Who Needs Facebook And Google?
Posted on 03.10.18 by Danny Glover @ 9:27 am

The founder of The Babylon Bee, a popular religious satire site that was in the news last week for being wrongly flagged as a purveyor of “false” news, has launched a new project designed to aggregate real news from a religious perspective.

A simple website styled like the Drudge Report, It’s called the Christian Daily Reporter. I’ll be interested to see whether the site gains any traction in light of founder Adam Ford’s philosophical decision to eschew all social media, as these excerpts from the site’s manifesto explain:

  • “The majority of people get their news from social networks. We rely on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, YouTube, etc., to such a degree that we allow them to decide what content we consume, what issues we consider important, what news is news, what is and is not allowed to be said, what’s true and what’s not. These companies shape the way our brains think by controlling what our eyes see every day.”
  • “For a few companies to have the power to control the way billions of people think is terrifying and dangerous. It is unacceptable. … These companies are increasingly hostile toward Christian content and information. This will only get worse as time goes by. It will not get better.”
  • “The Christian Daily Reporter is a source for the most important news and content from a Christian perspective — and it lives outside the tech-giant information choke hold. We are not on any social media network. We refuse to be beholden to the Internet content gatekeepers. CDR is intentionally not optimized for Facebook or Google. We don’t want social media or search referrals. We are 100 percent independent.”

As someone who has studied and reported on every content revolution in the information age, from blogs to social media, I am intrigued by this plan to get back to the basics. The great promise of the Internet has always been its ability to take power from media gatekeepers and give it to news and information consumers. The idea is to give them EVERYTHING and let them filter it as they see fit.

Somewhere along the way, huge technology monopolies figured out how to take that control back from us, with our consent but without us truly understanding what was happening or how they were shaping our mind. If we can reclaim some or all of that power, that’ll be a good thing.

I wonder if the Christian Daily Reporter could use an assist from an enlightened redneck with more than two decades of journalism experience and a passion for the Bible.

Filed under: Culture and Media and News & Politics and Religion and Social Media and Technology
Comments: None

Time To Fly In Manassas!
Posted on 03.09.18 by Danny Glover @ 10:27 pm

Three months to the day after submitting the request, today I received a six-month authorization to fly my drone for commercial purposes in the airspace that surrounds Manassas Regional Airport.

This is a big development for Airscape Photography, my aerial photography business. It means I can start marketing my services to real-estate agents and other potential clients close to home. I also can move forward with plans to offer a drone class to homeschooled students.

Airscape Photography is an FAA-certified drone photography and cinematography company based in Northern Virginia. We specialize in real estate imagery, including footage of golf courses and resorts, and aerial landscape photography. Our other services include aerial inspections of residential and commercial properties for insurance, inventory and other purposes.

Contact me at airscapephoto@gmail.com to schedule an aerial shoot of your home, business or other property! And follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

(Photo credit to Cedar Box Photography, which shadowed my visual observer and me on our last project just outside Haymarket, Va.)

Filed under: Aerial Photography and Business and Drones and Home Schooling and Photography and Virginia
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The W.Va. Teachers’ Strike On Wikipedia
Posted on 03.05.18 by Danny Glover @ 9:44 pm

The teachers’ strike dominating headlines in West Virginia for the past week has been a relatively peaceful affair by historical standards in the Mountain State. Teachers and their allies are making a lot of noise inside and around the state Capitol, and so far they haven’t faced any crackdowns for it. The clashes have been verbal in nature rather than physical, and the rhetoric has been pointed without getting ugly.

It was a different story on Wikipedia over the weekend. Anyone can edit content at the online encyclopedia, and a few mischievous users decided to abuse that editing privilege by vandalizing the entries of at least two key West Virginia senators. Wikipedia restricted access to those pages because of the troublemakers.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, who also holds the title of lieutenant governor, was the primary target. His Wikipedia page was altered repeatedly on Saturday.

Several of the edits were so childishly ornery that you had to chuckle at them. The editors accused Blair of hating pepperoni rolls, the official state food, and being either a “closet” or “verified” fan of Pitt, the much-maligned rival of West Virginia University. He also was dubbed the “Son of Voldemort,” a reference to the evil villain in the “Harry Potter” books and movies.

But other revisions to Blair’s Wikipedia page, such as changing the office he holds to “Smug Ignoramus” and his college degree to “Bachelor of Being a Big Ahole” and “Bachelor of Being a Jerk,” were downright nasty. Here are some of the other edits that were quickly stricken:

  • “He is known to hate all teachers and public employees.”
  • “He can only laugh when children cry.”
  • “Hobbies include kicking puppies and making babies cry.”
  • “His life goal is to stop all celebrations of holidays.”
  • “He is perhaps best known for his theme song, ‘Move Mitch, Get Out Da Way,’” an allusion to a vulgar song by the rapper Ludacris.

The ad hominem vandalism aimed at Sen. Ryan Ferns, on both his Wikipedia page and Carmichael’s page, was even worse. The edits mocked Ferns as being a “favorite puppet” and “in a relationship with” Carmichael and the rest of the Republican-controlled Senate.

Other changes called out Ferns for his drunken-driving arrest in 2012 and his party switch from Democrat to Republican in 2013. Here are two of the more extensive changes that were deleted:

  • “After realizing he made a horrible mistake, both by driving drunk and being elected as a Democrat, he quickly decided to mend his ways and become an ego-maniacal yes man to Mitch Carmichael. Little did he know his biggest accomplishment would be to hold the entire state of WV hostage while stroking his bosses ‘ego’ and breaking every rule of parliamentary law that WV has to offer because of a dumb bunny mistake they made.”
  • “Ryan Ferns not only looks like Sam Hunt but also has a ‘Body like a Back Road.’ He enjoys doing Cross Fit at his gym (that his rich family bought him). Ryan also is the first senator in the history of West Virginia to have two DUIs!” (I couldn’t find any news of a second DUI.)

The editing history of both pages shows that a more responsible editor protected them in reaction to “persistent disruptive editing.” If this is a sign of labor strikes to come, Wikipedia may become the picket line of the digital age.

Filed under: Education and Government and Media and Music and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
Comments: None

The Babylon Bee Stings Snopes, Facebook
Posted on 03.03.18 by Danny Glover @ 11:52 am

I’m pretty sure “no sense of humor” is a job requirement in Facebook’s censorship factory. That’s the kindest possible explanation, as opposed to anti-religious bias, for this ridiculous development:

Facebook’s attempts to crack down on fake news have targeted a well-known Christian satirical publication, the Babylon Bee.

A story on the Bee titled “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication” was ruled “false” by the fact-checking site Snopes, leading Facebook to flag it Thursday.

It’s not necessarily a bad idea for Facebook to have Snopes “fact check” satire because of how many gullible people miss the satire and share it as truth. But if they’re going to do it, they need to label these Snopes stories as “satire,” not as “false,” which implies malicious deception. And they need to limit the coverage to satirical posts that actually generate confusion among news consumers.

Filed under: Just For Laughs and Media and News & Politics
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West Virginia’s Staple Food Rolls Into D.C.
Posted on 03.01.18 by Danny Glover @ 8:16 pm

This is the kind of news that could get me excited about D.C. again!

If you catch yourself in conversation with a West Virginian on the topic of food, there’s no doubt you’ll hear about the pepperoni roll. The handheld snack is as inherent to the Mountain State’s culinary identity as bagels are to New York and as deep dish is to Chicago.

… Now, the West Virginia staple is available in the nation’s capital at Pepperoni Chic, the city’s first restaurant concept dedicated to the regional roll.

When I hear “11 different kinds of pepperoni rolls,” though, I get a little wary. I hope this new shop isn’t pushing another perversion of a classic hillbilly snack like Katie Lee did on the Today Show a couple of years ago.

Filed under: Food and West Virginia
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The Story Behind ‘The Jug’
Posted on 02.17.18 by Danny Glover @ 9:30 pm

The Jug,” which is just a short drive from my hometown, is one of the many fascinating geographic landmarks that God carved into the great Mountain State. It has seen better days.

Near Middlebourne, nearly halfway along its course, Middle Island Creek meanders almost four miles southward through a jug-shaped bend before returning to meet itself, or nearly so. The meander has time-out-of-mind been known as The Jug and has been a curiosity since its discovery by European explorers in the 1700s and had certainly been so before.

The narrow neck of land that separates the winding stream is now perhaps no more than 100 feet across, depending on the amount of water being carried downstream, and in recent years the water in the Jug has dwindled into a series of long pools, which can be canoed with some portage, as much of the water has been allowed to breach the neck.

Officials with the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources have been eager to engage the W.Va. Division of Highways to replace and raise the low-water bridge that follows the neck, thereby returning water to the meander. As a result of flooding and erosion, the bridge is now impassable, and the Division of Natural Resources is no longer able to maintain the 400-and-some acres of field and forest within the Jug, and the meander, which was once a favorite destination for anglers, is largely devoid of fish.

The Jug is also the name of a bar and grill located in a bend in the road at the point where the stream meanders. I don’t drink. But I love The Jug. It’s an iconic piece of Tyler County history.

I took some aerial photos of it last fall. The owner, Gladys Fletcher, was there visiting with friends when I stopped. It turns out her daughter, Janie Spencer, was good friends with my Mom in high school. Mrs. Fletcher jumped at the chance to get some aerial photos of The Jug and asked all kinds of questions about my drone. She is in this photo.

You can learn more about The Jug from the Tyler Star News.

Filed under: Aerial Photography and History and West Virginia
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When Customers Are Wrong, We All Pay
Posted on 02.09.18 by Danny Glover @ 7:49 pm

There was a time when American consumers practiced honesty as the best policy and businesses rewarded them with generous guarantees and a “customer is always right” attitude. They could afford to do so because people didn’t abuse the situation.

That time is not now, as this policy change from L.L. Bean indicates:

Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.

Something similar happened at Costco when a woman returned a dead Christmas tree after using it all through the holidays. “Bizarrely, the woman apparently managed to get her money back in full despite taking the battered fir back a full 10 days after Dec. 25,” The New York Post reported.

This, as the cliche goes, is why we can’t have nice things. When customers are wrong, we all pay for their bad behavior, either with higher prices to cover the costs of their theft or with policy changes that punish ethical consumers for the sins of the crooks.

Filed under: Business and Culture and News & Politics
Comments: None

A Honey Of A Tale About Bees And The FAA
Posted on 01.25.18 by Danny Glover @ 9:17 pm

A “Designated Survivor” episode that aired in December included a Federal Aviation Administration character and a story line about honeybees and aircraft surveillance radar. I told my wife as we watched that I should write a story about it. I did.

I never imagined that as a writer for the FAA, I’d be interviewing actors. But this is now the third story idea I’ve found via Hollywood. One of those pieces focused on the air traffic controller portrayed in the Tom Hanks movie “Sully.”

For the feature about bees, I just wish I’d had a reason to interview Beth Littleford about her role as the beekeeper’s wife on “Designated Survivor.” I loved her as the mom on “Dog With A Blog”! Here’s an excerpt of the story:

Forget that fantastical story line on ABC’s “Designated Survivor.” Bee buffs and aviation radar experts agree — electromagnetic waves can’t kill entire colonies of honeybees.

Hollywood’s creative minds wrote that theory into the Dec. 6 episode of the conspiratorial, Washington-based drama. The show’s writers debunked the idea by the end of the episode, but considering the lighthearted plot featured an FAA character, FocusFAA decided to make a few calls — to a radar specialist, a bee scientist and two actors in the episode, among others.

They all chuckled at the idea of aircraft surveillance radar disorienting honeybees to the point of starvation. “Unless [the hives] are by some gigantic radar facility sitting across the fence, I wouldn’t worry about it,” said Jerry Bromenshenk, a research scientist who heads the Online Beekeeping Certificate Program at the University of Montana.

Read the rest of it at Medium.

Filed under: Aviation and Culture and Government and Movies and People and Wildlife
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Barbecue Brilliance
Posted on 01.19.18 by Danny Glover @ 6:32 pm

This enlightened redneck and I have a lot in common. We’re both from West Virginia; we’re both West Virginia University grads (he for English, me for journalism); and we both live in the other Virginia now.

One thing we don’t have in common: He’s a barbecue champion with Old Virginia Smoke who’s making news for his culinary skills.

I spend most weekends cooking and though it’s hard work, we have a lot of fun out there. It’s me, my wife (whom he calls the “Lil’ General”) and our friend Leigh Anne. We do about 30 competitions a year all over the country. Meeting people and making friends has been the best part. And winning isn’t bad, either.

The main thing is not to overpower the meat. Let the meat speak for itself. It should be kissed with spice, salt, sweet and smoke. Not too much of one thing. But just enough of everything.

Now how do I finagle an invitation to one of his backyard meat fests just down the road from us?!

Filed under: Food and People and West Virginia
Comments: None

Why We Home-School: Lesson #52
Posted on 01.11.18 by Danny Glover @ 7:50 pm

We live in the information age, not the industrial age, and we educate accordingly — just like the parents of “Young Einstein” Romanieo Golphin Jr.

He was featured on “The Today Show” this morning, and the reference to him being homeschooled sent me to Google for more information. Here’s what The Washington Post said about a year ago:

Romanieo has never been enrolled in a public or private school. … Dissatisfied with the outcomes in traditional education, both parents have committed themselves to homeschooling Romanieo and preparing him for the future their way. “Enough with the Industrial Age approach to education in the 21st century,” Golphin said.

Education isn’t a static process, and neither should the systems that foster it be.

Filed under: Education and Home Schooling and Why We Home-School
Comments: None

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