Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Jeneral finds of the week: 2016-10-16

The start of the movement to make our devices less addictive,the terrible environmental costs still incurred when recycling smartphones, could a Donald Trump happen in Canadian politics, and Michelle Obama’s powerful response to the 2005 Trump video —on my Jeneral finds of this week: 2016-10-16

The movement to make our devices less addictive

Blackberry launched the first portable device with email in 1999, hooking the corporate and government world. Then when Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, the consumer market for smartphones exploded. In Canada and the US, over two-thirds of the population have smartphones and/or tablets, and growing. It is a massive technological shift in this generation, creating an explosion of new companies to make different software and social media applications for our digital devices. Combined with a generation of users trained to expect that content and services should be free, the measure of success for many of these companies are things like size of user base, time spent interacting on the tool, and the data freely given by users in exchange for the free service.

However, in the rush to adopt all the wonderful and exciting that these devices and services offer to us, we are slow to consider the all the ill-effects of the technology. These applications are purposefully-built to be more addictive in the attempt to win the competition for our attention. In addition to the consequence of the time we spend on social media and games, there are many, many secondary consequences that we aren’t aware of yet. (I highly recommend Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle to help illuminate these consequences.) And if we aren’t aware of the consequences, we can’t devise strategies to deal with them effectively.

In many ways it feels like the wild west, where the laws and regulations and enforcement to protect citizens are setup after the initial fray of competition. Perhaps now is the start of the movement to deliberately make the usage of our devices less additive. Should there be something akin to the Hippocratic oath for software product design?

Tristian Harris may well be an evangelical leader for this movement, as profiled here in The Atlantic, “The Binge Breaker” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-binge-breaker/501122/?. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on his progress.

What I learned about phone recycling from Samsung’s combusting Galaxy Note 7 recall

Continuing on the theme of smartphones, I mistakenly thought that recycling old smartphones can reclaim the precious metals for reuse. That is dead false. The best case scenario for your old device that you don’t want anymore is to return it to be refurbished and resold: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/galaxy-note-7-explosion-environmental-impact-recycling

Could a Donald Trump happen in Canada?

The election south of our border has me both captivated and horrified. I can’t look away and stop reading about it, even though it just aggravates me to no end. Thankfully I’m in Canada, but I know I can’t sit here smugly in the belief that someone like Trump could not rise in power in Canada. It already happened in Toronto with Rob Ford. This article in the Globe was an interesting analysis about the factors that may have kept the similar extreme-right sentiments at bay to date in Canada: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/growth/could-trump-happen-here-canadas-left-behind-workers/article32245715/

Michelle Obama’s speech on Trump’s comments: ‘Enough is enough’

I hate that I’m continuing with another item related to that man, but this one inspires and creates fortitude, instead of indignant rage and disgust. Michelle Obama has given some powerful speeches in the last few months. This speech in New Hampshire, days after the tape of Trump uttering his lewd comments in 2005, was devastating. She made the political personal, and her reflections of her own experiences with men who objectified her body mirrored our own. She demanded better from those who would seek to lead the country, as we all should.


Jeneral finds of the week: 2015-05-22

In this week’s finds:  a definitive take down of the vulgar FHRITP heckling, the stay-at-home-moms of New York’s Upper East Side, and the value of living an examined life. I know the duration of “week” between Jeneral finds posts is erratic (it’s been what, 16 days since my last one?), but I’ll hope you’ll bear with me.

  • Of all the things I’ve read dealing with the vulgar heckling epidemic that female reporters have been facing in the last year, this piece by Tabatha Southey in the Globe has been one of the best. In it she expertly decimates any argument that tries to excuse the behaviour or declare his firing is an overreaction or a feminist witch hunt against guys just having fun. (In case you missed the context: Nearly two weeks ago a video went viral of a live-scene reporter confronting some men outside of BMO field after a Toronto FC game. She was sick and tired of putting up with multiple idiots yelling a particular sexual harrassment phase into her microphone as they passed that she decided to ask one of them why he did it. His and his friend’s response was not endearing to say the least, and it made the news a couple days later that one of them lost his job because of it. At least he has since apologized to her.)
  • In the latter part of last year when I was trying to decide what my next step was going to be, one option could have been to become a stay at home mom. I always felt unease with that choice for myself. This op-ed, Poor Little Rich Womenlikely distorts and amplifies my fears of divulging my power, status and self-identity in my relationship with my husband. Our financial and relationship situation isn’t anything like the ones profiled here, and yet…how can anyone guarantee it would never end up the same way? Still, the lifestyles of the truly rich are beyond my understanding, as is their self-selecting choice to sex-segregate their much of their socializing.
  • The importance of keeping a notebook is another reassurance that this blogging thing is something I should make an effort to keep doing.