The Boob Tube Is Here to Stay

While people wonder daily about the future of the newspaper, music and publishing industries, the television business seems to be surviving on its own terms. Sure it has lost revenue to the crisis and to the Internet, but its fundamental qualities combined with some late innovation have given the boob tube unusual stability in our time of unprecedented media change.

For all the appeal of interactive technologies, sometimes a more passive form of entertainment is desirable and this is just what TV offers. After a long day, whether it is at the cannery or the conservatory, a little effortless entertainment may just hit the spot. Another new media value, choice, is a virtue TV only partially shares. Entertainment on the Net is on-demand, but beyond the choice of TV channels, shows are broadcast when television studios want to broadcast them rather than when you want to watch them. Until TiVo, if you had to work at eleven in the morning, tough, but you’re going to miss The Price is Right.


But TiVo is an example of an industry innovation that made watching TV more attractive. Yesterday’s innovation was high-definition TV; today’s is three-dimensional TV. Though not all the kinks have been ironed out yet, 3-D viewing promises to be a major revolution in entertainment.

Other innovations have been pragmatic steps to accept the Internet and its ability to enhance TV watching. One way many would like to enhance their experience is by not paying cable companies extortionist monthly fees. Fancast uses Hulu to make many TV series available on-demand and for free! And keep an eye on Whitehatt, an Internet TV platform that aims to compete with monthly cable providers and satellite networks, which will debut in September of this year.

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less