from the world's big
Does "Internet Famous" Mean Famous?
Jonathan\r\n Coulton: I definitely consider myself "internet famous" at this \r\npoint. I think the difference between famous and "internet famous," it's\r\n a dividing line that is getting a little fuzzier, really month by month\r\n at this point, not just for me but I think as our culture changes, and I\r\n think it's about the medium that you are famous in. If you are famous \r\nfor being on television, you are reaching a much larger and broader \r\naudience, than anyone who's on the Internet. As popular as certain ideas\r\n and people have become on the Internet, they don't really reach that \r\nkind of super fame, that sort of global broad appeal until they move \r\ninto television.
You know you can look at anything... like \r\nTwitter for example, you know that was a thing that I heard about \r\nthrough somebody else, signed up for it, started using... Nobody cared \r\nabout it, you know, I was explaining it to my friends and they thought I\r\n was crazy. And then you started to see people on the Internet got \r\nexcited about it and started using it and so it was sort of an internet \r\nthing and then you started to see people talking about it all the time \r\non television. That was a very quick transformation. It was very, very \r\nquick it moved into that medium. And that's the point when it became a \r\nreally famous thing. And it's a thing that almost everybody knows about \r\nnow. Maybe they don't understand it. Frequently when it's mentioned, \r\nit's accompanied by a lame joke about how it's weird or stupid or \r\nwhatever. So you know in many ways, it's infamous outside of the \r\nInternet rather than being famous.
But you know, for me my fame \r\nis very targeted, it's not local because it doesn't have anything to do \r\nwith physical space, but it's local on the map of ideas and taste, you \r\nknow, because I'm famous on the Internet for writing a certain kind of \r\nsong. And that appeals to a certain kind of person who's interested in \r\ncertain things. And within a certain community, I'm pretty well-known. \r\nBut just walking down the street here in New York, nobody knows who I \r\nam. I'm rarely recognized in public. And so in many ways it's the best \r\nof both worlds, because I have a fan base that is large and loyal enough\r\n to support me and I get that ego boost that is you know, I know now is \r\nkind of critical to me you know, that feedback from people telling me \r\nthat they like this song or that song or that they really enjoyed this \r\nconcert or that CD.
I get that back and forth, but at the same \r\ntime, I can see how having that kind of relationship with the entire \r\nworld would be kind of unpleasant. You think about somebody like, poor \r\nMichael Jackson, who can't really go out in public anymore. Well, now \r\nhe's dead but when he was alive, he could not go out in public anymore. \r\nAnd I think it's a bizarre thing, that the people that we love the most,\r\n we force them to become shut-ins. We've sort of cut them off from the \r\nrest of the world. It’s a strange thing that fame does.
Question:\r\n Why do certain ideas become Internet famous and others don’t?
Jonathan\r\n Coulton: Well, I think that there are a couple of things at play, \r\nthat govern what kinds of ideas become "internet famous." One of them is\r\n just the fact that there are more geeks on the Internet than there are \r\nnon-geeks on the Internet. And this is just because the Internet is \r\nstill a relatively new medium on this planet. So I think a lot has been \r\nmade of the ascendance of geek culture and you'd be crazy if you didn't \r\nthink a lot of that had to do with the fact that there is the Internet \r\nand now all these people who use computers have a way to use their \r\ncomputers to get together in different ways, to communicate and create \r\nthings and disseminate ideas and bounce them off of one another and \r\nchange ideas. So I think part of it is just the Internet is the perfect \r\nmedium for geeks because geeks like computers and that's mostly where \r\nthe Internet is you know.
But aside from that, I do think the \r\ncommon thread that a lot of internet culture shares is a kind of \r\nhyper-postmodernism. I barely know what I'm talking about here so bear \r\nwith me, but you know I think there's a kind of humor, in particular, \r\nthat is unique to the Internet and it has to do with referencing other \r\nthings in an ironic way, in re-imagining them in a certain way, \r\nrecycling ideas. Of course this is part of what postmodernism means, but\r\n I think there's sort of winky aspect to the things that become really \r\npopular in internet culture that sort of sits on top of that standard \r\npostmodernism, you know, collage combination of different ideas. Look at\r\n LOLCats for example. Which is bizarre and could only exist on the \r\nInternet and is, I think a real good measuring device for determining if\r\n somebody is part of internet culture or not. You know, they're \r\nbasically funny pictures of cats, with a caption you know. And so you \r\ncan say, well that's dumb, that's you know there are lots of greeting \r\ncards that are like that. We've had that for a long time. But there's a \r\nself-referential quality to LOLCats and it's the language that cats \r\nspeak, somehow, it's this kind of pigeon language that cats speak and it\r\n kind of makes sense. I mean, if you're a fan of LOLCats, the reason you\r\n like it is because you see a caption and a funny picture and yes, you \r\nare looking at a funny caption of a funny cat picture, but also there's a\r\n joke there and it's very hard to explain what that joke is to somebody \r\nwho doesn't get it. And it has to do with that language that cats speak,\r\n that is made up, that somehow a very large group of strangers all seems\r\n to agree that this is the language that cats speak. And so, I sound \r\nlike a lunatic just talking about it. And that is, I think, a perfect \r\nexample of the things that become popular on the Internet and why, even \r\nthough I haven't really said why because I don't even know why.
Question:\r\n What do you see yourself as?
Jonathan Coulton: I \r\nwalk a dangerous line between comedy and non-comedy music. Like many \r\nwho've come before me, I'm not the first to do it and it's a troubling \r\nthing sometimes to be known as the guy who writes funny songs when in \r\nactuality my favorite songs are the ones that are not funny at all. My \r\nfavorite songs of mine are the very sad ones. And so, yes, you know I \r\nthink it is, I think it is crazy, I have learned that it is crazy for \r\nany artist to decide how they want, what kind of artist they want to be \r\nknown as. You don't get to decide that. The best-case scenario for you \r\nif you're an artist, is to make the things that you love. To make the \r\nthings that you want to make and to have a group of fans who like it and\r\n support you and who make it possible for you to continue making more \r\nstuff. That's all you can ask for and I think if you start to worry \r\nabout, are people going to think of me as a novelty musician, when \r\nreally I'm a sensitive writer of important songs, then that way lies \r\nmadness. Because it's not up to you to decide and there's little you can\r\n do to change anyone's mind. Once you've put the stuff out there that is\r\n yours, people will make of it what they will and you're lucky to even \r\nbe thinking about trying to change that. So shut up. That's kind of \r\nwhat I think about that. So, I'm just so pleased to be here and you know\r\n I feel so fortunate to be making a living this way. I'm happy for the \r\nfans who think of me as a novelty musician and I'm happy for the fans \r\nwho think of me as a writer of important songs. However you like me, I'm\r\n just glad that you like me.
"My fame is very targeted. It's not local because it doesn't have anything to do with physical space, but it's local on the map of ideas and taste. Walking down the street here in New York, nobody knows who I am."
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".