The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why. As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were OK.
Gopnik’s Comment piece ends just as strong.
There is no reason that any private citizen in a democracy should own a handgun. At some point, that simple truth will register. Until it does, phones will ring for dead children, and parents will be told not to ask why.
As you might expect, New York and California have the highest number of total Cartoon Caption Contest wins with 87 and 76, respectively. But they also have the most losing entries.
This map shows that Alaska is actually the most successful state in terms of wins per ten thousand submissions! Though Alaska has only won the contest twice, the fact that it had a mere 2,102 documented contest entries renders its rate of approximately 9.5 wins per ten thousand submissions the highest in the country. Mississippi, another state not commonly associated with the New Yorker crowd, comes in at a close second, with 8.14 wins per ten thousand submissions.
I’m just getting back into listening to podcasts again, and noticed that the New Yorker Fiction podcast hit episode number 100. Congratulations to Deborah Treisman! If you’re not a subscriber already, definitely listen to some of the old episodes, there’s a lot of great stuff in there. This T.C. Boyle story is up there with the best of them.
It is starting to feel like Fall here in New York, and I am up to some new things since the last time I wrote here in January (!). By the way, those New Years resolutions? They are going terribly! So it goes.
The big news, if you hadn’t heard, is that I’ve left my job at the New Yorker magazine. I am still very proud of how the redesign turned out, and I learned a ton from my many amazing colleagues there, but after two years it just felt like time for me to move on. So I am back to freelancing, and feeling excited to work on some new things. And yes, I am looking for new clients, you should hire me!
In addition to freelancing, I’ve also started a fellowship at Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. I’m working with an awesome group of collaborators using telephony and wifi darknets as tools for gathering stories. I’ll be posting more about that here in the coming weeks.
Also, if you look around, you may notice I’ve updated my WordPress theme a bit. The underlying structure is very similar to what I had before, but I focused on a few key improvements:
The page layout is now responsive, so it works better on very small and very large screens.
Whenever possible, I’ve minimized my reliance on third-party tools (for example, I no longer use TypeKit for my header fonts).
So long green and red, hello pink! I’ve also made it easy to change the color scheme in the future through the magic of Sass variables.
Comments are gone! At least for now, maybe I’ll change my mind about that. I do love getting feedback about stuff I post on here, so drop me a line if you might have otherwise left a comment.
Of all the changes in this website update, the one I feel best about is cutting out the third-party tracking. I’ve noticed that YouTube embeds serve up a DoubleClick advertising tracker, just by loading a page with a video, which isn’t cool. Now video embeds only load on demand, after you’ve hit the play button (mobile visitors may need to tap two times). Naturally, you’ll still be tracked by Google if you play an embedded YouTube video, but otherwise the page shouldn’t leak data to any off-site parties.
The bottom line is I am in control of what goes up on phiffer.org, which includes things like hidden advertising trackers. Now there is slightly less ambient surveillance around here. Plus the pages should load marginally faster!
The police commissioner, William Bratton, was diplomatic, calling the gesture “inappropriate.” It was worse than that. It was an act of profound disrespect not only to de Blasio but also to the Ramos family members, who were there to grieve, not to witness a petulant display of resentment.
Through its bedrock appeals to friendship, community, public identity, and activism—and its commercial exploitation of these values—Facebook is an unprecedented synthesis of corporate and public spaces. The corporation’s social contract with users is ambitious, yet neither its governance system nor its young ruler seem trustworthy.