‘Internet addiction even worries Silicon Valley’, Observer

Beware of the addictive powers of technology:

Relevant references:

‘London 2012: Let’s build on the triumph and hope of Danny Boyle’s night’, Observer

Some interesting liberal reflections on Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony triumph plus video highlights:

And a nasty & foolish response from a Tory MP backfires:

Behind the NYT-Bill Keller hoax: Why the mainstream media should defend WikiLeaks

Note: This blog quoted former NYT executive editor Bill Keller as saying in an email response to the op-ed linked below that ‘an attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks’ publication’ of the U.S. Embassy cables would be ‘an attack on all of us’ and that ‘the mainstream media should come to his [Julian Assange’s] defense’. After the hoax, which was widely tweeted, was discovered, WikiLeaks explained on its Twitter site (@wikileaks) that the email response attributed to Keller was a send-off, a hoax meant to expose the NYT’s silence on the illegal economic blockade imposed on WikiLeaks by US financial institutions.

Do you know The_Borowitz_Report@The_New_Yorker?

Not quite Art Buchwald but will do for aficionados of Fake News and Political Satire:

‘Romney crashes out of the Olympics’, John Cassidy in New Yorker

‘If there was a medal for diplomacy, [Mitt] Romney’s slip-ups in London would have already eliminated him from the competition’:

Henning Mankell reflects on his first Wallander mystery

Harriet Gilbert’s World Book Club interviews can be heard on BBCi Player. This month’s interview has Swedish noir writer Henning Mankell speaking about Wallander and his first appearance in Faceless Killers. Next week Norways’s Jo Nesbo speaks about his unusual family – a father who fought with the Nazis and a mother in the Resistance – and how they influenced The Redbreast, a Harry Hole mystery. Down the list of WBC interviews are Russia’s Boris Akunin on his Putin-like Erast Fandorin, and Spain’s Carlos Ruiz Zafon on ‘ecclesiastical’ thrillers.

‘Why is India so bad for women?’, Helen Pidd in Guardian

Among G20 countries, India is the worst place to be a woman — this is a key finding of a perceptions poll of 370 gender specialists conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters. And believe it or not, Saudi Arabia is only the second worst. Read on.

In praise of Hashim Amla, Cricinfo

The Indian-origin cricketer who scored the first Test triple century for South Africa is one of a kind — unspoilt, genuinely modest, principled (won’t wear a sponsor’s logo that advertises alcohol; always walks when he knows he’s out), an elegant strokemaker with prodigious powers of concentration and an unflappable temperament. Amla on his unbeaten 311 at the Kensington Oval: ‘I have a firm belief that everyone who has played a part in my career has a share in whatever success I had. If we could divide the 300 runs up, they would all get a piece’:

‘The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?’, Charlie Skelton in Guardian

Most of the western news media have been virtually celebrating the assassination of three senior Syrian officials, including the Defence Minister, by terrorists; there are the usual mild disapprovals of such methods in feel-good, exculpatory editorials. Here Charlie Skelton, a sceptical journalist, noting that ‘asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad’, discovers that ‘the media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …’

(Courtesy: Susan Ram)

Media criticism: ‘The New York Times Misses the Mark on Inequality, Marriage’, Kathy Pollitt in The Nation

The New York Times has taken to front-paging ‘human interest’ feature stories with some kind of moral. Here Kathy Pollitt offers a well-argued and robust critique of the assumptions behind a story featuring the lives of two women, Jessica Schairer and Chris Faulkner, ‘two white women from conventional church-going Midwestern middle-class families whose life trajectory looked much the same when they graduated high school and set out for college…Yes, yes, is the takeaway: inequality is increasing and good jobs are hard to find, but “what most separates” the two women “is not the impact of globalization on their wages but a 6-foot-8-inch man named Kevin.”’

Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’: New York Times, July 14, 2012:

Child Trends, a Washington research group:

Noam Chomsky on ‘The Shredding of Our Fundamental Rights’

Noam Chomsky reflects on ‘the shredding before our very eyes’ of the Magna Carta, the Great Charter of liberties and rights, which dates back to 1215 — and its companion Charter of the Forest, which was supposed to protect the commons against external power:

US food aid programme criticised as ‘corporate welfare’ for grain giants, Guardian

Three highly profitable and politically powerful agribusinesses — ADM, Cargill, and Bunge — dominate the $1bn US food aid policy, a Guardian analysis reveals, ‘with lobby groups ensuring agricultural surpluses are exported despite cost to developing countries’:

‘Four mistakes journalists make when reporting on polls’,

**Expert advice for journalists everywhere, including India: don’t trust ‘voodoo polls’, don’t ignore the margin of error, don’t compare apples with oranges, and don’t disregard sample size:

‘How not to report opinion polls’, Anthony Wells, associate director of YouGov‘s social and political polling:

‘The dark shadow of impunity’, Sanjoy Hazarika in The Hindu

Video images of the sexual violence by a gang of thugs against a young woman in front of a bar at Guwahati in India’s northeast have been broadcast by TV channels across the country and gone viral on YouTube across the world. The horrific incident raises deep and troubling ethical and social questions about the role of the news media, the police, the government, the onlooking public — and about social attitudes in a changing society. A thoughtful analysis:

Spectacular views from atop London’s Shard, Mail Online

A small group of ‘urban explorers’ led by a ‘place-hacking’ expert pull off a spectacular stunt: