10
Jan
13

1.10.13 “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Theodore Roosevelt, quotes, joy:

via Theological Horizons, centered at the Bonhoeffer House.

Netflix, Cable, “Hit”, tv, pop culture:

The basic question is almost a moral one: Is a “hit” a show that a lot of people watch, or one that is a business success for its maker? The former is a measure of absolute reach and cultural influence. (Though that’s not cut-and-dried either — people log millions of hours watching Wheel of Fortune a year, but that doesn’t mean it has proportionally deep cultural influence). The latter is, well, what determines whether a show stays on the air.

And that became a complicated question long before Netflix. I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: no one makes money from the physical act of your watching a show. They make money because advertisers will pay for ads because you’re watching (in which case your value depends on your demographic worth to advertisers). Or — with the rise of HBO and Showtime — because you subscribe to their service. Or — as digital media have multiplied — because you pay to download the show or watch it on demand or on DVD, or buy ancillary soundtracks and iTunes downloads.

Thus we live in an era of cable “hits” that have a couple of million viewers and network TV “bombs” that have twice the total audience. We have programmers like HBO and Showtime that keep shows around because of calculations that are as much art as science: because they lend an aura of prestige, or because, though overall ratings are low, they bring in a viewership that otherwise would never watch the channel at all. If a mere million people watch a show on Starz, but every one of them subscribes to Starz solely to get that show, that show is a hit.

It’s all a fascinating change — and, I’ll bet, a challenge for companies like Netflix that have to promote shows without the phenomenon of buzz building over time through weekly airings. How will you know, in this new environment, if a new show is a hit or not? Maybe simply by seeing whether they ever make another episode of it.

via Netflix, Cable and Redefining the ‘Hit’ | TIME.com.

London Underground, 150th anniversary, Tube:  I love the Tube!  Happy birthday!

Events are taking place to mark the 150th anniversary of London Underground.

On Wednesday night, a steam train recreated the journey of the first underground train, carrying people three and a half miles from Paddington in west London to Farringdon, just outside the City.

Although it was only seven stops, it was an instant hit, attracting 40,000 people on its first day.

via BBC News – London Underground celebrates 150th anniversary.

Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs,  Brain Pickings:  What would mine be?

In 2006, Larry Smith presented a challenge to his community at SMITH Magazine: How would you tell your life’s story if you could only use six words? The question, inspired by the legend that Hemingway was once challenged to write an entire novel in just six words, spurred a flurry of responses — funny, heartbreaking, moving, somewhere between PostSecret and Félix Fénéon’s three-word reports. The small experiment soon became a global phenomenon, producing a series of books and inspiring millions of people to contemplate the deepest complexities of existence through the simplicity of short-form minimalism. The latest addition to the series, Things Don’t Have To Be Complicated: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World, comes from TEDBooks and collects dozens of visual six-word autobiographies from students between the ages of 8 and 35.

via Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students from Grade School to Grad School | Brain Pickings.

Maira Kalman, Brain Pickings, favorites:  So searching a favorite blog and found several posts about one of my favorites … Brain Pickings | Maira Kalman.

 …

My favorite font is Bodoni, so I used it as my daughter’s middle name.

via In My Home Office: Maira Kalman – WSJ.com

Google Earth,  Chicago, Hidden Farms, urban agriculture:

Whether it’s stalks of corn in the backyard, tomatoes in a container on the front porch, or cucumbers in the community garden, “it’s all part of one big thing … increasing local food production,” says Billy Burdett of Advocates for Urban Agriculture. Urban agriculture “in a lot of cases is the best and even only option for folks to have access to healthy, locally grown food.”

via How Google Earth Revealed Chicago’s Hidden Farms : The Salt : NPR.


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