Re: Giving a presentation on memetics

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 28 Nov 2005 - 19:00:27 GMT

  • Next message: Dace: "Re: Giving a presentation on memetics"

    >From: Chris Taylor <>
    >Subject: Re: Giving a presentation on memetics
    >Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 15:11:57 +0000
    >And then there's the cushion effect (i.e. bearing the impression of the
    >last thing to sit on it) of the latest focus of the excitable media (a
    >pun-tastic phrase).
    That's probably a major part of the equation, but I'll defer to Vince Campbell if he's still following the list. It's the soup of the day on cable news.

    I used to think that maybe the threat of pit bull terriers was overblown or sensationalized (an effect of the media), where a kid gets mangled by a pit bull and all of a sudden the news media start playing more vicious dog attack stories, but I'm starting to wonder if it's the breed itself more than anything else. We hear a lot about shark attacks in Florida, but that might be reflecting a reality more than a media effect (perhaps more people in the water or shark species without typical prey items searching in coastal areas and chomping on a novel When we hear about tornadoes in "tornado alley" it's because those storms crop up. It's not like news agencies are manufacturing funnel clouds. Same with hurricanes. It used to seem that the weather folks were hyping storms up because if you're a meteoroligist thats pretty much the only exciting thing you're going to do during your career besides forecast high/low temps and percentage chances of rain over the week. But the past two years have lived up to the hype and then some.
    >Necrotising fasciitis anyone?
    A friend's son had a nasty staph infection not too long ago and it was pretty serious. The media do like to play up the "flesh eating virus (sic)" stories which instantly cue me into their ignorance of the differences between a virus and bacterium. I wouldn't want a flesh eater to attack me, but how often does this severe a situation arise in a given population?

    There are some serious concerns with nasty resistant bacteria though. In some respects media coverage of this issue could do a public service of letting people know the consequences of taking antibiotics every time they have a sniffle.
    >You're absolutely right though both about the degree of control being
    >correlated with fear (I almost never get worried when I'm driving), and
    >also the perceived risk thing (where that = estimated risk x effect on me
    >[or my kids etc.]).
    It probably depends on experiences driving. Anyone having been in a wreck has probably been a lot more cautious immediately afterward. I got rear ended in the rain years ago and I used to wince at red lights while I looked in the rearview hoping the car behind me made a complete stop before turning my cars reaer end into an accordion. I got side-swiped by a tractor trailer once. I don't recommend that experience to anyone. I've seen cars flip in front of meon two separate occasions. That will vicariously give you respect for the dangers of driving over 40 mph and how easily cars go air borne.

    Those cheesy drivers ed films in high school were meant for a good reason, but being involved in a wreck will definitely make you more cautious, at least for a while. I don't know how seriously teenagers take those films.
    >Not sure how relevant this is, but a little while ago I bought 20
    >cigarettes and a lottery ticket in the same purchase. A bit of a moment for
    >me as I compared the 1 in 3 (at least) risk I was discounting with the 1 in
    >gazillions risk I was up for... In that case I was discounting the risk of
    >death rather than accentuating it -- different than bird flu paranoia in an
    >interesting way -- is this the control thing again (if I die from smoking
    >then I was in that sense 'driving')?
    >Total tangent now: I suck nicotine lozenges now and almost never relapse
    >(cf. the kids); the interesting bit was observing that removing nicotine
    >from the equation uncovered _loads_ of behavioural stuff (~memes, I
    >suppose) keyed into the ritual of smoking -- much harder to crack than the
    >chemical addiction imho (worse luck). Now I need pills that deal with my
    >craving for pastries :(
    I went several years without eating red meat, mostly because of the "mad cow" cultural epidemic inducing fear in me, but recently started back eating hamburgers and steaks. Oh well. Soy burgers are OK, but not as good as the real thing ;-)

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon 28 Nov 2005 - 19:19:13 GMT