Category Archives: Web Stuff

NPR Wants You To Help Fact-Check the Debate

Here’s something interesting: NPR wants you to help them fact-check the debate tonight, and they want you to use Twitter to do so. Make a Tweet that includes the hashtag “#factcheck” and has a primary source rebutting one of Palin’s or Biden’s claims, and NPR will take a look. You can follow along using a tool like Tweet Scan.

This is fascinating on a number of levels. One, it’s taking Twitter and turning it into an information-gathering source. NPR isn’t the first to do so: during the recent gas crunch in Atlanta, residents started Tweeting the location of gas stations that had gas and tagging them with “#atlgas” so others could find the information. Twitter wasn’t designed for this, but hey, when have we ever stuck with using a tool the way it was meant? Two, it’s letting a news organization’s audience help with the journalism. Again, this isn’t new, as Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo has been doing collaborative journalism for years. But mix collaborative journalism with the ease of commenting via Twitter and you’ve got an interesting combination.

There are a lot of ways this can turn to mud. If you were an ass, you could flood the channel with noise, creating lots of accounts to post random junk with the #factcheck label. Or you could post erroneous information knowingly, using this as another channel for candidate-driven disinformation. NPR — or at least its poor interns — will have to cull through the chaff to get to the wheat, and even then NPR could cherry-pick the data to slant their eventual story. But the raw data is still there for anyone to see.

(Given more time, I’d love to slurp down that data and correlate it eight different ways. Tag the information NPR uses versus what other sites do (assuming they do so). With what frequency did the same information get posted? How soon after a candidate said something questionable did the rebuttal show up on #factcheck?)

I’ll have a better idea by tomorrow how well it worked, at least in my mind. And it’ll be fun to monitor during the debate.

Keep Up to Date on the Large Hadron Collider vs. the Earth

You’ve probably seen But refreshing the page can get old after a while. So why not subscribe to the page’s feed?

(As I confessed to several friends last night, yes, I looked at the page’s HTML source. I am a geek.)

ETA: This is not to be confused with, which doesn’t have a feed but does have more scientific information hidden in its HTML.

Information or Conversation?

Some blogs you read for the information they contain, whether that’s technical tips or the latest goings-on in a friend’s life. Some you read for the conversation among the blog’s regulars and its author. I’m curious to know which style, if either, you prefer.

I go in cycles. I’m fond of blogs that have good conversations going on, but only when I have enough time to follow those conversations and on occasion chime in. The rest of the time I skim for information.

New Design for Live Granades

I know, I know, what are we thinking, changing the design every three years or so. Nevertheless, have a new blog design.

The only real content change is the “Shrapnel” sidebar on the right. We’re going to be dumping links in there that we find interesting but don’t feel like writing a full blog post about. If you hover over them, the tooltip will tell you more about the link. Sometimes. I make no promises. There’s even an rss feed for the links if you’re one of those feed-reading people.

Summer Scheduling

Summer shouldn’t need a schedule. It should be days of waking up and deciding if we’re going to get motivated enough to go to the pool or just play in the water sprinkler in the yard.

It should not require a shared Google calendar to pull off. And yet for the second time in about three weeks, Stephen and I have had our wires so crossed that we didn’t know what we were doing.

So now our family has a giant Google calendar. Everyone has their own color and every event is now being meticulously added for the greater good. Greater good in this case is marital harmony.

May is full of family visits to celebrate Liza’s birthday. June is full of Eli’s camps. He’s taking swimming lessons for two weeks and then going to soccer camp for a week. July is shaping up to be our trip to Japan. August will bring the school schedule with it.

I’m already exhausted and school isn’t even out for summer yet. But better this schedule than the one from last year! This time last year I was beginning my two weeks of off and on labor before Liza’s birth. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to the 20 hours of flying to Japan way more than the 20+ hours of labor.

You, Internet, Give Me a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling in my Heart

This week I’ve talked about vacuums, poppy seed bread, and Liza’s teeth, and I’ve posted pictures of the kids and vacuums. By the way, you people are seriously into vacuum cleaners and I’m not sure if that says more about you for reading about it or me for writing it. I giggled all day yesterday when I pulled up the blog to see what someone else is saying about The Boss. (P.S. Kat must be seriously traveling or dead not to have made a comment about her Dyson.)

Stephen’s post on parenting brought some nice comments and once again, my internet friends, I feel like we are not the only ones trudging up this million mile hill called parenting.

Two weeks ago we got a nice email from a women who found us from Stephen’s LOLTrek and LOLCards posts and has been following us ever since. She and I have traded multiple emails and several cross-stitch patterns and basically I feel as if the internet has brought me a new friend. The most amazing part: it isn’t the first time it’s happened.

April 25 and 26 we’re going to be in Boston. We’ll be at ROFLCon and staying with some friends that (you can probably see what’s coming next) Stephen met on the internet. Of course, now that we’ve known them for 10 years they are just regular friends that Stephen happened to have met on the internet. Also, I’m looking at the ROFLCon page and it’s looking like a serious Con. Another thing, I’m talking about Cons like they are something that I do. You see what the internet has done to me?

I’ve been swept up in the wave of Stephen’s internet fame and the view from where I’m sitting is beyond great. It thrills me to see you all having conversations here. Hey, even my mom (Hi, Mumsy!) is getting in on the action now that she has that there computer internet where she works. I have to tell you that when I was 16 and writing every thought that popped into my head in my spiral bound notebook, my secret desire was that someone would read it. I can pretty much die now with that dream fulfilled.

Amusing Me this a.m.

Last night Stephen and I were kicking around websites that are talking about his companion cube piece. Yeah, we are easily amused by our own press. If the internet isn’t good for looking at yourself, I’m not sure what else it’s good for. (Stop right there before you type “Porn” into my comment box.)

So I found this post on a site and just had to share. It’s in Spanish. See the emoticon? Yeah, that totally cracked me up.


Never, ever wonder who our kids get the ham from.

When I Am Old I Shall Wear Grouchy like a Purple Hat

Sometime in the past few years of getting a house and having two babies, I got old. This is something that Stephen and I joke about from time to time when we realize the multitude of 20-somethings on TV. Then sometime in the past few months, I realized that I was older than the people in the books I read.

Today I realized that technology has also passed me by.

About seven or eight years ago I bought a 125,000 image clip art library. I use the images in many different projects. I’ve used the seasonal and holiday portions twice a month for more than three years now in our church’s newsletter. So recently I decided it was really time to get something new. I bought something at Staples since I had a spend-$50-get-$25-off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. I knew it was for PC but I thought, “surely I’ll be able to pull the image files off the disks and open them in Photoshop to do what I need.”

I couldn’t do it.

I let Teresa, the woman I do the newsletter for at church, borrow the disks to look through. I chatted with her this morning about it. While we were looking at it on her computer, I realized the reason I couldn’t see the image files on the disk. They aren’t image files, just links to files on the internet. What I bought wasn’t images, just the software to download the images from the internet. Ugh. I asked her if she wanted to buy it from me since I couldn’t use it on my computer and couldn’t take it back.

So I thought, maybe I should just get the Mac equivalent. No, sorry. No such thing exists any more. Everything is on the internet now–for a low, low monthly fee. But see, I don’t want to pay a monthly fee. I want to spend $50 and have access to 1.2 million images whenever I need them for the next seven or eight years.

And this is where I know that I am old. I am longing for the days when I could squish my pennies without repercussions, babies didn’t fall out of Bumbos, and clip art still came on CD.