Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taking A News Vacation

photo from guenterleitenbauer on flikr.

"Putting your head in the sand" is a pejorative.  But what if your head is on fire?  All of a sudden, it makes some sense.
Especially if it is a grease fire.
Say, you were chain smoking while bobbing for fries and somehow that went sideways.  Putting your head in the sand would probably be the smartest thing you did that day.

But I digress.
I am going to put my head in the sand for a few days, in the interests of self preservation, or rather, sanity preservation.  Normally I like to keep up on things.  When my computer fires up in the morning, it automatically loads the New York Times, The Gothamist, The New York Times Local blog about my nieghborhood , and of course, Facebook, where my friends and I post a lot of links to news stories, in case you haven't noticed.  Then I go to work and listen to NPR for a good portion of the day.

I am fairly well-versed on the news of the day.  It has not served me well.
I have written my representatives a few times in the last couple months, which makes me feel like a more responsible member of society, but other than that....

What has the news done for me?

I guess this feeling started when I started ranting about my relationship with social media in the last podcast.  Once you step back and think about what you are putting your time into, and what you are getting out of it, you can really shock yourself.  This latest thought about the news emerged over the last week or so, as my news immersion got me thinking about the Dark Ages, and about a New Dark Ages.  I've been rolling a blog post around in my head trying to get it into some sort of shape.  The idea being the Darkness of those Ages was not imposed, but embraced, invented.  The knowledge, the science, the information was there, they just decided they'd go all Bartleby the Scrivner and...prefer not to.
And recently I'm reading the news and wondering if Bartleby is back.  If you had asked me at 20 years-old if people's trust in Science, generally, would halve in my lifetime, I'd have said no.  I've just seen it nearly halve in 2 years.  If you had asked me if more or less people would believe in evolution, I would have said more.  I would have been wrong.

But that, and health care, and civil rights and an almost surrealist level of local political corruption has just brought me to the point where I literally dropped my head onto my desk at the shop yesterday and just stayed that way for a full minute.  And why? To what end?
So, sorry news, it's not you, it's me, but I need some space.  I think it would be a good idea to see other media.
Sound familiar?  Here are some items I use to fill that media gap while on a news vacation:
NPR Science Friday.
Robert Llewellyn's Carpool.
TED Talks.
Philosophy Bites.
Security Now.
This Week in Tech. (news, but tech news)
Stuff You Should Know.
Etsy. (People creating! Making things!)
There I Fixed It. (People creating, making things...that they probably shouldn't. A testament to the indomitable human spirit. My only reservation is that it sometimes gets snarky, and I try to avoid snark during these breaks.)

So that's a start.  And hey, if you feel like commenting, please do so, and do so below.  This Disqus software is suppose to allow threading, etc.  and I was kind of hoping it would encourage some of the old DWO forum discussion, as the spambots beat me into submission and led to me shutting it down.  Also, I am trying to bust out of all my online communication passing through Facebook.