Who Wants Open Interwebs? Oh, Just Everyone


  • You'd think, from the reaction of certain especially loud dudes on the right, that President Obama's support of net neutrality was like proposing Obamacare for the internet. Or even the Holocaust. But despite what a few blowhards on the, AHEM, internet say, even conservatives think net neutrality is a great idea, actually:

    But according to a poll released today by the Internet Freedom Business Alliance (IFBA), a pro-net neutrality association of businesses, Republicans and conservatives outside of Washington D.C., seem to think that the idea of net neutrality is actually a pretty good one.

    Some 83% of voters who self-identified as “very conservative” were concerned about the possibility of ISPs having the power to “influence content” online. Only 17% reported being unconcerned. Similarly, 83% of self-identified conservatives thought that Congress should take action to ensure that cable companies do not “monopolize the Internet” or “reduce the inherent equality of the Internet” by charging some content companies for speedier access.

    We assume this will be one of those times when the boisterous Republicans who have opposed the proposal will change their minds, pursuant to The Voice And The Will Of The People. For democracy. You know, #MakeDCListen and all that. Any day now, we're sure. Any day now ...

  • Can you pass this literacy test? If not, you can't vote in 1960s Louisiana.

    After the end of the Civil War, would-be black voters in the South faced an array of disproportionate barriers to enfranchisement. The literacy test -- supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education but in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters -- was a classic example of one of these barriers.

    The website of the Civil Rights Movement Veterans, which collects materials related to civil rights, hosts a few samples of actual literacy tests used in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s.

  • You know how all those damned hipsters look the same? No, it's true. It's MATH!

    Jonathan Touboul is a mathematician and a neuroscientist. He holds a PhD in math from France’s prestigious École Polytechnique, where he won a prize for his thesis on how to simulate neurons in the brain. He publishes papers with titles like “Pulsatile localized dynamics in delayed neural-field equations in arbitrary dimension” and “The propagation of chaos in neural fields.”

    Recently, though, Touboul has been thinking about hipsters. Specifically, why hipsters all seem to dress alike. [...]

    Translation: The hipsters are still recoiling from the mainstream, but each holds an outdated concept of what the mainstream is. Because they are slow to react, they end up all looking alike, and all changing fashions at the same time. (Irony of ironies!)

  • At The Times, a ridiculous Styles section:

    Styles of the Times eventually morphed into “the Sunday Styles section” and its much-loathed Thursday younger sibling. More than 20 years later, the grunge debacle still seems to embody what people say is right and wrong with the Styles section: out of touch, tardy, overwrought, clumsy, as well as presenting uncritical work in the language of the very critical, but also peevish, strange, unexpected and, as an institution, strangely comprehensive and coherent. Like a marathon watching of “Sex and the City,” a sustained reading of Styles reveals more about both the culture and New York City than you might think from a look at a single issue.

    Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe.

  • You already know that New Pope is a big fan of Godmother of Punk Patti Smith. But it's not enough for him to meet her. He wants to get his punk on -- for Christmas.

    Patti Smith has been invited by Pope Francis to perform at the Vatican's annual Christmas concert, the Holy See has announced.

  • Calling all MST3K fans (and if you don't know what that means, you aren't one of 'em). Some potentially AWESOME news, via our friends at Happy Nice Time People:

    Is Mystery Science Theater 3000 coming to a PBS station in your neighborhood? American Public Television is shopping a handful of classic episodes to local affiliates to see how much interest is out there. And The A.V. Club thinks it’s a perfect fit.

  • This is supposed to be a page of "bad" jokes from kids, but obviously, this kid has a future at Wonkette:

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