Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Risk and reward in motorcycling

A data point…

Lawrence: You’re giving up motorcycling?

Ali: For pleasure, yes. On a regular basis, yes. If there’s no other way, perhaps I’ll use two wheels. Or a horse.

Lawrence: What prompted this? An epiphany or an accident?

Ali: Statistics. Motorcycle riders are 35 times more likely to die in an accident than a car driver.

Lawrence: Ah, statistics, the modern superstition. Can’t argue with death as an ultimate cost, I suppose. Or the pain of injury. Seems risk far outweighs the reward. 

Victim of the risk averse
Ali: So after 23 years, green machine goes to the scrapyard. Count myself lucky I’m still alive and unscathed.

Lawrence: Sounds like you are trying to wrest some control back into your life.

Ali: I did recently get more interested in risk management, yes.
_______________
Voice-over
The biggest problem for a motorcyclist is that he or she is vulnerable to the mistakes other drivers make. Perhaps motorcyclists favor freedom yet are fatalistic? Motorists surely trade feelings of freedom for a sense of greater control.
But avoiding flaunting risk behavior, and having a hyperreflective self-disciplinary attitude, must help lower the risk for the alert and cautious rider.

And DataDan, in an enlightened assessment of risk, has this to say: Motorcycling attracts risk seekers, but it rewards the more risk averse.
...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Boiled frog and blinded rabbit

Animal accident metaphors
The premise…
Kermit: It is said that if a frog is put in boiling water, it’ll jump out, but if it is placed in cold water which is then heated, it will stay in until it is cooked to death.

Lapin: The metaphor being that the slowly boiled frog won’t react to the danger.

Kermit: But we do. Jump. Out of even slowly boiled water. We get uncomfortable, we move. Frogs are not stupid. Rabbits are. They freeze in the headlights of an approaching car.

Lapin: But headlights come out of nowhere. That’s paralyzing.
___________
Voice-over
So frogs do respond to creeping change in normality. A canard, an unfounded story.

Rabbits do not run when caught in bright lights. If you say, like Mma Ramotswe, “This is very well known,” there is no need to prove it.

Regardless of whether these phenomena of tranquil or panicked stupor are true or not, they are vivid metaphors.
...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Interviewing a film celebrity

James Lipton and George Clooney on Inside the Actors Studio




Radio interview techniques in film…

James Lipton: You have acted in many films.

George Clooney: Over 60, yes.

James Lipton: And as producer or director.

George Clooney: 30 times.

James Lipton: Do you work for money?

George Clooney: I work because I want to enjoy what I do. The money and fame doesn’t matter. I choose films I want to make and will make a statement; ones that will leave a legacy.

James Lipton: Have you ever felt rejected?

George Clooney: Actors feel badly rejected when they don’t get a role. They’re selling a product - themselves. If they get rejected, that’s personal.

James Lipton: What do you consider your best film?

George Clooney: One that I feel was worthwhile doing was Good Night and Good Luck. My father was a news anchorman and I majored in journalism at college so I had a special interest in doing the story of TV journalist Ed Murrow and his battle to discredit Joseph McCarthy’s anticommunist hysteria in 1953.
_________________
Voice-over
James Lipton is famous for reading his questions off index cards and then staring at the interviewee. Although his Inside the Actors Studio celebrity interviews are filmed, this technique would also work well as a radio interview. Or as a podcast.
Some of his interview question techniques:
Get the background out of the way with a statement: “You are… You have…”
Use research to praise: “Do you work for money?” Obviously not.
Use something surprising to probe for an uncomfortable insight: “Have you ever felt rejected?”
End on a high note: “…your best film?”
And then turn the show over to the student questions.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day Rabbit

Lapin or Lièvre?
May 1st Meeting.
International Workers Day, Unite! 
All Socialists, Marxists, Communists. 
Even Anarchists are invited. 

At the Savage Rabbit, aka Café du Lièvre. 
Lapin, Lièvre? Splitting hares.

WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT.

So raise the scarlet standard high.
Beneath its folds we'll live and die
Jim Connell (1889)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ode on an unornamented floor

A dominating design
Moving day…

Keats: “Oh Arab design of tangled vines and trodden weeds.” I want to move this to my next house.

Byron: Friend Ketch, such carpets are so kitsch.

Keats: That is the difference between us. You describe what you see. I describe what I imagine. Like the carpet, the imagination is full of riches.

Byron: Roll up the carpet I say, simplify your life and throw it away.
_________________
Voice-over

Middle Eastern carpets are admittedly ornate, and for some, this may complicate a room. Carpet or rug, call it what you will, it must be proportional to the room. Perhaps Keats’ problem was trying to fit a 3 square meter rug into a 4 square meter room; like a verbose poet, it dominated the floor.
...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Framing the earthquake story

In the newsroom…
100 aftershocks of Magnitude 1+ per day










First Journalist:  Headline: Japanese city Kumamoto flattened by by Magnitude 7 earthquake.

Editor: We’re not a tabloid newspaper. We need a less sensational, more scientific approach.

Second Journalist: Lead: The first shock was Magnitude 6.2 on April 14 and killed nine people, injuring 800. The next night another earthquake, Magnitude 7, struck killing 39 people and more than 1,000 people were injured.

Editor: That’s better. It’s curious. Reverse of the usual. Foreshock followed by a main shock.

First Journalist: As a result, houses standing after the slightly weaker first shock fell down in the stronger main shock. Human interest: some people survived the first shock, but died in the second.

Editor: Verging on the tabloid again, but a fair follow-up.
______________
Voice-over
The article:

Kumamoto suffers a foreshock and a main shock

Kumamoto’s first shock was Magnitude 6.2 on April 14 and killed nine people, injuring 800. The next night another earthquake, Magnitude 7, struck killing 39 people and more than 1,000 people were injured. Some people survived the first shock, but died in the second. Usually the main shock is followed by a series of aftershocks. As a result, houses standing after the slightly weaker first shock fell down in the stronger main shock. Later shocks often exacerbate damage.
...