RedSky's Sift Talk Posts




I found this an interesting read.

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136402/george-packer/the-broken-contract

You do have to register to get full access to it, but it is very good. Nothing particularly new, but very well written imo.

EDIT - Nevermind, I should have just copied it in from the start:

Iraq was one of those wars where people actually put on pounds. A few years ago, I was eating lunch with another reporter at an American-style greasy spoon in Baghdad's Green Zone. At a nearby table, a couple of American contractors were finishing off their burgers and fries. They were wearing the contractor's uniform: khakis, polo shirts, baseball caps, and Department of Defense identity badges in plastic pouches hanging from nylon lanyards around their necks. The man who had served their food might have been the only Iraqi they spoke with all day. The Green Zone was set up to make you feel that Iraq was a hallucination and you were actually in Normal, Illinois. This narcotizing effect seeped into the consciousness of every American who hunkered down and worked and partied behind its blast walls -- the soldier and the civilian, the diplomat and the journalist, the important and the obscure. Hardly anyone stayed longer than a year; almost everyone went home with a collection of exaggerated war stories, making an effort to forget that they were leaving behind shoddy, unfinished projects and a country spiraling downward into civil war. As the two contractors got up and ambled out of the restaurant, my friend looked at me and said, "We're just not that good anymore."

The Iraq war was a kind of stress test applied to the American body politic. And every major system and organ failed the test: the executive and legislative branches, the military, the intelligence world, the for-profits, the nonprofits, the media. It turned out that we were not in good shape at all -- without even realizing it. Americans just hadn't tried anything this hard in around half a century. It is easy, and completely justified, to blame certain individuals for the Iraq tragedy. But over the years, I've become more concerned with failures that went beyond individuals, and beyond Iraq -- concerned with the growing arteriosclerosis of American institutions. Iraq was not an exceptional case. It was a vivid symptom of a long-term trend, one that worsens year by year. The same ailments that led to the disastrous occupation were on full display in Washington this past summer, during the debt-ceiling debacle: ideological rigidity bordering on fanaticism, an indifference to facts, an inability to think beyond the short term, the dissolution of national interest into partisan advantage.

Was it ever any different? Is it really true that we're just not that good anymore? As a thought experiment, compare your life today with that of someone like you in 1978. Think of an educated, reasonably comfortable couple perched somewhere within the vast American middle class of that year. And think how much less pleasant their lives are than yours. The man is wearing a brown and gold polyester print shirt with a flared collar and oversize tortoiseshell glasses; she's got on a high-waisted, V-neck rayon dress and platform clogs. Their morning coffee is Maxwell House filter drip. They drive an AMC Pacer hatchback, with a nonfunctioning air conditioner and a tape deck that keeps eating their eight-tracks. When she wants to make something a little daring for dinner, she puts together a pasta primavera. They type their letters on an IBM Selectric, the new model with the corrective ribbon. There is only antenna television, and the biggest thing on is Laverne and Shirley. Long-distance phone calls cost a dollar a minute on weekends; air travel is prohibitively expensive. The city they live near is no longer a place where they spend much time: trash on the sidewalks, junkies on the corner, vandalized pay phones, half-deserted subway cars covered in graffiti.

... more inside ...

Comedy Central blocked outside US

So apparently they've blocked clips as well as full episodes now which is a pain:

http://forums.thedailyshow.com/?page=ThreadView&thread_id=36862

If anyone wants to know how to get around it:

http://ozsoapbox.com/rest-of-australia/censorship/how-to-watch-the-daily-show-colbert-report-from-outside-the-us/

What I've done is set up proxy in a browser I don't use (Firefox) and only switch away from Chrome to watch anything from there, saves you having to flick the switch back and forth.

It's luck of the draw finding a proxy that isn't overly slow and has javascript/flash but I seem to have found a stable one, PM me for it if you want. Seems to do Hulu and the whole shebang quite well. I guess most people know about proxies but in case they don't I thought I might put this up.

Couple of simple suggestions!

1 - Stop the announcement on the top of the screen from scrolling down the entire page. Misclicks as a result are driving me insane!

2 - Introduce a no-vote option. Either that or find some way to grey out videos that you have already looked at so you don't click on them again.

3 - Add a way to pop up videos in their own windows. Handy for people who multitask or if you want to watch say a 30 min documentary and do something else while you're at it. Easier than having to resize it into a corner meticulously.

4 - Add a drop down menu with check boxes/OK button so you can quickly fix a video's tags on each video page. I know people like being creative with the * classifications but no reason not to have the best of both worlds.

5 - Having an in between grey version of sift would be cool. Bright white/black make my eyes bleed.
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