior citizens.”

Read the rest over here.

Bloggers Fight Back Against Spam

November 10, 2005 at 3:46 pm | | Blog News | | --Simon

Mountain View-based Google is at the heart of a controversy pitting some top level bloggers against people who use the Blogger.com service to spread unwanted advertising pitches. Google’s response to the threat of the spam blogs, also called splogs, has also led to some problems for the service’s users.

Read the rest over here.

Blog bashes campus periodicals

November 10, 2005 at 3:29 pm | | Blog News | | --Simon

Two seniors have launched a feminist blog to address the issue of sexism at Yale and offer criticism of a number of recent articles published in widely-read campus periodicals.

The blog, named “broad recognition,” was created in late October by Della Sentilles ‘06 and Sabrina Manville ‘06 with funding from the Women’s Center’s Amy Rossborough Fellowship. While representatives of the Women’s Center said the new Web site could serve as an effective venue for campus-wide dialogue about sexism at Yale, authors of articles Sentilles and Manville have critiqued said they think the blog has misrepresented their arguments.

Read the rest over here.

Some skeptical of IBM’s blog monitoring software

November 10, 2005 at 3:27 pm | | Blog News | | --Simon

Businesses may be looking forward to trying out the new extension of IBM’s brand-monitoring software, but some bloggers are less sure the technology is a good thing. Watching what customers and the press are saying about a company online is nothing new. But IBM reports it is making the task of monitoring sentiment circulating on the Web about a brand much easier and more thorough. Dubbed the Public Image Monitoring Solution, the new software is an improvement upon IBM’s already existing WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition, and is said to read and analyze blogs, news articles, online forums and other Web material to find what is being said about a company and its products or services.

Read the rest over here

VoteMeRich.com Launches Free Blog-Based Cash Prize Competition

November 10, 2005 at 3:21 pm | | Blog Competitions | | --Simon

VoteMeRich.com launched this week, and already bloggers are signing up, working on their strategy to get voted rich. Some blogs are funny, while others are used as soap boxes to express how candidates feel about Halloween and Canada. One blogger has started a story and will post additional chapters if they are voted rich. Another has asked for help paying off their debt.

Visitors of VoteMeRich.com register for free to create their own VoteMeRich.com blog, and campaign for other bloggers’ attention and votes. Each month, or when what’s In The Bank reaches at least $1,000, voters will have a chance to first nominate their 10 favorite bloggers, and then vote for who should get the cash. The top 10% candidates of each voting round continue on until someone receives the majority of the community’s vote. What’s In The Bank is based on online advertising revenues.

Read the rest over here

China Closes Dissident Blog Nominated for Award

November 10, 2005 at 3:19 pm | | Blog News | | --Simon

Wang Yi’s Microphone, was nominated for two categories in the Best of Blog (BOB) Awards sponsored by German radio station Deutsche Welle.

“Initially I set up my blog as a place to collect together all my writings so they could all be seen in one place,” blog author Wang Yi told RFA’s Mandarin service.

“Then it gradually turned into a news blog, posting the sorts of articles that could not be published on other Web sites, on sensitive subjects like human rights. I was able to publish them on my blog instead,” said Wang, who teaches at Chengdu University in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

Dodging the censors

“But they have started blocking access to my blog in the past six months. No sooner do I find a way around the filters, than they manage to block it again,” he told reporter Ke Hua.

Read the rest over here

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