Posts tagged “prison”

ChittahChattah Quickies

What It’s Like to Experience New Technology After 25 Years in Jail [Gizmodo] – From a Quora thread to a Gizmodo post (and there may be a book deal happening?) here’s a real edge-case user type, someone with almost no exposure to current technology.

Prior to my release from prison, I gave considerable thought to a technology strategy. My wife was used to using Microsoft products, but everything I’d read indicated that Apple products offered a much quicker learning curve. On the day she picked me up she handed me an iPhone 4S. During my first week of liberty, we purchased a MacBook Pro and iMac desktop system. I hoped they would all work seamlessly together. But since my wife wasn’t as comfortable with the Apple products, she insisted that I load them all up with Microsoft products so she could rescue me when I had problems. I’ve had a lot of problems coming up to speed with simple tasks like email, or synching all of my computers together. I’ve also had a problem remembering all of the passwords she assigned to me. I keep arguing that we should use only one password, but that only brings forth her arguments on the dangers of identity theft. Since I met many men in prison who served time for identity theft, I trust that my wife has a point.

The Improbable is the New Normal [The Technium] – What are the consequences of spectacle fatigue (and I don’t mean your eyes and nose feeling sore)? And what does that mean for those who intend to entertain us (say, film and television) with more traditional content? (via Kottke)

The internets are also brimming with improbable feats of performance — someone who can run up a side of a building, or slide down suburban roof tops, or stack up cups faster than you can blink. Not just humans, but pets open doors, ride scooters, and paint pictures. The improbable also includes extraordinary levels of super human achievements: people doing astonishing memory tasks, or imitating all the accents of the world. In these extreme feats we see the super in humans.

Every minute a new impossible thing is uploaded to the internet and that improbable event becomes just one of hundreds of extraordinary events that we’ll see or hear about today. The internet is like a lens which focuses the extraordinary into a beam, and that beam has become our illumination. It compresses the unlikely into a small viewable band of everyday-ness. As long as we are online – which is almost all day many days — we are illuminated by this compressed extraordinariness. It is the new normal.

To the uninformed, the increased prevalence of improbable events will make it easier to believe in impossible things. A steady diet of coincidences makes it easy to believe they are more than just coincidences, right? But to the informed, a slew of improbably events make it clear that the unlikely sequence, the outlier, the black swan event, must be part of the story.

Overthinking It subjects the popular culture to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve – There’s a lot of things being overthought on the site. This example is one of at least two posts (first, and second) where Law and Order episodes were put into a database and then analyzed and analyzed.

Over the entire run of the show, more than a third of all the episodes ended in Guilty verdicts, while another third ended in plea bargains. 80% of episodes ended in solid wins: either Guilty verdicts, plea bargains, or implied victories. That’s not too shabby, considering that the actual NYPD has a homicide clearance rate of about 50%. (Although you have to figure Law & Order isn’t meant to represent every case these detectives investigated; in 20 seasons, I don’t think there was a single murder that didn’t result in an arrest.)

(UPDATE 12/10/12: One of the commenters on Reddit has pointed out that the “clearance rate” has nothing to do with convictions, only arrests. In that case, Law & Order’s clearance rate would be nearly 100%, since even in the rare episodes without a trial somebody usually gets arrested. I guess I’d know this stuff if I had watched The Wire.)

The Fake Shows from Arrested Development are Now Listed on Netflix [Paste] – I love seeing fake products and brands treated like real ones. Reminds me of the in-production Newsreaders, a fake news magazine TV show that originally aired as a special episode of the parody Childrens Hospital (which also had fake promos for NTSF:SD:SUV::, leading to that becoming a real show as well.

Next spring, Netflix will premiere the highly anticipated and currently in-production fourth season of Arrested Development. Along with the rights to the show come the rights to all of the shows within the show, and to tide fans over until next spring Netflix has featured fake listings of Scandalmakers, Wrench, Boyfights and more. There is no actual footage to watch-the links just take you the Arrested Development season one page- but it’s pretty funny seeing the summaries and poster photos listed on Netflix like they belong to actual shows. Also listed are Les Cousins Dangereux, Girls with Low Self-Esteem: Newport Beach, Families with Low Self-Esteem and Mock Trial with J. Reinhold.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners [St. Petersburg Times] – [Hollywood had convinced us that cigarettes – dangerous, tough, addictive – were the currency in prison. This article suggests a cultural shift with doughy sweet comfort food taking the place of jalihouse smokes] Inmates in the Florida prison system buy 270,000 honey buns a month. Across the state, they sell more than tobacco, envelopes and cans of Coke. And they're just as popular among Tampa Bay's county jails. In Pasco's Land O'Lakes Detention Center, they're outsold only by freeze-dried coffee and ramen noodles. Not only that, these honey buns — so puffy! — have taken on lives of their own among the criminal class: as currency for trades, as bribes for favors, as relievers for stress and substitutes for addiction. They've become birthday cakes, hooch wines, last meals — even ingredients in a massive tax fraud.

Architect calls for boycott on prison design

SF Chron story about an architect calling for a boycott on designing prisons

So the 31-year-old San Francisco architect changed course — and issued a call to action to the drafting crowd that has made national waves. Sperry wants architects — and their brethren engineers, designers and planners — to refuse to design prisons.

He realizes that a boycott is a drastic measure for a profession whose forays into collective activism have been few. Its radicalism tends to be confined to ‘green’ solutions for buildings, such as the Healdsburg winery that Sperry worked on that was constructed out of straw bales.

With earnest sincerity, Sperry sees his boycott as a way to start a conversation about prison reform with an audience largely unfamiliar with the issue.

“Prisons are so often associated with their buildings, so I thought this would be a way for architects to connect the issue with their work, with something they could do about it,” said Sperry.

Series

About Steve