Category Archives: Uncategorized

Local Music Q&A on Questionland Seattle

Ask members of the local music community questions about everything you need to know about the music industry–from booking a show to signing a record contract. Panelists include Eli Anderson of the Crocodile, Michelle Smith of the Comet, Nick Heliotis of Hardly Art Records, Ben London of the Recording Academy, Vincent Gates of Commontone Studio and Eric Grandy, Megan Seling, Dave Segal of The Stranger, and more.

Ask at http://www.questionland.com

Earthquake! Is Seattle Next?

This week on Questionland, Robin Friedman, Paul Bodin and Bruce Schoonmaker will answer your questions about Earthquakes. You can get the perspective of the Director of Emergency Management and Preparedness for the City of Seattle, a Seismology prof. at UW and someone who can tell you how to stop your house from falling down.

If you want to know the latest and you want to be ready… go ask them a question, or read their answers. It’s a rare opportunity to get information that is specific to you – for example: should you buy earthquake insurance?

Gardening Q&A on Questionland!

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the chicken is?

An expert panel of gardeners and one on chicken-raising! will be online at Questionland answering your questions.

It’s gardening time, so if you have questions about native plants, pruning, planting or anything green go and ask.

Release Notes: Featuring, Archiving, Favorites

We released some minor improvements last night:

1. Featuring Changes

People who are featured in a category no longer appear on the front page. You can make them appear on the front page by intentionally featuring them there. This give greater control over who appears on the front page.

2. Archived Categories

We have found that categories are an excellent way of running panel Q&As. To avoid category crowding we’ve added the ability to archive (previous release) and in this release we have made it so all contributions are automatically closed down when a category is archived.

3. Favorite Answer

The favorite answer has always been represented by an icon of your choosing. The default is a boring star, but everyone uses different things: mushroom, chair, etc. We realized that people new to the site might not be clear on what this is since it only gave a description if you hovered over it with your mouse. Now “Favorite Answer” text has been added to make it more obvious.

420: The Straight Dope About Pot

Seattle is one of the most pot-friendly cities in America. In honor of National Pot Smoking Day (4/20), Questionland will be hosting experts – from marijuana enthusiasts to prosecutors – to answer your questions about Seattle’s favorite plant. How should someone grow it? How should they avoid getting busted? Here’s your chance to find out… It’s an online Q&A starting on Monday April 19th until the 23rdGo ask your questions.

The Experts: Norm Stamper, Former Chief of the Seattle Police Department. Peter Holmes, City Attorney, Seattle City Attorney’s Office. Alison Holcomb, Drug Policy Director ACLU of Washington. Philip Dawdy, Campaign Director, Initiative Co-Author Sensible Washington. Ben Livingston, Cannabis Defense Coalition/Seattle Cannabis Resource Center. Kevin Bjornson, Hydrotech Hydroponics.

For those of you who don’t know the origins of 420, it started with a bunch of high school kids who used to meet after school at 4:20 to smoke pot. They called themselves the Waldos because they met by the wall (Wikipedia).

These creative leaps are perhaps not the best advertisement for ingenuity while under the “influence”, but 420 has nevertheless become a national event and while it was once a celebration of the counterculture, pot smoking is now mainstream, or would be, were it not for it’s inclusion in the insane drug war. If you want to know more, hyperlink over to www.questionland.com – dude.

Shirky’s Dinosaur

Clay Shirky wrote a post about the Complex Business Models which is meant to be a harbinger of the seemingly inevitable collapse of the giant media companies and models. It’s not that long a post, but it could have been said in a sentence: “It’s easier to build new things than it is to change old ones”. Granted, it looses a little intellectual oomph in translation, but that’s the gist.

This idea finds it routes in evolutionary theory, where you can’t change things that already exist, so a cycle of selection, destruction and renewal is required. But is that equally true of societies and organizations? No. It’s not. An organism cannot adapt to it’s environment Larmarckian-style. Giraffes did not start off with short necks and stretch them to reach tasty leaves at the top of the trees. But humans are different from most animals because they use tools to adapt. They cannot grow a longer neck but they can build a ladder. Organizations of humans are even more versatile than an individual. They can change remarkably quickly. We dealt with a hole in the ozone layer of our atmosphere not long ago – pretty impressive. But just because we CAN does not mean we WILL.

Our culture, American-style capitalism, is based on throwing stuff away so we can sell/buy new stuff. This is as true of toasters as it is of organizations. We attach little value to the old things and want the new ones. We want the new ones because we’re”taught” – by advertisers mostly – to like the new ones.

Destruction is not endemic to us, our organizations or our society. It is a cultural trait which can be changed with the right kind of leadership.

Waiting for Hearst: A Tragicomedy

The media is has reached an almost unbelievable state of navel-gazing (which I am perpetuating right now). Much of it appears warranted as we go through what appears to be an unprecedented transition in the world of news, newspapers and new media. Of course it’s not at all unprecedented, it’s just been a while since we went a transition of this magnitude. TV was quite a big one, but most of us have no memory of that. A hundred years ago Pultizer and Hearst turned the newspaper business on it’s head in their epic battle for supremacy. In the process they changed journalism entirely and were roundly criticized for it. They were blamed for coarsening journalism. I’ve heard that bloggers have been similarly criticized.

Real Time is A Hundred Years Old

They ushered in the age of the pundit, of the investigative journalist. They changed the design of newspapers and introduced new technologies to sell their papers such as color photography (see that around much today?). They even introduced the first blushes of interactivity and real time news: they used the telegraph and telephone to have reporters give real time updates and they illustrated them on simple displays outside their office headquarters. This was a hundred years ago!

McKinley in The Grips Of Money Interests – Homer Davenport

Personality Sells

Hearst had the good fortune of coming from wealth, but that isn’t what enabled him to succeed. Plenty of wealthy people failed where he succeeded. In fact The New York Journal had already been run by a couple of rich guys who had failed when he bought it (interesting historical side note: the founder of Hearst’s famous newspaper was Albert Pultizer, brother of the more famous Joseph). Hearst succeeded for lots of reasons, but mostly because he aggressively recruited the best and brightest and gave them credit. At a time when papers spoke with “one voice” and denied virtually anyone a byline, Hearst not only gave his people bylines, he put their pictures on the front page. And he let them speak in their own voice and voice their own opinion. His was one of the first papers to voice multiple perspectives. His tolerance of quirky, almost crazy personalities was incredible. He occasionally had to go in search of a drunk reporter in all his local haunts to see where he had passed out.

Technology is Not New

Hearst loved technology. He once went up in a hot air balloon and took pictures of San Francisco giving people their first aerial view of their own city (his first paper was the San Francisco Examiner).

Innovation in Design Was Key – Yes, Even Then.

Hearst once gave the entire front page to an “cartoonist”, an area once reserved for magazines. He was not constrained by columns. To be fair, much of what he did was an extension of the innovations of Pulitzer, but where Pulitzer spent most of his time creating infighting amongst his people while managing them from his yacht, Hearst would dance a jig in the newsroom with the paper on the floor as he read through it.

Waiting…

Waiting for Godot is an enigmatic play at best and defies summary for the most part. But here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

Waiting for Godot follows two days in the lives of a pair of men who divert themselves while they wait expectantly and unsuccessfully for someone named Godot to arrive. They claim him as an acquaintance but in fact hardly know him, admitting that they would not recognize him were they to see him. To occupy themselves, they eat, sleep, converse, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide — anything “to hold the terrible silence at bay”

Sound familiar?