Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.

Happy Inauguration Day

May we replace greed and malice with competence and compassion more often in the future. Feeling hopeful.

Music: Wellerman (Orchestral)

I was completely charmed by sea shanty TikTok and if you haven't already seen it, here's a good summary: TikTok is making sea shanties big again. I also found a good sea shanty playlist on Spotify if you want to hear more than just Wellerman.

I started wondering what an orchestral version of these a capella songs would sound like. As you do. I found some music for Wellerman and had fun arranging it in GarageBand:


It's a sad but hopeful song that somehow rhymes with the times.
Vox
"The United States, in other words, pays an enormous price for its long lame-duck period. There’s no good reason the US cannot join Canada, Britain, France, India, Japan, and other nations in transitioning swiftly to a new administration after a presidential election."
100 emoji.
New York Times
"Google agreed to help Facebook have a better understanding of who would be shown the ads by helping the company identify 80 percent of mobile users and 60 percent of web users, the documents said. But several other partners said they had little such help understanding who was being shown ads."
What’s a little shared personal user data between monopoly pals?
Washington Post
"Journalists, if they take their core mission seriously, should think hard about how they’re going to confront this Big Lie, as it’s become known."
I hope journalists start using these but I’m not holding my breath. The idea that the two political parties are both operating in good faith and should have equal time to promote their "views" is a hell of a drug.
wsj.com
"Scientists also point to data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, which conducts a weekly random survey of the population. Just before the Christmas break, when schools were still open, the positivity rate among children was higher than in most adult groups, especially in those older than 11."
Children don’t present as many symptoms but they spread the virus. Open schools may be safe for kids but they aren’t safe for their communities.
Bryan Alexander
"More than one third of Americans turn to Facebook for news, which is a big chunk of the population. Around one fourth fire up YouTube for this purpose.  Following those is Twitter, then smaller and smaller numbers for the rest."
A look at social media preferences through the lens of higher ed.
Salon.com
"If you took Parler out of the equation, you would still almost certainly have what happened at the Capitol," he told Salon. "If you took Facebook out of the equation before that, you would not. To me, when Apple and Google sent their letter to Parler, I was a little bit confused why Facebook didn't get one."
I want to quote this whole article. We still have a broken system.
Ars Technica
Representatives from AWS spoke with Parler executive leadership on both January 8 and 9 about the platform's “content moderation policies, processes, and tools,” Amazon said. In response, Parler allegedly offered steps that would rely on “volunteer”moderation, and Parler CEO John Matze allegedly told AWS that “Parler had a backlog of 26,000 reports of content that violated its community standards and remained on its service.”
It’s starting to look like Amazon didn’t move fast enough.
AP News
"Recriminations were swift, with more than a dozen corporate giants — including AT&T, Nike, Comcast, Dow, Marriott, Walmart and Verizon — pledging to withhold donations to Republican lawmakers who voted to reject the outcome of the election in Arizona or Pennsylvania."
I think this is the responsible thing for them to do. It’s one important lever for ending the big lie but we shouldn’t rely on corporations alone to continue to do the right thing. Their track record isn’t great.
Pew Research Center
"The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 8-12 among 5,360 U.S. adults, including 4,040 who say they voted in the presidential election, finds that a sizable majority of Americans do not want Trump to remain a major political figure after he leaves office. About two-thirds (68%) say Trump should not continue to be a major national political figure for many years to come; just 29% say he should remain a major figure in U.S. politics."
The public isn't as evenly divided as we think.
The Atlantic
"Throwing out an election isn’t like disagreeing on tax policy or stimulus checks. It’s not something to move on from or forget. If no line is drawn, the attempt will surely be repeated, quite likely without the mob, by the polite legislators in suits and ties insisting that they want fair elections as they vote to gut what remains of our democracy."
The election was fair as every legal challenge showed. Yet 66% of Republicans in Congress voted to overturn the results and continue to lie about it. We need consequences for officials who continue to spread this lie. (A few corporations are starting to suspend donations to these Republicans.)
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