Baby Herbal Soup – what part of the word “hoax” don’t you understand?

March 29, 2010

Every now and again EM gets over run with people being directed to my various posts on the so-called Chinese Baby Herbal Soup story.

I have repeatedly pointed out that this is a hoax that began circulating a few years ago following a confronting and controversial performance art piece by a Chinese dissident artist Zhu Yu. But the set of images taken of this exhibition – in which Zhu does appear to cook and eat a newborn, or fetus-like human form – continuously bounces from bulletin board to chat room where the same old tired, racist cliches are trotted out until some more rational member of that forum kindly links to one of my denunciations of the hoax.

But it shows you how wide and shallow most of the internet pool actually is that the same junk-information and same slimy muck rises to the surface in different areas at different times. Such as this one, this week,  from Gaijin Pot; a forum ostensibly about expat life in Japan.

It's a hoax; not recent news from China

Another one popped up too at Rekords Rekords. Both of these sites are linking to the Seoul Times piece I mentioned in a blog several months ago. I wrote to the editor of the Seoul Times asking her/him to take down this offensive rubbish. I didn’t ever get a reply. The Seoul Times is not a credible news outlet, but it does have a masthead and therefore can very easily mislead the dribblejaws.

It is irresponsible for anyone to continue recirculating this hoax and I am grateful to all the sensible folk who brave the stupidity of  these threads and  link to my posts on this. Keep it up, the world needs you to maintain your vigilance against ignorance and prejudice.

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Chat roulette – too much weirdness for me

March 17, 2010

I’ve just spent about 20 minutes on the latest gimmick website Chat Roulette; I won’t be going back for a second look.

One round of weirdness is enough for me.

In case you’ve missed it – and that would be hard, given the press coverage in the past two weeks – Chat Roulette is an even more instant and ephemeral application than Twitter.

The basic premise is that you go to the site and turn on your webcam. You are then randomly connected with the other users – when I checked it out late on a Kiwi Wednesday afternoon there were 20000 similarly bored souls linked in.

I few of the “partners” I was connected with didn’t have their cameras on and all I can say after my brief excursion is that was probably a good thing.

I managed to capture some screen shots of the worst offenders, but why they would go to the trouble, I don’t know. I suppose the chances of finding someone to play hand music with are higher on Chat Roulette than just about anywhere else online – at least for free. But these unattractive specimens would cause most sensible people (me included) to quickly hit the “next” button.

Adults only content after the jump. Please don’t go there if you’re offended by fat hairy bellies and scruffy men’s undies.

Some sensible people write about Chat Roulette

Zoe Williams in The Guardian

Sam Jones in The Guardian

Rebecca Barry in the NZ Herald

Read the rest of this entry »


Old School Journalism v. Blogging

February 5, 2009

This is a little gem from YouTube.
Just for fun

It makes an interesting comparison when viewed against this Chris Prillo piece about journalism and blogging.


Kevin’s march back to the Ruddy Dark Ages

February 3, 2009

When I voted “Kevin ‘o7” in the Australian federal election I didn’t expect John Howard MarkII, but it seems that’s what we got.

It was no secret in 2007 that Kevin Rudd had done the fashionable thing and “found God” somewhere along the dark road that is Labor politics in Australia, but now his government is fixing to introduce internet “filtering” laws that the Ayotollahs would be proud of.

In fact, the Chinese regime could possibly learn a thing or two about using moral panic as a weapon against the unholy recesses of the world wide web of filth that’s endlessly repeating itself across the reaches of cyberspace.

Today, I read a disturbing piece in New Matilda which is rapidly becoming one of the few sensible voices in the Australian media wilderness.

Christian Lobby: The New Lions of Clean Feed

The news that so alarmed me is that an ultra-conservative Christian group is now dictating a national firewall policy that will have far-reaching consequences for what Australians can legally download and view over the internet.

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Social networking and the NYT – be careful what you sign-up for

February 3, 2009

Thanks to Poynter Online for posting the New York Times guidelines for reporters using social networking sites as a journalistic tool.

The first guideline is about politics or controversial groups and flagging your own political beliefs

If you have or are getting a Facebook page, leave blank the section that asks about your political views, in accordance with the Ethical Journalism admonition to do nothing that might cast doubt on your or The Times’s political impartiality in reporting the news. Remember that although you might get useful leads by joining a group on one of these sites, it will appear on your page, connoting that you “joined” it — potentially complicated if it is a political group, or a controversial group.

This kind of defeats the purpose of being on Facebook. Surely one of the benefits is being able to “meet” with like-minded people and to share your views. Also, if you don’t join a group, how are you going to find out what its members are thinking and doing?

I think this could lead to problems of another ethical variety — reporters using an alias to join controversial groups and not disclosing that they are working for a news organisation and then using material in the paper or in their journalistic work.

The constraints that the Times puts around its staff use of social networking seem a little overbearing. At the sme time they don’t seem to take into account the real journalistic abuses of Facebook and the other sites.

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I’ve taken sides in the social networked war

January 15, 2009

The propaganda war in cyberspace is hotting up. It’s an interesting twist on social networking that Facebook has become a battleground in the Gaza conflict.

The BBC is carrying a detailed report about hacker attacks on pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian websites.

Gaza crisis spills onto web [BBC]

I’ve also joined a Facebook group “Stop Israeli attacks on Gaza”


A last little bit of England

January 12, 2009

I’ve been back from the UK for about three weeks and I’ve just finished marking the project work my City University students completed last (UK) semester.

I’m actually quite proud of them. We had about 11 weeks to get our heads around a totally new (to them) topic and to learn the rudimentaries of journalistic writing in a web environment.

The paper they did is called “WEEM” – Writing and Editing for Electronic Media. So not only did they have to read up on convergence and new media journalism, they had to learn to write in an online environment and then to rustle up some half-decent HTML so that their projects could sit on the web.

Like all student work, this is a bit eneven. Some bits are better than others. But, overall I think they’ve done a very good job.

Some interesting topics were covered and I think it’s worth sharing.

Convergence Culture.UK.ORG

There’s no way for you to leave comments on the project pages unfortunately; it’s all rather static. However, feel free to comment here on the work as a whole, or on individual projects. I have let the class know that this link is here and that they should come back now and again to see who’s commented.

I would appreciate if you keep the commentary positive. All dribblejaws comments will be swiftly deleted, so don’t bother.