A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

[BLOG] Some Monday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO reports on the latest doings of blood-painting artist Istvan Kantor.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze posts links to a two-part study (1, 2) suggesting that there aren’t any high-energy galaxy-dominating civilizations in the universe, at least not easily detectable ones.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that a serial killer of gay men in Seattle says he was trying to wreak vengeance for American policy in the Middle East.
  • Language Log analyses a fascinating study of pronoun use by gender on Facebook.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money marks the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House in the War of 1812.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw is tiring of the use of slogans as a replacement for communication.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg maps the demographics of Kiev.
  • Towleroad reports on the furor prompted by Sam Smith’s dismissal of dating apps like Grindr as not conducive to romance.
  • Transit Toronto celebrates the imminent return of streetcars to Spadina Avenue.
  • Window on Eurasia links to a Russian analyst who thinks that Stalin shouldn’t have annexed Galicia to the Soviet Union, so as to prevent the formation of a separate and potentially anti-Russian Ukraine.

[LINK] “The First Gay Space on the Internet”

with one comment

David Auerbach‘s Slate article on the USENET group soc.motss is a delight. I’m a participant in the Facebook group founded by many of the group’s long-time participants, and I myself have fond memories of USENET (soc.history.what-if, mainly). It’s a delight to see USENET get the attention it deserves.

(This article is the first in a series. There’s more stuff coming.)

I grew up in a time and place—the Los Angeles suburbs of the 1980s—where LGBTQ culture was pretty much invisible in everyday life. The first out people I met were online. In fact, LGBTQ culture played a significant, though underreported, part in shaping the overall online culture. Since the early 1980s, there have been many LGBTQ spaces on the Net: newsgroups, bulletin board systems, or BBSs, mailing lists, social networks, chat rooms, and websites. But the very first LGBTQ Internet space, as far as I’ve been able to find, was the soc.motss newsgroup. And it hosted conversations that had never been seen before online—and that arguably remain in too short supply even today. (I’ll be frequently using “LGBTQ” as the best available catchall term, with the awareness that categories and nomenclature have gone through many evolutions since the early 1980s.)

In 1983 programmer Steve Dyer started a discussion forum called net.motss (later soc.motss) on the Usenet newsgroup system. Built in 1980 atop pre-Internet networks such as ARPANET and BITNET, Usenet allowed for creation of hierarchical categories of interest groups (comp.lang.java.help, rec.arts.books, etc.) and public threaded discussions within each group, in much the same way forums and comments work today. The abbreviation “motss” stood for “members of the same sex,” an unflashy acronym that would make it less of a potential target for censorship. University of Colorado–Boulder professor Amy Goodloe, who went on to start many lesbian Usenet groups as well as found and run lesbian.org in 1995, calls soc.motss the first explicitly LGBTQ newsgroup—and possibly the first explicitly LGBTQ international space of any kind.

And it was a prominent space: By the early 1990s, motss member and software engineer Brian Reid estimated that about 3 percent of all Usenet readers were reading soc.motss, which was an audience of about 83,000 people. (For comparison, 8 percent were reading the perennially popular alt.sex.)

Dyer, who died in 2010, was a Unix hacker who worked at BBN before becoming a private consultant. In the very first motss post on Oct. 7, 1983, Dyer set out the newsgroup’s aims: “to foster discussion on a wide variety of topics, such as health problems, parenting, relationships, clearances, job security and many others.” Dyer stressed that the forum would provide “a supportive environment” for gay USENET members: “Net.motss is emphatically NOT a newsgroup for the discussion of whether homosexuality is good or bad, natural or unnatural. Nor is it a place where conduct unsuitable for the net will be allowed or condoned.”

According to engineer Nelson Minar, who was active on soc.motss in the early 1990s, newsgroups of the 1980s and ’90s tended to have a slower pace of discussion. A day could pass before someone replied to a thread, and responses were frequently closer to mini-essays than short comments. That sort of belles-lettristic group dialogue allowed for a deeply nuanced and intellectual discussion of gay and lesbian issues.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 22, 2014 at 2:00 am

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

leave a comment »

  • Al Jazeera America argues that depending on cars will hurt Newark’s urban renaissance, notes the emerging Indian-Israeli alliance and the import of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in sectarian communities in Northern Ireland, looks at the slowly reviving film industry of Côte d’Ivoire, chronicles the human rights issues of LGB Ukrainians and of Christian sects in the Caucasus, examines the legacies of German immigration in Brazil, and looks at the shantytowns of Mongolia.
  • Al Jazeera examines Russia’s Eurasianism, notes emergent water shortages in Syria, looks at the reaction of Sephardic Jews to a new Spanish citizenship law that would give them access to Spain, and chronicles the persecution of the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan.
  • Bloomberg notes that sanctions on Russia may hurt the Greek economy, notes the collapse in wages for young people in southern Europe, and looks at Germany’s serious impending demographic issues.
  • BusinessWeek looks at Tinder’s shabby treatment of a female co-founder, examines the stagnant economy of Thailand, looks at hospitals which mine credit card data to predict their future patients.
  • CBC notes with disappearance of anonymous public WiFi in Russia, takes a look at the consequences of the shutdown of the McCain potato processing plant in Borden-Carleton, points out the ongoing collapse of a caribou herd on the Québec-Labrador border, shows the sad toll of the Air Algérie plane crash in Québec, and notes that Vancouver’s aquarium can no longer breed cetaceans.
  • Global News looks at the impact of Air Algérie’s disaster in Montreal.
  • MacLean’s suggests Canada is not immune to an American-style housing crash, argues that the Canadian job market is weaker than it appears, and reports on the claims that restrictive American immigration policies could work to the benefit of Canada.
  • National Geographic notes some surprisingly social cephalopod populations and looks at naming ceremonies for some gorillas in Rwanda.
  • NPR reports that some big data firms claim Snowden’s data release has given terrorists ideas as to how they can be quieter, and notes some Ivoirien cacao farmers who taste
  • The New York Times notes the closure of an Upper East Side restaurant priced out by rising rents.
  • Reuters observes the worsening demographics of Italy.
  • Transitions Online takes a small-scale look on the effects of emigration in Uzbekistan.
  • Universe Today looks at how some Martian canyons were formed by different water releases.
  • Xinhua notes how emigration from Portugal has become mainstream.

[PHOTO] Crossing Bloor from Honest Ed’s

Since my upgrade to a proper smartphone earlier last month, I’ve joined Instagram. I find myself really enjoying the experience. Instagram feels like more of a community than the more professional Flickr, I think. The app’s editing features are decent–I’m still not sure what I think of filters, so I use them sparingly–and the site lends itself well to conversations. Facebook was right to buy it.

Crossing Bloor from Honest Ed's (original)

Crossing Bloor from Honest Ed's #toronto #torontophotos #honesteds #bloor

Written by Randy McDonald

July 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On #shirtlessjogger, Toronto, and Rob Ford

blogTO’s Chris Bateman wrote the first overview I came across of the #shirtlessjogger incident on Canada Day.

Things were already going badly for Rob Ford when the shirtless jogger arrived at the East York Canada Day parade. Booed and heckled as he and a small group of sign-carrying supporters brought up the rear of the walk, the scene was turning more embarrassing by the second.

“You disgusting man,” shouted one person. “Shame on you!” “He’s scaring kids!” “Get out of my neighbourhood!”

And then a topless Joe Killoran, a local teacher who has previously expressed his opinion on education in the pages of the Toronto Star, arrived on the scene.

I daresay a large part of the reason Killoran’s frustrated outburst went viral was his lack of a shirt, but his anger was articulate and, best of all, drenched in the frustration of a Rob Ford-weary Toronto. “Answer one of the million questions people have for you” he said. “People have a million questions about your lying and your corruption.”

The television clip went viral, first across Toronto and then worldwide. Among the blogs I read, Joe. My. God. and Towleroad picked this up internationally, noting–quite appropriately–that Killoran was cute. (It was a humid dog so shirtlessness would make sense for jogging.) Doug Ford’s statement that Killoran’s comment was motivated by a ridiculously redefined “racism” fanned the flames.

In subsequent interviews and articles, with The Globe and Mail and the National Post, Killoran explained coherently that he was frustrated with Ford’s many and continuing incompetencies and errors. Indeed, Ford still refuses to talk to police about his various problematic issues, and he and appears to have lied even in his post-rehab interviews.

Am I alone in finding it amusing that the man who has so visibly challenged Ford, the man who has helped reveal the falsity of Ford’s claims to have reformed–the man who has confirmed that the Emperor has no clothes–is known as the shirtless jogger.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 5, 2014 at 3:59 am

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO shares pictures of the lineups for free food on Canada Day at Mandarin’s buffet restaurants.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper identifying three thousand nearby red dwarf stars as potential sites of Earth-like exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a sober assessment of the Chinese space program.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the import of Facebook’s experiment on its user base by noting the ability of complex systems to undergo unexpected catastrophes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Google’s social network Orkut, big in Brazil and India but absent elsewhere, will be shutting down at the end of this September.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that anti-gay activists are pleased with the Hobby Lobby ruling.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Adam Block shares pictures of colliding and interacting galaxies.
  • Seriously Science notes that not only do spiders have different personality types, but that these types contribute to the maintenance of their physical cultures.
  • The Signal notes ongoing research into data recovery methods and issues with compact discs.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes cases where putting the victim on trial does matter. (Records of past violence are noteworthy.)
  • Towleroad notes an economist observing that homophobia has an economic impact and points to an upcoming Irish referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015 that’s quite likely to pass.
  • Window on Eurasia quotes a Ukrainian about Russia’s issues with a separate Ukraine and notes a statement by Kaliningrad’s government claiming some Ukrainian refugees in Russia might be anti-Russian activists in disguise.

[LINK] “Grindr Pride Survey Reveals How Many of Its Users Aren’t Proud Enough to Be Out”

Towleroad reports on a recent survey of Grindr users, described here, as to their biographical elements. Almost a fifth of Grindr users aren’t out.

When asked the age Grindr users decided to come out of the closet, users in their thirties and forties came out in their twenties (44 percent and 32 percent, respectively). However, 50 percent of users in their twenties came out when they were still teenagers, showing the growing progression and acceptance of LGBT youth. With more than 5 million active monthly users worldwide, Grindr has become a resource for men even before they come out. The survey revealed that nearly a third of respondents were using Grindr before they came out.

“It’s a great time to be gay – not just because it’s pride season, but because the tide is shifting for our community,” said Joel Simkhai, founder and CEO of Grindr. “Our voices are being heard as laws are changing, people are getting married and we have more allies than ever before. Every day, more people are getting involved with our community and our latest survey showed an overwhelming 89 percent of Grindr users support the LGBT community by donating, volunteering or participating in equality initiatives. We are doing our part by helping to increase awareness through our Grindr for Equality campaign and have done some amazing work for equality and to advance the cause of our community worldwide.”

Grindr’s survey also put to test the saying that blood is thicker than water. Apparently not in regards to coming out – 72 percent of respondents said the first person they told was a friend, while only 22 percent told a family member first.

When it comes to how out Grindr users are, a large majority (96 percent) came out to friends and 81 percent have come out to family, but only 68 percent have come out at work. This means workplace discrimination fears are still top of mind for many Grindr users. This may be surprising considering the main reason respondents hesitated about coming out of the closet was the fear of rejection from family and friends. That 81 percent beat out other fears such as gay slurs, threats, excluded by religion and unfair treatment in the workplace.

The comments at Towleroad include discussions from some of these people, one talking about how his livelihood could be threatened if he was out to more than friends and family.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 30, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 364 other followers